Future Talk and Timely Tactics: Everything You Missed at SearchLove Boston 2016

The SearchLove speakers gathered for the Let's Get Real session.

Our first SearchLove conference of 2016 has been and gone, and what a success it was! Over 200 smart marketers joined us in Boston for two full days of sessions and a suite of parties to boot.

We were joined by 16 of the best digital-marketing minds in the business, and it showed. Speaker feedback was exceptionally high this year, with the core SEO talks combining seamlessly with presentations on content, email marketing, strategy and more.

If you didn’t make it along this year, or if you did and want a refresher on the key takeaways, we’ve compiled all speaker decks and the salient points to remember now you’re back in the office:

Wil Reynolds - Moving from Inspiration to Perspiration

Key takeaways

  1. People don’t want traffic, they want money. Essentially, while you want to improve all important metrics, don’t forget what the end goal is.

  2. You need a framework for content scoring. You can find Wil’s here.

  3. PPC folks put $$ in their reports. This is one reason why they get bigger budgets than the SEO industry.

Simo Ahava - The Search Marketer’s Toolkit for Google Tag Manager

Key takeaways

  1. Data is difficult. Data quality is earned not acquired. Basically, you need to put the effort in.

  2. It’s important to recognise that Google Analytics has a limited view of a user’s true experience. For example, interactive time on page is on average 7x less than standard time on page.

  3. Look into content groupings in GA more closely. You can use them to make pageviews reflect business groupings. However, you only get five to play with.

Britt Klontz - Incorporate ‘PR Thinking’ into Your Content Initiatives

Key takeaways

  1. There are three key points to winning any PR pitch: research, relevance, responsiveness.

  2. An ‘exclusive’ can mean many different things. Use this to your advantage.

  3. A successful campaign consists of a PR strategy in which 90% of the PR-based tasks are completed before the launch.

Marcus Tober - Illuminating Consumer Intent without Old-Fashioned SEO Tactics

Key takeaways

  1. The length of content and the amount of backlinks needed to rank well varies dramatically from industry to industry. The difference between health and finance, for example, is drastic.

  2. The intent behind users on different devices is obviously different, so content should be created or adapted to meet the needs of these exact intentions.

Emily Grossman - Mobile Jedi Mind Tricks: Master the Multi-Screen Universe

Key takeaways

  1. It’s easier than ever to debunk mobile myths. We’re at a point where over 50% of searches are done on mobile, 30% of online purchases happen on mobile, and 90% of mobile internet users browse at home.

  2. Deep links are needed to get your app to rank in Google, however, it’s currently much simpler to get deep links on android than it is on iOS.

  3. There is also a ranking boost on Google for associating a website with an app, but you’ve got to make sure the content in the app that aligns with the website.

Greg Gifford - X Marks the Spot: A Treasure Map for Local Search Success

Key takeaways

  1. In the local search space, the domain authority of linking sites matters less than the local authority and relevance of those links.

  2. Make sure to include tracking parameters on your Google My Business link. Otherwise, it will show as direct traffic.

Mike King - Developer Thinking for SEOs

Key takeaways

  1. The modern SEO needs to think like a developer because we are in a technical SEO renaissance. Javascript, AngularJS and React JS are all growing.

  2. We need to stop measuring rankings for vanity’s sake. Oft times, position #1 in the SERPs is actually as low as #8. We need to measure for context and actionability.

Rand Fishkin - The Measure of a Marketer's Worth

Key takeaways

  1. The greatest analytics challenge facing today’s marketers is using the data to actually discover what creates real success, rather than to just measure the output of various tasks.

  2. We measure the results, but not the inputs that create those results, so we must uncover the everyday actions that consistently improve your site’s metrics.

  3. Every single tactic that may or may not move the needle can be broken down into three parts: the work, the metrics and the goal(s).

Will Critchlow - The Emerging Future of Search

Key takeaways

  1. According to Google’s own findings, 33% of all important informational needs are left unfulfilled. That’s a lot of opportunities.

  2. Half of search queries belonged to contexts that last over a month.

  3. To discover the intent of a search, you need to understand keywords, implicit signals AND potential compound queries.

  4. If the first trillion searches came from desktop, and the second trillion from mobile. Where will the next trillion searches come from?

Will Critchlow on stage during SearchLove Boston 2016.

Mary Bowling - Local SEO: Search Experience Optimization for RankBrain

Key takeaways

  1. Don’t use stock photos for a local business. Consciously or subconsciously, we realise this and it affects our opinion of your business.

  2. The Google Search Quality Rating Guidelines revolve heavily around EAT (expertise/authoritativeness/trust). This is particularly important in local search, as it helps provide users with the content they expect to find when they click through from the SERPs.

  3. Reviews have a profound effect on engagement. Having reviews in local listing equate to a 144% increase in requests for directions and 360% increase in clicks to website.

Paul Shapiro - ‘How to Automate Your Keyword Research’

Key takeaways

  1. Automation is a powerful tool. If you assume you spend 18 hours per month on manual keyword research, automation can save 45 full days over the course of a year.

  2. Excel data visualisations aren’t very good. Try Tableau instead.

  3. The bulk of lessons in Paul’s talk is about the actual process of automation. Take a look at the slide deck to see the full breakdown.

Mackenzie Fogelson - ‘Why Content Strategy isn’t Enough’

Key takeaways

  1. The biggest threat to content marketing is content marketing. The market is saturated.

  2. If ‘more’ content is not enough, and ‘stellar’ content is not always achievable, how will your company stand out above the noise? Authenticity is the answer.

  3. Authenticity is not about how your competition is packaged, but about who your company is.

  4. Be honest about your products, don’t let customers down and act with integrity at all times.

Kindra Hall - ‘Storytelling: The Secret of Irresistible Marketing’

Key takeaways

  1. Don’t allude to the story you have. Make sure you tell it.

  2. We’re often told to tell stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. Instead, tell your story with ‘normal’, ‘explosion’ and ‘new normal’.

Kindra Hall extolling the virtues of good storytelling.

Justine Jordan - ‘Performance-Driven Design: A Framework for Creating Awesome Email’

You can find Justine's slides here.

Key takeaways

  1. If you have ever made or helped to make something that was read, interacted with or used, you have designed before.

  2. Email is a personal medium, so send personal emails. To create the truly personal email, we must design human-centered experiences.

  3. Take notice of proximity when crafting emails or webpages. Proximity creates relationships and groups between elements. It makes things easier for the reader.

Chris Dayley - ‘Powerful A/B Testing User Insights for SEOs’

Key takeaways

  1. Content and UX should be given equal planning and time.

  2. Failed tests are equally as important as successful tests. They teach what your audience doesn't like.

Larry Kim — ‘Hacking RankBrain: Four Strategies You’ll Need to Survive SEO Judgment Day’

Key takeaways

  1. Don’t be the captain of donkey hill. By that, we mean make big changes to try and transform your worst pages to the best, rather than making small tweaks to poor performing pages.

  2. Use AdWords to test compelling headlines, and take these learnings to transform organic rankings (where pages have poor CTR).

  3. Bounce rate is being tracked by Google. Sites ranked below position four in the SERPs have signifcantly higher landing page bounce rates than those in positions one to four.

Best SearchLove roundups

A bunch of SearchLove attendees have kindly written about their experience at this year's event. We've compiled our favourites here. In them, you'll find more excellent tips, opinions of the event and some great photos from the two days in Boston.

You can also take a look at all the photographs taken on the day here.


 Well, that’s another conference completed, and we’re busy putting together plans for the next Searchlove. The next event takes place in London on the 17th and 18th October, and tickets are available now.

If you were at SearchLove Boston, or were following along on Twitter, and you have any nuggets of wisdom you thought were particularly valuable, let me know in the comments section.

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About the author
Lynsey Little

Lynsey Little

Lynsey joined Distilled in September 2009. Lynsey heads up our events at Distilled, with plans in place to expand globally – it’s her job to make this happen. The key to being a great events manager is planning, predicting and being ready for...   read more