458 views 0 comments

Friends of Search 2015: Exclusive Insight From 6 Speakers by @davidiwanow

by on April 8, 2015

On February 19th DDMA IAB Nederland hosted their second annual Friends of Search event in Amsterdam, following a very successful Epic Friends of Search last year. I had a great time, and decided to reach out to some of the speakers for a followup epic event review. This was the biggest search event held in the Netherlands with 350 attendees and sold out a month before the event. It was also very successful on Twitter with over 731 tweets from the attendees using the #FOS15 hashtag which also reinforces the impact of having a simple conference hashtag if you want engagement. There was also 198 awesome photos the DDMA team had taken during the event that you can view here.

Friends of Search

Image Credit: DDMA Dutch Dialogue Marketing Association



The Friends of Search team even produced a fun little event review summary clip with some of the highlights from the FOS15 event, which is also a great teaser for their 2016 event.

There were a number of great speakers and six of them took the time to answer some questions about their session and also topical news such as the recent Google Mobile algorithm update news. The Friends of Search speakers interviewed were:

  • Marcus Tober – SearchMetrics
  • Cindy Krum – MobileMoxie
  • Christoph Cemper – Link Research Tools
  • Richard Baxter – BuiltVisible
  • Hannah Smith – Distilled
  • John Gagnon – Bing Ads

Marcus Tober

Marcus ToberMarcus is the president and CTO of SearchMetrics, one of the leading enterprise level search analytics solutions with a focus on providing marketers better insight on traffic to their website and competitors. Marcus had a great presentation focusing on the idea keywords are the past and the future of search will be concepts, entities, and user-centered topics. He is also a well respected speaker and delivered smart, fun, and informative presentation. If you want to engage on social media you can find Marcus on Twitter and Linkedin. You can also ping @Searchmetrics account for product related questions.

1) How did you find the crowd at FOS15?

I liked the whole atmosphere and location very much. People were very outgoing and got in touch. I also liked the open minded attitude of the crowd and of course, Amsterdam is an absolutely outstanding and beautiful city.

2) Was there anything that surprised you about FOS15?

Actually, I wasn’t aware that FOS is so big already.

3) What other speakers session did you catch?

It is very hard to highlight just one or two speakers because of the great speaker lineup. Of course Michael Kings’ keynote was outstanding, also Mary Ann Sweeney and Lisa Myers’ presentation. But seriously, the quality was so high that I should have to highlight all sessions I attended.

4) Your talk covered the death of the keyword, what is next?

The keyword losing relevance in regards to ranking and optimization is nothing really new or surprising. But you need to look at all the recent developments together to get an idea of the whole concept behind. Google is putting topics over single keywords. Relevance over everything. Now they are starting to put Mobile over Desktop. I think this is the current big thing. Just a few days ago, Google announced they are considering ranking sites on facts, not on popularity. And when you dig deeper on these thoughts, you inevitably end up considering linkless rankings. Popularity on the internet is strongly connected to links – other things like social signals too, but first and foremost links. So maybe this will be the next big thing.

5) Which companies do you think are progressing beyond the idea of the keyword?

There are several good companies that kept track of recent developments and because of their ability to adapt, they are ahead of their competition. But there are still too many examples of marketers stuck with SEO from 2005. I want to contribute my share to change this.

6) How are Searchmetrics insights adapting to a mobile lead world?

For the last few years, we have gathered mobile data. That’s why we already have a considerable background of (historic) mobile big data to base analyses on. In the Searchmetrics Suite, users are able to track their mobile performance because we have included, for example, smartphone and tablet user agents already at the begin of last year.

Furthermore, we provide rankings for a huge amount of local cities all over the world. Not to forget the Content Optimization. Be aware that mobile search results are very different from desktop results. We have seen differences up to more than 40 % on a URL basis. That’s because user intention varies depending on the device used to perform a query. This is why you have to be equipped with different strategies and different content for mobile and desktop. When performing a Content Optimization with the Searchmetrics Suite, you can also chose a mobile user agent. And we are already working on further developments. We will have some big surprises for our customers in this year.

7) Google’s Gary Illyes announced Google has plans for a separate mobile index and is already working on it. Are you surprised?

It is a little surprising that Google is taking things so seriously. But given the findings of some of our analysis showing the partially strong difference between mobile and desktop SERPs, it seems at least comprehensible that they are considering this. I’m looking forward to changes like these because this is what makes my work and my passion of search so wonderful.

8) Google just announced an official mobile ranking algorithm. Were you surprised to hear that mobile is now a thing?

Not really. I don’t think anyone who kept track of recent developments in search is surprised by mobile now being a thing. But what is surprising is Google’s approach to openly communicate both the fact mobile becoming a very important ranking factor and a specific date – the 21st of April. This surprised me.

9) The big wild card is App-Indexing. Have you had a chance to look into it yet? What are your initial thoughts on risk, benefits and the future with apps?

We have an eye on that, too. Indexing App content is a very interesting development because you get access to information that used to belong to another ecosystem exclusively. I hope we can publish some findings on that soon.

You can see the interview recorded with Marcus at FOS15 below.

Cindy Krum

Cindy KrumCindy Krum has continued to stay ahead in the mobile space with her agency MobileMoxie, Cindy is one of those unique marketers who still focuses on one thing and does that one thing extremely well. Since 2008 she has remained a pioneer in mobile marketing and is considered one of the leading experts on mobile strategies, apps, and mobile websites. Cindy presented her session just one week before Google announced two algorithm updates focusing on increasing visibility for mobile apps and mobile friendly websites. Cindy’s presentation was certainly impressive and I was luckily able to ask her some more specific questions about the Google algorithm update. If you want to engage on social media you can find Cindy on Facebook and Twitter.

1) How did you find the crowd at FOS15?

I was really happy I had the opportunity to speak at FOS15. I thought the attendees seemed very engaged and enthusiastic. It seemed like they were really paying attention, so that was great!

2) Was there anything that surprised you about FOS15?

I loved seeing Mike’s opening keynote. I thought he did a good job of describing the future of the industry and also teeing up all the topics that would be covered later in the day.

3) What other speakers session did you catch?

I saw Ian Laurie from Portent speak. I have heard his name for years, but never actually met him or seen him speak, so it was a pleasure to finally do both. I also loved seeing Marcus Tobler from Search Metrics speak – he always has fantastic data and insights. I was also thrilled to hear Marianne Sweeny from Daedalus speak. I had never met her, but she was really great, and very entertaining.

4) Do you think people finally starting to take mobile seriously?

Yes, I think Google’s recent algorithm shifts are forcing people to take mobile seriously, so I am very happy to see that.

5) Google’s Gary Illyes announced Google has plans for a separate mobile index and is already working on it. Are you surprised?

This is not a surprise at all. I think the method they were using, with one index for mobile and desktop was probably just too inefficient from a technical standpoint, and possibly game-able, since the desktop indexed content seemed to be trumping the mobile content most of the time. Webmasters could potentially put very different content on the mobile pages the desktop was redirecting to, and not get caught. My guess is the point of the mobile index is so they can compare the cached pages to the desktop versions of the page, to make sure that no one is trying to get away with anything sneaky.

6) Google just announced an official mobile ranking algorithm. Were you surprised to hear that mobile is now a thing?

Ha! Mobile has been ‘a thing’ for a long time, but it is great to see the mobile search experience is getting so much love and attention from the Google algorithms recently. I would love it if we could get more transparency about what is happening with the blurring of the lines between Google’s different data sources – it seems like Google Now, Google Search, and Google Maps could easily be the same product soon. I would love to hear if that is the direction the company is planning on going.

7) The big wild card is App-Indexing. Have you had a chance to look into it yet? What are your initial thoughts on risk, benefits, and the future with apps?

I think app indexing is great, but the problem is I think it encourages webmasters to develop useless apps. What Google is saying is you should deep link elements in your app to the corresponding elements on your mobile site. I generally tell people they should not develop an app that will be a functional replacement of the site – it should do something different, above and beyond what the website can do. To me, the instructions to make apps that have screens that match up to the content on your mobile friendly site will be a bad waste of money. I think deep linking is a good thing, but also Google will eventually be forced to back off this implied one-to-one relationship between the apps and the websites.

8) What companies do you think are doing App Store Optimisation really well? Any good resources if you want to learn more?

There is a lot of great stuff happening with Tune – aka MobileDevHQ and MobileAppTracking/HasOffers. I also love the data that AppAnnie puts out!

9) What do you think might be the next thing in mobile? Better Personalisation? Better Local? Better…?

I think Google Now and predicative search results will become more mainstream – Like your own personal Knowledge Graph. As mentioned above, I also think Google Now, Google Search, and Google Maps should just merge already! If Google can sort out the problems with interactions of multiple Google Accounts in Android, and crawl non-Gmail accounts for items to be included in Google Now, they will be pretty unstoppable.

10) What is the one thing that people keep doing wrong with mobile?

There are lots of big companies that mobilize only the parts of the site where they make money, like product and category pages, but not Help pages or sometimes even location pages, all of which are generally more in demand for mobile users than they are for desktop users .

11) Who is the next leader in mobile? Facebook? Twitter? Bing? Yahoo?

I think deep linking and app indexing are the new hot topics. Google Now can integrate with apps, and having a deep-linked app is now a positive mobile ranking signal for your site, so I think we are about to see a huge flurry of people focusing on apps, ASO and techniques for driving mobile SEO and discovery with apps. Also, things like Spotlight Search from Apple are helping surface apps in new and different ways.

I think the next big leader in mobile might be Google Play, if they can get it together in terms of filtering out bad, spammy and broken apps for users. They have so much great content, above and beyond apps, but the bad app experiences that people have mar the whole thing. We are also seeing a big boom in music consumption options, cloud-storage of music, and music subscription models. People are getting pulled away from iTunes, even on iOS devices, so that may be another new battle ground for mobile eyes and attention.

12) What is the future of mobile payments?

This is another one where I think the Android platform has a great chance to get this right, and integrate it well with Google Now and deep linking in apps. If I could pay for an Uber with my Google Wallet, and maybe then they send me a spreadsheet for my accountant or expense reporting, why wouldn’t I do that? They just have to make it easy for people to use.

I think there is also a great opportunity to use Google Wallet as a cash replacement between friends. If I pick up a dinner or a cab ride, and a friend wants to split the bill, they could use their phone to send me money in Google Wallet. There are some apps that are very popular with the younger generation, that do this really well, but I think Google could take it to the next level. (Venmo, SquareCash, etc).

You can also watch the interview recorded with her at Friends of Search below.

Related Posts

SEJ-Summit-Chicago8 Pieces of Search and Social Insight From #SEJSummit Chicago Speakers12676909595_ddd04619b2_zEpic Friends of Search 2014 Conference ReviewExclusive: BloomReach Gets Linked With Demandware IntegrationExclusive: BloomReach Gets ‘Linked’ With Demandware Integrationsmartphone-586903_1280Facebook Introduces New App for Creating Videos with Friends

David IwanowDavid IwanowDavid IwanowDavid IwanowDavid IwanowDavid Iwanow

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SearchEngineJournal/~3/PcKnfXW83_c/

Be the first to comment!
Leave a reply »


Leave a Response