SEMCON 2013: SEO is not dead, and content is still king

MANILA - October 30, 2013 - Is SEO dead? Not at all, as participants learned at the 7th Search Engine Marketing Conference 2013. 

 
"It's obviously not true, because someone is ranking at the top," said Clayton Wood, Managing Director of TrueLogic Solutions. Day one of SEMCON kicked off withWood's session on how great content leads to visibility.
 
"Link building isn't going anywhere. It's just changed," said Wood, who shared tips for creating content strategy to get links and increase visits. Wood said to start with goals, and define targets. "Stop building links and start earning them," he said.
 
According to Wood, social engagement can be achieved through a giveaway or contest, which doesn't necessarily have to be expensive. Meanwhile, sites should be restructured according to the visitor's needs. "Take them down a path that ends in buying," Wood said.
 
When it comes to getting content published with links, Wood said that social is the new link building. "Be relevant. Be intriguing. Be smart. Be in the right place, at the right time," Wood said, sharing the principles of good content.
 
Following Wood's talk, Daniel Turner, co-founder of Mercurian Media, gave a talk on conversion science. Turner discussed why conversion matters, as well as what tools should be used. "Every customer you acquire now is of value to you in the future," Turner said. "Start the conversion process by fixing your weaknesses and improving your strengths," said Turner, who also shared seven conversion hacks.
 
Meanwhile, SEO strategist Richard Greenwood shared ideas and methods for earning links. Greenwood, SEO strategist at Dejan SEO, said funny, controversial, or extremely useful content results in shares and links. 
 
PR and media are also very relevant to earning high quality links, Greenwood said. 
 
In the afternoon session, Google Philippines account strategist Tria Unson gave a talk on high-impact search campaigns with Adwords. In building your search strategy, Unson said it's very important to step back and look at the consumer journey. "Marry your website architecture with the consumer journey you have planned for your customer," Unson said. 
 
Meanwhile, WishList Products lead developer Mike Lopez gave a talk on next generation site architecture. "Every website now has to be responsive. A responsive design is about creating one site to rule them all," Lopez said. According to Lopez, sites must have speed as well as engagement. "Sites nowadays are all about interaction. It's no longer just an online catalog," he said, noting that a lot of local sites are still stuck in 2002.
 
Following Lopez, EasyTaxi Vice President Paul Malicki gave a talk on leveraging mobile app discovery. Malicki's advice was to start with marketing objectives, both for direct response and branding.
 
Malicki said PR is not dead. "Focus on the big channels, but don't underestimate the bloggers," he said. When it comes to social media, Malicki said "emotional content triggers virality." In the end, he said the only right approach is a holistic approach. "Never be afraid to try something new," he said. 
 
Day one ended with All Famous Digital CEO Robin Leonard's talk on SEO Strategy and The Hummingbird Effect, in which he discussed what has been called Google's biggest algorithmic change in 12 years.
 
Leonard's top takeaways included the following:
  • Don't stop doing what you're doing.
  • Make sure your site is mobile optimised.
  • Get into Google+ and Google authorship.
  • Revisit your content strategy and ask 'Am I asking the right questions?'
  • Being human is a long-term strategy, not a campaign or a fix.
 
SEMCON 2013 was held on October 30 to 31 at Hotel Intercontinental in Makati City. For more information, visit www.fmi.com.ph/semcon