Last week I had the pleasure of attending Conductor C3 2017 – an SEO and Content Marketing Conference put on by Conductor in New York, NY each year. I’ve compiled my conference highlights to share with you some great insights from the conference and to help those considering attending Conductor C3 2018.
Machine Learning & Search Intent
A BIG theme behind C3 was the advent of machine learning and how search engine’s are using machine learning to understand search intent, with the goal of providing better search results. It isn’t just acceptable to fill a page with keywords. We know that. But, now, with machine learning, search engines are becoming smarter than ever before. They are diving into the psychology behind why people search the way they do. Writing for why people search and not for what they are searching will be a big trend in 2017 and beyond.
Want to see machine learning in action? Scroll to the bottom of any search result in Google. You’ll see Related Searches. Google is taking your search term and uses machine learning to try to predict search terms that will get you results closer to what you are looking for.
With machine learning, Google is getting past the words and looking at tone and how we feel about those words. Once we can understand the feeling behind words and optimize for tone – we can meet our 2 needs of digital marketing: (1) attract the user through search and (2) delight them with great content once they reach our site.
Use Content to Create Customer Experiences
Beyond search intent, C3 looked at what we do once a customer has reached our site. We’ve pleased the machine learning platform – we’ve got the customer. Now what? In 2017, we’ll want to see businesses using their content to create engaging customer experiences.
Robert Rose gave a great talk on the importance of content in creating those experiences. Only 20% of businesses are committed to the strategy of content marketing. Everyone else has a disconnected pile of assets that we collect throughout the year. We may throw all of these into a Resources page and be done with it. But, what is that offering to our customers? Nothing. You’ll likely see this through the high bounce rate on that “Resources” page that really offers no useful resources.
Instead, we need to be creating content that engages and delights the user. Heck, Hubspot has been saying this since 2013 when content was all about delighting our customers. While a lot has changed in the search universe, this has not.
Rather than pulling in an audience and throwing disconnected assets at them – create an experience that it, itself, demands an audience. The customers will find you. And, not only will they find you, they will engage with you and convert. That’s what we want as marketers. While an inbox full of leads is nice – an inbox full of leads from engaged, excited customers is our sweet spot.
Fulfilling My #MarketingGeek Needs
I’m a geek. If you’ve read some of my other blog articles, you know this. C3 fulfilled all of my marketing geek needs. I was able to geek out on sessions about Vlookups, Google Search Console, the logic behind Answer Boxes, Data Visualization, and more. I was one happy camper for 2 days straight.
While SearchLove Boston did get more technical into Analytics and other SEO topics, C3 was the best of both worlds. The 3 tracks were great – providing content to technical SEOs, content marketers, and marketing leaders. I attended sessions from both the Content and Technical SEO tracks, and found both to be equally as engaging.
Will I Get Sold To?
One question I often ask myself before I attend any conference is – am I just going to be sold to the whole time? You won’t feel that at C3. I will preface this by saying, I am a user of their software. So, any sessions that I attended about the software I found to be very informative and useful. But, the focus of C3 is not to sell Searchlight.
Seth Besmertnik, the CEO, kicked off the conference with his keynote thanking all the attendees and their customers. He and other Conductor staff introduced the new features of their platform. At no time did this feel like a sales pitch. Other sessions, particularly a few in the Technical SEO track, did go into details into some Searchlight specifics. During these times, there were other sessions in the other 2 tracks that were equally as interesting without a detailed look at Searchlight. Overall, I’d say the conference is one of the better digital marketing conferences in the Northeast both for clients of Searchlight and non-clients.
That’s it for my Conductor C3 Review. Hit up the comments if you have any questions about the conference or if you are thinking of attending Conductor C3 2018.