We just got back from SearchElite packed with insights and excellence all the way. Who would have thought a search conference could be dominated by Voice, Visual Marketing and Java Script Frameworks.

Search Elite is an event hosted at our local Prospero House in SE1, bringing many great speakers, SEO experts, etc. together; its sister event, Conversion Elite, is held next door.

Key takeaways:
– Upgrade to HTTP2
– Great opportunity in Visual Search
– Audit Structured Data
– Pay great attention to JavaScript indexing
– Optimising image data
– Personalisation leads to conversions
– Analyse logs for insights
– Leverage translations, and pay more

The event kicked off with one of the top SEO experts, Duane Forrester, talking about the future of Voice and other upcoming trends in search engine optimisation.

Presented by Tom Anthony, this significant advancement was the concept of using HTTP2. As the main protocol for rendering websites, HTTP2 requests are being made simultaneously, rather than in a waterfall fashion. This allows the browser to download all assets in one go, which in turn speeds up the initial load of the page. A small thing that can make a huge difference in user experience, especially on mobile.

Visual search was always an underestimated feature in Google and other search engines commands; however, it’s becoming more and more apparent that a lot of the results are presented as images, and not optimising your assets for your key search terms might put you at a disadvantage, especially if you consider partnerships such as Amazon and Snapchat bringing in Visual search into the app. Some great examples were shown by Jes Scholz; we will definitely be looking into this.

As per many other events this year, the conversation was dominated by Voice, with Voice queries on the rise, and 75% of US households predicted to have a smart speaker by 2020. With more and more devices like Google Home or Amazon Alexa becoming a day-to-day occurrence at a normal household, we will be advising our clients to at least think about registering basic apps to reserve the namespace and not to be left out as they potentially could have been in the domain race.

As for large websites that operate in multilingual setup, we have seen great points from Gianna Brachetti-Truskawa regarding automated or badger translations into the customer’s local language. Gianna stresses that there’s a balance to be struck between the price of the translation and the actual quality, and urges marketers to change their attitude towards translation budgeting and focus on the best outcome for the user.  Meaning, sometimes it’s better to pay slightly more and get a local translator than end up with something that will alienate users.

From a technical stand, one of the most interesting sessions was by Bartosz Goralewicz, talking about the importance of a developing JavaScript based front end of websites. With Search wolf of frameworks available on the market currently, it’s very easy to be lost in the development process and only to find out that the actual application in the house if the pages are rendered can impact optimisation of your site.  As it turns out Google actually indexes a page twice, once by looking at the HTML of the server side of foot followed by a second turn of JavaScript rendered HTML. The latter can take quite a while to be rendered since it needs to be placed in the queue and requires additional CPU resources should the two be different as a potential of Google not knowing which version is correct and therefore limiting the search visibility.

We’ve also learnt how important and  underutilized an overlooked feature set as server side logging can make a huge difference on the bottom line should someone decide to review and surface some key learning. Bastian Grimm presented a number of complex and simple tools for passing and reviewing log data and demonstrated some simple outcomes that can change the way you view logging forever.

The last session we saw was by ex Googler, Fili Wiese, around the importance of structured data and also some advice on how Google sees paid-for links. Fili Talked about, at length, the need for constant validation of the structured data and the standardised approach preferred by Google which can lead to significant increase in search results by the use of rich snippets and basically just letting Google know a little bit more about the page or product that the user is currently looking at.

In conclusion, the coming year will be about brands slowly recognizing the importance of Voice,  and trying to leverage that in its basic form on Amazon Alexa. If we were to believe they’re experts, Voice will play a big role in the future of commerce, and it makes sense to at least dip your toe in the process.   Marketers should also consider implementing some good practice as well as many of the new search techniques to get a head start. Big thanks to many great speakers: Duane Forrester, Tom Anthony, Jes Scholz, Gianna Brachetti-Truskawa, Bartosz Goralewicz, Bastian Grimm and Fili Wiese.