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The 24th of November saw the return of the SAScon mini-conference at The Hive in Manchester and as I am still in my early days working within SEO, what better way to gain an insight into the event than through the eyes of an eager amateur?
What Does SSL Search Mean for SEO?
After stocking up on an unaccountable amount of free muffins and cookies, we piled into the conference room for the panel discussion, which asked what SSL Search will mean for SEO? The panel was mediated by Richard Gregory and included Kevin Gibbons, Chelsea Blacker, Sam Crocker, James Lowery and Peter Young.
The overall agreement from the panel was that SSL was not a huge deal for some industries with Chelsea Blacker giving the example of retail companies taking a lower hit than the likes of technology based industries.
The biggest issue which arose was Google+ being recognised as a serious game changer. With 50 million current users, as well as 250 million Gmail users, the potential amount of data Google could provide (or withhold) in the future to companies is overwhelming.
Method Marketing: Some Quirky-But-Powerful Techniques We’ve Developed for Understanding Why Visitors Aren’t Converting
Next up was Karl Banks from the Converting Rate Experts (CRE) presentation on method marketing. The first question was how many of the audience use split testing to improve their website, and to no surprise the majority of hands went up. They believed if you’re not running them, you should, as it can be a very secure way of improving your website for a better customer experience.
The other piece of advice CRE presented was getting in the mind of your customer by testing your online findings offline. To the amusement of the crowd CRE went through some of Karl’s daring experiences, including attending a weight loss scheme and setting up his own online dating profile.
How to Generate Better Traffic
After a short break of more hot drinks and complimentary muffins it was Gary Taylor from One Result’s chance to inspire with his first appearance at SAScon. Gary’s presentation on how to generate better traffic focused on creating engaging content as well as long-tail search and deep linking. However he caused a bit of a stir when suggesting even crude page titles can help generate targeted traffic.
However, his point regarding above the line advertising was interesting for the businesses in the audience that used the likes of television, print and radio to advertise as well as the internet. It was surprising to see how many admitted that other media didn’t have a large part within their SEO strategy. People should be timing their PPC and SEO around their offline advertising schedule to really capitalise on the added exposure.
SEO and Brands: Treating Google as a User
Next up was I-COM's very own Mindy Gofton presenting on ‘SEO and Brands: Treating Google as a User’. Mindy began with how we define the word ‘brand’ and suggested Google does not see the term brand in the traditional sense. Instead it sees it in terms of trust, popularity and link-strength. It is important to think about how Google sees your website. Mindy made it clear that you needed to make it easy for search engine spiders to crawl your site, without compromising the user’s experience.
SEO For E-commerce Websites
Finally SAScon regular Barry Adams from Pierce Group took to the front to share tips on how to optimise e-commerce websites. Barry was given the uneviable task of speaking as the champagne was popping outside, however his experience and prominent moustache for ‘Movember’ kept the audience captivated for the final thirty minutes.
Barry covered the importance of content and structure demanding that the sites structure is key, elegantly suggesting “if your site structure sucks, your website will suck” as Google pays a lot of attention to your internal site structure. Interestingly, he also covered the likes of product reviews for Google Shopping as this is key to enhancing your product pages' visibility.
The After Party
Once the talks were over, there was little hesitation from the audience to take advantage of the ever flowing amount of champagne. Unsurprisingly, the chance for more drink and networking didn’t end there as the entertainment continued at the Blackdog Ballroom long into the night.
It is safe to say that my first SAScon event was definitely an interesting and enlightening experience as I’m sure it was for all who attended.