Good morning, my name is Brian Maher and I am a digital strategist with Arekibo. Today I am going to talk about social search and how this is going to affect your business.
The future of search engine optimisation is a lot closer than you think. In the coming weeks Google is going to roll out some significant changes within more English speaking territories …including Ireland.
What are we going to cover today? What is SEO Why should you invest in SEO Why you shouldn’t invest in SEOUnderstanding the search engine ranking pages Personalised search and social search What influences search engine rankings Creating a search strategy
SEO is the activity of improving internal and external website aspects in order to generate traffic By connecting searchers with relevant and valuable pages. SEO is a multi-disciplinary activity that requires skills in Marketing – There is a strong marketing element in SEO, not just from an over-all goal perspective but also to identify and understand where potential clients are based on the keywords they use to search. Particularly if your campaign is focusing on targeting people exhibiting signs of purchase intent or further along the buying cycle .ie when a user searches for a leather couch we see a first tear of search. A second tier of search could be “brown leather couch” and so on. However if you are targeting customers for “brown leather couch dublin” they are considered a valuable searcher. Technical – technical skills are required to understand site structure and information architecture or how pages on your website relate to one another. Content creation – every seo has to be skilled in both content creation and content strategy. Without new, unique and valuable content an SEO will not be able to ensure your website remains relevant in search engines. This now also includes images and video. Analytics and analysis – web analytics, traffic data, user engagement, bounce rates, etc. There is no shortage of information surrounding your online activities, however data is no longer about input and has now turned to output. The key is how to distil this information into something that is meaningful and helps you structure your online marketing. Patience – above all SEO requires patience.
Search engine optimisation was mainly about keywords and links. Stuffing some pages with your chosen keywords and build loads of links around those pages was all that was needed to rank highly in search engines. Sadly this lead to some dubious practices and Google has had to keep innovating their search criteria to ensure peoples searches remain relevant. From algorithm changes changes such as Panda last year – which incidentally struck off over 13% of all the world wide webs sites off Google to Caffeine, which prioritises fresher pages – Google has continued to ensure users get the most relevant results.
People do not remember URL’s – this is the most obvious one. With over 95% of market share in Ireland Google is the gateway to the internet – especially when you look at sub pages of sites. People use Google to search and research your products and services online. The most powerful thing about Google's offering is it connects businesses with customers who are actively searching and researching your product. They are literally looking for somewhere to buy it. Over 70% of your websites traffic comes from search enginesPeople trust search engines – people trust the results Google gives them and they are considered impartialSEO affects your adwords quality score and lowers the price you pay in the dutch auction via your quality score. Google not only tries to increase relevance within natural search but also paid search – this ensures longevity
Access Everywhere – from desk tops to lap tops and tablets to mobile phones, user are online everywhere. People are now searching and researching your product or service while in-store. Whether that’s more information, product reviews or price comparisons, customers are turning to their mobile phones before sales agents. SEO influences purchase decisions at the point of sale
In the interest of a balanced argument : )
Long term commitment – if you are not committed to SEO over the long term you should not do SEO. SEO is a marathon and not a sprint. Resources – if you do not have the resources to produce relevant, timely and valuable content then do not do SEO. Not prepared to change – if you are not prepared to change fundamental issues relating to your website – don’t do SEO. Additionally you will require change to your process as an organisation – that means how you handle content? How you syndicate content? How all your content is managed? Poor infrastructure – if your website is old, out of date or has poor information architecture there is no point in SEO. If you do not understand the fundamentals of SEO there is no point in SEO.
But if you want to avoid any of the previous pain points there is always an agency out there for you. Anyone who tells you it is not going to be hard, it is not going to take time and all you have to do is pay a fee and will look after you is probably not going to deliver.
Let’s have a look at the search engine rankings pages SERPS which have changed from the old 10 blue links per page. Here we can see a search for “coffee shop”
Here we can see the advertising. Originally advertisements were only present down the right hand of the search results but this changed some years back.
We can now see Google places for various coffee shops with a map of their locations
If we hover over any one of these we can see their location on the map, pictures of the business, their website homepage and reviews from various places including tripadvisor and so forth
Here we can see images for coffee shops within the rankings page.
Here we can see a Google places for a search under Dublin hotels
This is a new feature which Google introduced which includes hotel aggregators, prices and check-in check-out dates. Google has slapped an advert straight on top of the hotels Google places listing directly in the search engines. This is often referred to as Vertical Creep – and makes it very hard to estimate how much traffic each of the “old” ten positions are now receiving.
Videos now feature in the results. News has started appearing more frequently. The left navigation with more customised search options. We can see if we search in the USA for domestic flights we can see flight options directly within the search results. We can even start making decisions based on airlines, dates, times and prices before we go on to book directly within the search results. We can even go shopping on Google with Google Shopping. The search engine rankings are becoming more dynamic and how people interact with these engines is now changing. All of this under the global Google bar…………….
Google personalises your search engine ranking results. The following slides are going to explain how and why Google does this and how it effects your results.
Eli Pariser's presented the following example is for two peoples search engine results for the same term. It’s clear from here these two logged out people are viewing very different results. Google has been personalising your search results in order to better tailor or serve searchers with the most relevant information available. There has been some suggestions Google has been curating our experiences of the internet. The filter bubble is a very interesting read.
As you can see from Eli’s slide these two people are seeing very different results.
What influences the personalised search gods?
There are over 57 signals which effect the search results Google presents to you, even when you are logged out. Everything from your location to search history and even what you have interacted with in the past. What kind of browser you are using, internet speeds, etcWhen you are logged in there are over 200 factors which determine which search results you are going to receive.
Personalised meets Social – this is a picture from a flash mob in Amsterdam last year -
So now we have local, personal and social signals influencing your search results. Let’s take a look at how these are affecting the results and the differences we are seeing.
Here is the search results for term “camera” Google USA as this is where search your world is currently rolled out. Google has stated it will be rolling this out in the rest of the English speaking countries in the coming weeks.
We can see from the highlighted section Google is suggesting People and Pages of people I should follow on Google+
We can see just under the search bar there are 180 personal search results within my search listings. To the right we can see my logged on name, pic and I got two messages.
When we look closer at the listings we can see the arrows pointing to a couple of notices of things people in my social network have shared – relating to the search “camera”
Here we can see 5 cameras + reviews + costs. 4 of these cameras are Cannon – I follow Cannon on Google+
Again the images we see are images relating to camera people in my social network have shared.
Now I have clicked on social only results and only see things people have shared within my social network
The same for image search – these are all images that have been shared by my friends. If we hover over these images we will see their profile and some Google+ info
Across Google maps we can see other camera shops my friends have shared.
Even advertising has gone social! I can now see adverts which my friends have +1, including pictures, names + reviews.
Search & social should never be orphan strategies. SEO was once about getting customers on the hook and social was about keeping them there. Now companies are going to have to start integrating their search and social media in order to get as much search traffic as possible. Companies are going to have to start getting their agencies talking to each other or bring all these activities under one roof. Adwords, SEO and Social are intrinsically linked.
Ensure you optimise your website and social media assets. That also means ensuring you are using your keywords on social assets and within your content. Create unique valuable and timely content, regularly. See what people are searching for, look at what’s trending on Twitter. Engage in the conversation. Integrate your SEO & social media activity – ensure you are using social media channels to increase links, references and ultimately relevance. Build a community around your brand – this really should be build a brand. Engage communities online and ensure your brand in relevant. You need to connect with your audience on an emotional level in a meaningful way. Make sharing content frictionless – add the “like” button, Google+, Share, Tweet. Encourage customers to leave reviews. Enhance your websites user interface experience, including information architecture. Ensure your website is fast reliable and fit for purpose. Create a dedicated mobile website – Google prioritises mobile sites for mobile searchers. Last year Google even noted Adwords costs went up when targeting mobile users without a mobile site.
Yes, you will continue to have to do all the traditional SEO activities ..but will also have to incorporate social media as part of that activity. In essence SEO is about ensuring your customers find what they want and have a pleasurable experience – everything from information architecture to ensuring fresh quality content will be found on site. There will continue to be an emphasis on links but social signals will dictate more than ever whether your website is longer relevant.
In the short term you are going to have to ensure you have a content strategy focused on relevance, frequency and engagement. Create it, buy it, brand it and most of all share it. In the medium term it is essential to incorporate SEO into all of your digital marketing activity. From optimising content – to leveraging social media channels to earn SEO influence, it is essential to incorporate all of these practices. The long term outlook will be focused on building a brand around communities and managing those communities online.
What will we cover today? What is search engine optimisation (SEO)? Why should you invest in SEO? Reasons why you shouldn’t invest in SEO Understanding the SERPs Personalised and social search What can you do to influence search results? Creating a search strategy
What is search engine optimisation?SEO is the activity of improving internal and external website aspects in orderto generate traffic by connecting searchers with relevant and valuable pages.SEO is a multi-disciplinary activity that requires skills in: Marketing Technical Content creation Analytical and analysis Patience : - )
Why should you invest in SEO? People dont remember URL’s People use search engines to find/ research products and services Over 70% of web traffic comes from search engines People trust organic search results Affects Adwords campaigns cost
Access Everywhere Desktops Laptops Tablets Mobile Phones
Search & social should never be orphan strategies
What can you do to influence search results? Optimise website and social media assets Create unique and valuable content regularly Integrate your SEO + social media activity Build a community around your brand Encourage customers to review, Share, Like, +1 Enhance your websites UX & Code Create a dedicated mobile website
Wait, what about SEO? PageRank Meta keywords/ desc. Anchor copy Body copy Inbound Links Internal link copy Urls Image alt tags Page titles Asset properties Headings Copy (promotion, Sitemaps proximity, copy) Accessibility
Strategy Short Term: Content Strategy Medium Term: SEO & Social Strategy Long term: Community management