At brightonSEO, SEOs from across the UK gathered to share SEO best practice and insights for the year ahead. The first brightonSEO of 2017 was also our first visit to the conference and we were inspired by the insights and collaborative nature of the conference.
In this article, we share our most significant takeaways from the conference and explain how you can use them to improve your digital marketing efforts this year.
The SEO landscape is familiar with frequent change; Google’s algorithm updates introduce regular changes across the search spectrum. Never before has the change facing SEO been more dramatic. The consensus at brightonSEO was that the direction of travel is away from traditional organic search and towards structured data, voice search and artificial intelligence (AI).
It was reported that Intelligence Systems including Cortana, Siri, Google Home and Amazon Echo are garnering 4.8 times more engagement from searchers than traditional search engines. Voice search is predicted to account for 50% of searches by 2020. Clearly, voice search will need to be embraced by SEOs and businesses.
Voice search is by far the most prominent current SEO trend. If voice searches do account for 50% of searches by 2020, businesses will need to adapt their SEO strategies for a voice search dominated landscape.
It is important to note that voice search is powered by the knowledge graph, which holds deep knowledge about your business. Deep knowledge for a food business includes your opening hours, address, menu details and reviews. For voice search, the key ranking factors are: relevance, distance and prominence. Continuing the previous example, relevance may be the type of restaurant that you are; distance will be your restaurant’s location and a searcher’s location and prominence relates to your restaurant’s reputation, which is most commonly expressed by your reviews and star rating.
In the new voice search landscape, a business’s reputation will be everything. Especially as with voice search, only one business result will be returned. When a potential customers asks Alexa for the best restaurant near them, that restaurant’s star rating will be one of the key ranking factors. Unsurprisingly, 60% of consumers say that a business’s star rating is the most important factor when making a decision.
Perhaps the most staggering statistic is that 87% of consumers will not even consider a business with poor reviews. Clearly, if you are not effectively managing your reputation now, it is of paramount importance that you start to do so.
Camera Driven Image Search
Image driven search is a familiar feature of Google. Camera driven image search takes image search to the next level. Image searchers are particularly valuable when you cannot put words to something – this leads to a no keyword, no problem approach to search.
Social media websites such as Pinterest are leading the way with image search, having launched visually similar results. They are currently planning to launch Pinterest Lens, which will allow users to use a camera to discover a desirable object through their camera lens and purchase it from a suitable eCommerce store all without even leaving Pinterest. By uniting the process from discovery through to conversion, their platform will be ever more powerful and relevant to retail eCommerce.
To take advantage of camera driven search it is important that you optimsie your images now. Following image optimisation best practice by using meta information to aid with image profiling is a great start. This can be extended with the development of an image strategy and the use of images in your adverts.
It was clear that paid search remains just as important as it ever has been despite a 500% increase in the costs of paid search activity. Controlling costs is definitely a priority that many digital marketing professionals and businesses can identify with.
It was suggested that the solution to this cost challenge is to refocus paid search on targeting existing customers rather than new customers. It is widely accepted that the cost of reaching new customers is significantly higher than existing customers. The results of targeting existing customers are significantly more positive with 80% of consumers claiming that they will buy from a brand if they are served with a targeted offer.
Back To Basics With Landing Pages
Landing pages were cited as a key success factor for paid search and a key part of ensuring that a customer is taken on a consistent journey, starting with the advert and ending with a landing page. In particular, the importance of creating loyalty landing pages to encourage existing customers to make a repeat purchase is crucial. Furthermore, the use of marketing pixels to facilitate data collection and remarketing was highlighted as a key driver of a positive ROI.
AdWords and Bing Ads
Remarketing continues to be an important focus for Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Paid search practitioners are now being expected to make better use of Dynamic Search Ads to deliver adverts that are more personalised to match a search query. Hybrid campaigns that offer unique discounts to existing customers are becoming increasingly popular across many sectors.
There is an opportunity to use search ads for brand and reward related search terms to drive website visitors with a clear purchase intent to your website. The effectiveness of these ads can be extended further with ad extensions such as the Countdown extension to create a sense of purchase urgency.
Facebook and Instagram
The increasing use of remarketing extends into Facebook and Instagram, which is now being used to build on previous sales. By using Messenger Ads, it is possible to trigger repeat purchases. Meanwhile, Lead Gen Ads with customer match can help to maximise the effectiveness of your online company loyalty scheme.
There is also now an imperative to target loyal blog readers with the rise of content marketing. Targeting these loyal and engaged readers with a thank you message and a free eBook may facilitate a sale.
We really enjoyed our first trip to brightonSEO, the positive collaborative atmosphere and the quality of the insights that were shared resulted in a truly memorable and valuable day.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Liam Saunders MSc (Dist) BA (Hons) PRINCE2 AgilePM AdWords Cert. ([email protected]) is the Managing Director of VIP IT, a company that specialises in helping businesses grow online through great website design and digital marketing. He has extensive digital marketing expertise, his main areas of expertise include: Website Design, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising, Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing. As a Google AdWords certified PPC professional with a Project Management and Business Background he is qualified to help you grow your businesses online.