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Friday, June 30, 2017

Top 5 SEO Takeaways from MnSearch Summit 2017



Last Friday, hundreds of marketing and business professionals from across the Midwest met up for MnSearch Summit — a groundbreaking digital marketing conference held in the Twin Cities. The annual summit consists of stimulating speeches that are ablaze with innovative digital strategies from some of the nation’s top industry leaders.

2017 was no different. There was swag. There was stimulating conversation. There was a tasty breakfast bar. And, of course, there was a plethora of digital marketing knowledge at our fingertips.

While speakers covered everything from social media to PPC, we found the SEO insights especially exciting.

Here are our top 5 SEO takeaways from MnSearch Summit 2017.

1. Analyze Your SERPs

SERPs (search engine result pages) can be used as a window into Google’s inner workings — giving you a better sense of what the search giant sees as the intent behind your potential consumer’s queries. While maintaining a strong organic search presence is still essential, the Summit hit home the importance of ensuring that your strategy encompasses all of the different types of results that end up on Google’s first page, not just traditional organic listings.

Along with the more traditional organic results, most SERPs contain a selection of categorized search results, including images, shopping boxes, knowledge panels, answer boxes, “people also ask” accordion boxes, and more. With advanced SEO tools and systems, we can analyze these SERPs to determine the rate at which these various results populate in Google. When you know what results are being displayed for different types of keywords, you can format your content or add different types of content so that you provide the exact information Google wants to provide users.

This is important because if, for instance, Google determines that your content is especially relevant to users’ questions, they can pull your content into a knowledge panel in the SERP. That’s a huge win.

2. Have Fun Experimenting

SEO is never boring. It’s constantly evolving and to stay ahead of the curve, it’s crucial that you continue to experiment with new techniques to expand your toolbox. MnSearch Summit speaker Ross Simmonds shared clever techniques to continue pushing the bounds of your SEO strategy without putting your current, hard won web reputation at stake.

The main recommendation involves taking some risks:

Instead of implementing new strategies throughout your entire content marketing plan from the get-go, start small. For 70% of your web content, continue implementing the same SEO strategies that have been working so far. Take 20% of your content and use it to test out moderately risky strategies. Use the last 10% for those high risk ideas that just might pay off. Go big or go home.

Once you start to nail down what is working with your high risk ideas, begin to implement that across 20% of your content, and integrate the strong points from your medium risk ideas into the remainder of the content. Once you come up with a new high risk idea, test that out with 10% of the content, and the cycle begins again.

3. Use AMP

In the age of mobile, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a critical component of strong SEO for certain industries, and that list is growing daily. AMP is a project from Google and Twitter that was engineered to create incredibly fast mobile pages. In essence, they are stripped down HTML pages designed to load ultra fast on mobile devices. When you see the quintessential “lightning bolt” icon, you know you’ve hit an AMP page on Google.

At the Summit, we were reminded often about the importance of using AMP. While it requires back end development and/or installing plug ins, making your content AMP-friendly is well worth the effort because you are rewarded with significant ranking and traffic increases.

Especially after Google’s Mobile-First Index launches in 2018, having a strong AMP-enabled site will be imperative. Ensure that you are providing the best user experience possible with AMP.

4. Reviews Matter

Google wants to be the best experience for users, which is why Google is starting to place less emphasis on a business’ website and domain authority and more value on “real-world experiences.” By doing this, Google is hoping to act as an accessible, accurate one-stop shop — providing users with the exact information they need instead of sending them to your website to find it themselves.

Because Google is looking to better integrate a business’ offline branding with their web presence, Google is beginning to ascribe much more value to items like reviews that reflect how the business is performing in the real world. Instead of focusing your energy on local SEO strategies, redirect your attention to accumulating authentic, positive customer reviews. Not only can customer reviews help your rankings, they also help to build trust between businesses and consumers. In addition, if you aren’t getting reviews, your competition certainly is, and your “entity authority” can begin to suffer.

5. Focus on Length

Google is looking for content pieces that provide in-depth, comprehensive information about their topic of choice. Ideally, you never want your user to press the back button. You want to provide your user with engaging, informative content that doesn’t answer just one question but tackles subsequent questions as well. If you don’t have the depth of information that a strong article requires, be sure to link to authoritative sources that can provide reliable answers in your stead.

(Helpful Tip: Break content of all sizes into digestible chunks of 40-60 words. This will help Google sort through your article and pull out pertinent information that it might include in various SERP panels.)

We hope you enjoyed our top 5 SEO takeaways from MnSearch Summit 2017. Maybe we’ll see you there next year!

-- Josh Volk and Molly Work / Rocket55

Job - Horizontal Integration - Marketing Communications

Horizontal Integration - Marketing Communications

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Job - Sunrise Banks - Marketing Manager

Sunrise Banks - Marketing Manager

Experienced Industry Leader Dave Schad Joins Risdall Team

Risdall is pleased to announce that Dave Schad has joined Risdall as Executive Vice President and General Manager. Schad most recently served as the General Manager of FleishmanHillard Minneapolis and has extensive agency leadership experience formed at FleishmanHillard, PadillaCRT, Group One, and Carmichael Lynch..

His experience in leading and growing agency teams will be a great asset to Risdall as his background aligns well with the agency given his strong belief in the value of an integrated model of digital platform development, digital marketing and communications, content strategy, paid digital engagement and analytics.

In joining Risdall, Schad said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to help shape the future of an agency that is so deeply committed to the growth of the brands we serve through impressive digital capability and true integration of communications and technology. The expertise that’s assembled here is drawn from both agency and corporate settings representing some of the brightest talent in the Cities. I’m looking forward to showcasing this team’s collective abilities.”

“In the past couple of years, Risdall has made some important hires to bring the level of experience and talent here to another level,” said Ted Risdall, Chairman/CEO of Risdall. “Dave Schad is a leader with a strong track record of success and his addition to guide our strategic growth will be a tremendous advantage to our clients and future.”

Risdall had previously announced additions to its brand development, creative, and digital marketing teams earlier in 2017 to provide industry-leading counsel for clients.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Job - Minneapolis Marriott Northwest - Junior Event Coordinator

Minneapolis Marriott Northwest - Junior Event Coordinator

Schad Joins Risdall

Risdall is pleased to announce that Dave Schad has joined Risdall as Executive Vice President and General Manager. Schad most recently served as the General Manager of FleishmanHillard Minneapolis and has extensive agency leadership experience formed at FleishmanHillard, PadillaCRT, Group One, and Carmichael Lynch.

His experience in leading and growing agency teams will be a great asset to Risdall as his background aligns well with the agency given his strong belief in the value of an integrated model of digital platform development, digital marketing and communications, content strategy, paid digital engagement and analytics.

In joining Risdall, Schad said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to help shape the future of an agency that is so deeply committed to the growth of the brands we serve through impressive digital capability and true integration of communications and technology. The expertise that’s assembled here is drawn from both agency and corporate settings representing some of the brightest talent in the Cities. I’m looking forward to showcasing this team’s collective abilities.”

“In the past couple of years, Risdall has made some important hires to bring the level of experience and talent here to another level,” said Ted Risdall, Chairman/CEO of Risdall. “Dave Schad is a leader with a strong track record of success and his addition to guide our strategic growth will be a tremendous advantage to our clients and future.”

Risdall had previously announced additions to its brand development, creative, and digital marketing teams earlier in 2017 to provide industry-leading counsel for clients.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Reader Giveaway: Three Tickets to MnSearch Summit

As a long-time proponent of the Twin Cities marketing and PR community, I’m always excited to share the latest and greatest marketing events and opportunities. Which is why I was elated when the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association approached me to collaborate.

This Friday, June 23, the association will be hosting its fourth annual MnSearch Summit in St. Paul. The event is regarded as the most forward-thinking digital marketing event of the year, and was named a top marketing event by Inc Magazine.

Topics like search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media, email, content, video, analytics and more are packed into a one-day event. Plus, attendees will be hearing first-hand from national executives from Google, Facebook, LeadPages, Moz, Microsoft, Aimclear and more, all in a day’s work.

In collaboration with MnSearch Summit, I am giving away three tickets to my readers, worth $550+ each. To enter, simply subscribe to my enewsletter and follow my social channels. I will choose three lucky winners at random on Wednesday.


In addition to the giveaway, I’m excited to share an exclusive discount to my readers. If you are interested in attending, use code MNPR40 to get $40 off of your registration.

The Details
What: MnSearch Summit
Where: St. Paul RiverCentre
When: Friday, June 23, 2017
Who: Anyone serious about advancing their skills in SEO, content, analytics, video, social and more

E-mail me and let me know you are interested. Be sure to include Reader Giveaway in the subject.

Job - Modern Promos - Account Supervisor

Modern Promos - Account Supervisor

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

FLM+ and Harvest PR & Marketing Join Forces as FLM Harvest

FLM+ and Harvest PR & Marketing today announced they will join forces, merging highly complementary competencies, cultures and client portfolios across the farm, food, environmental sciences and lifestyle spectrum. Together, the companies will rebrand as FLM Harvest.
 
The coming together of the firms is the culmination of two unique teams and success stories over the past decade. FLM+ and Harvest have been among the fastest-growing and most successful agencies in the food and agriculture space in recent years. Combined, the new organization will have more than 80 team members in operating locations from coast to coast.

“We have watched and admired the growth and business strategy of Harvest for some time,” said Rob McClelland, president/CEO of FLM Harvest. “This acquisition will help us realize a long-standing goal to fully build out a farmer-driven food practice, and have more depth and expertise in reaching consumers to tell the story of food, agriculture and environmental sciences.”

FLM+, a hybrid strategic consulting, marketing and communications company, specializes in agriculture and life/environmental sciences to improve the lives and health of plants, animals, people and communities. The FLM+ team focuses on setting strategies, aligning teams, framing opinions and creating demand.

Harvest PR & Marketing represents a unique spectrum of food and farm clients, with a heavy focus on grower organizations, national commodity boards and food associations. The agency has won more than 50 national awards in the past five years, and was recently named 2017 Outstanding Boutique Agency by PRWeek.

“Our goal is to harness the combined expertise of both teams and create an organization that delivers innovative solutions and results to clients in the industries that we serve,” said Heidi Nelson, executive vice president of FLM Harvest, and founder of Harvest PR. “We’re excited to bring consumer insights to our combined clients and proud to join with a company that is farmer driven and so deeply rooted in agriculture.”

Monday, June 12, 2017

Job - Cargill - Truvia Social Media and Marketing Coordinator

Cargill - Truvia Social Media and Marketing Coordinator

Monday, June 05, 2017

Digi.City Connects: Twin Cities Roundtable

This upcoming Tuesday, June 6, join Digi.City and some of the region's top business and government leaders for a private behind-the-scenes tour of the technology aspects of U.S. Bank Stadium & a discussion about the Twin Cities' smart city efforts & digital infrastructure prep for Super Bowl LII.

We will examine the role of cooperation among government, industry and communities as well as the social and economic benefits of 21st century digital infrastructure. This event is free of charge. Panel discussion will be held from 9:00-10:05 am and the optional tour follows.

Space will fill up for this unique event - please click here and register today to reserve your spot. All Twin Cities business, non-profit, government and civic leaders are welcome to attend - please share this invitation with your co-workers and others who might be interested in participating by forwarding them this email.

This event is part of a multi-city series, “Digi.City Connects,” spearheading thoughtful discussions in key metropolitan areas across the United States with local lawmakers and experts about the policy implications of smart city technologies.

Participants include:
  • Chelsea Collier – Founder, Digi.City
  • Patrick Talty – GM, U.S. Bank Stadium
  • Margaret Anderson Keliher – President/CEO, Minnesota High Tech Association
  • Rep. Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska) – Minnesota House of Representatives
  • Jonathan Weinhagen – President/CEO, Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce
Register Now.