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by Mike Essex on 10th October 2012
It’s that time of year once again. In a few weeks’ time, the SearchLove London Conference will begin. Earlier this year I did my predictions for the LinkLove conference, where I got around about 50% of them correct. So clearly there’s going to be a few surprises this year as well.
So what I thought I’d do again is give my predictions on what I think the talks are going to be about, just based on the titles and the names of the presenters and their track record. It’ll give you a good idea of what to expect at the show. If you’re going to be there, come say hi to myself or Laura, who is also going to be there from the company. If not, follow our coverage on the Koozai blog.
Let’s get started. So, first of all, we’ve got Justin Briggs who’s going to look at the “Life of An In-house SEO.” Now, although I work for an agency at Koozai, I do our in-house SEO and online marketing. So I’ve kind of learned a lot recently about being an in-house SEO, and I can appreciate that, yes, it is different to an agency lifestyle and that there should be some interesting takeaways that Justin can give us.
Most notably, from my point of view, is I’ve noticed that having all my time to spend on a single website can make a massive difference in understanding long-term projects, setting realistic goals and trying to get things approved by a client manager as well. I think, even if you’re not in- house, there are certainly things that agencies can learn from in-house people and the types of processes they have to go through. So this should be interesting for everyone.
The next talk is Guy Levine talking about the “Future of Small Business SEO.” It’s a great idea for a topic, because typically the SearchLove and the LinkLove conferences work better with bigger projects, I would say. Things like outreach take a lot of time, and small business clients, you know, your plumbers and your dentists and your restaurants, they don’t have massive budgets, but they still need SEO, and they still need to compete in their fields.
So it’ll be interesting to see what Guy has to say in that space, and also what he considers to be a small business SEO. Does he consider one day a month projects, two day a month projects “small business”? Would he go smaller than that? Would he go higher than that? And I think, realistically, there probably is a line. He’s not going to stand up and say a £95 budget is good enough for a small client. That’s the main thing I want to see; where he draws that line, and what is a small business and actually what is a cut-off point of, actually, “You shouldn’t do SEO yet. You’re too small.”
Then Mark Johnstone‘s going to be talking about “Beyond Linkbait: The First Steps to a Content Strategy.” That’s a good idea for a topic as well, because, typically, with linkbait, there’s this emphasis on, “Oh, let’s make an infographic.” Oh, let’s do this, let’s do that, and kind of no set structure in what you’re going to do next.
Hannah Smith recently spoke at Distilled Live on a strategy they did for Simply Business, where they wanted to become the small business champion, and they created lots of different content that had a similar theme, and every month it was another piece of content that built on what they’d done the month before. Now, that’s a far more stable strategy and also one that ties into company values, than simply going, “Let’s do this, this month. Then this, then this, then this, and hope that we get traction on the things that work”. And as Mark also works for Distilled, I’m sure he’ll also mention this Simply Business project.
Wil Reynolds talks about “Chasing Algorithms” and says you should think dangerously. Interestingly, Wil’s bio said he’d never been surprised by an algorithm update. So it will be interesting to see what he considers when he looks ahead to the future. And, clearly, if you look at recent Google algorithm updates, they’re not massive surprises. They’re really just damaging things that Google have always said are bad, but that they’ve allowed to slip through the net for years. Hopefully, Wil will illustrate how you can set longer term goals for clients. So rather than looking at that competitor who’s done a really dodgy tactic that’s working short term, hopefully he’ll look at how you can say to your client, “You know what? Wait. Don’t target those guys yet. We’re going to do all of this really good stuff now that will give you a benefit later. Look at the bigger picture, rather than risking a penalty.”
David Mihm is going to cover the “Need To Know of Local SEO.” It’s actually a good counterpoint to Guy’s talk, really, because, for smaller businesses, I find local SEO is really useful. It’s a good way to get quick wins, and also, if a company is really small, but they serve a small region, you can still get wins if there’s not lots of competitors in their space. For example, if you going to target “Chinese restaurant,” you’re never going to rank for it globally or in the whole of the UK. But if someone searches in your local area, then you might rank for Chinese restaurant, and that’s the thing to consider of local SEO. David’s also probably one of the best people to speak about this topic because of his yearly local ranking factors document.
Let me move over here. We’ve got Heather Healy talking about “Do Social Signals Play a Part in Rankings?” I’ve never once seen a case that says they don’t work. I know that Matt Cutts has said that +1′s don’t influence rankings, but I’ve certainly seen studies to say that they do. Same with Twitter and Facebook. So I can’t say anything on that one other than a big, fat yes. I’ve seen plenty of studies that social impacts rankings. I also did an experiment earlier this year that proved that social can lead to a direct increase in sales as well. So there’s a lot of benefit by having social signals and social mentions of your product, and hopefully that’s what we’ll see there.
Then Mat Clayton‘s going to talk about “Marketing Hacks.” Mat talked at one of the earlier conferences I saw on how they used social hacks to make Mixcloud go viral. He’s already proved that he’s a really good hacker. He’s not afraid to take new tools and try them to grow the business, and so I’m expecting more of the same on his last talk.
Will Critchlow and Rand Fishkin are surprisingly not doing separate talks like they usually do. They usually do separate ones and a head-to-head. This year, it’s just one big hour and a half long head-to-head, where they tackle the issue of inbound marketing on a shoestring budget. Again, similar to Guy’s talk and David’s talk, and it does seem that the
organisers seem to have made a deliberate attempt to appeal to smaller businesses and smaller projects, and also to appreciate that not every SEO project has the biggest budget in the world (which is a shame). We’d always like more money for projects and be able to do more. But I think certain strategies recently, such as Million Dollar Shave Club have shown that, yeah, you can achieve a lot with a really small budget, if you get it just right.
Richard Baxter talks about “How We Build Links at SEO Gadget.” I saw John Quinton speak at a Distilled live conference recently, and he also works for SEO Gadget, and it was a very similar topic of how they build links there. Obviously, because Richard oversees the whole company and he’s kind of a god with Excel and APIs, he’s probably going to have even more advanced tactics than John. So if it’s as good as John’s talk, then we’re laughing.
Lauren Vaccarello talks about “Conversion Tracking and Online/Offline Attribution.” Lauren is actually the Senior Online Marketing Manager at Salesforce, and given that their software does nothing but encourage acquisition of leads and converting those leads, and she’s managing that from an online marketing perspective, you can guarantee she’s going to have some really good insights on how to do that. What better company to speak on it than Salesforce?
Dave Peiris, who you may know as Shark SEO, is going to talk about the ”Unexpected Value of Creating Things.” A lot of SEOs like to create things, to hack things, to do silly one-off projects that may or may not work, and some of these obviously go on to become APIs and bigger projects in individual companies in their own right, or even just creating something interesting as a one-off can get you a lot of links and PR coverage. Sometimes, as well, creating things that are different to your competitors can help you break away from a strategy of just churning out infographics or the same old content over and over again. We built Koozai TV to help grow our brand, and it’s done just that. So I’m totally agreeing with that topic idea.
Lisa Myers is going to look at “International SEO: One Size Doesn’t Fit All.” I saw Lisa speak at the same week at the talk I did recently, On the Edge Bristol. Lisa has a really good presentation and style, always funny, always actionable, and obviously she manages Verve Search, so she’s going to have a lot of useful information from her time managing here.
Paul Madden looks at “Building an Outsourced and Automated Infrastructure from Scratch.” Hopefully, this one’s not going to be too technical in the coding, because I know not every SEO likes to code. I know we’re all told that we should, but we don’t all like to do that. So hopefully, what we’ll be shown here is actionable things that we can do or we can outsource to someone else to do, just to speed up processes. Also, there’s probably some data tasks that you can get automatically through APIs that’ll make your life quicker. So hopefully, we’ll get some of that.
Phil Nottingham is going to talk about “The Building Blocks of Great Video.” I’ve already seen Phil talk about video at Distilled Live, and he’s done a really good e-book on the Distilled website, all about video creation. So he’ll probably look at how to build a strategy of what videos to make and when. Obviously, you can look at sites like Zappos and how they’ve been able to make thousands of videos in a year, and how other brands are following suit. I know Patrick Hathaway‘s filmed videos about pens (Ideasbynet), which kind of shows that you can do a video about anything on any website and make it actionable.
And last of all, we’ve got Patrick McKenzie who is looking at “Real-Life CRO Case Studies.” CRO is always going to be a big part of SEO, and it continues to be something we need to consider. What better way to get more sales than to get more conversions from the people you already have? And CRO is a part of that. I think another thing that Patrick McKenzie’s talk said is he talked about 200 to 100% conversion rate increase. So I can’t wait to see what real-life example managed to do that.
So that’s everything. There’s 16 speakers there, plus there’s also a live site demonstration and critique, with Hannah Smith and Stephen Pavlovich as well. So lots to take in. As I say, if you’re going to be there, then come and say hi, and if not, check out the Koozai blog for all of our coverage. I think tickets are still available on the Distilled website.
Thanks for watching, and hopefully we will see you there.