ClickZ took some time at the Share13 conference on Aug. 23 to speak with Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge, about the SEO profession, the future of mobile, and why content is so important.
"Six years ago when we started I talked a little bit about going up and down the valley and there was only a handful of people focused on earned media and SEO and now there are over a million people six years later. And I think a lot of that is because of the business impact that earned media and SEO are able to drive…That's elevating the community around search and really driving innovation," said Yu.
When asked about the best tips for the SEO industry, Yu said, "One of the biggest changes that's happened is really this focus on content. It starts with content, especially now, with the changes that have happened with Panda and Penguin in the last year or so. The focus on content is so critical, so I think it's really starting with content, then thinking about how do you drive engagement to that content, so that ultimately you can really drive the best earned media performance."
Content is certainly a buzzword. But what about the smaller companies that are having trouble driving content? Yu said, "I think one of the things that's really interesting is a lot of times in any size company you have existing content, and one of the examples we gave was how if you were able to connect the dots with the content that you already have and the things that are relevant out there, you can drive a lot of performance."
There was also the question of whether BrightEdge is an affordable platform for smaller companies and how BrightEdge is working with these smaller brands.
"We work with companies of many different sizes so we have some of the largest brands in the world - we now work with over 8,400 brands worldwide - as well as medium-sized companies and smaller companies. We do have technology that works for different-sized companies," said Yu.
On why companies should use BrightEdge as opposed to other platforms in the market, Yu said, "The big focus that we have is sort of helping companies stay ahead of the changes, and at our core it's around innovation…We really pioneered a lot of the early innovations - we now have five issued patents covering a lot of the spectrum of the technology that enables you to manage SEO at scale. We have a ton of new innovations on how you drive content, and how you drive performance around content, and this change that's happening right now across Google as well as all the other major channels."
"Our differentiator is our focus on innovation and delivering for customers."
BrightEdge announced many of its new innovations at the conference. According to Yu, "More and more keyword data is becoming unavailable and that's a change that's happening across our industry and that drives a need to really understand performance, not just at a keyword level but at a page level, and that's one of the key technologies that we've been working on for the past year that we announced [at the conference]. Page technology, so you can really understand optimization at a page level and be able to drive the entire process and programs around the content on the pages you have."
"The second piece of technology we shared was that content isn't just pages on your site; your content actually lives across the web. It's your Facebook page that's driving a lot of engagement to your content, it's your YouTube channels, it's your Google+ profiles, it's your Twitter accounts, all those different pieces - so we announce new technology that allows you to connect all those dots and drive performance in those areas."
"We shared a whole new suite that we've launched around mobile, where you can really understand mobile performance. We shared a lot of data around the growth of mobile impact and how critical it is now."
"All of our customers in the entire community have seen this huge trend with mobile revenue and mobile traffic growing as a percentage of where your revenue is coming from, but at the same time you have to figure out how do I react to that. Most companies haven't figured out how do I change the structure of my redirects, how do I change the performance of my site, all the things that are critical in that mobile experience. So we've introduced mobile audit technology that helps you analyze your site to really understand these are the changes I need to make," said Yu.
One big question on marketers' minds these days is whether mobile is indeed the future. According to Yu, yes, it is. "Absolutely it's critical moving forward, and from a conversion perspective there's significant differences between different types of mobile. We shared some data earlier this month around the conversion rates, and one of the things that we noted is that on your tablet devices you actually have very high conversion rates. A lot of times people bucket that together, smartphones and tablets, but it's actually very different by device type, by form factors, because the conversion experience is very different and the natural conversion rate is different."
The three big takeaways that Yu has from the conference are: "The rise of earned media…the focus on content marketing…and the rise of mobile."
Key points from Jim Yu's keynote at Share13:
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March 19, 2014