10 Things I Learned at SearchFest
1. 2010 is the Year of Semantics.
It’s time to go beyond the search and think about user’s intent. This involves looking at search history, real-time content possibilities, location, and the user experience. We have a firehose of information streaming at us now. It’s time to think about what to do with it.
2. Written content is still king/queen.
There needs to be enough written content on the home page to attract searches. Photos, and white space are elegant as all get out, and flash is sure fun, but they are empty space to your local search engine. Content should always on meeting web visitors’ needs, not pushing your message.
3. If it’s bad and it’s about you – ignore it.
Reputation Management is best achieved by ignoring bad reviews. If you get a bad review, don’t post comments to counteract it. That will only keep the bad review on top of the search results. Publish good information elsewhere and push that up in results. Use offense, not defense. Be proactive about providing new information to replace the old.
4. Keyword scores don’t count.
Don’t worry about keyword density scores. Focus on answering the user’s eternal question “What’s In It For Me?” Write for visual scannability with meaningful subheads and bold highlights to move the eye along.
5. If Facebook were a country, it’d be the 3rd largest on the planet.
If you or your business is not on Facebook yet, it’s time to join in and stake your claim.
6. Blog at breakfast.
Write when your thoughts are fresh, early in the day. Keep it light and on a topic your readers can understand. Use humor, quizzes, recipes, patterns, crafts, odd topics, frank opinions, share resources and other useful information.
7. Expand your search footprint to raise rankings.
Use subdomains (blog.sirius-media.com) rather than subdirectories (sirius-media.com/blog) to create a larger footprint for your site on search engines and increase ranking.
8. Establish search goals to measure effectiveness.
You need to establish search goals to be able to use search analytics effectively. What are you trying to accomplish on each page of your website? Include calls to action and measure the responses.
9. Take advantage of local business search listings.
Google’s local business listings are very powerful and free, but requires a business signup, not just a website.
10. Embed easy to use information with rich snippets.
Rich snippets are a way to include map information, business card, and calendar files on your website.