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Mike Essex

135 Takeaways from SearchLove Day 1 #SearchLove

24th Oct 2011 News, Events, News, Industry News | 8 Comments


With the SearchLove conference already at the halfway stage, here’s my quick review of the first day; covering speeches from Rand Fishkin, Joost De Valk, Rob Ousbey, Wil Reynolds, Mat Clayton, Joanna Lord  as well as Will and Tom Critchlow.

We will be publishing our Day 2 round-up tomorrow, but for more real-time updates follow @Koozai_Mike, @Koozai_Sam and @Koozai_Ben – or follow the #SearchLove hashtag.

Rand Fishkin – Everything’s Easier with Fans

  • It costs $350,000 to run a typical TV ad in the US, why doesn’t that also apply to SEO budgets?
  • Exposure to a message builds familiarity with a brand, helping to develop an association for fans.
  • After a celebrity endorsement you see stock price rise but not necessarily sales.
  • With inbound marketing fans love you because of what you do.
  • Popular sites automatically build links. Rand gets links by hitting publish and because the community exists.
  • A strong community will also tweet you regularly.
  • Users can create more content on your behalf. SEOmoz received almost 1 million individual page views in sep 2011.
  • Google social connections show you who is connected to you and how. This is what influences your personal search.
  • Google are more biased toward showing +1 than other social signals to influence results.
  • Social news is next as a new avenue to get user content eg hacker news.
  • Start with a blog to get a community growing.
  • Communities built just for a brand only rarely succeed, you need to build a community to benefit your fans.
  • Look for what you do and what your community cares about. Then write this.
  • Find early adopters and get their feedback.
  • Use Klout socializer to see those who are focused and listening.If you get no comments don’t show the number, only show numbers when they are high.
  • You need to work on the community. Comment on your own posts and share them.
  • The first 100 hours of building a community it will feel like you should give up, Rand felt the same for the first year of SEOmoz.
  • Make profiles a point of pride so users link to them.
  • Analyse the content with metrics to see what performs best, then do more of it.
  • Find people in other communities who contribute a lot but aren’t rewarded in that community, and tempt them to yours.
  • Community is not about getting direct conversions, it is about building up your site and inbound marketing.
  • If you find people stop contributing then reach out to them.
  • Always boot out the trolls, you will never regret kicking them out too early, always too late.
  • Other brands will build up your brand if you build up theirs.
  • Name drop authors in titles as you know they’ll read the post.
  • Try Quora to see notifications of your content.
  • Ask the community to search for you on google with a link, and this helps populate google suggest.
  • Take your tweets and pingbacks and put them on the blog.
  • give users the power to share, embed and relink your content.

Tom Critchlow – Big Business SEO

  • Small ideas get laughed at in big companies, h1 tags wont get buy-in as they are too small a change.
  • So think big in terms of budget and scale.
  • Run a pilot project to get numbers you can use when pitching the big project. Pre-deliver the big vision.
  • Big companies aren’t agile enough to do every little SEO change, they have big projects instead.
  • Improve and build new page types. Help your pages earn their rankings, eg add a video to a blog post.
  • More big businesses should have a chief content officer. This gives quality control and a process so one department is in control of content.
  • Everyone in your company can help your SEO.
  • The hard part isn’t making content its getting everyone to pull together to get the content live.
  • To get change focus on changing a process. They are the key to getting anything done.
  • You need project management.
  • A gap analysis is a way of doing a competitor report that anyone can understand.
  • Swot analysis and Gantt charts are great ways to plan and present project goals so execs can understand.
  • Clean up and remove low quality content, check webmaster tools and broken link tools.
  • Some of the best link building you can do is business development.
  • Contact people via Linkedin for link opportunities, especially if you can ask those who are higher up in the organisation to do it on their profile.

Mat Clayton – The Next Level of Social Integration

  • If people say social does not apply to their industry, they are wrong as almost everyone on the internet is connected to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube.
  • To get social to work takes years of planning.
  • Put code on your website to see what percentage of your users are logged in to facebook and that will prove if you have a market.
  • Consider user, identify the community they are in and the communication between the user and their community.
  • Users will only distribute your content if they can consume it and want to consume it.
  • Add meta tags for social, and add the fb admins tag.
  • Use the open graph to define your content e.g, “Mike watches a movie”, then when the user takes an action in your app it is added to the ticker.
  • Dislike button doesn’t exist despite being the most requested feature as it would stem the community growth.
  • Appdata.com lets you get information on competitor apps and their usage.
  • Personalise the user experience by showing which friends use a product.
  • Putting faces next to an action increases completion rate by 200 to 300%.
  • Add a facepile to achieve this. You need to build up fans and usage stats for time before dropping this in so it will be effective.
  • Recommendations bar has the potential to revolutionise blogging. It shows what people view and recommended content.
  • Make sign up as quick as possible and on one page.
  • Ask your team to leave the first comment on everything which sets the context for the comments after that so you get less pointless comments.
  • People think something is better than it is if their friends say it’s good.

Will Critchlow – The Modern SEOs Toolkit

  • If you are not learning the technical side of things, your job is at risk from the new kids who are.
  • Unix powers the majority of the web. Programs should be small and do one thing really well.
  • Use grep and sed commands to sort and filter data.
  • Prototype with skitch or snag it to draw on an image the changes you need.
  • Screenr is great for filming quick bits of info for sharing.
  • Use Trello for project management.
  • Use f9 to evaluate just one section of a formula in Excel.
  • Tamper data lets you see all the http requests your browser is making and change them.
  • Use Google Analytics debugger to check your code installs.
  • If something doesn’t work then reproduce the issue, simplify it, isolate the problem, document it, hack it to fix it then step away from the computer.
  • Use the django and python tutorials to learn how to use these tools.
  • Learn SQL as it is the language of databases.
  • HTML 5 is a great way to label HTML elements and Contextulise the data
  • Use Phantomjs to take daily seen shots of web pages.
  • Getstat is a repository of ranking data.

Joanna Lord – Social Media are you Keeping up with the Joneses?

  • The number of fans competitors have are not metrics or kpis, as we can’t see the context.
  • Integrate social everywhere and show any data you can.
  • Look at what competitors are doing on their other pages and how they are building a community with social.
  • Embed social buttons in to your videos
  • Velocity means looking at more than just follower counts. So look at how quick your follower counts go up.
  • Use simply measured to track social velocity.
  • Socialmention.com lets you see how often your brand is mentioned.
  • Cotweet helps you see how your brand stands on twitter compared to competitors.
  • Attensity looks at social media conversations related to loyalty.
  • Use social advertising to see what competitors spend and if they outbid you and if people are bidding on your brand terms.
  • If you see competitors regularly use social advertising it’s a good clue they are serious about the channel.
  • If they have separate landing pages for facebook ads you can tell they are serious about the platform.
  • Linkedin company profiles help you get an insight in to your rivals, who have they hired, who left, what are they planning next?
  • Empower the people in your company to do this.
  • Start tracking social data today as most tools have no historical data.
  • As new metrics are launched make sure to track them now.
  • Create actions from this research, there is no point doing the research if if won’t be used.

Joost De Valk -Wordpress SEO

Joost was unable to attend the seminar but recorded a video with quick tips

  • Make sure you have dynamic XML sitemaps.
  • Use rel canonical to have a separate page rank if the wrong one is ranking better.
  • 301 redirect your broken pages.
  • Implement rel author to have your faces appear in the search results.

Rob Ousbey – Outreach: Is it All About Hustle?

  • Outreach is about building relationships, getting coverage and getting links (in that order).
  • Look for people who are smart and get things done.
  • Ask people for a time they failed, as you have to try interesting things in order to succeed.
  • Ask them how they resolved a recent problem. You get insights you can use as well.
  • Ask them what the last thing they learnt was.
  • Identify targets first. Grouphigh.com helps you find lists of relevant blogs
  • Take a piece of content like your own that was posted elsewhere, then find the people who embedded the last infographic and approach them.
  • Use followerwonk.com to find twitter users based on their bios.
  • Search tumblr to find blogs tagged in your niche.
  • If you don’t have time to do this use people on odesk.com and mturk.com.
  • One off emails rarely work. You need to build the relationship over time.
  • Use shorter intro emails. Then expand the offer on followups.
  • Follow people on twitter, retweet their stuff, tweet at them and comment on their blog and only then email them.
  • List people you want to speak to on a spreadsheet, and then track who you have spoken to and the interactions you have had.
  • If people don’t have time to link to you ask them to retweet a message instead.
  • The more outreach looks like PR the more effective it can be as journalists rely on stories.
  • Only contact the news desk if you have a very good news story, so go straight to the journalist.
  • Most journalists won’t accept your pitch but if you keep in touch you will be their first point of contact when they need a source for that type of story.
  • Find your VIPs to identify those people who regularly link to you, tweet you and like your stuff. Keep in touch with these people, flatter them and retweet them.
  • To track outreach monitor the total unique linking domains acquired.
  • Try to improve your first contact as this is the key to everything.

Wil Reynolds – Content Based Link Building

  • Sites with lots of social shares don’t help a site rank better, yet.
  • Feed burner should be used to help google decide what ranks, but they don’t.
  • Look for broken links on your blog and fix them so you don’t lose link value.
  • If you find a broken link on your site, contact the site to see why it is broken and use this as a way to build a relationship.
  • It’s hard to get exposure for infographics, you need a plan for it to be picked up.
  • Look at other sites in the same IP that a competitor has. See why the got links and use that or your advantage.
  • If a competitor domain expires that has links, register it and redirect it.
  • Use Google Suggest and Google Product Suggest to see topic ideas.
  • Research the social space to see what content people like to see. That way you will know people care about the topic.
  • Write counterpoints to competitor pieces, to encourage debate and get links from the original person.
  • Topsy.com shows you how many other people tweet content, and whether they are influential.
  • See what content works well for blogs and then offer them something similar.
  • Find popular long posts and turn them in to infographics so they are easier to read.
  • Use google image search after you launch an infographic which shows you other sites using the image. Then ask them to link to it.
  • If infographic is outsourced, run it though google image search to check if it was copied content.
  • Use .govs to find data that you can use in infographics.
  • Use export.ly to get an export of your followers.
  • People love gadgets with sliders such as quick calculators, so make things dynamic like this.
Rand Fishkin – everything’s easier with fans 

It costs $350,000 to run a typical tv ad in the us, why doesn’t that also apply to SEO budgets?

Exposue to a message builds familiarity with a brand and associates users with that brand

After a celebrity endorsement you see stock price rise but not necessarily sales

With inbound marketing fans love you because of what you do

Popular sites automatically build links. Rand gets links by hitting publish and because the community exists

A strong community will also tweet you regularly

Users can create you more content. SEOmoz got almost 1 million individual pages on their site viewed in sep 2011

Google social connections show you who is connected to you and how. This is what influences your personal search

Google are more biased toward showing +1 than other social signals to influence results

Social news is next as a new avenue to get user content eg hacker news

Start with a blog to get a community growing

Communities built just for a brand only rarely succeed, you need to build a community to benefit your fans

Look for what you do and what your community cares about. Then write this.

Find early adopters and get their feedback.

Use klout socializer to see those who are focused and listening

If you get no comments don’t show the number, only show numbers when they are high.

You need to work on the community. Comment on your own posts and share them.

The first 100 hours of building a community it will feel like you should give up, Rand felt the same for the first year of seomoz

Make profiles a point of pride so users link to them

Analyse the content with metrics to see what performs best, then do more of it.

Find people in other communities who contribute a lot but aren’t rewarded in that community, and tempt them to yours.

Community is not about getting direct conversions, it is about building up your site and inbound marketing.

If you find people stop contributing then reach out to them.

Always boot out the trolls, you will never regret kicking them out too early, always too late.

Other brands will build up your brand if you build up theirs.

Name drop authors in titles as you know they’ll read the post.

Try quora to see notifications of your content

Ask the community to search for you on google with a link, and this helps populate google suggest

Take your tweets and pingbacks and put them on the blog

give users the power to share, embed and relink your content

Tom critchlow big business SEO

Small ideas get laughed at in big companies, h1 tags wont get buy in as they are too small a change.

So think big in terms of budget and scale.

Run a pilot project to get numbers you can use when pitching the big project. Pre deliver the big vision.

Big companies aren’t agile enough to do every little SEO change, they have big projects instead.

Improve and build new page types. Help your pages earn their rankings, eg add a video to a blog post.

More big businesses should have a chief content officer. This gives quality control and a process so one department is in control of content.

Everyone in your company can help your SEO.

The hard part isn’t making content its getting everyone to pull together to get the content live.

To get change focus on changing a process. They are the key to getting anything done.

You need project management.

A gap analysis is a way of doing a competitor report that anyone can understand

Swot analysis and Gantt charts are great ways to plan and present project goals so execs can understand

Clean up and remove low quality content, check webmaster tools and broken link tools.

Some of the best link building you can do is business development.

Contact people via linkedin for link opportunities especially if you can ask higher ups I’m the org to do it on their profile.

Mat clayton – the next level of social integration.

If people say social does not apply to their industry, their are wrong as almost everyone on the internet is connected to facebook,

To get social to work takes years of planning.

Put code on your website to see what percentage of your users are logged in to facebook and that will prove if you have a Market.

Consider user identify, the community they are in and the communication between the user and their community.

Users will only distribute your content if they can consume it and want to consume it.

Add meta tags for social, and add the fb admins tag.

Use the open graph to define your content e.g, “mike watches a movie”, then when the user takes an action in your app it is added to the ticker.

Dislike button doesn’t exist despite being the most requested feature as it would stem the community growth.

Appdata.com lets you get information on competitor apps and their usage.

Personalise the user experience by showing which friends use a product.

Putting faces next to an action increases completion rate by 200 to 300%

Add a facepile to achieve this. You need to build up fans and usage stats for time before dropping this in so it will be effective.

Recommendations bar has the potential to revolutionise blogging. It shows what people view and recommended content.

Make sign up as quick as possible and on one page.

Ask your team to leave the first comment on everything which sets the context for the comments after that so you get less pointless comments.

People think something is better than it is if their friends say it’s good

Will critchlow – the modern SEOs toolkit

If you are not learning the technical side of things your job is at risk from the new kids who are.

Unix powers the majority of the web. Programs should be small and do one thing really well.

Use grep and sed commands to sort and filter data

Prototype with skitch or snag it to draw on an image the changes you need

Screenr is great for filming quick bits of info for sharing.

Use trello for project management

Use f9 to evaluate just one section of a formula in excel

Tamper data let’s you see all the http requests your browser is making and change them.

Use Google Analytics debugger to check your code installs.

If something doesn’t work then reproduce the issue, simplify it, isolate the problem, document it, hack it to fix it then step away from the computer.

Use the django and python tutorials to learn how to use these tools.

Learn SQL as it is the language of databases.

HTML 5 is a great way to label HTML elements and Contextulise the data

Use phantomjs to take daily seen shots of web pages.

Getstat is a repository of ranking data

Joanna lord – social media are you keeping up with the joneses?

The number of fans competitors have are not metrics or kpis, as we can’t see the context

Integrate social everywhere and show any data you can

Look at what competitors are doing on their other pages and how they are building a community with social.

Embed social buttons in to your videos

Velocity means looking at more than just follower counts. So look at how quick your follower counts go up.

Use simply measured to track social velocity.

Social mention.com let you see how often your brand is mentioned.

Cotweet helps you see how your brand stands on twitter compared to competitors.

Attensity looks at social media conversations related to loyalty.

Use social advertising to see what competitors spend and if they outbid you and if people are bidding on your brand terms.

If you see competitors regularly use social advertising it’s a good clue they are serious about the channel.

If they have separate landing pages for facebook ads you can tell they are serious about the platform.

Linked in company profiles help you get an insight in to your rivals, who have they hired, who left, what are they planning next?

Empower the people in your company to do this.

Start tracking social data today as most tools have no historical data.

As new metrics are launched make sure to track them now.

Create actions from this research, there is no point doing the research if if won’t be used.

Joost De valk -wordpress SEO

Joost was unable to attend the seminar but recorded a video with quick tips

Make sure you have dynamic XML site maps

Use rel canonical to have a separate page rank if the wrong one is ranking better.

301 redirect your broken pages.

Implement rel author to have your faces appear in the search results.

Rob ousbey – outreach: is it all about hustle?

Outreach is about building relationships, getting coverage and getting links (in that order)

Look for people who are smart and get things done

Ask people for a time the failed, as you have to try interesting things in order to succeed.

Ask them how they resolved a recent problem. You get insights you can use as well.

Ask them what the last thing they learnt was.

Identify targets first. Grouphigh.com helps you find lists of relevant blogs

Take a piece of content like your own that was posted elsewhere, then find the people who embedded the last infographic and approach them.

Use followerwonk.com to find twitter users based on their bios

Search tumblr to find blogs tagged in your niche.

if you don’t have time to do this use people on odesk.com and mturk.com

One off emails rarely work. You need to build the relationship over time.

Use shorter intro emails. Then expand the offer on followups.

Follow people on twitter, retweet their stuff, tweet at them and comment on their blog and only then email them.

List people you want to speak to on a spreadsheet, and then track who you have spoken to and the interactions you have had.

If people don’t have time to link to you ask them to retweet a message instead.

The more outreach looks like PR the more effective it can be as journalists rely on stories.

Only contact the news desk if you have a very good news story, so go straight to the journalist.

Most journalists won’t accept your pitch but if you keep in touch you will be their first point of contact when they need a source for that type of story.

Find your VIPs to identify those people who regularly link to you, tweet you, and like your stuff. Keep in touch with these people, flatter them and retweet them.

To track outreach monitor the total unique linking domains acquired.

Try to improve your first contact as this is the key to everything.

Wil Reynolds – content based link building

Sites with lots of social shares don’t help a site rank better yet

Feed burner should be used to help google decide what ranks, but they don’t

Look for broken links on your blog and fix them so you don’t lose link value.

If you find a broken link on your site, contact the site to see why it is broken and use this as a way to build a relationship.

Its hard to get exposure for infographics, you need a plan for it to be picked up.

Look at other sites in the same IP that a competitor has. See why the got links and use that or your advantage.

If a competitor domain expires that has links, register it and redirect it.

Use google suggest and google product suggest to see topic ideas.

Research the social space to see what content people like to see. That way you will know people care about the topic.

Write counterpoints to competitor pieces, to encourage debate and get links from the original person.

Topsy.com shows you how many other people tweet content, and whether they are influential.

See what content works well for blogs and then offer them something similar.

Find popular long posts and turn them in to infographics so they are easier to read.

Use google image search after you launch an infographic which shows you other sites using the image. Then ask them to link to it.

If infographic is outsourced, run it though google image search to check if it was copied content.

use .govs to find data that you can use in infographics

Use export.ly to get an export of your followers

People love gadgets with sliders such as quick calculators, so make things dynamic like this.

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About the author

Mike Essex

Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...

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