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Well Day Two of Searchlove 2012 is over. We’ve had some excellent speakers, my top 2 being Wil Reynolds and Dave Peiris, plus an amusingly frank and honest talk from Paul Madden. Yesterday I posted my take on Day One for those who couldn’t make it and those who didn’t want to make notes!
The Need to Know of Local SEO with David Mihm
30pc of all desktop searches are local. And 50pc of mobile.
Blended results because Google wants to show everything they know about that business in your area.
Localised organic results now as well as a result of Venice. 2:1 ratio of blended results since implementation.
Evolution of local algorithm: title tags and links, then added citations an local data, then reviews, links again and now social/offline/+local.
On page: title tags, coding issues, keep in mind Google has to be able to associate your site with a physical place. In title tag of local must have business title, name address and number in HTML and use schema.org or KML.
Use rich snippets to mark up address. Increases association and sometimes gives you a +box in SERPS.
Links: definitely still important. SMB likely to have 3.6, a few good links goes a long way in local. Trend towards branded anchor text same as everywhere else. Get at least on really good link and it will go a long way.
Quality of links from locally relevant domains important. Local links with .org, local colleges, local blogs etc are desirable.
Could host events or use sponsorships to gain more traction locally.
Primary data providers SMBs should be listed in 118, companies house, LDC and BT. Google scrapes these and many other sites to glean information. make sure your details are accurate and present on these sites.
Find niche citations; these can be the differentiating factor for SMBs. Job listings can also be useful.
Whitespark.ca is a paid service which can identify niches for you.
– Check for duplicates at maps.google.co.uk. The mapmaker should be released in the UK soon, can report problems and have duplicates removed more efficiently than at present.
– Do search for full information then reclaim any out of date information.
– Results can take over 6 months
Reviews are critical these days. Site diversity still important, don’t let plus local change how you see these other services. Quantity over quality when it comes to reviews. One 3 star reviews isn’t going to kill your rankings, having the review at all is more important.
Now pulling unstructured reviews from non review sites when map information included. Eg blog posts.
Incorporate feedback into everyday processes. If same problem is repeated a few times may need to address the issue.
Do not send people directly to Yelp from your site or they will block you.
Power reviewers on Yelp can really help. Connect with them through Topsy – put in competitor name and Yelp and build a list of people you can create a channel for of peer reviewers in a specific market. Build relationships with these people. Also use findpeopleonplus.com to find active Google Plus users for reviews.
Categories will be less important, anchor text and reviews more important than before.
Keyword research and Analytics: Use Google suggest and check related searches to find new keywords. Use Trends to drill down on certain markets. Use Mobile as a proxy. Use form completions, what keywords are people using when they contact you?
Do not use tracking phone numbers, need to be consistent. Not appropriate for local.
Use demographics: location : city: secondary dimension: keyword report in Analytics.
Rankings less relevant as fluctuate so much based on location etc. whitespark.ca have historical ranking tool in Beta which David thinks is one of the best he’s seen.
Overcoming Centroid Bias: criteria dismissing but still there. Great competitor analysis tool. Strong reviews profile from strong sites can really help you rank in competitive markets.
Keywords in reviews important.
How We Build Links at SEO Gadget with Richard Baxter
We are optimising our brand, trying to add value at every touch point which allows us to speak to people. Doing RCS, supporting local organisations etc to build brand. Spreading our reach by hiring Kristi Hines as she writes all over the place and extends reach way beyond seogadget. Also made a video answering questions from clients, lost leads etc which has greatly improved conversion rate.
How to get your brand in front of the people you want to see it: where do we need to be? Creating personas from scratch can be dodgy. Creating simple schemes based on actual a people. Use Tweetarchivist, archives Twitter searches so can filter all Tweets by people you want to see see your product and see their Tweets containing links. What types of sites do they tend to see? What are their influencers sharing? Use Followerwonk to get influence scores of people your target follows.
Can also use Twitter and pick out relevant targets via keywords in bios. Create list and cross check in Followerwonk to find their influencers.
Use unshorten URLs tool in SEO tools to show full link and find the source of what they were sharing.
Survey influential people to create infographics.
Identify influenced intersect – what are they sharing? – be there!
Conversion Tracking & Online/Offline Attribution with Lauren Vaccarello
Increase return through data integration:
– Bridge the gap between digital and physical world B2B means purchaser is at risk if product fails or doesn’t work so usually a buying committee. You need to understand and influence this group and their mentality.
What should your metrics be? Often used to just be about getting a form completed etc but that is not a sale.
Importance of optimising to offline metrics – need to make sure leads actually give your opportunities and drive business in the physical world. Better CPL does not necessarily make it the best option, dig deeper. Integrate online and offline data for leads, pipelines and sales. Integrate your online and offline through your CRM.
Can track how much money each channel is making for the business, actual revenue.
Social is a bit different. Can add unique identifiers to each You Tube video, Tweet, Facebook post etc to track how many leads and conversions are driven from social.
Build dashboards so you can see quickly what is driving leads and conversions from all channels and platforms.
Get creative: contact and lead augmentation. If you get a lead for example from a sales manager look at data.com and get details of others likely to be involved in the decision process and get outbound sales to call them, many leads for the price of 1.
Work with sales team: easy access to campaign data, regular calls with sales, shared goals.Bring sales and marketing in to meetings together regularly to have the same goals and targets.
– Use attribution modelling to better invest budget What is value of each touch?
Are some worth more than others?
7 to 28 marketing touches before a sale closes on average Types of attribution models – First touch – SEM, form completed, email, event, SEO; first touch takes the credit for the deal despite the other touches.
Last touch – only last touch takes credit all previous are ignored.
All touch – equal credit to each marketing touch.
Weighted all touch/Influence model – not all touches are created equal. Each touch is weighted based on score responses. Scored on title of contact in the business so higher positions get more weight, the offer eg was it a free trial or a £1 million deal, and the deal attribute.
Pick just one attribution model and stick with it.
The Unexpected Value of Creating Things with Dave Peiris Dave uses Google’s 20pc rule to create things he didn’t have time for before going freelance such as hackerbuddy.com, also created grndctrl.com, these have ended up on the BBC, Hacker News etc. Gained link opportunities never could have before.
We want the sites we work on to earn great links, to have a great user base and be well liked. Side projects can help here.
Lets freckle.com helps you mange your time, then launched side project called every timeline.com which is a simple way of seeing and comparing time zones which can be really useful for a wide range of companies. Now has a natural link from Basecamp.
Another good example is Mozcast, fantastic for branding and has a decent number of links already.
tools.Pingdom.com is for people who ate really focused on good web experience. Tells you how fast site works, pings you if it goes down etc, and is likely to draw people who want to buy Pingdom’s main product.
What would tour audience find useful? Find a problem and solve it. Create an email list of relevant people for the project then email them linking to a page explaining what you are going to do and asking for feedback via a form.
Start with a prototype. Launch quickly and improve after, speed is really important as if you launch it and no one likes it you get more time to improve and adapt. Marissa Mayer says if a product can’t be shipped in 6 months Yahoo! will no longer offer it.
Nothing good has ever been designed by committee, slows everything down. End up with a compromise. Worst offending project was Windows 7 launch, marketing campaign was to have a party at your house and watch Windows 7 tutorial videos…
Do one thing really well.
How to launch: fess mentions – you don’t need it, can contact bloggers etc but looks good and get good links. Press loves a story. Find an angle. Try writing that article first, if you can’t when you have intimate knowledge of the product how will they with limited time? Don’t send it to them but it will change your perspective.
Don’t neglect the little guys and ignore famous journalists. Find people you want to be covered by who might have more time. Eg people with less Twitter followers. Utilise Followerwonk.
Make writing about you easy.
Don’t get discouraged. If the press aren’t keen it doesn’t mean what you have build isn’t useful, change your story and try again. May be add new features and resubmit.
Consider building something for journalists.
Projects can be small. Just need to be useful.
Give away icons. Designers will find them useful.
Cam go offline too, Hipmunk print T-shirts and luggage tags, their customers love them and it gains links.
Again, find a problem and solve it.
International SEO: One Size doesn’t Fit All with Lisa Myers
Is international SEO really that different? No, but there are some aspects that make a difference.
3 main areas:
Different indexes for different countries. Make site your site is indexed in the right geographical index.
Check Google guidelines on ccTLDs etc.
CcTLD: best sign you can give search engines that you are trying to target a specific country but this is not always possible.
If you have an office or will have in the relevant country and is a growing business ccTLD is recommended. Especially if you have a marketing budget in those countries.
Having a marketing department in a country and using a sub folder is like living at home when you are 30.
When a sub folder should be used:
– budget restrictions
– no local marketing
– initial geo targeting and time restraints
– informational sites
+ Benefit of link authority of entire domain eg eConsultancy
Silly to use eCommerce sites as sub folders, far too complicated.
Sub domains could be used when:
– technically middle for the road between a ccTLD and sub folders but not ideal
– easy to implement and can have separate hosting BUT do not benefit from whole domain link authority Using multiple site maps:
– Create separate site maps for different folders on same domain
– Submit to WMT and set geo-targeting
(Will not help you tank higher but will help you get indexed.) Hreflang attribute: the new way of saying “it’s supposed to be indexed in this country”. Some way of saying “this is a different language version of a page”.
When to use hreflang:
– Translate only the template of your page
– pages have broadly similar content within a single language eg. English in US, GB.
Read Google’s guide on hreflang.
Can be implemented as an HTML link in the header (must put on both sites) or by using site maps (recommended).
Need to set all alternate versions in all pages but there are tools for this eg Mediaflow.
The only thing that changes is the URL, meta title remains the same. If in different languages is ok but can be a problem if English US, GB etc, still need unique content.
Hreflang and canonical = Confused Google. In most cases no need to use these together, may make things worse.
Target differently, like we do males and females.
If you want traffic from Germany search engines believe a site that has content in German might be targeting Germany.
Don’t use big brands as an example.
IP detection and redirection:
Don’t directly translate and don’t use Google Translate and think that’s it. Get a native speaker to check it.
– Having links from site with the ccTLD you what to rank in is really important. Don’t think you can link develop from the UK to UK sites for sites in different ccTLD.
– get a good project management tool
– having people that can write well is incredibly important, content is taking over
– get a great SEO tool, Lisa uses SEOMoz and Linkdex, plus Majestic etc
– streamline reporting of links. Make sure everyone is doing everything the same way
– don’t limit yourself to specific subjects
– reuse ideas or translate articles (magazines do it all the time)
– markets are different, do your search
– Recruiting native speakers can be hard
– Organisation of link development
– Reporting, especially value of links
– Make sure everyone writes to the highest standard in languages I don’t speak
Building an Outsourced & Automated Infrastructure from Scratch with Paul Madden How to build an automated process and outsource system:
What can we automate and outsource safely?
Research and data collection.
– SEO is increasingly a data business
– data is king
Every business starts and succeeds based on a process. Every automated system needs a robust manual process.
– Find sites
– Manage responses
– Place link
Take these elements and think about every little step for this to happen on a reliable and repeatable way.
Only do limited automation until everything works, then build a basic work flow.
Data collection via bookmarks: reliable, customisable, non technical, easy to use.
Hiring a team you’ll never meet: sign up people from oDesk, create a team and post a job opening. Hire fast and fire fast. No interview, based on application. Give good but vague feedback. Each team does not need to know what other teams do nor who you are.
Appoint a team leader and team manager. Team leader is sole point of contact. Give them the responsibility to hire and fire through oDesk.
Secure people who know the value of the data and get to sign NDA. Use right signature tool for quick and easy signature.
Train the trainer, they can train the rest or you become the person that gets asked all the questions.
ODesk have an iPhone app.
Data starts to come in. Set KPIs. Eg quality of site data, duplicate sets, how many sites are being added, are we getting positive trends, what goals are being produced? Control team using these KPIs.
As it settles down look at automation. Easier to add when team have understanding of manual system.
Tell team leader you are going to be less involved and more demanding regarding statistics.
Run a happy team. Match your expectations with theirs.
As data builds, mine it. All additional information helps you to sell more.
Promote from within. Squeeze the KPIs using automation.
Time to hire an oDesk team instead of individuals.
Get stuff coded: write functional descriptions of what you need to give to coders.
Data sources: automate for further efficiency eg. Authority labs, bing search api data, 80 legs. Prequalify using other Apis eg robowhois, alchemy api, 80 legs crawler, majestic and moz.
– Design granulated deskilled process
– Divide into clear phrases
– Hire a team
– Remove yourself
– Look for opportunities to make data more valuable
The Building Blocks of Great Video with Phil Nottingham
Where does video fit in SEO?
Video is great content…except video is form, not content.
Common practice would be to do video, find best format, make it. Instead think what do I need to do and what’s the best way to do that? It might not be video, wouldn’t work better in another form?
Great video tells a story that needs to be seen in real time.
Marketers see video as great brand awareness.
Embed video in page in order to rank.
Use rich snippets. Most important thing for rich snippets is to submit video XML site map. Phil has built a site map generator for video site map creation.
Host on your own server or use a reliable one such as vimeopro or vzaar, wistia or brightcove, not You Tube – want value to go back to your site to get the most from it. Don’t use iframe options.
Get videos indexed with Schema.
Does video create conversions? A user watching a product video is twice as likely to convert. They also spend 9.1pc more money.
Video can bridge the gap between initial interest and conversion.
Use empathy and hard facts.
Video can be expensive but doesn’t have to be. Don’t need an amazing camera but lighting is very important. Van get graphic animations for as little a few hundred pounds.
Include transcripts on the page.
Provide unique and relevant text for product pages.
Don’t put conversion video on YouTube:
– Cannibalises rankings for your site
– Hard to convert from YouTube
– Can devalue our YouTube channel
A creative story attached to your brand Wil, be shared, this is where YouTube can be great.
YouTube have a keyword tool, not great but is useful.
– keywords in file name
– include closed caption file, very important
– optimised title, description, and tags as per usual SEO
– no follow clickable link in meta description
– get links, views and shares
Don’t measure views to measure success, measure user engagement.
For lower bounce rate:
– Keep stings and indents short
– Focus on quality of audio
– Get straight to the point
Quick route to social views, but views and put your video everywhere, goal is brand awareness.
Links and social shares:
New integrations of html5 and jquery, use mozilla popcorn to make an entire page interactive, popcorn make video work like the web.
Make sure links go to your site inky, not hosting platform, don’t leak links. Restrict visibility on hosting domain or links will all go there.
Add custom embed code on page. Phil has built a tool for this too.
One exception to not putting video on YouTube: Custom playlists. He’s made a tool for this too.
Need a strong page to rank with rich snippets.
If links all going to YouTube make it private so can’t be viewed there then ask the people, who embedded it for a link to your site.
For Analytics Phil recommends wistia.
Eating CRO: Real World Case Studies for 20-100% Increases in Revenue with Patrick McKenzie
Test hypotheses about your customers, not your pages.
Fix that which is broken.
Don’t hide your CTA.
Make it easy to purchase, don’t make users make too many decisions.
Review your copy, especially on home page and pages with conversion option.
Review design, is pricing and CTA clear?
– Fix UX issues
– Need someone with responsibility and authority to monitor site performance
– As a consultant it is possible to meaningfully impact the culture at a client Focus on the first five minute of engagement with your site:
First experience is normally not great. Roughly 40-60pc of trial users will not return. We spend so much effort getting users to the site the pass responsibility over to someone else.
Goals are to make an improvement to their life, a compelling reason to come back and one opportunity I tell someone about it.
– Guide people’s purchasing decision
– Ask explicitly for referrals
– This is a major engineering challenge, but when you generate more incremental revenue than product launch then they can afford it!
Start measuring funnel success:
– Try kiss metrics for this
– Start with two core funnels: core use of product / site and main revenue generating pathway
– Ask team to spitball numbers in advance then show them numbers and address stages where there was a huge discrepancy vs expectations.
Don’t call your core value proposition page ‘Pricing’.
Testimonials aligned directly against custom to objections, as close as possible to where these objections may occur.
…and that’s it folks. It was great to meet some fantastic SEOs over these 2 days and great to hear the likes of Wil Reynolds, Rand Fishkin and David Mihm speak. For anyone who hasn’t been I highly recommend you come to the next SearchLove!
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.