11 takeaways from SearchLove London 2015
By Marion Hirtzig - Head of Digital Marketing.
Last week, I went to SearchLove London for the second time, and just like last year, the Distilled team delivered two days of talks by brilliant speakers from around the world. Some speakers like Seer Interactive's ultra-energetic and positive boss Wil Reynolds or Moz's unique Rand Fishkin had already given talks at SearchLove London 2014, but others I was seeing for the very first time, such as Portent, Inc's Ian Lurie or Wordstream's Larry Kim. Content marketing, PPC, technical SEO, videos, email marketing, pretty much every topic that matters at the moment in digital marketing was discussed. It's always a challenge to see how you can use what you've learnt for your own clients, especially when you're a small team like Orantec, but where would the fun be if it were easy? Here is some of the best advice that I took away from SearchLove 2015…
1) We should think of a searcher's intent when creating landing pages
The way we are searching (and the way the new generation is searching) is evolving, and we tend to be less explicit when we search, expecting Google to understand what we want - which it does most of the time, to be fair! If we're on the street and search for “restaurant” on our smartphone, we want to find a restaurant close to our location, but in the end all we specified was “restaurant” and we let Google guess the rest. Google Now allows us to make compound queries, that is, ask one question (e.g. Show me images of rugby players), then a second question which is a follow-up of the first one (e.g. Show me women) and without repeating the first question we get a revised answer (e.g. Female rugby players).
2) Think Mobile first
This is not new, but it is proving truer every day: we need to optimise everything we do for mobile. Our phones never leave our side, we never log out of our accounts (whereas some of us do log out from our PCs/laptops), and we have all our contacts stored in them, so they are a marketer's best friend – and major target! Google Webmaster Tools comes in handy to tell you how mobile-friendly your website is – and it even offers you downsized images if yours are too big for mobile.
3) We need to rethink SEO
Instead of chasing keywords, we should be chasing the ideal customer, understand what clients are looking for, and where their 'search journey' started. Before buying a TV for instance, a client may have researched what was wrong with their current TV, how to fix it, then decided that they needed a new one, before starting to look for one and to compare brands. We need to try to capture the consumer higher up in their search.
4) Use emotional targeting and make it about the customer, not the brand
Make your customers feel what you want them to feel, and make it about them, not you and your brand, by using emotional marketing. If you're selling flowers, don't tell your customers how great your flowers are, tell them what they will gain from buying them from you.
5) In PR, timing is everything
It's important to create anticipation for your stories (and make it worth the wait!). You should also be careful not to contact people during busy times, or else they won't even read your email or take time to talk to you on the phone.
6) Use visual content to simplify things and put them in context
Visual content like infographics are invaluable to simplify complicated data and numbers, and can allow you to show trends and patterns, if done properly. Simplifying things however also means that the audience shouldn't have to work to get the information, so annotations and labels are important.
7) Use PPC tactics for SEO
Have you ever noticed the difference in style between Meta descriptions and Adwords ads? Why don't we make our Meta descriptions as eye-catching and compelling as PPC ad bodies? PPC can also be used to test your Meta titles and Meta descriptions and see how efficient they are, and to give a push to your outreach and boost your efforts.
8) Aim for perfection
Fix things, like poor-quality code, and try to make your website as perfect as possible. This includes speed, dead links, server errors, duplication, etc. For instance, duplication would be 'imperfect', rel canonical would be better, but no duplication would be 'perfect', so that's what we need to aim for. Broken links and server errors should be fixed as soon as possible, and not just for UX purposes!
9) Write about topics, not keywords
Choose a keyword you want to rank for, and write a comprehensive, 10x article about the topic using long-tail keywords. This is the strategy used by the Sidekick by Hubspot team, who also noticed that linking a content page to a blog page on the same topic made the blog rank higher, no matter when the latter had been published.
10) SERPs and tactics vary depending on the sector you work in
SERPs look different depending on whether you have a media business, a health site, if you are a letting/estate agent, etc. Some SERPs include more news, some have more corporate results, others include a higher proportion of social media, etc. Similarly, not all websites need to link out to rank high. For instance, there is no correlation between linking out and ranking for dining/restaurant websites.
11) $50 is enough to launch a marketing project
You don't have to break the bank for Twitter and Facebook ads to help you reach your goals. That is, if you're as talented as Larry Kim from Wordstream – his achievements truly are impressive. His talk was filled with hacks, but the most useful one in my opinion is to curate custom audiences (with Twitter lists) and to target these lists of journalists or potential customers with your ads.
Once more I really enjoyed the conference, and I can only strongly recommend you to attend SearchLove next year. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Distilled team who was really helpful, and in particular Emm and Joe who were absolutely lovely when I needed assistance. Great conference, great people, what more can a digital marketer wish for?