Gary Hainsworth

Brighton SEO 2011 Review – Afternoon Session

12th Sep 2011 News, Events, News, Industry News, SEO Blog, SEO Blog, SEO Resources 5 minutes to read

After a quick lunch break at the local Wagamama I was ready to absorb another session of SEO tips. The afternoon topics broke the mould by looking at several different aspects of SEO. This was immediately followed by a quick-fire round of ten minute presentations.

Neil Walker: Links –  SEO Value vs. Client Expectations vs Cost

Neil delivered an excellent presentation on how to value a link and manage client expectations. He touched on the difficulty of explaining the value to a client as they can often be obsessed with PageRank. The general consensus was that relevancy and domain authority were more important factors than a high PR.

A valuable link from an SEO and client perspective tends to include:

  • Domain authority
  • Domain age
  • Page authority
  • Anchor text
  • Domain text
  • Page Authority
  • Deep links

Neil ran a poll asking how much people would pay for a PR5 charity link. 68% of search specialists said they would pay between £30 and £75, 25% of clients said the same (the other 75% did not know).

To get along with the client, Neil listed the following as important factors:

  • Be transparent
  • Explain strategy
  • Don’t fret over bad links
  • Remember that sales are always the main objective

Roger Warner: What Can Social Learn from Mad Men?

Roger used video clips from the popular TV show ‘Mad Men’ (a series about an advertising firm based in the 1960’s) to compare the difference between traditional advertising and social media.

Adverts didn’t always have to make sense to sell the brand (like the Chanel clip used as an example) but social media needs to be authentic. Other insightful takeaways include:

  • Never stop thinking about your audience
  • Success is determined by how engaging we are
  • Lifestyle is constantly changing
  • We are competing with time not competitors
  • Tell stories and talk in simple terms

Toby Barnes: James Bond Architecture Critic

This weird and wonderful presentation had little to do with forming an SEO strategy but the content was very entertaining. Toby’s main point was on the evolution of modernism and how we have lost confidence in original architecture. The main theme was modernism = baddies. Any question you have can now be answered immediately by technology. The presentation was full of energy  and  very  amusing.

Dom Hodgson: My Hack Day Addiction

Sipping on a pear Kopparberg (my favourite!) Dom’s fast paced presentation talked us through the benefits of attending a  Hack Day.  A Hack Day is where a group of designers and developers meet up and design apps within 24 hours. Dom sold the importance of learning how to code as it can often save SEO’s valuable time. Anyone wishing to learn Ruby on Rails should refer to

As well as learning to code a Hack Day looks like lots of fun. Some takeaway tips if you want to win are:

  • Enter a good team (range of designers, developers, SEO’s etc)
  • Know the rules
  • Work on something that you love
  • Make sure systems are set up properly

After a quick coffee break the conference went into overdrive. There were six quick-fire presentations (10 minutes max) –  here are the best bits:

Sam Crocker: How to Pitch SEO?

Sam gave a  fascinating pitch on how to sell SEO. The most important points were:

  • Find out if it is worth the effort (must be in it for the long haul)
  • Ask difficult questions (dev schedule, where have they got their stats from?)
  • Give optimistic and pessimistic forecasts
  • Get them to meet the team (bring an SEO specialist along to the pitch)
  • Be prepared to give away something for free

Graeme Benstead-Hume: Stormy Weather: The Accuracy of Search Volume Estimation and Forecasting

Graeme’s 10 minute stint taught us that we shouldn’t always depend on  the data  that keyword tools provide. His research analysed the reliability of the data for forecasting to clients. The main points were:

  • Google keyword tool can often overestimate
  • Wordtracker data can be more accurate
  • Don’t depend on this data to report to clients

Dara Fitzgerald: Beyond the last click: Finding hidden SEO value with Multi-Channel Funnels

Dara showed us the benefits of using the Multi-Channel Funnel feature from Google Analytics. He explained how the multi-touch visibility has enabled Analytics to monitor beyond the final click.

Google Analytics now shows which channels your customers interacted with during the 30 days prior to converting or purchasing. Conversion path data includes interactions with many media channels, including clicks from paid and organic searches, affiliates, social networks, and display ads. The benefits:

  • Gives you a look at whole picture
  • Can split out Google shopping data
  • Run a conversion  path report

Kane Bartlett: Driving SEO with PPC

This presentation explored whether spending more on PPC had a positive impact on SEO. While PPC is not a ranking factor, the short answer was yes. Kane’s research showed that there were improvements in both high and low product sales. This worked for both product related and brand related searches.

Many users who click on a PPC ad do more research and then convert through the organic results on branded terms. Kane finished by reinforcing the importance of PPC and SEO teams working together. For example creating Meta around successful AdWords ads.

Rosie Freshwater: Market Research: Informing SEO and Link Development

Rosie’s slot focused on the importance of research when forming SEO and link building strategies. If you can work out a way to understand a client’s audience you have a better chance of creating rich linkable content. You can understand your audience by:

  • Running focus groups
  • Running surveys (30 questions max)
  • Using Google Insights for Search

Rae Lovejoy: Delight in the Digital World: Why Settle for Customer Satisfaction

Rae finished with a talk on account management and how to maintain a high client retention rate. She highlighted the importance of regular reviews and managing clients expectations. Other useful tips included:

  • Detailed reports showing you care
  • Outline what you are trying to achieve
  • Don’t over promise
  • Recognise extra effort
  • Over achieve deadlines


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Gary Hainsworth

Senior Organic Data Specialist

Having worked in SEO for over a decade, Gary knows everything worth knowing about search engines and technical SEO. A talented search marketer, Gary has worked for several exciting brands during his career to date, including the likes of the V&A, Warburtons, the NHS and the Lake District National Park. In his personal life Gary has a passion for guitars – be that playing them, modifying them or building them! He relates strongly with the humble and kind hedgehog, who also happen to be as prickly as his musical taste; anything loud, fast and angry.

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