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Learnings from SMX Advanced: June 1-4

Search Strategy Lead

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Each year the best and brightest in Search Marketing congregate in Seattle to discuss the latest updates direct from the search engines, and tactics and strategies in paid and organic search marketing by industry veterans and innovative newcomers. From this, search marketers get their marching orders:

This, the first in a series of blog posts that will report on learnings from SMX Advanced, focuses on:

What’s New in Ranking Factors: 2015 edition

This has been a year of re-engineering search engine algorithms, specifically Google. Ranking Factors are moving more towards supporting user experience and less on the levers that traditionally have been more easily manipulated.

Most notable has been the addition of the mobile-friendly rankings factor (known as Mobilegeddon), but there are tactics taking on increased importance, others losing relevance, and some to watch closely for future prominence.

Because we will never know the secret sauce to search engine algorithms, Search Marketers spend a lot of time testing known factors for importance, and hypothesizing new factors. In this session, industry leaders, Moz and Searchmetrics, presented results of correlation studies on rankings factors (see links below to previous studies). These new studies will be published later this summer, but here’s a peek at the important findings:

Top 5 Take-Aways

APPS are the new web sites

Customers are starting to define content differently. As more Search moves to mobile, the importance of app content – and making it discoverable in app search – must be increasingly on SE Marketers radar. App indexing is now a direct rankings factor.

Semantic searching is HERE

Including keywords in the title tag and anchor text will not guarantee rankings. Think instead of semantic content optimization and focus on consumer intent, not keywords. Answer the questions your consumer has. Focus pages around topics/themes and increase the amount of content around these themes for rankings success.

Focus your MOBILE SEO efforts

Page load speed is critical in mobile. If you do only one thing, focus there. Conversely, don’t spend a lot of time on either internal or external links – these are far less important in a smartphone environment.

Links STILL matter

Every year we seem to re-evaluate the importance of links in the rankings factors. It is highly unlikely a web page would ever rank on any competitive keyword phrase without having in-bound links pointing at it. Anchor text should use variations of the keyword theme of the page, rather than be an exact match.

RICH answers are the new SEO opportunity

Google now provides “rich answers” for over 19% of search results – these are direct answers to search queries, delivered on the search engine results page. Finding ways to increase the likelihood of being chosen by Google as the “right” answer will surface your listing to the top of the organic results, and increase traffic associated with the query. A more detailed blog post will follow shortly on this topic.

As you focus your SEO strategy for 2015 remember the above, but don’t forget the basics:

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More About the Author

Sharon Virtue

Sharon comes to Klick armed with fifteen years of designing and executing best practice, long term SEM strategies (both SEO and Paid Search) for Fortune 500 clients & large enterprises that include Microsoft, Business Objects, Nikon and Vonage. As Search Strategy Lead, Sharon navigates the Google-centric waters to ensure that Klick clients achieve maximum visibility in the search results.

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