Following the huge success of SearchLeeds 2017, the entire search office went back again this year. It was great to chat with other people in the industry and make sure we’re up to date with all things SEO and PPC.
There were 36 talks, so we can’t write about everyone, but we‘ve picked four we think you’ll find useful.
New and under-used AdWords features
There were some great talks about Google AdWords at SearchLeeds. Holly Ellwood gave us a rundown of the latest trends and some under-used features, one of which was the new AdWords interface. We mentioned it in a blog post a year ago, but hardly anyone’s using it yet.
One shocking stat was that 30% of people only have one ad per ad group. Google recommends at least three, as this allows the system to pick the one it thinks will work best for a particular search query.
Other under-used aspects of AdWords include:
- Audiences for text ad campaigns (to increase or decrease bids for people who have visited your site before, for example).
- The Quality Score columns. Improving Quality Score helps get better positions for your ads without increasing bids, so is always worth looking at.
Responsive Search Ads are on the way too. These allow you to write a bunch of headlines and descriptions and Google will mix and match them to create the ads. You get a bit more space, too.
Tips for successful web site migrations
Designing a new web site to replace an existing one might seem daunting, but with proper preparation, there’s plenty of upsides – from improving the look and feel of helping with SEO. You just have to know what the pitfalls are.
A site migration (as it’s known) gives an opportunity to look at the content on the existing site and decide whether you have content that isn’t providing real benefit to users. If a page isn’t generating quality traffic, sales or conversions, is it still relevant and worth keeping? By doing this streamlining, you could end up with a much more efficient site that contains quality content that delivers results.
Steve Chambers gave an interesting talk on site migrations and shared his top tips, one of which was getting everyone involved as early as possible. The SEO team are often left out, and that’s not good. SEO is one of THE most important aspects of a migration and the overall success of the new site is likely to be governed by whether it’s actually still being found by people. We know from experience that getting the SEO team involved in planning redirects, ensuring key content and Analytics tracking is still in place, and transferring meta tags across makes a huge difference.
How to track campaigns effectively
“Without Data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”
- W. Edwards Deming, Data Scientist
We loved this quote at the start of Jill Quick’s talk about tracking campaigns. She spoke about the importance of when creating a campaign, you should know exactly where your traffic is coming from so you can see how profitable or worthy the campaign was, using the metaphor of a bouncer sending partygoers to the right event – you have to make sure your traffic shows up in the right part of Google Analytics.
We often use UTM parameters on links for email campaigns and lots of other things, so we know exactly which website visitors were generated by those campaigns. This is a short piece of code that goes on the end of the address of the landing page and passes information to Google Analytics.
Build your own trackable URLs here.
Google's first mobile index
Something else we wrote about a while back is Google’s Mobile First Index. Well, it’s here, and John Myers was at SearchLeeds with some useful advice.
First things first, you need to ensure your website is mobile friendly using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. John’s next step was to make sure these eight things are consistent across your desktop and mobile sites: content, metadata, markup, hreflang, images, alt attributes, indexing rules and canonical tags. This may not mean much to you, but basically, the code and structure of your site needs to be the same whether you’re on desktop or mobile. The layout can be different, but that’s all. Don’t strip the content down for your mobile site.
The switch is now happening and you may have already been switched over! Keep an eye out for a notification in your Search Console.
If you’re worried your mobile site might not be up to scratch or you need help with Google Analytics, AdWords or a site migration, get in touch!
Want to know more? Get in touch :)