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What We Learned at State of Search 2016
The Ironistic marketing team attended the State of Search conference in Dallas, Texas for the first time this year! We learned about SEO, PPC, and more. Here are our top takeaways from the conference.
“It’s no surprise that mobile is still a big deal… it is, however, a bigger deal than you may think. Aside from the fact that most consumer-based websites are receiving 50% or more visits from mobile devices or tablets, Google is going to be indexing mobile friendly results first when users are searching from a mobile device. What I found to be even more interesting and inspiring is the idea that we, as SEOs and marketing professionals, need to always be predicting how users will interact with search in the years to come in order to get ahead of the competition. We have already begun to interact with Artificial intelligence (Siri, Alexa, etc.) and it is changing the way we receive information. Instead of typing a search query into Google and receiving a list of websites to choose from with “10 blue links”, people will begin to simply ask a question to their device of choice to get their answer. AI depends on highly structured data on websites, so we need to get on board with Google’s recommended implementation of schema.org vocabulary. Structured data is most easily represented in JSON-LD format. People want the right answer and want it fast. The importance of having consistent and correct contact information will become even more important in the age of AI.”
“My biggest takeaway was to always be thinking one step ahead of search engines. Google only recently ~officially~ announced that they are indexing the mobile versions of websites first, but they’ve actually been doing it for years. Now, they’re working on understanding complicated queries like ‘I’m looking for a vacation house on the beach that costs less than $200 per night, is good for kids, and has at least a 4 star rating on TripAdvisor.’ They’re also trying to figure out how to respond to voice searches as devices like the Amazon Echo become more prevalent. We as an industry tend to wait until search engines make an algorithm update and then rush to respond to it to prevent a decline in organic traffic. Instead, we should be thinking one step ahead by anticipating how search engines will change their algorithms to return results that are more useful to their users and then adjust accordingly.”
“In all of the keynotes and sessions that I attended during State of Search, one common theme that really stuck out to me was getting out of your marketing “bubble” (as Wil Reynolds of SEER Interactive puts it) and truly getting to know your audience and how to meet their needs. As marketers, we sometimes forget to tailor our copy and imagery to our customers and instead tailor it to what we respond to most or what we think will drive the most conversions. This lack of empathy towards our customers can cause us to lose sight of how to provide them the best answers and user experience. With search engines getting smarter and understanding the human side of searching more and more, taking the time to learn about your audience, their search intent, and how you can create quality content is more important than ever if you want your site to rank above the rest.”
“One of the comments I heard over and over again at this conference was ‘You have to know your audience.’ And a good marketer knows this takes more than keywords. For example, a real estate agent wanted to target Chinese Americans. This agent worked with a marketing agency to identify what this demographic looked for in a home. Keyword research did not tell them that Chinese Americans do not like to live on a dead end streets or live in homes where a set of stairs is the first thing you see when entering the home, and other key issues unique to this demographic. They began to understand this demographic by taking the time to learn, asking questions and talking to people. Understanding customers makes for better, more successful marketing! Did you know an atheist made the #1 selling bible app of all time? He looked outside his bubble, transcended his biases and filled a need. He makes 6 figures a year on this app and often has people contacting him asking for prayer. He does not tell them his is an atheist but says it confirms people have trouble looking beyond their bubble. Transcend your biases, talk to people outside of your bubble and take the time to learn about your current audience as well as new audiences you may not have thought of.”
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