Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners Wolfgang Digital, Metric Theory & Precis Digital

This year’s Search Engine Land Awards will mark the fourth consecutive year the SEO and SEM community has come together to celebrate the best and brightest in the industry. The 2018 event will be hosted in Seattle, Washington, on June 12 in conjunction with the SMX Advanced Conference, and it has been expanded to include several new award categories.
Started in 2015, the Search Engine Land Awards has not only recognized top-performing SEO and SEM professionals and agencies, it has raised thousands of dollars for a variety of nonprofits, including Be the Match, CODE.org, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Women Who Code.
As we near this year’s awards event, Search Engine Land is taking a look at last year’s winners in a collection of interviews highlighting the campaigns that won and the results they generated.
For our latest addition to the series, we talk to the teams that took home awards for Best Overall Search Marketing Initiative and Best

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Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners Odd Dog Media & SapientRazorfish

In 2015, the Search Engine Land Awards were introduced to recognize the top performers in the SEO and SEM community. The inaugural event was a big success by all accounts. Hosted in New York City during the SMX East conference, the awards program drew hundreds of attendees and raised thousands of dollars for Be the Match, a national bone marrow donor program, and CODE.org, a nonprofit committed bringing computer sciences into the classroom.
Since its inception, The Search Engine Land Awards have put a spotlight on the best and brightest within the SEO and SEM industry. Not only are individuals and agencies within the search community recognized for their outstanding work, the event continues to raise thousands of dollars for charitable organizations.
This year, the Search Engine Land Awards event will be hosted in Seattle, Washington, during the SMX Advanced Conference on July 12, 2018. In anticipation of this year’s awards program, Search Engine Land is running this interview

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Searchmetrics wins important victory in patent infringement lawsuit

An important ruling was issued last Friday in the 4-year old patent infringement lawsuit that SEO platform BrightEdge filed against competitor Searchmetrics. The California federal court judge sided with defendant Searchmetrics, ending a long and expensive court battle.
At issue in the federal case were five patents Brightedge claimed were being infringed upon by competitive SEO platform Searchmetrics. Searchmetrics successfully argued that the patents owned by Brightedge were both abstract and broad and thus did not offer an “inventive concept” that satisfied precedent (Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Internationl, 2014) which ruled that abstract ideas are not patentable under Section 101 of the Patent Act — unless the claim contains an “inventive concept” that sufficiently transforms the idea into an application that then becomes patent-eligible.
In his ruling the judge agreed, invalidating the five patents owned by Brightedge. The plaintiffs had requested that a sixth patent be amended to the suit but the judge denied this request as

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6 ways ad agencies can thrive in an AI-first world

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have long been part of PPC — so why are AI and machine learning all of a sudden such hot topics? It is, in part, because exponential advances have now brought technology to the point where it can legitimately compete with the performance and precision of human account managers.
I recently covered the new roles humans should play in PPC as automation takes over. In this post, I’ll offer some ideas for what online marketing agencies should consider doing to remain successful in a world of AI-driven PPC management.
Be a master of process
According to the authors of the book “The Second Machine Age,” chess master Garry Kasparov offered an interesting insight into how humans and computers should work together after he became the first chess champion to be defeated by a computer in 1997. In matches after his loss to Deep Blue, he noticed a few things:

A human player aided by a machine

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PPC agencies will play these 4 roles when automation takes over

Earlier this year, I wrote about how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are driving automation in PPC and then again about how Google’s latest wave of AdWords innovations is driven largely by these same technologies.
As the move towards automation accelerates, how should agencies and PPC managers update their strategy? What processes will they need to remain competitive? And what can they really expect from automation tools in the market today? I’ll cover all these topics in a series of upcoming posts, so I’d love to hear your ideas. But today, let’s begin by looking at what roles humans and agencies will play in PPC. .
1. Agencies will teach machines to learn
Now that machines can learn, they certainly will surpass humans, right? The reality is that machine learning is still very dependent on humans. We program the algorithms, we provide the training data, we even manipulate the training data to help the machine get it right.
Machine learning often

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Looking to get out of the SEO business? Good!

It’s not your imagination — there’s no denying that SEO has become increasingly difficult over the last few years.
A recent thread on WebmasterWorld highlighted this fact when a poster lamented the challenges he has faced adapting to changes in the SEO industry, and he said that he was considering leaving the industry entirely. This prompted Barry Schwartz to share a poll collecting feedback on the topic from a wider pool, and I was initially quite surprised to see that a large percentage of respondents shared the same concern as the original poster.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been surprised at all. I can definitely understand the frustration. You build a business based on what you think the rules are, and almost immediately, they seem to change.
Isn’t that the nature of every industry, though? Amazon, Uber and Netflix all shook their respective industries in seismic ways. And as that happened, we heard the same cries that things are getting too

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SEO Ranking Factors in 2017: What’s Important and What’s Not

As technology advances, search engines can refine their ranking algorithms to better determine relevance and return results that better align with searcher intent.
Because these ranking algorithms are constantly being improved and refined, search engine ranking factors are always evolving. Factors that might once have had a huge impact on search rankings may no longer matter all that much, and new ranking factors (such as mobile-friendliness or HTTPS) can emerge to reflect changing technologies and user behaviors.
So, what are the most important ranking factors today, in 2017? A panel at SMX East, “SEO Ranking Factors in 2017: What’s Important and What’s Not,” sought to answer that question. This panel featured data from large-scale studies performed by SEMrush and Searchmetrics, as well as case studies and practical advice for adapting your SEO strategies to current realities.
SEMrush Ranking Factors 2.0
The first panelist was Olga Andrienko from SEMrush, who shared the results of a large-scale study on ranking factors that examined

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Why going global is essential to your business

As the world becomes increasingly connected, it’s becoming more vital than ever for virtually all businesses, regardless of size, to have a global online presence. As Search Engine Land columnist Brendan McGonigle rightly notes, if you only advertise in the United States, you’re missing out on billions of potential customers. But taking a one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it.
For example, while Google has a considerable presence in Russia, you won’t want to overlook the SEO and SEM options offered by market leader Yandex. And if you want to venture into China, it’s critical to know the ins and outs of the dominant search platform that serves the country, Baidu.
At SMX East, three acknowledged global search marketing experts will discuss how to jump-start your multinational campaigns. In “Why Going Global Is Essential To Your Business,” you’ll hear Frederic Schaub, a partner at the Swiss-based Consultancy Group and former senior manager of global strategy for Marriott Digital Services, discuss the

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What I learned from the Danny Sullivan/Gary Illyes keynote at SMX Advanced

On June 13, 2017, in Seattle, Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan sat down with Google’s Gary Illyes to talk about all things Google. You can read live blog coverage from the session here. In this post, I’ve organized the content of this session into topical groups and added my own analysis.
Note: The questions and answers appearing herein are not direct quotes. I am paraphrasing Sullivan’s questions and Illyes’ answers, as well as providing my interpretation of what was said (and including additional context where appropriate). I’ve also omitted some content from the session.
The featured snippet discussion
Danny Sullivan asked: Are we going to keep getting more featured snippets?
Illyes has no idea about that, but he notes that featured snippets are very important to Google. They want the quality to be really high, and one consideration people don’t normally think about is that, in some cases (e.g., voice search results), the answers may be read out loud.
This example is one of my

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A winning process yields winning results: Conversion optimization tips from SMX Advanced

Earlier this month, keeping with the traditions of a welcoming summer, Seattle opened its doors to data junkies, optimization nerds and the search-obsessed in celebration of yet another SMX Advanced.
Not speaking this year, I had more flexibility to sit in on some of the many useful presentations. Among the most compelling was a session led by Jeremy Epperson of 3Q Digital and Khalid Saleh of Invesp titled, “Conversion Optimization: Turning Quick Wins into Winning.”
In my role at Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine, my primary responsibility is to help North American companies succeed in Russia. Russia is a top 7 Internet Audience in the world, so I’m frequently approached by North American CMOs with a desire to “test the market.” Of course, my initial reaction is, “фантастика!” (“Fantastic!”) In today’s digital petri dish, let the data determine direction — testing is always a good start.
Both Epperson and Saleh not only communicated the value of testing, but also emphasized the

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