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This weekend I was lucky enough to attend the sixth ThinkVisibilty conference in Leeds. After making my way to the pre-party on Friday, sponsored by ourselves, I attended the conference on the Saturday and had a great time meeting new people in the industry and finding out a tonne of new things.
Find below some of what I took from the conference and a summary of the talks I attended. Find out more about this year’s event on on my college Tara’s blog post on the event.
1. What I Learnt Playing Championship Manager by Kelvin Newman
Kelvin’s talk centred around various concepts he had learnt from playing the popular football management game Championship Manager, and how he had applied his experience to the world of Online Marketing.
He raised the point that the game, which requires players to compare numerous statistics relating to a footballer’s attributes, had taught him to compare large amounts of data. One way Kevin did this was through the use of Radar Graphs within the game itself. An example of how this could be applied was through the use Radar Graphs to illustrate a site’s link profile and compare this data with a competitors.
Kelvin also brought to the table an effort justification paradigm within the game; therefore instead of making the game easy and managing large, wealthy teams like Manchester United or Manchester City with big budgets and large resources, you actually get more enjoyment out of the game managing smaller teams with little budget and few resources. How he related this to the world of Online Marketing was that often you can get just as much satisfaction working on a smaller site with reduced resources than working on a large site where obtaining rankings and conversions can often be easier.
All in all Kelvin’s talk was both interesting and fun and shows there’s always opportunities to learn something new outside the usual areas we focus in the industry. It also perhaps proved my mother wrong the numerous times she told me I’d never learn anything playing video games.
Follow Kelvin @kelvinnewman
2. Becoming an SEO Ninja by Pete Wailes
Pete’s presented his thoughts on ideas on categorising the various task that individuals carry out within the world of Online Marketing, breaking them down into innovative, imitative, one-time or repetitive task. The thinking behind this was that by categorising the tasks, appropriate solutions can be brought to the time to help save time, effort and money.
One of the first tasks Pete brought up was innovative, one-time tasks such as the production of link bait, which requires someone to creative skills. He suggested solutions to speed up the process of producing link bait could include custom search engines, where you add to the search engine interesting things up find and allow you to access this quickly and easily.
I found Pete’s talk of real interest and made me take stock of many of the tasks I carry out each day and how I could make them more efficient, both in terms of effort and time.
Follow Pete @petewailes
3. Lies, Damn Lies and Stats by Neil Walker
My highlight of ThinkVis, Neil’s presentation aimed to put some reality behind some of the stats put out there regarding our industry. Neil is the Group Chief Technical Director for Getupdated Internet Marketing and the data presented during his talk was taken from hundreds account, allowing us to see an average over a wide data set.
Across the accounts Neil looked at, social media was resulting in a low amount of conversions, with forums and Facebook driving the most with very little from Twitter. This was interesting for anyone with finite resources or thinking of staring to engage with social media and was looking for some justification of where to start.
We were also presented with some stats about mobile devices, with roughly 10% of the traffic across all the accounts coming via a mobile device with a 3% conversion rate. iPhones, iPads and iPods represented nearly 80% of the marketed, in light of this if you’re considering building a mobile site it’s recommended this is optimised of the above mentioned devices.
Looking at keyword research, two word phrases provided roughly 35% of the search traffic and conversions. Overall, 60% of traffic and conversions came via three word phrases or longer.
Neil’s presentation helped bring a bit a reality to the numerous stats put out here each day by using a large amount of data, I felt I took quite a bit from it and I can think of quite a few things I will be able to put into my job going forward.
Follow Neil @TheUKSEO
4. Five Conversion Lifting Neuro Insights by Guy Redwood
Guy currently runs Usability Ltd, a usability and eye tracking research company. His presentation demonstrated some of the common usability issues sites have and suggestions on how this can be solved. Aspects covered were mega menus, mobile websites, improving mobile interactions, improving banners and visuals as well as content structure.
Regarding mobile sites, Guy raised the issue of unreliable connections with a site via mobile, such as being interrupted by a call or bad reception. Some things to think about included allowing users to get to your full site easily, allow people to pitch and zoom and to remember the user could be on an iPad so retain the usual site features for regular users.
I found some of the work Guy gets up to really interesting and he even demonstrated some of the usability videos he has, clearly showing users getting stuck on what often are common aspects of a site; this really makes you think how much more can be drawn from a site by keeping usability in the forefront.
Follow Guy @eyetracking
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.