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February 15, 2007

Search Engine Strategies, Day 3

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Guest entry from Marie Howell, Bruce Clay Europe.

Marie was kind enough to act as Bruce Clay’s roving reporter during SES London. We will be posting her daily recaps throughout the day.

With day three bringing sessions on Web Analytics and Measuring Success with a struggling Rand Fishkin (who was braving a nasty cold and refused to evacuate to Paris like the other members of his team) and Sara Andersson; Site Optimisation Analysis Clinics with industry luminaries Mike Sack and Dave Naylor; and Link Baiting and Link Building sessions hosted by Chris Sherman with experts Dave Naylor (again – busy man!) and Nick Wilson, the final day of SES London was a resounding success.

The presenters were all highly accessible, offering expert knowledge to attendees. They took time during the clinics (and afterwards) to examine the optimisation of individual sites and help the audience understand the process with ‘real life’ examples. Constantly on the spot, these authorities demonstrated what even a cursory look at a Web site can reveal in terms of search engine optimisation. Naturally, this emphasised just how much information can be derived, and just how many issues can be identified, once an in-depth study is performed and keywords, coding, architecture, and navigation are all looked at in detail.

In the Site Advertising Analysis Clinics, Mike Sack covered optimising page conversion and used live examples to demonstrate what tweaks can be undertaken to a site and to a page to make the user’s experience better and increase conversions immensely. Comments from attendees later reinforced just how much they valued this opportunity to interact so closely with the speakers and expert panellists.

The final session on Link Baiting and Building with Nick Wilson and Dave Naylor was informative and beautifully presented. Nick stressed how link baiting is hard work. It requires dedication, tenacity and creativity. There are no shortcuts or easy paths to this, he stated, and emphasised the importance of keeping it clean and offering something of value. He likened it to fishing in that it is not an exact science, you must keep casting your line, and though you may not always land a fish you have to keep going until you find the ‘sweet spot’.

After of the recent to-ing and fro-ing on the topic, Bronco’s Dave Naylor posed the question as to whether link baiting is in fact a dirty word. He stressed that it is the idea to create something of value to a specific audience and that logically anything of value is not dirty. Dave referenced the blog and forum ‘spat’ between Jason Calacanis and the SEO industry in which Calacanis is aiming for ‘stink bait’ by stating that the SEO world is ‘bull’ in an effort to gain traffic to his sites.

Dave discussed different types of ethical linkbait including ‘how to’s…’, contests, breaking stories, scoops, controversy, etc. and also recommended that corporations start a blog. He reinforced the need to maintain integrity at all times and never attack anybody. He then suggested that becoming part of the community is an integral part of this and to build up credibility in your space.

With Nick’s ‘innate listen-ability’ and expertness, plus the humour, skill and verbal dexterity (plus dulcet tones) of Dave, the session was fun, lively and informative. Questions were handled deftly and in a very detailed manner with clear, practical examples. Both speakers charmed the audience – as did many others throughout the week – with their frankness, honesty and willingness to share best practice in order to inform the industry and enhance our approach to search engine optimisation and search marketing in the UK.





One response to “Search Engine Strategies, Day 3”

  1. Dave Offen writes:

    I was at SES London and was hugely impressed by all of the speakers throughout the event, not only for their presentations, their immense knowledge and their humour but also their willingness to stay after the talks for ages to answer individual’s questions.

    I have been involved in the SEO arena for a couple of years now, but I learned more in these 3 days than anywhere else.

    By the way, well done Bluce Clay Inc for again bringing us the first and best reports from SES. I chatted with Marie on Day 3 and mentioned how impressed I had been with the reporting from SES Chicago and she has continued in the same vein in London.



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