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SEO Pro Training – Day Two Summary

Alex Christie

20 October 2009

The day was kicked up by a head to head presentation-off between Will Critchlow and Rand Fishkin on the subject of keywords. Both took very different approaches to tackling the subject of keyword research; Rand opting for the macro approach and looking at SEO market share as a whole and in driving traffic to the site, whereas Will opted for a more micro approach, looking at the relationship between keyword length and average search volume when compared against conversion rate. (The magic number from his research is in fact 4 although I think it would be interesting to test his useful equations and formulae against my own data to see if this rings true across all sectors). Another interesting piece of information came from a recent study that 31% of users click on images when they appear in blended search results, 36% of users click on news and 17% on videos. Overall my vote goes to Will for the most amount of insight…just don’t tell Rand!

Next up we had a very interesting talk on ‘News site SEO’ with Rob Ousbey. Rob explained the importance of planning your news content whilst also being reactive to those ‘volcanic’ topics that arise unpredictably, but by using generic terms in your content and title, could really provide some immediate traffic to the site.

The highlight of the day for me, came in the form of ‘The pacman chunk of the piechart – getting links’ presentation with Tom Critchlow. Tom talked us through how to build an efficient link building campaign by determing what your USP is and conduct efficient competitor analysis. Tom also provided lots of hints and tips of ways to think laterally when building links which I will be sharing with the Tamar team as soon as I’m back in the office.

After a quick bite to eat we were back at it with ‘SEO is nothing without content’ by Rand Fishkin. The key message Rand made to the group was the importance of including link acquisition and keyword targeting as part of the content brainstorming process. Content should be interesting so that people will want to link to your content, and you should also provide various and easy ways to link to your site.

We then moved on to optimising various media through ‘Vertical and universal search’ with Patrick Altoft and Tom Critchlow. Tom kicked off with handy hints to improve rankings within Google Local and the importance of reviews and citations for verified listings. Patrick then took us through use of images in video, image and news results and how the right size, keywords and branding of images can help click throughs and ncrease the amount of real estate to be occupied on a search engine results page.

Next up was ‘The limits of automation’ by Dave Naylor who provided an introduction to his favourite SEO tools and a sneak preview of tools that are up and coming. The biggest take home of the presentation for me was that no matter how many tools you have in your armourey, to have someone dedicated to the data collected to interpret, build a strategy and monitor the results in order to enjoy a successful campaign.

Finally, we had ‘The right strategy for your organisation’ with Will Critchlow and Duncan Morris. Will kicked off the presentation, again by stressing the importance of determining the USP of a site by choosing uniqueness over desirability when looking to attract more links. Duncan then moved the subject on to International search results and the rankings of global domains (.com) over local domains (.co.uk, .de, .es, .fr) and the importance of using local language if a global strategy is being implemented.

Overall the past two days have been very informative and thought provoking, and something I very much hope to be invited along to again. Each of the speakers brought a wealth of experience and helpful tips which I’m sure all attendees will have benefited from. I definitely plan to look further into a number of the subjects covered which I hope to include future blog posts.

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