Search Engine Optimization Conference
Let’s Get Digital | Modern Marketers Meet-Up in Iowa City, IA
A large crowd was in attendance for the monthly “Let’s Get Digital” event held at Merge in Iowa City. This month’s topic was Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how it should be part of your digital marketing strategy.
We at Big Ten Data (formerly Big Ten Web Design) can’t resist seeing who truly is versed in SEO vs. the people who are hacks. There tends to be companies in the industry that don’t understand “SEO best practices” (known as Technical SEO that also in our opinion, includes content marketing) which actually helps a website rank higher. Some still use blackhat techniques or are misinformed from reading low-quality articles and mislead their customers without actually showing measurable results of improvement.
Our idea of “Technical SEO” includes:
We love to see who truly knows SEO locally.
Let’s Get Digital is a monthly meet-up for modern marketers in and around the Iowa City area, that is put on by our friends over at Sculpt. The event is hosted each month by Josh Krakauer the CEO of Sculpt. In this video, Josh quickly covers the keywords in Google Search Console that resulted in the Let’s Get Digital page showing up on Search Engine Page Results (SERP).
Please note, we here at Big Ten Data do NOT recommend using Google Analytics for keyword research, due to so many “keywords” being blocked (obviously Josh is versed enough to know this), showing either (not provided) or (not set) under the organic search terms report due to the transition to using an SSL. The best way to see what keywords were used to find your website and pages is by navigating to Google Search Console > Performance > Queries.
According to Sherry Bonelli, she is a top contributor on Search Engineland and owner of Early Bird Marketing.
Like us at Big Ten Data, Tim stays informed on Best Practices / Holistic SEO. He has truly solidified his title of “Senior Digital Marketing Strategist” at Geonetric and within the industry.
For us, he was the star of the show (see one-on-one video below).
Overall knowledgable about content marketing and how it drives organic traffic. He added some nice points about marketing funnels that were truly inspirational.
We took several short videos that are highlighted, along with the full video (provided by Sculpt) below.
The full live recorded stream.
In this video, Tim Lane is contradicting Sherry Bonelli’s comment about how website owners should be optimizing for “voice search” like Alexa, Google Home pod, and Apple HomePod. Yes, Apple’s Siri uses the ever dreaded “Yelp” results but having a listing will help in that arena. However, most users prefer Google’s (handling 3.5 billion searches per day) results over Siri for general searches. We bet you Googled that previous statistic and didn’t use voice search! Tim’s most underrated SEO tip is the utilization of UTM codes (Urchin Tracking Module). They are a great way to track the results of off-site marketing strategies with trackable links in Google Analytics. UTM’s help shed some light on where the “direct traffic” in Google Analytics came from. For us here at Big Ten Data, UTM codes help us track and advise our clients where it is best to spend money on their marketing efforts.
Be sure to use Google’s “Campaign URL Builder — Google Analytics Demos & Tools” to help create a custom UTM.
Although not discussed in this conference, Big Ten Data highly recommends the use of CallRail for call tracking for more cohesive tracking. CallRail adds the functionality of adding unique phone tracking numbers that dynamically change upon the traffiic source, i.e. organic search, paid search, email blasts, etc. Combining UTM & Call tracking can be a powerful tool.
Lane Senior talks about technical SEO. He mentions the importance of many things below:
Then use the data to help you improve your website, content, sales and much more.
Sherry Bonelli talks about Google looking for authority and trustworthiness. She said, “Google doesn’t want to pick a crappy website or crappy content. They want something that is authoritative and something that’s trustworthy. So, if you think you are going to write content for the sake of writing content and rank high, that’s not going to work”. Tyler Hakes calls it “blog and pray”. He goes on to say “creating value” is what is really important.
We couldn’t agree more in regards to creating value. It’s one reason why this blog post is so in-depth and designed to be educational to a wide spectrum of readers, from the business owner to the SEO professional.
As always, we agree with Tim Lane. Utilizing data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console along with any other means of tracking/transparency of data is highly advised.
Josh Krakauer talks about refreshing old blog posts and the SEO benefits to traffic. Refreshing and refining information on old blog posts is definitely a great idea!
Tim Lane recommends having a conversation about goals or expectations. Using Google Tag Manager provides transparency with the client (in dollar amounts), showing data and how the SEO campaign is doing overall.
Tyler Hakes talks about one of his clients’ marketing funnels, in this case, a CRM. He creates relevant content (Content Marketing) to help target upper-funnel keywords that are relevant to your audience and indicate that someone may be looking to purchase a CRM solution in the near future. See his article “SEO for Startups: How Content Marketing Drives Organic Growth”.
Tim talks about doing keyword research and the importance of keeping in mind where the website user is in the marketing funnel to make sure that the user is landing on the appropriate landing page, whether is paid or organic traffic.
He talks about broad search terms for brand awareness and seeing if they have traffic and local search results.
For his average client at Yes Optimist, they are publishing multiple (5 to 12) articles per month, creating content for different stages of the buying process. He mentions “ranking for something at the bottom of the funnel takes longer than ranking at the top of the funnel”.
They try to create a strategy that generates some short term results to fill the acquisition funnel so you can use other strategies like retargeting and things like that to generate leads, signs ups, or sales. While at the same time working on some of the more difficult keywords that will convert more directly into a sale or signup.
My apologies for bobbling the beginning of this quick interview with Tim Lane about Technical SEO.
Some topics covered are page loading speed and getting the pages that are important for SEO to load faster. He mentions the following:
According to Tim, Google isn’t penalizing websites that are loading in three seconds or faster. Also, focus on metadata, human-friendly URL hierarchy. Use MOZ, screaming frog, and ahref tools. He sees a misuse of 301 and 404 errors because both are technically temporary. Switching them to a 302 and a 410 Google stops trying to crawl those URLs and save crawl budget. He believes that other than quality backlinks and really great content, technical SEO provides the biggest SEO boost.
We know talent when we see it! Aaron couldn’t help but take a selfie with the talented Tim Lane, Senior Digital Strategist at Geonetric in Cedar Rapids, IA.
He had several great points during the presentation and during our quick interview. Based on our conversation, the misuse of 301 redirects, when it should be a 302 redirect, is definitely something most people, and even WordPress plugins, aren’t doing correctly.
If there is a misuse of 404 errors, which are considered to be temporary, then the SEO expert should be using a 410 error, which is a way to let the search engine know that the content is gone. These simple changes, let search engines know that these URL’s and the content is no longer associated with your website. This will save “crawl budget”.
Nothing like taking a single photo, with some of the top web marketing experts of Iowa City together. From left to right: Aaron Van Noy of Big Ten Data (formerly Big Ten Web Design), Adam Engle of The Running Robots and William Easton of William Easton Design.
Iowa City has a wealth of talent in the industry and multiple companies often collaborate and work together on projects. We’ve found that working as a team, and focusing on our strengths, delivers high-quality products for our customers, taking our services and our client’s businesses to the next level.
This was an amazing SEO conference put on by Sculpt! It was truly an event designed for the diverse crowd in attendance, from the business owner, to the website designer, all the way to the content marketer, and search engine optimization expert.
It’s great to see Tyler Hakes’s perspective and overall knowledge about content marketing, as well as having the right educational content at the right point in the buying funnel, which is truly a concept that is important to understand. Tyler definitely added some great points to tonight’s content marketing meeting.
It was wonderful to be introduced to Tim Lane and his in-depth knowledge of Technical SEO. It was a refreshing see the wealth of knowledge that Tim, a fellow “SEO expert” possesses.
It is great to see people who understand content writing and technical SEO. Being in a room full of people, who’ve worked in the trenches and seeing collaboration on how to use proven SEO techniques to improve clients results, is always exciting to see. It’s what we enjoy doing here at Big Ten Data for our clients.