I’ve just returned from a successful first day at SMX London 2008. There have been some fantastic speakers and some great people to meet. In my “post LondonSEO” capacity, here’s a brief roundup of some of the highlights of the day.
Nathan Buggia, Lead Program Manager, Microsoft Live Search Webmaster Center
ZhaoHui Tang, Principal Group Program Manager, Microsoft adCenter
Zhao presented a great excel plugin that imports keyword data directly into Excel 2007 from Microsoft Ad Centre intelligence. It’s called “adCenter Add-in Beta for Excel 2007″ and it’s extremely impressive. Here are some screenshots of it in action:
The tool has some incredible features that really show MSN are working hard to add a level of transparency for Webmasters that perhaps the other search engines should consider too. The excel 2007 plugin easily imported volume, bid, categorisation and similar keywords data that until now, would take some real work with pivot tables and vlookup! Thanks Microsoft!
Nathan talked about the different routes “explorers” (or searchers to you and me) take when researching a KW. “User Intent”. It’s a fascinating subject and really deserves a lot more time. In essence, Nathan identified the following types of search behaviour:
- Exploratory to targeted
- Exploratory to multi targeted
- Pure exploratory
- Targeted to exploratory
- Unexpected discovery
He also discussed the concept of transparency and how supporting webmasters or developers is in Microsoft’s “DNA”. The Microsoft team really did deliver a supportng message to SEOs and Webmasters and it was great to see them offering something beyond that of Google’s WMY and Yahoo’s site explorer. Hopefully Nathan will publish his presentation on his blog soon.
The Global Search Universe
Andy Atkins-Kruger, MD, WebCertain
Robin Goad, Director of Research, Hitwise UK, Hitwise
Linus Gregoriadis, Head of Research, E-consultancy
Some really useful points from Linus Gregoriadis – E-consultancy
“More than 60% of companies are planning to increase their ppc / seo budgets in 2009″
“the biggest barrier to successful seo is lack of resource”
Also, I picked up some really useful stats on internet usage across the globe.
Check out this “coutry codes of the world” diagram by John Yunker, at Byte Level Research. It’s yours for $30!
Top internet languages searched for on the internet as follows (in order):
Globally, Baidu is now the 3rd most popular global search engine. That’s bigger than Microsoft! I also heard Baidu are planning a European launch?
European Search Marketing Challenges
Finlay Clark, Senior Strategist, Retail, Bigmouthmedia
Lisa Ditlefsen, Head of Search, Base One Search
Susan Hallam, Managing Director, Hallam Communications Ltd
Judith Lewis, Search Director, i-level (and SEO-Chicks)
Lisa Ditlefsen gave us some extremely useful key points in her presentation:
- Europe is behind in terms of doing SEO
- Germany, France and Spain are better developed in PPC but NOT SEO
- Easier to rank as competition is less.
SEO Must do’s
- Always host in the country you want to rank for
- Doing SEO in a foreign language – use a small ppc campaign for KW testing and research
- Look at exact KW tracking from ROI Revolution
- Educate your SEO translators
- We should be using translators for on page optimisation, creative writing, ling generation
- Get links from the country you want to rank in
- Link Baiting!
SEO & Social Media Marketing
Jane Copland, Search Marketing Consultant, SEOmoz Inc.
Andrew Girdwood, Head of Search, bigmouthmedia
Ciaran Norris, SEO & Social Media Director, Altogether Digital
Jane started the presentation with a case study on Oatmeal’s widget baiting antics and how they got him banned in Google. A great case study for all you widget bait wanna be’s out there – you can get the full story here. She went on to point out that the SEO blogosphere takes up so little of the internet that the chances are, the same mistake could happen just becuase many webmasters doen’t have that much exposure to SEO and case studies like this. I agree. Great presentation, Jane!
Ciaran gave an excellent presentation starting with Forrester’s social web model:
And later demonstrated the Forrester Groundswell Tool – A great tool (free) to profile your customers’ social computing behaviours…
Overall an excellent presentation and IMO the best delivered at SMX London so far. Perhaps if we ask nicely enough he’ll publish his presentation on a post at Altogether Digital…
One last thing, Altogether have launched another installment of Do The Test. Great Video!
Andy Atkins-Kruger, CEO, WebCertain
Duncan Morris, Director, Distilled Ltd
Heini van Bergen, Operations Manager, Tribal Internet Marketing
There’s still debate over the right way to handle domains in international SEO. Certainly at least between Andy atkins Kruger and Distilled’s Duncan Morris. The choices outlined were;
Use a TLD: www.example.co.uk
Use a subdomain: fr.example.com
Use subfolders: www.example.com/FR/
IMO, I think both Duncan and Andy had excellent arguments for both decisions and fundamentally the decision depends on the situation. duncan is more in favour of one “high powered domain” and using subfolders (unless you don’t have the authority in which case use TLD’s) where Andy felt using TLDs at all times was the clear winner. Great to see some debate in a session!
Andy gave us his “10 Low hanging fruit for SEO”:
- Use UTF-8 character encoding
- Don’t ‘translate’metatags and page titles – Localise them!
- Plurals, prepositions, accents, alternate spellings, disaggregation, inflection
- Adopt a global PR strategy
- Manage 301s and find broken links
- Use keyword rich URLS
- Source local links
- Use a smart geo selector
- Expert keyword research – from a local speaker
- Local hosting
- Language content and presentation
If you can tick all of those boxes, you must be doing well internationally, right?
Overall a very successful day, finished with Fish and Chips with the Distilled boys (and girls) where we indulged in conversation relating to the right way to handle a high five, amongst other things! The jury’s still out on the correct technique!
I’m speaking tommorrow on the Industrial Strength SEO track so do drop by and say hello after!