Monthly Archives: May 2010

Day 2 of SMX advanced London 2010

SMX Advanced London 2010

After my rant after day 1, day 2 followed as you would expect and on the whole I thought was much better.

I do really think that the word Advanced should not be used and the level of effort in organizing the event was a bit ‘credit crunch’ worthy. Next year will have to decide whether to attend, at least in the UK.

Day 2 was a day of social media and analytics.

The first session was titled “Proving Social Media’s Value”. The panel were from econsultancy, Freshnetworks, MSN adcenter & Bazaarvoice.

Linus from econsultancy cited some statistics, that 64% of companies can’t prove the ROI of social media, and that 65% in their survey were going to be doing more in 2010, than 2009! That is definitely my experience too. The resounding corporate favourite is Twitter, raising from 2008 of 3%, 2009 was 49% and now in 2010’s respondents want 81%. IMHO, mainly as it is easy and straightforward? There were comments on how corporates are trying to measure including just going for sales and clicks as these are standard web metrics that most can understand. But few people cite branding etc, but don’t measure brand recall like they would if they invested in a TV campaign!

The suggestion was not to measure the quantity of followers or FB friends. But you should measure the number of re-tweets, referrals and how influential these people are. You should treat the measurement more like display or offline media in terms of recall and attitude change. But the issue here is that people think SMM is like SEO is free ! Oh, how naive.

Charlie Osmonds analogy was to describe the situation the most corporates treat SMM as “a series of one night stands”, whereas “[you] should focus on long term relationships to existing customer and not new people”.

I then de-fluffed myself and moved over to the analytics track for “Bullseye! Reaching and Closing Your Ultimate Customer”. This was a session. The panel was from Google, Comscore and Facebook. Despite the title, it was not an analytics panel, it was about how to reach your potential customer.

There were some fascinating Comscore stats such as the total searches across Europe were up 27% YoY. But the standout was Spain, that is 56% up YoY. And the average number of searches per month is 122. But the UK is 144, Germany is only 101. And the American are only 108!

They also showed a map showing the volume of searches and western Europe which is so dominated by Google with 75% to 90% of all searches. And the final stat is that 28% of Europeans are already watching online videos.

Staying with the analytic theme I sat and listened to “Top Ten Customised Search Analytics Reports”. It was a pragmatic start highlighting the daily challenge of having too much data and the best thing to do is to “minimise the gap between data to knowledge”.

Things to take back to the office. Add in Pacing lines on progress reports. To check bounce rate by keywords

After recharging on caffeine, and with my attention focused at the front the session was “Social Media, Search & Reputation Management”.
The opening fact was that 98% of modern journalists go online daily. I think this was my favourite session of the day and could the potential for a future elaborated post.

Real time search is potentially a reputation management nightmare. It seems that the QDF and Caffeine updates in Google, seem to allow trending topics to appear in the 1 box and bypass the classic hard SEO work and history of that page/URL combo!

More to come on this topic in separate posts, once I can collect my thoughts and add some value. Plus, somewhere for me to keep these notes if/when I need to use them!

The final session of SMX Advanced London was “Social media: give it up”. This half inspiring and half aimed to keep your feet on the ground. Melissa Campbell on behalf of Distilled reinforced the legal aspects of social media. A similar comment to earlier really about back to basics when we learned to be marketers before we concentrated online. At last being a bit more ‘mature’ works in your favour!

Chris Bennet from 97th Floor shared some of his favourite techniques. The take-away for me is the idea of using infographics. And this could work alone side some other great material we have access to already. It is all about leveraging the assets you already have.

Overall, it was far better than day 1. But it has taken this long til posting as having to catch up with work and actually enjoy the mini-heatwave that swept through London.

Sifting for nuggets in tedium – SMX Advanced London 2010

SMX Advanced London 2010

Today was a hard and long day sifting through mediocre, lack-luster, single tracked ?Advanced? SEO at SMX advanced. The overall score was <50% of the speakers I would says were either good/enthusiastic or insightful.  I am afraid that I think the organisers should vet the speakers and their presentations before they charge a lot of money for this event.

I will be putting this on the formal feedback form too, so don’t worry I am not just blogging for my own ego and not prepared to give real feedback.  Today was just tired.  At least one of the presenters had references to the last time they presented the same deck which was quite a while ago ! To be able to speak at a conference and be an expert amongst peers should be a joy and not (by some of the faces & delivery) a chore!  It is easy to whinge – I guess one I day I should volunteer and put myself out there to be ridiculed.

But, to also give credit where credit is due, there were some nuggets.  And half way through SMX Advanced London 2010, I am still confident on what we are doing with the day job and have a few inspired extension ideas and things to do when I get back to office.

So, what was good?

The Day 1 keynote from Barack Berkowitz from Wolfram|Alpha was right-up-there to spark my inner geek.  I had seen and used Wolfram literally on its launch but not since. It is definitely going places. The idea of a fact engine, who has the ambition of “democratising knowledge” and providing answers must be a good thing.  And in the long term, I genuinely believe services like this will be a game changer.  There were some concerns/comments from the audience regarding where they get their data from and how they will monetise its service in the future.  Berkowitz answered the questions fully, which is refreshing from a speaker these days.  That much of the data is “curetted”, which he defined as chosen/verified by a team of scientists, academics or subject matter experts. That much of this is public information, obtained from official sources such as governments and some licensed from ‘expert’ sites e.g. weather services.  The monetisation question was explained as their next challenge and may include paid listings e.g. answers provided by advertisers and/or that the user could buy additional information behind their query.  So effectively micro-data buys rather than whole data set buying that is normally out of reach of the average individual/student. I am going to be looking out for their widgets which are coming soon. The data geek in me loved the way they dynamically charted traditionally non comparable metrics or something simple by charting comparisons e.g. life expectancy in UK versus France.

In the SEO ranking factors in 2010 session, Rand from SEOMoz referred to the patent granted to Google about the “the Random Surfer Versus the Reasonable surfer” as excellently written up last week by Bill Slawski on SEOBook’s blog.

This re-inforced the view that I and many others I know have had that not all links are treated equally. It makes perfect sense, and the equal distribution of “rank” or “link juice” which we have observed and tested is in their thought process too.

The other question posed publicly was whether the audience thought that social media affected the SERPS.  Eventually a conscensus that I can subscribe to was proposed that it does.  That a trending topic may affect the settings, the ones on the search bar where you can choose freshness over established ranking.  So, a trending topic, may play with these filters and you will find that established text based listings may be replaced temportarily by references that have no history or inbound links; but may be from a site that has still has domain rank.

It is always good to Andrew Girdwood go on a rank about “link building” and how this was wrong and how it should be “building links . The whole panel agreed that building relationships with sites was the future of ethical link building, and people who are just doing link building were doing it wrong !

There were a few cheeky little tips on how to automate spam by a few of the speakers.  Who obviously supplemented those comments that it was a bad thing to do.

I hope day 2 is a bit better.

SearchMe no more!

Back in 2008 I did a post about SearchMe. It was definately innovative at the time. Very US focuses – but you have to start somewhere I guess. Anyway, when I was doing a link check on this site, I found out that this site has closed.

Another great idea bites the dust.

SearchMe no more!

SearchMe no more!

The same visual style is available in Bing, iTunes and even some browser plugins such as Mozillas FoxTab and Coolris. Maybe it was too early. They are selling their intelectual property if you are interested!

SERPs in MVT?

Just seen this on google.com. Not sure if this is a feature/test or an error.
Inside a snippet is crumb trail style link actually in the description section as opposed to them being above or below and multiple. And definitely different from site links.

Here it is.

Is this a new way of showing sitelinks?

Is this a new way of showing site links?

If you then look at the page itself, at the bottom the only reference to this piece is footer style navigation.

the offending piece of code!

the offending piece of code!

I am sure they are MVTing – we do it all the time and see what sticks. I am also on the new SERPs design too. Not sure if I like change !