Last Friday Night: Reliving WNSM16


When friendly banter meets growth-hacking advice...some intense networking happens. That’s precisely what our guests witnessed during the White Nights SEMrush Meetup, which took place in the beautiful city of rivers and bridges – Saint-Petersburg.

Nineteen experts, eight countries, two days. Even though there was no buzz prior to the event, we couldn’t help but share all the updates, news and happiness as the action unfolded.

The first day of the event kicked off with a word of welcome from SEMrush’s founders Oleg Shchegolev and Dmitry Melnikov. They thanked all our guests for traveling from far away and for becoming a part of our “new beginning.”

To help the experts get to know each other right away, we had a fun round of “professional speed-dating.” They took three minutes per turn to get to know one another, ask great questions, gossip and more. Then they moved on to the next person. It was a lot of fun, and and it really helped break the ice.

Sadly, all fun things must come to an end. After the meet-and-greet part was over, our experts got to work.

As part of our “Website Clinic Express,” we asked our digital marketing virtuosos to analyze random websites in real time, spending only five minutes per site. This jam session was live streamed in five languages simultaneously via Facebook, which allowed each expert to share their expertise and offer actionable advice. So here’s some of the most interesting advice and hints our English-speaking experts share.

Website Clinic Session Know-How

Arnout Hellemans

  • Analyze page speed. First of all, Arnout advises to check the website’s speed with GTmetrix. The optimal loading time for any page should be less than a second.

  • Put the most important information above the fold. The analyzed website has a “Get Started” button at the top of its homepage. By clicking the button a visitor jumps to pricing plans, before he’ve even decided to purchase. First you need to convince visitor to buy. Arnout recommends that the site move the button lower, and give the user more information about the services it provides at the top of the page. He also suggests moving the logos of big clients higher on page and including quotes.

  • Make purpose of the website understandable. “I can’t understand what the website is about from just looking at the homepage. In the ‘About’ section, we see that it is a technology blog – they should add this information to their homepage,” says Arnout.

  • Remove the share buttons unless you actually have shares. If a post has zero likes, that doesn’t encourage people to read it.

  • Structure your pages. Use JSON-LD Schema Markup Generator, so that search engines know what they should rank the website for.

Samuel Scott

  • State the message more clearly. “The first thing I see when I look at your website: I have no idea what it is about,” says Samuel. Ensure that everyone who looks at the homepage above the fold instantly understands exactly what the website is offering.

  • Affix the CTA buttons. Otherwise when visitors scroll the page down, they lose the call to action. Make sure the CTA buttons are always visible and accessible to website users.

  • Choose the right social media channel. You need to clearly understand who your target audience is and which social networks they’re using. “If you are selling copywriting services, how many people who need copywriting services you will find you on Snapchat?” asks Samuel.

  • Include examples of your work. Samuel recommends publishing examples of the work you provide on your website. You need to convince people to hire you, so ask yourself two main questions: 1) What makes you different? 2) What makes you better?

Martijn Scheijbeler

  • Use the Structured Data Testing Tool to see if the page is marked up in the right way. The more you markup your content with relevant information about your company, the better Google will understand what your content is about.

  • Pay attention to the plugins that you choose. If your website was created on WordPress, it’s probably using a lot of plugins that are slowing down its performance.

  • Make your CTA buttons more prominent.

Aykut Aslantaş

  • Explore your website. Aykut suggested using Siteliner to find out the main issues affecting your website performance

  • Align visual content with text. The main page of the analyzed website contains a lot of graphics, but it would be better to add some text as well. To avoid removing the design, you can add content via AJAX.

  • Check how Google is indexing your website - use Browseo tool.

Tomer Naim

  • Google Speed Test - start from testing mobile version of the website to see how it fits all parameters. 

  • Facebook's Debugger tool - use this tool to be able to present the precise information about your website page, when you want to share it on Facebook. Debugger allows you to check your current meta tags and allows you to change and clean Facebook cache for each page in order to show latest updated version you just changed. 

  •  Nibbler - use it for overall website check based on 4 main categories and a summary rank.

  • BuzzSumo - this tool allows you to reveal most shared social content, so you could actually learn from success stories what have really worked. Also it can assist you to predict what can make social buzz out there based on published content and topics.

Leonardo Saroni

  • Use a subheading in the H2 tag to give the user more information about the content and to help Google understand exactly what the page is about.

  • Make sure the images include the proper markup – include alt texts and file names that are related to the topic of the images.

  • Optimize you website interlinking, add links pointing for example to articles with similar topic. The more additional content you provide the user, the longer the longer he will stay on your website. And if a user needs to leave your website and go to Google to search for additional information, Google might consider your website to be irrelevant to the topic.

Nichola Stott

Pay attention to your product names.

Model names and numbers do not tell the user anything, unless they are an industry expert. For example, here we have few models of grinders:


Unless the user isn’t sure about the particular model he wants to buy, he needs to understand the difference between these similar models - say, “Predator 1800” and “Predator 3200”. And you have to provide him this information. In this case, the difference is that one model is a four-head planetary grinder, and the other is a three-head planetary grinder.

Nichola recommends explaining this difference in the title tag, in the URL and in content of the page. If the product title looks like “Three head planetary grinder Predator 1800,” the customer will find it easier than if it has only model number.

Case Studies: Major Takeaways 

After a well-deserved lunch break, we had something else prepared for our experts. They were all split up into groups so they could scrutinize different websites and provide three top tips for each of them. 

We've put together a list of those top tips. Feel free to utilize any of them! 

1) Always optimize for mobile. This might seem like obvious advice, still so many websites do not follow it. If you have a local business, include your GPS coordinates so that customers can easily find their nearest shop or office.

2) Create engaging visual content to obtain natural links to your website. For the bubble tea shop example, our experts suggested including content about preparing and serving bubble tea.

3) Optimize your backlink profile – make sure that your backlinks are diverse and that they point not only to your homepage, but also to some internal pages of your website.

4) Diversify your website’s content. Don’t just focus on blog posts, try using video content.

5) If you own a local business, use JSON-LD markup for local business.

6) Use Facebook to promote your product and establish connections with your customers. Facebook allows you to track all visits to your website and to create targeted promotion. For example: a customer goes to bubble tea shop and buys a tea. Then he visits the shop’s website, which has clear call to action asking him to write a review or share a picture. By sharing or reviewing the shop, the customer automatically uses his Twitter account or Instagram profile. This will allow you to track people who’ve already visited your local shop and then advertise on them or their friends.

7) If your ultimate goal is awareness – spreading knowledge and information – social is a must! Optimize for sharing!

8) Always test! Before pushing something life, try it; use it yourself!

The end?

WNSM16Work hard, play hard!

Not only did we keep our participants busy with the intense “official” part of the conference, but our team also made sure there was some time left for extracurricular activities.

This was our very first experience organizing, coordinating and hosting an event like WNSM. We’d like to thank everyone who took part in this meetup for being there for us.

Also, rumor has it there’s going to be a WNSM17. Will we see you there?

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Awesome event and a huge thanks for having me @semrush!
Olga Andrienko
Arnout Hellemans
Arnout, it was a pleasure, thank you for joining us :) see you in a month in Brighton!
Amazing event and great write-up @Olga - thanks again for having me! :-)
Olga Andrienko
Nichola, thank you so much for travelling to Petersburg all the way from UK! we really enjoyed the event and it's great to hear you did too :) Hope to see you soon at BrightonSEO.