On Friday I was lucky enough to attend #BrightonSEO for the first time, the UK’s only free, full day SEO conference. Although there was no official theme for the event, the talks given focused more on wider marketing principals than actionable SEO tasks. However this was covered in the 7 slides in 7 minutes sessions.
I took a lot of notes from the day, so if you weren’t lucky enough to attend #BrightonSEO or couldn’t be bothered to write your own I’ve included a massive 150 key takeaway points below.
Predatorily Thinking - Dave Trott (Executive Creative Director, CSTTG)
Most people will see over 1000 adverts per day, but 90% of adverts aren’t noticed. This is epically true of SEO; 4% are positively remembered and 6% negatively remembered.
There are two types of creativity: ‘Pure Creativity’ (for example Art & Film) and Applied Creativity where form follows function. It’s the latter that gets you noticed.
Media is used to generate a conversion with consumers; this can be broken down as Impact, Communication and Persuasion.
Most advertising fails at the impact stages, make sure you look at what you can achieve to help you marketing standout.
So how do you turn the marketing principals into predator thinking or Applied creativity, to allow you beat the competition
Understand that you’re never going to beat everyone. For example Direct Line spends £81m a year on marketing, if your marketing insurance your simply never going to compete.
Don't solve problems you can't solve, solve those you can. For example: How do you advertise the iPod when its always in somebodies pocket? Change what people can see… in this example changing typically black earphones white. Instantly anybody knows you have an iPod.
Take the approach of going up stream on problems to find solutions
Do You Speak Brand - Antony Mayfield (Founding Partner, Brilliant Noise).
SEO has become a broad church, where people keep dividing in to smaller and smaller camps.
SEO is often miss-sold and can feel like it's SEO vs Everyone rather SEO + Brand
The industry is growing up, which is epitomised by Coca Cola switching a massive 20% of marketing budget to inbound marketing.
Digital marketing budget should be spent across all parts of cycle, not just purchase.
The combination of marketing disciplines such as PR, Content Marketing, Social, SEO and UX is not a is not a coalition, it's a merger
Content is like any long term eCommerce business, you have to invest in the supply chains, both distribution and procurement.
If you pitching SEO talk about the benefits not what it does and create story that anybody can understand.
Speaking Your Users Language (UX) - Stephanie Troeth. (Freelance)
Stephanie provided a great overview of how SEO’s need to go beyond their principal marketing work and think about UX and how it affects a site.
Imagery should convey your main proposition
Understand whether your communicating something emotional or rational. Make sure the on page language matching the right type.
When designing take the ‘mobile first’ principal. Layout you pages as you would for mobile to understand what you most important elements are.
When listing to the user there are two approach, closed listening and open listings, use both:
Closed ended listing answers the ‘how’ and is often driven by data e.g Analytics, A/B testing etc…
Open ended listening answers the ‘why’ and is often driven open ended question system such as Social Media, Listening Tabs and Surveys.
Take time to talk to real users and build this into your UX programs.
How to win friends. And influence robots - Martin Belam (Principal Consultant, Emblem)
Martin Belam worked as one the BBC’s first SEO’s and gave some great insight on thinking about content and UX.
Think about how headlines look when out of context. For example if you write a blog post, how would the headline look on another website without the blog content.
Look at the user flow around site. How does the user think about the way your site is organised?
If you don't need them it, don't publish it. Look at what the opportunity cost to do something, e.g could you be doing something productive or are you spending something that will yield little rewards.
Look at page load speed, it helps build trust both search engines and the user
Look at the law of unintended consequences for UX/SEO. If one change negatively affects the other is it worth doing?
Chasing the Algorithm: Smart SEO or Hopeless Effort? - Rebecca Weeks (SEO Associate Director, MGOMD)
This was a good talk about in the end if you're chasing the algorithm you're never going to win.
Look at correcting exact match links on high quality domains where penalty has been given.
Without good content you are never going to close the gap on competitors.
Learn from your errors to develop a stronger strategy, more importantly learn from your competitors errors.
Best practice is not always possible, you're never going to achieve everything you want.
For local SEO target local exact match domain for high quality link and relevant links.
Finally understand that good SEO never chase.
API WTF? - Will Critchlow (Founder, Distilled)
This session was meant to be delivered by Tom Anthony, however as he wasn’t able to make it. Luckily Will stepped in and lived up to his reputation as a great speaker.
Twenty years ago the web was just text, today it has evolved, so has the way it is consumed. For example 10 years ago users spent an average of 40 minutes online a day, now users spend 4 hours!
Search has changed and it's been refined already from where it starts, result are looking visually different and voice isn’t the answer as “you sound like a dick talking into your phone”.
Visual impact search are about transaction, e.g if you search for something with an attribute
API's is how computers talk to computers and helps to tie together all the different channels.
If you sell anything that has an SKU you’re going to get steam rollered by amazon. The only way to succeed is if you can off buyers something else, beyond Amazon’s cheap price.
How to be a better SEO - Richard Baxter (Founder, SEOgadget)
A something of a current personal focus of mine this was a really great session, where Richard simply covered what makes a great SEO and how to achieve that, he also stated that its important to remember that the depth of discipline is huge.
Understand what your goals are, where do you want to be 2, 5, 10 years?
Get a mentor or somebody you respect and copy him.
Good SEO’s a very curious people and seek to understand the ‘why’ beyond the ‘how’.
Aim to learn something new once a week.
Getting positive feedback? How could you work to make positive feedback even more.
Rehearse everything, meetings, calls and pitches.
Put yourself out of your comfort zone, personal develop occurs at best in this state.
Make yourself indispensable. become an expert on a specific subject.
Build your own websites and blog.
Make people realise that you care so much SEO, to gain traction.
Learn to sell anything.
Always follow up, on questions, interviews and client questions
Known your figures inside. For example how many unique visits do you clients get each month?
Communicate your successes, however minimal make people understand them
Leadership comes from certainty and belief if your own opinions and learning.
Work towards what you do a little better every day.
SEO Deliverance - Tony King (SEO Managing Consultant, Semetrical)
Tony gave an interesting talk about how to gain more traction and deliverance within a in house SEO setting.
How do you deliver SEO in House?
SEO can get pigeonholed into a specific department... Don’t let it.
Be seen as the guru and become the go to guy and gain influence within the business.
To gain influence, you need to deliver change, to achieve change there are 3 stages. Those 3 steps can be described as Research, Development and ImplementationResearch Stage
Know your market, keywords. carry out gap analysis between you and your competitors.
Assess your SERPS. What are the SERPS doing in a specific keyword group. Are they image driven, video, schema?
Know your completion both in paid and organic. Who are they and how are they performing. SEMrush is great for this.
Crawl competitors websites to understand there structure.
Carry out SWOT analysis to help guide your marketing.
Audit XML sitemaps, when were they last update.
Many companies own multiple domains, who manages their renewal, when are they due?
Understand the site and business
What is the site mission
What are is goals, traffic, sales and market share.
Is tracking working across the site. (You can easily check this using Screaming Frog SEO Spider)
Know your strategy and project scope, Who is going to delivery the project, what are costs?
Define a budget, but make sure you consider seasonal search trends for budget and begins
Determine what tools you are you going to need? And push to buy them beginning of the financial year, when there is less pressure
Build teams that you progress
Understand delivery includes extended teams such as PR and traditional advertising
Test what you read in white papers and blog posts
Define and assign responsibility
Who has influence in the sign odd process and what could be their objections?
Pre-emt questions with answers.
Know your plan when pitching:
Start with a business case
Let the figures speak for them selves
It's all about the ROI
Make internal proposal look professional
Include cover and contents pages
Get two people to proof it
Print and bind it
Make a PDF version for easy sharing
Quantify the changes from your work before and after
Separated by a Common Language - Lynne Murphy (Reader in Linguistics, University of Sussex)
Lynne covered some the differences between US and UK English and why they exist, a slightly off topic session, however given marketing on its lowest level is about communication.
The press hate the Americanization (deliberate typo) of British English.
Many ‘Americanized’ words such are erb (Herb) are derived Latin roots, the H was added a later date to denote class in English society.
These difference are often drive by the fact that English is actually French in many cases. For example ‘color’ was the original Latin word and pre dates ‘colour’ in the UK.
English at its roots is a language which thrives on borrowing.
A decade in affiliate marketing - James Little (Partnerships Director, Top Cashback)
James little givens us a condensed breakdown
Affiliate Websites 10 years ago looked “sh*t”.
Many affiliates used spyware and didn’t move away from till around 2005
There was a very negative view of affiliate as a late as 2006-8. This was epitomised ‘ASOS Grubbygate’, where in 2007 ASOS CEO Nick Robertson said that all affiliates were “grubby”.
Next Gate, Next dropped commission to 1%, which ‘pissed off’ many affiliates. Ironic this is now one of the best commission rate in fashion retail.
The grown up dates 2009-12 affiliates began to ‘grow up’.
This growing up period saw the rise of Cashback and Voucher Code site, with some affiliates even becoming mercents (e.g. Wish Club)
There are still some issues though, as the IAB got involved as there were loads fake voucher codes
Affiliates are becoming brands. E.g TopCashBack gets more traffic than confused.com
7 Slides in 7 Minutes Sessions
7 things you need to know about Mobile SEO - Aleyde Solis (Founder, Orainti Search Marketing)
Watch your mobile audience behaviour in Google Analytic, Segment the traffic to gain insight.
Review your mobile results and as shown in WMT.
Understand your mobile search volume using Google AdWords.
Use Fetch as Google Mobile Tot WMT to understand what code mobile Google is seeing.
Mobile is often localised, are you offered tailored to this factor?
Speed is key over mobile, make sure your site speed is fast.
On mobiles site which run in parallel to your (e.g. on sub domains) use canonical tags.
Content Planning in a Post Panda and Penguin World - Simon Penson (MD, Zazzle Media)
Good content planning focuses on content flow, variation and visualization
Serialise, regular content is the ebs of content marketing and should be time effective.
Bangs(flows) are big article or big ideas, which may include:
Look at the hours to market content, peek times should be big bang stuff
Social Media Reverse Engineering - Yousaf Sekander (Head of SEO, Elevatelocal)
Good, shareable content is not cheap.
Find out what worked for your competitors and leverage that for your client. This can easily be done with tools such as Social Crawlitics.
Discover who shared your competitor’s content and target them with similar content.
Use ‘Back tweets’ to understand who shared content for a given URL.
Use sites like Topsy to identify the most influence sharers.
For infographics use your own shorter, as you can control where the link points.
Future proofing SEO on large websites - Berian Reed (Head of Search & Online Partnerships, Auto Trader)
Copy and paste is the biggest method of sharing. The Daily Mail gains 1000’s of links a year through hacked copy and paste functionality using systems like Tynt.
Setup referral alerts: use filter to gain full referral URL. Contact those people
Learn from competitor mistakes. Why didn't a competitor fix/correct a bug?
Change detection; monitor competitor website to identify the pages there changing.
Run link detective on competitor domains.
Client Checklist for SEOs - Sion O'Connor (Marketing Director, Vanquis Bank)
Understand Your Clients:
Do they have corporate or personal objectives?
Are they focused on CPA or effective growth
Who are the stake holders in their business?
Who are their customers?
Who is the competition?
Look for innovation in other environment that you can apply to your customer
Become an editor of new trends for your client, informing them of those which are relevant and actionable.
Things your client wants:
Insights and Best Practice
Uncovers differences of opinion
Discuss risks and issues
Who is the decision maker in the business:
Use plain English to discuss trends, make sure they understand the payoff and risks.
Pinteresting SEO - Danielle Fudge - Head of SEO, Forward3D
Danielle discusses their new Pinterest Search tool developed by the team at Forward3D to identify outreach opportunities
Pinalytics allows you search Pinterest and return return the URL of the original image along with several key stats
SEOmoz Domain Authority (DA)
Social Metrics such a Pins, Tweets and Likes
You can easily export search results and gain a list of link prospects
Currently Pinalytics is 100% Free and will remain so for the forseable future
Attributing beyond the last click - Tom Lewis (Head of Professional Services, DC Storm)
Removing the value from direct and brand traffic (attribution)
Attribute more value to the initiation phrase/point when attributing value to specific part of the purchase cycle.
Attribution shouldn’t be based the 30 day Cookie window as buying cycles can extend beyond this period.
The business of SEO and how it can make our world a better place - Jason Woodford (Chief Executive, SiteVisibility)
There are many reasons to be cheerful about SEO
The industry is currently in a boom time, a reverse to the economy.
Most people in the current economy take 10-19 years to reach the same salary levels as those in SEO with 3-5 Years.
SEO is different to almost every industry as competitors share their knowledge. #BrightonSEO is best example of this.
Reasons to be sad about SEO
Helps sell stuff that goes in the bin, which isn’t very envronmeanlty friendly.
People still get emails saying SEO cost £99 a month.
Many people still see SEO as cowboys
Many still claim ‘SEO is dead’.
How as any industry we can change those views:
Act like a real business.
Do a great job, delivering a quality end product and service.
Develop and nurture talen.
Don’t under sell your services, profit - charge the value of your work.
Other key points
Generating lead growth of recession
Focus on charity work and corporate social responsibility (CSP)
Work clients on charity work, helps you bond with customers.
Work closely with Universities to raise the profile of SEO and attract good talent
Collaborate with other agencies for the collective good.
Quickfire Analytics: 7 Custom Reports in 7 Minutes - Anna Lewis (Digital Marketing Executive, Koozai)
Anna shows us some great custom reports to aid your digital marketing efforts, I’ve listed these below and you can setup them up instantly from the Koozai Blog.
SEO Reporting - Key KPI's
PPC reporting, overview, on page conversions and
Brand monitoring. Social and mentions
Social. Info from data hubs
Geek: understand how user technology influences the website
Host name report. Helps identify duplicate website websites
Email marketing. Make sure you have campaign tracking setup in your email distribution client
GA shortcuts. Make sure you set them up.
June 22, 2012 11:33 by EAOM
If you own a business that is in or serves the Manchester area, you will be aware of how important it is for your website to target the right location. By choosing a digital marketing agency in Manchester, you will be able to ensure your Internet marketing campaigns are created by someone who is familiar with the area you are trying to target. This is particularly important for those who have a physical presence in Manchester and need to make sure that the majority of their website visitors have come from the city and its surrounding areas.
Although there may be digital marketing agencies available to you that are not based in Manchester, you need to reflect carefully on what your end goal is before making your final decision on who will run your campaign. While it will be possible to find someone who does all the right things as far as general SEO is concerned, choosing a Manchester digital marketing agency will ensure the visitors that are driven to your site as a result of organic SEO efforts actually come from Manchester, and not somewhere half way around the world. Targeted SEO efforts by a locally based agency will allow you to make sure your campaign is cost-effective, as it will have everything you need to make sure you attract visitors who are local and likely to use your services.
A great online marketing agency in Manchester will be able to employ all the usual techniques that are used to boost a website's search engine ranking, but with the added benefit of each tactic working towards more Manchester based visitors. For example, rather than generating back links from a site that is relevant content wise but based in the US, an SEO agency in Manchester will make the most of sites and blogs that have a search engine based relevance to the Manchester area.
The agent who works alongside you from your chosen SEO agency in Manchester will also use his or her knowledge of the local area to optimise site-based content for those who live there. This will ensure that search engine results are narrowed even further, allowing to to capture a wider audience than your competitors who may not have been so specific. By doing all of these things, your campaign is far more likely to be succesful, and you will have made a sound marketing investment.
June 14, 2012 10:34 by EAOM
Google Places is one of the most effective ways to let people in the Manchester area find out more about your business. Many business owners are not aware of its potential. Your online Manchester digital marketing agency can quickly setup this feature, once they have your main business details. This feature from Google, has the potential to attract new customers. It also allows others to find out more about your products and services from the comfort of their homes.
In recent years, a range of search engine optimisation strategies have been developed to increase the number of leads a business receives. However, local SEO in Manchester can be competitive. This is even more of a problem if there are a lot of similar businesses in a certain area, who have an online presence. However, Google Places helps you stand out from the crowd. If someone searches for a particular type of business in a certain part of Manchester, the nearest businesses will often appear on Google Maps in your search results. This listing has to be setup and is normally completed by an SEO agency in Manchester. As well as this, an online marketing agency in Manchester can add this feature to your actual website, once its setup. This gives your website visitors additional information about your business.
Setting up a Google Places page is relatively easy and quick to do. In most cases, you simply give the main details of your business to your SEO agency in Manchester. They will setup your account and page. Before your page goes live, your main details will have to be entered. After this step, Google will send you a PIN number which verifies the location of your business and activates your Google Places page.
Certain details are required before a Google Places listing goes live online. The main details required include your business address, contact details, directions, industry type, products, services and opening hours. Additional content such as videos and images can also be added. An area for customer reviews is also available.
Every business wants to be able to let potential customers find out about their business in as many ways as possible. Creating and adding your business details to Google Places is one effective way to do this, and helps you get on the digital map in Manchester.
June 7, 2012 11:03 by EAOM
There are two ways of promoting website exposure through search engine optimisation; you can either do it yourself or you can hire an SEO company to do the job for you. Being less of an expert than a professional SEO company, you naturally cannot guarantee satisfactory results if you do it yourself. The latter method, however, is a guaranteed solution to increasing traffic to your website. Knowing the benefits of an SEO Company in Manchester will give you a better understanding of why you should hire one:
#1: Save your time
Understanding how the search engine algorithms is not an easy task for somebody who doesn't have professional training in the area. A Manchester SEO company already knows and understands how search engines work and how they can be used to the website’s full advantage. In that way, SEO companies save you from wasting your time, which you otherwise would be spending on simply understanding search engine systems. This is not to discourage you from learning, however, keep in mind that the process of studying website ranking is very time consuming.
#2: Focus on more important things
Hiring a Mancester SEO company is like delegating within an organisation. Instead of spending so much time and effort in getting your website marketed and ranked optimally, you should focus more on tasks that nobody else can take care of, which would naturally include the major aspects of your business. While you are concentrating on the critical factors pertaining to your business, the SEO Company Manchester that you hire will be concentrating on getting the search engines to give your website the highest possible ratings.
#3: Get professional quality work done
The biggest advantage of hiring a professional SEO Manchester company is that you can expect a systematic and well-organized implementation of their work. Since they have established systems, they will provide you with frequent updates and reports on the progress of your case. Periodically, you will receive comprehensive reports that describe the kind of improvements that have been achieved towards improving your website’s ranking in search engines.
As you can see, these benefits are enough to understand why you should entrust your website’s work to a legitimate SEO company Manchester. Doing this lengthy and challenging task on your own is an unprofessional move on your part. Contrarily, getting a professional company’s help is a smart business move since it gives you more time and energy to focus on your business’s creative aspects.
May 29, 2012 10:42 by EAOM
The importance of finding the right company to provide digital marketing and SEO Services in Manchester, or any other city, cannot be understated. It's a key part of any online advertising strategy, but it must be implemented by professionals who understand the ever-changing nature of SEO, particularly in the wake of Google Panda.
Finding the right SEO Agency in Manchester is all about working with a company that knows your business and your needs, as well as how to build a successful SEO campaign. If you are a company in Manchester then SEO services need to be tailored to your company at a local as well as national or international level, by developing an SEO strategy that will reach your target market.
The most important part of choosing a Search Engine Optimisation company is to be completely aware of what Search Engine Optimisation is, and what targets the company should be expected to meet. The intricacies of SEO mean a company should outline a clear strategy that goes beyond simply improving Google rankings. Although high Google rankings are desirable, a good SEO company will explain that this is only one element of a digital marketing strategy. The most important part of any SEO strategy is to increase internet traffic to your site. A good SEO company will offer a range of services to work towards this goal. They will analyse and evaluate the content of your site and make suggestions of how to maximise its potential. They will propose a strategy with regards to keyword selection, site optimisation and off-site optimisation. They will be able to produce high quality, original content that will make your site more attractive to search engines.
When you set out to hire an SEO company, ask them to provide a clear idea of targets, timeframe and how much the entire project will cost. Do plenty of research and have a clear idea of what you want and what you can realistically expect in return.
Make sure to quiz any agency to find out how they would develop a successful SEO strategy to suit your business needs. The SEO services most Manchester based companies require will be slightly different to a company based in Paris or Glasgow, for example. With the right company you can achieve excellent results.