Think Visibility September 2010 -Top Takeaways

The latest Think Visibility conference was held over the weekend and yet again, it was a great conference. I made my speaking debut at the last Think Visibility but this time I wasn't speaking which meant I was a lot more relaxed this time round!

Here are my key takeaways from the conference.  Big thanks to Steven for the photos, you can view the full set here.

Mel Carson - Learning and Earning Through Social Media

Mel is the Community Manager at Microsoft Advertising and talked about how they approached social media and gave some examples of how social media fits into the main objectives of what they do.

  • Social media isn't just about Facebook and Twitter
  • Social media is about making your content discoverable and shareable
  • Use third party sites to interact with the community
  • Its all about reaching out to people and empowering them to help themselves
  • Capture buzz and sentiment about your brand and report it back to employees

Rob Kerry - International SEO

Rob is Head of Search at Ayima and made the trip over from the states to speak about the best techniques for international SEO.

  • Use subfolders for hosting country specific content eg for French content
  • Use Google Webmaster Tools to tell Google which country your subfolders are targeting
  • Subfolders can have a lower click through rate from SERPs
  • Hosting location is becoming less important and the ccTLD will always override it
  • Hire a native speaker of the language you want to target instead of using translation tools
  • Putting an American flag on a US targeted page can reduce bounce rates :)

Lisa Myers - Using Social Media for SEO

Lisa is the founder and CEO of Verve Search, she is also very close to having a baby and warned us in advance that her last baby was two weeks early so the chances of a conference baby were likely!

  • Don't rely on just Facebook and Twitter for social media campaigns
  • The text that surrounds a link is very important
  • Make sure you define the objective of your social media campaign before you start
  • Identify your target audience and put yourself in their shoes

Jaamit Durrani - Link Building in Real Life

Jaamit is SEO Director at OMD and gave what was my favourite presentation of the day. No, not because he mentioned me:

Think Vis Tweet

The real reason is that link building is a tough subject to speak about given that many techniques have either already been blogged about or are kept secret - with good reason sometimes I should add. However Jaamit covered some good techniques and put different twists on old techniques.

  • Make sure you have a large and diverse set of backlinks pointing at your site
  • Use lower level link building techniques to get domain diversity and anchor text
  • Use advanced Google search queries to narrow down search results, eg using keyword to find trusted University sites
  • Use traditional blog comment spamming tools to find dofollow blogs - then go and constructively comment instead or spamming them

Paul Madden - What a Spammer would do

Paul is often referred to as SEOidiot and is well known for dabbling in the darker side or SEO techniques.

  • Be careful when using free Wordpress themes - some have encrypted hidden links embedded
  • If you're doing online dating - be careful to avoid the robots who reply to you :)
  • If someone asks to exchange links with you - be careful they're not hiding the link back to you from Google

Dave Naylor - Gaining Ranking Dominance in any Sector

Last presentation of the day came from Dave of Bronco.  As always, Dave was an entertaining speaker and I believe there was a bit of a panic when Dom couldn't find him a few minutes before he was due on stage!  Dave also did some interesting Q&A at the end which I'm not going to blog about I'm afraid.

  • Tailgate existing brands and get clicks by writing a better META title
  • If you have the budget - buy a domain that already ranks
  • Build relationships with your suppliers for links and other benefits
  • Google loves brands - build one

Big thumbs up to Dom Hodgson for organising a great conference yet again. Think Vis is one of my favourite SEO conferences and doesn't follow the regular format used by some of the larger conferences. One example was Dom using his closing speech to tell us to p#ss off*.

On the subject of conferences, don't forget about the London Pro SEO Seminar we're running at the end of October. I've had a sneaky preview of some of the stuff that will be talked about and it is really going to be a good one.

*He did follow this up with "and come back in an hour for a free bar"

Other Good Writeups on Think Vis - Four blog posts on various talks

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