5 Things We Learned at State of Search 2013

standing dog attends state of search conferenceStanding Dog Interactive was a proud sponsor of the Dallas Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association’s State of Search Conference held Nov. 18 in Richardson, TX. Team members from our SEO, PPC, content and executive teams joined professionals from across the area for a day-long event that featured learning opportunities from panels on social, search and content development. We had a great time and learned many things – some of which we’d like to share!


1. Keyword Quality Trumps Quantity

Senior copywriter Brian Medricka says that the emphasis on quality content resonated with him.

“My biggest takeaway is that quality content will end up overshadowing keyword-stuffed copy as Google continues to change its algorithms for where items show up in search queries,” he said.

Lorraine Santiago-Poventud, SEO manager at Standing Dog, appreciated learning how to successfully leverage both people and technology. “First of all, SEO is not dead,” she said. “The important thing is to create relevant content for the brand and for the user and stay away for old practices, like keyword stuffing or duplicate content, that can certainly hurt the site’s or page’s performance.”

2. Search Options Aboundstanding-dog-at-dallas-search-conference

Medricka was also impressed by the Keyword Planner and (Not Provided) session by speaker Christine Churchill. She offered several Google alternatives on how to find keywords for clients, like using Bing data on what keywords are being searched. These raw numbers can then show a trend, which can be extrapolated from pay-per-click data since it is still available in Google; analytics from landing pages; site search data; competitive intelligence tools like SEM Rush (which we use now at Standing Dog) and Google Webmaster tools.

3. Cultivate a Client-centric Approach.

“The biggest highlights for me centered on pitching search-related recommendations to clients,” said Standing Dog SEO director Shawn Cohen. “A couple of the presenters talked about the metrics that executive teams are interested in (revenue, brand awareness, lifetime customer value) as opposed to the language that search optimization professionals typically use (visits, shares/follows and crawlability).”

Cohen says it was also good to see further emphasis placed on the target demographic that client websites want to reach and the tactics available to help that demographic reach their goals online. “Before, SEO was just about ranking in Google. But now it’s aligning more with traditional marketing goals, especially when it comes to understanding our customers’ needs and doing our best to assist them in the buying process,” he said.

Santiago-Poventud agrees. “Nowadays we, as SEO managers, must take some time aside to study what works and what doesn’t for each client and treat them as an individual and not use a one-size-fits-all kind of solution. In my time working at Standing Dog, I can say that we are doing a pretty good job at this.”

4. Make it Personal

Medricka enjoyed the session on Using Personas to Help with Outreach and how to take that information and craft targeted content for the web and assist with outreach. “Zeph Snapp explained about how to create personas and how they help decide how to target specific customers,” he said. “Snapp says that Data plus Marketing plus PR equals New Outreach, which falls perfectly in line with Standing Dog’s Inbound Marketing philosophy.”

5: Be Proactive

“Rand Fishkin from Moz stated: ‘Don’t let your role define your influence. Let your influence define your role,’” said Ciera Lima, SEO specialist at Standing Dog. “This really resonated with me. How can you not be motivated by such a quote? Overall, it was such a great conference. When you have the opportunity to hear from your peers, you sit, listen and absorb, and that is exactly what I did!”


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