Ria's Observations from Search Engine Journal's 2020 eSummit

Ria's Observations from Search Engine Journal's 2020 eSummit
Written by
Richard Emanuel
Published on
October 6, 2020
Read time

The Search Engine Journal Summit on Jun 2, 2020 was a whirlwind. A 10 hour long summit where digital marketing industry leaders dispensed advice on topics ranging from Javascript 2 to container gardening (thanks Loren!). It was a fantastic event with some excellent takeaways. Here are the ones that resonated with me the most:

Overall theme: connection

The current climate in the United States was at the forefront of everyone’s minds. And I must say, it was a privilege to be reminded of how supportive a community the SEO sphere is. The summit used various ways to donate to the cause—from a swear jar donation to a DJ set at the end of the day to chill out and network to.

We all know marketing is about establishing connections with your audience to get them to buy your products. But beneath the technobabble was the idea that we are all connected. Internally, marketing teams (SEO’s especially) work best in sync with developers and brand employees. We all want the same thing in the end—for our products to be found and utilized by the right audience.

Client facing, this is exhibited by building communities around brands. This is executed by appealing to qualities that the human condition is prone to addressing – solving pain points, good deals, and providing clear benefits to offered services or products. But it was driven home with the next actionable takeaway.

Be ridiculously specific

Jay Baer put it best: “you need to be someone’s favoritist thing”. While he spoke directly to content provided, it can be applied to product and service offerings as well. People will find time to engage with and consume things they enjoy.

In order to do that, though, you need to know where your specific niche is and fill it. A single company/product can’t be everything to every person in the world. This means that messaging needs to be appropriate per audience segment and that the brand personality is conveyed. And to do that, you need to know your audience inside and out. Demographic information is a great place to start, but focus on what specifics drew those users to your site.

Look at the whole rather than a portion

At least 4 out of 10 sessions of the day touched on this topic, though nothing made it clearer than the Technical SEO Asshattery session (yes, you read that right). You will never know just how many points of contact your role/action influences. Just because your specific focus is in one area of a business doesn’t mean it’s the only one. How your role links and interacts with other areas of the business is.

For example: you can’t have fantastic SEO performance without a well built site; you can’t have a phenomenal brand message without the community of people who make up the company; and you can’t have digital marketing platforms pick up your assets without ALL aspects of identification aligning, such as visible content on the page and coded pieces no one but bots see.

In conclusion: it comes back to the human element

Yes – we went over some pretty amazing techie research pieces (props Bartosz & Aleyda!). But the real driver of the day was how that human element and understanding the human condition is really the point of doing all this marketing. Because by better understanding that, we’re able to execute better tech to meet those needs, which are simpler for the average user to understand.