Here’s my summary of day 1 of SEOMoz’s “SEO Pro Training” conference – sorry if this is a little messy, I’m typing this up on a Blackberry!
The morning kicked off with ‘advanced analytics’ by Will Critchlow ,who offered a host of advice on plugins to make the most of your Google Analytics package and what metrics to use to ensure the data is working for your campaign. Examples inc pages receiving organic traffic, unique unbranded keywords, time on site increasing, time parameters to measure satisfied readers who should not be included in bounce rate and more.
Next up was ‘Getting SEO done against the organisational odds’ with Richard Baxter, who was on a mission to get the attendees to become excel ninjas. With a simple introduction to excel’s tables and pivot tables to increase efficiency of keyword research, Richard had many hints and tips to manage an seo team and campaign to maximise visability, conversion rate, revenue and overall traffic from your organic search campaign.
After a quick break we moved straight into ‘ROI from social media’ with Lucy Langdon. The biggest learning taken from Lucy’s presentation was determining what ‘R’ stands for in ROI for any campaign. Whether it is conversion based or branding based, Lucy drove home to the group that it must be measurable to determine the success of the campaign. Key hints that she had experienced having good success in a social media campaign included data visualisation, useful resources, big images and lots and lots of lists.
Still going strong we swiftly moved onto ‘Diagnosing and fixing penalties, understanding guidelines’ with Jane Copland. Jane argued that many penalties are in fact not penalties at all. In fact the most common reason for movement in rankings are due to your competitors being rewarded for doing something well which you and your site aren’t. The biggest culprit is over optimisation of external link anchor text where brands and domain names aren’t included which stresses the need to manage your link campaign well.
Next up we had ‘Scalable site architecture’ with Duncan Morris who ran us through instinctive foraging methods as well as various methods to promote good site structure. Key learnings include having relatively few nodes per category, a balanced tree structure and a very obvious customer navigation path.
After a quick bite for lunch and a chance to mix with the other attendees we were back to work with the fascinating ‘Ranking models’ days gathered by Ben Hendrickson and the SEOmoz team. After monitoring 10,000+ SERPs, Ben looked at the correlation of ranking positions with everything from offsite links to title keyword matches. Most contraversial statement of the day – body and out anchors including keywords are more influential than including the keyword in header tags. Interesting.
Next up was a live linkbuilding exercise with Rand Fishkin and Tom Critchlow who came up with a number of intreating ideas of how to naturally expand your linkbuilding activity through link bait and establishing relationships with authority sites.
The final session of day one came from Ben Jesson and his Conversion squirrel to discuss ‘Conversion rate optimisation’. Ben explained how close onsite and offsite conversion can work together by sharing the learnings. In order to improve conversion it is essential to determine the objection of non-converting customers and address these objections. This can be determined through various conversations from face to face to refer a friend conversations to Twitter responses. Once the counter objection has been determined, split test and monitor the change in conversation. Ben also went on to show examples of how highly converting landing pages are being used in offsite print advertising, closing the offsite-onsite cycle.Tweet