We’ve been busy the past weeks attending digital conferences and expos in London and Brighton. We’ve been to BrightonSEO, the Brighton Digital Marketing Festival and the Ecommerce Expo in London. Here’s a summary of what we picked up.
Perhaps not the most relevant of talks for SEO but still very entertaining and insightful. Daniel Kershay is a Phd student who studies UK drinking habits through Twitter. According to Daniel there is a big gap (40%) between how much alcohol is sold and how much the UK population say they drink. In other words, we drink more than we are willing to confess. By monitoring tweets Daniel has picked up the volume and frequency of tweets that include words like drunk, wasted, hangover etc. He showed some interesting stats over how different age groups tend to drink over the weekend. The 65+ demographic drink most heavily (or at least tweet about it most heavily) on Sundays whereas the younger crowds mostly drink on Wednesdays and Saturdays according to his research. Just so you know!
Apart from patterns of un-soberness there was a general focus on the importance of web analytics and the semantic web throughout the whole conference.
Semantic web is no longer a buzz word for geeky SEOs like myself. Google is clearly walking towards a more contextual approach in their search results. There were a number of talks about how Google are moving from web search to contextual search – ‘Things instead of strings’ as it is sometimes referred to. Google aims to understand rather than simply index results. This is best understood by picking up your smartphone and launching Google Now. Google Now is doing a pretty good job at predicting and presenting the results you want when you want it. It alerts you of upcoming shows and flights that you’ve booked and the best way to get there, bills that needs to be paid, the weather, news results based on your search history and much, much more. Matthew Brown from Moz also predicted that Google Now is a preview into the future of SERPs (search engine ranking pages).
So what is the take away from this? As Google are moving further into the semantic web it makes it important to mark up your website with what is called Schema. With Schema, the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo) want to improve the web. Sites with Schema helps search engines understand – not only index – web pages. This extra bit of mark-up is used by search engines in a variety of ways. Not every piece of information will be used in the search results however but Schema will be used in more ways over time according to the search giants.
Brighton Digital Marketing Festival
We listened to a couple of really interesting talks from Argos and the Financial Times about how they tap into their statistics to form their messages and subscription models. The amount of data that Financial Times uses to tweak and A/B test their new subscription models and invitations is quite astonishing.
At the Brighton Digital Marketing Festival Schema was also mentioned as something to implement sooner rather than later to stay competitive in the search ranking result pages.
The Ecommerce Expo attracts everyone from the seasoned ecommerce manager to the first time business owner to the big time CEO looking into ecommerce. We saw a number of general SEO presentations, interesting talks about email marketing and an eye opening talk about ecommerce behaviour in the Nordics. Did you know that 15,000,000 Nordic residents made an online purchase last year? UK is by far the most popular online shopping destination when Swedes shop cross-border. 2,500,000 of them purchased items from British online stores last year.
The one thing that stuck out this year was that companies have started to take an interest in Bitcoin. We knew it was only a question of time before ecommerce companies started to look deeper into this. The early adopting online shops have already started to accept Bitcoin e.g. Victoria’s Secret, Amazon, WordPress, Tesla, Home Depot, App Store etc. but the general mass of ecommerce companies have only just started to look into this.
Some stats from the presentation we went to:
• A Bitcoin transaction costs approximately £2.50 for a retailer while a “normal” transaction usually costs around £50.
• During Black Friday 2013 the total amount of Bitcoin transactions were $487 Million
• A Bitcoin user tend to fit in to one or more of the below:
o tech savvy men 18-40 years of age
o early adopters
o disillusioned with the finance system of today
o has a fear of identity theft