Among most popular and most praised Inbound Marketing conferences on the east coast, Search Love Boston has been an enlightening experience. I’m confident that it was the best conference experience that one can have for their first national conference. There is always something that I took away from each session, and it was well rounded going from technical SEO to content creation and aggregation.
My favorite session was Annie Cushing’s presentation on SEO Site Audits. She provides a 300+ item checklist that would cover almost any part of SEO from a technical perspective. She also provides step-by-step solutions to many common errors that occur in Google Analytics; for example, segmentation of subdomains and URL parameters for ecommerce sites.
The general consensus, which was established at the beginning of this conference was how Google is cleaning up the SEO industry, though it is in very small increments. This was specifically directed to the Disavow a Link tool that was recently unveiled, though, please use caution using this tool on sites that don’t have quantitative penalties or haven’t been warned by Google through Webmaster Tools. Another good thing that Google released was the Panda and Penguin updates, which focused on quality content, and shying away from spam links.
At the other end of the spectrum, Google has been hurting the industry through making less and less data available to us. This is true for the “Not Provided” statistics that haunt all of our Google Analytics Accounts. Distilled reported almost 35% of their terms as not provided, and other members said it is almost as much as 70%. This does create a problem for the industry as a whole, and it will eventually disappear. I’m sure as this epidemic spreads, other tools will arise.
Great tips were given by Wil Reynolds presentation on beating the Algorithms. His stance is that Google has 1500 Employees with PHDs working on their products, and no matter how much you try; odds are you’re not going to outsmart them. It is a lot easier to do RCS rather than spend copious amounts of time trying to beat the algorithm. In the end, by doing inbound marketing and acquiring links through legitimate ways, you can beat the algorithms almost every time, and if you are penalized unjustly, Google will fix it quickly; less than 12 hours in Seers Case.
One of the most influential speakers of the session was Dan Shapiro, now a Google Employee himself; he started SparkBuy which he sold to Google for an undisclosed amount. What shocked me with his presentation is all of the results that he got from just meeting people. From investors to eventually the person who helped get his company acquired by Google, it was all made through him speaking to people and making relationships. He spoke about him going out there and specifically speaking to people, making conversations wherever he goes. From someone who is cultivating a few startup ideas of his own, I found this presentation very inspirational.
During the let’s get real session, all of the presenters gave a piece of information, here is what I found exceptionally interesting; first off was to use webpagetest.org to visually depict site speed. Next was the power of Distilled’s SEO Training Service, Distilled U for all sorts of reasons, there are a lot of action packed pieces of info there, and for less than $50/month you can gain tons of invaluable insights on SEO and inbound marketing as a whole. Lastly, instead of asking clients “how am I doing” ask “what can I do for you” this way of thinking really changes the course of a client relationship.
Day two of Search Love Boston was action packed. It started off with an extremely informative session by David Mihm. David Mihm is one of the most reputable local SEOs in the world who does amazing things for the industry with his extensive market research and case studies. He started off with some interesting statistics. 30% of all searches have local intent, which is an aggregate of 20% of desktop searches and 50% of mobile searches. This means if you are a local business, odds are you should focus on local results.
In order to get a proper citation, which is crucial to local SEOGoogle needs to be able to associate a name, address and phone number with a Google +Local page, commonly known as NAP. Adding a URL is optional for this, but is preferred if the option is available.
Using structured data, from websites like schema and making a KML Sitemap are also really helpful for local search. Schema is an invaluable resource for both local and organic SEO. Some common uses of this is for the star rating also known as hReview and movie ratings. A KML Sitemap is a sitemap that uses geolocation indicators and is structured using protocols from KML.
Having at least one prominent link also is a crucial thing. That means having at least one authoritative link to your site that has a high DA/PA/PR can significantly increase your search results. This is especially true in competitive verticals. The quantity of links from local domains is also a really stong factor.
There is a lot of controversy over large companies that have multiple locations, things like supermarkets and chain stores. The ideal thing to do is to create an individual Google +Local page for each individual location and create an individual page on the company’s website for each location. These locations all need to have unique phone numbers and addresses. Leveraging internal links to individual locations increase the presence of a local page.
There are three main aggregators of local content, mainly for Citations and it is important to ensure that data is correct on these before starting to claim citations on some of the more common sites. These are Localeze Infogroup & Acxicom. If trying to rank for Apple Maps and subsequently Siri, also make sure that yelp is completed with reviews.