Yesterday I attended this conference, set up by @dontpanicevents, chaired by Richard Gregory (@SmartRich) and sponsored by Manual Link Building (@search_magician). The aim was for anybody who won an award at the #searchawardsgave a quick presentation of why they won.
It was slightly strange to start as you are presenting mainly to your own competitors, but it is one of the most interesting and insightful conferences I have been to in a long time. Everyone got in the spirit with loads of questions flying around (encouraged by the round table seating rather than cinema style row seating) and generally it was excellent.
I’d thought I’d do a quick post on some of the key takeaways that came out of today for me (along with a credit for people who mentioned them).
1. Google Plus is more amazing than I thought
It also has a growing impact on the research phase of any purchasing decision through its ability to easily share content from multiple sources. Check out the amazing and funny video below for an example:
Now see how far that has ‘rippled’ in Google Plus and who drove that. Imagine that for the research phase of any product purchase.
2. Websites need to work for, not against the user
The video below shows how most companies websites would work if they were real world shops and how ultimately this loses you loads of customers (insightful and funny).
Both takeaway ‘s driven by @mattjbush
3. Just get started
Don’t over think an idea to the point of not doing anything. The SEOptimise blog started as a very simple idea back in 2005 and is now one of ‘the’ blogs in the industry with over 400k visits a year.
Takeaway via @kevgibbo
4. Big Brother really is watching
An oldie but always a goodie. Google & Facebook really know everything about you. You’d think you need to sign up to these services to provide them personal data, but any website page that has a Google + 1 or Facebook Like button on it is sending information about your internet browsing habits back to each company. In short, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that avoiding Chrome will keep you from Google’s date capture.
5. True ‘Social Search’ is on the way
But its in baby little steps designed to make you not realise it’s happening. Soon enough your Google results will probably be personal to you and only you, and heavily influenced by the authority subjects of people you ‘trust’ aka engage with in social/email.
6. Authority rank for individuals will become an increasingly commoditisable entity
As individuals that are heavily followed across channels, start influencing search results by what they are talking about, they will become authority hubs that companies want to leverage. In short, they can sell their influence to the highest bidder. Celeb’s of Search anyone?
Three takeaways via @basvandenbeld
7. PPC click-through tactics in SERP meta descriptions
Smiley’s in your META description can/may give a bit of organic search standout to try and boost click-through rate (see left).
Takeaway via @Koozai_Ollie
8. Keyword (selection) is still king
Using the ‘rising stars’ lists within Google Insights for Search can provide lower cost, high converting keywords that are still relatively un-competitive initially.
9. Vanity vs. Sanity Keywords
Clients can have a set of vanity keywords they want to be visible in PPC or SEO for, but it’s important as an agency to balance these with sanity keywords that drive performance.
Both takeaways via @tomsmith1984
10. Links are still important, but start thinking about/acting on other signals
Linking is still an important factor in ranking well in search engines, but without getting the right mix that combines these with other ranking signals such as social (e.g. facebook interactions) & on-site engagement then sustainable, high rankings will either still elude you or if you already have them; drop off over time.
Takeaway by me @paulhuggett
Once again a big thank you has to go to all those involved in setting up the conference – an excellent event.
For the takeaways I missed please help out and ‘sound off’ in the comments section (give credit where applicable).