YoastCon 2019 was amazing. The atmosphere was great, the venue inspiring, the speakers extraordinary and the attendees incredible. We had such a great time! Personally, this is my kind of conference. Where else can you discuss the importance of structured data and the power of entities in semantic search than at a conference like this? In case you missed it, or if you want to relive it — we asked some of our colleagues their SEO-related takeaways from this year’s YoastCon.
YoastCon was two days of SEO goodness
First, let’s take a step back. YoastCon 2019 was our two-day SEO and online marketing conference held on February 7 and 8 in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. In two days, attendees saw talks about many topics, from link building to site migrations and SEO copywriting to artificial intelligence in search. There were super smart guys from Bing and Google, the latter declaring their love for the WordPress CMS. Some of the talks will be available on our YouTube channel soon, while others will be exclusive material for subscribers to our online SEO training courses.
This is what stuck with us the most:
Marieke van de Rakt – CEO of Yoast
“Rand Fishkin’s talk got me really thinking about brand and the importance of a good brand. Throughout the conference that resonated in many of the other talks as well. Having a strong brand and a clear mission is really important. For me, that’s going to be a big focus in 2019.”
Joost de Valk – CPO of Yoast
“What surprised me most is how everybody seemed to be on the same track again, using the website as “home” and social accounts as “outposts”. This was different from a couple of years ago and it’s a trend that I fully welcome.”
Omar Reiss – CTO of Yoast
“My favourite takeaway from YoastCon was when Wolfgang Blau presented SEO as a global interest that lacks real organization. There is no network of stakeholders and experts protecting the interest of “findability” or “information availability” on the internet. This got me really intrigued and I’m sure I’ll spend some more thoughts on this topic in the future.”
Willemien Hallebeek – Content team lead
“I love this writing hack from Kate Toon: “If you don’t know how to start your article or get stuck quickly, write with a white font. By doing this you can’t start editing before you finish your draft.” So simple, but effective!”
Sjardo Janssen – Front-end developer
“I liked Jason Barnard’s talk about getting in the knowledge graph. His advice: Make sure other sites confirm facts about you, if you want to get a knowledge graph in Google and Bing. The more sites point out facts about you, the bigger the chance! And don’t forget to claim the knowledge graph!”
Melina Reintjens – Content manager
“My main takeaway was that SEO is a lot of work and that you’re never done optimizing your site. There’s always more to improve — both technically as well as content-wise. And that’s not all: you need to invest time into building your brand, managing your reputation, all while the big players on the internet keep changing the rules. So big kudos to everyone who’s working tirelessly on their site: you’ll get there!”
Alexander Botteram – React engineer
“I loved Jono Alderson’s dystopian future. We explored a world where each of us competes over finite resources, and where an all-seeing, all-powerful AI called Global decides who wins and who loses. The main rules to live by?
1: You should be healthy.
2: You should be creative.
3: You should be popular.”
Caroline Geven – Creative online marketeer
“My main takeaway was not directly related to SEO, but I did get to practice something I learnt at the conference. I was so impressed by Geraldine DeRuiter’s talk on online harassment. A week later I received my first piece of hate online, but instead of it getting me down I got inspiration for a new post on dealing with this kind of stuff.”
I was impressed by how many of the people I spoke were talking about Schema structured data and the underlying connectedness of everything. It seems that more people seem to understand how important this technology is to help search engines figure out what it all means. Search engines figured this content thing out pretty well — they can assess the quality and make assumptions based on what a piece of content is about. What it misses, is how everything fits together in the grand scheme of things. We can help them with that. There was even a search engine at YoastCon whose lead engineer showed how to do that — here’s Bing’s Arnold Overwijk:
“If you use markup data, you make our life much easier. We can show them as results, but we can also use it for machine learning.”
At Yoast, we share this view and that’s one of the reasons why we’re rebuilding and improving our structured data content blocks for the new WordPress editor. Soon, you’ll be able to make content powered by structured data by simply dragging a block into your content and filling in the content. Job postings, review, recipes — you name it!
YoastCon 2019 takeaways
YoastCon 2019 was a great ride. We’re sure every attendee had a fantastic time and left with a list full of SEO tips. We’d like to thank each and every one of them for coming and making it such a memorable two days. Hope to see you at the next YoastCon!