In November, I flew to Barcelona to attend the international Search Summit in Barcelona. While the most important part for sure was the networking and the amazing people I got to know there, we also had a lot of talks I want to recap in this Blogpost.
Would I recommend the International Search Summit?
I definitely would. The organization of the Event was very well done, and I really enjoyed it. The best part was for sure the networking. I got to know many amazing people from all over Europe.
How does it work?
You have 3 Tracks to visit. The first one is the most technical one, about SEO, the second one is about Content and some of them are on your Website, but others talk about Social Media Content as well. The last track is about PPC.
I have visited just the first track, but when the recordings are online I will take a look at the other topics as well because there were a few very interesting ones.
Because the talks are all filmed and will be uploaded to the platform of WebCertain. Where you can actually also find the ones from the years before.
With view over the ocean all day long, the event is in a great building in Barcelona. It took place in the World Trade Center of Barcelona and you had 3 separate Rooms for each track and one big Room where you came back for coffee and lunch and met with everyone.
The best part was for sure the people you will meet. There is a Pre Event the night before which I really recommend that you visit. They told us there are about 500 People attending the event, although in the Pre-Event there were obviously less.
So it gives you a good start to know the first bunch of people already the day before.
The Workshop the day before
I have attended also the Workshop about International SEO, which took place the first time this year, the day before. But I will write an extra Blogpost about it as it was kind of a separate event.
My Takeaways from the Talks
Here again a disclaimer is needed. I am telling what I personally took away and just the most important. This doesn’t cover all the amazing talks and is very much influenced by my own opinion and SEO knowledge.
Link to all slides: https://webcertain.com/self-learning?q=ISS Barcelona 2023
#1 5 KEYWORD TYPES FOR GUARANTEED REVENUE
Talk by: Marcos Sabino from TravelPerk
Marcos talked about Money Keywords that you shouldn’t forget to look into.
- Industry Pages
For sure, you have seen this on some websites. Something like “For Construction”, “For Architects” – or even broader and referring to the size of a company, like “For Small Businesses”. And you can even make a dedicated page for special teams “For the Accounting Team”.
With these pages, you can especially well tackle pain points of an industry that you solve for them.
But don’t just change Title and Keywords – it is important to change the content for the industry. If not, you just create doorway pages waiting for the next “Helpful Content Update”.
- Competitor Comparison Page
Why not compare yourself to the competitor and showcase your USPs even more with that?
Kind of a versus page. And if you really want to get it off, compare your competitor to a competitor and add yourself. A versus versus page, so to say.
Of course, you should really just do this if your solution can shine in comparison, not that you look worse than before and the client goes off directly to your competition.
The good thing with this is you can start ranking for the brand of someone else, which is really nice if your brand is still not searched a lot.
- Location Pages
Be careful with location pages. That’s not what Marco said, but what I am saying. Of course, you can make a location page for every big city you find in your country. But it also should make sense. If you have an office there, great. If you can localize the page really well, it is fine as well. But like with the industry pages, don’t just copy and change the Keyword focus.
And like always, have a look at the SERPs, some places might just rank if you make a listicle.
- Statistic round-ups
Not so much to drive conversion, statistic round-up pages are great to get links. People love reading statistics, but they prefer reading them worked out and resumed and not searching pages like Statista. They are a lot of work, but the effort might just be worth it.
One last tip from Marcos, always include a summary at the top with the most important stats.
- Integrated pages
These pages are especially important for software and tools and might make the difference someone decides to go with you or your competition. A huge example for this is Zappier, but if you have an integration to some other tool, make a dedicated page for it.
#2 OPTIMISING KNOWLEDGE PANELS FOR INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCES
Talk by: Sara Moccand-Sayegh from Liip
I know Sara in person, as she is also living and working in Switzerland. So I actually didn’t even look up what here talk was about, just knew I want to see her.
I also need to admit that before her talk, I didn’t know a lot about knowledge panels. Or let’s say it like this: I didn’t ever put much thought into where the data is actually coming from and how it acts in different languages.
What is a knowledge panel?
These are the boxes you see on search with information about a brand or person. Actually it can be anything as long as it is a known entity.
What I didn’t know that it actually can be very different from one language to the next, what is shown in these boxes. And it is not always Wikipedia that is behind the information.
What is the knowledge graph?
That’s actually the database that connects all these entities with their main properties and in between each other. If you are important and get mentioned a lot, you can make it as a person into this database.
How can you control what’s in our knowledge panel?
Firstly, Google needs to trust you and your sources. In general, the website of a company is the entity home. Give every information about your brand, the persons working in the company, location, etc. And of course use structured data so it is all very easy to understand.
If you want more information on the knowledge panel than what I remember from Sara’s talk you can check out the website of kalicube.
#3 NO HABLO ESPAÑOL: HOW TO MANAGE SEO ON INTERNATIONAL PLATFORMS WITHOUT LOCAL LANGUAGE KNOWLEDGE
Talk by: Vanda Pókecz from Ladenzeile GmbH
Vanda made a great presentation. Don’t be confused by the title, she talked about how Ladenzeile changed their organization around SEO and how they dealt with international SEO before and after.
They actually implemented a Product-Led SEO Focus. Which meant moving the SEO from local marketing departments to the Product department.
Suddenly not every country where Ladenzeile is active had their own SEO, and not all the languages were spoken anymore in the department.
The main learnings from this process I will add to this post when the slides are actually accessible. Because I didn’t write down a lot, instead I was just listening.
#4 THE STATE OF INTERNATIONAL INDEXING: 1,000 HREFLANG NETWORKS ANALYSED
Talk by: Dan Taylor from SALT.agency
I learned in general a lot about hreflang at the event and the workshop the day before. This is a complicated topic for international SEO. But you shouldn’t be afraid of them – they are really helpful for Google and you.
Main Takeaways from this great talk:
- hreflang is a canonical signal (nothing to be afraid of)
- 31 % of websites do them wrong
- hreflang is just a recommendation for Google, like a canonical
- They don’t need to be sitewide
- hreflang helps google to understand your website and to crawl them
- It doesn’t matter if you add them to the sitemap or head of html – just one is needed, don’t do both
Ask Google anything: with Gery Illyes
How I love the Ask Google anything sessions. Not joking, I am a big fan of these sessions because they are actually hilarious. Gery, as Martin and John at Search Central Live were, was great to listen to and sometimes just the right amount of sarcastic.
There are a lot of stories and insights from the Q&A that I am sharing in my newsletter. So you really should read it if you speak German:
My main takeaways from the questions and specially the responses, Gery gave:
- SGE in Europe: Nothing to announce
- The sitemap gets crawled like any other page on your site
- Make your page accessible – not for Google or your rankings, but for the people that actually need it
- E-E-A-T is an abstract way to explain rankings
- CTR is not a ranking factor – user signal is way more complicated than simple Clicks
- Are you a worthy player on the internet? Proof it by getting referenced (also nofollow and social media shares)
- Trust Signals: Ask your surroundings what they need to trust a website like yours – and build up on that
- Don’t use regenerated content and present it as your own