Distilled’s SearchLove Boston 2015

After five years, Distilled continues to bring interesting speakers and delegates to the Boston area to learn and share their love for search.

I have been attending this conference since the days when it was called the Pro SEO Seminar and continue to find great value in attending. LinkLove was good as well, but that series was terminated.

I am not a journalist nor am I well rested so not every speaker got my full attention and interest. Never-the-less after years of posting nothing, I am determined to write a blog post after the first day of SearchLove.

Corrections and additions are welcome. Slide decks will be added as they become available. Enjoy

Brian Massey and his white lab coat kept up the pace while focused on mobile 2.0 optimization.




  1. Mobile Design Pattern Gallery by Theresa Neil


  1. Amy Africa


A static image of a site does not provide adequate testing. It is often in the interaction that sites fail to deliver. A box hangs off the screen, the close X is off the screen, not all of the web page fits on the screen.

With mobile, there are many factors to check starting with the operating system, the browser, the resolution and the device hardware. In addition, it is important to check both 4G and 3G speeds.

Brian favors a distinct mobile site. He pointed out that with responsive design you often lose control of the position of various assets on the page. When a site is very focused on CRO this is a huge issue because your CTAs can end up in the wrong place.

Different devices deserved different CTAs. A desktop version should/could have a form, while a mobile site should have a phone number rather than a form.

Maps are very useful on mobile, but make sure you did let your visitors get stuck in the endless map scroll. Scrolling the map, rather than down the page, with no way to escape. Yikes.

He recommends always having a CTA visible on the screen.

Adding click-to-call can provide a 20% lift in callers.

Footer blindness seems to be developing. Better to use the header for the CTAs.

There are big differences between iOS and Android in his testing.

The closer a mobile site resembles an app the better.


Tim Wilson – Digging for analytics treasure


Bridget Randolph proved that we are all Not Rand Fishkin and actually have to work to develop an audience that engages, as he did, in all fairness.


She shared a number of ideas with compelling titles like broken windows and its subset drafty windows.

The “Shiny Object Syndrome” was cleverly appended with (S.O.S.) and summarily dealt with by using three questions when your client or boss runs in asking for the latest thing he saw over in the neighbors yard.

  1. Does this fit with our current plan?
  2. Is this more efficient than what we are already doing?
  3. Has something changed so that we need to re-evaluate and start this project over again now?

If you all agree that the answer is NO to all three questions, congratulations you have just cured on instance of the S.O.S.


Jeremy Goldberg addressed social media and ROI.



  1. Mission Statement – prefer a specific goal. i.e. Lower the average age of their clients over the next two years
  2. Sizing up your customer
    1. Geographic
    2. Demographic
    3. Psychographic
    4. Behavioristic
  3. Create 2-3 specific personas that capture your ideal cleint
  4. Competitive analysis
    1. Competitors
    2. Where your clients also shop or spend their time

Facebook advertising works. Posting at unexpected times / when others are not posting works.

Pay attention to algorithmic changes and adapt rapidly.

Provide appropriate but unexpected content, do something unusual to break through the crowd and grab some attention.

Twitter – post at the right time, when your audience is attentive.

Be succinct. Keep your tweets to about 70 characters. This will increase the response rate by 30%.

Be responsive on Twitter  and go the extra mile. This will impress people and they will spread the good word.

Integrate Vine and video into your Twitter feed.

Twitter Cards are HIGHLY recommended.


Justin Briggs spoke on mobile search.


In Google AdWords, search for keywords, select Mobile Trends to see the increase in usage over a longer span of time.

Mobile Friendly = I can read the text, I can click on the links and the content fits on the screen. That is really a pretty low bar.

The hamburger menu is better located at the bottom of the screen where it can be reached. The top of the screen is well out of reach of one handed use.

We need to think about input differences. The usage of Siri and the like will continue to increase.

Focus on task completion and how to make it easier.

Google WebMaster Tools – export your data into Excel and compare Mobile to Desktop

There should be different goals and tasks on Mobile and Desktop.

Mobile, schema  and apps.

Apps are showing up in Google search results now. This is an opportunity to leapfrog rankings and sit right next to the top dog in the search results. Just create an app.

App Store Optimization

Search is becoming more conversational in word usage and less caveman talk.

There is an App Index API  which allows you to show up in the auto-complete when someone is searching for an app.


Casie Gillette shared insights about how the customer experience impacts search.






  • 70% of people consult ratings and reviews before making a purchase
  • 80% of people trust ratings and reviews as much as their own mother.
  • 90% of buyers decisions are determined by reviews.

If you search Google for a hotel, the top results are not hotels, they are instead hotel review and travel sites, like Expedia and Yelp.

A client survey revealed the following items missing from a site caused them not to buy:

  1. Contact information
  2. Client list
  3. Case studies
  4. Testimonials
  5. White papers
  6. About info / Team bios

Say Thank you.

phone call – I wanted to see how you are doing and thank you for being part of our business community.

hand written note – this will stand out.

Showcase customers with photos on your own site.

Offer to guest post.

Ask for reviews.


Craig Bradford spoke on creating a digital strategy


For each new client Distilled reviews:

  1. Platform
  2. Content
  3. Audience
  4. Conversion
  5. Measurement

Strategy = choosing what not to do

  1. Choose a good question to answer when setting a goal, inlude a specific date
  2. Move from should to could. Explain advantage, Scope, Activities
  3. Challenge the status quo
  4. Ask what must be true, not what is
  5. Test what is true
  6. Make a bet


Larry Kim shared insights on PPC marketing for Inbound marketers, which focused on content amplification tactics.

Promoted Tweet Campaign – you can use key word targeting, which means that people mentioned that key wor recently.

  1. Tweet more often. Larry tweets 20 times per day or once per hour.
  2. Twitter Ads quality score is a cost per engagement.  The more engagement with your Tweets the lower the cost. Similar to Facebooks relevance score.
  3. Post 20 tweets. One of them will get much higher engagement than the others. THen promote that one or two. By paying for RTs of your Tweet, you are exposing your Tweet to all of their followers.
  4. Use Custom Audiences. You can upload you own list of influencers. Do this instead of email pitches.


Don’t click the “Boost Post” button. All this does is amplify those who have already liked your post, including your family and friend and others not in your target audience.

Facebook buys and aggregates data from Axicom, DataLogic and Epsilon. Facebook knows at least 1,500 pieces of data about you well beyond what happens on Facebook.

When creating FB ads make granular selections to reach your ideal audience. “people who bought business services” for example. Then upload your own list. Then layer on further criteria as needed.


+Post Ads – they go to the Google Display Network

LiknkedIn Ads

Larry is not a fan. Very old technology in use here.

LinkedIn Blogging is great.


True View Ads

Increase engagement to lower cost. Engagement is views, comments, shares etc.


Google Display Network. Reach 84%

The more you show ads (remarkeitng) the less likely people are to click on them. Those who do click on them are twice as likely to then convert.

When creating visual ads, used kittens and puppies and your logo. Create display ads that look like content.

Send folks to your content, to an ebook.

Promote your best articles through these methods.

Social ad formats capture all of a person’s contact information. So, you don’t need to use landing pages with them. You already have the information provided by the social network.

Tag everyone who come to your website. Create a remarketing campaign and filter for those who have visited your site only.


The tips everyone offered at the end of the day were also quite good. But we were all sworn to secrecy for 30 days. 🙂

My biggest takeaway is the low cost  and high impact of Facebook advertising.

That’s wraps up my takeaways. What impressed you? Leave your comments and questions below.

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