Our SEO guru Kirsty attended a major UK conference on all things SEO last week, attending no less than 12 presentations during a packed day.
Here’s five of her favourite takeaways from the event, which attacted almost 1700 SEO experts from the UK and across Europe.
Content is for the user
Content should always be written for the end user, not just for the search engines. It needs to address your customer’s questions, it needs to contain relevant information, and most of all, it needs to be different from every other website in your niche. Offer something unique that’s of value, and people will want to read it. That in turn will draw in the search engines. (This doesn’t mean ditch the keyword research, by the way. It means write the best content you can based on what your customers want, as revealed by your keyword research.)
20% of searches are unique, one-offs
Now this amazed me. 20% of all searches (i.e. the phrases typed into the search engines) are totally one-offs, used once, never repeated. That means 20% of searches involve a keyword or phrase we can’t see in research because it doesn’t exist yet. This is fabulous news, as it means well-written text that combines existing keywords with possible new combinations could be a perfect match for future searches. Hoorah!
Rich snippets can come from your site
Ever asked a question in Google and a little box has appeared in the top of the results? This is known as a featured snippet or knowledge graph. Often the info comes from Wikipedia - but not all the time. It usually comes from one of the websites featured on page 1 of the results for that particular query. The important thing is that it directly answers the question. So the trick is to write copy that poises and answers questions!
I’ve long been a fan of including an FAQ page in websites for SEO reasons, and the rich snippet format makes such a page even more useful. Add in your ability to write blogs that answer questions, or give paragraphs sub headers that are questions, and it’s easy to see how your answer could make it into that rich snippet box.
Content needs to be emotional
If you think you make decisions based on logic, think again. There is a strong element of emotion in every decision we make, so text that appeals to customer’s emotions will help them make decisions about your company. The theory is that web content that evokes an emotional response, and chimes with something we already have feelings about, will be more effective overall. So, if you can tie in your content with current events and subjects people feel strongly about, it will have more impact. But what do your customers feel strongly about, and do they feel strongly about it all the time?
Most keyword data is based on frequency of search, not the emotion behind the search. That’s why the team at verve search came up with Lava, an emotional search engine. It plots how people feel about a subject over time. (You'll find it at www.lava.vervesearch.com). Here’s how people felt about global warming and climate change over the course of the last year. As you’d expect, they follow similar patterns.
And here’s how they felt about Donald Trump’s hair and guinea pigs, after a comment on social media pointed out the similarity...
Local search for local people
I know we keep going on about the importance of local search at Akira, but it really is important. The problem is, it’s also a bit tricky to get your head around. So I was thrilled with a presentation by Greg Gifford that highlighted a quick way to illustrate how it works - pizza delivery.
- In Google’s eyes your business is like a pizza delivery service
- Type in “pizza delivery” into Google right now, wherever you are
- You’ll get local results, based on your current location — even though you didn’t type in any location
- Now, do the same when you get home, or search from another physical location
- You’ll get a completely different set of results
- Now search again, but this time add a location, such as “pizza delivery Ingersoll”
- Bingo, another set of completely different results
Greg explains it like this
“Google knows when someone searches “pizza delivery,” they need a result that’s close by, even if they didn’t go so far as to specify where they’re located. Google knows certain searches are always conducted around businesses that users expect or need to be local… Doctors, lawyers, plumbers, car dealers — They’re all included in Google’s “local” business type.”
So, if you have a bricks and mortar store or office, think local - because Google certainly is. (Stay tuned for more information on this in future blogs.)