Day 1 is complete at SMX Advanced in Seattle and I just wanted to share the big headlines I took away from the day. The Day 2 update may be a little delayed as I have to go directly to the airport for a red eye after the conference. Hopefully will have it put together in the coming few days.
So this year I think there has been more change to the SEO world than ever before and I just wanted to go over at a high level what is going on. As I always say, the ABC’s of SEO don’t really change, but the DEF’s change all the time. I think that this year things have changed enough to say that maybe the C’s have changed substantially. If the C is for content.
Content has always been king as they say in SEO but Google’s RankBrain has made the algorithm much smarter about interpreting the searchers intent and not relying simply on specific words or characters. Because of this, the basics of “on page” optimization are changing substantially.
From Exact Keyword Matches to Answering the Query:
For years we have built pages for keywords or keyword phrases. Data has shown exact keyword matches don’t matter like they used to. Though title tags and H tags still matter, Google is looking for the content that it deems to best answer the searchers query. It may not necessarily be the same words and may not even contain the same words. For example as I write this from my hotel room in Seattle, if I google “Seattle sightseeing”, the #2 and #3 ranked results do not have “sightseeing” in their title tags, but they do provide what is expected to be great results for people looking for sightseeing. They list “things to do” or “attractions”. Google understands that these things may be synonymous from all of their search data history and this content provides the best answers.
Titles and Descriptions Should be Designed to Get the Click:
Click through rate matters and you want your searcher to click your ad. This means much like we have gotten away from writing page content for search engines, we now don’t write this meta-data for the search engines. As mentioned above, answer the query but draw the user to the click.
Get used to EAT being a new acronym to care about. Much like SEO, PPC, and even LPO, EAT is the core to the strength of your site. It stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Much of this is at a domain level but some is at a page level. We need to write great content that proves you know what you are talking about and instead of two or three sentences in your about page, you should really outline why you are the best at what you do and even point to mentions or publications where you have shown up to show the users and the search engines you know what you are talking about. Good ratings with the BBB (Googles actually mentions them by name) and other reputation verification is huge. A quote I heard that I loved at the conference is that you get a good online reputation by having a good reputation. This is all meant to parallel the real world. There isn’t a magic way to change a bad company to a good company online. Get active in your industry and your community.
Don’t Forget the A’s and B’s Though:
A good, fast, well structured site is still very important and so are links. Link importance may not be as high as it once was, but it is still on top of the mountain. One SEO said the first thing you need to do is have a good site. It is like chicken and the egg. You can’t rank a great site without good content and links, but if you create lots of good content and your site is horrible, it will fail to get indexed and people wanting to link will go elsewhere.
SEO Factors Differ by Industry:
The broad stroke brush doesn’t work any more. Studies have shown significant differences in importance of content length, link counts, link types, on page factors, etc. by industry. A chiropractor’s website may have a different set of factors than an online store. We, as SEO’s need to keep track and watch closely for you.
It has only been one day and I’m also extremely excited about everything. I didn’t even touch on all the new things in social and paid opportunities. Looking forward to day 2. SMX Advanced is the best in the world.