One of the largest search marketing conferences in the U.S., SMX East, took place in New York City last week. The conference featured prominent speakers including Brad Geddes, Larry Kim, Danny Sullivan, Wil Reynolds, Bill Hunt, and many more. Flying Point Digital was represented there by several members of our SEO and SEM teams, who were able to gain important insights on the current state of search and new developments in the industry.
SEO Takeaways - Lily Ray, Associate Director of SEO
On the SEO front, much of the discourse revolved around the fact that the search landscape is changing. Google is not only experimenting with how many organic results are displayed on the first page of search results, it also has begun to display rich data much more frequently, with new types of rich results being implemented all the time. This development is being seen as a blessing by some marketers, but as a curse by others. As new rich data is displayed in the organic results, it can take away from traffic to the other listings on the page – unless marketers can implement sophisticated strategies to try to win that traffic back.
Another theme touched on by many of the speakers was the shift from focusing on obtaining top rankings to truly focusing on providing great content. New data shows that organic click-through-rates have begun to increase in positions 4-6 on Google. In the past, all that mattered was earning the #1 rank. Nowadays, searchers have become savvier at scanning the page to find what they want – and what they want are results that genuinely answer their questions while providing them with even more great content and a great user experience. To a degree, the playing field has been leveled for all sites competing for the front page, and those listings with the best user experience will be the winners in the long run. Marketers must prioritize their brand’s reputation, the quality of their content, and the user experience on their sites, instead of trying to employ old-school SEO techniques like keyword stuffing and obtaining low-quality links.
SEM Takeaways – From Matt Streitelmeier, Director of Paid Search
Dynamic Search Ad Campaigns (DSA):
I have recently found success implementing DSA campaigns for some of my clients. So going into SMX, I was very curious to hear how other SEM-ers are feeling about DSAs, and I was stoked to find that there was a session dedicated to the subject. While DSA campaigns are not brand new to AdWords, they are beginning to get more and more attention, mainly because Google has been improving the DSA algorithm and people are seeing results.
DSAs are campaigns with no keywords. Matthew Mierzejewski quotes: " Google maps user queries to webpages with high relevancy (organic crawl and rank) and automatically generates an ad to that webpage, for the advertiser.” The main benefit is that DSAs act as a safety net, supporting your traditional keyword campaigns by matching to relevant user search queries that you may not have in your keyword set. Also, ad headlines may have up to 80 characters as headlines are dynamically generated pulling from the webpage title tag in most cases.
To me, DSAs were just another cool feature rolled out by AdWords. But what I was surprised to hear in the DSA session was that some credible SEM-ers see DSAs as a first step by Google in a move away from keywords. Mind blown! Keep an eye on DSAs.
AdWords Customer Match
Another hot topic was the recent release of "Customer Match" in AdWords. AdWords has been moving towards providing tools that allow for an ever-more targeted and personalized ad experience for the user. Customer Match is another awesome move in that direction, allowing you to upload customer email lists and target them specifically within Search, YouTube, and Gmail. The customer email does not need to be Gmail, and initial results are showing an average match rate of 50%. Customer Match sounds super promising and got a lot of SMX attention.
Flying Point was grateful for the opportunity to share knowledge with some of the leaders in the search marketing industry, and we look forward to implementing our findings throughout our marketing strategies!