Following my extensive round-up of the first day at SearchLove, here’s my equally comprehensive overview of the key takeaways from the second and final day of the search conference.
Ciaran Norris – personalisation, profiles and policy (
@ciaranj) If you aren’t paying for a service then you are the product being sold. Google is personalised by ‘SoLoMo’. In other words your social local mobile presence. Facebook adverts are seen as ‘word of mouth’ at scale. It isn’t healthy for us as society to only see the things we want, yet that is what personalisation does. We need to see other things to grow as a culture. Humanity is built on discovery, we need to find extra things and personalisation can stop us from doing this. We want the product we don’t know yet. We need to be exposed to new stuff. For example, during the election on twitter it may have felt like the party you wanted to win would win, if you followed people who had the same views. But you can’t see the bigger picture. We don’t want things that challenge our beliefs, that’s why it’s hard to post on a forum if you have different views (even if you aren’t being a troll). The app ‘ unsocial‘ connects you with people you have never met before, but who would be relevant to you. Isn’t this better than only connecting with the same people? Hunch fm plays you music based on questions you answer and consistently delivers good music. Using third party data to profile your customer, helps cut your costs and only target the right people. TV advertising is not going to die it’s just going to progress online. Consider the legislation of the market you are in as if you sell outside the UK you need to consider their law. Engagement is going to become the new metric instead of rankings and traffic. Do an audit of all the third party cookies you have on your website, so you know how to ask user permission when the cookie law starts in May. It is the job of the media to tell people they are wrong, with personalisation that can’t happen.
Wiep Knol – Make Competitor Analysis Useful (
wiep) Saying a link strategy ” won’t work” is wrong, as we see bad tactics work every day, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. Find where the line is for you without crossing it. Go out and do stuff, don’t just spend your whole time complaining and not taking action. No link building process is the same, even for 2 campaigns by the same person. It needs to suit the client and the experience of the specialist. The competitors on page 1 aren’t always the best ones to research, other sites may have more links but are held back by site issues. They will be your enemies of tomorrow. So look for the big brands as they will likely have the best strategies. Use similarsites.com to find more competitors. Use ‘seotools’ for excel to turn csv data in to easier manageable data. Convert competitor data in to graphs so you can see data easily. But it is not about the charts it is about how you use them. Look for the extremes and then determine if it is working for the competitor. Just because someone has a link doesn’t mean it is working for them, it could be holding them back. It’s your job to find out why people rank where they do, more links doesn’t always mean better rankings, you need to see what is holding the big players back or pushing the little players to the top. Take the anchor text of your competitors and use Tagcrowd to see the spread of this data. Link building is risk evaluation Use Tagcrowd to see the content of blog links competitors have. You may discover the niche they like to write about, and learn new things to write about that attract links. Majesticseo can be used see spikes in competitor link profiles. It’s not about how many links a competitor has it’s about how you can get those links and whether you should.
Richard Baxter – Gamification – (
@richardbaxter) Persuasion is a more powerful motivator than compulsion. Getglue rewards people who use it with stickers, they then get user data to sell to TV companies. Richard hired someone based in their reputation score on SEOmoz. Show people where they rank in the ecosystem based on their numbers. Microsoft have a mascot called clippy that you can use in Office that helps teach you the actions to use the tools. Getting your users to hand over their data makes you smarter markers. Foursquare works because of the badges that are rewarded for completing random actions and the need to get these items. Inconsistent rewards are more motivating than ones you know are coming. Think about why people want to promote your products, then build that in to your site. Google fly the top contributors on their forums out to meet the engineers and team. People are motivated by status. Loss aversion is very effective. E.g. The cheeseburger network ( lolcats) rewards people with badges but you have to register to get them or you lose them. This works great. Netcars.com are a used car business but even they use gamification to encourage users to leave reviews. Status means trust, having the most points makes you a trusted user. Lockerz.com reward users for uploading photos which give you discounts on their products and on other brands too. You can use gamification to generate links. Give people a referral link that they can use to pass people to you. They get money or free stuff, and you get links and new business. Add a q+a system to get people asking you questions that your staff answer, this generates new site pages that cover long tail phrases. Learn how to motivate people for completing the actions that are important to you.
For a full overview of this presentation, visit the State of Search website and check out
Gamification: The Art of Getting Others to do Your Work for You – Richard Baxter at #Searchlove
Patrick Altoft – Real world link building – (
@patrickaltoft) Create just enough links to rank number one for your keywords without putting your clients at risk. Don’t start link building before you improve your site. Use Google Analytics and create a filter that looks for any keyword containing who, what, where, why or how as this creates lots of questions you can answer. Integrate links with news stories clients already have. Always separate content production from link building. No person should do both. Track links to ensure they stay there in the future. Brainstorm ideas with the client PR team to understand every piece of news for that week. That way you can integrate what you do with what they do. Speak to blogs who you know would publish your article, either due to money or good content, and then send them unique versions of your press releases. If client has no news, then write it for them. You can become their PR department. The majority of infographics get less than 10 links, you have to be proactive to promote the infographic and get links. Contact infographic sites, industry sites or pay for coverage. If you get enough tweets you get scraped by lots of other sites. Especially with the right hashtags. Tweet about the most spammy topics and you can get lots of free links. Give away something on competwition and you can get free links. When a blog publishes a quote they have to credit it, which often results in a link. So comment on big news stories. If you find a blogger that lets you add content, you should do it regularly, and mix the links up. Link building is often more about systems and processes than fancy ideas. You need to know if links have gone bad (e.g. The site you have a link from is now linking to bad domains and irrelevant sites) so you can get them removed. You need to know how much a link is worth in terms of time. Everything you do has to be tied back financially. Use Ajax to hide duplicate content to help avoid panda or recover from panda.
Hannah Smith – The past, present and future of linkbait (
@Hannah_bo_banna) Hotornot got 2 million page views in the first week in 2000 and now has over 1 million links. A good idea can be linkbait. A news story can be linkbait. A clever Twitter account can be linkbait. Opinion can be linkbait. Industry award sites can be linkbait. Egobait can be linkbait. Money.co.uk created a hoax news story which got them a ton of links. Linkbait delivers you links incredibly cheaply when you do it right. Compare the Meerkat worked so well because they did so many different channels at once and integrated them together. Old spice needed to refresh the market, which is why their ‘old spice guy’ adverts worked so well, as they were linkbait and helped the brand. Old spice made specific YouTube videos for key influencers on twitter. To build links prelaunch create linkbait to go on the homepage. For research pull out the best concept and turn it in to a catchy headline and attracts links. Consider what it would cost you to get a set of links, then invest that in a piece of linkbait instead. Think who you want links from and create content for them not for yourselves. Always have a PR angle, so at the least you can syndicate a press release. Also your piece will appeal to news outlets as well as the niche. Whatever you do make sure it can be viewed and shared via smartphones. Great product pages on your site can be linkbait (such as the hotel pages on oyster.com) If brainstorming ideas tell people days before that you will be having a brainstorm.
Stephen Pavlovich -CRO bookmarks (
@conversionfac) Store ideas in Evernote so you can find them easily when you need them. It lets you track and store ideas. An Abandoned cart email address lets you encourage users to come back if they fall out of the process early. You need to find the problem first, by doing surveys and using Analytics, whilst also speaking to the customer team. Firebox ask you to create an account after you have placed an order, which makes the order process far easier. To improve phone calls use a local number not 0844 and emphasise the calls will be answered. Sunshine.co.uk doesn’t have a phone number but they added the text “where is our phone number” to the top right of the page to explain this to the user in a positive way. Recognise what people may perceive to be a fault and then spin it round to explain it. To find good examples of copywriting also look back 10 to 15 years. Let offline inspire online, otherwise you only have 10 years of ideas that fluctuate a lot. Show your product works don’t just tell me. Including the person’s name in the middle of an email gives an extra personal touch. Esquire asked users via email to vote for the cover of their new issue. As soon as you ask people to create an account during the order process it confuses them as they want to buy not make an account. It’s better to ask for an email address then check your records, to make it easier for people.
Martin Macdonald – how brands should do SEO – (
@searchmartin) Big brands tend to predate the Internet but can’t yet nail online marketing. The Internet allowed new companies to take over offline brands. E.g Amazon, eBay, Facebook and Google. Big brands getting involved in SEO is relatively new, which will radically change the industry over the next 5 years. United States spend for 2012 on SEO is expected to be 7.8 billion dollars. “Soft drinks” as a search term is ideal for brands but hardly any brands rank for it. Many big brands have terrible websites. They will make these better to help their SEO. Big brands still have an over dependence on flash. If a website is rubbish you can’t rank for the keywords you want no matter how big a brand you are or how many links you have. We need to grow up as an industry in order to get big clients. We need to become part of the overall marketing mix. Search for “museum of me” to see a powerful way of how Intel grew their facebook account. Develop brand evangelists. Take the top members of your community and get them involved. Care about your brand and the websites you create. Any website could become the next big thing if you care enough. The Internet has allowed the rest of the world to compete with us on an open field. Big companies are starting to move away from free products. SEO needs everyone to sign a petition at keywordtransparency.com to fight against google hiding our keyword data in Google Analytics.
That completes my ‘little’ round-up of the events at SearchLove 2011 here in London. However, if this has pricked your interest and you’re in the United States or heading over that way next week, there are still
tickets available for SearchLove New York. It’s been a great couple of days and we’ve all learnt a huge amount, which I’m now looking forward to implementing in the coming weeks and months. Share this post