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State of Search Blew My Mind!

James Neal  |  November 23, 2016

2016 was the year for State of Search

I attended State of Search this year for the first time, and let me just start off by being a total fanboy. I had such a good time and learned a lot. Seriously, I learned so much; this is me right now.


Yes, mind blown!

But whose mind wouldn’t be blown after spending two days learning from some of the top minds in SEO, content and search marketing? From the keynote speakers to the panelists, every presenter gave their perspective on the current state of the industry while giving attendees unique insight on future trends and advice on how to navigate all the changes.

Stop living inside the bubble

This year’s stand out keynote was presented by Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive. Wil’s presentation, Crossing The Chasm: Content, Context, and Customers, reminded us that, far too often, we live inside a bubble - in our careers and our personal lives.

Whether of our own creation or by association, these bubbles create biases that not only affect the way we work as marketers but also keep us from our own humanity. In short, it keeps us from better understanding each other.

Wil asked, “How do we understand people better?” “How do we understand each other?” Wil’s answer and the key take away from his keynote? Empathy.

When we show empathy for our fellow human beings, we start to look at the world through their eyes and begin to see them not as potential clients, dollar signs or a collection of keywords, but as people. We are all human after all, aren’t we?

“People bring baggage to their search queries that Google will never be able to guess,” states Wil. To overcome this and to become better marketers, we simply need to listen and form an empathic connection to understand people’s true needs and wants. Data can only tell you so much, so if you really want to make an impact with your customers and strengthen your marketing efforts, talk to them, ask them questions about their behavior, what services are important to them, how did they find your website, and how are they reacting to your content.

In our modern, always-connected, tech-centric world, actually talking to people sounds antiquated; but in truth, taking the time to have a personal approach to your marketing that is based on empathy toward your customer base is the path to success.

Wil’s keynote affected me on both an emotional and intellectual level, and for a conference presentation to be able to do that, you better believe this man was onto something.

For more of Wil’s insight and wisdom from State of Search, check out Bursting All the Bubbles: Wil Reynolds on the Beauty of Empathy.

State of Search was filled with back-to-back panels and keynote speakers that I could literally write about for days on end. There was just so much information that was shared and so much that I learned. Head over to their blog and read all about the panels and keynotes, and download the presenter’s slide decks.

Check out Living in a Mobile World: Jennifer Slegg on Mobile First and AMP to gain some insight into Google’s mobile first indexing initiative and the pros and cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). If you haven’t heard, mobile friendly is out. It’s mobile first or bust now!

And check out Search Engine Land’s head honcho Danny Sullivan’s opening keynote on why SEO isn’t dead.

Thanks again DFWSEM for putting on a great conference this year; looking forward to State of Search 2017!

James Neal

James Neal

Marketing Technology Specialist

James is an award-winning interactive designer, and he maintains our website and handles all email and marketing automation efforts. James graduated from the Art Institute of Austin where he studied web design and interactive media, and he enjoys eating ice cream with left-handed chopsticks.

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