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Manchester SEO: What we learned in March 2020


Conferences are genuinely exciting times for SEOs; not just because we get to catch up with old colleagues and bag some free swag. We’re not kidding, or trying to impress you, it’s honestly true.


When you choose to work in organic search; whether it was ten or five years ago, last year, or in the last ten minutes, what you realise first is that the goalposts are constantly moving.


You’ve heard it enough, so we won’t reiterate how black-hat SEO tactics no longer work; how rather we should focus on ensuring a site is technically hygienic, and that content is of the highest possible quality.


But outside of 1st and 3rd party research, trials, case studies and covert updates from Google, this kind of conference is one of our best opportunities to learn about and share discoveries in the SERPscape - and we take every chance we can to be inspired.


If you weren’t able to make it, here’s our SEO content manager Amelia’s round-up, covering four valuable insights and food for thought from Manc SEO, March 2020.

You had me at a hundred links


Ah, all SEOs have been here before. One campaign strikes a chord with your audience and the media, and all of a sudden, you’ve set a bar that may or may not be reached again for a while.


As much as we’d like to say otherwise, SEO is not an exact science and Google is a mysterious beast. Whether we’re talking about link acquisition, hygiene content or otherwise, setting expectations is a must.


Aoife O’Connor reminded us about the importance of never giving up, of rehashing data and revisiting old tactics with fresh eyes. It might sound obvious written down, but it’s easy to give up on an idea when you work in such a fast-paced environment, and it feels like the moment might have passed you by. [M(1] [TA(2] 


You’ve got (voice)mail


Worried you’re not paying enough attention to voice search? Google’s John Mueller answered our questions via video and told us that adding voice search tracking and analytics into Search Console is not a priority, despite the buzz around this topic. 


He explained that voice search usage is still comparatively low, and due to this, it’s unlikely that the data would be significant enough for our analysis. So how do we ensure we’re primed for voice search?


As long as you’re optimising for featured snippets and adding structured data mark-up where relevant (for content you expect would be read aloud), you’re doing everything right for the moment. 


May the creativity be with you


We’re no strangers to the power of mining data. In fact, there’s nothing more satisfying than building a campaign from facts and figures that have existed in plain sight for a while, tucked away on the internet. When it’s possible, it’s more cost-effective for our clients, and depending on the subject, it can also be quicker than commissioning your own research piece. 


It never fails to get our creative juices flowing though, when fellow SEOs, PRs and content strategists share their own successful campaigns and even more so, when they share those that didn’t go so well.


Mark Rofe did a little of both, and, along with giving us a few laughs, made us think back to our favourite mantra, that we try to live by at McCann Connected: people stand up and listen when you have a great story.


The followship of the links 


Follow links. We chase them like they’re the Holy Grail, and for a website they really can be, passing an endorsement from the back-linking website to your own.


It’s no surprise then, that SEOs were incredibly excited to hear that no-follows are now counted as “hints”, along with new “sponsored” and “ugc” links. During Thursday’s conference, a famous Googler clarified that this can be true, but it will be decided on a site-by-site basis. For example, no-follow links might be more significant attributes for a new site, which is lacking other ranking signals. 


So what do we take from this? Coverage is coverage, a brand mention is a brand mention. A lot of agencies, including us at McCann, have seen the value of no-follow links and unlinked citations for a while now, and this announcement only strengthens our opinion.


Thanks to Aoife O’Connor, Chris Smith, Mark Rofe, Steve Paine and John Mueller for giving up their time, sharing their thoughts and going above (the fold) and beyond. 


For more information on how our experts can help you to reach new heights in organic search visibility, read up on our SEO and content offerings and get in touch, today. 

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