Here’s a roundup of our top 5 takeouts from Friday’s excellent BrightonSEO event:
Start using rich snippets
This seemed to be a common theme running through most of the presentations. Rich snippets are becoming an increasingly important part of SEO. Get involved or get left behind.
Go beyond Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics
Google’s controversial decision to hide keyword data is an indication that as it gradually becomes more and more evil, insights from its products will become more difficult to obtain. SEOs need to start thinking about third party analytics and even examining log files to decipher where exactly their traffic is coming from, and how users are moving around their sites.
Content is still king
Charlie Peverett’s content strategy presentation outlined the need for SEOs to think about content as more than just words. The importance of sharing content socially is becoming a greater part of Google’s algorithm, so make it easy for your visitors to do so.
Content is still king...
Own social profiles to dominate brand SERPs
Koozai’s Sam Noble did a great presentation on branding and highlighted the importance of owning all of your brand’s social profiles in order to dominate the SERPs for your brand term.
Have a Plan B
In my opinion, the most useful and insightful presentation of the day came from Propellernet’s Gary Preston, in which he discussed Google’s latest ‘Black Swan’ algorithm updates and how they could be rationalised. If you are focussing on SEO activity that Google is likely to crack down on in the future (e.g. obviously paid links), make sure you have a plan B.
- Stefan Hull
Why are SEOs so surprised by Google updates?
Black Swan Events
- A surprise event that occurs.
- Can be rationalised by impact.
- Depends on your point of view.
Chase after your best interpretation of what users want – Matt Cutts.
Google wants to deliver the best possible search results. Has 91% of market share for a reason, it’s the best and it will continue to roll out changes in order to maintain its position.
Identify areas of vulnerability to avoid getting hit by Google algorithmn changes.
Propellernet did a survey:
- 60% of respondents pay for links.
- 67% of respondents say paid links work.
- 10% said their boss didn’t know what they were doing.
Visual your link profile to identify vulnerability
How transparent is your activity? How much do your colleagues understand about the decisions the SEO team and the reasons behind them.
PR agencies want a piece of the SEO action.
Hotels.com SEO manager James Owen outlined a 5 step plan for working with and getting the most out of an SEO agency.
Before you engage an agency, establish goals. Build authority in a certain area, drive more revenue?
Give your agency correct keywords and landing pages from the off. Benchmark before you begin, look at your own site’s rankings and those of your top 5 competitors. Make sure they understand historical SEO activity and what they can and can’t change on your site.
2. Setup phase, 0-2 months
Establish long and short term keyword targets.
3. Testing, 2-4 months
Find out agency’s strengths and weaknesses, social, online PR etc.
4. Fine tuning – 4-6 months
Once you have found out what an agency is good at, get them to do more of it.
5. Agency reporting
What’s your profit margin? How much have you spent? How much have you made? Over what period of time? Establish KPIs – CVR, orders, GBV, visits. Use a reporting suite such as Brightedge to help with this.
You don’t need to have relationships with people to get links, follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
Find out before you contact a site what their policies on external links is.
How do you ask for links?
- Be up front about wanting a followed links.
- Ask could you credit us with a link? Makes it seem more legitimate.
- Pass the buck – my boss wants a followed link.
- Pick up the phone.
- Any response is a potential link – follow up.
- Get one story published without a link, then follow up with another, if they want it, the publisher will give you a link.
- Ask for branded, not anchor links for higher success rate with journos.
Trust – Big brands vs Small brands
Linkbuillding for small brands needs extra effort in terms of resources, you need to give more to be trusted and gain links.
Using PR Wires
Use PR Newswire and Business Wire (particular for tough niches)
- When you syndicate a press release avoid using symbols.
- Have a variety of natural links, 3 links to different sections of your site.
- Use notes to editors for extra links.
- Report DA, followed or no followed, anchor text.
PRs vs. SEOs
SEOs can be really helpful to PRs, pass on your knowledge of SEO to PR agencies to build rapport. Ask PRs for linkbait ideas.
Learn from Twitter – Follow #prwin, #prfail and #journorequest.