SEO Festival 2016 in Katowice

Just few days ago, on 25 May 2016, another SEO Festival took place – one of the most prestigious events in the Polish SEO industry. For the fourth time it gathered many recognized experts and specialists in website positioning, optimization and content marketing. The number of SEO enthusiasts coming for the festival is higher every year, which clearly shows that the event is growing in popularity and importance.

There were quite a few changes this year, among which the change of venue came as the biggest surprise: the festival was held in the International Conference Centre in Katowice. It offers first-class facilities such as a professional conference room with a lot of seats and a huge car park just opposite the building.

As far as the festival itself is concerned, 10 online marketing experts gave a short presentations on a subject of their choice. One of them was Wojtek Mazur, a co-founder of Elephate.


Let us start from the very beginning though. The first speaker, Cezary Glijer, talked about ASO (App Store Optimization). He explained what ASO is and why it is so important for app stores to rank high in search results. He went on to say that effective optimization is not only just about ASO – what also matters is a brand strategy, budget, app quality and analytics. Besides, he elaborated a little on some factors that influence an app visibility in a store (e.g. an app title, a number of reviews, keywords) and its conversion (e.g. descriptions, app screens, opinions).


The second SEO expert was Jan Michalski from an affiliate programme Cash In Pills, in fact one of the official partners of the festival. He made an interesting presentation on creating product pages and optimizing them, paying special attention to increasing the conversion rate. He also discussed the factors that affect conversion, explained why load page and optimization of mobile sites are so important and how they influence buyers’ choices. Finally, he emphasized the power of users’ reviews and comments.


The next speaker, Łukasz Rogala, focused on artificial intelligence and its influence over search engine market. He commented on dealing with issues which are not effectively solved by means of algorithms. He mentioned the recently implemented intelligent system, Google RankBrain, and shared some ideas how Google can use Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Some examples here can be the search engine’s capacity of understanding human speech, biometric data (e.g. analyzing the user’s facial expression it will be possible to see if they are happy with the search results), and when it comes to SEO, robots will be able to specify if the type and location of a given link meets the guidelines or how many synonyms were used.


Wojtek Mazur from our company was our representative at this year festival. His presentation was centred around duplicate content – how it actually influences SEO and what we should know about it. He began with discussing the issue in online stores, where the same products with identical descriptions can appear on different urls and are often duplicated on thousands of other sites across the web. The search engine aims at showing varied search results, so it is of utmost importance to make sure products’ descriptions are unique and outstanding. As far as duplicate external publications are concerned, it is advisable to add canonical tags for each unique landing page to this page itself.

Wojtek also touched upon internal duplication and he gave some tips worth following on every site. Firstly, a preferable domain should be chosen (http vs. https and www vs. no www). Secondly, one must sort out any addresses with and without a trailing slash, because when you get code HTTP 200 for both of them, it is duplication as well. Another thing we should take care of is updating internal links so that they direct to the final url version.
Besides, Wojtek uncovered some other reasons for duplicate content, such as capital and small letters in urls. He also talked about some browsers’ extensions that make it easier to identify http status, redirects and tools which help to detect duplication.


The topic of Mateusz Dela’s presentation: “Content Marketing After Which Premier League Football Fans Protest” stirred up much interest long before Mateusz was actually welcomed on stage. He discussed a few GoEuro case studies which clearly proved that one can gain actual fame and popularity (even appear on TV!) and, consequently, a lot of natural incoming links and shares on social platforms by creating unique, valuable content in attractive formats (i.e. ratings, infographics, etc.). He talked about particular stages of the project giving some details on what it was like to work on the content ideas (start from scratch, then do all the research and outreach, etc.). To sum up, he emphasized the importance of a unique, catchy idea for content to be noticed not just by search engines, but by huge platforms and global television stations.


The next guest speaker, Paweł Strykowski, the owner of Whitepress, presented a case study which showed how to get from content to high quality traffic. He drew the audience’s attention to link power going to url and put forward the practices he uses to promote his service. In a series of charts we could see how content marketing helped to get organic traffic from the search engine. He singled out a few stages of working on an article in question and he showed what effects can be expected after about 2 years and what value was eventually attributed to the costs paid and traffic gained. The conclusion was pretty obvious then: the more careful work you put into polishing and optimizing your content and its internal linking, the more benefits you reap. No SEO magic.


Krzysztof Marzec, who represented DevaGroup, an agency from Cracov, talked about “5 Experiments in SEO and Their Results.” He started with highlighting the importance of carrying out SEO tests. Then he focused on microsites which he had been observing and analyzing for a long time and concluded that they are highly addictive. Next he moved on to discuss 301 redirects – whether they work and how site owners may unintentionally do harm to their sites using these redirects. Krzysztof also raised the question of implementing SSL certificate; besides, he spoke about some opportunities and threats of switching from http to https, lost links and methods of detecting them together with workable solutions that can bring real benefits. Towards the end of his presentation, Krzysztof looked at the current trends in data analysis.


The last session of the festival was opened by Krystian Szastok, who does SEO in Great Britain. He provided interesting information about SEO in the UK and suggested thinking outside of the box – or actually Google, to be more precise – and every now and again look for some other alternative sources for traffic. Also, in his presentation he pointed out the fact that Google wants to give answers to literally all possible questions, hence search results pages keep changing. Krystian referred to the changes in the way we look for information and highlighted problems which SEO specialists in Great Britain have to face. He also emphasized the importance of building links for users, not for robots, and doing optimization for other portals and search engines as well.


Another speaker who came from the UK to give a presentation was Łukasz Żelezny from uSwitch. He showed a plan how to report SEO findings to our supervisors. He explained the difference between predictable and unpredictable products and markets, and discussed ways to carry out comparative analysis of organic traffic. Łukasz also explained what effective visits are and why we should take their rate into account – they clearly show the quality and value of traffic and reflect on-page and conversion optimization.


Last but not least, Michał Wiciński from Google Search Quality Team made a speech on lifting manual penalties. He basically focused on two cases: sites which got infected or hacked and those that contain “pure spam.” He briefly described his job, shed some light on the reasons why reconsideration requests are rejected by Googlers. He also wondered why there are just few interesting SEO case studies published on Polish internet media, hoping it would change in the foreseeable future. After Michał delivered his speech, he answered a few questions as that was the only presentation followed by questions from the audience.

When the formal part came to an end, all the SEO enthusiasts who arrived in Katowice had a chance to meet one another and talk to the speakers during “after party,” which was the last point in the festival agenda. The whole event gave much opportunity to expand one’s SEO horizons, get to know noted specialists and take part in interesting discussions, not only about SEO. Let’s hope that the high standard set by Artur Strzelecki from SilesiaSEM is going to be met next year. See you in Katowice then!

  • 30 May 2016

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