SMX East Day II: Schema, Mobile Landing Pages & Facebook

Another exciting day here at the Javits Center! Today I visited the sessions on Schema 101, smartphone and tablet conversions and Facebook sharing. So let’s dive in:

Schema 101: Why The New Meta Data Matters

This session certainly served as an introduction course to schema and while there weren’t many tactical tips and strategy ideas to take away from this session, it was fascinating to hear people, like the highly intelligent Barbra Starr, speak.

Barbra Starr comes from an artificial intelligence background, which has included work on projects like Watson and Siri. In her presentation, she gives us a history of what has occurred in the last five years with vocabulary usage and syntax in code that has made a resource like schema.org necessary for the search engines to create in order to better crawl sites.

Some of the other speakers shared a few more takeaway items. For example, Matt Brown shared the five simple steps of becoming more familiar with Schema:

1. Look at the Webmaster Tools page on schema.org. This page is always changing.

2. Check your vertical for what markup types are generating rich snippets.

3. Set success metrics for current traffic and CTR. If you see improvement, you can relate it to the rich snippets.

4. Be patient. Snippets can take sometimes 30 days or more.

5. Learn more about the Knowledge Graph (a plug for his later presentation).

Matt’s most important takeaway from this session was to visit http://www.w3.org/wiki/WebSchemas/SchemaDotOrgProposals to see what new Schemas are being proposed and to implement the ones that fit your site and vertical even if these schemas aren’t live yet. You’ll want to do this because if/when they do go live, you don’t want your competition having the leg up on you in the SERPs by having these rich snippets displayed.

iConvert: Landing Pages & Conversion In A Smartphone & Tablet World

It’s only the middle of day two here at SMX East but I believe this session had to have been the best session here. This session could warrant a series of blog posts but since I am giving you a daily summary of the day’s events, I will summarize Chris Goward’s presentation as it well a great intro to this session.

Chris said that when marketers think of mobile pages, they think of designing a version for mobile and maybe designing version for tablets. This is wrong. The reality is that there is a multi-screen environment. There is no standard size for a screen size. We are evolving into a screen size continuum, where there are many different screen sizes. Because of this, he says we have to stop thinking of mobile pages vs. desktop pages and start designing sites to work across platforms/devices (Scott Brinkler later offers a counter argument).

He then presents us four options of accommodating mobile search:

Option 1: Don’t customize for mobile search. Some people might argue that is the percent of your traffic from mobile is too low (say 7%) to warrant creating a mobile site. While that might be true for your business now, that won’t be the case for long. The growth in mobile search is not slowing down. You must plan for mobile site. If not, 61% of visitors who visit your desktop site on their mobile device will bounce off and convert on your competitor’s mobile site instead.

Option 2: Build a mobile app. This is not a solution for search marketing. This is for an already developed mobile strategy.

Option 3: Build mobile landing page. This is a better option but often times separate mobile sites can create new problems including:

  • Confusing listings in SERPS. You might be searching on a desktop and be served a link to the mobile site. This does not provide an optimal experience for the user.
  • Higher maintenance costs with mobile sites.
  • Inconsistent user experiences. Users can and will convert on mobile sites if you allow them to. Use call-to-actions on your mobile sites.
  • Mobile sites are not future proof. The future will hold even more screen sizes that you will have to adjust your mobile site for. iPhone 5 anyone?

Option 4: Use responsive landing page designs. Not only does Google recommend using responsive web design, but it can save you time from having to create many different sites for different screen sizes as it adjusts the page for you.

The other key point Chris covers is on the LIFT Model . This model gets you thinking of how you can design your landing page around how visitors view it. For more information on the LIFT Model click here.

And as with all things search, digital and marketing related, you must test. Test your sites to make sure they are displayed properly on all devices and test different mobile layouts and strategies. And when testing, test something valuable. As Carlos del Rio said, ”Testing button color is the stupidest test you can do – it won’t make you a million dollars.”

Getting Liked & Shared On Facebook

This session provide great takeaway tips and success stories. Here are five of my favorite tips from the speakers:

1. Post simple, short and concise updates. A line and a half (or 80 characters) is ideal. Posts this length over the posts of three or more lines increased engagement by 20%.
2. Keep the headline titles to links, photos and videos interesting. You are writing these to be engaging, not for SEO. Don’t give all the information right away.
3. It’s okay to use call to actions like click, like, comment and share.
4. People are looking for your Facebook page to deliver something of value to them. Try Facebook offers or contests exclusive to Facebook fans.
5. Tag popular pages in your posts when it’s relevant. That way your content will appear in their tagged posts to their fans.

Remember, social media is not a popularity contest. It is about engagement, not reach.

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