Friends of Search 2023: review, takeaways and awards

Friends of Search 2023

Last week, the Amsterdam Kromhouthal served as the backdrop for the 10th edition of Friends of Search, the largest search conference in the Benelux. In this article, we look back at a successful anniversary edition with the key takeaways in the field of SEO and SEA, RRS's award-winning case, and event atmosphere footage.

 

10 years of Friends of Search

In 2013, the first edition of Friends of Search took place. In the ten years that followed, the event grew into one of Europe's largest search conferences. Every year, hundreds of consultants, marketers, industry experts, and specialists come together to learn about new trends, techniques, and developments in the fields of SEO and SEA. Like those fields, Friends of Search continued to grow and introduced, among other things, the Friends of Search award show. This year, more than 700 attendees witnessed the 10th anniversary in Amsterdam.


Image: Friends of Search

 

Award-winning case of RRS

In the best SEA (PPC) category, RioolReinigingsService received the Friends of Search award this year. RRS beat out Hema and Landal GreenParks. The Dutch market leader in sewer cleaning integrated CRO, data, and advertising in a smart campaign, making the entire organization now work 20% more effectively. Thanks to a new appointment module and targeting based on postcode areas, the conversion rate increased by 68%, the CPA decreased significantly, and the total number of appointments increased by as much as 25%. And all this without limiting the algorithm.

"A fantastic case that has successfully combined business intelligence and automation for organization-wide impact." - Friends of Search Jury

View the entire case



Image: Friends of Search

 

Takeaways Friends of Search 2023

During the anniversary edition, there were frequent reflections on the events and topics of previous years. Illustrative of the enormous changes within the domains of SEO and SEA is the role of automation and machine learning. In 2013, it was only a small part of the Friends of Search agenda; in 2023, it dominated the program along with AI and first-party data. Below is an overview of the main takeaways and expected developments in SEO and SEA:

Headless sites - Barry Adams believes that Google will be working with headless sites as early as 2033, where websites will be nothing more than front-endless data sources for Google. Lily Ray does not think it will come to that. She believes that while featured snippets will be expanded with options such as Google Flights and Google Jobs, transactions will still be performed on the sites themselves.

Links and ranking - Links are contributing less and less to the rankings of sites. Knowledge Graphs are becoming more important.
Note: At Adwise, we still see the effect of links on site rankings with our clients and have questions about this.

Honesty ranks highest - Always be truthful about reviews, authors, and other sensitive information. Google penalizes sites that hard code items adding reviews that don't match the review counts or ratings from sources such as Maps or a review site.

AI detection - The rise of tools like GPT-3 has led to a massive development of AI-generated content. Copyleaks is a recommended tool to detect GPT-3 content.

First Party Data do's & dont's - Here are five tips for first-party data collection: start collecting UTM information in your CRM, don't rely solely on predefined attribution to store UTM's, always have a DEV vs PROD approach when setting up offline conversions, import your data directly into advertising platforms instead of direct integration, and consider the different implementation methods used by each ad platform.

Checklist Privacy First - DDMA shared a checklist regarding privacy-first data collection. There are several things to watch out for: check the cookie banner for consent and information, check the privacy and cookie statement, consider hiring a lawyer for planned campaigns, use a tracking measurement plan, stay informed about the tools you use, and consider which personal data you really need.


Image: Friends of Search

 

Adwise & Friends of Search

As a proud sponsor and member of the initiating industry associations VIA and DDMA, Adwise has been connected to Friends of Search for many years. A period full of highlights including Friends of Search Awards for viaBOVAG.nl, Vandentop Tuinhout, and RRS. We would like to thank Friends of Search for the annual organization and their trust in us as a sponsor, a role in which we hope to remain involved with Friends of Search for many years to come.

Friends of Search 2023 and Adwise

Adwise as a sponsor

Friends of Search 2023 and Adwise

FOS 2023

Friends of Search 2023 and Adwise

FOS 2023

Friends of Search 2023 and Adwise

FOS 2023

Friends of Search 2023 and Adwise

FOS 2019

Friends of Search 2023 and Adwise

FOS 2021

Friends of Search 2023 and Adwise

FOS 2022

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