Were there any killer tips to improve SEO at the ThinkVisibility conference?

5 September 2011 By Northern Lights

Were there any killer tips to improve SEO at the ThinkVisibility conference? image

Were there any killer tips to improve SEO at the ThinkVisibility conference?

In our pursuit to improve SEO (search engine optimisation) skills, three of the Northern Lights team attended the ThinkVisibility conference in Leeds this Saturday.  Thanks to @thehodge for organising a lively day complete with pick’n’mix sweeties and Lego people!

I’m still digesting the learning from this – so here are my random thoughts of what I got from the day.

1.       Men do think about sex every 15 seconds

Or whatever that stat is.  We work in the corporate world and the men are more formal.  Saturday was a reminder of what is probably going on in their heads.

2.       Is the SEO world ethical?

We are going round in circles on this.  A lot of what we heard on Saturday felt unethical – but why?  We are struggling to put our finger on exactly why.

If you can outwit Google – why not?  Their rules are self-created and they are commercial.  No-one was breaking the law (that we spotted) so what does it matter if you can drive short-term traffic to a website?

The issue for us is the long term reputation of that company.  Many of our clients have been with us 15 or more years – and we want them to be here for the next 15 years.  Our concern is that some of the campaigns have in effect ‘conned’ people to go to a website – long term that could damage a business reputation and possibly lose customers.

3.       Analytics are king

Everyone who spoke analyses what is happening to their stats to the nth degree.  They are looking at every kind of variation and its effect – time of day, keywords, and even your emotional mood when buying.

Kelvin Newman of Sitevisibility related how he has applied tactics from playing an online football game (Championship Manager) to SEO.  He talked about understanding the psychology of people online and recommended three books

–          Freakonomics

–          Nudge

–          Predictably irrational

4.       Getting Pippa Middleton’s arse to number one on Google

Malcolm Coles showed how his blog about phrases that people search for – in this case Pippa Middleton’s arse – got to number one on Google for that phrase.

He tried putting out duplicate content over a day (we are getting a bit technical here, but in essence he kept on putting the same content up but with different ‘web addresses’) – which is frowned on by Google and would normally penalise a website.

However his experiment showed that Google searches for new content quicker than it spots duplicate content – a lag time of several hours – which gave him the chance to get to number one on Google.

I asked if generating several hundred thousand hits in a day had converted to business – Malcolm said not as such but it’s got him speaking opps and he will get business from those!

5.       Eye tracking for consumer research is brilliant

Wow!  SimpleUsability’s eye-tracking software is fantastic.  You can see exactly how a user goes onto your site and how they search for a product – where they get confused and when they look at ads.  Combined with a simple brain-scanning device you can also register moods – see if someone is engaged or frustrated.

Apparently the minimum cost is £5k – which could be a difficult sell to clients at the moment but if you are selling from your website I reckon you would recover your investment almost immediately.

6.       Where are the B2B case studies?

As with every SEO and digital conference we’ve been to – all the case studies were about consumer markets.  If your business is selling a product to consumers, you can measure (almost immediately) whether what you are doing on SEO is working.

It is really hard to do good SEO in the B2B market – the buying decision process can take years, is influenced by a wide range of factors and is difficult to measure and track.  It is very difficult but you can do it.  Why aren’t we at least having the discussions at these events?

7.       What SEOs call PR isn’t PR as we know it ….

My colleagues created a minor stir at one session and I know want to blog about this themselves.  Watch this space.

So was there a killer moment on Saturday?  Yes – for me it’s that the corporate and professional market is still largely untapped and that means opportunities for all of us.

I introduced myself to someone as the ‘B2B tart’ which they loved – they suggested I should buy the domain name so maybe we should do just that.


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Written by Northern Lights

1 Comment

  • Victoria – just concerned that you may go very blokey and start wearing football jerseys and drinking cans of lager! Joking aside, you make some very valid points, particularly around the lack of B2B case studies. You’re right about the blog on PR and SEO – I was interested to see on Twitter that I had started a ‘PR bunfight’!

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