By: Chris McCarthy
SMX West, the digital marketing conference for the “SEO and SEM obsessed”, took place in San Jose, California last week with presentations surrounding the present and future state of online search. Speakers and conference attendees came from all over the country to discuss everything from advanced keyword research to the latest Google innovations.
After attending almost all SEO presentations, and learning about how sophisticated optimization has become, here are four SEO-related highlights from the conference:
Keyword Research is still relevant, but exact keyword targeting and keyword stuffing is dead. Keyword research should be performed to compose quality content that satisfies user intent and answers questions. When performing keyword research focus on specific terms and phrases to generate easy to read content that is sharable and valuable. Some golden rules for curating valuable content include:
- Answering why a user should be on your website
- Appealing to emotions
- Problem solving
- A call-to-action
Website Audits can be performed for various reasons, but the most common is to diagnose traffic drops or search engine penalties. Oftentimes search engine bots locate backend issues during crawls that affect rankings, and an SEO breakdown will determine on-page and off-page SEO health. Some helpful site audit crawling tools include:
Customer Journey is incredibly important for building a long-term digital content strategy. As the search engines rollout more advanced ways to synthesize consumer needs with predictive and voice search, focusing on user intent is vital. Adapting SEO for applications like Amazon Echo and iPhone’s Siri requires more than keyword enriched content. Concentrating on consumer trends and search behavior can provide honest data to create answerable, unique content. Some helpful tools to help with this strategy include:
- Amazon Predictive Search
- Google Predictive Search
- Google Trends
Link Building is another way to build website authority and establish credibility. However, link quality will always be superior to link quantity. Quality is determined by the authority of the host sites and the sites linking to them. When garnering links from websites with high domain authority (DA), a score determined by search engines based on credibility, is considered an endorsement. The best way to receive an “endorsement” is to establish your website or brand as an expert. This goes back to creating sought after content that answers user questions and provides valuable information.