SEO and social web conferences organized by SEOmoz and Distilled gained high reputation as major events in web search industry, and Foliovision is glad to take part once again. London Search Love 2011 was slightly rebranded, but that should not confuse you – linkbuilding and social media still play the key role!
Everybody, who reads Rand's blog posts, is probably quite familiar with his philosophy. 'The best linkbuilding is, when you hit the Publish Button' as he says, however, this time it wasn't about 'what to write', but 'who should write', and the conclusion is clear – your community. Community builds your brand, creates associations, builds links, and creates your content – for free. Rand focused on how to build a great community, and how to nurture it. Find early adopters, reward the most active ones, and turn members into community, because natural community is the best way, how to beat the filthy rich offline marketing and brand building.
Tim Critchlow looked at Big Business SEO. Pitching SEO to big business is not easy; there is the bureaucracy, stiff processes, and pyramid of functions, which are never easily penetrated by SEO ideas. Big business needs to be approached with a vision, which will be able to leverage their existing large assets, like manpower to create quality content, large fan base or tonnes of product videos. Just rooting out the thin content, which during years clutters many corporate websites can bring a lot of fun for little money. But never forget, you are in big business – they will want data to prove your progress, they will want you to comply with their processes, and they lust to hear words like project management, lean, or ROI!
For SEO to work for big business, it's not the actions of an external SEO team but how you can build SEO into their internal processes.
For those of you, who are up to your neck in Facebook, you should not have missed Mat Clayton's speech. Zuckerbers are preparing new features like timeline, ticker, recommendations bar, ability to create custom open graph and several other game changers, which should move social integration to the next level. Besides introducing new potential use of this tool, which are sometimes more scary then exciting, Mat added his insights on community behaviour, especially about negativity in community (there is no dislike button and why there will never be one) and passive users.
In the following lecture on modern SEOtoolkit, Will Critchlow grilled the audience; or at least the techy-part of it. Using brilliantly simple demonstrations, he made the point of being a good SEO and coder at the same time. You don need to be a expert programmer, but ability to create ad hoc simple tools to mine, filter, and analyse data is an important asset. You can start with good old Excel. Unfortunately, his lecture was pretty difficult for programming-illiterate attendees.
Lunch break included break out sessions including Panda First Aid. Long faces around that table. Let's hope Distilled's Paddy Moogan was able to help them.
With both lecturers and audience being dominated by men, Joanna Lord represented the distaff side well. Building your community and social media presence shouldn't be done without tracking the competitors at the same time. Some websites build the community in a right way and getting under their skin is inspiring. Pick the most successful brands, see how they encourage people to participate and what response they get. The goal is to learn not only what they have done, but also what are they planning. It's like Cold War spying: learn how strong is their force, when are they recruiting, follow news about them, and follow they money - test bids in their PPCs and watch for other advertising channels.
Unfortunately, Joost de Valk from Yoast.com could not come to the event due to family reasons, which was a bit disappointment for those of us, who were looking forward to see his WordPress SEO lecture. Still he was kind enough to share some minutes via webcam with us. There are more important things in life than baclinks (but these are still high in the list, aren't they), so we all wish Joost everything best.
Instead, a Rand, Will, Tom, and Richard Baxter panel discussed Google+ and future Google algorythms changes. It was almost unanimously agreed, that Google is making every SEO's life difficult. The big problem is that Google is going SSL and removing search referrers. Search referrers are essential to improving your website and track what is making Google send people to your site.
Contacts are the way, how to change great content into viral great content. As Rob Ousbey explained, outreach is not linkbuilding, but links are the final reward. Building relationship should not be difficult, if you do not press too much. It's like dating. Start with research to identify the influencers. The follow them, retweet them, do some comments, some direct tweets, and just then is the time for direct email. With journalists, you can be more direct, but don't expect getting you first pitch on the home page of New York Times. Be patient, and they will remember you. Once the contacts are estaed, take good care of them. Flattery and rewards are allowed.
Just when torrents of SEO knowledge started to hit lowering levels of attention, Will Reynolds came as a hurricane, with the most entertaining (subjectively of course) speech of Day One, about content based linkbuilding. Google suggests, Google product suggests, careful social research of successful posts. Looking for bad content ranking high gives you great opportunity to kick it down and stand on its place.
The last 45 minutes belonged to the Give it up! Panel. If you were there, you learnt about many tips&tricks, which were unique, spicy, and sometimes pretty questionable. Unfortunately, due to ancient curse cast on the Give it up!, we can reveal the secrets only after 30 days.
P.S. If you see any mistakes, please excuse us. I already corrected Rand Fishking, but party night is already on, so grammar, typos, and even links have to wait a while.