I’m back to work after two awesome days at Search Love London. I have a pile of notes from the conference sitting on my desk, so I thought I would share them with the world. I guess this blog post would be too long if it contained all the tips shared at Search Love, so I will try to focus on the main takeaways.
Guy Levine – The Future of Small Business SEO
A small business cannot afford to wait for the long-term returns of SEO, so short-term immediate gains should be sought in PPC in order to drive relevant traffic to the website. However Paid Search has become incredibly competitive and keywords average CPC is hitting the stars. Therefore, you shouldn’t chase the expensive short tail but go for lower volume keywords that you can find by scraping Yahoo Answers, Money Savings Expert forum. Search what your customers are looking for, but also ask them directly. Use any piece of conversation you had had with them (emails, live chats) to see what are the recurring patterns and look for what is “hot” at the moment on social media. Topsy is a free social analytics tool that will show you what are the trending keywords out there. And it’s almost in real time, unlike Google Trends.
ResponseSource is an enquiry service that can make small businesses’ life easier. Paying a very small annual fee you would receive journalists’ requests for products and services to review, competition prizes and reader offers.
You should also try to get more traffic by increasing the CTR on the results pages by implementing rich snippets. Add hReview to your website to quickly get the star rating.
Heather Healy – Do Social Signals Actually Play a Part in Search Rankings
Heather Healy from Stickyeyes put an end (for the moment) to the continuous industry debate about whether or not social signals are a ranking factor. She studied the top 100 domains for 400 competitive keywords in different niches and came to the conclusion that in 80% of the cases social interactions with those URLs (likes, shares etc) weren’t driving rankings. However, there was a strong (0.638) correlation between social interactions and unique links. Therefore a good social strategy will not increase your rankings directly, but will eventually lead to mentions and links, which definitely have an influence on rankings.
David Mihm – The Need to Know of Local SEO
30% of searches have a local intent now, so it is not a surprise that David Mihm, one of the bst known Local SEO experts was delivering a presentation at Search Love. His slides were awesome and full of precious information, such as best practices and useful tips.
The main takeaway of the presentation is probably the importance of citations for rankings in local search. David showed examples where citations of your business name, address, phone number and website (NAP+W) have increased their rankings, even without having any links. Google has become smart enough now to recognise them as valid. One of the increasingly important ranking factors in local is reviews, and you should always try to have them from the largest amount of sources. Reviews submitted in Google + Local are weighted slightly higher, but it’s still very important to have reviews from different domains.
And do not forget to submit your listings on the major data providers in the UK. He created a map of the UK Local Search Ecosystem where you can see which ones are the major providers in the UK. Basically submitting your listing to Companies House, 118 Information, Yelp and other providers your data will be fed to dozens of other resources and ultimately in Google + Local.
Lisa Myers – International SEO: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Our CEO Lisa Myers’s presentation was on creating an International SEO strategy. There are three main pillars in International SEO:
3) Link development
First of all, make sure your website is indexed in the right geographical index. ccTLDs are the most powerful signal about location for search engines and if you have an office in the relevant country and you are a growing business, it is strongly recommended that use country specific top level domains. However, you may use subfolders such as yourdomain.com/fr for sites that have budget constraints, don’t have local offices, and/or are informational in nature. Doing that you will be able to benefit of link authority of the entire domain! There is always the possibility to use subdomains, but it has more cons than pros.
In addition to this, pay attention to the language you are using on those websites (where is the point in targeting the Greek market with English content?) or you will be nowhere to be found, and try to get links from other sites in the language you want to rank for.
Phil Nottingham – The Building Blocks of Great Video
His focus was on showing how to make sure that video fits in a content strategy and is optimised correctly. Do not forget that video does not necessarily equal great content, as it is just another medium. It’s the creative aspect behind it that makes the difference. It doesn’t require a lot of investment and with a few hundreds of pounds even small businesses can make the most of video and bridge the gap between customers’ interest and conversion. When uploading a video, it’s important to check the best settings and format that will help it rank higher and show up in the SERPs (good “old” rich snippets) but before doing that you should decide which one will be the platform. In fact, if the purpose of your video is to increase brand awareness you should submit it to as many platforms as possible (Vimeo, YouTube etc). On the other hand, if you are seeking to increase conversion, you definitely want to solely self-host the video on your website as you don’t want to cannibalise rankings and make it hard for customers to convert, as you will struggle to send customers to your conversion page.
These two days were so packed of useful information that one blog post wouldn’t make any justice to them, so stay tuned for more blog posts in the next days!