Google Analytics doesn’t clean the data and that makes it **** (expletive). That means in SEO and SEA, you are constantly being driven towards last-click terms. And that is saturated. If you can understand attribution, then you can show the value when you choose target terms earlier in the process of attribution. That makes attribution a critical part of the future of search – bringing the multiple sessions together to reflect how people engage with you before transaction. When I say “what all 5 channels?” and Chris sniggers – he is talking several dozen – both online and offline. He uses machine learning to calculate predictive probabilities about cross-channel actions that are as statistically accurate as those used to calculate the Higgs boson. The conclusion is that big corporations are underestimating the impact of organic search by more than 50%. Email too. And we can quote Chris on that :) And Direct is the “rubbish bucket where all hope goes”, according to Chris. Conclusion is that we are going back to more traditional marketing. And that is a conclusion that just keeps on coming up in this series. Must be true, then :)
Andrea describes a dance between machines and humans that means much of what we see is really a semi-automated approach to SEO. Absolutely brilliant insights. Brilliant enough to stop me talking too much, for once :) A cycle of a machine and humans correcting, stimulating and teaching each other. Never forget that everything comes down to two humans communicating and the machine is simply a go-between. Then we go onto agentive technology, so I now understand what the term means. And Andrea shares his research into having a machine finding new search terms and intent through an agentive dance. We both agree that machine learning applied to SEO is a fantastic area, and that Andrea knows a lot more than I do. Semantic text similarity, RNN networks… what is he talking about?
We kick off with a singing duet. David then suggests that I am not so good at preliminaries. We then quickly get onto the five steps. Step 1 is prerecorded audio – make sure that is really good or you will hit problems later on. He gives some great tips on recording sound and getting the audio to sound great. I go off topic by jamming ‘All about the Bass’, then we get sidetracked by iPhone theft and motorbikes falling on us before getting back on track (which is a very appropriate turn of phrase). Step 2 is live audio and David gives practical tips about how to prepare, editing and what is annoying for listeners tuts, for example. Step 3 is using as-live video. He gives super tips and tricks, and we have fun describing what we are doing for people who are just listening to the audio and cannot see what we are doing. Step 4 is live video – by this time, you can really concentrate on getting the live-chatting part right since you will have mastered the audio and getting the video right. He talks about platforms he uses – Vmix, Google Hangouts, LinkedIn, Periscope, Facebook, Blab.im. Step 5 is a live event such as David’s rather ambitious 120-guest 5-day live digital marketing marathon on Facebook. We end up agreeing with Mark Askwith that Digital Marketing is just marketing now. BIG thank you to Monte for being videographer.
Second episode with Fili. First point – manual penalties are real, but algorithmic penalties do not, just a change in the calculations. An algorithmic updates are not like cars with slashed tyres, they are like navigation systems (or something like that). If you lose rankings after an update, you need to look at your SEO, especially on-page. Onto manual penalties. Link building, doorway pages, structured data penalties (that are more and more frequently) etc. He tells some entertaining (and surprising) stories about some of the reconsideration requests he has read. My best advice is ‘don’t do a shouty thing’. Fili gives some more helpful advice. I am very impressed by the word egregiousness. Google does not hold grudges. In fact, very much the opposite. Fili explains the procedure for a manual penalty – a Googler builds a case, a bit like in the courts and present that to get a judgement. They apply benefit of the doubt, just like in the courts. But getting rid of a penalty is NOT like parole. A bit of philosophy about why it is logical that everything in SEO is ‘it depends’.
Emily has had a varied career. Google aren’t playing the game anymore, on-SERP is making SEO harder and harder and featured snippets are having a major negative impact on CTR. Or are they? And what is the type of traffic? I love Emily’s Monday morning actions. Google has the route to sale but not the sale and Amazon have the sale, but not the route to sale. Which means they kind of rely on each other. If you are smaller brand and/or a published, fear the featured snippet. I mention the idea that the featured snippet has a separate algorithm based on the Knowledge Graph. Whatever the effect on CTR, at least you get your brand out there and in front of people… plus featured snippets are a very achievable SERP element to grab.
Sitting in CitizenM in Shoreditch, we start talking about pizza parties. Then onto horses – should we run like a blinkered horse, and concentrate on what we are doing and focus on the finish line? Or should we look left and right at our competitors? Nik argues the latter, plus think about context and perhaps we should open our horizons by exchanging with other people. We should now be taking into account the rich elements and perhaps look at the opportunities to rank on those and leapfrog the competition (coming back yet again to the explanation Gary Illyes gave me). That means having a very good look at your competitors’ content strategy, but also prioritising the pages you are aiming to rank, especially when you are working on a tight budget. We get carried away with mentions of tools: Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Accuranker, Majestic, Sitebulb. Then get back on track. It turns out that when you have budget, you can perhaps be a blinkered horse. If you have limited resources, you need to pick your battles. SEMrush is great for competitor analysis and perfect for picking your battles.
We start with the Sound of Music, move onto the wonderful, sharing SEO community and supportive companies such as Yoast and SEMrush. Peter is a fan of Yoast, and Yoost. Expert is a misnomer – its more about depth of knowledge and experience… with (perhaps) a little magic. Peter then makes an analogy with art, and we get onto the simplicity of Picasso. In the competition between Yoast and WordPressSEO, Yoast wins hands down for Peter. More functionalities, easier, new (rather exciting) Schema markup. We get onto the treachery of updating plugins, PHP and the WordPress core. WPengine makes all that easier and safer. Peter has three rules: install Yoast, get onto WPengine and get onto Cloudflare. We get in a bit of philosophy with Sun Tzu and Monty Python. Then back to Google’s investment in WordPress and fun with Gutenberg for the final furlong.
Kenichi is a leading SEO blogger in Japan. I put him right on the spot with questions about FAQ and Q&A markup – he sets me straight – Q&A is for user-generated content. For FAQ the debate whether we should have single page for all FAQ or multiple pages. Google is still experimenting, so there is no conclusive answer. Although he makes a great point for putting multiple FAQ on one page. Kenichi goes onto JobPosting, citing Google case studies. Then onto Event markup. And over to which is the #1 search engine in Japan. Clue: not Google. But Google nonetheless. Confused? I was! So much so that I suggest eating hot soup with your finger