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Wil Reynolds, Reddit, Content Over-Creation, and More: #StateofSearch 2014 Day Two Recap

State of Search 2014 Day Two Recap

Day Two at the Dallas-Ft. Worth Search Engine Marketing Association‘s State of Search conference was just as great as Day One: Sessions on social media, SEO, marketing, and PPC, plus a morning keynote by Wil Reynolds, Founder of SEER Interactive and a closing keynote by Duane Forrester. Below is a brief round-up of some of the sessions I had the opportunity to attend today.

Morning Keynote: Wil Reynolds

Wil is the founder of SEER Interactive and is a compelling speaker. The main topics he covered were focusing on the bare bones “old school” concepts of advertising and marketing from as far back as the 1800-1900s. He recommended a book published back then (1907) called “Scientific Advertising” (link is to PDF of full text) that has principles that still hold true today, especially because they didn’t have an algorithm to trick.

 Some of Wil’s other main points included connecting with your customers instead of trying to appease Google. He recommends connecting with people on a very real level, instead of trying to trick or dissect things. He asked the audience, “If I don’t understand you as a person, how can I connect with you as a customer?”

[pullquote]The bottom line is: “If your content was removed from the web, would anyone miss it?”[/pullquote]

Wil then asked the audience two questions: Would your content withstand the test of time? and Would you rather build a brand or a link? You need your employees and your customers to be impressed with your content even if Google didn’t exist. This means building content that isn’t always created to solely make money.  He pointed out that executives that obsess about being #5 in SERP when they used to be #3 aren’t the ones you are successful. Instead of making money or focusing on clicks, you should be focused on branding.

One example of content that isn’t successful or focused on branding (or what the company stands for) is posts from eBay and Comcast. They each have tens of thousands of employees, yet only have about 10-12 shares on each of their pieces of content. What does it say about you when even your own employees aren’t sharing your content?

Social Media Track: Having Long Term Success With Reddit

SEJ’s Chief Social Media Strategist Brent Csutoras presented on Reddit, giving a primer on how a grassroots individual could start building their Reddit profile in an honest way to eventually begin sharing their own links and content. He cautioned the audience on gaming Reddit at first, saying it’s a bad idea and its users are usually vehemently opposed to any type of marketing or salesy content, so this should be avoided.

His other high-level tips included:

  • There are two types of moderators on Reddit: Admins, which are Reddit employees, and moderators for subreddits, which are power users that have been promoted for that volunteer position.
  • According to the Reddit ranking algorithm, the first ten votes on Reddit are equivalent to the next 100 votes. So initial votes and interest matter!
  • There are also two types of bans: sub-Reddit specific and silent bans, which  mean that you’re the only person that sees your stuff
  • Be anonymous, users are good at stalking people if you get on their bad side
  • Learn popular acronyms used online and on Reddit in particular, such as tl;dr
  • Comment on others’ posts before submitting. Some SubReddits even require commenting before you can even submit a URL.
  • Impress the moderators: respond their comments and get yourself known to them.

Reddit Research and Resources

Brent recommended a plethora of resources for researching comments and Reddit content. These included:

  • (view all comments)
  • (replace futureology with the subreddit you are researching)
  • (best comments)
  • (view the best comment just by hovering over a subreddit name)
  • (to view trending subreddits)
  • (to gain Reddit insight)
  • allows you to see when moderators are online
  • In Reddit, search site:URL to see if anyone is already posting about your site’s content. Then you will know what subreddits to submit in. You can look for competitors as well.

Finally, Brent recommended some additional tips to get ahead on Reddit when it comes to building your profile. It’s important to build your Reddit presence in order to be a valued member of the community, instead of attempting to sell or push something immediately. You should be commenting regularly on upcoming stories: go to Rising on front page. Brent recommends a ratio of writing ten comments to one submission. Focus on writing comments that start a useful dialogue. [pullquote]“Promoting on Reddit is best done through a conversation.”[/pullquote] Finally, 10am EST submission times are Brent’s favorite, as its when many moderators are most active.

Kitchen Sink Track: Dialing it Back: How Creating Too Much Content Can Dilute Your Brand and Undermine Your Authority

This session on the random/marketing track on Day Two was one of my favorites. Michelle Lowrey spoke on the fact that we are getting out of control with website content. Not every piece of content can be “epic” and when it comes down to it, you should focus on quality over quantity: If you’re creating a high volume of content, you’re diminishing its value. The best content is created by people who have expertise in your topic vertical or are expert content creators.

When it comes to over-saturation of content, Michelle gave a good analogy: Prince has performed on TV six times since 2011 (his last being Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago). Compare that with how many times you’ve seen Miley Cyrus in the media or on TV.

Content on Social Media

Michelle told the audience that “going where your audience is isn’t enough, and instead, you should focus on staying where your audience responds to you. Along those same lines, not every social network is appropriate for every brand.

 An Approach to Content

Michelle stated that blindly following conventional wisdom is, itself, unwise. When it comes down to it, content for content’s sake is a waste of resources and the more you try to force your sincerity, the phonier you sound. Frequency and consistency do not equate to authority: true authority comes from knowledge, experience, and expressing both through implication rather than overt statement.

De-Mystifying Mobile SEO

Cindy Krum did the only session on mobile SEO, which highlighted the differences between normal SEO and optimizing for mobile. Cindy stated that Google’s last few years, most of their major research projects and developments have involved mobile. Google is trying to make the mobile experience better so they can make more money. Mobile [has already] outpaced desktop in the pure number of queries submitted. 

Some of the benefits of mobile include expanding your appeal and reaching customers when they aren’t at their computer, such as while they are commuting or checking their email in morning from bed before they wake up.

How are mobile rankings different?

  • Less room above the fold: Only 3-4 results, which are a combination or paid and organic
  • PPC has more impact on SERP: PPC results can get big on mobile and push an organic results below the fold. Some ads have reviews for mobile paid., and organic doesn’t have these anymore.
  • More knowledge graph
  • Universals rank better (such as videos, images, news results): You should optimize these on your site for mobile so they rank better.
  • Micro-formats are more important: do whatever you can to make it “touchable”– add schema to increase the size of your search result.

Cindy also mentioned that Google doesn’t have a tablet crawler *yet*, but she suspects they will soon. Google is currently using the desktop crawler instead.

How is mobile SEO different?

  • Algorithmic focus on: pagespeed, usability, desktop, linkage
  • Strategic focus on: SERP style, micro-formats, social media
  • Technical focus on: errors and server/content distribution network

What are some of the problems with mobile SEO?

These are some of the problems that Cindy sees with her mobile SEO clients:

  • Crawler confusion
  • Inefficient crawls
  • New domain errors
  • Problematic indexing with mobile subdomains and redirects
  • Issues with mobilization platforms like goMobi or Duda Mobile: they are not SEO friendly so Cindy doesn’t recommend them.
  • Slow is always bad in mobile: slows the crawler, slows for user, they leave.

In conclusion, mobile SEO is a specific subset of SEO that should be treated differently from traditional/desktop SEO.  Cindy’s presentation was a good overview, but it’s important to know more about optimizing for mobile (either through responsive design or m. subdomains) and how it is unique.

Be sure to check out my Day One recap and follow @sejournal and #StateofSearch for more expert insight and conversations from the conference.


Disclosure: DFWSEM paid for my travel and accommodations. All notes and opinions are my own.
Featured image created by author.

Kelsey Jones Marketing Consultant, Owner at Six Stories & StoryShout

Kelsey Jones is a marketing consultant, writer, and owner of and Kelsey has been in digital marketing since ...

Wil Reynolds, Reddit, Content Over-Creation, and More: #StateofSearch 2014 Day Two Recap

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