Here’s a quick blog update on some of the most interesting talks, topics, and themes at the SMX East show in New York City (October 24-26, 2017). It’s one of the best SEO conferences, if not THE best with both an East Coast and West Coast venue.
Here’s my Day #1 update – October 24, 2017.
Silos for SEO
SEO guru Bruce Clay gave a down-to-the-details talk about ‘Silos for SEO.’ His basic point was to conceptualize your website as a hierachy, so for example, you’d have:
Cars > Makes > Models > Years
Cars > Chevy > Tahoe > 2017
And you’d put these hierarchical elements into deployment at the directory and content level. You’d have a clear home page with “one click” links to the higher level landing pages, and then various “sub” pages that would live in them. He made a distinction between “link sculpting” (just putting links around your target keyword phrases (hopefully in an organized way) and “siloing” (being very, very organized in terms of the actual hierarchy at a directory and/or navigation level). He also advocated that a succesful and very focused silo strategy could have as much, or even more, impact on your SERP ranks than pure link-building.
So go out there and get organized!
Amazon, Amazon, Amazon
A second theme at SMX is everything Amazon. It seems that more and more vendors have discovered how important Amazon is as a “search engine” for products. I think some of this has also occurred as Amazon has “gobbled up” the retail sector, and online eCommmerce and brought more and more vendors into its monopolistic impact on online sales. So the SEO community (and SEM / advertising community) is “discovering” the importance of Amazon, just as Amazon is rolling out new advertising opportunities. Thus the Amazon team made its debut at SMX and pitched its new Amazon advertising opportunities.
Related to this was some discussion of “visual search” being rolled out by both Pinterest and Google, allowing a customer who has something visual (like a dress or a tie) to do a visual search and find the product online. Thus a subtheme was Pinterest – it’s trying to position itself as THE visual search engine for retail. Whether it will work vis-a-vis Google remains very much to be seen.
Content Gap Analysis
Several presenters alluded to doing a “content gap analysis,” which means these steps:
- Identify your target keyword queries and your rank on Google for them.
- Browse the sites that outrank you, especially of course, those sites that are in the top three positions.
- View source, and inspect their content especially vs. your target keyword queries and related search terms. The point here is to find, identify, and replicate these terms “from” their pages “to” your pages.
At the same time, of course, you’d look at the link footprint into their pages v.s your pages, and you’d look at Google autocomplete and Google related searches. ALl of this gets to “semantic search,” “voice search,” or even “machine learning.” This is the idea that Google is getting “smarter” vis-a-vis content / text and better able to understand the meaning, looking for related terms on a page and for natural speech. In summary, doing a “content gap analysis” is really one component of the greater move towards creating better content that speaks both to humans and to Google.
All of this leads to what’s going on today – Day #2, October 25, 2017 – with lots of discussing on ‘featured snippets’ and how Google is using “artificial intelligence” to populate these featured snippet answer boxes. So stay tuned!