BrightonSEO 2012 – The Best Bits

Following on from our trip to LinkLove London 2012, Zazzle’s James Perrott was back on the road to attend BrightonSEO – a free search marketing conference on the south coast of the UK. While many were unable to attend, James was able to take notes and bring them to your desktop/tablet/smartphone, whatever device you’re using these days! Here are the very best bits:

Brighton SEO 2012

To start, a discussion panel with SEOs and Search Engine reps including Pierre Far, Google and Martin McDonald, Expedia…

  • Is SEO dying? No, it’s evolving.
  • SEO is not a recognised industry
  • Pierre “link exchanges, buying links, what Google is looking for. Is the link genuine? Does it help users? You won’t clean all links up, say what links you’ve found, what links have been removed and who hasn’t got back to you, be honest and Google will take another look at your site.”
  • Send screenshots of bouncing emails to Google from dodgy websites where your links are and you can’t get contact, show evidence of work and you will recover.
  • See a competitor buying links? Report them.
  • Be really good at social, more visible, more engaging, bigger the brand. Twitter and Facebook signals are pushing sites up the rankings. Bing director.
  • What do users want? Did they get it from your content? Content is not just text on a page, its video, reviews, social, everything. All the Google signals will be checked, if you build great content. Pierre.
  • Best example of great content is the amount of user/social signals, not the amount of links pointed at it
  • Quantity of followers/likes is only one signal, the amount of shares and the speed it’s being shared at is the important factor. Bing Director.

Phillip Sheldrake, then took to the stage to discuss semantic web…

  • Web 3.0- the semantic web
  • Semantic web built on ‘triples’
  • Rich snippets is semantic
  • Media written for Olympics in London 2012 will be 80% written by machines and glued together by us!
  • Big data a waste of time, we need big information and big knowledge

Sam Noble, Digital Marketing Director at Koozai was next discussing relaunching a brand…

  • Brand isn’t what it says it is, it is down to how people perceive it
  • Brand confusion? Rebrand
  • does your brand want to apply to all products? Virgin is a great example, virgin money, holidays etc.
  • Do competitor research when you rebrand, what do you like? What don’t you like? Be unique.
  • Engage a specialist, branding agencies.
  • Once names are short listed, what do we like? Is it easy to spell and pronounce? Memorable? Got all the TLDs? Social profiles available? Is it protectable (trademarking)?
  • Planning: choose a go live date and stick to it. Register and redirect all TLDs. Claim social profiles, all of the social platforms. Updating company documentation.
  • Once there, review brand consistency.
  • Keep it on a ‘need to know basis’. This way, no leaks.
  • Linkbuilding to social platforms of new brands profiles, dominate page 1 SERPs
  • Avoid Fridays for launch
  • Inform all active and prospective clients so they’re aware
  • Press release and blog post, hold press release till afternoon once everything’s been checked.
  • Drip feed mentions
  • setup Google alerts for old brand name
  • Use Google images to search for your old logo and update
  • Use Knowem to register social profiles for a small fee.

Adam, NoPorkPies stepped up to the plate to discuss market research…

  • Using personas, a small business can identify certain niches
  • Using social monitoring tools, small businesses can identify key discussions (brand watch)
  • Use scrape box to scrape prospects for guest posts and link building
  • Large business can invest in building an actual community (idea storm) and answer problems discussed on Twitter
  • Polls through social media to discover what people want
  • User Journey (click tale), Email apps, demos, online chat also help discover that
  • Questionnaire, use the same question twice but word differently – this way you get accurate answers instead of people rushing to get them done = invalid set of results
  • Analyse results
  • Business to build brand and brand loyalty, ensure his site design is good as the brain can only render certain images p/second
  • Look at negative issues surrounding products and solve these, great for reputation of brand
  • Educate to the point that his user-experience is known – great for brand
  • Track keywords that visitors are coming in from and match this on-page so visitors don’t bounce

Glenn Jones added some actionable points around micro formats and SEO…

  • Schema, is microformat
  • vCard, fn URL is telling G there is a contact card/information on the page
  • Micro data/RDFa- new tech and should only be used with HTML5
  • easier to mark products, reviews, contacts use microformats
  • But for videos, use scheme microdata
  • Use microformats for simple things as its kept simple, but for unusual mark ups for strange entities we are forced to use microdata
  • Recipe mark ups, you can include any information – calories/timing etc and webmaster tools shows you which is most likely to be shown in the SERPs
  • In microdata, you can embed one property within another.
  • The date can be written in a number of ways by humans, but if we add a value class in the mark up, it can be read by machines.
  • hreview-aggregate for multiple reviews mark up
  • Authorship- mutliple recipes on 1 site -> link to author page on the site -> rel=”me” on Google+ profile. Rel=”me” goes both ways, recripical identity claim – shows you own both. There is an updated version of the being tested by Google at the moment.
  • Rich snippets/schematic mark up is uplifting CTR a LOT. One example, it raised one sites visits from 80,000 -> 300,000 – but he can’t 100% confirm it was solely the affect of the rich snippets implementation and not SEO efforts.
  • Google don’t accept spam of rich snippets and hold the right to disable all rich snippets on your site.

Roland Dunn from Cloudshapes discussed  Searchbots, how can we see them and how can we help them….

  • Google WMT error message saying the googlebot cannot access certain pages, no information though…
  • Site: search can show you a rough idea
  • Web server log files can show you what pages are being requested by Googlebot but these files are HUGE
  • Googlebot searching for just 2 URLs 40% of the time, instead of 99,998 others? WTF Googlebot?
  • Does Googlebot request all the URLs of a site? NO!
  • Does Googlebot spend it’s time cost-effectively? Not always.
  • Googlebot can become distracted, obsessed or even lost.
  • Filters/faceted search etc confuses Googlebot.
  • “if google determines a sure isn’t as useful to users, they might not crawl as frequently”
  • Searchbots do not always request all content on a site.
  • Robots.txt most direct way to show Googlebot how to navigate your site as sitemap.xml might be just a suggestion

Charlie Peverett from iCrossingspoke about working with a content strategy…

  • In 2012 content is political & it’s expensive
  • Content is; engagement, awareness, retention, sales and visibility – this is made for both the users and the brands now
  • Search insight is valuable at every stage of content strategy

Lexi Mills, head of digital PR at Distilled killed it talking about getting BIG links from BIG media sites…

  • Hunt the journalists, publications on twitter/Facebook
  • Check if the sites actually do followed links
  • Find their linking out policy
  • Email tip: put specific key words in the subject line
  • How do you ask for links from journalists/editors? Make sure you ask for a followed link. Credit, with a link- reciprocal link from client site. GET ON THE PHONE- categorically the best way.
  • Any response from an email is a potential link.
  • Use PR releases in distribution wires for SEO benefit, PR Newswire and Business Wire are 2 great examples. They vary between 2-300 links.
  • Learn from Twitter, #prfail #prwim
  • Ask for followed links, speak to your clients and get on the phone = winning
  • Call editors on their night shifts, more likely to be nice and receptive.

James Owen, SEO Manager at Hotels.com created some great discussion points around maximising your SEO agency returns…

  • 8 localised agencies with 2 centralised agencies
  • Give the agencies some background about what has and is working
  • Give the agencies data from what is happening in your site, such as data from GA.
  • Week 1- keywords that you want to work on are discussed
  • Week 4- on page recommendations
  • Week 5- link profile analysis of what links you need to attract to enhance your profile
  • Preparation, set up, initial, keyword tracking and finally reports are the key points of how to maximise the use of your SEO agencies.

Steffen from propeller.net spoke on Panda….

  • The black swan effect; the event is a surprise, the event has a major impact and the event is rationalised by hindsight.
  • JC Penney first for 2 terms in Feb ’11 and within 2 hours on that same day, they were buried.
  • “we re on a performance basis, we want to achieve results fast so we buy links…”
  • 57% of people asked believe paid links are working
  • 10% of bosses and clients are in the dark about this
  • Some of the largest markets in the UK are going to bender pinned by ‘bad links’
  • We have a top ranking position for a client now, will we still in the future? Vulnerability reports need to be carried out.
  • Do clients know how vulnerable they are? If they are dependant on their online revenue streams, they can’t be vulnerable as they will collapse.
  • PR agencies so close to cracking SEO, do we want them to take over?
  • 20/20 sessions where they have 20 seconds per slide, 6:40 per slideshow

Chelsea Blacker, SEOptimise got one of the best responses of the day talking about selling the sizzle, not the search…

  • Get information about them, family, education etc
  • Say their name
  • Smile, people can hear it on the phone
  • Investigate, what are your marketing directors interested in? Make sure you know.
  • Open questions, not yes or no (closed). You gain more insight this way.
  • Explain your approach clearly
  • Keep everything positive
  • Let them express what they want the site to do and you can explain how
  • They want to know the impact of what you’re doing, always talk about how ROI will benefit
  • Make them look good

Tony King from Digital Property Group talked about tools tips and techniques…

  • Define, understand, think and deliver objectives
  • Brand building, MORE eyeballs
  • Planning, the more heads the better- get the creativity flowing
  • Sign off, appeal to your bosses
  • Findable, indexable, rankable, sustainable and trackable
  • PPC best method to find insights of your site
  • X-ray your site, make sure your sites not broken
  • Focus on easy wins to start to show importance of SEO to your bosses/clients
  • Monitor site at peak times for any issues with your site (real time analytics)
  • Don’t get hung up on rankings, CTA and CTR are the important factors
  • Make your site link worthy, give something back

James Carson, Bauer Media shared some actionable stuff on rel author…

  • Search rankings are anonymous
  • Social shares haven’t replaced link building, just added to the algorithm
  • Agent/trust/author theory by Zazzle Media’s own Simon Penson
  • What has it done for me? Nothing, but in the future it will create trust and hopefully more views
  • Build up authority in certain verticals
  • Problem for anonymous personas because you will never speak to real people with them and because of this they will be quite mediocre
  • Journalism is back, rel=author pushes authority back to authors
  • Evolution not revolution
  • Biggest problem faced in getting people to do this, is getting them to sign up to G+

Nichola Stott owner of The Media Flow ended the event talking around serendipitous search (Predictive searches)

  • Proclivity- nearly AI and this is Google instant.
  • This could work by using your location and favourite things to do via G+ to suggest to you by mobile on G+ things to do which you list as your favourite things to do.

We hope you enjoyed this blog, rounding up BrightonSEO – this post was written by James Perrott, an SEO Consultant at Zazzle Media live from the event.