Share 15 Takeaways
Forthea SEOs had the pleasure of attending BrightEdge’s 5th Annual Share Conference (commonly referred to as Share15). BrightEdge, a preeminent search engine optimization company and tool, is the perfect company to bring together digital marketers to share their knowledge and experience.
With over 1,000 SEO and SEM professionals in attendance, it was one of the largest gatherings of search engine professionals in the country.
The packed conference featured several keynotes and presentations. Once again, new and exciting updates were also announced that are coming down the funnel for our favorite SEO tool.
Our specialists had such a great time, they wanted to write about it (okay, fine, I told them to write about it). Here are 4 different discussions and topics that inspired SEO Specialists Nima and Natalie at Share15.
Nima: The demand for content – reaching the right user at the right moment
Content strategy must always start with the users. If you don’t engage with the right user at the right moment, then your content strategy will fall flat. Content strategy cannot emanate from internal stakeholders in the company, because they can develop tunnel vision when it comes to their services or products – they are too ingrained in the day-to-day operations to have the capacity to listen to their users. How can we engage with the right users at the right moment?
Sketch user personas – create models of users who could come to your site and understand their behavior by asking yourself questions such as; “what is their problem?”, “what do they want?”, and “what is the ultimate purpose of their journey?”. You should then gather qualitative data on them by talking to them:
- What was your problem?
- When did you know that you needed this service or product to solve your problem?
- How do you use this product or service?
- What are your pain points?
- Did you consider other companies?
- What did you do after buying the product or service?
These questions can all be gathered in surveys and one-to-one interviews, leading to insight on different aspects of the consumer search journey (information gathering stage, buying stage and post-purchase stage).
A few tips on how to build content for the right users:
- Surprise users with the unexpected – make them remember you more.
- Establish and legitimize your reputation – people trust other people (user reviews), they don’t trust the company or marketer’s word. Let your fans do the talking for you.
- Be disruptive in the market – disruption is a buzzword, but there’s truth behind it. You’ll never stand out in a crowded room by simply doing the same thing as everyone else.
- Be human with the content – who is the person behind the brand and marketing jargon?
- Small content cycles – there needs to be a fundamental shift in how you develop content. Use small content cycles to test waters and the audience before embarking on a large-scale content plan.
- Utilize a multichannel strategy – your content needs to be accessible everywhere. Specifically, use information gathered from users to understand which channel is the most effective for reaching particular users at particular stages of their consumer search journey.
It may be the latest buzzword in digital marketing (along with 10X content), but…it’s true. When I was initially told that I look at my phone 150 times a day, I must admit that my first thought was “nope, that’s ridiculous, not me.”
However, when a micro-moment was broken down, I realized that the number was more accurate than I’d like to admit.
A micro-moment is just what it states…a moment, a quick moment that we wouldn’t initially recognize unless someone called it out to us. It’s an instance you check your device in a split second…seeking information, seeing if a friend responded back to a text, checking Facebook notifications. It occurs in a fraction of a moment…but it happens constantly.
I thought about my micro-moments. When I wake up, I swipe my alarm off on my phone, and usually lay in bed for a minute or two. I will admit, at 5:15 in the morning the first thing I do is open my email, then Instagram, then Facebook to get the latest updates since 6 or 7 hours ago when I last looked at my iPhone.
Call it too connected, call it good or bad, but that’s what I do. Brands, even at 5:15 am, have a chance to connect to someone just waking up. If it were me, I would connect in a micro-moment to an ad for a delicious coffee or an athletic ad that stated something along the lines of “stop laying there, get up and get to gym” or another motivational quote when I’m debating if I feel like burpees are a good idea first thing on Monday. Why? It’s worked before.
Yes, I read a post from Nike when I debated going to the gym early one morning that stated “Yesterday You Said Tomorrow.” I read it, thought it over, and I got out of bed. I actually GOT OUT OF BED (and then viewed the ad for a pair of shoes). Granted, I’m a pretty loyal Nike follower, but I skipped the extra hour of sleep because of a quote I saw from an influencer on the web. The opportunity is big. And brands have an opportunity, in these micro-moments (even micro-moments that occur at 5 in the morning) to connect, to understand and to “get” their customers or potential customers. I appreciate some encouragement at 5 AM, and I’m sure others do too. And because of that, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, Nike is one of the first brand influencers that cross my mind and stay top of mind. When I think about purchasing new running shoes or workout gear, Nike is the first brand that comes to mind 9 times out of 10. They just do it when it comes to pinpointing their target audience and are a definite example of brand that maximizes on micro-moments.
Nima: Technical SEO and Flow
Technical SEO is all about flow. Development teams focus on specific aspects of the site, whereas SEOs need to understand the whole ecosystem. How do bots go through your site and flow through your content? We need to be experimenting with crawl budgets to understand how bots flow through and process your site.
Eternal crawling is the price of visibility.
Knowing your flow:
- Know your content, all of it.
- Know what is in the index.
- Know what your crawl budget is.
How to crawl smart
We want to crawl smart – look at our sitemaps and set up strategic crawls during the week (especially where new content or changes are being made to the site). Utilize the following items to assist crawler bots.
Sitemaps are a form of intentional indexation that enable smarter crawling. Organize your sitemap for by template, create an index file and sitemaps organized by page template or strategic cohort.
Large sites, have auto generated sitemaps with scripts, but auto-generation can lead to error. Crawl them manually and edit the sitemaps accordingly.
Crawl Budget Analysis
Use the crawl stats in Google Search Console to see the following; how many pages are crawled per day, what are the number of kilobytes downloaded per day and what is the average time spent downloading these pages.
These stats can give you clear insight into how crawlerbots flow through your site. Where you see a high number of kilobytes downloaded and a large average time spent on the site with the number of pages crawled per day remaining stagnant, there may be large files, poorly-written code or server problems negatively affecting the crawling of your site.
Fix broken links on your site to ensure that the time a crawler spends on your site is spent on important pages
To ensure that crawlers do not waste time crawling multiple versions of the same content on your site.
Are your strategically important pages easy for bots to find? If they are too buried, it will be more difficult for bots to access those pages. If you have a large ecommerce site with thousands of products, consider moving the strategically important product pages higher up in your site to ensure that they crawler bots can reach them to help increase the rate of indexation with your key pages.
Natalie: Mirror an in-store experience when it comes to ecommerce
Another discussion that stuck out to me at BrightEdge, was from Home Depot. Home Depot, as most know, sells construction and other home supplies.
The discussion covered people, personas, and intent when it comes to ecommerce websites. An example of a hammer was included, and that hammer did a lot of clarifying for me.
A hammer isn’t exactly a “sexy” item to sell online. However, if you cover your bases thoroughly, there’s the potential to capture plenty of conversions online for a hammer. Not putting in the effort though, will set you back. A few common types of issues seen on ecommerce sites that help to plummet conversions include poor product descriptions and overall optimized pages. Product descriptions lacking keywords, but more so, lacking the information that a potential customer is looking for, can cause them to abandon the page and the path to purchase. Additionally, un-optimized pages kill conversions and create a roadblock when a user is trying to search and learn more about a product. Classic examples of optimization deficits for ecommerce sites include thin content, poor keywords and a lack of reviews.
It’s a hammer, how much is there to know, right? No one needs a few paragraphs on a hammer.
People, and search engines, need information on a hammer. Especially when they can’t physically see it in-store. They need reassurance that their purchase is a legitimate one, and the search engines need to be able to discover it in order for people to see it by using keywords that match people’s wants and needs. Also, people want reassurance for making an online purchase, and they trust reviews that don’t come from the store selling the product much more.
Home Depot’s digital strategy is on point. They stress mirroring the customer’s in-store experience. What would a customer do if they walked up to a hammer in the store? Well, they would pick it up, feel it, turn it and probably lightly hold it to get an idea of how heavy it was. Home Depot takes this and applies it to their online store by including an enhanced zoom feature on their products, exact product specification, a product overview, reviews and more. Everything a customer could ever want to know about a particular hammer is easily findable on Home Depot’s website. They really think about what the customer wants and needs to see, and applies it directly to their products online.
Overall, the biggest takeaway out of these discussions and the conference as whole centered around one word: intent. It is becoming ever more important for SEOs and digital marketers as a whole to understand the intent, the wants and the needs of their customers. Take it back to simple psychology and discover new opportunity. People have a need or a want when they wake up in the morning, when they are looking at their cell phone in a micro-moment, when they visit an ecommerce site.