And we're back in the saddle...
So, here we go - we’re back from SMX East two weeks already and implementing tons of the new tactics and techniques from the show for our clients.
We met some great people, ate some great food, drank some (oh, so) great cocktails (NYC, I miss you already) and of course took in lots of fantastic information and knowledge from industry reporters/bloggers/leaders, fellow agencies, in-house SEM’s and the search engines themselves (Google & Bing product directors/engineers were in the house!).
So, let’s cut to the chase & break down some new/emerging and top trends by search discipline; this post will cover SEO and social, we’ll tackle paid search/SEM in the 3rd installment of this series (coming soon –hold on tight).
If you missed the preview in part 1, check it out here - EURO Does SMX: Part 1 of 3
Emerging Development Practices
A few months back, Google & Bing (the last two remaining major algorithm-producing search engines) banded together to produce a new set of standards allowing webmasters to pull out and “display” pieces of data/content in new and engaging way to users. The result of this is the introduction of new meta tags and micro-formats and micro-data that allow for the easy displaying of user reviews, event tags, author info, etc.
Google revealed (they’ve done this in years past) a new protocol/method for crawling and properly indexing paginated pages (something that’s very common in eCommerce) whereas search engine spiders previously could get “easily caught up” within paginated pages and not been able to accurately crawl pages in the proper order. Now, with the advent of rel = pre, rel = next tags engines can understand the proper structure and numerical sequence of each page & the adjoining.
Social Media Signals: Twitter & Facebook & Google+
More vital than ever!
Google uses Twitter share data, but not Facebook “Like” data (at this point, who knows what tomorrow may hold) when looking at how pages/sites are being shared and consumed around the web. Danny Sullivan shared an interesting story about how Google + usage can dramatically alter search results based upon who’s in your circle. You can read his whole account of this over at Search Engine Land - it’s an excellent read.
Link Building Techniques
A tactic that’s been around for a few years now, but seemed to hit “critical mass” this year. Many speakers were extolling the benefits and results from guest blogging: getting your content & POV published on other’s blogs (gaining links and broadening your reach/community).
Traditional Link Building Is DEAD
To the above, another point that’s been bubbling around for years is the idea that “traditional” link building – webmaster contacting emails are dead.” I would tend to agree with this, normally webmasters don’t want to get emails in the first place, let alone about updating or adding content to their site (obviously, you’re never directly asking for a link… but still). This may have worked in the early 2000, but with the advent of social media building real relationships that foster the creation of content and links has become king!
Don’t get bit by the PANDA
How do you avoid being slapped down by Google’s Panda update? Write unique amazing quality content that is truly expert authored; the other hand of this is thin/shallow content that just doesn’t read well – search engines have the ability to analyze writing level & skill – so watch out!
Data Correlation vs. Causation
This was one the best conference sessions I’ve ever attended in my life, I’m not going to even try to recap this one - you can read Barry Schwartz’ live blog for all the juicy details.
Hot Button Issue: Personalized Search
The “Logical Side”
We always knew that both personal and local data played a large role in how search (talking organic here) results were personalized but the doors to this Pandora’s box were opened even more: Bing announced “adaptive search” which updates results in real-time based upon the queries you are conducting RIGHT NOW. These updates further support why, if you are going to share rankings reports with clients, it’s best to use 3rd party tools that chart and rank results from varying locations & blend/normalize the data. Here’s a great re-cap of what goes into personalized search, again from Barry Schwartz.
The “Emotional side.”
SMX was keynoted by Eli Pariser, author of the Filter Bubble, a book that deals with the idea that all the personalization we engage in everyday narros and blocks out other news/events we would normally pick up if we were to consume “mass media.” I'm paraphrasing this here a little bit due to my own personal biases, but at least I’m disclosing it here. Needless to say, the search community wasn’t very receptive to Eli’s message that when we “focus and look at things we only care about bad things happen” Since our entire world is built around the idea of “surfacing what is relevant to an end user” the point wasn’t well received. What furthered this opinion is that Eli didn’t even take questions; he left right after the keynote to catch a plane. He said he’d take questions on Twitter, but I think that’s a moot point.
Live Blogging SMX Coverage/Recaps:
If you’re a geek, like myself, you can find day-by-day recaps of all the sessions, events & keynote below -
Oh... and check out my sweet new backpack!