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Things we learnt at SearchLove 2019

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SearchLove has, and always will be, a fantastic conference and well worth attending if you’re in marketing of any kind. Even if you’re not directly involved in search, this conference is worth attending just to understand where things are going and how you can apply these developments to your business.

This year’s conference did not disappoint, from the cracking speaker list, right through to the ice cream on offer, it continued to maintain its ranking as one of the top conferences to attend. As agency, we were lucky enough to go along this year and here are our top ten takeaways from this year’s conference.

1. Voice-led searches: although on the rise, voice search is still in the future – voice apps aren’t taking away from the growth in online search elsewhere. With mobile and desktop sitting as equal partners, voice search still has yet to make its dominance.

2. PPC v’s organic: The relationship between organic and PPC click-through rates (CTR) is more on a par than it once was, but the power to drive traffic through organic search is very much there, especially if you’re prepared to be more reactive and analytic in terms of how you achieve it.

3. Google Analytics: Don’t confuse users with sessions, Jill Quick talked about the importance of drilling down on the profile of your users, find out who they are and work out exactly what they’re doing and how they’re behaving during the average session on your website. Worry less about the visitors who are spending lots of time on your website and more about those who are spending lots of money.

4. The importance of Expertise, Authority and Trust (E-A-T): When it comes to E-A-T, it’s becoming more and more important as a ranking factor. Since Google introduced this update in August 2018, this acronym has been talked about a lot. EAT aims to do is make sure that the right content is served to searchers, so if you want to feature for your relevant search terms, you have to get this right. You can’t fool the system into thinking you know what you’re talking about. As well as making your website EAT compliant, you also must think about those writing the content and show Google that they are also EAT compliant. Marie Haynes chatted about how the correct punctuation and grammar goes a long way to helping with EAT.

5. Website copy and verbs: In a similar vein to EAT, think of the verbs you use in your web copy. Verbs are doing words and so signal intent in your copy, rather than passive words. Rory Truesdale talked about this in his presentation and how making simple changes to copy can help make a difference to your ranking.

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6. The importance of storytelling: The sounds of PRs cheering echoed through the room as many speakers talked about how stories are still the essence of good search marketing, digital or otherwise. You have a story and your customer has a story - so you must always bear that in mind with web copy and customer journeys. Public relations specialist (or PRs) have been in the business of storytelling for generations and can often help you find the story in your company.

7. Indexing new URLs: Jes Scholz spoke about how you can get Google to index new pages that you want to rank by sharing the URL on another platform, either by asking a customer to share the link, or even by putting it on a tweet.

8. Local SEO: It’s important, if you want to rank locally for your products and services, that you take note of Google’s Local Search Ranking Factors and how these change year on year. If you’re focusing on reviews, but actually site content is more important, this study will help. https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors. Don’t use all your SEO efforts on something unless you know it’s an important ranking factor.

9. Backlinks: If you hav ea web presence, you should be doing this anyway but it’s important to take a regular audit of your backlinks. If you have a lot of low quality backlinks from syndicated copy, try disavowing them to see how that affects your traffic and visibility. Disavowing multiple low authority links can help improve ranking.

10. Contact information: If you are a lead generation driven website, put your pricing structure and your contact details clearly on your website. Being disingenuous about how you charge will be frowned upon, but if you are offering clear contact details and transparent pricing, this ultimately means that you are providing good customer service.

It has to be said that this isn’t everything we took away from this year’s conference, but just a snapshot of the conference. If you need help looking at your site and how it performs on Google search, it might be worth talking to an agency and helping them find your story.

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