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SMX Advanced Europe Day 2: New search horizons

Day 2 of SMX Advanced Europe was packed full of talks, with movers and shakers from the world of search imparting their wisdom. Bringing some much-needed life back to the Peak Ace events space, we were on hosting duty once again, to talks led by Bastian Grimm and friend of the agency Philipp Klöckner. However, even outside of the office, there was tonnes going on virtually – we’ll fill you in on just some of the many talks going on today!

SEO Experiments – live from Brisbane

Kicking off the day was a talk from the SEO track by Dan Petrovic of DEJAN Marketing. Hopefully we won’t be in this current state of all-or-mostly virtual conferences but at least it meant we could hear Dan’s talk all the way from Australia!

Dan’s talk was all about experiments in SEO using their SERP performance checker tool, algoroo, with some exciting findings! An experiment with organic links showed that in a side-by-side comparison of a page with only organic links and one with only network links, the organic links have a significantly greater impact. CTR was also shown to vary hugely between desktop and mobile, while SERP features like featured snippets also had a huge impact on metrics. The main takeaways though were to Always Be Testing, so that you can keep adjusting, and to focus on optimising content that has a CTR far below your average.  

5 (Tech-) SEO Hacks You Never Knew Existed – live from our hub in Berlin

Next up: Bastian!

Peak Ace’s head honcho took us through some essential tech SEO hacks. The first thing about this talk was that the promise of “5” hacks was false advertising… really, it was a look at several key facets of tech SEO that can make your life much easier.

Bastian focused on serverless or edge SEO, which isn’t new, but is underused, with a rundown of why Workers are great and how to set them up.

Correctly deployed, with Workers you can modify status codes, http header, robot.txt, meta data, hreflang, structured data, inject/remove body content… basically, all kinds of ways to improve page speed. (And with the page experience update, page speed is going to be even more crucial for ranking soon. Thanks, Workers!) They can be created using different domains, too (Bastian used cloudflare) and for free, for testing purposes. Obviously you have to still be careful – the downside is that one person can change anything on the whole domain, so that one person will need to be verrry careful not to introduce any frontend bugs or mistakes of any kind.

This was a very hands-on, practical session so not that easily summarised – as always, you can email hi@pa.ag for Bastian’s slides!

SEO Stakeholder Management: Secrets to Manage and Evangelise SEO in Your Organisation

This next session was all about making sure SEO is taken seriously within your company. Led by Searchmetrics’ Jordan Koene and Tyson Stockton, it was a practical look at how to make sure higher ups and stakeholders properly fund and support SEO initiatives.

First of all: gather your evidence. Collect all existing internal resources, audits, known issues, as the basis for what has been, and still could be improved with new SEO techniques.

Second: organise. To make your case, order your evidence into main topics: where are the core issues? What could be optimised with which tools? What impact would they have and how would you measure that impact?

Third: keep it simple. Always make sure that when you are explaining something technical to a layman, to use their language. Use examples that they can relate to and visualise, rather than blinding them with jargon.

And finally: keep management in the loop! Provide regular, comprehensive updates, even and especially if nothing is wrong. It encourages trust and interest in whatever progress you’re making, which means more support and more funding.

The search and advertising ecosystem: a holistic view and outlook 

Finally, we heard from friend of Peak Ace, Philipp Klöckner, who gave a “state of the industry” address after what has been a tumultuous year for search marketing. (But definitely, obviously not for anyone else…)

Philipp gave an overview of recent developments in search. Google has been swinging its weight around, making the most of its market dominance – this is problematic for those of us working in search, as it is no longer sharing its search data or insights to the same extent as it used to do. There are antitrust lawsuits in the mix, and some attempts to combat Google’s monopoly – Apple is starting to make its data exclusive, and even develop its own search engine, Neeva. (We talked about this in the Peak Ace on Air Birthday Special!)  

Privacy as a whole is going to be more and more of a hot topic in the years to come, especially since the Apple update put more power back into the hands of the user on this. As always though, search marketers will adapt, grow and change with new technology. There are some really exciting new innovations on the horizon for search, recently announced at Google I/O Conference (and in our update episode), such as MUM AI voice search technology to reduce search time.

This was a whistle-stop tour of a day full of industry insights, and it was so exhilarating to be back to the real, almost-in-person conference vibe. It was inspiring, too, to see how we have all continued to research, experiment and invent despite the intensity of the last 15 months. No time to stop and worry about what to do next. Onward we march!

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