It’s that time again folks – yes – it really has been 6 months since the last Think Visibility Conference or #thinkvis as it’s more widely known. Held in the usual venue of the Alea Casino in Leeds, Think Visibility 7 was for me one of the most creative and fun yet! A fantastic range of speakers from the brand new to the seasoned pro, and some of the funniest talks (and sights) I have seen on the circuit to date; including a presentation by Chewbacca, bouncy castle and ball pool! The lunchtime entertainment was also a bonus as yours truly got to shoot people in the face wearing a pig mask in the ‘weakest link’ parody!
I’ve been to a few conferences and ThinkVis is always the most entertaining, welcoming and enjoyable. Top that off with the fact that all egos are checked in at the door, you are surrounded by some of the world’s finest SEO talent at their most relaxed, and that Dom gives the first timers just as much exposure and support as the circuit regulars and you have a near perfect SEO weekender.
It is impossible to see everything, but with ThinkVis, you can’t help feeling torn that you have to choose between talks (cue request for Dom to release video footage for the next one).
The talks I attended:
- SEO for eCommerce – Barry Adams
- Outsourcing for Cheap Bastards – Daniel McGuire
- Website Statistics : 60% of the time it works every time – Anna Lewis
- VSEO Strategies: Why YouTube Is So Much More Than Kittens & Car Crashes – Carla Marshall
- Your Time To Shine! – with a secret surprise guest!
- Understanding Google Crawling and Indexing – Pierre Far
SEO for eCommerce – Barry Adams: Pierce Communications
Starting off with a State of Search regular and seasoned pro – Barry Adams – this talk on SEO for e-commerce was a pretty handy master class overview. Full of hints and tips, I got a lot from this talk and will be implementing a lot of the things that I haven’t got round to yet for my own clients!
A gentleman and a scholar and it was a pleasure to meet you at last Barry!
- Identify top revenue generating keywords – encourage brand searches for high conversion
- High converting product pages? Consider increasing prices or upselling from these pages #trust #trust #trust
- Internal Search – track it, use it
- Information architecture – best practice is key – breadcrumbs, semantic value
- Product Pics and product content – hi res pics and high value in unique descriptions
- Conversion, conversion, conversion – free shipping, clear delivery info, time sensitive deals
- Out of Stock 404 pages – don’t do it – keep page, show relevant message, or permanently 301 – flaunt discontinued products
- Remember you are Google’s shopping bitch – build a GA filter – use tracking parameters, address data quality issues
- Use Seller reviews – Google aggregates reviews from multiple sources – seek them out from your customers
- Mark up with schema.org
- Fix duplicate content issues or crawl budget may ‘run out’ before all money pages are indexed – robots.txt, rel=canonical, noindex, xml sitemap
- Link building with blogger outreach – social share, like, peer pressure etc (50% of ecomerce shoppers are logged into FaceBook!)
- Link bait is not used by e-commerce sites effectively – get to it people!
- Build links to category pages – authoritative categories translate to higher rankings!
Outsourcing for Cheap Bastards – Dan McGuire: Carnival Creative
One word – ‘BOOM!’ – I sit next to Dan all day in the Carnival offices, and had no idea what was about to be unleashed on the world. First time speaker, but Dan totally nailed it with a session full of comedy classics. Outsourcing for Cheap Bastards was essentially Dom giving Dan the challenge to make a site from start to finish and list it on a budget of $200 bucks using the website Fiverr.
The start off point of ‘This presentation was created by someone else for $5′ set the tone for a very funny adventure including some of the most random images included in a presentation, ridiculous content from a Fiverr stranger after asking them to ‘add some funny pictures to break up the presentation’ and a host of other things you can buy such as ‘I will dance for 50 seconds to any song as a naughty panda for $5′
- Don’t expect to learn the best way to outsource
- Don’t pay someone $5 for a how to make money online e-book
- Expect to see and hear more from Dan on the conference circuit
View Dan’s notes on Slideshare:
Website Statistics : 60% of the time it works every time – Anna Lewis: Koozai
When it comes to reporting, it’s all about the three A’s – accuracy, authority, argument. If you don’t consider all of these points, your reporting is essentially meaningless, which when you are trying to add value and prove that you are invaluable outsource, is not the best strategy. Context is your friend, make best use of it, and make sure you have the tools for the job in order to spend your time doing the real work as opposed to endless reporting!
Explaining how to create simple spreadsheets from macro’s and API’s to make the task quick and easy (without the need for complex programming), Anna made it look easy. This really was a great Analytics overview, and I for one have learned a number of features that I didn’t know existed. Anna also gave us an overview of the new Analytics interface in the your time to shine session
See the slides from Anna on the Koozai Blog
Video SEO Strategies: Why YouTube Is So Much More Than Kittens & Car Crashes – Carla Marshall: Sorbet Digital
Wow, these ‘State of Searchers’ were everywhere this conference! Carla a fellow SoS blogger but also co founder and partner of Carnival Creative and ex-Netstepper with our Dan McGuire (see above). Carla was a first time speaker, but handled the talk with ease, and the amount of questions at the end should give an indication of the great information Carla shared about Video SEO.
Carla grabbed our attention with the opening line of ‘Video is a bloody big deal’, then took us on a journey into Video SEO strategy and why you really need to consider making videos if you aren’t already, but also tagging them correctly to take full advantage of potential search positions that your competitors may not even have thought about yet.
- Video is getting bigger – with 4 billion views per day, we are way past the point of infancy yet still people are not utilising the full power of Video or Video SEO
- 90% of all web traffic will be video – according to YouTube and I believe them
- Video appears approximately 70% of the time in top 100 listings – that’s a powerful statistic!
- Video SEO Optimisation is often missed – see it as an extension of current SEO best practice
- Do not expect your corporate video to go instantly viral - you may be waiting a long time – see it as part of an integrated strategy
- Sticky Sticky Sticky - visitors spend an average of two more minutes on sites that host video
- Video increases CTR - #FACT
- Make sure video is enabled for all devices
- Use JWPlayer 5 – WP plugin available
- Use unique landing pages
- Re-purpose content – transcripts et
- Google has to be able to find your video – HELP IT OUT – use a video sitemap – or use Smart Video
- BREAKING NEWS – Video now supports Rich Snippets
- Use ‘in video’ functions – overlays, captions, open captions, Call to Actions can be a silver bullet for Video SEO
View Carla’s slides on Video SEO
Your Time To Shine - surprise guest – Chewbacca!
Not a talk as such but a quick 5 minutes from anyone that wants to share on any subject they want – Anna & Mike from Koozai shared some great info on Analytics and the power of using freebies to build your brand but the show stopper was Chewbacca who took time out from his hectic ‘Galaxy far far away’ tour to guest at ThinkVis – Chewy shared with us the reasons why Google should ignore anchor text and his hatred for George Lucas – Audience question time was a hoot!
Understanding Google Crawling and Indexing – Pierre Far: Google
There was an issue with the connector to the projector initially, so Pierre sat on the front of the stage to present, which made for a really intimate session. Pierre discussed the Google crawling pipeline and gave a full understanding of how GoogleBot works, with what to do and not to do. Unable to handle some tricky questions due to policy, we didn’t get to the juicy stuff but the talk was still packed with useful things to know about if you want Google to crawl you effectively.
- Using the wrong signals will make the GoogleBot stop crawling
- Google adjust the crawl rate depending on signals your site gives – too many errors means you may be disregarded
- There are now 3 mobile GoogleBots – if you have a google app for smartphone you will start to see them rank – check http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/12/introducing-smartphone-googlebot-mobile.html
- 500 503 errors – keep an eye on them – if there is a spike – the site crawler backs off
- Be careful what you block – the JQuery blog was dropped due to a common problem of webmasters blocking bots
- Look out for soft error pages and display the correct code
- Sign up to the webmaster tools emails or you will miss really important info on a regular basis!
- Most duplicate content is unintentional and doesn’t hurt but use rel=canonical wherever possible
- Why does Google change the title tag? -To better match the query – http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2012/01/better-page-titles-in-search-results.html
- Multiple titles will give you more traffic
- Rich snippets – products, events, application, software need rich snippets
- +1 button is a signal that you want to be indexed
I have pictures of most of the slides – but given that Dom was not allowed to put the presentation on his laptop without destroying it afterwards – I am not going to post publicly – let me know if you want to have a look!
My Final Words
Thinkvis could be the place where you find your feet as a speaker, find out something you didn’t know before, make industry friends and lifelong actual friends. I have been lucky enough to experience all of the aforementioned side effects, so if you didn’t get to go this time round – make sure you ask your boss now, and book your slot for Think Visibility 8
Thanks Dom – you rock!
For photos of the event
- My Facebook Public Gallery
- Sk8Geeks photostream on Flickr – including a picture of Ned Poulter in a Penguin Costume