SMX London – Day One (13 May 2014): Key Themes

May 14, 2014 - Digital State Marketing

Here at the 2014 SMX Conference, London hosted by Chelsea FC there is a clear ‘search’ buzz. There have been multiple interesting talks from the likes of Danny Sullivan (Founding Editor of Search Engine Land), David Amberland (Author & Analyst HMS Media) and Tim Grice (Director of Search, Branded3) just to name a few. Each speaker has been clear in their view, however throughout the day there have been two common themes.

– Usability: enhancing websites for the users

– Entity: looking beyond keywords and thinking about what humans search for.

Below, Digital State Marketing have looked into these two themes more closely and considered what it means for SEO campaigns moving forward.

Theme One: Usability

When a user types in a search query they are not looking for a well optimised site, they are looking for a product or a service. The reality is, when a user types a query into a search engine such as Google they are not looking for a website, they are searching for answers. If the site that they land on is well optimised or not, the user doesn’t care as long as it offers them the answer to their search query.

Therefore you need to be considering the user, and how they use the web. What do they want to gain from the search results and how can I make their experience on the website as efficient and effective as possible.

Example 1: A user goes online to buy a dress.

The user is searching for a dress and is in the market to buy. You want your site to not only sell a dress but also an experience. You want the user to feel that the onsite experience is easy and efficient; providing them with auxiliary sales and offering other services. This will then result in you not only selling them a dress, but potentially a pair of shoes and an experience that they would want to return to.

Ensure you try to enhance the user experience and test the usability of the site (CRO optimisation). Ensure that the user experience is the primary goal and focus and that the user feels in complete control. If you are engaged with people and you have good quality content then the conversions will come naturally.

So as your SEO campaign develops, be sure to take a moment to stop and evaluate the user interface. What elements can be changed or improved to increase your conversion rate? Do not get fixated on the SERPs as you can rank no#1 but if you do not provide a suitable user experience then you will not convert.

Theme Two: Entity

During the talks based around the Google Hummingbird by Justin Briggs and David Amberland the emphasis was on what they described as ‘The Entity’.

An entity is a concept or an idea; the answer that a user is searching for. The Hummingbird has developed Google allowing it to not only understand keywords but allowing a deeper understanding between the words used within a search query.

Example 1:

If someone searches for keyword ‘Jaguar’ hummingbird now understands that in different context the keyword ‘Jaguar’ can mean:

A) Jaguar car, gtx, horsepower, vintage cars, jaguar x type

B) Jaguar cats, animal, feline, wildlife

Hummingbird means that Google understands that the ‘Entity’ the user is looking for can be a multiple of different things there is not one answer. Similarly Google can understand the associated words with the original search query.

Example 2:

If someone searches ‘movie with girl and imaginary friend’ the results include websites and YouTube trailers relating to ‘Drop Dead Fred’

This is due to Goggle being able to take a phrase and break it down into its different components. Understanding the language and identifying the verbs, nouns, etc. and the relationship between them means that Google Hummingbird is able to identify that in Example 2 the ‘Entity’ is a movie. The user is searching for a specific film and you would associate trailers with a film, so a YouTube trailer would be answering the query more effectively.

The key integral part to help your site being identified and ranking for these searches is the ability to define connections and relationships between factors. So within your SEO campaign use structured data; tell Google the different elements of your site. Identify the name of the product, the price and the manufacturers.

This also works with other forms of content other than products. Using keyword attributes/ associations helps build ‘The Entity’. Answer the user’s potential questions and concepts in your copy.

Example 3:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brad_Pitt

Within the page you are told the celebrities name, age, DOB, place of birth and family.

So a search query ‘Angelina Jolie’s partner’ you will bring up the above page. Brad Pitt is the concept, ‘The Entity’ the user was searching for. Defining the relationship between the things and facts within your content helps your site appear for queries not just keywords.

Conclusion

So when structuring a campaign “Content is STILL king”. Think about what questions your user is asking. Don’t look at the micro keyword, but the macro context of which it sits and how the information and context helps answer a question. Consider the associated concepts and ideas that evolve around your product/service/ information. Look at the bigger picture.

When you have got the ‘Entity’ and you have the content then consider how the user views it. How can you make it easy for the user to digest and understand? Consider what spin of ‘Entities’ may be wanted by the user. What other information may be useful for the user and how can you display it in a way that will entice them. Trial and test your site in the spirit of traditional Conversion Rate Optimisation.

For more information about what’s going on at SMX London 2014 check out the Digital State Marketing on twitter @smg_uk tweets or the #smx tag.