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SMX Advanced Europe Day 1: An SEO and PPC Overview

The first day of the SMX Advanced Europe Conference 2021 has come and gone – and what a day it was! Packed full of talks from 8 expert speakers on topics ranging from building and maintaining the perfect website to insights into Google’s underbelly, including a great session from our very own Julia Riml, Head of PPC here at Peak Ace – there was plenty to keep us busy and interested.

Couldn’t attend or just want a second look? Let us walk you through three of the day’s talks in one handy post. 

A Hands-on Guide to Finding the Right Automation Levers for Your Accounts Without Giving Up Too Much Control – With Julia Riml

The first session we’d like to highlight was the talk of the office here at Peak Ace – our very own Julia Riml’s talk on automation levers for your business, which was streamed live from our Berlin office.  

Her talk was born from Google’s recent new limits on Search Terms reporting and how they’ve affected many PPC advertisers. She went through a few of Google’s recommendations with us, and examined how they can sometimes be helpful – but when it comes to running your campaigns, you’ll want to review them first rather than accepting its suggestions outright. She also argued that while automation is essential to running a smooth PPC campaign, it only works within the right parameters.  

In addressing such questions as how to best automate accounts while maintaining control (spoiler alert, there are actually lots of different ways to do this, including editor custom rules and third party tools!), and how to find the best strategy for your team (Julia recommends comparing your recourses with the time you have available before doing anything else), she gave a great overview of the issues that many of us face in PPC campaigns and how best to overcome them.  

Finally, Julia even presented the Peak Ace team’s custom solutions and suggestions for how to make your campaign run as efficiently as possible. We can only give a big thumbs up to that! 

How to Build (and maintain) a Perfect Website – With Jono Alderson 

Another great session of the day was the one that kicked off the conference at 10 o’clock. Jono Alderson, Special Ops at Yoast, took to the stage to talk about how important (and yet how easy) striving for the perfect website really is.  

Alderson stated his disagreement with the phrase “Don’t aim for perfection” from the start. If we don’t aim for perfection in our websites, he argued, how can we expect Google to rank us above our competitors?  

However, his advice was far more precise than simply telling us to try harder. Instead of working yourself too hard trying to get the perfect website, Alderson stated that you should aim to work quicker and outpace the competition.  

Pulling in experts and resources to optimise your workflow, he claimed, will certainly pay off. He even recommended a few tools: 

  1. WordPress 
  2. AMP
  3. Cloudflare
  4. Yoast (or the Plugin of your choice)

Remember, as Alderson told us: you cannot and don’t need to learn everything. Instead, you need to follow an actionable checklist and take control of the basics: your JavaScript frameworks, custom fonts, image markup optimisation and edge-caching utilisation, and more.  

This was a great session of actionable tips and expert insight and a great start to the day! 

Web vital investigations: who’s suffering, who’s winning, and what about me? – With Izzi Smith 

Another great speaker for day 1 (and friend of Peak Ace) was Izzi Smith, who you may know as Ryte’s Tehnical SEO Analyst or remember from our Peak Ace on Air episode on Website Quality Control and Monitoring. Her talk was on a Core Web Vitals study and looked at different website cases to tell us whether improving our Core Web Vitals is worth it – and how you even get started. 

Smith opened her talk with the fact that the top bottleneck for Core Web Vitals optimisation is a lack of budget and, further, a lack of recourses. Considering that Core Web Vitals are now considered a pre-requisite for ranking well in 2021, it’s worth finding the budget and recourses to optimise for them if you can. So that’s our first question answered: it is worth it!

What was particularly interesting about Smith’s talk was the study she referenced within it. Ryte carried out a market comparison study to analyse how certain domains in Germany, and the UK have been performing regarding Core Web Vitals. Ryte examined 114 domains and over 207,000 pages to acquire the data, and the results were fascinating.

92% of the UK domains and pages that they examined had poor LCP, and 38% struggled with their CLS. Smith talked about how Google has since adapted its measures, leading to an approvement in these scores, but given the size of the brands that Ryte looked at, this is still a surprise. The brands included:

  • Lush
  • Brewdog
  • Mindful Chef
  • EMP

Smith pointed to a number of fixes for this issue, whether you run a site as big as Lush’s or as small as your personal blog. She talked about website relaunches and rebrushes, font optimisation and hostings, and caching static HTML files, as well as much more. She also looked at using deferrals for less critical resources, and code splitting to properly differentiate between critical and non-critical resources.

This was a great talk backed by some great data! If you want to see Izzi Smith in action again, why not check out her Peak Ace on Air episode? We promise it’ll be worth it.

How to Beat Your Biggest Competitor: Google – With Mike King

The final talk of the day came from friend of Peak Ace Mike King, who of course featured on our Birthday episode of Peak Ace on Air. His talk was a great one, all about beating Google (also knowns as everyone’s biggest competitor) at its own game.

King spoke about how Google’s power lies in the amount of data that it owns. If you’re an advertiser with a lot of money to spend, there’s nowhere better to go to get exposure. This is equally true for Organic Search, due to Google’s great reputation among users and its sheer size. For scale, Facebook is only half the size of Google.

If you’re looking to start your own search engine, King’s recommendation is to use all this power to your advantage. First, gather as much first party data as you can to adapt to your target audience, and use it for taking measurements – you can use Google Analytics to do this (Google really is everywhere!).

But if you’re just interested in the changes that Google is making, King covered that too. It is improving in regards to how it can process natural language patterns, answering longtail queries and understanding content on a deep level. This means, of course, that content strategy will have to change as a result. In the future, King speculated, we might even be looking at an algorithm personalised to each user based on their search behaviour. King called this predicted assisting.

Overall, this was a super interesting talk from a real expert in his field. It was a joy to watch! Don’t forget that if you want to hear more from Mike, you can check out our Peak Ace on Air birthday episode.

A Final Overview 

Of course, there were plenty of great talks that went on today which we couldn’t quite cover in our posts.A huge thank you and congratulations to everyone who spoke at the first day of SMX EU 2021 for making it the great event that it is.

However, the fun isn’t over yet. There is a whole second day coming up – and we can’t wait to see what all the great speakers have in store for us! See you then! 

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