Last Friday saw another excellent SEO conference in Brighton organised by Kelvin Newman (@kelvinnewman) and his team. The event runs biannually and is a great opportunity to keep abreast of the frequent and significant changes happening within the field of SEO and search marketing.
This year the event had over 30 presentations so rather than give a detailed account of each, we thought it would be useful to summarise some of the key themes of the day supported by some interesting statistics.
The importance of mobile
Unsurprisingly mobile was one of the most common subjects. Bridget Randolph (@BridgetRandolph), SEO Analyst at Distilled stated:
- By 2014 mobile internet is expected to overtake desktop internet usage.
- 25% of UK consumers have made a purchase through their mobile device.
- Mobile commerce accounts for 23% of all online sales.
- 77% of smartphone users have researched a product or service on their phone and 50% of these have gone on to purchase the item in-store.
- 61% of mobile users who land on a non-mobile friendly site are likely to go to a competitor’s site.
- Only 70% of the top 20 UK retailers have a mobile friendly site.
Justin Taylor (@JustinGraphitas), Managing Director of Graphitas discussed mobile friendly design and stated that users aren’t concerned whether a site is responsive or adaptive, they simply want to find information on their mobile devices easily and quickly. Some key ideas and statistics emerging from Justin’s presentation were:
- Mobile internet users browse with intent, are less tolerant and will look elsewhere if they don’t immediately find what they are looking for.
- Mobile usage has doubled between 2009 and 2012.
- 40-60% of all mobile internet searches are looking for local information.
- 50% of online sales for Mother’s Day 2013 were from mobile devices.
- Ebay predicted that 13 billion pounds worth of sales would come from mobile in 2013. They have now re-forecast this amount to be 20 billion.
Justin highlighted the NHS Direct as a good example of a site that fails to address their users needs. If someone required the services of this site they would likely be in a state of distress and using the most immediately accessible device—a mobile phone. However, when accessing the NHS site via smartphone there are clear barriers in place: The content is non mobile friendly and difficult to navigate. The telephone number is not clickable meaning the user actually has to exit the site to call directly and there is no obvious way to cross reference symptons against potential illnesses, surely one of the most common requirements.
People’s search habits are changing
Lisa Myers (@LisaDMyers), founder of Verve search discussed the opportunities of the long tail search and the way in which people are searching for information is changing. In 2005 people were searching for generic terms such as ‘Hotels in Greece’ whereas now people are much more likely to be searching for ‘Child Friendly 5 star hotels in Greece near the beach’. A successful SEO strategy is identifying the opportunity in these long tail searches and understanding the way in which your target market are searching for terms.
Testing, testing, testing
Jennifer Sable Lopez (@jennita), Director of Community at Moz highlighted the importance of using your own data rather than being reliant on industry generic data. Use proprietary platform analytics as well as tools to assist your data collection such as True Social Metrics, Sprout Social, Simply Measured and Buffer.
Ask yourself—when exactly is your specific audience online? When are they most engaged? What types of content are they most likely to respond to (images, text, links)? Use your analytics and then keep testing and improving.
Create links organically by creating great content
In the past businesses could buy links to help with their SEO ranking whereas now they have to deserve to rank organically. They must create content that people want to share, promote it to the relevant audience and be a part of the conversation. In short, the only way that you’ll get a link is if you’re worth talking about.
The importance of planning for the moment
Oliver Snoddy (@olisnoddy), Head of Planning at Twitter UK gave an inspiring presentation around the importance of planning for different moments and scenarios and as he puts it—‘it’s not just about jumping on live trending topics’. Brands need to realise this opportunity.
He categorises ‘moments’ into three distinct groups:
- Everyday moments – Look at when people are talking about a certain subject, it typically peaks at certain times of day. e.g. #run #shopping #food. What conversations could be relevant to your brand? Look at entering conversations at these peak times.
- Connected moments – Add depth to your campaign. The impact of TV advertising is increased when combined with Twitter.
- Live moments – Plan for these. Create content around each scenario so that whatever the result you can put the appropriate content out immediately. Create great content prior to the event; an election campaign, a football match or the birth of a royal baby so you can release the relevant content as quickly as possible.
A couple of key facts from Oliver
- There are 15 million active users in the UK, of which 80% access the internet via mobile.
- There are one billion tweets every two days.
So what can we take away from this?
It is clear that businesses can no longer ignore the importance of mobile. Mobile internet usage is soon to exceed desktop and studies show that mobile users are impatient, have high expectations and want to find specific content as easily and as quickly as possible.
It’s important to focus on the users intent which may vary depending on what device they are using. If people are looking for restaurants on their mobile device it’s likely that they are in the local vicinity so key information such as a phone number, menu and location should all be prominently displayed. Information regarding the history of the restaurant or other periphery content is simply not as important in this situation. As a consequence, a mobile friendly site should be a priority for local businesses.
A business should make full use of it’s own analytical data and pay close attention to user behaviour: How exactly will the users be searching? What keywords will they search against? What devices will they be using? What type of information will be required on each device? What state of mind will they be in? Will they be relaxed and browsing leisurely or stressed and require information urgently? Only 60% of small businesses have a website and only half are mobile friendly so there are tremendous opportunities and rewards available for those that recognise and adapt to the needs of their users.
Please see below for links to the speakers slideshares, key notes and their sources. If you have any questions regarding this event or wish to discuss how we could help your business in any way then please do get in touch.
In closing I’d like to thank Kelvin Newman, his team and all the speakers for another great conference. We very much look forward to the next one.
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