The Search Marketing Expo 2014 is officially underway, and there have been many interesting discussions regarding the future of SEO, the power of search and branding and today’s social marketing landscape. We’ve been sitting in on some exciting sessions headed by some of the industry’s top influencers and, believe us, they’ve been enlightening! Here are some highlights from what we’ve seen so far:
The Change and Growth of SEO
Today’s SEOs are facing an unlikely challenge from what should be one of their greatest allies: Google. Still, with challenges come opportunities and, in a “Googlefied” world, this means that resourceful SEOs have the edge. This session, headed by Marshall Simmonds, founder and CEO of Define Media Group, Inc., presented the difficulties facing SEO experts today in light of increasingly limited opportunities by Google to allow brands to grow and expand.
- While referral percentages in 2014 have been quoted by some outlets as coming largely from social media (50%), Simmonds contends that the numbers are actually lower, with only 15% of referrals coming from social, 35% from search and a whopping 50% from direct referrals — that’s 3.5 billion search referrals.
- Google algorithms have changed drastically in the past year alone, making it increasingly difficult for brands to take full advantage of search engine referrals. This has given some experts in the industry the impression that SEO is dead. Simmonds’ take? It’s not dead, simply evolving.
- The key to effective SEO in a world of growing Google algorithms is to use various resources to leverage more referrals. Google, for example, now shows video in their search results about 70% of the time. A viable solution, then, would be to transition to video as a source of SEO traffic. Using tools like Bing and Pixabay can also help to increase the chances of effective SEO search referrals.
Building a Social Content Engine
“Social is the authentic face of the brand.” So began this session on the importance of building a social content engine to leverage better results. Presented by Tami Cannizzaro, Global Director of Marketing, Social Business at IBM, Building a Social Content Engine focused on creating the right content in order to obtain the best possible SEO rankings.
- The key to great SEO ranking and better placement in search engines is to build your brand on relevant and consistent content — that means content that is engaging, valuable and relevant to your brand and to your audience.
- One of the most effective ways to do this, according to Cannizzaro, is to build content using a “weekly newsroom” approach. This means mapping out content on a weekly basis rather than monthly in order to engage your audience with significant content while also giving yourself the opportunity to present real-time events in a manner relevant to your client.
- The bottom line: Creating a meaningful connection to your audience, evoking emotion, and letting your brand’s personality shine through your social presence is the best way to optimize your content marketing and attain the right results.
The Best Ways to Brand Your Data
Clean and visually consistent branding is essential in order to keep your data in the forefront of your target audience’s mind. Annie Cushing, SEO and Analytics Consultant for Annielytics.com, shared with attendees the importance of properly branding data to meet your client’s needs. This includes: Finding your brand and complementary colors to build a color theme, saving custom fonts and custom themes, creating your own chart templates and creating workbook templates with multiple data sheets for your client’s benefit. A highlight of the morning’s sessions, Cushing detailed how to clean up data and present it in a way that effectively achieves your goals.
The Evolution of Display Advertising
The nature of display advertising has changed drastically in the past few years, evolving from a purely contextual phase into a much more targeted and data-centric model. Tim Mayer, Chief Marketing Officer of Trueffect, shared his insights on display ads, which he explains are moving towards relevance and away from resonance. To that end, display ads are moving into the future, with wearables and beacons becoming the next big thing in display advertising. In addition, campaigns using viral pull ads and opt-in offers can provide brand marketers a more comprehensive view of their reach and campaign success, an important part in measuring advertising campaign outcomes.
With so many sessions still to come, SMX 2014 is proving to be a treasure trove of information for brand and social marketers. Keep up with our coverage of SMX 2014 by checking in with us at wayvs.com.