iGB Live! Online: Day one round-up

15 July 2020

The first day of iGB Live! Online saw attendees listen to a host of digital marketing experts discuss best practice and SEO innovation.

The day began with keynote speaker and digital marketing superstar Neil Patel discuss how to win the ‘Google wars’, sharing six hacks with delegates to improve their search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts.

This session saw Patel highlight a number of ways to leverage content more effectively, such as by constantly tweaking pieces over a month to ensure it remains evergreen. He also picked out lesser-known elements such as YouTube SEO, as part of a broader drive to take effort omni-channel. A full recap of that session is available here.

"The humble click"
Next came Izzi Smith, a technical SEO analyst from Munich-based marketing software specialist Ryte.

Smith’s session was focused around helping SEO specialists make most of their time. She explained that while marketers were working harder than ever to deliver the best possible results in uncertain times, this could mean they lose sight of the most valuable key performance indicators.

“What it all boils down to, that’s the humble click,” she said.

Smith recommended Google Search Console as the way to access the data needed to analyse performance, though this would have to be supported by dashboards to analyse and scale the data gathered.

“It doesn’t matter which tool you are using as long as you are using Google Search Console to analyse your performance,” Smith explained. “Only on Console can you see what really happens; it’s your data - it’s free and reliable.”

However she warned marketers to use this wisely, and not get lost in misleading clickthrough rates, or average ranking positions. If time is precious, it has to be used wisely, Smith said.

Therefore she picked out four patterns to monitor, starting with performance-based Google Core updates. This would allow marketers to analyse underperformance, and whether clicks declined over time or in one fell swoop as a result of an update.

Second, Smith continued, it was crucial to identify and exclude irrelevant rankings to ensure marketers get meaningful clicks from each keyword. Additional steps could be taken through the third tip, SERP enrichment potential mining, such as using direct answers to queries for use in featured snippets.

Finally Smith recommended identifying Google’s top ten tests, to identify and take action for underperforming keywords, and ultimately prove a site’s worth to Google, to remain high in the rankings.

“Not all lost links are really lost"
SEO consultant Julia Logan (pictured) followed, highlighting the importance of quality links. She explained that regular link audits would allow marketers to keep on top of any links that could be lost, and recommended using multiple data sources, as each employs different methodologies to identify and report links.

“Not all lost links are really lost,” she added.

Logan explained that blocking technology could make solutions such as AHRefs or Majestic believe a link had been lost, or that changes in the source or target URL, or to anchor text, could cause it to log the updated link as new, and class the previous as lost.

She also pointed out that moving links - where an article posted moved off a site homepage or further down a page as new content was published - are often marked as lost when they have just moved.

But if a link truly is lost, Logan advised listeners to make sure it actually needed to be recovered. If a page was no longer live, it could be a case of changing to the new URL, which would mean no value would be lost. Links from scraper sites, she added, did not need to be recovered.

“[They] don’t add any value to your site, and tend to get lost. Scraper sites get thrown out of the index quite a lot and get lost. No one is going to renew those sites.”

Those that are lost through being removed could be something to contact a site owner about, and dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

"You could take Google with a pinch of salt"
Finally, in a session titled 'The definition of quality-driven SEO in igaming', Martin Calvert, marketing director at ICS digital discussed how affiliates and operators can build and protect their search rankings by ensuring they deliver a quality experience for users.

Calvert said that while Google has warned of negative consequences for “dirty tricks” such as keyword stuffing or low-quality link-building for some time, now those who wish to maintain a high ranking must take these warnings much more seriously.

“Ten years ago Google was talking about doing the right thing. They said, ‘Don’t do anything naughty’ but we all knew we could do some naughty things,” Calvert said. “You could take Google with a pinch of salt.
“Now though, I think we have to actually listen more completely to Google on these things.”

Calvert said that now, building expertise, authority and trust are more important than ever.

“That’s something that can be reflected in your content,” Calvert said. “It’s about the depth you go into, how you back up your statements, how you can show you’re actually writing for human beings. And that doesn’t just apply to academic writing: It applies to casino reviews, it applies to match previews, it applies to betting tips.”

Calvert added that the quality of site experience was also a major factor in how Google determines if a site is quality.

“When you’re on a gaming website there are multiple steps you go through to learn about a game or look at odds,” he explained. “If the experience is slow, if it’s painful, if it can’t be done on a wonky 3G connection, it’s going to push customers away, but now it’s also going to hurt your SEO.”

However, this focus did not mean links were obsolete, he was quick to add.

“Links are fundamental to how Google discovers sites in the first place and fundamental to how it determines quality,” Calvert said. “Google cannot pick up upon what’s a purchased link and a non-purchased link, it just recognises whether a link is quality. “

The first day of iGB Live! Online content is available to watch on demand, and users can also sign up for today's (16 July) sessions here

Remember, the physical event is coming up, taking place at the RAI in Amsterdam, from 22 to 25 September. Click here for more details.