Eight Meetup groups of marketing professionals from the New York area plan to attend the SES New York networking reception on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, for a collaborative get-together with SES attendees, speakers, and exhibitors.
This will be the first time that this many Meetup groups of marketing professionals, brand advertisers, agencies, and business leaders from the New York metropolitan area have converged at one industry networking event.
Here are the Meetup groups that will be converging on SES New York:
- New York Internet Marketers
- New York SEO/SEM Meetup Group
- ¡The Online Marketing Group! of Stamford, CT
- New York SEO Meetup Group
- Manhattan SEO
- New York Women in Search (SEO/SEM)
- AB Testing and Website Optimization
- New York Content Marketing Group
Search Engine Watch (SEW) asked the organizers of these Meetup groups five questions about hot industry topics and here are the answers that Gregory Cox (GC), David Burgess (DB), Caroline Lyons (CL), David Torchiano (DT), and Derk Doijer (DD) shared with the SES community.
Content Marketing & SEO
SEW: Content marketing: SEO messiah or false prophet?
GC: Still rockin'. Still one of the greatest ways to gain a potential buyer's – especially a repeat buyer's – ultimate trust and dollars is to write something that's super-useful to them in making decisions about what to buy.
DB: The concept of anything being the savior to a thriving industry is flawed. The creation of content in whatever form, be it books, music, images, video, apps or games for the purposes of marketing and increasing your exposure, profits and brand is far from a new one.
Johannes Gutenberg developed his printing press around 1450. Content has been produced for exactly the same reasons for those hundreds of years ever since. The aim of producing the content is to gain the attention, interest and to educate a particular demographic.
Misguided, ill-thought and poorly targeted content has always been destined for obscurity. Nothing has change today besides the screw press being replaced with the app store and the paper boy by Tweetdeck. The false prophet? Teaching the same dog, the same trick but calling it a "mobility enhancement".
CL: Neither. Content marketing likely won't make or break your SEO strategy, but I do think it can be extremely valuable, especially from a CRO and customer retention perspective. As long as you're creating quality content that people are actually looking for, you're doing something worthwhile.
DT: I generally try to stay away from labeling something the end all, be all, but if I had to make a choice I think it would be more about messiah than false prophet. As site visitors become more sophisticated they are going to look past (and flat out ignore) content for content sake.
Business will need to justify their existence with thoughtful content that engages the user (and stands out from the competition). From a business perspective this content should be aligned with the main value and principles of the company to ensure that the content that is being created is attracting the right type of visitor.
DD: Neither messiah nor false prophet, but when done correctly, the loaves and fishes that replenish effortlessly to feed the hungry minds of your customers. When you give your customers the answers they are looking for, they will convert and proselytize for you.
SEW: How important is it to determine ROI on content and SEO efforts?
GC: To the point you know where to put your money with confidence and statistical backing. We build statistical backing, and see how that builds our clients' confidence. The more you understand ROI, the better you can calculate your future in business.
DB: Are you evaluating the cost benefit of implementing canonical tags or H1's sitewide? Projecting the increase in organic, non-brand traffic year over year? Estimating the projected revenue lost from server downtime to justify the modification in server configuration for a 503?
If you're all nodding, then you may well be working in enterprise SEO where C-level management demand a number, normally in $$'s to justify every action. As business gets smarter, processes get sleeker and competition becomes even fiercer.
SEO developments rightly have to be assessed in relation to the bottom line. It's not a truly exact science but unless you're confident in addressing ROI, the CFO will smell the fear and your proposal won't long be out of the recycling.
CL: ROI is very important, unfortunately for most organic efforts it is also very difficult to determine. At least a rough correlation between the time/resources put into a project and the results of the project will help keep your marketing efforts on track. No one wants to waste time on a project that's actually losing money!
DT: I think it's extremely important to determine the ROI on content generation. How else can a business tell if it's doing something correctly? The challenge is understanding the true value of the content. Don't expect the content to drive overall sales of a product/service but it should be able to increase return visits, pageviews per visitor, and other engagement type metrics.
SocketAnalytics automatically tracks meta data from a webpage that can be used to analyze visits to specific type of content and how that content is impacting overall revenue generation for your website. This is the type of approach that I think can be used for most websites that have sufficient resources in content marketing.
I would also recommend thinking of how this type of analysis can be incorporated into an A/B test to further explore the ROI of the content (it might be the design of the page and not the content that is impacting revenue).
DD: Extremely helpful – the question is how. There are so many stats to look at: traffic increases, conversions, increased rankings. Each company should define their goals for their content marketing efforts, track and adjust content to meet those goals.
SEW: Link building: dead or evolving?
GC: I have never paid attention to link building much... create something that someone wants to share, and then repeat that over and over again. It's a flywheel, man....
DB: Link building has always been evolving for the last 8+ years. Just a selection includes:
- Blog networks
- Sidebars / footer links
- Blog rolls
- Forum spam
- Private link networks
- Press release syndication
- Guest blogging
- + many more
Unsurprisingly, akin to every Indian summer these all ended in a cold, gloomy winter ... or a manual penalty.
Links are still fundamental and the most important ranking factor therefore your website and content still need them. Link building is far from dead.
Google has done well at scaring webmasters to linking out fairly to other websites. Press websites refuse to link out, even to accredited sources and webmasters nofollow links in case they "leak PageRank" or link to a "bad neighborhood". Now that quality links have become even harder to obtain they will be rewarded with greater value.
Obviously, social signals are playing an increasing role and are important in developing a natural profile but for now at least, we see the competition for links as the force majeure. That said however, size does matter. A bigger backlink profile is not necessarily the best.
CL: Evolving. Link building has long been an essential part of SEO and it's unlikely that the value of links will be dropping dramatically any time soon. Like all SEO factors, as the algorithm evolves, so should our strategies.
DD: Constantly evolving. We continually find new link building strategies, and then start to abuse them. When the abuse becomes too obvious, Google is forced to take measures. Until the industry finds a way to scale quality links, this cycle will continue.
AdWords Enhanced Campaigns
SEW: How about them AdWords Enhanced Campaigns?
GC: I think of it from another perspective... which is how analytics will be refined in relationship to PPC in the overall Google model. Sure, AdWords is enhancing their ability to gain marketshare through serving successfully to multiple types of devices – smartphones, tablet, or laptop/desktop. But also, their ability to measure its success is increasing.
Facebook Graph Search
SEW: Are you taking advantage of Facebook Graph search opportunities?
DB: Facebook Graph represents one more important reason for local businesses to spend time carefully thinking about how they can build a community of passionate customers online. More and more buying, dinner-date, and "things-to-do" decisions will be made within social networks where they can leverage their friends' recommendations or find out what is trending around them.
Facebook Graph still needs to figure out its mobile app integration and how to move out from under its current overlooked location in the page header. Businesses need to ensure they have fully completed and enticing pages. They need to connect with their customers, especially through images, events, deals, exclusive information, listening and CRM.
What's our opinion? Businesses at all levels should concentrate on best-in-class customer service and creating positive experiences both in real life and in their social platforms.
SES New York Starts Tomorrow
SES New York 2013 offers a variety of conference passes and on-site training. For more information, click on rates and registration details. Group discounts for 4 or more pass holders from the same company are also available by contacting [email protected] and are the best value for the lowest price possible.
I should disclose that SES New York is a client of my agency. But, trust me; you won't want to miss the SES New York networking reception on Tuesday, March 26, 2013.
If you're on the way to New York City or already here getting ready for the conference to kick off, below are some more previews and guides to help you make the most of your conference experience. You can also follow coverage of SES New York on Twitter via the #SESNY hashtag.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!