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September 29, 2015

SMX Liveblog: Evening Forum With Danny Sullivan

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No format, no PowerPoint, just questions from the SMX East audience to the founding editor of Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan).

Google announced universal app campaigns and customer maps.

Google could have done this sort of thing ages ago, and they haven’t. So, now that everyone else is doing it, no one’s going to point to Google and say they shouldn’t be taking first-party data. The real question after this is: When will you allow the targeting of people on their search histories for ads across the web?

Danny Sullivan speaking

Danny Sullivan at SMX East

You can create similar audiences based on an email list and based on visitors to your site (logged in or cookied).

Internet addresses running out of IP 4 addresses.

We’re moving to IP 6 now. Webmasters have had enough warning to get ready for it.

Should SEOs transition to being digital marketers?

Are you struggling with being a search marketer when “SEO is dead”? As long as there’s someone to own social and paid, then be the SEO! Someone needs to own the expertise.

Should we optimize for Bing? Yandex? Baidu?

For Baidu, they’re targeting marketers who can sell products.

A year ago you said Google+ was important for SEO. How do you feel about that now?

I would still say you should have a valid Google+ account for SEO. You still see content on Google+ posts outranking original content on a website. I’m looking forward to the day when I can say no. There’s no doubt the advantages have become less. Now all I can tell you is that you can get a ranking boost; of course, that’s the core of SEO. But, I wouldn’t invest a huge amount of time being social on Google+. I wouldn’t do a Hangout there. (!)

Does it change at all for Google My Business and Google+? In the case of local businesses, is Google+ not dead?

Let’s call it Google Maps. I told Google, “When are you going to pull Google+ Local back into Google Local?” Their answer was, “Aren’t we doing that already?” They didn’t internally understand the connection between Google Maps, local and Google+.

How should people address Twitter marketing?

Twitter statistics are useful. You have to tweet a lot. I’ll tweet a story when it publishes and tweet again the next morning. I can tweet the same thing four times in the next day or two and people aren’t going to be seeing it multiple times, but rather maybe a chunk of people will see it one of those times.

It looks like a divorce between Bing and Yahoo. What’s really happening?

Ginny (Marvin, of Search Engine Land) plugs a session called “Ask the Search Engines: All Your Questions Answered.” Bing and Yahoo are having a conscious uncoupling. Divorce is a harsh word — so 21st century. Marissa Mayer came in and saw an opportunity in mobile. Under the new agreement, 49 percent of desktop Yahoo searches can be served by Gemini. What’s going on is Yahoo trying to get back to the ad revenue in search. I think it was a hard negotiated battle on both fronts there. I expect that at the end of five years, we’ll see a full separation.

Danny: No one thought mobile was big when the deal was first signed, and so that’s how Marissa saw the opportunity. What they’re saying by way of explanation is that there was so much potential and opportunity for Yahoo that they didn’t put it in the contract in order to see where it grew.

Will there be a rise of negative SEO, and should there be more defensive SEO strategy?

The best defensive strategy is — get ready to groan — have great content. Two or three years ago, there was a negative SEO freak out along with Penguin. The reality is that it’s not an issue for most people.

What’s the latest on dynamic search ads (DSA) and where are they going?

Ginny thinks they’re going to grow. There’s always a job in negative keywords. You still have to manage a campaign. You still have to know who you’re targeting and understand what your bid strategies are.

Will marketers be drawn to the product as it improves? Absolutely. As targeting improves and performance improves as machine learning improves, it will become more intuitive for marketers to know how to implement it. It won’t be the end of keywords. In some measure, we may not buy keywords the same way, but she doesn’t think keywords are going away. Ultimately, Google’s goal is that the advertiser gives them their KPI and they’ll make it work. That’s a few years away. Keywords aren’t going to be informing that automation.

With the Internet of things (IOT) growing at a fast pace, how can we prepare?

Danny does a presentation of trends in search and he talks about how search is changing with wearables. If he goes to a new city, Foursquare pops up and says, I see you’re in a new city. Try out this restaurant. He didn’t do a search on Google. You literally can’t type into it so you’re telling it things.

Years ago he said that a search marketer isn’t someone who gets you ranked in Google. A search marketer understands how someone finds your information and figures out how to get you displayed. Pay attention to the Apple Watch, Android Wear, and don’t spend too much time worrying about the Pebble.

How can you promote SEO internally?

If you’re at a company that thinks you should do SEO first, then you’re lucky. Tomorrow is the Landy Awards and there’s a cross-channel category that highlights the value of SEO from the beginning. Look at the case studies you can present to people. Look at past mistakes that you can point to and say, this would have been easier if SEO were involved in the beginning. After the Landy Awards, we’re hoping to write up a lot of the winners. People are doing amazing things with fantastic returns.

As a hotel chain, we’ve experienced a challenge with Google increasing CPCs with brand searches. Has anyone had a similar issue?

Tad Miller says check out RKGs report. We’re seeing 200 to 300 percent increases in brand keywords with 10/10 quality score. There’s a 50–60 percent incremental lift in traffic and conversions and a 25 percent increase in organic search click-through. So you can’t just not do paid search for brand keywords.

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