After finally recovering from my trip to SMX West last week, I’ve started sifting through the many pages of notes I took during the conference. All of the sessions were extremely beneficial and I had the opportunity to learn from industry leaders such as Danny Sullivan and Susan Wojcicki. Every evening I left on total information-overload. But I mean that in the best possible way, of course!
While reviewing my seemingly endless pile of notes, I noticed some trends emerging. So, if you weren’t fortunate enough to visit the San Jose SMX conference yourself, consider my top five takeaways:
1. Become a Social Butterfly
If you’ve been resisting social media, you could be severely hindering the success of your business. I know what you’re thinking, no one is going to follow your business on Facebook. That’s where your creativity comes in. If you have a business that wouldn’t traditionally gain followers through social media, offer people a reason to follow you. For example, if you run a bank, maybe you can offer financial tips to people who check in to your business on Foursquare (after all, there are an average of 23 check-ins every second). Own a real estate business? Consider offering people who like you on Facebook insider information about local bars, restaurants and stores.
2. If you aren’t on Google+, Now is the Time to Join
If you didn’t already guess it from my first takeaway, social media was huge at SMX West this year, and Google+ was no exception. While many businesses are resisting the adoption of this social media channel, it offers a variety of important benefits for businesses. Did you know that only 57% of Fortune 100 Companies are currently using Google+ and of those 57% only 3% encourage visitors to visit their page by using badges on their homepage. Put yourself ahead of the competition by being the first in your industry to take advantage of this growing social channel. Google+ results are already showing up in Google SERPs. Make sure you are taking full advantage of this opportunity for your business to show up in the results.
3. Differentiate or Die
While it may seem dramatic, if you don’t differentiate yourself you won’t survive in the results. When searching Google for “how to make French toast,” you get almost 32,400,000 search results. How many of those do you think are really relevant to that search? Maybe four or five. That means, if you aren’t showing up in the top results for your key terms, it might be time to change your tactics. By keeping your content fresh, integrating social media, personalizing your content, and most importantly, creating content that is truly relevant to the searcher, you can start to differentiate yourself from the millions of other search results.
4. Understand Your Mobile Users
If you find that people are searching for your business on mobile phones, it is your job to create a mobile site that is as user-friendly as possible. People that are searching on their mobile device have a completely different mindset than those searching on a traditional laptop or PC. The cognitive strain is so much greater for a mobile searcher. When creating your mobile site, cut through all the distractions give your audience a simple, user-friendly platform.
Is content really still king? According to the speakers at SMX, yes! 92% of marketers agree that content creation is very or somewhat effective as an SEO strategy. How can you create content that is truly killer? Get in touch with your audience. Revisit your customer personas, tighten up your pages that drive the most income for your business, clean up outdated content, and focus on creating conversion-friendly content over Google-friendly content.
Now do you understand why I was on information-overload all week? While this may seem like an overwhelming to-do list when it comes to your SEO, if you just implement a few of these ideas and grow on them over time, you can improve your conversions and rankings.