BrightonSEO – One of the UK’s most popular and respected search conferences
I attended my first #BrightonSEO conference on Friday 13th April 2012 after hearing about it at ThinkVisibility 7, another search conference which I attended earlier this year. BrightonSEO is becoming one of the most popular and respected search conferences in the UK with over a 1000 of the UK’s finest search marketers attending this year. Here is a quick overview of the conference.
Who talked at BrightonSEO 2012?
1. Phillip Sheldrake: Future SEO Vistas – The Semantic Web and the Internet of Things
Philip Sheldrake (@Sheldrake) kicked off BrightonSEO with his take on Web 3.0 or “The Semantic Web”. Here’s a few things to remember from his talk:
- We transition from ‘web 1.0’ to ‘web 2.0’ documentation – participation to ‘web 3.0’ – semantics.
- The definition of SEO Professionals is progressively moving towards someone who improves the presentation, discoverability machinability of data for all stakeholders.
- The semantic web will ‘understand’ the meaning of its own content and the participation of users.
- Google is improving its core product by offering extended semantic support using microformats & microdata.
- Types of media have expanded as well as paid, owned & earned media we now have machine media, content created on the fly from a number of semantically sourced sources.
- Social sites who try to protect their networks are doomed to die as the connections are now becoming much more open.
- As SEOs we will now be part of the flow of influence and our job will now be to manage and direct that flow by understanding the needs of our audiences.
2. Sam Noble – How to launch or re-launch a brand or product online effectively
Launching or re-launching a brand or product online can be a very daunting task. Building up on her experience prior to the launch of Koozai in May 2011, Samantha Noble (@Koozai_Sam) provides us with a overview of tips, suggestions and things to avoid, Moreover, her list of tools and resources will assist you to achieve the best results:
- A brand is how people perceive it, rather than how the brand want to be perceived.
- Brand confusion is one of the main reasons for re-branding.
- Make sure you find the right branding agency.
- When choosing a name, make sure it is easy to spell, memorable, TLDs and social profiles are available and make sure you trademark it.
- Remember to update everything (bank details, stationary etc).
- Update all social profiles, link build to them so that you dominate all SERPS for your new brand name.
- When launching, make sure you have a PR ready and a Blog post written.
- Monitor old accounts/old brand mentions so that you can update to new brand.
3. Adam Lee – Killer Market Research for Peanuts
Adam Lee (@NoPorkPies) discussed how understanding consumer needs is essential for creating a good marketing strategy. He discussed 3 marketing research processes of people in various positions:
- Method 1 – persona creation of niche audience members to create a network map which will determine where your audience can be reached.
- Method 2 – primary research with polls and questionnaires.
- Method 3 – Behavioural analysis of customers to learn their habits – habits can results in brand loyalty.
- Doing a collection of these activities can give you a wealth of information to produce a tailored strategy. One criticism would be that the low budget example in method 1 would be highly unlikely to invest in Brandwatch as it is not the cheapest!
4. Glenn Jones – Microformats and SEO
Glenn Jones (@glennjones) talked about rich snippets and creation of schema.org, which has brought semantic mark up into sharp focus for the SEO industry:
- Rich snippets can be great for displaying additional info in the search results: Eg. Reviews, Products, Contact information. See schema.org.
- Rich Dnippets are all about building better user search experiences. There are 3 ways to markup structured data: Microformats, Microdata (html5), RDFa
- Microformats vs Microdata (html5) and RDFa: Microformats usually used for Simplicity. Others usually used for more complex data. Check out Microformats.org
- Useful tools alert!… Google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
- Authorship -Useful for adding the author to rich snippets. Eg. Can interlink a recipe with an author profile/Google social profile.
- Rich snippets tend to result in a 10-25% improvement in click through rates.
- Be warned – If you trying gaming rich snippets, Google do have the right to stop your site using rich snippets.
5. Roland Dunn – Searchbots: Lost Children or Hungry Psychopaths? What Do Searchbots Actually Do?
Roland Dunn (@roland_dunn) presented his talk entitled “Searchbots: Lost Children or Hungry Psychopaths? What Do Searchbots Actually Do?” He wanted to explore how and if we can see how Google searchbots have spent their time, when they visited and where they visited a site.
The conclusion is that there is very little data out there that gives us enough info and so we are left with Webserver Logfiles (a record of all requests from sites) these however are lengthy and difficult to pull data from. So, one of the big questions that we want to know is: do google bots request all URLs served by a website? The simple answer is no. So then, are the Google bots spending their time cost-effectively? Again it appears not. Many examples show that they spend a lot of time on irrelevant pages.
Google bots are not quite a lost child or a hungry psychopath but instead can be described as a distracted teenager. We may in fact need to give them a helping hand when crawling our sites – navigation, robots.txt etc.
- Embrace Logfiles.
- Check searchbot behaviour
- If they become lost or distracted-help them out.
6. Charlie Peverett – It’s only words? Working with Content Strategy
Charlie Peverett (@cpev) was our first speaker after lunch. In his presentation, he talked about the importance of content strategy for SEO.
- It’s not enough to just mention ‘great content’ in an SEO checklist.
- Content – the assets with which we communicate with users.
- In 2012 content is: political, expected to achieve multiple objectives, expensive.
- In the past, pr pieces were only read by journalists, now they are read by everyone. Remember, all content can be seen by everyone.
- Brand is also seen as more important now.
- Use the same language ie don’t use terms such as ‘link bait’ and ‘over-optimised’.
- Read ‘content strategy for the web.
- Know your value.
7. Lexi Mills – How you can get BIG links from BIG media sites
In her presentation, Lexi Millls (@leximills) has shared some of her top tips and tricks on how to get BIG links from BIG media sites. She also provided some interesting insights on how PR and SEO can be used to work together by building up the level of report and conversation:
- Key point about PR is to get the right story to the right person at the right time!
- It’s not all about relationships and who you know either, links and stories can be distributed with no previous relationship.
- Research journalists on twitter and linkedin, find out how they talk and behave.
- When it comes to targeting a journalist, pick your battles well, make sure its relevant and attainable.
- In your outreach emails make sure you add specific target keywords.
- Always make sure from the outset that you are requesting a followed link, this can get confusing if it isn’t agreed early on.
- If “give us a link” feels a bit spammy or pushed maybe use terms like “could you accredit us?”.
- Nothing beats correspondence and relationship building more than using the phone to outreach.
- Remember any response good or bad is A response act upon this don’t just archive it.
- Lexi recommended a couple of syndication platforms PRNewswire and Businesswire which she had positive results from.
- When syndicating Lexi uses no more than 3 anchor text links in the PR and directs them to separate pages, important to mix it up!
- Remember if your contacting journalists directly they can be funny about non-branded anchor text, so as a rule of thumb stick to branded links.
- Useful twitter feeds #prwin, #prfail, #journalistrequest
8. James Owen – Maximizing your SEO Agencies
James Owen (@jamesoSEO), SEO Manager at Hotels.com, shared the steps Hotels.com go through in order to maximize their SEO agency success. Some important points:
- Essentially 5 stages in the process: preparation, set-up, testing, fine tuning and reporting.
- Clearly define financial objectives, destination objective (which landing pages do you want ranking), keywords (branded and non-branded) and theme objectives from the start.
- Ensure that guidelines are relayed early on to the agency for content production. Will help efficiency of sign-off procedure.
- Provide all marketing collateral to the agency that need for their off-page work, delays in this will mean delaying the campaign.
- When using multiple agencies, utilise the agency according to their best skill-sets and talents, some agencies will be better at optimising and syndication PRs whilst others may be utilised better for creative link building.
- Report on your agency and asses how well they are doing by calculating the efficiency rate and ascertaining what impact they’ve made on profit margin, keyword rankings, traffic etc. and how long has it taken?
- Effective reporting to track CVR/Visits/GBV. Make sure the reporting is done at a branded and non-branded keyword level, and that keywords that aren’t ranking are also tracking.
- James recommends Bright Edge as an efficient reporting tool for monitoring your agencies’ SEO campaign.
9. Stefan Hull – Search marketing – from Panda to Black Swan
Stefan Hull (@stefanjhull) has discussed the ways in which Search Marketing is changing and the consequences that these changes bring to the way we do things. What to remember?
- Don’t chase after googles algorithm, chase after your best interpretation of what users want.
- Content farms were hit in 2011. Link spams turn in 2012?
- “Not saying buying links is bad but it’s about managing risk”.
- What if Google discounted all your bad links tomorrow?
- Does your director know what you’re doing?
10. James Carson – I Believe Authors are the Future
In his presentation, James Carson (@mrjamescarson), focused on Authorship mark up, one of the hottest topics in SEO.
Here’s what caught our attention:
- Social Shares are a long way from replacing link building, but have just added to & personalised results.
- Requires Google+ account.
- Author identity adds authority to the source of a link & therefore could effect rankings.
- Adding author code is fairly simple, ‘just add rel=author code to your post’.
- Authors can then build up their own personal authority.
- This creates an issue for agencies who tend to use ‘anonymous personas’.
- This is good news for journalists, as it reinforces their status as experts.
- However, this will all take time for Google to recognize!
- DO IT NOW! It is likely to have a big effect so get on Google+ & add the code.
11. Dom Hodgson – I appear to have started a sweetshop (and advertising company)
Dom Hodgson (@Thehodge) spoke about his latest quest, his online sweetshop and he told us the story of how it came about. From an idea down the pub to his very own online sweetshop as well as combined office and sweet shop combined.
His idea was that everyone loves pick and mix and so he decided open his very own online store. His concept, to make buying sweets online fun. His first attempt mainly revolved around a winking squirrel. “If you ever put a squirrel on a website, make it wink” was his advice.
He quickly learned that his quest had been slightly shortsighted with many hidden costs. He also received complaints whilst the site had only just gone live!
His second attempt at a site involved more sweets a better design and involved the death of the squirrel. To finish the talk, he took the opportunity to make the second site go live, invited members of the audience up to celebrate the countdown with party poppers.
There was even Karaoke!
Matt White from Fresh Egg performed his version “Pass Out” by Tinnie Tempah. Check out the video from The Glitter Ball Bar, Brighton Pier.
Video from Daniel Bianchini