The aptly-named restaurant Social, in Newton, was the setting on November 10th for a sold-out event  “The Future of SEO and Digital Marketing,” co-sponsored by digital marketing leaders Stone Temple Consulting and Boston chapter of the American Marketing Association. Featuring SEO pioneer Eric Enge and a panel of his STC colleagues, the session focused on Eric’s assessment of the key trends of 2015 and what’s coming in 2016, as well as an engaging Q&A with the audience and panel. Attendees also received a copy of Eric’s new book, The Art of SEO. The key take-aways were:

 

  • What Was Big in 2015:
    • Mobilegeddon – Google favors mobile friendly websites in search results.
    • Twitter Indexing – Google increased Twitter indexing.
    • Mobile Search Grows:  More searches now take place on mobile devices; voice searches are on the rise too.
    • Content Marketing Shock – A series of studies by STC found little correlation between content that is read and shared (people aren’t reading what they share) and low correlation between share & links.
    • Content Solutions –  Stop producing good content, produce elite content ; Create long form, data-driven content; Use all your channels to promote your content; Measure results and adapt appropriately
    • Rich Answers in Google Search Results – Google started providing Rich Answers in search results, above all organic results.
      • How can you land the Rich Answer spot: Identify the common questions being searched; Provide complete answers to those questions; Offer a value-add to those answers; Make the answers easy to find on your website.
  •  Future Trends:
    • How to succeed with Millennials: You will only succeed if they want you to; Engage with them and be entertaining; Deliver an experience and build the relationship; Be the best in your space; Have direct, open, and honest messaging and communication.
    • Content Effectiveness Optimization
    • RankBrain Google is making massive investments teaching machines to read and comprehend. RankBrain is Google’s new artificial intelligence program, part of the Hummingbird algorithm that significantly improves answers by embedding written language into its mathematical processing. It is now the third most important ranking factor.
    • New Technologies: By 2020, just 1/3rd of the devices used will be mobile, tablet or desktop and 2/3rd  will be other technologies such as wearables and cars.
  • The Q&A Panel included Eric Enge, CEO/Founder of Stone Temple Consulting; Mark Traphagen, Senior Director of Online Marketing; Mats Tolander, Director of Technical SEO; and Eve Sangenito, Vice President of Marketing Consulting. Here are some highlights of the many audience questions and panel responses:
    • How do you measure success/effectiveness of paid social? Carefully tag links (Mark Traphagen)
    • What makes “elite content”? – understand your audience – offer answers, be useful, help them solve their problems, fill gaps, give them something different (Eve Sangenito)
    • How frequently should you post? – Post frequency depends on the channel and what you’re trying to accomplish (Eve Sangenito); Focus on writing content that drives both immediate and long term traffic, focus on quality, not frequency (Mark Traphagen)
    • What other factors play into the ROI and measurement of content marketing? Eve reminded everyone to ask themselves, “What’s the cost of not doing it?”
    • How to land the Rich Answers spot in search results? – Focus on the answers, not the question (Mats Tolander)
    • Tips for B2B content? Create content that helps buyers through the journey, not just in terms of selling your product, but educate them through the buying cycle (Eve Sangenito)
    • Does paid social have a role in content marketing? Yes, says Mark, it is playing an increasing part in broader content marketing strategies.

AMA Boston is grateful to Stone Temple Consulting, the panelists and the engaged audience for making this another powerhouse event for local marketers. If you’d like to refer to the tweets from the attendees, speakers, and the @amaBoston account, search #ArtOfSeo on Twitter. We hope to see you soon at another of our upcoming events – take a look!

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