PHOENIX, AZ — Ten years of WordCamp Phoenix and it’s still as strong as ever. This year was even better, with some informative sessions from incredible speakers. Answers on content marketing, SEO, page creation, and how to optimize business practices all made an appearance.
Our team members Gasper, Amber, and Rigo were on the ground, gathering as much information as possible for those that couldn’t attend. By the end of the event, they came up with what they felt were the five best takeaways from the weekend of content.
1. Artificial Intelligence and Personalization Go Hand in Hand
75% of businesses are planning to implement AI-Based marketing solutions within the next 2 years, and there’s a reason for this. AI solutions have consistently shown that they are able to outperform standard, intuition-based marketing. Not only do they have access to vital data, but they are also able to implement solutions more quickly than their human counterparts.
In her session, Crystal Taggart talked about how “You no longer have to be smart enough to know the difference between a cat and a dog”. While an oversimplification, her point stands: technology has now advanced to a point where it can be employed for the purposes of pattern recognition. This allows businesses to employ the best content and delivery strategies on a case by case basis.
So does this mean the end of the marketer? No. In fact, now is more important than ever to have a specialist at the helm, guiding your AI solutions towards the correct strategies and answers. While AI and machine learning solutions are able to handle the legwork, marketers will continue to set the correct goals and objectives. As discussed by Dallin Harris, a good strategist works hard to identify trends so they can exploit them.
2. It’s Time to Prepare for Voice Search
Between sessions on voice search optimization and how to adapt WordPress to power an Alexa Skill, WordCamp Phoenix offered developers a chance to discuss what and how voice capabilities and search should look. Voice search is here already, it just hasn’t been fully optimized yet.
Particularly relevant for voice search was the implication of content that doesn’t hit number 1 in search results, but number 0. These are known as featured snippets and will likely feature as one of Google’s main assets for delivering answers to voice search questions.
One session answered how to optimize content so it is more likely to appear in featured snippets. Trying to keep word count low for specific answers and the use of a single phrase just once per every 100 words, were two of the recommendations. While not a 100% foolproof system, this does allow site owners good insight into how Google is starting to adapt to voice search.
3. Technical SEO Is Important
With voice search continuing to grow, now is the time to implement technical SEO to the letter. As more marketers and agencies dial in on content strategy and implementation, it’s going to be the small things that make a difference between ranking 1 and ranking none.
WordCamp Phoenix had multiple sessions on SEO, including the Technical SEO of eCommerce & Large WordPress sites. They looked at the use of canonical tags, how to control content with noindex and nofollow tags, as well as how to implement XML sitemaps and review the Robots.txt file. These are all important for large, high-volume sites trying to leverage the most from off-page SEO.
While technical SEO did make several appearances, this does not mean that on-page and content SEO are no longer important. In fact, off-page SEO works best when aligned with on-page SEO. Instead, technical SEO has grown in importance as SERP competition continues to grow more fierce.
4. Security Is Still a Primary Concern
Security should still be at the forefront of site owners’ concerns – especially for those that use WooCommerce. Rahul Nagare talked about the importance of knowing the difference between WordPress and WooCommerce security. As a hosting solutions provider, we second this. WooCommerce requires a separate set of security precautions put in place due to being an eCommerce platform.
For example, if you are looking to manage card data, then it’s important for your store to be PCI compliant. This means that your platform conforms to standards set by the payment card industry so your customers are protected. Hostdedi ensure all of their eCommerce solutions are PCI compliant.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
One of the biggest takeaways this year: don’t be afraid to fail. Multiple speakers talked about how failure is an important step to success. Instead of trying to avoid failure, it’s important to embrace it and learn from it.
This links to each takeaway outlined here, which in turn have been informed by multiple failures on the part of multiple developers, site owners, and users. As was talked about SEO “You will fail at first and that is okay. Learn from each mistake and you will find your success”.