Last week, some of the Creare team ventured south for Brighton SEO. Here are some of my favourite talks of the day and plenty of fantastic takeaways if you missed the event:
1. The Habits that Land You Links
2. Native Advertising: The Secret Weapon of Content Marketing
3. Link Prospecting: Step Away From the Search Engine
4. How I Earned Loads of Links by Ignoring SEO
5. Tips for Designing Great Content
6. Do Links Matter in 2014?
1. Stacey Cavanagh – The Habits that Land you Links
Stacey addressed some diverse alternatives that are available to link builders in the current climate. It’s clear we need to be building creative resources that earn links, but we also need a scalable process to do this. Creativity and efficiency are a tough pair to match but Stacey has done well to fill this void with some interesting tactics:
Stacey addressed the concept that in order to scale link building in the current environment we need an efficient means of idea generation. An interesting activity I’m excited to try is Bernd Rohrbach’s 6-3-5 method of brainwriting; rally your team and generate 108 ideas in 30mins:
Once you’ve decided on an idea you should foster a creative environment for the content creation process; Real Time Board is a free digital whiteboard application that allows multiple contributors to add links, images, ideas and feedback!
An amazing takeaway from Stacey’s talk is her use of Flickr to gain image attribution links. Stacey has a Flickr account set up for every one of Tecmark’s clients – through clever tracking of client images, this has gained links from enormous sources such as UK government sites and big brands!
Some clients work in environments where there is a large demand for stock photography. In these cases we should be requesting as much media as possible that we can use not only in their content and webpages but also on media curation sites.
Flickr has amazing link building potential as content creators are always on the lookout for Creative Commons images. We can upload images and optimise them on Flickr, telling users how you would like to be attributed. Here’s the best bit, Image Raider can automatically track and notify you when an image has been used so that you can reclaim it instantly!
With rising demand for quality in link building it has become even more vital to build your little black book of journalists and influential bloggers. You can find journalists through Journalisted.com, HARO, Muck Rack and Response Source. Often case you will be trading your client’s knowledge of their industry for credit in a journalist’s content but once you have these contacts in place you can come up with more creative ways to share your content and generate links.
2. Pete Campbell – Native Advertising: The Secret Weapon of Content Marketing
With just seven minutes on the stage, Pete from Kaizen conducted an inspiring talk on native advertising and showed us just what can be done with great content, some out of the box thinking and a little budget.
Pete has recently been trialling some content advertising to get eyes on his client’s content and visitors to their site. This form of content advertising can bring your articles in front of the engaged readers of the Huffington Post, BBC, CNN and many more.
Pete conducted a trial on three different clients using three different content advertising platforms: Outbrain, nRelate and Taboola. This was supported by a small total budget of just £470. All three platforms generated shares, traffic and even links from the likes of Cosmopolitan! Despite there being many variables it was clear that his more successful campaigns had the higher quality content. We’ll certainly be trying this out in the near future!
3. Carolyn Jones – Link Prospecting: Step away from the Search Engine
Carolyn has taken prospecting to the next level and shared with us an amazing range of techniques that we can use to source potential sites for our clients. This deserves a blog post of its own but in order to keep it sharp; here’s a list of my favourite takeaways from Carolyn’s talk:
- Install Link Clump (the Chrome Extension) and use this to copy your prospect lists into Excel
- Scrape Disqus Profiles (found in blog post comments) for other sites a user has commented on
- Use FollowerWonk – Filter influencers that have websites
- Search and Monitor Twitter Hashtags
#bbloggers (beauty) #fbloggers (fashion) #pbloggers (parenting)
- Search and Scrape Google Plus/Facebook Communities
- Use Google News if you have topical content to find people who are already talking about it.
- Use Moz’s Competitive Link Finder to find common competitive links that you’re missing!
- Need Content Ideas – Look at your competitors ‘Top Pages’ in Ahrefs
- Blogger Badges? Do a reverse search on the badge’s landing page links to find all other sources
- Creating an infographic? Find other infographics with similar topics and check their backlinks for opportunities
4. Malcolm Coles – How I Earned Loads of Links by Ignoring SEO
Coles skipped past the idea of creative content and moved into the realm of darn-right crazy; but the best part, it’s working! Malcolm enlightened us with some real compelling content that he has created for his site: Usvthe3m. From short games to controversial quizzes; there is an obvious demand for this wacky, easy to digest content. One of his latest works: ‘How Much Are You Hated By the Daily Mail’ has generated over 50 linking root domains from some powerhouse sources.
One of my key takeaways from this talk is that concept is key. It’s amazing what a gripping title can do to the virility of content especially if your client can get away with some controversial angles. There are some great platforms such as BuzzSumo that can show you trends in which titles and concepts have gained the biggest social traction in your niche/concept.
One of my favourite elements from these games and quizzes is the lack of branding on the content pages. An enormous challenge with content for SEO is that non-branded content placed on a commercial site can still be perceived as branded content; I’d be interested in stripping away site branding on our content and testing the change in responses.
5. Vicke Cheung – Tips for Designing Great Content
Vicke also suggests looking for large photographic images to support your content; Stocksy.com is dedicated to ‘real people, real places’ images that trump the façade you get with stock photos. Prices start at $10 per image but hey, a picture’s worth a thousand words!
6. Dixon Jones – Do Links Matter in 2014?
As you might have guessed, the short and sweet answer to this question is yes. Dixon showed off Majestic’s ability to check the network relevancy of links. For example: by looking at the backlinks of Creare.co.uk Majestic can see that the majority of the sites in our network are involved in marketing/SEO. This certainly makes me even more curious as to how much weight relevancy has in the effectiveness of links.
(See Dixon’s Full Slides Here)
Thanks to everyone who spoke and attended Brighton SEO this Spring!