Digital Marketing Conference from the North News

I’ve been invited to speak at the Ionsearch, the advanced search marketing conference is in Leeds on the 18th of April, you can still get tickets if you hurry.

It has a very impressive speaker list including; Lee Odden, Ralph Tegtmeier aka Fantomaster, Dave Synder of Blueglass (these guys consistently produce top quality stuff, Martin MacDonald of Expedia, Patrick Altoft, Kevin Gibbons and a bunch more.

There are a few people who I have not heard of and am interested in learning more about. I am glad it’s only one day though, I find my brain hoovers up so much info it very quickly gets full.

There is a guy from Google going and looks like he’s going to rave about how great and wonderful G+ is, and interestingly Nick Garner from a gambling, gaming company is going to share insights on how beneficial G+ has been for them. Always ready to be convinced.

So it should be an interesting day, say hi and chat if we meet. It’s always great hearing other peoples experiences and views, which is frankly the best part of a conference.

ThinkVisibility 2011 – It’s all about the links

This is a guest post from Claire Carlile, who had the not so dubious pleasure of attending ThinkVis this March.

Last weekend heralded the 5th ThinkVisibility, and my second visit to Leeds for this 1 day event that popped my SEO conference cherry last September. I was expecting some engaging presentations, to meet with friends old and new, and of course a modicum of debauchery. I was not disappointed.

Being of a linkbuilding persuasion one presentation in particular stood out for me, my takeaways from this detailed below.

Paddy Moogan: Let’s talk about links baby

Paddy starts by outlining his session:

  • site reviews with link suggestions
  • generic tips
  • plus some fun (shadier stuff).

Unfortunately he asked us not to blog the ‘fun stuff’ – you’ll have to pay up for a ticket to ThinkVisibility yourself for this ;)

SITE: Thefoodplace.co.uk
Restaurant review website

OVERVIEW:
Conduct a backlink analysis – always do this first, what type of links do you need?
Site has lots of sidebar / site wide links with 12.000 links from 383 domains, not very varied.
Needs more domain diversity.

LINKBUILDING IDEAS:
Use link bait and ego bait.

  • start with easy wins, for example ‘top 10 restaurants in Leeds’, ‘Top 10 restaurants in London’ etc
  • get people to come to your site and see that they are listed – shortlist the ones with websites that are likely to link to you.
  • run a survey on your website and then get people to vote on which of the top 10 is the best, that way the restaurants themselves will encourage their customers and community to visit your site – extra traffic plus links. Use poll daddy.

Using twitter for links (the easy way)
You need a reasonable following on twitter.
using twitter for links

  • Check which followers have websites; you can go through these people manually, or find all your followers and csv export them using friendorfollow.com.
  • Find their website URLs using qwerly.com , which allows you to do this without logging into twitter.

This can take a long time, but a solution can be offered by scraping ;)

Paddy talks about how to do this. Now, Paddy is not the type of chap that needs to take a humility pill, and post presentation he flagged up this post on getting links from your twitter friends that describes the process in a succinct fashion.

  • Reach out to them and ask for a link
  • Launch link bait targeted at them via twitter

This is a great way to grab link targets really quickly and easily – the list is ‘pre qualified’ in the sense that they’re already following you on twitter, and you already have a relationship with them.

NB You’ll probably want to weed your competitors out of this data (please don’t ask for links, as a slap round the face often offends)

no links given

Other ideas

  • Feature the restaurants in a newsletter
  • Promote their special offers
  • Review them on the blog

Site: Smartcatlearning.com
Children’s dyslexia test

OVERVIEW:
Current situation – not much domain diversity, but some good strong links

LINKBUILDING IDEAS:
Identify opportunities

  • Schools
  • Parent groups
  • Mummy bloggers (the internet is crawling with them)

mummy bloggers

I’m not sure this is the type of blogger we’re looking for….

How to find them?
start with the basics (seriously): search for “list of mummy bloggers”
when you find a good one click on ‘similar’ link in the SERPs

Use Followerwonk.com . Performs a search in twitter bios, identifies those with ‘mummy blogger’ in bio, and also gives lots if useful data including real name, location, and number of tweets, friends and followers.

SITE: Shopsafe.co.uk
Retailer reviews and vouchers

LINKBUILDING IDEAS:
Ego bait
awards for websites
give badges to winners
do across every category

Hit wise do this very successfully.

Blue sky idea – become a review aggregator
Encourage customers to leave more reviews
act as an independent review site
let retailers use reviews on their own site, in exchange for a link

Extra Tip
Implement microformats for shop reviews – reported 14% uplift in CTR from SERPS because of rich snippets (don’t quote that!)

SITE: acornprinting.co.uk
Offers t shirt printing


LINKBUILDING IDEAS:

Identify USPs:

  • Fair-trade supplier

Use advanced search operators to identify prospects:

  • get link targets from fair-trade.org.uk website. For example, get a list of local campaign groups, they likely be easier to target and more likely to link out.
  • think carefully about their existing customers – who do they supply? Charities and universities would of course make great link targets.
  • be careful – don’t overdo the anchor text optimisation – stick to targeting branded terms

Link bait
i.e. Guinness world record for the most t shirts worn at one time – they could see if they could break the world record, with their own branded t shirts

SITE: gifts4men.com
Erm, they supply gifts for men. Doh.

LINKBUILDING IDEAS:
Competitions are always a corker for easy wins.

    use
  • competitionhunter.com – Paddy can give you a list of links from competition sites if you email him (list of 20)

Guest blogging

  • find targets and do outreach first….find the link targets, contact them, get the content, get it approved etc
  • let them know you have 4 or 5 ideas, give them the overview, if they say nothing works for them ask them what type of stuff they would like? Then you can write for them specifically, they feel special / valued and are more likely to run your copy and links
  • when you have the contact and the person says ‘yes’ – get it produced (use oDesk, textbroker etc)
  • add links to the top of the article, try and keep it at the top if you can. Higher CTR, but also Matt Cutts at pubcon gave a big hint about how google views links in bios. Position of the link on the page is v. valuable.

Pro tip for agencies

  • Find top 10 generic sites and come back to them again and again with different clients, keep a data base of these sites

Top tips for e commerce sites

  • Safebuy.org.uk: you can submit to multiple categories and get a link from each, pricey but worth it
  • Get links to product pages by making a screen cast of the product, embed code in the bottom (sounds painful), people can use it on their sites and will create deep links to your product pages. Adfd HTML wrapper to your product page

General tips

  • If you’re a new start up get a link from Smarta.com in their ‘60 second start up’ posts
  • Links from journalists – use journalisttweets.com to identify journos on twitter in your area, and by niche

That’s it, phew! The other stuff was so top secret, if I told you Paddy would make me suck sick through a sweaty sock. So I’m not gonna.

See Paddy’s preso slides, and harass him on twitter.

Which SEO Conference should I go to

This post began as a comment on The 5 must go to UK SEO conferences in 2011, but the comment soon grew too large, so I decided to put it here.

Having spoke at a few of the conferences on the list and been to others, I quickly found out that each one is good for different things. Although, I don’t schlep to many conferences these days they can be great fun and a great way for a service provider to pick up a few clients.

The post covered a poll on the following UK conferences.

1) SES London – February 22nd – February 25th
2) Sascon – May 19th – 20th
3) ProSEO – TBC (October 2011)
4) Think Visibility – March 5th 2011
5) A4U Expo – October 2011 (TBC)
6) International Search Summit – May 2011 (TBC)
7) Ad-tech – 21st/22nd September
8) SMX London – 16th/17th May 2011

As a way of learning it can be very tasty, but don’t get too excited over presentations, which are mostly rehashed blog posts or a sales massage for the speakers services/product/. You can easily get the knowledge elsewhere and there are better ways to fill your knowledge sack at an seo conference.

If you are a business seeking to sup from the cup of secret SEO knowledge, use the conference to get a free consultation. As soon as the speakers finish rush the stage to grab the ear hole of the guru/expert/meister and lay down an ego smoothing bit of flattery, it’s amazing how well this works (especially with me). And then hit them with a specific problem you are having with your online marketing.

The thing is, the real seo knowledge hounds are not in it for the money, they love solving the problems and love being thrown a bone to chew on. Remember, a lot of these guys charge £150 plus an hour for their time and most are picky about taking on new clients, so whatever time you get with them is going to be worth the conference fee.

The next step is to find which watering hole the speakers are going to be sucking up the booze. You will find there are always a hard core of speakers hanging around and these guys love to chew the fat and give away the juice over a pint. You mean they don’t do it in their presentations? Of course they bloody don’t, do you really think an unpaid speaker is going to dish the goodies onto your lap all hot and sticky. They keep those tasty morsels for the guys who pay them £10k a month for SEO services.

Another thing to look out for when choosing a conference is that the most expensive is not usually the best. A lot of conference speakers are chosen by mutual arse scratching rather than their ability to wrap complex issues into a 10 min presentation and make it simple enough for someone who sells something like Chocolate Cheese online.

Another tip is to do research on the speakers and pick the ones that you really like and shoot them off an email saying you are looking forward to seeing them. Don’t try to get an hours worth of consultation for the price of a coffee (if you get the label of a cheapskate it wont disappear quickly), but think of it as laying the ground work for a longer term relationship. Just like in any industry the good service providers are constantly busy and so you need to sell yourself a bit to get them to take you on as a client.

Switching back to those of you who want to carve out a nook in the crowded SEO agency space, a conference is a great place to go to help develop your brand and sniff out who really knows their stuff. For networking I would recommend the smaller, Northern conferences. If you are a Brit you will get more out of the ones not dominated by the Americans. If you are an American it’s a great way to get a tax free trip to the UK.

The point being, if you network with the British rather than the Americans you are more likely to bond and see the people again, making it more likely that they will do you a solid. I remember sitting in front an SES London keynote panel and realising everyone one of the 5 speakers were American and then when going to break bread at the London SEO bash that night, seeing a bunch of our colonial cousins hunkered down having a private dinner. Wagons circled, natives shot on sight.
Meanwhile, at London SEO the party was in full swing and it was a great opportunity to network with people who live just down the road.

And lets face it, Americans are just British people with irony removed and lots of guns in the pick up truck (boy, you’re going to hell for that one). Hmmm, I seem to have been reading too much Jeremy Clarkson lately.

For business and for service providers, don’t get star struck. I realise some would like to stroke the hem of Rand Fishkins’ garment or feel the huge knowledge sack of Aaron Wall, but most of the uber gurus get quickly swept away in a messianic, Pythonesque crowd surge. Whilst others mutter, “He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy”.

And of course, a lot of these guys are popular because they are brilliant at SEO and marketing, it’s just a conference is not the best place to schmooze the uber guru.

So, back to the question, which seo conference should I go to? It’s really a question only you can answer as it depends on what you are after.

But to be honest, the best SEO conference to go to this year is the Cornwall SEO Conference of 2011 ;)

SASCON SEO Conference

I will be speaking at the Manchester SEO conference called, SASCON. Although it sounds like a Southern European military region, it’s going to be good as there is a great line up of speakers.

Click here for the website, I think there are still tickets left and they are a lot more reasonable than London conferences.
So if you are in the area, pop in and say hi.

There are some great people going and I’m looking forward to meeting. If you do go, come up and say hi.

It’s going to be a 6 hour drive, any podcasts you think I should download and listen to on the way?

A4U Expo London – What can a Linkbaiter teach Affiliate Marketers

On Monday I’m off to London to attend an affiliate conference called, A4u Expo. I’m speaking on the Killer Link Building Strategies panel along with Patrick Altoft Jon Myers and Christoph Cemper.

I think there are still tickets available, but going fast. You can get a 10% discount if you use this code SPKD10.

If you can’t get to the conference, make sure you get to the networking parties, which can be just as rewarding. If you do go would love to meet and say hi, if you are reading my blog you must be a cool dude ;) Best way to connect is to @ me on twitter. My account is Lyndoman Or you can email me lyndon at cornwallseo.com

Really looking forward to this one. SMX and SES are great but at the end of the day they are American and I remember last years SES sitting in one of the panels listening to 5 Americans telling me how I should rank. Surely we have enough talent in this country not to have to rack up the extra carbon shipping the Yanks over?

In fact, come to think of it. Why don’t we have a major UK based seo conference each year? It’s not like we don’t have the talent. Maybe I will put one in Cornwall, have it on the beach and have a sand castle building contest.

Presenting at Advanced Link Building SMX London

I have been asked to speak at Search Marketing Expo, London. I will be speaking on the psychological aspects of creating content with a purpose to build links. Quite a mouthful I know, I need to work on that headline, how about “Mental Linkbaiting”.

I am honoured to share the platform with some brilliant linkbuilders, Tom Critchlow, Wiep Knoll, and Jay Young.

I went to SMX London last year, not that I’m a conference junkie, although they are a lot of fun. For someone wanting to up their game they are recommended. A few new things learned here and there should easily pay for the conference fee, plus you get to go and talk to the experts direct and look into their eyes.

Thanks to the guys at SMX for this opportunity. If you do go, come up and say hi. I will be at the London SEO bash on the 4th as well.

SMX London

It’s that time of year again. London Search Marketing Expo is on the 4th and 5th of November. It’s a British tradition to build a bonfire throwing an effigy of Guy Fawkes onto it, we like to celebrate this burning of Catholic conspirators whilst eating toffee apples and watching fireworks.

Someone has mentioned that a Guy Fawkes effigy will be present at the conference and that a certain Google spam hunters face will adorn the Guy. Surely not?

If you are thinking of going, go. You get to meet some great people and learn some cutting edge techniques. I’m not much of a conference goer as I’m usually too busy, but I am making an effort for this one. It’s a great place to find out how short seo bloggers actually are.

The SMX Lyndon Antcliff bio