2014 State of Search Notes

by jchannell

Opening Keynote – Marty Weintraub
Social communities can be valuable
Twitter works well for celebs and big brands
Do be present on Google Plus, personalized results important.
HIPAA is no reason for doctors and hospitals to not use social media. Unless you tweeting patient records.
Social Media is not Mon-Fri 9-5
Senior talent should be handling social, not interns.
Social should lead to sales. Always.
Facebook – advanced segments and lookalike audiences. Target people who buy marketing services and products.
Target people who work for your target companies
Selling with social
#1 Listen well around brand terms and relevance
Compliment others in the industry and complimantary products and companies (Example apple orchard and a cider maker)
#2 cherry pick your channels
-Determine voice
-Optimize profiles and link to others
-Research, engage and follow influencers.
Use psycographics in social


Local SEO – Darren Shaw – Whitespark CEO
In Google clicks and CTR affect rankings
have people click on your listing
Can affect local map pack and organic rankings.
Try 5 clicks a day for a week
-Try 50x a day for 3 days
Dont test really high rates, to appear more natural.
May need time to simmer, before rankings jump.
Can you know your competition out through “pogosticking?” Possibly
Google is always mixing up local results, to test. May vary map pack often in lower competition areas to find out what users like. High competition areas can have less variance, due to lots of clicks/data.
Check out the “Multi-armed bandit” testing theory. Google does this.
herefore, local rank tracking methods are borked. They dont truly work. Would have to track daily, or even hourly and watch trends to truly know.


Brian Lafrance – Optimizing WordPress
Proper setup is critical
-check out Pair Networks and WP enginge for hosting
-Nginx instead of Apache in some cases
-Themes: Underscore and Bone
-Response design is critical. Think of mobile first, not as afterthought. Especially since Goolge just rolled out the “Mobile Friendly” tag in serps.
-Use logical breakpoints in mobile, and minimize resources for pageload
-Use WPConfig……..WP-Debug to find issues in dev.
-Set max image height to 9999
-Use plugins sparingly
-Cache plugins: W3 Total Cache, Total Cache
-CDN: cloudflare or MaxCdn
Noindex your tag pages. Cant help and can hurt you.
Javascript: use Google Hosted Libraris often.
Use Errorception for monitoring
Segment.io – combing JS scripts
Use hooks rather than editing core files
Check out Sucuri for security of site.

Eric Enge – Semantic Search Hummingbird+knowledge graph
-Hummingbird was an engine rewrite
-User query—-query translator—–Main algo
-Synonym engine and query reviser…….car repair can = auto repair
Implement Schema asap! Get schema style info on page.

David Minchala – Excel for Local SEO 
David Mihm published local ranking factors
-Link Risk + Open site Explorer + Majestic SEO
You need goals in reporting local metrics, like reducing wrong listings
-Use Ultimate Local SEO Audit article as a guide
-Tickle google and import into Excel
Import.io – use API 2
Make lisitings into an API, and check for changes when you want
-Do audit in Yext or Moz Local
-Use Scrape Similar function
-start with phone number searches
-RegX can check source code, not just displayed text


Jon Cooper – Link Building ideas
-Keep a list of savvy SEO websites in your niche
-Observe other cities and countries for the same KW you want
-Do product reviews then reach out to brands for a link
-Find orgs, and let them know about discounts. Like Rotary, ect….
-Sponsor a subforum or area on a forum and Engage #1!
-Add internal links on guest posts. no one does this!
-Bait competitors with resource pages
-Find competitors recently added links, and approach the same people. If they will add one link, they likely will add 2. (Use Majestic SEO and AHrefs for this)
-Link prospector
Buzzmarker – chrome extension
-Use email validator
-Ahrefs – Chrome Extension
-Spend more time on less and better content. Long form content often wins.
-Note other links on pages that link to you or your competition, can be great resources.
-Use CountIf() function in Excel to discover
-Fix broken links on target sites, and offer to give a replacment (your client)
-Point out comment spam to bloggers they missed. May get a link or thanks


Steve Floyd – Local Content Strategy
-Reduced search radius
-local directories lifted
-Local packs down on average of 23%
Become newsworthy in your local market
Content Strategy –
-1. Listicles – evergreen, local people, places and things
-2. Infographics
-3. Interviews with local influence are often underutilized
-4. Guides
-5. Data vizualizations

LinkedIn – Search for outreach
se Schema – on blog and Event data
Alchemy API
-Do post blogs on Merchant Circle and Hotfrog with unique content. Can get great traction.


Christine Churchhill – PPC Perils
-watch for high volume Kw eating all the budget
-Periodically review campaign settings to make sure
-Are my ads running at the correct times?
Does the site work on mobile?
-Mobile= map and phone number prominent
-Top 2 ad positions on mobile,. or forget it.
-50 Negative KW in (ad group or campign) at most.
-add new negatives peridically
Be careful with broad match, modified broad is usually better.
Separate branded and general KW
Use the Ad Preview page/feature. Great for cleints who are always searchign for their ad appearance.
-If using DKI, using it well? Do headlines or text make sense?
Contet or landing pages should have all contact info present
-If quality Score is under 5, find out why and fix it asap, or kill the KW.


Adam Dorfman – Pigeon Overview
-23% drop in map pack numbers. The 7 map pack took a big hit, 3 is way up
-Small towns are hit harder, due to less map pack and search radius
-Locations near urban center doing ok.
-Do old school link building to location pages for local results. Looks more like tradition seo than local now.
Page authority matters more in local now.
Link internally and externally to the location page.
Areas served: stick with 1-3 now
Over optimization is targeted, so no local KW or category stuffing
-Get a strong citation profile asap, in general and industry directories


Casey Markee – Conducting SEO Audits
Google rewards trust
Trustworthiness – would I give them my credit card?
Above the fold Google algo update ( I believe we fail this one on most of our sites)
Do a site audit every 6 months to make sure your on track
Start with Webmaster tools, Screaming Frog and Moz site crawl
Toolbar plugins – SEOquake, SeoMoz, Search Status
QuickSprout, Woorank, for quick reviews
SEMRush has a great KW data base, especially for historic data
-Never upload bigger than 80kb images, slows site down otherwise.
-Have 1 H1 tag on a page
Peek.usertesting.com – quick real user feedback from real folks
-Use Fetch+ Render tool in GWT
Dont block WP-Includes
Srructured data can be a ranking tiebreaksr
Ann smarty’s Schema cheatsheet
Page load speed under 2 seconds
Time to first Byte less than 200ms
Use Webpage test for Time to First Byte metric
-65% of purchased now start with a smart phone
Content auditing
-Siteliner – Duplicate content checker
-Use googles 23 Panda questions, Still very useful
Backlink Review
-Webmnaster tools
-majestic seo
-Overloaded anchor text other than brand name?
-Remoov – link remeover tool
Check out Search Engine News.


Dana DiTomaso – Local PPC
Paid vs organic, use Moz’s organic difficulty tool
-try 1 exact match KW in target area, run for 1 month to test
-Separate searches in from searches about
-Answer questions more important in local
-Is_____right for me?
-Can I_____?
-What is ____?
-Try paid adwords on [city] groupon or [business] groupon
-Try for Pilates Barre and Mockingbird Station
Advertise on upcoming events or festivals. Very few people do.
-If your at the Dallas Fair, come try our ice cream
Sessions of paid and organic whould mirror. Very differnt graphs is a problem.
Dimensions report—-export ctr and cpc by hour of day.
Change your CTA based on time of day
-example hotel rooms, or items that run out or time sensitive
-Dimensions report on distance
-Column Report on search impression share
-Column Report on lost impression share
Target geo area around the competition
-use mobile only, so they cant see ot from desktop
-great for car dealers
Bing has older dempgraphics
Sponsor something local
-pop up event
-local blog
Facebook power editor, put your email list in here
-create look alike audiences
-target customers and ask for reviews
Add a facebook remarketing pixel on your landing pages, then remarket on Facebook.
Remarketing pixel on “successpages”
-remarket based on sales cycle, like car oil changes 🙂


Wil Reynolds – Building a Brand
Michelin example focus on long term content and value
The aim of marketing and content is to sell more of X.
Content is about customers and their problem.
-Michelin starred chefs and travel guide to sell more tires
Would you rather build a brand or a link?
Are you willing to do something that doesnt directly make you money, to add value and build your brand?
Create wins for the client first, then ask for extra 10% of the budget to do a long term great project.
Build a brand, then build rankings
-Look into Google Helpouts for ADVObgyn and Pilates Barre
1951 Guiness beer creates the Guiness Book of World Records
-Guiness BEER
-Homeless Fonts – Willie Baronet
Brands are the solution.
Use 10-15% of budget to make long term strategic bets.
Plant Your Flag
-Nudie jeans does this very well
Create Cliques before Clicks
-Netflox -Spoler Alert – got reshared a TON of times
If your content fell off the web, would nayone miss it?
Get to know your customers pain points
Google Analytics should enable creativity!
Gmail – subject line targeting
-sign up for your competitors emials, create simila headlines
No one is advertising on “Cancel comcast” KW. Do you think the folks searching for that are very ready to buy your cable service? You damn right.
-Target people canceling or mad at your competition with PPC and targeted emials
You can even advertise on Skype
@kieranbass – follow him!


Bill Hartzer – Google Algo Updates
Panda hit low quality pages
SEM Rush – Panda/Penguin Hit checker
-Identify and rewrite/kill low traffic pages. Take out the trash.
-This helps avoid “pogosticking” folks coming in and leaving asap.
Use LinkRisk and Link Research Tools for Penguin cleanup
-Be thorough in disavowing links
-EMD or commercial phrase update, no longer works the way it did.
-Above The Fold Update
Case Study: https was giving 7% more sessions and page views
Create individual person pages for lawyers in Freebase.


Ryan Jones – The Evolution of SEO
You are the #1 threat of negative seo to your sites
-If you can automate it and scale it, engines can detect it
Brands “earn” their links
Do real marketing – build a brand
Are you building something better than the other guy?
-Are you a more trusted authority?
-What is unique about you?
Figure out what people want, and give it.
The future of search is verbs. “I want to eat____” I want to do _____”
Paradigm shift to mobile
mobile search is about asking questions
Schema – use the markup
If your not using it, you’re already behind
Check out Angies List
Get a free link join owdy.co and use code WTFSEO
-Examine competitors, what are they offering?
-Ask your friends and family what they search for.


Susan Wenograd – PPC Structure
3 Biggest ouches in Audits:
1.Search terms and negative KW
2.2. Sccount Structure
3.3. Bid Modifiers
-Lack of proper negaticvs can kill it.
-KW vs search queries, not the same
-Search query report should be your Bible.
Apply negatives at the Adgroup level for finest control
Modifiers stack up, so watch them
Local SEO Clinic
category dillution -dont always add all the categories in G+ or directories. may leak “juice”
Have unique pages for each location
Schema! Use it
Add site links in descriptions on google My Biz
Google Business Photo Shoot
-Use Google Trusted Photographer
-Costs 600-1000
Only use call tracking numbers on your site
-never in directories
-use only in images, and Google is getting better at reading Javascript


Aaron Levy – Persona Targeting in PPC
Usually 3 types:
1.One time buyer – needs it, not interisted in brand, low value
2.Shopper – shopper, mom type, brand conscious, has circle of influence
3.Seller – Influencer, attribute focused. leader, big circle of influence
Pareto – 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of people. find them.
Life changing decisions aernt usually made on 4 inch screens.
One time Buyers use bottom of funnel terms:
-buy widget 312
-brand+ free shipping
use simple forms, and easy checkout to enable these folks
-widget 312 reviews
-best widget
To reach Shoppers, use:
-Use newsfeed retargeting
-Twitter cards
-Promoted posts
-Education landing pages
-Email retargeting
-who, what , where , when, why?
-high value, but low converting. have to be ok with that
-educational marketing
-transparency + clarity
-proof, real feedback, not manufactured fake reviews
Adwords cookies last up to 540 days.
Follow people around on your marketing list
-I.E. searchers for wedding dresses, also searched for weather a lot. No rain on wedding day.
Use audience or affinity categories to find out who google thinks your people are.


Mark Barrera – Running tests that matter
-Website A/B testing
-Website Optimizer or Optimizely
Test Landing pages: CTA, content length, no way out? (remove nav)
-Need statistical signifance to prove the test winner
Start with very different designs, rather than a small tweak
Unbounce is a great tool also.
Ad copy testing:
-Symbols –
Target your competition
-Better than ____
Mobile is here and its not going away.
Can do paid inclusin on Garmin GPS

Links to other Slideshare presos for sessions I didn’t attend:




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