Where do you go as a Belgian or Dutch person if you want to discuss thoughts, tips and tricks and insights around Search Engine Optimization? Exactly, the SEO Benelux group! This Facebook group with SEO enthusiasts has now reached the milestone of 4000 members and is still growing daily. Given the global pandemic, it was not possible to organize in-person meetings for a while. Last Thursday, however, a physical meetup finally took place again. For Dazzle it was the first SEO Benelux meetup that we attended. To give you a hint: it exceeded our expectations!
Couldn’t be there yourself and are you curious who had what to say? Then you’ve come to the right place: read our recap here!
Not a sales pitch
The week before, we gave an Advanced SEO training to our client duomedia, but at Dazzle we like to stay on top of things. Whenever we come across an interesting course, high-profile webinar or noteworthy meeting, we are more than happy to sign up. This was no different when we saw that another meetup was being organized by the people behind SEO Benelux. Since we were unfamiliar with these meetups, we (Maui and Okan) kept our expectations pretty low.
The evening had three SEO experts giving a presentation: Marjolein Schollaert, Michael Van Den Reym and Chantal Smink. Initially we feared that these speakers would mainly be doing a sales pitch for their own companies, but in the end we were pleasantly surprised. All three of them brought their own vision on SEO and each in their own way managed to engage the audience.
Marjolein Schollaert: How to rock future-proof on-page SEO
Marjolein, who specialises in on-page SEO, focused on human-centric SEO. Her starting point was that Google and humans both have the same mission: to understand information. This means that as SEO experts, we should optimise for ourselves (being humans) and not for algorithms.
Marjolein quoted the popular slogan ‘Content is king’ but extended it accordingly: content is king, but kings can also be lazy, absent or incompetent. The focus is therefore on qualitative content that people are really looking for. By working this way you will also be ahead of all future algorithms.
Key takeaway: help people find answers and solutions, optimise for people and don’t focus entirely on Google.
Presentation: Human centric SEO: How to rock future-proof on-page SEO
Michael Van Den Reym: Intro to language models for SEO
After an excellent start by Marjolein, it was Michael Van Den Reym’s turn, another SEO expert. His presentation focused on Natural Language Processing (NLP), BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) and the (r)evolution of language models. He shared his vision on such language models and the impact on the SEO process.
Among other things, Michael talked about using Python, which is great for automating some SEO tasks and checking grammar and spelling. He also went into more detail about word vectors, transformers and clustering keywords. Of course, the importance of Artificial Intelligence should not be forgotten, so attention was paid to this as well. Think of Jasper (formerly Jarvis), an AI copywriting tool that we already tried out ourselves at Dazzle.
Key takeaway: language models are constantly being optimised and can contribute to a better SEO strategy. These models will not replace SEO copywriters but will strengthen them.
Presentation: Intro to language models for SEO
Chantal Smink: The SERP as the basis for your SEO strategy
Chantal Smink, SEO and online strategist, travelled to Ghent from the Netherlands. She also shared her own view on Search Engine Optimization. To her surprise, almost the entire audience raised their hands in the air when she asked about the use of search pages in SEO research. Her vision was clear: opt for horizontal rather than vertical SEO. In other words: do not try to score as high as possible but as wide as possible.
Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) has undergone quite a few evolutions in recent years. Instead of trying to rank massively for saturated words and markets, it proves to us that it is better to be specific. The use of long-tail keywords takes a central place here. With a nice example, she showed us not to focus on ‘wedding planner’ but on ‘original wedding organisation’. So get to work with that blog on your website, that way SEO becomes a lead generator that will support other channels.
Key takeaway: vertical ranking is outdated, horizontal ranking is the way to go to create visibility. Interesting and good content is key.
Presentation: The SERP as the basis for your SEO strategy
Join de SEO Benelux groep
Would you also like to talk about SEO? Looking for a place where you can ask questions about SEO? Or stay informed about the next meetup? Join the Facebook group.