Pubcon Vegas 2017 Live Blog - Reputation Management with Matt Craine & Tony Wright

On Day 3 of Pubcon Vegas 2017 I sat in on a session on Reputation Management with Matt Craine and Tony Wright presenting. Here are the notes I took during the presentations.

Reputation Management for CEOs & Their Businesses (AKA: Your LinkIn profile probably STILL sucks) - Matt Craine

  • Your brand is not what YOU think it is - it's what THEY think it is
    • It's not about ownership
    • What is their impression of you and your brand?
    • It's about your presale relationship with your customer
  • Everyone is a stalker
    • When you meet someone in a business context, people are searching for you and your brand
    • You (CEO or business owner) now represent the company's brand
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and up-to-date
  • Change your LinkedIn visibility settings so those who are not logged in can see you
  • Make sure to claim your business' LinkedIn profile
    • Keep it updated
    • Use current images
  • Only 6 out of 10 customers visit a local company's website when researching for a purchase
  • Audit yours and your company's public online profiles
    • LinkedIn update - business and key employees
    • Update team pages
      • Updated pictures
      • Updated info
      • Human-type info
      • People buy from other people, not companies
  • Register your own domain name for your name
    • Put up a quick website
    • Link to your LinkedIn profile
    • Gives you a place to tell your story
  • Optimize for local search - even if you're not totally local
    • Can help disambiguate same-named businesses in other areas
    • Helps to keep your listings cleaner
    • Claim and optimize all local directories
  • Monitor your website analytics
    • Look for irregularities
    • Helps to identify issues that affect your reputation
  • Check your website. Are you meeting your customers expectations? Are you meeting your customers expectations on mobile? Bad user experience affects your reputation

Reputation Management is dead! Long Live Reputation Management - Tony Wright

  • There are a lot of bad players in the reputation management space. Some even create a "crisis" and solicit work
  • There are no quick fixes to reputation management
    • It's not on one platform
    • The best way is to create a better reputation
  • The first step is to monitor your online reputation
  • The second step: tell your story ... NOW!
  • Next, build relationships with influencers in your space
  • Also build a social media policy for employees
  • The new ORM
    • Always tell your story and make sure it shows up
    • Make your side of the story palatable to your target audience (if you don't know, you may not want to take a controversial stand)
    • You're not going to replace all negative stuff in the SERPs - and you don't really need to replace it all
    • Respond to minor issues in the forum on which the review or comment was left
    • Respond to "crisis level" issues in an official forum, like a press release or on your website
  • When you mess up - and you will mess up
    • Don't believe your lawyer - lawsuits may be less costly than the monetary cost of your reputation issue
    • Don't admit guilt until you know the whole story
    • News cycles are quick, what happened may be forgotten very within a week or two
    • Be transparent - but remember there are always 2 sides to the story
    • Start impact analysis early
      • How is this affecting your bottom line?
      • Can the brand survive the crisis?
      • Larger brands can weather crisis, smaller brands can be hurt and be killed
      • B2B brands can be severely hurt
    • Monitor, monitor, monitor
    • Consult an attorney, but don't let the lawsuit alone dictate your plan
    • Avoid making the crisis more visible

Pubcon Vegas 2017 - Live Blog - Site Search

This was a session about on-site search. The session was aimed more to enterprise clients, rather than WordPress optimization. Here are some notes I took during the presentations:

Dave Lloyd from Adobe

  • Unsuccessful experiences hurt your business - and this can affect your bottom line
  • On-site search is a great way to keep your customers happy
  • 4 steps to make on-site search better:
    • Start with creating a search box on your site
      • Encourage visitors to search
      • Amazon puts their search at the top of the page, makes it easier for customers to find and use it
      • Look for how users are trying to search and solve for their troubles
    • Assist visitors using linguistics or predictive search
      • Again, make it easier for them to search
      • Look for terms that will make it easy for first-time visitors to your site
      • Use paid, organic and other search query data to educate you
      • Look at synonyms and missspellings
      • Use auto-complete as a great tool - and don't "set and forget" - update regularly
    • Filter results with refinements
      • Filters are very important to help website visitors find things faster
      • Again, Amazon is very good at this
      • Refine results to align with the customer journey
    • Deliver relevant results that align with your business strategy
      • Use this to promote content that's related or "you might also like"
      • Think about how you might do paid search, adding ad-like content blocks in the on-site search results - this can work great for new products/services on the site
      • Focus on searcher intent - again, make it easier for them
  • Remember, on-site search is not a "set it and forget it" thing (he mentioned this several times, and I agree that it's important)
  • Don't forget analytics - you have to measure KPIs to know if your on-site search is working as it should ... Data-driven decision making
J.P Sherman - Manager of Search and Findability at Redhat

Note: Kudos for using references to The Clash and Bob's Burgers
  • Optimize your on-site search
  • Data needs to tell a story - there's a lot of data out there and you need to avoid data overload
  • Stories can spur action - data by itself is not the story
  • Don't think about keywords as just words, they're how your users' intent is expressed
  • Don't use CTR as the lone metric to understand user intent - also look at conversions
  • Consider using META Keywords tag for on-site search ... not for Google and Bing. Be sure not to spam if you do this
  • If your CTR is <85%, your on-site search needs a lot of help, if it's higher you're doing great
  • Look for searches that get no results - this is a great way to get content ideas
  • Look for misspellings - This is a place to get ideas for autosuggest and "did you mean" suggestions
  • Don't forget your mobile on-site search experience
  • "Don't be Google - be you" 
  • Consider using images and alternate ways to display search results to help your visitors do better in your on-site search

Pubcon Vegas 2017 Live Blog - SEO Audits with Alan Bleiweiss and Bill Hartzer

Here are some notes I took during the SEO Audits session with Alan Bleiweiss and Bill Hartzer.

Bill Hartzer: SEO Audits from An Agency Perspective

Four basic steps to the audit
  • Before You Begin - information needed
    • Access to the website and log file data
    • Google Analytics
    • Google Search Console
    • Bing Webmaster Tools
    • History - What SEO has been done in the past
    • List of Domains owned and controled
    • List of Competitors
    • Anything else (catchall)
  • Gather Data
    • Review content on the site and how the site is ranking
    • Look at the data from analytics and website consoles (GSC/BWT)
    • Save the data in places that make it easy to retrieve, crunch and review
    • Look for subdomains
    • Use Screaming Frog, and don't forget to adjust the memory settings if the site is larger than 100K pages
    • Website log files can show you error issues that you can't see anywhere else
    • Don't forget to look at off page items like inbound links and such
    • Use WebPageTest.org to find issues with site download time issues
  • Analyze
    • Look for obvious problems, odd data points and other things that just don't look right
    • Check the main KPIs for significant drops or increases that can't be explained - and then look for correlations to Google updates
  • Present Results
    • Present the data in a way that the client can understand and use
    • Document what needs to be done so you can show results after recommended changes are made
    • Find out of there is a dev shop that needs to understand the instructions
    • Make it all easy to follow and logical
    • Prioritize - what are the most important things to check and what are low-hanging fruit items
Alan Bleiweiss: Performing SEO Audits for Maximized Efficiency & Value

Overall Steps
  • Determine Goals
    • Alan uses a different intake form for different types of websites - match the intent to the goals
    • Set SMART Goals
    • Sometimes the clients don't even have goals - this process can help set them
  • Gather Initial Data
    • You'll likely have a list of standard things to check for every site, but you also need to tailor your data gathering to the site type and goals
    • Don't get overwhelmed with data - choose wisely
    • Google Analytics is a better tool to understand things from an Organic Search perspective, much more than their competitors
    • Are they tracking conversions or other "money" KPIs? This is important!
  • Evaluate Data
    • Look at every report in Google Search Console - this can help you quickly identify potential issues - including click data
    • Google might find pages if they are only in the XML Sitemap, but they won't give it the respect or traffic if it's not linked to from somewhere in the navigation (this is very important!)
    • Look for conflicting signals 
    • Look for unnatural patterns
  • Dive Deeper as Needed
    • Walk away often and come back with fresh eyes
    • This is critical to further success
  • Evaluate Site UX
    • Look at the site like your customers - this is the only way to really know what they are looking for
    • Look for intuitive and logical directory structure
  • Create an Organized Deliverable Document
    • Who is the doc for? Consider your audience (just like Bill said)
    • Give examples or specific recommendations, consider step-by-step instructions
    • Here's a great recommendation: If the client doesn't have a QA version of the website, they should have one. Don't implement changes on a live site - test everything first
    • If you do audits on a regular basis, boilerplate often-used deliverable content
    • Alan's deck is online at http://bit.ly/audithowto 

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