SearchCon 2019 – Tools and Takeaways

A little over a week ago I got the opportunity to attend SearchCon 2019 and spend two days in Breckenridge, CO with some world-class digital agencies and SEOs. Let me start by highly recommending the conference to anyone who has not been. It was awesome.

Being that it was my first SEO event, I didn’t have much to compare it to. I could tell it wasn’t some big, overdone production. It felt rather homey and inviting and I even found myself having side conversations with the some of the presenters themselves. Not a big crowd, but the vast information sharing and sense of community was really exciting. With that said I wanted to cover some tools and takeaways I really enjoyed.

Let’s start with the tools…

Tools

    • GeoSetter – Images and metadata are back. After a brief Thursday night refresher on the influence images can have in SEO, we were given a quick tutorial on this tool Friday morning. GeoSetter is a free tool that helps you optimize and add geo-location data to your images in mass before adding them to your site and other digital properties. If you work with any local clients, this tool can help you breeze through image optimization.
    • Power Suggest Pro – Ever get the feeling Keyword Planner isn’t playing with a full deck of cards? Working in a crazy niche that you have little to no background in? Then this might be your tool. Combining the power of 6 major search engines (Google, Amazon, YouTube, Ebay, Yahoo, & Bing), this tool scrapes search engines for your keyword and the additional suggestions from search engines to build a comprehensive keyword database around whatever topics you’re involved in. Not free, but they’re currently offering a lifetime license for cheap so check it out.
    • Mobile SERP Test by MobileMoxie – “Search results change for everyone depending on several factors including previous history and location.” Ever said that before? Me too. This tool can help narrow the conversation on this. It allows you to enter a search term and set a location down to a specific address to see the results users in those areas are getting. It also allows you to choose two mobile devices to display the results on adding that extra visual component to this exercise.

There were lots of other tools mentioned and suggested throughout many presentations that week, so make sure you come next year to get the full scoop on these tools.

Takeaways

A problem SEOs commonly find themselves in is being stuck in a long list development tickets or trying to optimize a website with limited editing capabilities. Two excellent presentations by SocialSEO and Inflow covered some unique ways to tackle fundamental SEO tasks by adding or overriding data on pages using Google Tag Manager or a CDN like Cloudflare. After seeing what these agencies were able to accomplish without help from the client/developer, I strongly encourage that you do some experimenting to test the capabilities you can leverage through data layer editing.

Google asks a lot of us SEOs. They’ve contradicted themselves, broken their own rules, and made us look dumb to some big clients. In the words of one of the presenters, “yesterday’s guidelines are today’s penalties.” White hats follow the rules only to get slapped down by Google anyway. Black hats seem to find loopholes in the system. We both have a lot to learn from each other, so let’s keep the community inclusive and diverse. At the end of the day, you know what’s right for you.

Lastly, one presenter encouraged us to “learn in public” which contextually meant to lean on your resources and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get together with local SEOs and collaborate and explore together. Technology is moving fast these days and there’s no way you can be an expert at everything. Find some key resources and leverage them – and be sure to be that resource to anyone you can.

Thanks to Jim Krienbrink and Hyper Dog Media for putting on an excellent event and thanks to all the attendees for being down right approachable. Really looking forward to what you have in store for next year.