Today, was the first BrightonSEO of 2013 and half the Koozai team were there to support one of the biggest search marketing conferences in the UK. This year, BrightonSEO was run over three separate tracks meaning that attendees get the opportunity to choose between 38 sessions and 42 speakers… what a choice!
In order to bring the readers of the Koozai blog a brilliant write up of the entire day, we have Tara West, Gemma Holloway and Emma North covering each track. What this means for you is that this one post will be a one stop resource for BrightonSEO in April 2013.
Google have a set of information / records of any site that gets a manual penalty, and when you file for a reconsideration request they look to see if you have fixed the issue that they had a record of.
An algorithmic penalty is not actually a ‘penalty’, but a re-evaluation of your site.
At the moment Google aren’t doing anything with disavow data, and they don’t think they will use it any time soon, but maybe in the future.
They don’t believe that using the disavow tool has any negative affect.
When you use disavow tool disavow the whole domain.
Be as transparent as possible with your reconsideration request as Google knows your link profile so be thorough.
Brand is more and more a ranking factor for Google and will increase in importance in the future.
Do link building for traffic acquisition not just for the search engines.
You can use the disavow tools as often as possible and they have use them daily whenever new low quality links come in.
If your content solves a problem it’s going to work well, so don’t just describe something, but structure your content so it solves a problem.
All spam reports are looked at by Google, and in most cases they are looked at within a week but this is dependant on the language they are written in and the market.
Provide as much useful information in as little writing as possible in your reconsideration requests
Don’t play games in your reconsideration request by saying links have been removed when they haven’t.
Use the disavow tool to disavow the domain along with your reconsideration request, even if the link doesn’t exist anymore.
Google wants you to show that you have really tried to get the links removed and show this in your reconsideration request.
Hacking pages and redirecting them really works if you want rankings results very quickly, but it is illegal and it is not recommended in any way.
If you change anchor text from keyword targeted to branded links, and then try to get reconsidered, this probably won’t work.
At the moment Google Plus usage is probably less of a rankings factor than page speed, but it will grow in importance in the future, but you should use it now because you will have built up a history there already.
Google Plus is an indirect rankings factor already as it can affect your CTR which is a rankings factor, for example by functionalities such as authorship.
Solve people’s problems with your social media don’t just talk about your brand or products.
There was a hint that by using Google chrome you might be sending extra social signals to Google but they didn’t elaborate on this.
Consider whether or not you have the potential to go abroad. Check Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to see whether you are currently getting any visibility abroad and whether there is any evidence to suggest going international would be beneficial.
If targeting abroad looks to be beneficial, go for it! If not, buy the TLDs from other countries and set up Analytics filters and alerts so that you can easily judge the best time to go international.
First focus on changing the language on your existing site and then on targeting other countries so that you can judge how well your website is going to be received.
It is important to have native support from the countries you are targeting so that you can truly connect with your audience. For example, ensuring you use the correct terminology.
Consider site structure and optimising your site for SEO. There are various options such as multiple sites with different TLDs or one site with various directories. All approaches have pros and cons. For example, TLDs require multiple sites to have attention and can lead to duplicate content issues (however, this can be resolved with code in the website header).
There are a number of reasons for implementing structured data: Improved CTR, an opportunity for tailored content on each social network, gain more real estate and exposure, and it can look messy if not used as Google will choose for you.
Google Plus – Available tags: type, title, image, description. Alex will share the code. prediction that Google Plus will evolve their own Meta data.
Facebook Open Graph – Available tags: URL, title, image, description, site name, type(article, product etc.).
Twitter cards – Allows an in depth description of the media shared within a tweet. Twitter cards get fed into other Apps. The available tags are: site, creator, title, image and description. They have recently release 3 new twitter cards: Photo card: the image doesn’t have to be hosted on the site itself. Gallery: the 4 images don’t have to be from the same URL. Video card: you can set an image which lays over the video. Product: flexible, define labels to provide niche data. App: you can’t actually use the app card. Possibly due to abuse. To use twitter cards you must have your domain authorised. Important to remember.
If your time is limited, focus on Facebook Open Graph as this is used when data is missing from Google Plus or Twitter.
Links are still the signal for Google, you just have to work harder for valuable ones.
Don’t be a sheep and follow what everyone else does: you need variety in your link tactics.
Manage risk and validate each link building opportunity for value.
Be realistic about link value vs risk.
Balance removals as Google won’t have identified all your spammy links as unnatural yet. Remove in batches to ensure minimum unnecessary removals.
Signals of bad links include too much keyword anchor text, site wide links or suspect ccTLD.
Know when you’re beaten! Think of the cost to resolve vs the cost of starting again.
Gemma Holloway – Track 2
Next Generation Measurement With Google Analytics – Dara Fitzgerald (@darafitzgerald)
Currently Google Analytics is session based. Its not possible to connect two visits from the same user. The issues: Multi-channel customer journey is currently based on last click attribution model which creates bias. Multi-platform environment means currently three visits from the same user on different platforms would be classed as different users due to the cookies on each platform. Multi-purpose sessions mean users sometimes visit your site for different purposes, but these purposes may lead to the overall purchase – currently in GA it’s the visit which converts not the visitor. This can lead to under valuing certain content and inbound marketing channels. There are 4 solutions:
Universal Analytics – currently in public beta so doesn’t support content experiments and remarketing. The Measurement protocol allows you to push data into your Analytics account from any digital device meaning finally online and offline data can be synced. It also allows you to define custom dimensions and metrics to allow you measure what is important to you.
Multi-channel funnels and attribution modelling – been around for two years but isn’t often used. This allows you to use multi-session data. Attribution modelling allows you to determine how conversions are attributed. This is becoming available to everyone on a free Analytics account.
Micro conversions – you can tie micro conversions to visitors in the same way as custom variables.
Visitor remarketing – available in every Analytics account. Works through AdWords but can leverage data from Google Analytics. Use GA to build a list of users and retarget to them after they have completed the necessary criteria. I.e. Users who have visited twice, but not purchased.
How Phone Data Might Change Your Search Strategy – Ali White (@alistairwhite)
Call tracking – serving unique numbers to different users.
Call tracking can make a huge difference to your conversion rate.
Remember: Don’t optimise for conversions, optimise for revenue! Especially if the call if considered a conversion.
You need to consider the commercial intent of a keyword, a keyword might have a high conversion rate but if it’s not generating profit then it should be dropped. For example, a Mazda dealer targets “Mazda garage” and “Mazda dealer”. Respectively the conversions rates are 31% and 12%. So you would think that “Mazda garage” is the better keyword. However, this isn’t the case because “Mazda dealer” is in fact generating £1000’s of pounds more profit.
Call tracking can not only change your keyword, but your overall strategy.
Crunching Cookies Without Dropping Crumbs – Nikki Rae (@analyticsgirl)
_utmz cookie is the most important cookie to check is working as it tracks traffic source, medium, campaign name and keyword.
How can you tell if they are working properly? Signs include pages not being tracked, traffic sources and medium being incorrectly recorded.
What happens to data if they aren’t working? Use Google Analytics debugger plugin, clear your cookies, visit your site via a decided medium and select ctrl+shift+j which give you info about what is being sent to GA. Check all the info is correct.
What’s their role in cross domain tracking? Use _setdomainname to share cookies between sites by adding a few lines of code to your Google Analytics code. You also need to add a hostname filter in your Analytics account. This allows you to differentiate between pages on different sites with the same page names.
Turning Google Analytics Into a Webmasters’ Tool Box – Anna Lewis (@koozai_Anna)
(not provided) is something we all need to deal with. Use secondary dimension for landing page so that you can guess what keyword took the user typed in based on the keyword of the page. There are other methods for determining this data but this is the simplest.
Anna gave away two free dashboard to measure SEO performance and site performance ( link to Annas slide).
Event tracking – very useful for monitoring a users behaviour. Event tracking can give you loads of data for many different events such as downloads, video plays and even gaming scores. Look at what you could change and track that – there’s no point tracking elements you can’t update.
Conversions Rate Optimisation – Define what a conversion is. Make sure what you want people to do is tracked. Analyse the data and pick what works. To set up CRO in GA go to experiments and complete the 4 easy steps.
There are 100s of different test which can be carried out. See Anna’s slides for details.
Bread and butter content is the staple content (not like viral content).
Bread and butter content should be at the heart of your content.
Your content must help your users with their needs, not just fun viral stuff.
Bread and butter content is cost effective where as viral content can be pricey.
Your bread and butter content should answer your user’s questions and because it answers their questions it will naturally get links.
Bread and butter content is always relevant so it’s going to always get traffic and links.
Bread and butter content should also generate advocacy by providing information and helping users. Make the user’s experience helpful and memorable so next time they need information on that they will go to your site.
Review and update your static content often, ideally at least every six months to make sure it’s still relevant.
Information Is a Micro Brand – Ralf Schwoebel (CEO Of @trabit)
Your marketing needs to communicate your brand on every channel.
If you have a conversion goal make it clear on the page and have one conversion goal per page.
Facebook likes, g+ etc are micro conversions.
Channel your traffic sources to your conversion goals and target your pages accordingly.
Communicate feeling in your brand.
Reputation management is crucial for brand building.
If one bad review ranks first you need to do something to get a better review above it even if it means making a fake review.
Have different landing pages for your different traffic sources.
Confused.com used content for brand engagement, loyalty, drive traffic and convert and much more.
Content supports SEO in what they do.
They use content to create natural links back to the site.
They use viral and social content alongside their bread and butter content.
They use their online content to leverage more out of their TV and offline content.
Push boundaries with your online content.
How Links On The Internet Can Make Unexpected Predictions – Dixon Jones (@Dixon_Jones)
Google predicts the future with Google Suggest by using lots of different data sets including location.
Predict the future with social listening by seeing what’s happening on twitter and social and then write about it immediately.
You can use the data we find online to predict the future for things other than SEO. For example, when a company lists their number of 30 day free trial downloads for a product you can predict what their sales will be in 30 days time once the users trial runs out and they have to pay to sign up (based on a conversion rate estimate).
We know how every page on the web links to each other and this can be used in many ways. For example, by looking at how many referring links are going to a politicians website and their competitor you can predict who’s bound to win an election, possibly.
Strategy – choose your clients strategically sticking to your niche. Don’t be afraid to turn away clients and filter them as you take them on.
Delivery – Get your sales, web and SEO teams together to put together a strategy. Make sure you manage client’s expectations. Remember rankings and traffic are nothing without conversions. Make sure you are happy with the website your working on, if your not do something about it.
Team – You can’t manage 1000 clients alone. Make sure you keep your team motivated! Training is really important for your team to ensure you can deliver a standardised process. Four key roles; delivery roles, managers, research and developers, account managers.
Systems – Find a system that works for you. This could be in the form of a CRM system. Ensure consistent and frequent communications with your clients so they are aware of the good work you are doing. Finally, outsourcing can help where creativity thinking is not required.
A combination of the above points will lead to retention and scalability. Create used this formula and have grown from 0 to 1500 clients in 6 years. On average one person looks after 30-35 clients.
Automating SEO on Large Websites – Berian Reed (@berianreed)
Too much SEO time is spent on the boring stuff (80%) – this leads to an unmotivated team, so why not automate this stuff?
Monitoring traffic fluctuations – set up custom intelligence alerts to inform you of major fluctuations in traffic. This can also be set up to be delivered via text message.
Monitor your competition – set up alerts within Advanced Web Rankings to email you if competitors visibility increases or if a new domain starts to rank for your keywords.
Automate your link building using Tynt so that when someone shares pages, it includes a link back to your web page – this can also include links to your social profiles. Offers really good insights.
Automating link prospecting with SEOTools Excel Plugin – check the Page Rank, the IP addresses and page titles to deem what pages are worth submitting to.
Scaling Local Citations and Brand Management for Local Search – David Whatley (@MiShop.Local)
Local SEO isn’t about your website, it is about your address. The website acts as a compliment. Local search is driven by your distance from the users and therefore, is influenced by your address.
Local directory listings which include your name address and phone number are good for your local search. You need to take control of your local listings and ensure all listing with your address match up to your business details.
Local listings can take up a large amount of the SERPs and your business name can easily be pulled through into the search results.
7 C’s: Clean NAP (name, address phone number), Content prep (project your brand and be consistent), Claim the sites relevant to you (register before you competitors have the chance to), Communicate ( keep the branches informed what’s going on), Co-ordinate (break things down in to easy to manage chucks), Control (keep a record of login details and any other important information), Continue (maintain activity on the account so that you don’t drop down in the listings).
Pay attention to site specifics, upload a logo sized specifically for the site, use all characters in business descriptions to sell the business (no penalty for having standardised descriptions on multiple branches).
How to Prioritise and Drive SEO in Large Organisations – Dan Patamore (@Ideasfordad)
Two elements of SEO in large organisations- Onsite: Huge challenge in a large organisation as many people have an input in different aspects. Offsite: As long as they aren’t treading on the toes of investors and are portraying the brand in the right light, you can be as creative as you like.
Knowing the business that you’re in is massively important. In a large organisation SEO is considered a small cog in a very big machine. In order to justify your work it is important to make ‘friends’ within your organisation who will help support your goals and be willing to understand how things impact SEO.
Impact: you need to consider the impact of what you are going to carry out and prioritise according to which aspects will help you achieve the highest financial gain. Dan suggests prioritising speed above everything – you need to make an impact quickly!
Competition: Highly important to consider what the competition are doing as they can seriously impact your success if you don’t keep up.
Piggybacking: you can use budget from aspects within the business if you piggyback onto the activities other areas of the business are carrying out.
Emma North – Track 3
Link Building Death Match: A Scientific Test Of What Tactics Work – Danielle Fudge (@Forward3D)
Hacking works in the short term, proven by many new payday loans companies who need only be number one in the SERPs for a few hours to make money. BUT not for long!
Black hat link building is a massive gamble and can snowball quickly until you’re in over your head.
If it is only important that your sites ranks in the short term, black hat techniques would work. However, Remember that the results won’t last.
White hat tactics are much more likely to stand the test of time.
Scaleable Post Penguin Link Building – Neil Walker (@theukseo)
Understand the warning in Google Webmaster Tools. Is it targeted action against unnatural links or a penalty?
Do not ignore your Webmaster Tools unnatural link warnings; it won’t go away!
When you get the warning, stop link building! Link analysis and removal of spammy links is essential, and continuing to build links will not help the reconsideration request.
Tell Google everything in the reconsideration request. Be honest, tell them everything that you’ve done in the past and everything you have done to try and resolve the issue.
The reviewers are human and do make mistakes. Reconsideration requests have been known to be declined even when the issue is resolved. Keep trying!
Be proactive: get rid of spammy links before you receive a warning wherever possible.
Focus on quality local listings, social hubs and quality outreach.
Building A Plan To Integrate Search, Social, Content & PR – Matt Roberts (@Linkdex_Matt)
Do not neglect keyword mapping. You cannot expect to rank for a keyword you do not mention on your pages!
Review your pages from all points of view (search, content, PR, etc.) and ask yourself “does this page deserve to rank at the top over all other relevant pages on the web?” Consider ways to improve pages to ensure it does.
The best results are achievable as a team. Where do you sit? Everyone should sit together: content marketers, search marketers, PRs, etc.
Should we stop calling SEO “SEO”? It’s not the same job anymore.
Consider breaking down barriers between digital marketing processes, such as search, content, social, brand, etc. and work as one towards a common goal. Get buy-in from everyone on the same plan.
Creating outstanding content is hard work and takes time but the long term rewards are far greater.
Covered by Gemma Holloway:
Case Study: Combining CRO, viral mechanics and unconventional business practice to boost online sales – Marcus Taylor (@marcusataylor)
First stage – get your traffic right. Without the right traffic CRO means nothing.
Second step – understand your customers. Speak directly to customers via live chat. Understand misinterpretations. Speak to trolls within forums so that you can get the brutal feedback.
Third step – make it look beautiful, Marcus recommends conceptfeedback.com and dribble to get your website looking perfect.
Fourth stage – communicate why? Ask a question that your customers are asking and then sell your product by answering this question.
Fifth stage – add urgency and social proof, add deal ending info and social signals from other customers.
Why is it important to pay attention to your internal search? – Alan Ferguson (@alanfergs)
Internal search allows you to gain knowledge about areas of your website that users are interested in and areas they aren’t interested in.
If you offer bad service then you lose the customers. Look at what is being searched for, and the page which is returned. If this isn’t what you would recommend then amend your internal search to return the correct pages to offer better customer service.
You can alter your navigation based on what the top searches are so that customers can find what they require without using the internal search.
Use your own search engine to ensure it works how you would want it to if you were a user.
Negative SEO: Myths and Reality – Julia Logan (@Irishwonder)
Google’s webmaster answer text has been updated to prove negative SEO is a real thing. They say they will prevent it, therefore, acknowledging it is a real thing.
Too often negative SEO is blamed when more often than not it is self inflicted – for example, duplicate content caused by Posts being accessible by multiple URLs.
Search results are indexible by two URLs on WordPress sites. Even Matt Cutts has this issue on his site. Add /search/ and /?s=*/ to your robots.txt file.
You cannot secure yourself 100% against negative SEO.
You can make it economically unviable to negative SEO your site by ensuring you have a strong link profile. This would scare them off and they would give up.
Signs of negative SEO: odd anchor text, a surge of incoming links if there is no legitimate reason for these links.
How to turn your ideas in to Innovation – Matthew Hendry
Matthew gave a slightly different twist on the presentation in which he used a video of himself and simulated a conversation with himself.
All models of innovation have been moving in a sequential order through the business, however, this may no longer be the case.
SMEs tend to lack innovation skills. However, innovations is no longer carried out by scientists only and employees within the business need to started adopting this role.
Matthew covered 5 generations of innovation, in SEO we are currently stuck in the second generation suggesting that we have a long way to progress.
Scouting for Social Media influencers – Sean Walsh (@walshybhoy)
We need to not only look at the links which are influential at the moment but also look at the links that might become influential.
The value of the blogger is growing… And they know it. We need to learn how to build relationships with them so that don’t have to pay silly amounts to have links.
Influencers tiers: super influencers (unlikely to get a link without paying an arm and leg), standard influencers (the ones we would currently target), the future influencers (the ones we should be paying more attention to). When doing blogger outreach consider what type of blogger they are.
Ways to decide what type a blogger is: how big are their social networks, how fast are they growing, are they creating engagement, are they being noticed by their peers, are they starting to reap the benefit of SEO (do a quick bit of research about their site).
You want to contact a blogger just before they get to that upward shift so that you can build a relationship with them prior to them making it big so that they are still willing to work with you when they are big.
Ways to build relationships with bloggers: curate, collaborate, access, educate.
Content outreach looking beyond the link – Pak Hou Cheung (@pakhoucheung)
Tweet Pak Hou for the uncut version of the slides.
When you consider content marketing, you can’t use SEO as the only driver. You need to consider how everything relates to your brand. Your content strategy, social media and PR needs to revolve around your brand.
Before you go content marketing crazy, first analyse your back link profile. Removing manipulative links can mean that your search engine rankings increase.
You need to consider a different strategy for Google and BIng.
Key takeaway, don’t rush in to content marketing – consider your brand first! Don’t just rush into things because it’s the current buzz word.
Getting that Community Feeling – Jennifer Bigg
Social media is a community – even on twitter you find yourself conversing with certain groups. You need to realise that even though you are communicating with people online, they are real people on the other end. Think about your audience, think about who you are trying to reach.
Online communities allow dialogue amongst your users, not just with you.
Don’t get hung up on the numbers, focus on the engagement. Focus on making users complete the actions you require.
Problems with making your communities too big. You end up with a lot of self promotion.
Google hangouts are an excellent source of content for google hangouts. You can remove the sound for podcasts, use the video, use the live stream.
Sam is a talented multi-tasker, a dedicated mother to the gorgeous Theo and a big fan of cooking – word on the street is that she’s pretty good in the kitchen but we’re yet to know if this is true or not. Hint hint, we like cake, Sam.
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