The SEO landscape is ever-changing, making it difficult to pin down a search strategy that really works. What helps to make your content more prominent today could earn you a ranking penalty tomorrow.
At Covent Garden’s The Hospital Club, Figaro Digital hosted an event on June 2, with expert talks from industry leaders at Branded3, Vodafone, Visualsoft and Genie Goals offering their best advice on how marketers can nail their paid search and SEO strategies. Here’s a roundup of the main takeaway points from the seminar:
The Future of Organic Search – Stay Ahead of the Curve!
David Gerrard, head of SEO, Visualsoft
David explained how Visualsoft’s retail clients are staying ahead of the curve, discussing website personalisation, creating better brand loyalty, engagement and increased ROI. There has been a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour, according to David, which is altering the desktop-centric approach to marketing and requiring a comprehensive, omnichannel strategy.
“The idea that organic search is declining so you should put your money into paid search instead crops up regularly,” he says. “But it’s not true. We are at a very transitional stage, though.
There are a few foundational concepts that are changing SEO – things we all need to be aware of so we can stay ahead of the curve.
David suggests feeding knowledge of new UI elements into your strategy. “Make sure you’re aware of what’s displaying for the keywords you’re choosing,” he adds.
Think about implicit context and intent, and make everything faster while continuing to focus on performance.
Understanding Mobile SEO – Risks and Opportunities in 2016
Nick Wilsdon, SEO Lead – global channel optimisation, Vodafone
Mobile is one of the fastest changing areas of online marketing, so there are some key areas to consider for your brand, such as App Deep Linking, ASO and Smart App Banners.
Three billion people are connected to the Internet, Nick notes, primarily through mobile, and 50 per cent of their Google queries are through mobile. Within the next 10 years there will be 20bn mobile connections, taking the focus away from desktops.
“But, weirdly, people aren’t using mobile to purchase, and it frightens Google because everything about Google is about purchasing,” says Nick. “Google’s not going to be able to maintain very high CPSs if it can’t convert on mobile. About 10 per cent in the UK convert on mobile and that absolutely puts the fear of God into Google.”
He adds: “This is why it’s focusing so much on mobile now. How do you keep up with Google’s SEO algorithms? They’ve made 478 changes since I started working in SEO a few years ago but about 75 per cent of those happened in the past three years. Google’s constantly throwing these changes at us but they’re all along the same kind of lines ie. we all need to start thinking about mobile-first.”
So how can we do this?
If you don’t have a responsive website you can’t turn it into a rapid mobile app. 40 per cent of people will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Ultimately, it needs to be fast and needs to be lightening fast to work on mobile. If you have Chrome there’s a whole suite of a development tools you can choose for people to load your website by mobile connection – 3G, bad 4G connection, good 4G connection etc. You can do some really good testing with free tools.
You also need to make sure your website is secure using https. You must have a secure app. That might slow it down a little bit but you’ve got to work on your optimisation, Nick explains.
Ultimately, Nick says, the mobile web is thoroughly broken – concentrate on performance, UI and SEO.
6 Must Follow Strategies to Increase Revenue and ROI from Paid Search
Luca Senatore, head of business development, Genie Goals
Luca detailed the exact strategies Genie Goals uses in PPC to drive millions of pounds worth of revenue monthly to retailers in sectors like fashion, luxury, home, furniture, beverages and anything in between. The session touched on growth and optimisation tactics that are proven to improve performance, often exponentially. Here are Luca’s main points to consider:
1. Technology is key to taking the most granular approach so you can drive more visits and more sales and control ROI.
2. Track everything. Once you know what every action your users take is worth, you can assign a budget/CPA to it and, therefore, drive more conversions from that action.
3. Understand your audience. Ask questions like What have they searched for? When? What did they see? What did they do?
4. Never stop testing – Keep testing things such as ad copy, landing pages, ad position, keyword matching, remarketing messages.
5. Think about how you can grow. What’s your impression share on non-branded searches? How can you improve CR? How can you expand internationally? Can you expand your product catalogue?
Why Your Content Marketing isn’t Delivering Links
Mike Jeffs, client services director, Branded3
Content marketing has seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years, primarily due to the influence it can have on SEO performance. A lot of businesses still aren’t seeing the value, though, and are struggling to implement campaigns that deliver quality links. Mike took us through some of the key mistakes Branded3 has made when implementing campaigns and what it changed to deliver results.
Mikes says: “You may think your content is cool but most of the time it’s not. Is it really engaging with your audience? Will it make people at the Daily Mail talk about it, for example?”
So what are the main lessons Mike and Branded3 learned?
1. Invest in quality design and credible data
2. Identify the online audience that publish and link
3. No relationships equals no links
4. Last, but not least, focus on data