What’s Working for SEO in 2011: A Review from London SMX

Gareth Davies of GSINC Ltd covered SMX London last week and filed this report.

With the latest Google Panda update, and the issues some webmasters have faced as a result of the update, attendees at this year’s SMX LONDON were looking for answers to what’s working for SEO in 2011.

The panel consisted of Mikkel deMib Svendsen, Christine Churchill and Max Thomas.

SMX London panel

SEO Has Evolved:

First up was Mikkel deMib Svendsen. Mikkel began by reminding attendees that when it comes to SEO, things are very different in 2011 to what has gone before.

In the 1990’s SEO was relatively easy…simple algorithms meant that SEO was mainly about on-page factors and search engines had very few (if any) people dedicated to fighting Spam. Today the search engine algorithms are very complex, and there are huge teams dedicated to fighting Spam.

13 Quotes of Note From SMX London

SMX hit London this week and Marketing Pilgrim writer Gareth Davies was on hand to capture 13 of the most notable quotes by this year’s speakers. So here they are.

1. Why does page speed matter?

“Because Google has announced – let’s make the web faster”

Richard Baxter – Seo Gadget

2. Twitter advertising

“Promoted Tweets with no targeting cost…$80,000 a day!”

Martin Macdonald – OMD Group

3. Bing

“Bing sucks at broad matching. Don’t expect Bing to recognise broadly matched synonyms like Google”

Daniel Ruby – Chitika

4. FaceBook

“Facebook exists to keep people on Facebook…they only give lip service to Bing”

Daniel Ruby – Chitika

5. Bing/ Yahoo traffic

SMX London – Converting Paid Traffic & Search Engine Stats

Analysing and Converting Paid Traffic

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Andy Atkins-Krüger – WebCertain

In his session Andy looked at the range of ways both a PPC and organic SEO a campaign could be broken down to measure how effective each stage was performing. Aspects such as number of visits, pages views, dwell time and bounce rate were all seen as important elements to measure.

Andy also suggested that rather than take the traditional approach of looking to only improve the final stage of the shopping funnel (i.e. optimising the buy page) improving who gets onto the website in the first instance was equally important.

So to recap, whilst people typically look to the shopping cart for initial conversion improvement—Andy advocated starting at the other end of the chain and at keywords.

New Marketing Fundamentals by Brian Fetherstonhaugh at SMX London 09

Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman and CEO—OgilvyOne Worldwide

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Once again SMX London was held at the rather grand New Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden. Unlike the typical chilly days of last November Spring was in the air and to begin the conference Brian Fetherstonhaugh of OgilvyOne took to the stage in front of a packed conference hall to deliver his keynote.

Brian began with addressing the concept that search was the holy grail of marketing. And even more so in a time of recession—the industry itself was still growing at a rate of 10-20% a year! He then told attendees that whilst OgilvyOne had worked with some top brands including American Express, Sears, Ford, Shell, Barbie, Pond’s, Dove and more. But as Brian pointed out, David Ogilvy was kind of crazy! “He was an “interesting and nutty guy”.

SEO, Usability & 15 Stupid Things You Can Do to Your Website – SMX West

Michael Stebbins—Market Motive

Whilst not technically a session I was fortunate enough to hear Michael Stebbins of Market Motive present a little mini-presentation in the Expo hall, which grabbed a lot of people’s attention. I was away from my laptop but managed to type up notes on my iPhone.

15stupid-things-454

His presentation was titled: 15 stupid things you can do to your website:

1. Using lots of JavaScript menus so search engines can’t crawl your website properly.

2. Using stupid keywords—ones that are too competitive or no one is searching for. Michael suggested picking mid-range keywords and work your way up.

Ask the Link Builders Q&A – SMX West

The ‘Ask the Link Builders’ session was a Q+A style panel at SMX West this year and consisted of Rae Hoffman, Debra Mastaler and Roger Monti.

Q: How do you keep link building white hat?

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The general consensus was to stay away from things that go against Google’s terms of service. Debra Mastaler recommended going easy on reciprocal links, site wide paid links and not to be too obvious in what you are doing. Rae Hoffman advised the audience to avoid buying links especially from major networks and to keep anchor text in the inbound links natural. So varying the words used was a good idea.

Optimising Images for Search Engines – SMX West

The following is a special report from SMX West 2009.

Peter Linsley—Google

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First up Peter Linsley of Google ran through some of the concepts behind Google images and also factors that may influence ranking of images on Google which included some of the following:

  • Number of referring sites—so whether the image is used on more than one website is a key metric in Google’s ranking Algorithm.
  • The text around the image and the kind of words contained is also a factor taken into account by Google.
  • Also placement of image—and whether it is above the fold

Peter also suggested that other dynamic features were in play. For example can a user comment on the image via a comments box? Or whether the image could be rated somehow.