I went the Benchmark Conference in Manchester September 5th. There were some great speakers and I was pleased to be on the panel with Omi Sido as moderator. I wrote up a review of some of the key takeaways from the event.
Let’s do AI- How Artificial Intelligence is Amplifying Human and Also Marketing Ingenuity- Today.
Ellie England, Sales Director, Bing Ads was first up and talked about a new technology paradigm, AI.
- AI is not just for tecchies, it is for everyone.
- AI – so much information about this.
- Microsoft has a lot of research on this. Bing is a search engine, but also a data repository of 2.5 billion pieces of data.
- Ellie then went out to explain that we have all used a little bit of AI. Eg Netflix recommendations
- Office 365 uses AI as it focuses the inbox and filters out junk mail.
- What is AI? – Intelligence that is added to manchines to empower people and companies in new and exciting ways in work and life.
- Because computing power has moved to the cloud. We have made huge improvements in machine learning and so now AI is moving from the labs into what we can use every day.
- If you have intelligent technology, how can you make human beings be more intelligent?
- Microsoft’s commitment is to creating AI for good
- Application for those who are visually impaired, can use this to help connect to internet.
- Education – can use this data to identify pupils that are at risk of dropping out.
- Health care – inner eye using computer vision and machine learning to detect tumors
- Earth – Some of fastest growing populations in poorest parts. Need smarter farming. Farmbeats works with farmers in India to grow crops in smarter way.
How does AI apply to BING?
1 – Visual search (search an image within an image).
2 – Multi perspective answers
3 – Predictive answer – can make intelligent predictions about ten poll events.
Democratizing AI – make it accessible for everyone one and organization to achieve more. Four prong approach
- Infusing intelligence in applications
- Services – developers work on this.
- infrastructure make sure this can support AI
- Great AI needs great data.
- Microsoft Graph has work knowledge and user knowledge.
- Windows users 1.5 billion, Linkedin 500 million members
AI is creating an opportunity for marketers
- Connect to audiences, turning data into insights
- Personalisation and new experiences, AI will help do this
- AI makes it important to do jobs. Automation and drive efficiency and reasoning.
Connect and engage
- For marketers – user intent data for optimal performance, personalize advertising message, churn prediction modelling.
- For consumers – more intimate and relevant interactions. Receive the right information for that need.
- Can now harness audience data powered by the microsoft graph. (with Bing)
- Combining signals enables relevancy and smart personalization
- User natural and emotive methods
- A chatbot can resolve up to 82% of customer relations.
- IQ and EQ makes it more trustworthy and valuable
- Reasoning – Predictive search and analytics, takes the guess work out of marketing decisions.
Three key take aways
Bing can help with these:
- Connect to audiences
- Personalisation and new experiences
- Automation to drive effiicent and reasoning.
How to Grow an Audience Using Video
Lee Wilcox, CEO On The Tools shared his experience of growing his company which he founded in August 2014.
It was started on a Friday night with Lee and Adam (Lee’s best friend) talking about how they wanted to make a B2B app.
They wanted to be able to connect subcontractors to contractors. Adam had been in the trade for 12 years and was looking for a plasterer.
- Set up a FB page as no money for a site.
- Wanted UK trades people in one spot.
- First video that made it for them was a video of a builder jumping in the mud.
- Put 40 GBP behind the video post.
- Then they had 3 million views.
- Then people sent Lee’s company their content.
- Then after 3 months they had 250,000 followers on Facebook.They grew an audience.
What they needed to do is carry on the journey. Got 150 messages a day, most being about content.
But likes don’t pay the bills.
- 6 months in, they had requests from many followers asking for merchandising for “on the tools”.
- They set up a shopify store.
- Top 6 trades, electricians, carpenters, asked audience to give the best slogans.
- Then made designs
- In the first week, they generated 800 GBP of sales.
- This grew to 15,000 GBP in one month.
- 2 months after shop set up, took Adam to be part of the company full time.
- 2016 – the app came back from India.
- Had 500,000 followers on the Facebook page.
- Set to launch but the app didn’t work.
- March that year, 3 months on, lost a licensing partner distributing content through. March lost 24k.
- So what was next? They needed someone with time and experience to come it. A former colleague came on and worked with them and Adam. Andy came on.
Facebook Likes Reached 1,000,000
- By Sept 2016 hit 1million FB likes.
- Then made content for two companies, called Juice and the other called Jewson for free.
- Juice is a company that helps get apprentices into work .
- Lee and his team made video content for this Juice and Jewson.
- Then they got approached by a company to make their own awards. Voted by tradespeople. There was nothing about , I mean out there for trades people. Eg power brand of the year.
- Start 2017, they got 3 brand partnerships long term.
- Scrufffs hardwear, Direct line, Jewson.
- Humor was a way to disrupt the market.
- More male following. 18 – 24. These guys are on site every day.
- Biggest piece of content was for Direct Line, highest viewed content in UK. Posted before Grand National.
- Hit 36 million views
- The brand won 3 awards off the back of it (Direct line)
What are we now?
- Now they are a social media marketing agency. App never launched.
- There are 56.4 million vide views. 2.2 million followers
Technical SEO isn’t Sufficient, But it is Necessary. The Correlation Between Technical SEO and Rankings
Omi Sido, Senior Technical SEO, Canon Europe was next up at Benchmark Conference.
- What is Technical SEO?
- Omi has been working in technical SEO in last 4 or 5 years.
- There is one SEO.
- If you apply for an SEO job at Omi’s company and you tell Oni you say you are content only or technical seo only, you won’t get the job.
- You need to know more.
- Omi had someone ask them about doing a technical SEO, do an audit.
- Omi then shared the full details of the site when he used OnCrawl to analyse it.
- Content is king but only when Google can see it.
- Omi crawled their site and there were 500,000 pages in the structure, but out of this, 154,737 orphaned pages.
- And out of this, only 3,108 orphan pages were active.
- Why do you have so many orphaned pages when only 3,000 are getting traffic.
Your content is useless without traffic.
Then Omi asked the developers to get rid of 60 percent of their content.
After that, the rankings of the website, spiked up almost immediate.
Single handley increased revenue by 22 percent.
Did not write a single piece of new content. Did not do backlinks.
- AMP is the web’s first steps into the Performance age
- AMP – early adopters of AP are hugely benefiting. Some companies 70 to 100 percent increase in rankings and traffic and in some cases revenue.
- Eric Enge’s did a study in October 2017 – here is the link
- Omi said in last 5 years, more technical issues launched by Google. Not content.
- Internal Linking – very important. Daily Mail wrote about world cup, but never linked to their world cup hub page.
- BUT then Daily Mail were not ranking for this.
- Guardian on the other side, linked to their hub page in their articles about World Cup. They were ranking.
- Many people think hub pages are only important for hub pages for news sites. This is not true.
- Make sure you clearly define your category pages so they rank for top level keywords.
- If you business is motorcycle helmets, optimize your category pages for the motorcycle helmet.
- Compete with your competitors, not yourself.
Subdomains vs sub directories.
- Google has no problems crawling both.
- But Monster.co.uk, they increased their online visibility in one week. Migrating subdomain to subdirectory, improve internal linking and user experience. This is typical technical SEO tasks.
- Too often digital marketers are ignoring technical SEO.
Machine Learning: Friend or Foe?’
David Karellen, Head of Paid Search, Click Consult talked about Machine Learning.
What is Machine Learning?
- In PPC, this is automated strategies
- After Sept 2017 there were more limited options for PPC. This goes against Machine Learning.
- Not all conversions are the same, you have micro and macro conversions.
1 – Google solution is not complete. Need to build your own tools or use a third party.
- David said for Adcopy, they are using a number of tools. Eg use API so can replace an ad that has not worked well. They use metrics too
2 – Black Box Problem
- Second biggest issue with Machine Learning, lots of black box activity with PPC. Do not know how it is working.
- Without knowing the process behind, how do you know what to pick. So test test and test.
- Google Black Box – the Google Conversion Optimiser, we did not know how it worked. Not much knowledge about the inner workings.
3 – Levels the playing field too much
- If everyone is using the same methods, who wins?
- Lack of competition is not always a bad thing
- Use tools to convert search term reports to search “word “ reports. This can help you spot trends.
4 – Measurement has not kept up
- Returning vs new acquisition
- Data driven attribution model uses machine learning to attribute value to multi step conversions.
- Need to use data driven attribution. Last click attribution has ended.
- DDA (Data driven attribution model).
- Machine learning massive step forward for PPC if used correctly
- If limited input available, then build your own tools
Marketing in the Age of Assistance
Sabrina Garufi is an agency development manager at Google and gave an insightful presentation at Benchmark.
- Sabrina said that every day, we are creating 7 times more data than in 2010.
- Now almost of all us wake up and touch our mobile phones.
- Smartphone adoption has more than doubled in past 4 years.
- Nomophobioa is fear of forgetting your mobile phone at home (when at work or going out)
- We are not just going online, we are online, all the time.
- We are no longer in a mobile first world, we are in a mobile only world.
- What we see still is our users and consumers are not always matching up with advertisers.Fewer than 50% of businesses in EMEA have mobile optimized sites.
Mobile has changed everything, how will it continue changing, that is the question
- Our lives have changed and how we interact has changed. 8 billion connected devices in the world.
- We are increasingly curious, more than before. “What is the best toothbrush”. Or you are talking with your friends about a movie but do not know the actor. You all get out your phones.
- More demanding consumer. People are dropping the “near me” in searches.
- People are impatient. For example there are two times more searches for same day delivering.
How are we keeping up with this?
- So these assistants, it is now a digital strategy.
- Technology should enhance the customer experience.
3 key principles in the age of assistance
- Being there
- Being smart
- Being quick
- Computing has undergone major paradgim shifts every 10 years.
- Machine learning is a part of AI.
- CEO of Google said we are no an AI first company.
- One of biggest challenges of Google is Keeping and cooling the data centers. With machine learning, know when to start cooling and heat it up. Saved 40%
- Ocado, they are using Google cloud with their email. Google cloud and machine learning, they can scrub the sentiment of the email and bucket them differently.
- £100 a month but saved £10,000 per month because of this.
- Remember who are speaking to and what they are expecting.
- Reach potential customers before they have fully decided
- Use technology to help with these challenges and opportunities,
- Things move v quickly now.
Content Optimisation and SEO in 2018 – How to Win the Game
Lukasz Zelezny Director of Organic Performance shared his tactics on how to win in SEO.
First tactic: Finding low hanging fruits with Search Console
- But there is a limitation. Export limited to 999 rows
- Show me where I already rank
- Connect Search Console with Data Studio
- Google Data Studio is very easy to connect
- Create a table. Chose query as dimensions and metrics
- Get more set of keywords when combine with Google Data Studio.
- But missing URLs
- Build blended report.
- AccuRanker is a good value for money, tracks Keywords.
- Add keywords and then you get the results.
- Then export and merge with the other excel. (do v lookup)
Second Tactic: Gap Analysis
- This is a method where there are gaps in your content and how website is built.
- Think about your competitors and where they are ranking for what content and why your site is not.
- Can use this method as a way to write about something.
Third Tactic: Link building with brand tracking
- Talk walker
- Fresh Web explorer
- Google Alerts
- Brand24 specify the keywords you want to track.
Lukasz says when there is a mentions, he puts the post on Twitter and then asks for a link back.
Fourth Tactic: Plugins
- TO help with performance or leveraging traffic.
- OneSignal – this is free web push notifications.
- WPA SEO Auto Linker – you can se orphan pages. So can help build net of internal pages. And keep consistencies with the internal linking.
- Smush image compression and optimisation the free version is very good.
- Gonzales plugin – About page speed optimization.
- Auto optimize – this is not to be used with Gonsales, just one or the other.
- 404 to 301, If the page does not exist redirected to the home page
- Append Link on Copy – when user goes to your site, they can take this copy, it will take a link from your site. Lots of big publishers are doing this.
Fifth Tactic: Cloud
- Siteground – v good at optimising for page speed.
- If using WP Engine or another clouding providers, go there what you have in terms of cache or php.
Wrap ups and take aways
- Use a fast hosting provider
- If on wordpress, test different plugins
- Your competitor is a great source of data.
Optimizing for Search Bots
Fili Wiese from Search Brothers gave a great talk about the input that goes into the Google Search Engine.
Talking about input that goes into the Google Search Engine.
- Need to make sure it is accessible
- Network connections are important
- Server errors are important. Eg if send a lot of 503 errors then google will ask if the Google should send uers to the site.
- Bots are v conservative. They do not want to slow down the user experience to your users.
- Test how fast your website is, so use chrome.
- Google bot is an older version of a custom chrome.
- Need to provide Progressive Enhancement (recommended since 2007)
- No website is the same.
- Google crawls them differently.
- URL scheduler = not every URL gets crawled the same. Some get crawled more than others.
- Majority of the crawl budget goes towards the repeat crawls.
- How do we help Google priorise the crawling??
Use links, this helps Google
- If get enough external or internally pages, shows which pages are more important.
- Use breadcrumbs give Google good idea of structure of the website. Breadcrumbs do not need to be in the top of the page.
- Make sure that Google can crawl your page.
- Blocking a url does not mean stop indexing.
- Need to also send the right server signals.
- Soft 404 that is when have a 200 response but should be a 404 response.
- If you get too many soft 404s, then Google will not trust you as much and not crawl as much.
Make sure the content quality is good.
- Get rid of URLs that do not want to be indexed them.
- So use the no index.
- Also stop linking to them.
- Every page that is indexes, then need to make sure that page stands out.
- Avoid duplicate content.
- Duplicate content due to multiple languages. (localization). Do href lang.
- Canonicals are not the same as 301. Google can ignore the canonical. It does not ignore the 301.
- Then Google will look at your sitemap. Helps prioritise what URLs to crawl.
- Choose your preferred domain in Google Search Console, eg display URLs as www or non www
- Avoid sending conflicting signals to Googlebot
Impact of https
- All sites should have this certification
- IF you have not yet moved to https. Do not do it yet.
- Wait to ove cause en though browsers say not secure, but you have the opp to improve SEO signals before migrating.
- When you do move, Add a;; site map to Google Search Console.
- Google has been trying to do mobile for a while.
AMP Is a separate concept. We just got rid of the m.dot and now we have AMP.
- If we go AMP, do we want to get rid of M dot.
- Content parity needs to be the same non mobile and desktop.
- Check the mobile usability report in Google Search Console.
How can it go wrong?
- Ecommerce sites make mistakes.
- Do we need a separate URL to print content? No.
- Avid too many unnecessary URls.
- So stick with the web standards.
- Make sure optimize for mobile first.
- Make sure you audit the site regularly. Min is once per year
SEO and Content Marketing – It is a Match
Nisha Ram Digital Strategist from Deloitte talking about how SEO and Content Marketing go hand in hand.
Following SEO best practice
- And have a fully optimized mobile./responsive site.
- Content Marketing at Deloitte
- Thought leadership to target audience
- Built a strong reputation, trust and authority within particular topics and area
From Content Strategy, researching more than keywords
- We do keyword research. WE research more than just keywords.
- Understand your target audience’s online behavior
- Look at your existing insights
- Social listening tool like brand watch – want to see what people are talking about
Current Marketing Efforts
- Thought leadership
- Social media
- Case studies
Utilise social listening tools for more keyword and topic research as well as understanding user behavior
- Deloitte is looking at creating video content and optimize it for search
- Deloitte are strategic with their channels
- They are being more strategic with SEO efforts
- Increase their blogging capabilities and improve the platform.
So looking ahead
- Employee ambassador program
- Leveraging their greatest ambassadors
- Their people are their best asset.
- Nisha is not convinced about voice search
Stop Wasting Time! 5 Steps to Automate Your Google Analytics Reporting
John Warner, Marketing and Content Executive at Click Consult shared his tips on how to automate your Google Analytics reporting in 5 steps.
Step 1 Gather your tools
Google Sheets, Google Data Studio
2) Create clearly defined goals for your report
- What do you need to measure?
- What do you wan to achieve?
3) Setting Up Reports
- You will then get a little wizard
- Configure the reports
- Sessional level metrics
- Goal completions all
- Also look at see the number of new sessions
- Page level – this is more granular, you can drill down more.
- You can look at the page title.
- Look at the sessions as well and number of users as well that have completed the sessions
- Unique page views
- Average page views
Step 4 – Creating Summaries
Put summaries in the data.
Step 5 – Import data into Data Studio
- Create a new data source
- Select Google sheets
Inset now the last photo – the summary
Year of Page Speed
Victoria Olsina shared her tips on page speed from her experience working at Barclays.
- 2010 Google made site speed a ranking factor for the desktop results
- March 2018 – new mobile first index – the mobile version of the website is prioritised
- July 2018 – See update, google starting using mobile page speed as a ranking factor in search results.
Make Page Speed Great Again
- But page speed is like a neglected child
- Who is responsible for page speed? Everyone.
- Who is measuring it? No one
Things that I learned about APIs –
- You can use Google Spreadsheets to connect to one
- A ready-made script that you found on Reddit might not work
- And might be blocked cause working within Barclays
- Google Page Speed Insights API metrics
- Can get mobile page speed, mobile usuability and desktop page speed
- Used tableau to make it look nice
Who are the others that have to persuade to get this done?
- Stake holders
- Project owners
- The boss
The boss – how much does this metric cost? Eg what is the cost of making the site quicker
- What is the commercial benefit of the project?
- What do we need to make it happen?
Measure what matters
- It is likely you are measuring the wrong metrics
- Lighthouse index
- Speed index
- First contentful paint (inset photo here)
- Lighthouse – when above 70 that is great. But once 10% of the websites are greater than 70,
- How are our competitors doing – ?
- Need to ask what is the commercial benefit of upgrading from 10 to 4 secs?
- Put in a revenue figure.
Issues with recommendations:
- Generic recommendations
- No expiation why each item matters
- No revenue against it
- Need to come up with an issue, the Url, details and the effect
- Then put the roadmap linked to the lighthouse index.
Governance and reporting – page speed is never finished.
- A performance team should be accountable to page speed and SEO should be part of it
- Reports to senior management/the boss should contain Page Speed (once a week)
- All new pages have to be built with the standards that we defined as best in class for page speed.
- Agree on the metrics that matters first and make sense to commercial and technical stakeholders
- Assign a commercial value to Page Speed improvements
- Set up a performance team responsible for page speed that reports to senior management on regular basis
- Set up governance standards for page speed for new pages
In a Complex Digital Landscape, Are We in Danger of Losing Sight of Our Objectives and the Strategies We Need to Develop in Order to Achieve These
Ben Irons, Digital Marketing Director of Not on the HighStreet wants us to balance the digital marketing landscape and navigate through the complexity but how can we do this?
There are so many things in the digital landscape – eg big data, AI, GDPR, Targeting, testing, Data Science
Are we in danger of overcomplicating our personal digital eco systems and have we forgotten what our main objectives were in the first place?
How do we build a framework that will lead us to success?
Don’t forget the basics
- What data is actually of value, can we access it, are we using it in the correct way?
- Are we measuring what is relevant to our business?
- How are we spending out time and is it paying back? Need to learn about what we did. Are we evaluating our Time?
- Always think of the customer first and listen to what signals they are giving you (use the different chat box, using customer services
- The best strategies are the most simple ones
Don’t lose sight of the original objective and get caught up in the complexity of the Digital marketplace to get the best campaign results.
All good campaigns are built on strong foundation and from implementing and updating the basics. Follow a simple strategy and breakdown the goals and actions.
Use the data that appropriate to facility achieving and make sure it can be accessed. Measure accordingly and spend time as a group on the initiatives that will get results.
Being customer first means listening to what customers are telling you as well as the data you can gather from their behaviour.
User Centric Search – A data driven strategy with no expiry date
Shyam Dattani from Searchmetrics spoke about using data to help the user and drive more traffic to your site.
What is it? Think about the user. Is this benefiting the person coming to the website?
- Why User- Centric Search?
- User intention mapping
- More traffic
- Better quality
- Higher conversions
So how can we be User-Centric?
- If you are going to be user centric, you need to know that they are impatient, they want to be spoon fed and lead by the hand
- Use your own domain as a customer
- People did not come to your site to admire your work, they came to accomplish what they wanted.
- What is the user after?
- How are they coming to you? (Tofu, mofu, bofu) How are they coming to the funnel? Top of funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of funnel.
- Where am I not ranking?
So how can we be User-Centric?
- What does the user want?
- How and where are they searching?
- How can I serve the content to best meet 1 and 2?
- Google’s R and D. If they rank, it works, copy, copy and beat
(Figure out how the seasonality works)
- Answer the questions
Online your content is your sales person. Answer the questions your customers are asking.
- Sell, Upsell and cross-sell that content
Make sure the content Is relevant. What should you be helping with them next.
Think like a child, ask why, why and why and so why
Content is relevant when it provides answer to as many questions as possible and the it deals with the mot important aspects of a topic. The best way to serve the content depends on the internet.
For example if looking for recipes, then will want different content than if you were looking for a watch.
Nick Wilsdon – Understanding Alexa Skills
Nick Wilsdon from Vodafone shared his insights on the growth of voice search, particularly with Alexa.
Why focus on Alexa? Voice is a large topic
- Understanding the market place
- (Inset photo of the different voice devices)
- Amazon Echo and Google Home are the two biggest ones in US.
- 70% US market is Alexa
- In UK, Amazon Echo and Google Home are the two biggest ones
What are people dong on voice devices? Add in Nick’s image
Voice device skills are on the rise. Now there rare more than 30,000 Alexa Skills available in the market place.
Will Amazon maintain their market lead?
- Amazon has pioneered and led commence excellence.
- Using their prime networking to push voice device units
- Although approach has been a little manual (lacking AI) they have taken early lead
- Amazon is already a transactional platform
The language of Alexa
- Alexa, ask Vodafone how much is my bill?
- Wake word is Alexa
- Starting phrase is ask
- 4 options, Alexa, amazon, Echo, Computer
- Users are requesting wake words
- Custom wake words would increase security
Skill innovation Name
- This Is your brand
- But be easy to remember. You cannot change this ever.
- Alexa requires brand ownership documentation for single terms but allows invocation name duplication.
- Google focus on unique term registration (gold rush mentality)
- Natural real world language
- Use your data to optimise these quests, eg SEO tool data, Google Keyword Tool, Internal search data.
- Pay close attention to your comments on the Amazon platform.
- Early adopters are rating to help make skills better.
What makes a good strategy on Alexa?
- Is Voice search over hyped?
Study of 1000 US consumers in May 2018
- 70% of respondents had never used voice to search for products
Voice Strategy compliments your other platforms and activity
- Voice skills are not apps
- What is the key? It is an auxiliary.
Provide user actions to ATL brand advertising
- Great way to engage brand or PR department within your organisation
- As should be best practice, ATL drives interesting and online harvests this
Using Alexa skills to connect to your audience (email marketing)
- Skills are a great way to connect to an early adopter audience
- Virtual assistants will likely hit email marketing hard but also opens new opportunities
- Will allow you to build connections and even asses viability of Amazon B2C or B2B service offerings.
Podcasting and audio opportunities
- 96% of UK population listen to radio but only 6% listen to podcasts
- Users are positive about voice search. They bought the devices and bought into the system.
Brands are entering the age of data first discovery
- Alexa skills marketing place is largely full of non brand content
- Brands have the services and data points needed within two take user skills to the next level.
- Voice will solve data management and access issues
- Only 15% of FTSE 100 companies have an Alexa skill (Vodafone Study May 2018)
Does voice live up to the hype?
- Hands free, voice first interactions
- If we only view as an input method, impassable to see it failing
- It improves convenience and reduces friction
- Not replace ecomm channels yet
Building a Global SEO Team
Berian Reed shared his tips in building a global seo team. SEO is not a silo, it is a multi disciplinary team.
Google’s core message to SEOs
- Don’t deceive users
- Avoid tricks to improve rankings
- And two more
- Panda 2011 the content one, 2012 Penguin links, 2013 hummingbird, 2015 mobile redden 2018 – the quality one
SEO is a business change
- Https (SEO led initiative high impact business impact)
- Mobile first has huge impact on business
- Design/UX and Content (update last month was aimed at medical and finance industry), these sites didn’t offer good user experience
Tips working with agencies
1- Focus on the individuals. Request to meet head of SEO
Agree on the SEO team at pitch stage. Ask about high staff turnover.
2 – Align the agency with your SEO goals
Improve seo visbilty for a core keyword group
Grown non brand organic traffic
Improve indexation percentage and category pages
3 – Embed agencies within your team
Treat your agency as an extension of your team. Trello and slack.
Leveraging your brand for SEO
- Online reputation management – managing external reputations across services like Glass Door, Trust pilot and Google my Bus strengthen external brand signals and supports SEO
- Brand values – what sets the business apart from the competition? Does your website says this?
Invest in Power tools
- There are so many
- Can see keyword gap feature
- Invest in your data too – Google Search Console, Server logs, GA too