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3rd November 2010 |  Written by Guy Levine

MancSEO – the SEO mini Conference Highlights

Last Friday a large number of SEO and Online Marketing Professionals gathered at The Hive on Lever Street for the first SEO Mini Conference in Manchester. The conference was organised by Pete Young and sponsors included Manual Link Building and The EWord.

The main Speakers at the conference included:

Nichola Stott – The Business of Search: An Insider Perspective on the Search
Barry Adams – Optimising for Google News
Kelvin Newman – The Psychology of Successful Link Building
Neil Walker – Forecasting for SEO

The Business of Search: An Insider Perspective on the Search
Nichola Stott gave an insightful presentation on the Business of Search. I think the main learning’s that we took away from this was that Google is pretty much dominant as a search engine and hence optimising to be listed in Google’s search results is absolutely vital.

Our main objective for all clients, is to get them appearing on the first page of Google for the target search terms. By having more relevant search results on the first page, we can decrease the abandonment rate and hopefully increase the CTR. Recent changes in Google to try and shift all activity including universal search results to first page include Caffeine, Mayday Update, Google Instant as well as Local Search.

Optimising for Google News
Barry Adams gave an insightful presentation on how to gain short term visibility in universal search for your target keywords using Google News. Some top tips that we took away from this session included:

  1. Investing time and money in unique content and using popular content distribution channels such as PR Web and PR Newswire to gain visibility.
  2. Use multiple authors to increase authority of the content as well as to increase chances of generating more varied content.
  3. Update existing news story as they develop as these can get re-indexed
  4. If any images are included in the content, then make them non-clickable as this is Google’s preference for images.
  5. Create a Google News xml sitemap

As a general rule of thumb, if you want to promote something in the short term, then Google News is extremely useful because your content can remain in Google news for up to 3 days.

The Psychology of Successful Link Building
As the creative Director of SiteVisibility, Kelvin Newman also gave some great insight into a different dimension of link building that we all might have lost sight of and that is that we get links from people not websites! Hence, we have to be a bit more creative in how we approach webmasters for links.

Top tips that we picked up from the link building session:

  1. Don’t pay for links, be creative in the way you request links and provide incentives
  2. Create collaborative relationships with your competitors, link to them, and they will link to you. Both of you can benefit from this relationship.
  3. The tone of voice, and the way you word your emails, also impacts acceptance rate by webmasters. Using key terms such as “agree”, “help” and “favour”, can really help to increase your chances of being given a link by a webmaster.
  4. Connect with people, find out what they want and then offer them that in exchange for a link. Think of good link bait ideas.
  5. Give your audience a name to help them connect with each other, e.g. “Social Media Crowd” or even “SEO Crew”.
  6. Finally, if you want people to subscribe to your blog or news, then give them figures on subscribers to the blog as well as the number of monthly hits (or traffic) that the blog receives as people will most likely subscribe to something that a lot of people have subscribed to – the idea of “following the crowd”.

Forecasting for SEO
Finally, the day was finished off by Neil Walker, who gave a very interesting presentation on how to forecast SEO. We think that this was one of the most insightful presentations that most people enjoyed, and to round it off, Neil did end up with the most questions at the end of his talk!

Some top tips that we took away from Neil’s session included:

  1. Organic click-through-rates (CTR) are still a lot higher than paid CTRs. Neil believes that the organic CTR is currently at 65% due to the change Google made in bringing the paid search results closer to the organic results, which resulted in a 15% increase in paid CTR.
  2. First page CTRs are also influences by a number of factors. For example, despite the fact that the top-2 positions generate the most traffic, the length of the search terms influences the CTR. Research has shown that a 5 word search terms generated a higher CTR than a 2-word search terms for a listing at position 1 in Google.
  3. Use more than 1 keyword research tools to get estimated traffic figures for the target search terms
  4. An older site can get rankings faster than a new site – keep this in mind when predicting timescales for rankings, traffic and conversions.
  5. Produce a spreadsheet to highlight the potential income the client can make based on average order values.
  6. Use Google Analytics and similar tracking tools to monitor progress of keywords, including traffic generated and the keywords that resulted in conversions to optimise the campaign further.
  7. Compare the real data alongside the estimated data that you had put together for the client, to gauge accuracy so that these factors can be taken into account when estimating similar figures for another client.

A lot of information to take in but the conference was certainly worthwhile for all professionals who attended it so hats off to Pete Young and the sponsors for organising this and we look forward to the next SEO Conference in the New Year.

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