It is important to me to stay up to date with the latest information in search engine marketing. Knowing what the latest algorithm adjustment accentuates or punishes, or knowing the latest tweaks to Google Adwords to improve performance are extremely important to me. I invest a lot of hard-earned dollars to make sure I know more than the competition about all of these things. Serving smaller businesses means they don’t often have the budget or enormous traffic volume available that many large companies do. I take pride in learning from what the big data tells us and applying it to smaller business sites and budgets to get them the most out of their marketing budget and to be able to pivot and take advantage of new opportunities. To be smarter than all of these other cookie cutter plans that victimize small businesses is my competitive edge.
UX and Nuanced On Page Optimization
With that, I make it a point to attend the best conference in the world at SMX Advanced in Seattle every summer. With one day in the books, the main two themes this year are user experience (UX) and specification. With UX comes a major focus on speed and site performance through many different tactics and specification means targeting very specific markets and with machine learning taking over, each search has its own important factors. Where structured data may be extremely important in one vertical to get rankings, it may be of no help in another. Though there are some high-level important factors like links and the speed I touched on above, the on-page factors are a lot more varied depending on subject matter and user intent. The same can be said for ad targeting as SEO. There is more flexibility to target searchers with market-specific ads for different intents and personas than ever before. Everything is far more nuanced.
The Latest SEO Ranking Factors
I typically feel like the conference has already been worth the cost after Marcus Tober speaks in the 2018 Ranking Factors session. This year was no different. It is nice that this is an early session because you already feel like you have gotten your money’s worth when you finish this one and everything else is just icing as they say. He touched on a number of different factors and how one factor that may have an extremely high correlation to rank in one industry, can mean nothing in another. Often the biggest value is in verifying opinions that I have built over the year, but don’t have the big data to prove. Marcus has the data to back up just about anything you want to dig into and never disappoints.
The Keynote talk from Google this year got things kicked off talking about speed, speed, and more speed. Site performance is stressed highly this year by both Google and individual studies. Many presentations on technical SEO and ranking factors spoke to the importance of speeding up loading time and making pages functional faster, and clearly, that helps with paid search as well. The slower the load, the more likely you are to lose your visitors.
Bonus You Can Be Found Anywhere from the top of the Convention Center
I also stopped on a gorgeous morning in Seattle to do a quick You Can Be Found Anywhere video on why I attend SMX Advanced each year, and why it sets me apart from my competition. Take a moment to check it out and catch the clear view of Mount Rainier in the background. It is one of the coolest views I know related to a city when Rainier is visible behind Seattle. Stay tuned for more as there is another day of conference and then I will figure out how to apply it to all of my wonderful clients.