Yesterday I attended Distilled’s sell out Link Love 2012 conference in London. This was my first visit to an SEO conference and I was lucky enough to watch presentations given by the industry’s leading search engine marketing experts. In this post I’m going to share with you a few key pointers from each presentation.
I highly recommend that you download and view the decks of all speakers especially those by Rand Fishkin, Wil Reynolds and Martin MacDonald.
- In recent weeks 700,000 ‘notice of unnatural links’ have been sent to webmasters via Google Webmaster tools. It’s only a matter of time before the impact of this action is felt in Europe too.
- Google claims that they don’t use the Facebook open graph. A quick check in your Google account will show you that they do.
- Facebook search is coming and it will be driven not by links, but by social signals.
- The true measure of your marketing activity is customer acquisition cost ratio – the cost of acquiring a customer versus how much they are worth to your business. Reduce the cost of customer acquisition and you will win.
- Content is the key to all online channels – search, social and brand visibility. We must look beyond links and work on our brands.
- Take questions from Quora and answer them on your blog.
- An example of great video content: dollarshaveclub.com – the SEO was wrong but they did reach an audience of 4 million of which 250,000 have signed up.
An overview of research conducted into the distribution and response rate of outreach emails.
- It shouldn’t matter who sends the outreach email; male or female – there isn’t much of a difference.
- Personalised outreach emails have a higher closure rate. If you can’t personalise, ‘hey’ is better than ‘hello’.
- Outreach emails should ideally be around about 1,000 characters in length.
- To increase the closure rate manually send emails at 09:00 on a Tuesday.
- Alternatively if you prefer automation then schedule your emails to be sent at 02:00 on a Saturday. Tools like Boomerang can help with this scheduling and ensure that you can get some sleep.
- Include a high quality company logo in your email signature when sending an outreach email. For even better results link this logo to your website.
- Strangely the results weren’t so good when a telephone number was included; so leave this out.
- Be persistent, it will pay off.
- Stop using the terms ‘link juice’, ‘link equity‘ sounds much better!
- In addition to using a brand’s Twitter account, create additional ‘persona’ accounts using your real name and photo. These should target specific niches.
Some excellent insights into the science behind SEO and the use of Microsoft Excel.
- Take an investigative approach to SEO. ‘Tinker’ with things and see what works and what does not. Making mistakes is all part of the journey.
- It is not enough to link to a page, nor is it enough to focus on social signals. A combination is optimal as the social signals help to maintain longevity.
- Check out Niels Bosma’s SEO tools for Excel. They’re great for data collection and analysis.
- When measuring social outreach as a product of the number of links per social signal +1s on Google+ were found to be more effective than Facebook shares and likes and Tweets.
- If you want your Pinterest pages to rank well, make sure you link to them.
- Tip: try to do the things that search engines want to be doing themselves.
Jane Copland | Ayima
What are the links that really matter? How you can get those links that your competitors can’t.
- There isn’t much point following the crowd when it comes to link building.
- You can easily build links and match your competitors in this department, but it’s those strokes of genius that set you above the competition.
- Try to seek out the opportunities that competitors fail to see.
- Create great link worthy content and others will reward this with links to that content.
- Power users on Twitter might even share it!
- If your business is mentioned somewhere don’t be shy; promote it. For example, ‘As featured in …’.
- PR Web is a great tool for locating journalists and their subject interests.
The outstanding presentation at Link Love London 2012. Real link building value and real relationships #JFDI!
- It’s all about the relationships you build with people online.
- Don’t be afraid of going after the ‘big target’, but build the relationship before you ask for the link.
- People follow people that add real value.
- iGoogle can be transformed into a great tool for ‘stalking’ and monitoring these ‘big targets’.
- Simply install the Google Chrome RSS plugin and this will import your target’s web interactions into iGoogle. Now we have Really Simple Stalking.
- Analyse who they follow and build a profile in order to discover opportunities to help the target.
- Enter ‘writer for’ into Follower Wonk to discover writers.
- Use Mozenda to scrape Twitter user details.
- inboxq.com is a great place to help you get more followers. All you have to do is help them and they’ll follow you.
- Tip: buying followers can help you ‘fake it ’till you make it’ by establishing you as an authority on Twitter.
- Tip: to discover how shareable a user’s post is simply add a + to the end of their bit.ly URL.
Tom Anthony | Distilled
Does Google still love links? Are they moving more towards social or a combination of the two?
- Google prefilters a page to work out how trustworthy it is.
- Links are a proportionately diminishing part of the algorithm. In the last 2 years 15% of the algorithm that was based on link signals has been moved across to other factors.
- When link building try to diversify. Think of your competition, would your link profile stand out if compared?
- The Panda update sacrificed some good companies in order to bring down a load of bad companies.
- These sort of updates are showing that Google are more than prepared to deal with a little collateral damage if it means that they can remove the bad guys.
- Google is preparing to unleash another update that will clean up the web. The last update saw 30,000 domains deindexed overnight.
- Make sure you use the rel=”Author” tag in your blog posts. This is a strong positive signal to Google’s social graph.
- The social graph is different to the web graph and so it will not replace links. However, author data could replace them.
- Tip: Try to create authors in every business and make sure that they have trustworthy and active social profiles.
- Trustworthy authors that recommend sites will have a greater impact on that site than a link.
- Shift from where are we getting links from to who are we getting links from.
Martin MacDonald | Expedia EAN
A superb and enjoyable, no-nonsense presentation. How to scale link building.
- If your competitors build links in a certain way, don’t do the same. You have to innovate – go against the flow, it’s much easier to win.
- Build a community of link builders and think big.
- Incentivise your community to build the links on your behalf.
- Publish great content on key content systems and you will get great links.
- Scale your link building efforts by creating widgets that are compatible with the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS).
- Use rel=”canonical” to control link equity.
- Don’t follow the crowd.
- Check out shitforlinks.com
Will Critchlow | Distilled
The hierarchy of needs by Distilled founder Will Critchlow.
- If your campaign is failing, start by asking ‘why’ 5 times. This should help you get to the root cause.
- Why do you not get links? Often it’s not doing enough of the right things regularly enough. Move quickly.
- Look at areas where you are good and become great. If you have a good email list then do something great with it.
- Visitors will generate links if your content is good enough. Analyse the number of links you get per visitor. Improve that and then improve traffic.
- Benchmark yourself against a competitor that is doing it better than you at the moment, but you know that you can beat them.
- Analogy: a content library is like physical real estate.
- Analogy: a good conversion rate is like an efficient supply chain.
- Look at Gawker’s editorial strategy: write less, but make it better.
- If you’ve got an idea launch the smallest component of that idea that will test the biggest risk factor.
- Can you think of 10 target sites to link to your idea in 10 minutes? If not it’s a dumb idea. If you can, have these sites linked to such a thing before?
- Discover what you need to improve and win.
- Pitch big visions and small next steps.
- Experiment to find ways to improve and to persuade.
- Invest with evidence and experience in hand.
- A conversion rate win over your competitors is a key competitive advantage as it means you have a greater margin and can invest in more marketing.
I hope that you find these pointers helpful and if you were at Linklove 2012 say hello and leave me a comment.