On Thurs, March 28, another SES Conference wrapped up in New York City. As always, the largest search and social media marketing conference delivered as the best minds in the business presented case studies, tips and tricks to keep your website optimized, found and converting. After a few days of digestion, here are my Top 5 takeaways:
1. Content Marketing is King
Long-time SEO Shari Thurow made the pointed statement that echoed around twitter all conference long: “Don’t make crappy content and expect miracles.” Creating content that is able to be found is key. “You can’t use what you can’t find,” she explained.
Content you create must contain words and phrases people are actively typing into search queries. Information should be easy to find – both via search and also in your site. Your website must be as usable as your content is findable.
Lastly, each of the Content Marketing panelists echoed Google’s head of spam, Matt Cutts. Specifically, each panelist mentioned how linking to verified Google+ profiles and authorship markup is becoming increasingly more important. They are the beginning of getting quality links.
2. Authorship Markup
It’s been coming more and more. One example of rich snippets of micro data, authorship markup is the key to unlocking SEO for the foreseeable future. Authorship markup helps search engines identify the true author associated with a webpage or blog. It’s what allows you to see images of authors in search results like the image below.
Coupled with Google’s Chief Executive’s statement stating verified authors will rank higher, Authorship markup is a huge takeaway from SES New York.
3. Footer Address Markup
Authorship Markup is only one form of micro data. Rich data snippets come in many formats to describe literally thousands of items so search engines better understand content on pages. One such element is known as localbusiness. Every local business has an address. If you put your address in the footer of your website, then you should use rich snippet markup in that address.
Like authorship, address markup helps verify your business and goes a long way to helping search engines understand your business address on a map or local search. The benefits far exceed the short time it takes to implement. This is, perhaps, the lowest hanging fruit with the highest impact.
4. Real-Time Marketing
The second-screen experience is where it’s at. Twitter’s VP postulated that Twitter is the second screen. News breaks on twitter faster than major networks. Brands can do the same thing.
Look at Oreo’s fast-thinking during the Super Bowl blackout. After a so-so reception to their cookie vs. cream ad, they hit the jackpot tweeting a simple, timely image of a cookie on a dark background stating “you can still dunk in the dark.” Everyone in the idle audience re-tweeted it and the reaction was better than the $3 Million they spent on their ad. The “set it and forget it” strategy is dead and gone. Successful brands can think on their feet and react to their environment in real-time.
5. Attribution is the key to understand your site’s performance
Whether you’re driving traffic to online sales or offline to traditional retail outlets, attribution is the key. However, as Alex Porter put it, “Attribution is creepy. Don’t be too creepy.” Coupons, loyalty programs and re-loadable cards are still very good at enabling consumers to self-report and bridge the gap between online and offline sales.
But, in general, surveys are unreliable because people’s memories are not great. When asking how did you find out about us, most people simply reply with the last touch point, and rarely the steps in between. To understand how people move from digital to offline sales, data measurement needs to be more granular.
Lastly, don’t forget to track the social sharing of your brand-loyal customers. Customer zero’s value is not just her direct purchases, but also the purchases of her friends she shared a deal or coupon with!
While all over the map, the information gleaned from SES New York is invaluable to successful online marketing campaigns. From technical implementations to measuring the ROI, these tips are quick and easy finds that will help you boost your online marketing for the upcoming year.