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Engage2020: Transform. Rebound. Accelerate. -, Milestone Inc.

Milestone experienced record registration for the Engage2020 virtual event held on November 12. There were almost 1000 registrants from 5 continents with an equal mix of customers and non-customers.

Here is a recap of key points and takeaways for the community.

7 Steps to Digital Transformation in 2021

Benu Aggarwal of Milestone kicked off with the keynote speech on digital transformation. She explained that: DIGITIZATION enables PERSONALIZATION and AUTOMATION. She went on to say that digital transformation has been accelerated at least 5 years by the pandemic. Her 7-step framework included these components:

  1. Put customers in the center
  2. Reimagine customer journey & digital touchpoints
  3. Entity search is the new basis of SEO
  4. Accelerate through automation
  5. Measure effectively with full-funnel analytics
  6. Focus on curiosity, speed, and outcomes
  7. Alignment and digital enablement for your org

Measuring Site User Experience in 2021 and Getting Speed and Core Web Vitals Right

Next, Bartosz Goralowicz of Onely and Vikas Sheth of Milestone explored customer experience in the context of the new Core Web Vitals measurement. Their takeaways were:

  1. User experience is going to be the key to winning customers in 2021​.
  2. Search is moving from keywords to UX​.
  3. Core web vitals is a paradigm shift for measuring  UX on websites and that the Core Web Vitals is expected to become a ranking factor in may 2021. 

Website Strategies that Connect to Your Customers

Shawn Paley of Marriott and Anil Aggarwal of Milestone covered website experience and tactics and the impact they had on Marriott sites during the pandemic. Key points were: Adapt and be nimble, be flexible, be creative, get input, focus, and don’t spend too much time trying to get it perfect.

Everything You Need to Know About Entities and Schemas, and How It Improves SEO Performance

Allison Click of Sprinkles and Samson Koletkar of Milestone explored the impact of ERROR-FREE ADVANCED SCHEMAS and the dramatic success that Sprinkles saw, including 834% increase in impressions, 275% increase in clicks, and $284k in traffic value in 6 months. They concluded that basic schemas are not enough; error-free advanced schemas are essential to define robust relationships between entities.​

New Opportunities for Local Search Optimization

Sam Khandelwal and Benu Aggarwal of Milestone gave a deep dive on local and asserted the importance of PROFILE COMPLETENESS on local SEO success. Takeaways included: GMB, reviews, and on-page experience are top 3 ranking factors, and if you have limited resources, prioritize these 3. When you think of on-page, think about your user’s intent.

Innovation Showcase; a Peek at the Future Innovations from Milestone

Ritika Chugh and Erik Newton of Milestone shared 5 new product releases in the product showcase: FAQ Manager, Schema Manager, CMS Automation, Local, and Omnichannel Analytics. Future innovations will include more automated content creation and more in-depth entity optimization.

Enterprise SEO: How Large Organizations Are Leveraging the Power of SEO

Bill Hunt of Back Azimuth and Tushar Prabhu of Milestone covered enterprise SEO. They shared their key metrics model and key points to achieve effective enterprise workflow for SEO. Some key quotes: “The enterprise SEO must act like a building inspector.” “Insights can get buried in data.” “It is important to focus on KPIs that matter.​”

Case Studies and Customer Success Stories

Led by Dev Kurbur, the CSM team shared 5 great customer success stories for how customer businesses have grown even during the pandemic, covering a restaurant, an independent hotel, a branded hotel, a bank, and a retail food provider. See more Milestone case studies.

Post-Pandemic Digital Transformation Customer Presentations

In the afternoon session, customer speakers shared their thought leadership and stellar organic results.

Theo Holloway of Remington Hotels shared digital marketing data and statistics and recommended that marketers revisit paid opportunities as prices may be lower during the pandemic, create local-specific content and use advanced schemas, and update content to address safety and cleanliness.

Stephen Fitzgerald of G6 explained “70% of G6 web channel revenue now comes from mobile devices.” “Now is a great time to upgrade digital assets – customers are shopping and buying in a pandemic.”

Jeanne Hussin of Evergreen Home Loans emphasized that “Being ready means running and evolving the business at the same time​, focus and optimize customer experience, and leverage the right partners.”

Josue Reyes of Renault explained the car buyer’s journey and finished with “We have to be ready to provide an immediate, relevant, and remote experience in this period of changes​.”

Brenda Arndt of US Bank detailed her new communications hub for the Covid pandemic, GMB post results, and fantastic gains in local and rich media using fresh content and schemas.

Punnyatowa Ghosh of VMware highlighted stellar results achieved with non-brand keywords by using schemas, including doubling page 1 keywords and massive growth in Google Answer snippets, and she demoed a Google assistant verbal query that provides the VMware answer thanks to advanced schemas powered by Milestone.

Anil Aggarwal closed out Engage2020 with: Digital experience is a collective impact of all your channels – website, local, mobile app, social, search results page. And digital experience is about story telling, content, technology, speed, and user experience.

Thank you to our speakers and all the registrants and attendants. We look forward to the pandemic ending and hosting these kind of events in person again.

If you are interested in any of this content and how it could help your digital marketing results, ask your CSM or contact [email protected].

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