SEO Camp 2023 : conferences highlights, future of SEO and AI

June 2023 wasn’t just another month – it was SEOCamp month ! The Semactic Team attended the famous conference in Versailles, near Paris. 

With the rise of AI steering the future of SEO, this edition was nothing short of electrifying!
You couldn’t attend it? Fear not! Dive into our comprehensive recap of the main conferences below and experience them as you had been right there !

Performing a content audit: moving away from simplistic SEO tags analysis

Marilou Rudel and Kate Herchuez from Flair Agency discussed how to get your content analysis to the next level by stopping just focusing on SEO tags. There’s more out there!

They highlighted the importance of the different steps of the content audit.

  • First, you need to understand the objectives, the problems and the needs of your website or your customer’s. Why is SEO needed in the first place ?
  • Secondly, you have to perform a semantic analysis: identify the keywords opportunities, find out how the users are searching. Which keywords do they use? What kind of vocabulary do they use?
  • At last, you have to perform an on-site audit: an actual analysis of the website to better understand the difficulties and the improvements that can be made in terms of SEO.
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Analyze the interests and intents of the users and compare it to your website visibility. Do you sell the products they are looking for? If yes, do you have a page about it? Did you open the most interesting facets?

 

Sometimes, the analysis of the user searches can also give you interesting feedback on what they are looking for. Maybe you could develop the product that you are not selling yet. In short, a content audit can help you identify new business development opportunities.

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You should also pay close attention to all the serp result types: look for pictures, PAA, recipes, rich snippets… It’ll give you even more ideas about what content users are looking for.

 

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Check which urls rank on which keywords. Sometimes you’ll discover that very generic pages rank on very detailed keywords because there are no dedicated pages for those keywords or they are poorly developed.

Check for duplicated content: sometimes, you’ll be able to update old content and change it to match it with the user intent. If a search query has more than one intent, you can always create “mixed intent” template pages

Depending on the things you’ll discover, there are a lot of actions you can perform – do not forget to define a clear roadmap of actions ! :

  • Modify the already existing content: improve pages to avoid cannibalization or to better match the user intent, target specific long tail keywords.
  • Create new content: find the right template that’ll fit the user intent the best, open the right facets, create new pages, expand your offer
  • Analyze the search intent: prioritize subjects you need to address, create FAQs and blogs, use internal linking
  • Adapt your website structure: is the main information easily accessible? Think about your categories and sub-categories.

The future of SEO

Cindy Krum from Mobile Moxie discussed the unique challenges faced by SEO professionals. Google is undergoing several changes right now and is even facing new challenges as well: their market share is being threatened by chatbots and Amazon, their profits and clicks are declining and they recently had to lay off thousands of employees. 

She discussed the SGE – Search Generative Experience of Google, and Google Bard. As we explained in our article on Bard, Krum said that while Bard is interesting on some aspects, it cannot always put two pieces of information together, although it does posses them both if you ask him separately

She went on a detailed analysis of the SGE.  It’s based on Large Language Models (LLM) that Google uses to understand us. Two of the most famous of them are probably BERT and MUM that help Google unsertand context and anticipate queries. That’s where the concept of “journeys” come from: Google tries to get a holistic understanding of what we want

Krum explained the concept of entity-first indexing that Google is putting the focus on. Entities are concepts that are related to one another. Currently, Google is adding specific filters to recognize entities to anticipate user journeys. However, she noted that Google sometimes jumps to conclusions too quickly, which can lead to inaccurate results.

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Here, Google clearly identifies "Grumpy cat" as an entity and suggests filters such as "meme" or "breed"
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"Football" and "NFL" are not the same thing. Google supposes most people who search for the word "football" actually search for the NFL, but this isn't always true.

She also discussed how Google is trying to keep users on the SERP as long as possible by adding features like chatbots directly into the SERP and implementing visual and voice search (Google Multi Search). These features can lead to a decrease in traffic for many companies, but could also represent a huge opportunity for e-commerce websites.

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Krum advised focusing on creating unique and useful content, shifting SEO focus to platforms like YouTube when SGE pushes the top results too low, and checking results in other countries and languages. She emphasized that while understanding is not a ranking factor, it is important for inclusion in learning mechanisms.

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The rise of AI: tools, strategies and tips to drive growth

In his talk about the rise of AI, Bastian Grimm from Peak Ace discussed the future of SEO and SEO professionals by presenting some useful AI tools. He also reminded us that AI is not to be blindly trusted

As powerful as the AI is, Large Language Models have their own flaws and problems:

  • Computing power: the quality of the results improves as the size of the LLM increases → costs increase exponentially
  • Biased training data: if the used data to train the LLM is biased, then the system will likely show biases as well
  • Environmental impact: training a LLM produces huge amounts of carbon
  • Static perspectives: LLM are trained once but are used for a long time; they don’t often get training updates
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Here’s our selection of the most interesting AI tools. Be very careful with the data you put in any of them (confidentiality, data protection):

  • Prompting tools:

    • Promptbase is a prompt marketplace – Grimm recommends to use it for inspiration
 
  • theresanaiforthat.com: the “AI search engine”

  • AI for text copy:

    • There exists a lot of them: Jasper, Frase, Easy Peasy, etc. Each of them has its own specificities, and you should pick one depending on what you want to do. Grimm reminds us to never publish content before checking it.

  •  
  • Video tools:

    • Maverick: lets you personalize videos. The video is recorded once, and Maverick will inject personalized elements depending on the user.
    • Murf.ai : you want to broadcast video ads in different languages but don’t have native employees to dub them? This tool does it for you!
 
  • Productivity tools:

    • Compose AI: A Chrome extension to make you faster. Within a week, this tool learns how you write and becomes able to imitate your style. 
    • MailMaestro allows you to generate custom mails with prompts, extract action points and make summaries of emails
    • Taplio scales your personal branding on Linkedin and gives you ideas for new content according to your interaction.
    • Excelformula bot turns your problem into a proper Excel formula. It’s directly embedded in Excel
 
  • AI No code tools: not all of us are developers. Akkio.com can be used for sales forecasting, churn prediction, lead scoring

In addition to these tools, Grimm gave us some tips to create the perfect prompt. The key is to be thorough:

  • Define a role,
  • Define a context,
  • Give instructions,
  • Mention a format,
  • Provide examples
  • Provide constraints (what it should not be doing)
  • Combine it with AIPRM which gives you access to curated ChatGPT prompts, and other interesting plugins like Web browsing on Bing
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Like Krum, Grimm said it’s very likely that SEO strategies will have to be adapted in the future as  organic traffic will be more difficult to get.

Google SERP: the best methods to analyze it and integrate it in your strategy

In their conference, Daniel Roch and Axel Janvier from Seomix presented their essential methods and tools for analyzing and using the SERP results effectively in SEO strategy.

They first discussed how to pick the right keyword: 

  • Firstly, your keyword must answer the needs of the users;
  • It must be non-generic
  • With sufficient search volume.

Understanding the user and Google’s search intent is crucial. For instance, the presence of ads on a keyword signifies commercial value, and quick access links or knowledge graphs may indicate informational content.

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How to proceed an analysis of the top results of the SERP?

  • Make sure to understand the search intent behind the Top 3 results. What do Google and the user expect? It will give you an idea of the content type you’ll have to produce. Don’t hesitate to analyze the other results in the top 10 either;
  • Identify the keywords in Title tags to get an idea of the competition level. You can do this by using the “allintitle” command in Google;
  • Assess the typology of the top ranking sites. Are they big, small, specialized? Are there any media websites in the SERP? For instance, if a query only gives you results from forums or social networks, then it means that the competition is pretty weak;
  • Check for the presence of rich results (pictures, 0 position, knowledge graph,…)
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Some tips on Google commands and url parameters:

  • site:url – This famous command allows you to see the number of indexed pages of the provided website;
  • related:domain name – displays websites with similar theme;
  • You can multiply these commands: site:url 
    -inurl:keyword will allow you to see the number of indexed pages that do not contain the keyword
  • The url parameter uule= allows you to force a specific location in Google
  • pws=0 allows you to simulate a private navigation search. Be careful though, it will still take your location into account through your IP address
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To create content, Daniel Roch and Axel Janvier give us several pieces of advice:

  • Use the SERP’s content: if a specific content is displayed in it, then your page must have it as well (pictures, videos, etc)
  • Use Schema markup
  • Update publication dates of articles
  • Google suggests and PAA are your friends to grow your content
  • Investigate local business questions;
  • Additionally, monitor your competitors;
  • Forums, reviews and social networks can provide valuable insights.

Neuroscience of Search and Customer Acquisition

In her conference on neuroscience of search and customer acquisition, Giulia Panozzo from StockX emphasized the importance of focusing on the user and capturing their attention over simply optimizing for Google or achieving higher rankings. SEO is now about the entire website.

The battle in the SERP is a battle for the users’ attention: the concept of “selective attention” can be triggered by internal factors, cognitive biases, and external factors.

Panozzo discussed the impact of Event Related Potentials (ERP) and how emojis can trigger these, capturing the user’s attention. She explained that if used correctly (which means they are relevant with your title and query), emoji can be used in SEO tags. She also mentioned the concept of “mismatch negativity,” where unexpected elements can grab attention.

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She delved into cognitive biases, such as the Serial Position Effect, Numerical biases, Negativity biases, and Confirmation biases, and how they can be leveraged in SEO and digital marketing in general. 

For instance, using percentages instead of numbers in offers can be more effective due to the Distance effect. Moreover, negative headlines seem to be more successful than positive headlines in the SERP, and she insisted on the confirmation bias where you need to reassure the users about your legitimacy.

Panozzo also discussed heuristics in decision making, where users make shortcuts due to limited cognitive resources. She highlighted the Scarcity heuristic, Risk aversion heuristic, and Familiarity heuristic and the Elaboration Likelihood Model, and how they influence user behavior. She also discussed the power of social proof and the role of emotions in decision making. In short, the users always need to be reassured

In conclusion, Panozzo encouraged SEO professionals to dare to stand out by creating original content, focus on creating positive emotional experiences for users, and prioritize teamwork.

Adapt your digital strategy to any constraints

Working as a SEO or digital agency can be tough. We encounter all kinds of customers and all kinds of constraints. In his conference, Bertrand Masselot from Volumium addressed several of these issues that we sometimes face and offered solutions to overcome them.

The key advice of this conference was communication. Masselot emphasized the importance of communication and education of customers to SEO. He also stressed the importance of clearly defining roles and responsibilities in the quotation you create with your customer. 

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Don't hesitate to meet your customer "in real life" !

He insisted on the importance of adapting one’s language to be understood by your client, avoiding anglicisms or jargon and using the vocabulary specific to each interlocutor.  

In the case where the decision-maker does not agree with your ideas or proposals, Masselot suggested vulgarizing the approach, organizing workshops in the company, and proposing tailor-made KPI’s.

Faced with a client asking for the impossible, he advised knowing how and when to refuse a contract if necessary.  If you’re faced with a client changing agencies regularly, he recommended often proposing new ideas, being present, and systematically reporting and communicating on your work. 

In conclusion, Masselot emphasized the importance of not intervening if one does not add value, of adapting one’s vocabulary, of making yourself essentiel to your customer, of being present and of informing and training about SEO. 

Picture of Carine Pire

Carine Pire

Carine has more than 5 years of experience in a large international company and specialized in digital marketing at Technofutur TIC. There, she got particularly interested in SEO and chose to become a SEO consultant. Always curious and eager to learn, she helps us support our clients in their SEO projects.
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