Kevin Gibbons: “Bing really aren’t as far behind as some people think”
In two weeks time the European Search World will gather in London to attend, network and share knowledge at SES London 2012. Like every year it promises to be a great event with a great line up of speakers. State of Search will off course be covering the event and in cooperation with our friends at SEO Chicks you could be visiting the conference!
Going up to the conference we will also be shedding our light on the event. We have asked several speakers at the event to answer some questions. Questions about SES off course, but also about the market in general: where do they feel the market is heading.
A bit on the market in general
How much do you think has “Search” changed in the past year and how much will it change in the coming year?
2011 was a year full of huge changes. But I think it depends on how you were doing SEO before. If you had an organic, inbound marketing approach when you looked to build on the success of a brand to optimise for search and maximise SEO success – then I really not sure that much has changed! At least to the core principles anyway. But if you were filling Google with thousands of indexed pages containing weak content, buying/building unnatural links, using on exact match domains etc – and generally relying on short-term SEO tactics as opposed to long-term sustainable brand building, then the game has changed massively. During the next year I think it’s time for those who fall into the latter category to face facts – if they want to achieve the great organic results they may have experienced in previous years it will probably require big changes to not just their SEO strategy but their whole business model.
Do you already feel the impact of “Search Plus Your World” as a searcher?
Yes – I’ve noticed quite a lot of the SERPs now feature results from my Google+ connections. However, most of my connections are in the search industry – so it’s a bit of a biased opinion at the moment as it’s not a true representation of what an average searcher would see. I wouldn’t expect this to have had a huge widespread impact, but I’d also expect the personalisation of results to grow quickly as more people signup for and use Google+. And in the meantime it’s a great way of finding out who does SEO for your client competitors!
Looking at Europe, what do you feel other search engines should do to get closer to Google?
It’s all about market share, and in the UK especially it is so heavily dominated by Google that it’s very difficult to see past that. I used to think that Google were rightfully the number one search engine based on the quality and relevancy of their results – I’m not disagreeing with this, but Bing really aren’t as far behind in this area as some people think. It’s just that, in my opinion at least, when doing a query people forget that the likes of Bing and Yahoo exist! If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Google, you refine your search. If you still can’t find it, you either try again or ask on Twitter.
A bit on SES
My sessions is talking about SEO metrics – many SEO campaigns fall flat because they are not closely aligned with a clients key business goals. So this looks at how to ensure your SEO efforts are having the best possible impact to the most important metric; profit.
What makes SES a conference you want to speak at?
SES has been one of the leading search marketing events for as long as I’ve been doing SEO. It’s very well-established and highly recognised as an excellent conference for search marketers, so it’s an honour to speak at the event.
Is there a session, apart from your own, you would urge people to go and see? And why?
Analytics is a hot topic at the moment, so I’d recommend attending one of those sessions. Last year it was big because of Google’s privacy law and the (not provided) SSL search issue. 2012 is potentially huge if the cookie directive goes ahead, so make sure that you’re well prepared to get up to speed on what people are suggesting you do to take action on this. I can’t say I’m completely up-to-date on this myself at the moment, it’s been more a case of seeing what everyone else does and recommends – so it’s certainly something I’ll be looking to learn more about.
What should people ask you when they see you at SES?
Can I buy you a drink is normally a good start! Although seriously, all the best conversations and learning experiences from these events happen once you’re connecting with people. Whether it’s between sessions or in the bar afterwards, that’s when you can really talk about tips/tricks or common challenges. So for a first time visitor I’d recommend coming prepared to visit the conference with a couple of questions specific to your site/clients – then if you can go back to your boss with some solutions to these, they’ll send you again next year!