Last month was the third Women in Tech SEO Festival, a full-day conference packed with insights from 10 leading women in our industry and divided into four session types: Analyse, Advance, Innovate and Empower.
We sent some of our own team members to the in-person conference, hosted at the Barbican Centre in London, to enjoy the sharing of knowledge between Women in SEO (as well as those all-important after-party drinks!).
Lucy Dodds, Senior Content Strategist shares her top takeaways from WTSFest 2022, plus insight into how we’ll be using the actionable advice given in our own work.
SEO Gap Analysis: Leverage Your Competitor’s Performance – Lidia Infante
Conduct a gap analysis and reverse-engineer your competitors’ strategies
If your SEO efforts are already successful and you’re not sure what the next steps are, conduct a gap analysis against your competitors. This will help you understand what other sites are doing, so you can figure out how you can do it better. Reverse-engineer your competitors’ strategies (but with improvements of your own) to surpass them in the SERPs.
Find out who your competitors really are
Often, you or your clients might think they know who competitors are, but the list could be based on who you want to be, rather than where you are.
For example, Amazon might appear in the SERPs for your product but they’re not likely to be your real digital competitor. Use tools to identify who you’re actually up against and pinpoint your position against your competitors – are you average or below average?
Create benchmarks using Content, Brand and Tech SEO metrics
Make benchmarks from the three pillars of SEO to decide how well your efforts are working in comparison to the competition.
For Content, you could use metrics such as the number of keywords ranking in positions 1-30 or branded vs. non-branded traffic. To measure Brand, you can compare link metrics as well as branded search volume.
Finally, Tech SEO metrics can measure scores from Pagespeed Insights or conduct manual checks on competitors’ robots.txt files.
The Content & Buyer Show: Let’s Map! – Rejoice Ojiaku
Buyers are indecisive, so we need to serve them the right content at the right time
Why should you care about content mapping?
Because buyers are extremely indecisive, we need to help them decide what they want and show them how to get it. We need to map the buying journey to put customers at the centre of everything we do and help them on their journey.
A map also allows us to personalise our site for users as we improve our understanding of their needs, so we know how to serve users the right content at the right time.
Use keyword modifiers to map the journey depending on different stages
The customer journey can involve up to four stages, including Awareness, Consideration, Decision and Learning. This marketing funnel has many different names – at Evolved Search, we use our own version as part of our content strategies – but the outcome is largely the same: create genuine content that satisfies your users’ requirements.
Whether customers are conducting research, have a problem, are considering a purchase or are about to go ahead, we need to create content that fulfils that need. Fortunately, you can use keyword modifiers when mapping out this content to make the construction of your map easier.
For example, users at the Awareness stage will often use long-tail keywords with modifiers such as ‘What’, ‘How’ and ‘Who’. Those at the Consideration stage may be using keywords modified by ‘Review’, ‘Best’ or ‘Top’. These modifiers are so useful for breaking down a list of hundreds, if not thousands of keywords.
Make sure to audit your content to see what’s working and what’s not
Once you’ve created your map and the relevant content to go with it, make sure to audit it in future to see what’s successful and what’s not! Learn what customers are trying to learn or do and then make goals for your content to ensure it’s working for your users.
A Beginner’s Guide to Machine Learning for SEOs – Lazarina Stoy
Everyone faces the same challenges when getting started with machine learning in SEO
Perhaps you’re waiting to get started or need the perfect conditions before you’ll attempt machine learning in SEO. Or maybe you’ve already tried but you found it too difficult and felt like you failed.
But it’s not just you – everyone faces these challenges when they get into machine learning. One way to overcome these problems is by setting 10 minutes aside every day. There are plenty of short, free videos available online that can help kickstart your machine learning journey. You can also use habit trackers to record your progress. Whatever method you go for, it’s key to start small but remain consistent with your efforts.
Every time you encounter a task, consider if machine learning can solve the problem
Think of the lengthy jobs that you need to do as an SEO and consider if machine learning can reduce your time and quickly solve the problem. Keyword clustering, entity extraction, topic modelling, plus bulk H1s and meta descriptions can all be done using machine learning. There are lots of scripts already available for you to try – simply Google your problem + ‘Python script’ and you’ll likely find the solution.
Make sure to assess your results, scrutinise the output and document your findings to see how well machine learning worked. The results won’t always be 100% accurate, but you’ll still end up saving time.
Know when you shouldn’t use machine learning when the task is mission-critical
Machine learning isn’t perfect! You can’t rely on it to do your job completely and SEOs will still need to be manually involved. If the task is mission-critical, you shouldn’t use machine learning. You should also be aware that machine learning can help you finish a task much faster, but not necessarily better.
This was summarised nicely by Miracle Inameti-Archibong in her WTSFest 2022 talk, Speed Up Alt Text Generation Without Coding Skills, which was also related to machine learning. We saw a great method of using machine learning to create alt text in bulk. While it was sometimes successful, we also saw one result where a piece of jewellery was described as a laptop! So, it’s not a perfect method, but it’ll certainly help you be more efficient.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to the speakers, fellow attendees and everyone involved in producing Women in Tech SEO 2022, most notably the brilliant Areej AbuAli. We genuinely had a blast and found it so informative.
Roll on the event in 2023!