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Liveblogging on SEO tips, tools and techniques at Think Visibility

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 04 Sep, 2010
Essential Essential topic

If you don't know it, Think Visibility, "#Thinkvis" is a great "unconference" set in Leeds which has grown from 80 to 250 attendees; not bad for a Saturday. I attended the first conference which I liveblogged and was back for the fourth over the weekend. Thanks to Dom Hodgson and the other organisers for putting together a great lineup of speakers which featured the SEO nitty-gritty you don't see at other conferences.

So straight onto the topics.

These are the sessions I've covered, I've included the slides where possible:

1. International SEO with Rob Kerry

See speaker background

Rob works for an agency specialising in international SEO. To start with he covered  the basics which I get asked often, so it's good to hear the answers from a specialist.

Q. Are ccTLDs (.de, .fr) still essential?

Rob says not anymore with Set Geographic Target in Google Webmaster Tools - buy this doesn't work so well for non-Google engines, e.g. Yandex. But Rob ran through the pros and cons. Says the cost of management and link-building to ccTLDs can outweigh the benefits

Q. Are subdomains (http://de.domain.com) a good approach?

Not generally - not recommended since need a link development campaign since don't take much benefit from the parent domain.

Q. Is it necessary to host in the country?

Don't need to get too hung up on it. ccTLD tends to override the hosting.

Proxy hosting can be used to target local markets?

Q. How is it best to target US, UK, Canada and Australia?

I get asked this a lot and see problems where content is the same. It has to be identified as unique content.

Translation - has to be local translators, e.g. for south

Recommends using Upwork for translation.

Q. How important are local links to performing locally?

Still quite volatile on algorithm. But his belief is that local country isn't so important based on his analysis of hundreds of sites. Partly because US distorts the algorithm.

As generally, take care with anchor text that is too targeted - need diverse anchor text in backlinks, e.g. including brand and URL as well as your target keyprhases.

But of course local content attracts local links so effective in that way.

Q. I have a co.uk and want to target other countries, should I switch to .com through a redirect?

In the short-term you're likely to use authority as the 301s are devalued, but in the longer-term

Q. How do you monitor rankings in different countries? Proxies or short cuts?

Yes, use proxies to access local language versions of Google, or language shortcuts (hl, gl) in query, but didn't mention tool - I recommend Advanced Web Ranking.

2. Social media for SEO with Lisa Myers

View speaker background

Q. Who are you targeting?

"Put yourself in their shoes" How do potential linkers search, which sites do they use?

She call's these the "Linkerati" or "buzz-builders" i.e. find your specialist bloggers, Twitterati and speak to them

Q. How should I approach approach linkbaiting?

These are Lisa's tips on linkbaiting - getting people to link to you through attracting links.

  • Avoid what most people do wrong - create great viral content, but don't tell other people about it. So the outreach is critical.
  • But of course, the creative, idea must be the "dogs bollocks" according to Lisa. "All the tweeting, digging,buzz building,social networking seeding in world will NOT work if idea is rubbish"
  • Host the content. Loads of examples where link source is in Facebook or YouTube.

Q. How should we approach article marketing?

And article marketing - syndicating your content to other sites

She ran through the process:

  • Again, do your research to find the right sites. Best to target 10 quality high traffic, authoritative sites than 100s of smaller sites. You may only get 3 but these will be more worthwhile and will refer traffic and generate awareness.
  • Have something to trade - has to be tailored - not a generic press release. E.G. Locks company offers discount against first order. Prefers competitions and product giveaways to product reviews
  • Avoid the linking site ranking above you, so best not to include main target keyphrase in targets

Linkbuilding In Real Life: A Practical Guide to Dominating the SERPS

Read speaker background

This was a great talk by @Jaamit mixing good ethical practice but going over to the darkside to show what your competition may be up to. View / download presentation.

6 things I've learned about linkbuilding

1. It's daunting, so make it manageable. Plan to work on it every month. The sites that dominate the SERPs have a continuous process and a long-term plan.

2. Quality vs Quantity. Silly question? Try both to give good results.

3. Don't obsess over the homepage. Longtail terms and deeper page links are important. But many marketers / PR folks aren't aware of that.

4. Anchor text is your friend. Many natural links are just URLs, so you ned to think how to encourage great anchor text.

5. Create great content and the links will come is misleading. You still need a network of influencers to showcase your content.

6. It's time to burn our hats! Get the balance right.

More linkbuilding tips

Here's some more tips based on a site analysis.

You don't have to use the paid tools (Linkscape and Majestic SEO) - use http://classic.linkdiagnosis.com/ - it's free and valuable.

1. Low-level anchor text deep links.

"Forget article directories, they suck". "Article spinning is awesome" (not software auto rewrites). Helps with domain diversity.

Manual rewrites work better than

Hundreds of variations published and then post onto blogs - sounds black hat to me. Try http://bit.ly/ARanks http://bit.ly/AMAspinning.

3 exact anchor text links per article

2. Targeted anchor text, in-copy links from well trafficked, decent PR blogs

Guest blogging, editorial links permitted by owner. Try http://www.myblogguest.com

Try Google queries on or "guest post" or free tool http://bit.ly/SOLOquerytool or paid tool http://bit.ly/OntoloQueryTools

3. Get links from trusted ac.uk domains

Need to think creatively and put in the effort to find the site owners, but worth it.

"4. The rub their faces in it manouevre".

Specific to this example - develop a theme, i.e. work with a community to share.

Also mentioned commenting in Dofollow blog comments. Have example of Fast Blog Finder - but it's blog spamming software, so not giving a link, especially an affilate one.

[Aside: Also discussed at thinkvis, but not recommended by Jaamit, another black hat technique is taking high performing competitor pages and spam them with software like xrumer but with same anchor text]

This wasn't a serious suggestion for corporates was it? Interesting software to see what your up against though.

Link Building in Real Life - Think Visibility 04-09-10

4. How to gain market dominance in any sector with Dave Naylor

Read speaker background

Quite a claim, but Dave's probably the best person. We got good snippets as always and general strategies, but not enough for market dominance - the guidelines and tools in @Jaamit's talk were more up my street.

1. Some shortcuts

  • Buy keyword domains if you can afford it, even to block out competitors
  • Building a brand - you need brand traffic to help compete
  • Make sure you don't over-optimize backlink text on target keyphrases without brand-terms
  • Tailgate existing brands

2. Some longcuts

  • Don't focus on narrow head terms - most traffic potential is broader
  • Use analytics to find out CTR for your keywords (the GWT doesn't work)  Also highlights weakness in Google Keyword Tool
  • Experiment with title tags for CTR
  • Understand the link landscape for your industry
  • Co-citations to natural links
  • Linkbaiting, infographics
  • Get mainstream news coverage
Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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