Voice search becomes voice action: A key talking point at SMX London

From combining search and social to leveraging moments that matter, last week’s attendees at SMX London gained a deeper understanding of the numerous ways they can optimize their search strategies.
Described as the “ultimate survival guide to the dynamic and tumultuous world of search marketing,” SMX  — run by Search Engine Land’s parent, Third Door Media — is a conference series designed to highlight the reach and opportunities that can be achieved through search advertising and outline search’s position in the wider marketing mix.
From my own perspective, one of the more enlightening sessions of the London event featured a presentation by Pete Campbell, founder and managing director of Kaizen, on the subject of voice search — a prominent theme given the ongoing battle of the AI assistants.
Despite existing for half a decade — Siri has been around since 2011 — voice search has only recently surged in popularity, with over a quarter (27 percent) of US smartphone users now utilizing voice

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SMX West: Solving SEO Issues in Google’s Post-Update World

How do we deal with huge and sudden changes in organic search traffic now that Google no longer posts major updates to its algorithms? Since many updates that formerly would have been assigned a name (like Penguin or Panda), or even a name and an incremental number (Panda 3.0) are now part of Google’s core algorithm, how can we know when an update is responsible for a traffic or ranking change? And even if we do know, what can we do with that knowledge?
Kristine Schachinger and Glenn Gabe answered those questions and more in “Solving SEO Issues In Google’s Post-Update World,” a session at SMX West 2017. The following is a summary of their presentations.
Busting Google’s black box
Presenter: Kristine Schachinger, @schachin

Some SEOs and webmasters may find themselves wishing for the days of Matt Cutts. Cutts was a Google engineer and the head of Google’s webspam team. More importantly to marketers, Matt was the “face” of Google search, regularly

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Monetizing your SEO expertise

I have a theory: the best SEO practitioners in the world are not consultants helping their clients get rich. Rather, they are their own clients. Or, if they do have clients, they’ve figured out a way to have them on a performance pricing model in order to share in the client’s upside.
How are these rock-star SEOs their own clients, you ask? It could be a range of things — they could be affiliates, “infoproduct” sellers or lead generators who are leveraging SEO expertise. Or a combination of the above.
One thing is certain: they use their SEO knowledge and expertise to make money for themselves rather than helping clients make all the money and in turn getting paid for their time. Dollars-for-hours consulting is a hard slog and doesn’t scale.
Contrast that with building an income-generating asset — one that makes money for you while you sleep. It can appreciate in value even when you aren’t expending energy and time

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Meet a Landy Award winner: For its work with Scotts Miracle-Gro, Acronym wins Best Overall Enterprise SEM Initiative

This year’s Best Overall Enterprise SEM Initiative Landy Award field was a competitive one. The winner needed to utilize best in class tactics and initiatives, various platforms and tools, and, of course, improve visability and/or convert new customers on major search platforms and earn a positive return on investment. When the dust settled in the judges’ room, there was only one agency left standing: Acronym.
Acronym took home the win thanks to their work with Scotts Miracle-Gro. They were able to build a unique set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that helped to influence and inform customers on what is a very offline purchase. Furthermore, the identification and categorization applied to the various steps that a customer takes throughout the research stages. The creation and implementation of this system not only helped them drive success for their client but also helped them take home the Landy.
Acronym stated the following about the Scotts Miracle-Gro account:
‘Tackling a client that primarily does

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Meet a Landy Award winner: Edelman takes home Best Overall Search Marketing Initiative award

Todd Silverstein and Alyssa Esker of Edelman accept the Landy for Best Overall Search Marketing Initiative.
Historically known as a top-rated PR firm, Edelman proved its digital marketing chops at this year’s Landys by taking home the award for Best Overall Search Marketing Initiative.
In July of last year, Edelman’s digital team out of Atlanta was tasked with completely overhauling a client’s search presence. The client — a mobile accessory brand — was suffering through its second year of a double-digit drop in online revenue and looked to Edelman to reverse the decline.
“They had an e-commerce program, but were heavily reliant upon retail sales,” says Todd Silverstein, Edelman’s US Head of Paid and Search.
Charged with increasing e-commerce sales by 18 percent and driving a 15-percent growth in organic traffic to the website, Edelman implemented an extensive and holistic campaign that touched on all things SEO- and SEM-related.
Edelman’s SEM initiatives included everything from the creation of an entirely new account

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Meet a Landy Award winner: Quick on its feet, Point It wins Best B2C Enterprise SEM Initiative

Katy Tonkin (left) and Maddie Cary of Point It accept the Landy for Best B2C Enterprise SEM Initiative.
The mission they chose to accept: to build and activate paid search campaigns to promote the surprise product launch of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book on the US Microsoft Store website — in less than 24 hours.
Mission accomplished. For its quick execution of tailored, targeted campaigns that exceeded expectations, Seattle-based Point It Digital Marketing took home the Landy award for Best B2C Enterprise SEM Initiative. This was Point It’s second consecutive Landy win.
Not only was time not on their side, but once the campaigns were launched, Point It faced stiff competition from other authorized sellers and retailers carrying the new Surface products.
Point It focused their campaign structure and keyword strategy on reaching lower-funnel prospects who knew about the new products and were searching on brand keywords that signaled purchase intent. Negative keywords were added to funnel target prospects

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Enterprise SEOs, unite! The SMX East 2016 session recap

Enterprise SEO is truly unique. While a larger company size may provide substantial leverage in many cases, it also creates some particular challenges.
At the recent SMX East conference, I watched a great panel covering this topic with Scott Nickels of Hearst Autos, Simon Heseltine of HP Enterprise, and Amber Fehrenbacher of Surety Bonds.
In today’s post, I’m going to summarize much of the wisdom they shared about enterprise SEO challenges and their approaches to overcoming these obstacles. I’ll also add a few of my own thoughts along the way.
Basic organizational structure
Large enterprise organizations often have many different product/service teams that focus on different offerings of the company. As a result, you can end up with many different ways that the SEO team can be set up:

A centralized SEO team that interacts with the different product/service teams and provides them with guidance.
Distributed SEO teams, where each product/service team has its own SEO resources.
A combination of the two, where there is a centralized

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What Google’s recent RLSA updates mean for advertisers

At the recent SMX East conference in New York City, Google’s Jerry Dischler announced a number of paid search updates that should roll out in the near to immediate future. Among them, two in particular stand to expand the footprint of Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA).
Here are the changes you need to know about, starting with the most impactful.
RLSA membership duration expanded to 540 days
Since beta testing all the way back in 2012, RLSA has been restricted to include only those users who visited an advertiser’s website within the past 180 days.
This meant that there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity for using RLSA in reaching out to once-a-year converters or baking seasonality into targeting as much as many advertisers hoped.
However, that 180-day limit has now been tripled to 540 days.
What does that mean?

A lot more searchers can be targeted with RLSA, as the number of distinct visitors to a brand’s site is naturally much higher

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What’s new with markup & structured data

Structured data makes certain types of web content highly accessible and understandable by search engines and other third-party programs. Because the data on the page is tagged with standardized identifying code, it’s far easier to process and interpret than a regular webpage.
For that reason, people refer to this type of data as “Linked Data” (similar to the way that the World Wide Web links billions of documents together).
At June’s SMX Advanced, Aaron Bradley did an awesome job in his presentation, “What’s New With Structured Data Markup?,” providing a detailed update of what’s going on in this area.
If you’re interested in a really detailed timeline of all the major happenings in the world of structured data markup, you can get access to that here.
The overview
In the SEO world, the most common form of structured data we speak about is Schema.org. This is because it’s a standard that was developed by and for search engines.
It’s stable, reliable and extensible. For

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SMX Advanced recap: Lies, Damn Lies, and Search Marketing Statistics

At SMX Advanced 2016 in Seattle, Adria Kyne, SEO Manager (North America, Australia, and New Zealand) for Vistaprint, gave a presentation on doing search marketing testing — or any kind of marketing testing — that provides valid results.
Kyne made the point that by not understanding the importance of validity of sample size, we often end up unintentionally lying to ourselves, and we may actually “prove” the opposite of what we think our tests are showing.
Adria Kyne, Vistaprint
Common problems with marketing testing
We need to start with understanding the point of our testing:

We want to know what is really happening when people visit our site.
We want to be sure we can use the results to predict likely future behavior.

We also need to understand the basics of hypothesis testing:

We want to know if the variation we are testing is better, worse or the same as the original.
We don’t want to see a positive outcome that isn’t really there (a false positive, or Type I error).
We don’t want

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