SMX London 2010 was SMX Advanced so we thought we'd push ourselves too and offer you 111 takeaways and top tips from the conference. Wordtracker's top tweeter, Mal Darwen attended and was supported by Mark Nunney reporting the coverage.
SMX has a history of inviting speakers who share good information. There were a few mutterings about the validity of the 'Advanced' tag but I didn't speak to a single person who said they didn't learn anything. I hope you can use some of it in your own work. Here goes...
SEO ranking factors
The power and quality of a link may be affected by the following:
2) Position on the page, eg, within 'editorial' content rather than a menu.
3) Position within a list (top being better).
4) Number of words in the anchor text (less being more).
5) Some measure of how commercial it might be (less being more).
6) Text or image.
7) The words around a link (are they unique, 'natural', related?).
QDF stands for Query Deserves Freshness and Google's QDF algo determines to what degree a search query (or keyword) requires new (fresh) content. If QDF decides a query deserves fresh pages, eg, a topic is in the news or has a rush of searches, then newer pages and news results will rise up the ranks. Mark Nunney
8) Tweets appear to influence QDF.
Correlation is not cause. Eg, higher levels of smoking might correlate with higher levels of poor diet but one doesn't necessarily cause the other. Mark Nunney
The following on-page factors correlate well with higher SERPs ranks:
9) Keyword at the start of page title tag.
10) Keyword in image alt attributes.
11) Keyword before brand name in page title tag.
The following on-page factors do not correlate well (or at least ok) with higher SERPs ranks:
12) Keyword in H1 tag.
13) Increased keyword density.
14) If you put your brand name in your title tag then put it after your keyword.
15) It's easier to rank home pages for competitive keywords, so use homepage for your most important target keywords where possible.
If you're using internal pages, build links to them first.
Rob Kerry via Attacat
17) Good Google ranking might be determined by just a handful of links.
18) Links from university and government sites aren't inherently better but they are often more likely to have a profile that means the site is trusted and the link higher quality.
Eight of Kelvin Newman's 17 tips for getting links from .ac.uk and .gov links are:
19) Reach out to academic and university site blogs.
20) Offer students and staff discount.
21) Write a positive story and let the press department know.
22) Sponsor a student event.
23) Give a careers talk.
24) Advertise a job.
25) Become a case study eg, for a business department.
26) Submit to government site's business directories
Kelvin Newman with some help from Jaamit's SEO Insight post
27) 301 redirects are less useful across domains than they once were - Google is removing relevancy, so you're better off using the canonical tag rather than 301 for external redirects
Rob obviously has examples of 301s not working well but I've recently done lots of 301s with no problems, ie, no noticeable loss in rankings and traffic. This suggests that what Rob is seeing is selective. Mark Nunney
28) It's far more effective to get websites to change a link than to try to use 301 or rel=canonical. This method involves using email and the telephone, and talking to real people.
Maybe. But if you're confident 301s work for your site then you might be better off spending that 'telephone and email time' getting new links. Mark Nunney
29) 20 to 40% of the search queries on Google are local.
I think that will change a lot from country to country. For example in a big country like the US, many services have to be local. Mark Nunney
30) Most true local conversions happen offline or on the phone. Track offline conversions by using phone call tracking, discount codes, add 'in-store pickup' option, etc.
31) Don't focus on the numbers on a specific moment, but on the changes in a specific period.
32) Reports without actions suck.
33) If you can’t figure out an action after looking at a report, don’t use it, it’s crap.
34) Top 10 keyword reports are lazy. A lot of people use top 10 keywords as a report for clients, but they don’t tell you much. 6 of the 10 may be exactly the same month to month.
Alex Cohen via Jaamit SEO Insight
35) Lazy data makes the long tail cry. Alex quotes his hero, Avinash Kaushik, saying "instead of looking at this lazy data, look at what’s changed".
Alex Cohen via Jaamit
36) "While we obsess about our brand terms and our top 10 keyphrases the reality is that the long tail of search means that our organic and search campaigns focus on tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of keywords. One effective strategy to deal with this purely data problem is to focus on what's changed"
Avinash Kaushik, via Alex Cohen
37) Depending on your budget, it's better to use free tools and hire an analyst than it is to spend huge amounts of money on tools and just use them to count page views.
38) 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
39) Video will often get higher clickthrough rates than a standard result.
40) 68% of top retailers are now using video.
41) Embed video on product pages. Page needs to have titles, descriptions, etc, to help search engines understand what the video is about. Make the embed part of the initial load of page.
Shmulik Weller via Attacat
42) Submit a video sitemap with compelling thumbnails – don’t leave it up to Google to choose your thumbnails.
Shmulik Weller via Jaamit SEO Insight
43) Video takes up to 1/3 of web traffic and will increase to 90% in 2013 (Cisco)
44) Upload your videos to a wide range of video sites.
46) News can be a quick and short term way of getting on to page one of Google SERPs for competitive keywords.
47) Images are important for getting into news (use standard sizes 300×250 or 180×150). Make alt tag same as headline.
Rob Kerry via Attacat
48) Separate company news (put it on the blog) from industry news (put into news content).
Rob Kerry via Attacat
49) If you get rejected from Google News then be Billy Big Balls and go back to the editors. 'How dare they?'
Rob Kerry via Attacat
50) Isolate your brand keywords into separate Campaigns as they get lower CPCs, higher Quality Scores and so distort ad group and campaign metrics.
51) Impression Share data is problematic. Try 'opportunity cost' instead - how much exact match traffic could you get and how much would it cost?
52) Don't obsess on Quality Score, focus on each keyword's ROI.
53) One problem with looking at Quality Score at keyword level is it's like using a microscope vs a map - think about the map - it gives a lot more data and shows you where to prioritize, so look at the distribution of Quality Score across the campaign rather than keyword by keyword.
54) Group keywords based on modifiers, eg, 'download' is different to 'guide'.
55) Use Google Webmaster Tools' new clickthrough rate (CTR) feature to judge the effectiveness of your copy.
56) Many people focus only on the search result - not the user, or the landing page - and are therefore only looking at one third of the picture.
57) Google Ad Planner can help with segmenting your target group and offering insight into where those users can be engaged.
58) Google and Twitter search results pages are your brand's new home page.
59) 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know.
60) 70% of people trust online consumer opinions from people they don't know.
61) 41% of people trust search engine results.
62) Build brands around reputation not products.
63) It's not always true online that all publicity is bad publicity.
64) Claim your social media brand profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed etc.
65) Real-time search is increasingly important.
66) Look at Google's 'suggested' search for your brand.
67) Even for misspellings. See image below:
68) Negative comment on a page about you? Find a less negative page on the same site and link build around it to push more negative one down.
Source anyone? Claim your link
69) Flood out negative mentions of your brand on Twitter using a network of fake twitter accounts.
Rob Kerry via Jaamit
70) Infographics with lots of data that are pleasing to the eye and informative can be great viral fodder and linkbait.
71) Test. And if it doesn't work, move on and try something else.
72) Spend good quality time with your customers.
73) Find someone in your organization who can speak the same language as your customers for your social media campaigns.
74) My avatar is bright red because most social media sites use muted colors. Red stands out, provokes reaction.
75) Time your social media involvement to tailor to your market. The US may be in bed when you tweet to the UK.
76) If the product or content sucks, social media will not fix it.
77) Websites do not link to websites, people do. Appeal to the webmaster.
78) Return on Investment = old thinking. Return on Involvement is the new thinking
Lyndon Antcliff via @hakandahlstrom
79) The battle for the link occurs in the mind of the linker.
80) Linkbait: We like ... we link.
81) Linkbait: Find what people want: create it, show it.
82) Linkbait doesn't have to be wacky, just informative or interesting.
83) Headlines are crucial in linkbait - not necessarily about things people agree with (or like). Tap into the dark side.
Lyndon Antcliff via @maxormark
84) Make headlines sparse.
85) The best headline writers are poets, not copywriters.
86) If a blogger doesn't take up your story the first time, be persistent. They're probably playing World of Warcraft.
87) Social media is like a dinner party - have outside interests, and don't be boring.
88) No-one wants to be a part of a community that isn't genuine.
Make it genuine by:
89) Allowing feedback. Parks Blackwell
90) Don't delete the feedback. Parks Blackwell
91) Post real updates to feedback.
92) People spend 3x more time on Facebook than on Google.
93) Facebook advertising lets you target users' location, demographics, likes and interests, education and work.
94) The real difference between Facebook and Google ads is that on Google users are searching for information but on Facebook they are arranging dates or playing Farmville.
95) Don't write off Facebook advertising. Learn how to use it. Use special offers, link bait, make ads local, personality and be event driven.
96) The look and feel of the landing page should match the ad.
97) Include Google tracking code in URLs.
98) Works well for products and subjects that people 'love'. May be harder for b2b and technical subjects.
99) Facebook is social so start a conversation.
100) Long-running ads suffer. New ads do better.
101) Deliberately put the wrong people off clicking.
102) Use 2-stage marketing: generate leads to build your list.
General top tips
These first three should be in the local section (sorry Christine :).
104) Contact pages shouldn't just be a contact form. Add address info, phone info, Google maps and driving directions.
Christine Churchill via Search Cowboys
105) Optimize employee names as people search for people.
Christine Churchill via Search Cowboys
106) Microformats can give smaller sites an advantage as few sites use them.
'Universal search' is search results pages that include videos, images, news, products, maps and more along with regular search results. [Mark Nunney
107) Universal search is an opportunity to get ranked for less effort eg, by targeting products results.
Page download speed is now a ranking factor for Google. Here are six tips from Mikkel DeMib Svendsen for improving page speed:
109) Compress objects with gzip. Mikkel DeMib Svendsen
110) Keep your text to code ratio above 10%. Mikkel DeMib Svendsen
111) Remove meta tags that do nothing. Mikkel DeMib Svendsen
112) Put your CSS into one file. Mikkel DeMib Svendsen
114) Visit Yahoo Developer Network for good advice on how to speed up your site.
Mikkel DeMib Svendsen
Add any missed points to the comments below.
Next SMX shows are:
About Mal Darwen
Mal Darwen joined Wordtracker in 2008 as part of the Customer Service team, and now as well as running webinars in SEO and how to use the toolset is Product Manager. In the five years since starting with Wordtracker, Mal has also spoken about SEO and keywords at conferences, and has a healthy hand in Wordtracker's tweeting.
When not Wordtracking Mal plays with a band called Praying for the Rain. He also plays guitars and basses with a number of other UK and International artists. He lives in London with his family and two slightly insecure cats.