ionSearch – Advanced Search Marketing Conference – Part 1
It may have been pouring with rain in Leeds on Wednesday, but it didn’t stop search marketers from the UK and further afield descending on The Carriageworks for a full day of insight, discussion and debate.
Those who were local to the conference, or stayed in Leeds overnight, could take advantage of a free breakfast, but others such as myself had to take a 7:36am train from Manchester Piccadilly to arrive in time for the main event!
Once I’d collected my delegate pass and guide, I was ready to settle down for the first session of the morning in the expert panel suite: SEO Content Strategies.
The panel was manned by representatives from Home James, Cornwall SEO and Razorfish. The main points brought to our attention were:
- Don’t push out content for contents sake; do it for a reason
- Build a content calendar, initially top level and then split it down to niches
- Find out what your user actually wants; research your audience before you create content
- Creative content can be effective for hitting people further down the conversion path
- “The way to get links on merit is to understand how people work.” – Lyndon Antcliff
- People tweet quickly after seeing something that affects them, making twitter a good way to find potential link relationships
- People are more likely to share and link to those in their community (i.e. SEO)
- “As an industry we have over engineered links and content. Natural traction is what search engines are looking for.” – Dave Harling
- Put the time into relationship building and you’ll find the distribution process a lot easier
After this session, I headed to the main auditorium for Tom Anthony’s session on How Authorship and Google+ Will Affect Linkbuilding. Here’s what he had to say:
- Links are still a massive part of the algorithm but social signals are increasing
- When looking at link profiles, Google can suffer false positives. Therefore they are unable to get rid of all spammy networks
- However they are happy to sacrifice a few innocent white hats in order to serve better results in general
- In February, Google turned off a link based signal they’d used for several years
- Google started to send out Webmaster Tools emails to get SEOs; this is a signal that there will be further rollouts in line with the above (i.e. “link panda”)
- People should think about getting links from authors, not just a website
- Need to think about “who are we getting links from not where we are getting them from”
- Author Crawler tool on SEOmoz can show who is linking to you; use the “contributes to” field to see where else they write, potentially on a site that is more authoritative.
After a short break of tea, coffee and plenty of double chocolate chip muffins, Tim Grice took the stage for his session, Link-Building in Competitive Industries. The main takeaways from this session included:
- Reduce the percentage of anchor text links if you have over-optimised on particular phrases; actively change your link profile ASAP
- Paid link profiles can look unnatural; those who buy links can have particular profiles that stand out from their competitors
- Vary anchor text across all keyword and mix in brand variations for good measure
- Use searchmetrics for finding the most shared content
- On tweets: “we don’t believe they act the same way as links, but are catalysts.”
- Infographics are often over used but if they are done right they can be good for results; make sure to research your audience first though
- Fresh content is more efficient over time for increasing presence in SERPs; text links from blog rolls may work initially but seem to drop away fairly quickly too
- “Links have to be justified in order to look natural”
In summary: remove unnatural links, address anchor text balance, focus on being link worthy, great sites generate shares as well as links, processes to focus on quality and natural signals