Like Me? Follow Me.
The line-up was as follows:
- The Business of Search: An Insider Perspective on the Search Industry – Nichola Stott
- Optimising for Google News – Barry Adams
- The Psychology of Successful Link Building – Kelvin Newman
- Forecasting for SEO – Neil Walker
First up at the lectern was ex-Yahoo! Employee Nichola Stott (she left to found Hampshire based search and social media agency theMediaFlow). Nichola's talk aimed to give the conference an insider perspective of how search engines function as businesses and was largely successful, using a series of formulas to forecast Google's potential revenue from the UK market.
The presentation was highly maths-focused (something I am not), so I'm afraid I can't be more specific with regards to the content of her talk until I see the slides and jog the memory.
Second up, affable Barry Adams (Senior Internet Marketer for Search at Pierce Communications) talked about why we should be optimising for Google News. Barry pointed out that you can't hope to optimise for Google News as a standard site (inclusion in G News requires adherence to certain prerequisites regarding the content of your site) and even if you could, it's already dominated by the big players (BBC, Guardian, Telegraph etc.). However, what you can do is put out press releases optimised for your desired keywords and, assuming you've used a decent online PR service, be pretty certain that they'll be appearing on page one of the G organic results, pushing plenty of traffic to your page in a short time frame.
Barry also suggested that if you're really committed to your niche, you could always start a news site yourself, that does have the potential to appear in G News as well as organic listings - he cited SEO news site: searchnewscentral.com as an example.
After a short break for coffee and cookies, delegates returned to the conference room for Kelvin Newman's (Creative Director at SiteVisibility) 'The Psychology of Link Building', in which Kelvin made a series of interesting yet highly tenuous links between classic pyschological studies and link building. All in all it made for an interesting diversion but offered little in the way of tips or advice that could be taken away and applied in day to day SEO.
Finally we were treated to a presentation by Neil Walker (formerly of JustSearch, now of SEO MAD), in which he demonstrated a potential method for forecasting ROI for SEO clients. Using a complex series of Excel Spreadsheets, Neil demonstrated that by taking into account a number of factors including desired keywords and the percentage of people clicking on a 1-5 page one result as opposed to a 6-10, he could forecast just how long it would take for a given client to achieve ROI for an SEO campaign.
Obviously this would be a very powerful tool in a pitching situation, and the presentation as a whole was interesting, however some delegates were quick to point out that the frequency with which Google changes its layout and algorithms makes forecasting of any kind irrelevant, the fact remains that even a rough guide is better than nothing when you're trying to convince clients of the benefit of SEO.
Afterwards we all went to Walrus in the Northern Quarter for drinks, which was nice.