Last week the RIMC conference took place and State of Digital had Geoff Kennedy from Yard Digital covering the sessions for us. In this joint talk from Matt Roberts – Co-founder of LinkDex, and David Harling – Head of Performance MoneySupermarket Group look at where SEO currently is, and what we should be doing for the future.
SEO Now 2014 – MoneySupermarket & Linkdex #RIMC14
Matt Roberts has had a broad depth of experience with big brands throughout his career, from media planning, digital agency director, to his current position with Linkdex an enterprise SEO software. Matt addresses the question “Where is SEO? And why should brands care?”.
MoneySupermarket is Europe’s largest brand comparison website, they want to create brand equity as well as ROI. David goes on to detail their blueprint for SEO in 2014 and beyond.
Where is SEO now?
“SEO has changed” – I think everyone would agree that this is probably an understatement. The SEO environment is almost unrecognisable compared to it’s early days.
Organic search customers typically have a higher lifetime value and ROI.
Organic search is the most trusted channel by consumers and is as trusted as traditional media.
Organic search is a touch point of most buying funnels. This is becoming a generally agreed statement across multiple sources. Attribution modelling is key to showing the true value of the channel.
Organic search as a channel is particularly strong in the later stages of the purchase funnel – i.e. when a sale is near to closure.
What are the important factors?
- A top-down understanding of SEO
- Optimise for people, not the search engines
- Go beyond keywords – What do they mean? Where is the user at? What do they need?
- Willingness and ability – When a brand has both, they tend to do well
- Break down silos – SEO needs to become a mindset rather than a discipline
Blueprint for SEO – MoneySupermarket
Success through SEO can be realised if you get it right. You can dominate through organic search.
Lead from the top – The company (to the top) needs to understand SEO. It can’t just be considered a function.
- Prioritisation of SEO at a board level
- Synergy between online and offline
- Trusted brand and an authoritative website that delivers
- Strong customer base – 20 million active customers
- Established network of content and creative professionals
- High focus on acquisition
- Growing the digital teams – difficulties involved with scaling recruitment and training
- Too dependent on Google
- Structured markup and the knowledge graph
- Shift from keywords to learning more about customer intent
- Real-time marketing
- Competitors are agile and can move just as quickly
- Changes from Google – The organic SERPs real estate changes/reduces frequently
- Customer behavior
Start with measurable KPIs and objectives.
Do not underestimate the importance of having a winning team. Individual talent is required, but they need to work as part of a team.
Winning teams play by team rules:
- Have common goals
- Everyone is an SEO stakeholder
- Hold each other accountable – Don’t be afraid of conflict
“It’s the people that make the difference” – This needs to be nurtured.
Communication is key. Different situations require input from different stakeholders, but it’s essential that these interactions are defined and maintained.
- …create a compelling strategy
- …deliver technical SEO excellence
- …produce the right content
- …amplify that content
“Content is anything that adds value to the readers life” – Avinash Kaushik, Google
There are two main types of content:
- Content for organic search visibility
- Content to be shared
The third, and ideal type of content is that which fulfills customer queries, but also that our audience loves to read and share.
The quality needs to be “on brand & amazing”.
Invest in creating content over-and-above the norm.
“Optimisation is not just a word”
It’s easy to forget what the ‘optimisation’ in SEO actually means – assets need to be optimised in order to see results.
Influencer marketing – Create a connection to the brand and the customers you’re targeting.
Ongoing one-to-one relationships with influencers are essential. These need to be identified and nurtured.
People & training
“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.” – Peter F. Drucker
MoneySupermarket is putting a lot of emphasis on strengthening skill areas across the board. From insights, through creative and relationship focused skills, to customer services, all are considered important elements in driving SEO forward.
Have a clear mission – Be ambitious, plan towards it, and invest accordingly.
Use any available insights you have to drive strategy and tactics. Optimise for people first, then the search engines.
Teamwork – “SEO’s a team game”
Build and maintain influential relationships
Make lots of small improvements, not just a few big ones. Prioritise tasks which will have the highest impact.