217 Takeaways from the SEO, Search and Social Track - SMX London 2013 - White.net

217 Takeaways from the SEO, Search and Social Track - SMX London 2013

217 Takeaways from the SEO, Search and Social Track - SMX London 2013

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By Daniel Bianchini / May 17, 2013

SEOptimise attended this year’s SMX London, and came away with a number of amazing tips and takeaways. I have provided a list of all the takeaways that I took from the SEO, Search and Social Track.

Day 1 – From Authorship To Authority: Why Claiming Your Identity Matters

The first session on the SEO track saw Chelsea Blacker, Grant Simmons, Jim Boykin and Google’s Maile Ohye talk about Authorship and how to enhance your authority in an industry. The main draw to the session was as you would expect Maile Ohye, with the hope she would give away some inside information. Unfortunately this didn’t happen, but she did confirm that a lot of what the speakers had discussed was correct. I managed to take a lot away from this session, but here are a few of the key points.

  • Communicate using your profiles.
  • Your digital footprint will go on long after you pass away.
  • Facebook has memorial pages that people continue to interact with and tag images in.
  • Tools to update profiles
  • Check scial profile availability with Namechk / name checkr
  • Acquire profiles with knowem
  • Be consistent with your details throughout your profiles.
  • Use appropriate avatars across your profiles.
  • Be careful of what images you put online – they will be there forever.
  • Author rank = getting lots of references from other authors.
  • Google Webmaster Tools provides your author stats, go check it out.
  • Brands should be getting on rel=publisher – this should be utilised more than it is.
  • Egobait people with the aim of getting other authors to reference you.
  • If you are not going to write great content then don’t write at all.
  • Google+ should be about identity rather than authorship.
  • Traditional page ranking is about links and quantity/quality, now it’s about a web of links and people.
  • Lots of personal details on the web are behind a login page, so Google created it’s own that is open.
  • Having a Google+ profile provides credibility to your website.
  • There are multiple ways of claiming identity and authorship.
  • Email verification, or
  • the “Handshake technique” – Rel=author, rel=me
  • Authorship and identity is a cluster of all your nodes (content) that you have created.
  • If you have email verification, Google will be able to find old articles. If you use handshake you need to go back through and add rel=.
  • Google is paying more attention to Structured data than ever with the Knowledge graph.
  • Content is king, but Authority is more important.
  • Create quality content over quantity of the content.
  • Trust used to be links (still count but not as important)
  • *Trust an authority.
  • Authority is a known, credible topic expert.
  • Claim & connect all your properties. (G+, etc)
  • known entities (content) to know identities (people)
  • Credibility comes from authority
  • Links, engagement (dwell time)
  • Expertise
  • Single Focus
  • Consistent focus and topic
  • Signals
  • Links,
  • Citations, co- citations.
  • Building authority
  • Claim & connect
  • Build Credibility
  • Create great content
  • Expand your footprint
  • Onsite, social, PR, guest
  • Follow the rules set by the search engines.
  • Engage with your community via Social Media and other channels.

Killer Content Remains King, Queen and Ace

This session was all about how to create great content, which has been a hot topic over the past 12 months. Chris Bennett, Vincent Wehren , Dixon Jones and Jonathan Stewart talked us through techniques and tactics of content creation and production. Below are some of the key points.

  • Don’t be one dimensional and think it is just links and shares.
  • Do not disguise your marketing as research to create infographics.
  • No one is in a boring industry, you just need to find the stats that make it interesting.
  • When content works, beat a dead horse. Re-purpose or re-create the same idea in a different area.
  • Make your content interactive – not just interactive infographics, but other media including video.
  • Visual content tells a very long story very quickly. A picture paints a 1000 words.
  • Adapt your content to your audience.
  • Function is better than words, when it comes to content.
  • It is better to have unique content than big content.
  • Content Principles
  • You need a core.
  • you cannot be your own advocate.
  • Build marketing towers in advance – be prepared.
  • Create a message plan.
  • Find the connectors to write for you.
  • Write a great press release and give it to your influencers in advance
  • Use embargo dates to ensure that content is safeguarded.
  • Provide something visual, whether it is an infographic or video.
  • Create ambassadors, and provide them with information/perks.
  • Beta access, free conference attendance, etc.
  • Create a newsletter to be launched, but it is launched 24hrs after the connectors have mentioned it.
  • Ideally your audience would have seen it via other channels before they get the newsletter.
  • Involve technical partners.
  • Shared in confidence months before, and get feedback.
  • Give partners early access to your product/service.
  • After launch date, go on the promotion trail.
  • Webinars.
  • YouTube video.
  • Conferences.
  • Written content, internally and externally.
  • Create a message calendar, so that the launch is planned and agreed. Ensures that all content is ready to go when required.
  • SEO used to be nerds in a room, but now is more grown-up marketing and more difficult.
  • 3-tiered content approach <– Creating content that clicks
  • Off-site content with influencers.
  • Regular content of on-site.
  • Hero content (big ticket).
  • Look at what is already out there and make them better.
  • Monitor site in GWT to ensure there are no duplicate content issues.
  • Be wary of the amount of content that you publish at any one time.
  • Content is the single biggest ranking factor that you can influence.
  • Search Engine Ranking Signals
  • Content signals – title, descriptions, H*, document body, URL.
  • Anchor signal – text, quantity, quality, diversity.
  • Click signals – perfect match, close-match keyword clicks.
  • Social – quantity, diversity, trends.
  • User signals – location, preference, history, interests, social graphs.
  • Even in Bing you need to focus your content on people first.
  • Search engines use machine learning to inform the algorithm.
  • Whats popular at that moment?
  • Link equity
  • Social mentions
  • If the back button is used quickly, then that could be detrimental to your rankings.
  • If a user metric is useful (bounce back), then a search engine is probably using it in their alogirthm
  • If content is king, let it lead design. Design responsively. HTML5 & CSS give you the tools.
  • In all the search experiences, content remains king

Hardcore SEO Power Tools

SEO Tools is a common panel at most search conferences and this was no different. Stacey Cavanagh, Dixon Jones, Pete Wailes and Steve Lock took us through a large range of SEO tools that they recommend. There was a lot of tools that have been mentioned over and over again, so I have removed a number of those and left the tools that were either new or had been recommended by others.

  • Infographics
  • Find data – survey client data.
  • Content inspiration
  • Content hot searches
  • Trends Map
  • SEOgadget content ideas generator
  • Portents Content Idea Generator
  • Finding influencers
  • Not getting response from Outreach
  • Phone them! :)
  • No body looking at your content after you have published it.
  • Image SEO
  • KWR
  • Reporting
  • Mobile
  • SEO rankings app for iPhone and Android
  • Found SEO Tool
  • Tools to help automate reports include AnalyticsSEO, SearchMetrics, Trackpal and Linkdex
  • For integrated project management use Google Docs, Trello & Harvest.
  • Browser Set-up
  • Use multiple Chrome profiles for general, auditing and link building
  • Use extensions such as Grab Y’All Links, Xmark, Quick Markup, MajesticSEO, SEOmoz, Scraper, Check My Links, WebRank SEO, Pocket & Trello Scrum
  • Use Bookmarklets as well as extensions
  • Use RSSowl, and input Twitter Feeds, Google Alerts, Topsy and Social Mention
  • HTTP Track

Is Link Building Still Crucial, or a Waste of Time & Money?

With Penguin 2.0 on the horizon this was a hot topic of the day, and Tim Grice, Dave Naylor, Marcus Tober and Prashant Puri all gave different advice. What was evident was that all agreed that getting rid of bad links, no matter how many, was the first step to improving your link building efforts. Below are the key points that I had from the session.

  • Ensure you have a diverse link strategy.
  • When removing links, start to build new links to dilute and replace the old ones.
  • Keep an eye on your links over time. This will help spot any negative issues.
  • You are unable to get out of a link penalty just by building new links.
  • Google is getting better at analysing and penalising sites with bad link profiles.
  • Branded3 have managed to get 40 websites out of a Penguin inflicted penalty. It can be done.
  • Do social signals really count? It’s a bit chicken and egg!
  • I think like an SEO everyday of the week – I just can’t help it, I’m an SEO.
  • The mix between quality and quantity has swapped. Focus on quality rather than quantity.
  • Keep an eye on the site-wide links that have been created – these are a huge issue.

Day 2

Tuning Up Your Twitter Tactic

The first session of the day brought up some thought-provoking ideas, and some that caused a lot of debate on Twitter. Mike Essex, Brent Gleeson (ex Navy Seal :|) and JimYu gave some great insight into what customers find useful, what you need to be doing to improve content distribution, and how to find influencers online. My key takeaways are below.

  • Personal social media can come to haunt your professional career, so be careful what you upload.
  • Monitor Conversations using BrandsEye, BrandWatch, Trackur, SproutSocial, TweetDeck, Google Alerts, HootSuite & Social Mention.
  • Reclaim old employee accounts and be ready for fake accounts.
  • Don’t forget about corporate line, and be fun.
  • 61% feels better about company a if they deliver unique content.
  • 81% of businesses use Twitter to distribute content.
  • Tips to improve distribution.
  • Less is more, so keep tweets brief.
  • Replace words with symbols.
  • Use hashtags in content instead of at the end.
  • Include call to action.
  • Shorten and track click-throughs.
  • Fuel thought leadership.
  • Speaking.
  • Promote engagement via social channels. “Hey guys, I am speaking at X, be great to see you there!”
  • Encourage tweets, whether it is during a talk or in a blog post.
  • Most journalists are on Twitter.
  • Go three deep. Find the editor in chief, and the two positions directly below them.
  • Try to build a relationship. Send direct messages, RT their content, comment on their posts. Play the long game.
  • You will get to learn about them and what their habbits are.
  • PR outreach
  • MediaonTwitter.com
  • Seek or shout
  • Cision
  • Understanding Twitter & search correlations is vital for 2013.
  • How do you align your SEO and social media terms?
  • Create an SEO and Social Supergroup – open clear dialogue
  • Think of keywords that work across both SEO and social media
  • Identify keywords trending on Twitter
  • Prioritise keywords for driving Twitter activity.
  • Bring together, twitter data, analytics data, and rankings to create a publishing calendar.
  • Plan works well across all different sectors

Facebook’s New Graph Search & Its Marketing Implications

This next session took us into the world of Facebook, with Kelvin Newman, Mark Purtell and Justin Sanger. I have to say this was one of the best sessions that I was in, mainly due to how intensely Justin Sanger delivered his presentation. The delivery and content provided were great. Here are my takeaways from that session.

  • If anyone can build a Google killer, it will be Facebook.
  • GraphSearch is not really a search engine. It’s a filtering system for Facebook’s HUGE data set.
  • “2.7 billion likes on Facebook everyday, and some of them are real.”
  • 3 Factors in the EdgeRank algorithm – 1. Affinity. 2. Weight 3. Decay
  • If you have a big announcement, post a status about a big announcement coming. Generate affinity.
  • Mark up using the Open Graph Protocol – this needs to be part of every SEO audit going forward.
  • You need to do ‘Good’ Facebook marketing to be successful, but you should be trying to generate affinity.
  • Google Graph search can be great for local business – aggregated reviews are key to rank/click.
  • Facebook gets reviews/rating data for places from Foursquare, Yelp and Tripadvisor.
  • 9/10 people prefer a personal recommendation from someone they know.
  • 82% of businesses point to word of mouth as their leading source of new customer acquisition.
  • It is imperative to ask customers for their feedback, and then use it to improve your service
  • 70% of Facebook users have only liked one local business.
  • Google+ is Google itself. Extended across all products, to get as much information about you as possible
  • 15 years into search, and on average people have only given two reviews. – Incentivise for people to generate reviews.
  • 30% of reviews will be fake by 2014, whilst 98% of reviews are coming from 2% of Yelpers.

Social Media Automation: The Good & Bad

Having covered the main two players in the social media space, the attention turned to automation and whether it is actually worth the risk. Samuel Bueno de Mezquita, Bas Van Den Beld and Aaron Wester discussed how they each used automation of their websites and what their recommended strategies were. Here are my key takeaways.

  • ITTT an underused tool for social media distribution.
  • Social media automation needs close monitoring to ensure it works smoothly.
  • Manual posts generated lots of interaction.
  • Funny pictures get shared a lot. Bas now posts a funny picture everyday just for the interaction.
  • If you’re feeding the same content to all social platforms it will annoy your followers.
  • Use the Tweet All Posts to remind people of great content that is archived.
  • Be careful when you do this though – make sure that you check all the settings to ensure that you do not confuse your readers.

SEO & Google+

The final session of the day turned to SEO and Google+. Wayne Sleight, Marcus Tober, Jim Yu and Kevin Gibbons provided some interesting data, that included not only statistics to prove that Google+ is growing, but how brands are starting to implement and engage with it. My key take aways are below.

  • 3/4 brands now have an active Google+ profile.
  • H&M lead the way by constantly engaging with followers.
  • Google+ added 94x followers since December 2011. Google+ IS now mainstream.
  • 20% of brands have their Google+ page show up in the SERPs.
  • Expect more brands’ Google+ pages to be indexed in the SERPs in 2013.
  • 5 actionable tips for getting the most from Google+ 1: Think. 2. Utilise 3. Engage 4. Optimise 5. Set up Authorship.
  • Split testing the image that you use in the SERPs increases CTRs. @CyrusShepard increased his by 54%
  • Your Google+ profile is similar to a website – it has PR also.
  • If you’re in a boring industry, try and find a community on G+. If you can’t find one create one, and build it.
  • Utilise data for boring industries, and then create something awesome.
  • 36% of Fortune 100 Companies have G+ Profiles – only 3% use Authorship markup, whilst techblogs have 45%
  • Google is getting better at connecting the dots. Email verification and the “Handshake” technique
  • AgentRank: *Who* links to you is likely to be more important than *where* it’s from.
  • How topical, and how relevant you are to the industry is hugely important. As an author you MUST be focused!
  • Use tools to find authors/influencers, including Google Ripples, Unofficial G+ Recommended Users, ProBlogger, AuthorCrawler
  • Authorship is to support SEO, not to replace it. Don’t give up on those backlinks yet.
  • The publish button is a marketer’s dream, you just need to be an authority first. Work hard, and get the benefits.
  • When you Join G+ communities, make sure your ratio of your content vs. natural participation is healthy.

Well, it was a busy few days, with lots of takeaways that will keep us busy for few months. What did you think of the conference, and have I missed anything that you thought was key? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below or on Twitter @danielbianchini.

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