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The annual Pubcon Pro conference in Las Vegas last week was action packed with sessions, industry insights, and events for the search marketing community. I had the chance to be there and take in sessions and meet up with a bunch of old and new friends.

I wanted to share some key takeaways and learnings from my notes and share links to some other great Pubcon recaps and newsworthy topics as well.

Pubcon Pro Keynote: Gary Illyes

The event kicked off with a much anticipate keynote by Gary Illyes from Google. He has been a fixture on the conference circuit for the past few years and is worthy of a follow on social media. Highlights of what Gary shared:

  • Links are the #1 way that Google finds content and XML sitemap is #2
  • Crawl budget–if you have millions of pages you need to worry about it. Under a million pages? Don’t invest time or resources on optimizing it.
  • When you lazy load images, search engines only see the pixel placeholder for image that will be loaded on scroll–and search engines don’t scroll. Be mindful of this in how you code, render, and want your content indexed.
  • Google renders 98%+ of pages they crawl, but it can take weeks at times if you have pages with a lot of AJAX and javascript. Google still prefers static HTML.
  • There’s no character limit on meta description with Google as they don’t care about the length.
  • Https boost is more of a tiebreaker. But, chrome is “going nuclear on http”.
  • Good URLs are critical–don’t use hashtags within them, ensure you canonicalize and have HTTPS.
  • Be sure to use “<a>” with “href”–even though you can link in other ways, Google is looking for the “a” for links.

Gary wouldn’t get into algorithm updates at Pubcon Pro and said we needed to talk to the Google @searchliason. Here’s a great recap of his entire keynote: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/gary-illyes-whats-new-in-google-search-pubcon-keynote-recap/274273/


Shifting gears to the Facebook session, Joe Youngblood shared some great history and current ranking factors. Highlights of his session include:

  • The news feed launched in 2006. With it came the Edgerank algorithm. Facebook killed it in 2011 and didn’t tell anyone for a couple years. Now Facebook uses 100,000 weight factors.
  • 2018 organic ranking factors include:
    • Does the user like and/or follow? Is your page’s content hidden? Have they selected to see it first (the holy grail)? Have they recently engaged in any fashion?
    • For video content, Is the post a video uploaded to Facebook versus embedded or linked from another source or platform?link to a scraped/republished article.
    • Links to scraped content and articles perform worse than content original to the author and/or to Facebook.
    • Vote requests, reaction requests, and share baiting gets your reach cut as well.
  • There are a bunch of awesome content creation tools: Animoto, Promo, Legend (mobile app), Reevio, Magisto, Shakr, and Canva.

Paid Social

Moving into the paid side of social media, Marty Weintraub’s session–like always–featured some great insights.

  • Figure out if the small targeting options in Facebook ad campaigns mean anything.
  • Go to the Facebook search bar and see what the suggest items are to get info for adding or negative matching
  • Check out and use Facebook DCO (dynamic creative optimization). It can help with review and approval process for getting individual creative elements approved rather than full literal ads (and the nightmare of going through creative process a ton of times for so many ads)
  • DCO testing
    • Take the best built ads and make the copy into individual lines removing weak statements.
    • Prove it works compared to bulk assembled ads.
    • Isolate winning DCO snippets, thin out underperforming creative, retest.
    • Introduce new creative elements and continue the cycle.

The Google search quality rating guidelines session was fascinating as always. The recurring theme to note there is we need to build trust for our sites. That comes in “E-A-T” development as well as in having links from sites with high authority and trust. The closer we are in relation to those sites, the better.

Lastly, if you get a chance to hear Duane Forrester present Yext’s “State of the Industry”, do it. The content is entertaining and insightful as a digital marketer.

Pubcon Pro always offers a lot of great content and the Pro event last week definitely delivered.

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