A few days ago, Curamando visited SMX in London to catch up on the latest trends and news in SEO. For those who don’t know: Search Marketing Expo (SMX) has been the leading conference for SEO and SEM professionals for over a decade and takes place multiple times around the globe every year. The conference was filled with several inspirational keynote speaker, lots of insights, and significant takeaways. In the following text, we’d like to share a summary of our five SEO takeaways.
We wanted to share the below five takeaways from this year’s conference:
- E-A-T & Schema markup
- Actions on Google
- Visualize your data
- New Google Search Console
1. Voice – get your content speech ready
Everyone is talking about voice these days – especially at SMX this year. According to many of the speakers at the conference, voice search is going to shape SEO more and more – but it’s not that clear how it will affect the conversions, which at the end of the day drive the business. People use voice search, but mostly for some type of simple action driven queries. Most of the voice requests are for to-do’s, managing the calendar and doing simple tasks – conversational search. Hence, what you need to understand are the types of queries affected and use the appropriate mix of content.
To be precise, context matters as much as a keyword – digital assistants need their assistance. It is therefore important to optimize for search in the right way and to make content “speech ready”. Search specialists have to prepare for RankBrain, deep learning, and AI technology. Context matters as much as keywords. It’s about becoming the first answer now.
Create content that asks and answers questions – communicate with your users! If you are thinking about getting a so-called AI Bot or using Google Actions (as we mention further down) – make sure to personalize it. For example, National Geographic Channel now has a chatbot on their Facebook Messenger, that allows users to have a text conversation with ”Albert Einstein”.
2. E-A-T & Schema markup – more important than ever
E-a-t, speak and breathe Schema markup, especially the new markup called Speakable Schema*. Stephanie Wallace and many of the other speakers at SMX talked about how important it is to SEO-optimize and format your content for featured snippets, and even more so if you want to be able to rank for voice search and for position zero in Google. Organization markup schema is one of the most important ones, according to Stephanie.
As a company today, the first impression with the customer happens on the search results page, so make sure to optimize for a well-structured result. This means – format your content for feature snippet. And if you want to optimize for Google Home, you need to invest in GMB.
When optimizing for RankBrain and E-A-T, have the user in mind. Therefore, always provide the user with helpful, credible and trustworthy information. Stephanie also mentioned that we have to optimize our content for so-called “consumer discovery” – not traditional search.
*Note! Speaking schema is still BETA but it’s worth testing.
3. Actions on Google – have a conversation with your users
One of the things trending in the Voice category, that both Stephanie and Aleyda Solis talked about, is Actions on Google. Actions let users get things done through a conversational interface. This can be anything from having a conversation, turning lights off, or playing some kind of trivia. Actions in Google allow companies to interact with their users in a new way so that they can assist their customers from home or on the go.
A great thing is that Actions on Google feature an analytics page, so that you can easily track important metrics and data. In the end, it’s all about having a conversation with the user on a more personal level.
4. Visualize your data – step up your visualization, start using third-party data
Sometimes, the simplest is the best. One of our favourite sessions during SMX was when Nick Wilsdon, Search Product Owner at Vodafone, talked about the importance of being able to visualize a company’s SEO data and above all, being able to follow the SEO KPIs via Google Data Studio. We love it – we love how GDS makes your data accessible and useful, and how it invites to successful teamwork.
It’s not just about using Google Analytics and Google Search Console separately. Because when marrying these sources together you can create beautiful and easy-to-understand graphs and tables. But that’s just the first step.
The really cool things happen when we start adding all of our 3rd party data into the reports, i.e. data from other platforms and sources. That’s when the real magic happens.
This is something that we at Curamando often do for our customers, but it was incredibly nice to see Nick’s dashboard that he shared with us.
The great thing about GDS is that all data is live data. Anyone who has the link to the dashboard can follow the developments, regardless if you are a web writer who wants to keep track of articles and keywords or a developer who wants to keep track of mobile speed. Remember – business runs on data.
5. New Google Search Console – one of the most effective free SEO tools available
As many of us have already noticed, the Google Search Console has been updated, both for good and for bad. Some things have improved, but the main issue is mostly about functions which have not been migrated. There are some missing reports, such as the structured data report, total robots.txt errors report, server connectivity issues/DNS reports and more. And we do agree with the speaker on this topic, Fili Wiese, ex-Googler: Google still needs to improve their UX, as today, some things can drive you crazy.
We believe that things will get better in the new GSC soon. Hopefully, there is a good reason why they’re missing some reports that were available before the update. We will wait and see. This is the beginning of the new GSC, and we can expect to see some errors.
Like we mentioned, voice is trending more than ever. But is that the way to go for all companies and business? – We don’t think so, but we are looking forward to reading and learning more about this topic, and about companies succeeding with voice.
Other than that, not that much has happened in the SEO world. Focus on what is important: relevance, context, and quality – user satisfaction comes first. We have to focus on RankBrain, deep learning, and AI technology. Traditional ranking factors are still important, but this is only the foundation.
Would you also like to read our Takeaways from the 2019 Adobe Summit? Follow this link.