On May 2nd, I had the pleasure of attending my first Next10x Digital Marketing Conference sponsored by Perficient. I love small, one-track conferences with star speakers because I can absorb a ton of info in a short period of time and get to deeply converse with folks.
Here’s what I learned at the conference with bonus “💥actions taken” noted so you can see how we implemented what we learned in real-time and real life.
The top five SEO opportunities from Eric Enge (@stonetemple) of Perficient Digital
Eric’s a legend in the SEO world, and he didn’t disappoint. He spoke on the top five opportunities he saw in SEO. But he also comforted the crowd by stating we should not fear Google’s algorithm updates. If you follow Google’s basic tenet that it’s a “happiness engine” for searchers, then your site will rank well.
Graphic compliments of Perficient Digital
Eric’s top five SEO opportunities:
1. Every company and person is underinvested in content. Create LOTS of quality content both for skimmers and those that want to go deep.
2. Promote your site and all that great content effectively. Links, subscribers, and followers are all important.
3. Site speed matters! Google wants sites that load quickly no matter the data rate or device. 💥ACTION TAKEN: We put a lot of emphasis on speeding up our site load times in our latest rebranding and website effort.
4. Invest in high-quality custom images. 30% of the neurons in our cortex are for vision. Eric suggested losing stock photos and investing in high-quality images that are directly relevant to content on the page. Currently Google Lens is only on Android phones so as an avid iPhoner. I can’t use it. But it looks very interesting.
5. Invest in voice applications. Most interconnected devices do not have a traditional keyboard or browser—think watches and smart speakers. If you’re not thinking about voice, you are behind. 💥ACTION TAKEN: We recently released a voice application in healthcare resource guides.
Speed up with AMP from Ben Morss (@benmorss) of Google
Google likes fast sites. It introduced the AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages project to help companies deliver sites and content faster. AMP is not a factor in search rankings by itself, but it may help you rank higher on search results pages because your site speed will be faster.
💥ACTION TAKEN: I emailed our web developer to try the AMP WordPress plug-in on our new website and after implementing, we were four points faster on mobile. This was a better result than the Autoptimize plug-in by itself. The plug-in makes the CSS smaller and flags plug-ins that might be slowing down your site.
AMP is not just for publishers, as many people mistakenly believe. Leading e-commerce sites are starting to use it.
The future is conversational and visual by Duane Forrester (@DuaneForrester) of Yext
Four major trends are happening:
1. Your brand is EVERYWHERE.
2. Your website is upside down. 73% of high-intent searches are going to mobile apps like search, chat, voice, social. TicTok is the fastest growing social media platform ever. The majority of customers don’t go to your homepage. Search and intelligent services are moving searchers to KNOWLEDGE pages.
💥ACTIONS TAKEN: We just created our first pillar bundles, but we need to create true pillar pages for our site and our customers. I downloaded the TicTok app, which shocked my teenager.
3. Every customer journey starts with a question. Structure your content and data to answer the questions your audience personas are asking.
4. The world is having a conversation. Search results are moving from links to answers.
Demystifying analytics by Kathryn Bogen (@PRFTDigital)
Tag everything for Google Analytics. Paid social shows up under social organic in GA. Don’t rely on Google Analytics as your accounting system or single source of truth. It’s not correct often due to ad blockers, incompletely loaded pages, etc.
A big THANK YOU shout out to Kathryn for sharing a blog post the Perficient Digital team wrote on the topic. We had struggled with these inconsistencies for awhile because clients think Google Analytics must be right, and often its data is not.
Keynote: A bigger, braver, bolder 2019: what to stop, where to double-down, how to kill it by Ann Handley (@annhandley)
Ann spoke about building relationships, trust, and affinity with your audience by writing every piece of content to an actual person. Warren Buffett writes his newsletters to his sister, Doris.
If you are authentic, vulnerable, and real, your content won’t appeal to everyone, but who cares if they are not your intended audience? If five people say “Wow that was amazing,” and five say “that sucked,” then kudos. The five in your camp are much more likely to engage and buy. Stop playing it safe, because safe is BORING.
Write content that builds both trust and affinity. 💥ACTION TAKEN: I started writing my email newsletter intros in “Chris voice,” not pro-robot voice.
Overall, it was a great conference and so fun to be in the audience as a learner, not a speaker. A member of the Clarity Quest team or I will definitely be back in 2020!
What marketing actions do you need to take?