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Well Day One of Searchlove 2012 just flew by! We saw some great speakers and picked up loads of useful information to take back and use. Here’s a quick overview and a few pointers from each of the speakers.
Tomorrow we will be posting our take on Day Two for those who couldn’t make it and those who didn’t want to make notes!
The Life of An In-House SEO with Justin Briggs
Didn’t have experience to empathise with clients when in an agency but has gained this through in-house experience.
Relaunching platforms: update old ways and fix problems from previous agencies.
Content retargeting: replaced 2 hours free play cta with walkthroughs. Potential customers were not buying if they got stuck in the free period. Walk through encourages engagement but lowers risk.
Lots of overseas sites were still in English, including the Japanese site. Translated content overseas = substantial growth
They used ‘similar games you’ll love’ tracking codes on URLs of games purchased to up sell before user has even left the site
Keyword cannibalisation – 7 URLs for each product released based on device, not ideal.
Try to merge into one unified product page for all devices where possible.
Make your campaign a sure thing, make sure nothing can fail before you start.
Temporal events – holidays are not as good, think about more evergreen ideas e.g. causes, charity.
Take story then adv search queries to find who is looking this stuff. Get community buy-in by truly getting involved..
Build relationships and ask people to spread the word and send outreach emails.
Support the cause formally and informally e.g. Big Fish Games sponsored geek girl con and hired a booth there.
Use Interviews as SEO tactic. Big Fish Games Created video interviewing designer of new game and offered it exclusively to a big company for 2 weeks before general publishing. Target High visibility, high engagement sites for this.
Create great products (as always)
Create sneak peeks at at product launch people want to write about it, make it easy for them.
Use blog to slow release information around a launch or piece of news.
Network in real life, make connections, build connections and take your rcs offline.
Always have a landing page; they didn’t, which meant big news Bloomberg got 600 links they could have had.
Be great to your community – provide awesome customer service which also helps perpetuate word of mouth.
The Future of Small Business SEO with Guy Levine
Small business Internet getting very difficult, more expensive, more brand setting involved.
The cost of competing in PPC is increasing.
Business owners think Porsches not rankings. Talk about ROI and return or they get bored, and show a general lack of understanding.
SME SEO used to mean poor links and directories, but things have changed so much.
SMEs think you are their SEO, web developer and content marketer; but don’t get annoyed if they ask questions about these areas, answer them and they will love you forever.
Everyone should do PPC, things are changing e.g. 6-7 organic results instead of ten; if you were in position 8-10 you’re not on first page anymore.
SEO takes time PPC might just take hours to see the winners and losers
Same rules for every one in ppc, level playing field
How we create content on a small budget : Best kind of content is the stuff people are already adding
Search Funnel: Awareness, interest, desire, action
Go for long tail keywords, eg “how do I…”, “what happens if…” etc
Finding Things To Write About
– Hire a student to get discount on Mintel, look at latest research and see what people are looking at through Analytics. Look for ‘what’, ‘need’, ‘how’ keywords
– Yahoo answers and moneysavingexpert forums can be useful for finding questions people are asking
– Live chat transcripts offer good clues as to what content you can create
– Topsy rss feed and use api to pull data bio/followers/website then filter by followers and activity
Pull the top followers last 100 links and pivot data to see what has been shared the most, look for patterns
– Use OSS to look at competitor links an Look for high traffic sites
– create better content, turn articles into video, infographic etc same content but different ways
– Do surveys and make infographic from results
– Research people and contact through platform you found them on
– use Vocus-pr too. Put in niches and will come up with media list of people in that space tied in with pr web
– use resource tools for when a journalist looking for content in chosen sector
Stand out in SERPS : review stars 4.5 better than 5
Can’t have stars and picture on same listing so if you are a service use your own photo, if product use stars
Find Conversions by devices and check what needs to be done to increase
Remarketing: drop tracking code against certain words on URLs for more targeted
remarketing, must have 500 people in list first
Small media buys and converted into partnerships some flat fee some affiliates.
They sent customers flip video cameras to get video testimonials
Landing page split testing biggest advantage
Company did this for increased from 500kpa to 76kpm
Unique article wizards etc teams have and to change techy outreach social and content in teams all working together
Beyond Linkbait: First Steps to a Content Strategy with Mark Johnstone
First ever infographic bombed because he did not know subject. What he thought was interesting was common knowledge in the niche
No definitive answer to getting idea, process or strategy
For a successful infographic – know subject
What if you’re not an expert in that scene? Find someone who is. E.g. scan of zombie brain infographic
Journalists used to find one line in all nationals and regionals that was interesting.
Journalists started a follow up and had brain storm meeting e.g. who does this affect, what will happen etc. then best idea becomes story
***Start with a question
Know your subject or find someone who does
Beer test : go for a drink with mates, tell them what you’re working on, watch response
Do some pre-outreach. Is what you are doing an accepted format etc.
Use a checklist – simple. Interesting. Credible, different, shareable,
A good idea can still fail in wrong format. Travel music example was turned into interactive music map released both interactive 1000s of times more response
If in boring niche check what is most linked to content eg if in small business insurance look at smallbiztrends in OSS curate best perf pages into infographic
Did best when looked beyond links
Everything is content strategy, too big to have one plan for.
Your business, content competitors, customer interests. Strategy is part/combination of all of these.
CAMPAIGN strategy more integrated with social and pr
Chasing Algorithms – Think Devilish, Act Angelic, and Never Get Hit by a Penalty with Wil Reynolds
For years marketing was billboards, posters etc but now it is more like a mathematical formula
Persuasion (people) vs manipulation (spiders)
You can never be too transparent
Previously cloaked, white text, as that’s what worked and was told that was his job
600 sites, 5 hit, 1 surprise…SEER Interactive. Realised when a Tweet told him.
Directory links like starting business with credit card, not ideal but you do what you have to to start with.
In 2005 seer was 80pc directories, 20pc other.
Is the long term way to success, having mountains of rubbish links? No, so by 2007 seer changed tact. 2009 about 30pc directories.
Anytime it seems too easy, someone will abuse it and things will change, probably soon.
When he checked back link profile in Majestic, couldn’t see problem initially, thought having so many good links would counter the old bad ones. Not so.
Real company stuff and social will not save you. Signals not strong enough.
Google told Wil they thought seer was interactive though no links for 3 years because changed to seer interactive. He said no way! Wil thinks the problem was back when they Linked out to clients. One had nasty vertical and were linking all over the place through networks and a second poor micro site. So third site caused the crash.
4 realities of Google patents:
Goes to show you can’t rely on patents to show you what might happen. They are trying to reward quality – concentrate on that.
Stop looking at algorithms and patents and make quality content, how many algo changes reward low quality sites?
Maybe real company stuff can save you? Quality assets are how to protect yourself. Build content for things people are looking for that is hard too find.
Be responsive. 1 good piece of content caused his server to crash.
1 month, 7700 links in 34 days 500 lrd 1700 unique referrers – because it’s valuable content. Retweeted by Harvard and others.
Protect Yourself from Affiliate risk. Make sure you can’t get knocked out by affiliates and partner sites if they get hit. Don’t chase algorithms but if you have these keep a eye on it. If the affiliate falls may take you with it.
Buy the affiliate site. Clean up links. Disavow. Wait 2-12 months and you’ll get 10-20pc back from affiliate you don’t need.
Directories and articles cannot kill a site.
Think about penalties and algorithms differently: think search will break:
Footer links : no
Site wide links : no
Link velocity : no
All still work!
Think like a marketer,
Majestic not always accurate. Showing Wil posted comments from years ago
Abuse of rich snippets, how long will it last?
Just because you didn’t get hit by panda and penguin doesn’t mean you won’t, Google are not stopping, start doing rcs now.
Use mozcast to know when changes are made.
Use display network
Need to understand algorithms a bit to counter outliers.
Do Social Signals Actually Play a Part in Search Rankings with Heather Healy
Find out what customers want
Find out where they’re getting it
Give it to them
What’s the ROI on social? Very Effective in building brand, loyalty, trust. Clients used to seeing direct ROI.
Social signals are a part of algorithm.
Methodology: looked at a competitive search in Google e.g. car insurance. Pulled all ranking signals believed were relevant for the sites to rank. Aggregated.Can social be a driving ranking signal? In 80pc of cases not a driving ranking signal.
Correlation with high rankings: external links most important, unique links to URL and social signal for URL.
Not likes or followers, means social interactions with that URL, a like, a comment, a share. Social interactions and unique links correlate.
Money supermarket: social activated content, not link building.
Build relationships within your work e.g. design taxi to Mashable without having to go to Mashable.
Tap into influencers by talking to them
Tweet archivist finds people influential in a number of areas
Response source for journalists
Hashtag journorequest on twitter, find out what they want and give it to them.
Fighting against link bulking teams with natural link acquisition.
Citation flow beaker in Majestic link quality: 0-9 £20 up to £2250
9305- £22,265 was value of batman piece. A link an hour by link builder would take 8 weeks, so 8 times more efficient for link building commercially more valuable.
Example of unplanned social getting massive:
Waitrose 17th September “I shop at Waitrose because…” lots of interesting responses such as “I detest being around poor people”. Huge spike in social mentions but quickly returned to normal. Did not effect rankings.
Needs to be anchored to something you are doing on site or won’t reap the benefits.
New Look very social. Connecting with key fashion bloggers in UK. Very active, respond quickly on Twitter, grown social footprint, but rankings are dropping?
Social signals not really influencing rankings but great links from great authority sites are, as always.
Social has its place in driving links. Can be a very valuable tool. Use follow along, find out what they’re interested in and give it to them.
Give people great content that can drive great quality great value links and be much more economically viable.
Marketing Hacks with Mat Clayton
Users have 3 states, active, inactive, and dead.
Active has used site within 28 days. Some go stale, we’re active and became inactive. Dying users have terminated their account. 28 days because it’s 4 weeks to keep statistics level.
User accounting, actives, new, deactivated, stale, die. Add up active etc and minus stale and dead. Reduce churn. New user acquisition
Most sites he works with retention is problem not new user acquisition.
New user tactics, social. Email advice, SEO, ads, affiliates, offline and more.
Early quick hacks got technology reporter from BBC drunk, hacker news, reddit, twitter trending topics
Now doing well with Facebook pages big photo, put link in copy. No more than one post per day.
Retention is key.
New users 5pc of all business but disproportionate amount of time and money spent on them.
How do you make retention work. What is the critical moment to retain. For mixcloud users with over 30 friends are more likely to stay, so put efforts into making sure everyone has that e.g. people you may know on Facebook and Twitter.
Takes time to prove retention.
Also spending time on email. Going to stop doing newsletter because ctr is very bad. Reactive emails, e.g. if someone follows of you get an email.
Skydb – push into every user action on site e.g. which users committed pushed code then issue a comment. For example, you can see users who have posted but not tweeted it.
Analysing user behaviour and sending reactive emails, converting around 40-50pc but is early days.
Retargeting bringing bounce rate down
Notifications – Facebook notifications. If 17pc or less ctr will get blacklisted; only send to active users, life cycle marketing keeps engaging user
App requested/ resurrecting ad users.
Transition to mobile. Smart apps working really well. Think about push notification converting around 7-8pc
Can figure out what types of mobile devices users has through Facebook api
Optimise add em and target chrome users
Tell people to rate you after app store or after people have used the app a few times. Spottily have a button which says rate 5 stars
Word of mouth usually positive unless site goes down etc. If word of mouth is high enough, will kick in and outdo any other marketing tool.
Company culture; we want people to grow and share things. Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity – George S Patton.
Feature switches / product design without mistakes. Nexus Gargoyle allows you to switch parts of the site on and off when testing or rolling our new products and services.
Django experiments, AB testing.
HIVE and Hadoop; can analyse entire site history. For example, users who uploaded twice last month but have not posted this month. Can take 12-24 hours but can analyse a huge amount of information.
Acunu: pulls in all page data and filtering for googlebot crawl by the hour. Team can analyse and learn very quickly, and gives them a better understanding of the site.
Search engine technology is evolving, and so is the digital marketing industry. The more experienced professionals amongst you may remember the days of gleefully stuffing keywords into your copy to boost your rankings, blindly spamming strangers to join your email lists and easily securing media coverage for your thinly veiled advertisements.
Site speed is an important area of website optimisation that people working in the world of Search Engine Optimisation are becoming increasingly concerned about.