14 Takeaways from SMX 2021
Last week, we attended SMX 2021, a content and SEO marketing conference. We heard from a lot of excellent speakers on a range of topics, and here are some of the key takeaways we walked away with. While not all of these are brand new ideas or concepts, they’re still really important to developing successful content and should be kept top of mind!
1. EAT all day long
Although you’ve heard it before, hear it again! Content should always demonstrate EAT: expertise, authority, and trust. Google cares A LOT about EAT because users care A LOT about EAT. EAT is how users connect and build a relationship with your brand. EAT can also set you apart from the competition.
2. Include the most important info at the beginning of your content
Don’t make your readers work for the information they seek. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, and quickly, they’ll dash over to a different website. Include the most important information or answer the question at the beginning of your piece. Then, back up that information or answer with relevant details or background information.
3. Use images to break up pages
Break up the monotony of text with imagery. This helps make your content more digestible. Images can also be used to highlight key sections of the content.
4. Offer social sharing opportunities
Make it easy for users to share your content on social media. Offer pre-built Tweet copy so all readers have to do is click “Share.”
5. Use short, easy to read paragraphs
Most people reading online content are skimming for the information they need. Long paragraphs make that oh so much harder. You can make your piece skim-friendly by using short sentences, short paragraphs, bulleted lists, blog summaries at the top of the piece, or a table of contents.
6. Use Tweets for imagery
There are plenty of Tweets with cool stats, cool quotes, cool images, and just tons of cool content you can add to yours. Embed a Tweet the same way you’d add an image to support your messaging.
— Katie (she/her) (@katiedoesseo) April 13, 2021
7. Quote experts
They say the proof is in the pudding. So add some expert quotes to your pudding, or er, content, to give it more credibility and authority. This helps build EAT!
8. Add author bios
Another way to build credibility? Having an author bio at the bottom of your piece. The best bios have a picture and title and offer some credentials. Who would you trust more when reading a blog about tax planning: Bob Jones or Bob Jones the CPA with 25 years experience?
9. Go above and beyond with YMYL content
YMYL stands for “your money your life.” YMYL content is about anything that can impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability or safety. So naturally, this content is held to a higher standard of EAT. Google certainly thinks so. When writing YMYL, use lots of credible sources so Google knows you’re expressing facts, case studies, or clinical trials (all credible), and not opinions (less credible).
10. Refresh old content
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around at the content you’ve already created, you might miss an opportunity to connect with readers. If you already put a lot of time and effort into a content piece, the best thing you can do is maintain it so it stays effective and relevant. Update any facts, data, studies, findings, images, etc. to keep it relevant and engaging.
11. Show it and say it
If you have an image of data, say a pie chart, summarize that data in your copy. And be sure to use descriptive alt texts and captions for graphics. This not only makes the content more SEO-rich but also enhances the experience of reading the blog if images aren’t loading properly or if assistive technology is used.
12. Use personas for SEO research
Take a walk in your customers’ shoes. What do they want to know? What topics are they searching for? This is a great way to generate effective seed keywords.
13. Consider the shelf life of a keyword
If you do any keyword research, how long will your data stay relevant? Will people be searching the same keywords three, six, or twelve months from now? The answer may influence how you choose to build out your remaining SEO strategy.
14. Think about intent
For every keyword, think about the intent behind it. Why is someone searching this term?
Is it to find an answer to a question? (Informational)
Is it to locate a specific website or product? (Navigational)
Or, is it to buy something? (Transactional)
Why is intent important? It might not be worth the time or effort writing a long content piece that’s optimized for “Buy white sneakers.” Someone searching that term has money to burn and they want to purchase those white sneakers, not read about them.