As the Search and Content Director at Online Optimism, I work to get our clients’ websites in front of the people who matter most to their businesses. By using a combination of written and visual content, as well as technical search engine optimization best practices, we can influence a business’s search rankings on Google.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most impactful forms of marketing. In fact, according to Hubspot, “Nearly 80% of users ignore paid ads in search results,” most likely because they find them less trustworthy than organic results. However, the “rules” of SEO are constantly changing and shifting as search engines adjust their algorithms behind closed doors. I flew to Las Vegas to attend Pubcon so I could hear from other SEO leaders about the shifts in the industry.
Below are the top 5 SEO tips I learned at Pubcon.
1. Use Google Data Studio for all of your marketing reporting.
Jennifer Hoffman – DeepCrawl
Data Studio is a relatively new tool launched by Google in 2018, which allows you to connect multiple data sources to easily visualize the effectiveness of your campaigns. At Online Optimism, we’ve been able to import all of our data from social media, pay-per-click, and SEO campaigns into one place and easily update that information based on dates or other external factors. Data Studio has been a game-changer when it comes to fast and effective reporting for our team.
2. Don’t chase the source. Become the source!
Loren Baker – Search Engine Journal
Creating highly effective content is all about writing an authoritative piece that people want to share. In the past, people have looked to authoritative sources to help build these types of content pieces. What many agencies and in-house marketers tend to forget is how much proprietary data their company is sitting on. This data itself can be used to create the type of authority that you may have been chasing in the past. Work for an agency? Drill down into your analytics and use generalized bulk data points to create custom whitepapers or infographics. Once your content is done, upload it to your site and then start pitching it to journalists and publications for them to use in their own reporting. An authoritative and original piece of content with unique data can generate hundreds if not thousands of backlinks to your site.
3. Voice search is the future of SEO.
Eric Enge – Perficient Digital
In the very near future, voice search is expected to be the primary way people connect with many of their devices. By 2021, there are expected to be more smart speakers than tablets on the market. The reason why it’s so important to examine voice search is because of where we expect the devices’ responses are coming from. Many SEO experts assume that there is a correlation between the featured snippet of a query and the voice search response of that same query. Essentially, experts agree that it is likely that Google Home and other voice search devices will answer voice queries with the featured snippets you see on your devices.
4. Content is critical for awareness.
Erik Stafford – Stafford Marketing
Content marketing is key to getting your potential customers engaged with your product, service, or message. But what types of content pieces resonate best during the awareness phase when you aren’t yet focused on making a conversion? To guide you through your content planning, try starting your titles with phrases like:
- The truth about…
- The story of…
- The science behind…
- Alternatives to…
- Can you imagine…
- 3 common mistakes of…
These types of content pieces are particularly helpful if your audience is unaware of the problem that you’re attempting to solve. Use this content to educate your potential customers about why they need your solution in the first place.
5. Local search is key.
Cori Graft – Seer Interactive
Local search can be forgotten about in the world of SEO, but it is more important than ever, especially for small businesses. Your Google My Business (GMB) profile, the Google Map Pack, and any information in the knowledge panel are more prominent and create a stronger first impression than organic search result listings or even your website itself. Think about it—if a user types your company name into the Google search bar, your GMB profile appears before your website does. It needs to have all of the relevant information for your business laid out as clearly as possible. Put as many photos as you can on your profile. Show off the inside, outside, products, team, menu, and anything you can. Utilize the question and answer part of the knowledge panel to pose your own questions and then answer them yourself. This allows you to control the correct flow of information between you and your customers. Otherwise, strangers can answer questions on your behalf and they could be wrong. Don’t forget to ensure that your business’s name, address, and phone number are consistent across the web as well.
Pubcon is an outstanding experience for all digital marketers, and especially those with an affinity for SEO. The speakers have been working on SEO since before Google and other search engines even hit the web, and their insight is valuable for businesses of all sizes.
To learn more about our SEO strategies, check out the core tactics we use for every campaign.