SES London 2014 – Day 1 Takeaway: 52 Stats, tips and quotes from #seslon

 

I’mma keep this to the point…

Keynote - Bruce Daisley of Twitter: Running In Real Time: Bringing Campaigns to Life by Marketing in the Moment

  • Superbowl 2013 – 25 million tweets yet Oreo managed to be timely, current and humorous and stand out with “you can still dunk in the dark”.
  • 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile – 70% of which at home
  • 25% audience purchased via twitter,
  • 50% use twitter to give them latest news, personalised news
  • 15.2 million tweets on the #grammys hashtag
  • •#pharrellsHat was a talking point
  • Mobile click stream analysis – 94% of twitter users shop on mobiles,
  • 56% of twitter users are influenced in what they purchase by what they see on twitter
  • •37% visit twitter before and or after shopping on their mobile
  • 1 in 3 say that twitter has a direct influence on their purchase decision

Session 1 – Building B2B: Judith Lewis and Krista LaRiviere

First Speaker – Judith of Decabit Consulting

  • High sharers convince low sharers to buy your product
  • 43% of people in the UK are prompted to purchase after online interation
  • If using multiple accounts, keep a uniform look to retain company image and to be recognisable as a single entity
  • Free your teams with a centrally governed set of rules, empower them with structure

Krista, CEO of gShift labs

  • 58 million tweets per day
  • 18 minutes is how long a tweet lasts (average lifecycle)
  • Content industry is $44BN dollar yet people are producing a lot of crap on this basis
  • Smarter content is based on data

Session 1 – Big Data Uncovered: Dixon Jones and James Murray

First speaker is Dixon Jones of Majestic SEO

  • According to Twitter on an average day approx. 500,000,000 tweets per day.
  • Compare that to Majestic who crawl 2,000,000,000 pages a day, but see 7,700,000,000 a day
  • Storage, CPU and bandwidth (transporting the data) are the scaling problems
  • “Only collect what you need and crunch it quickly.”
  • Average page size 320 KB = 600 terabytes of data
  • Approximates to 600,000 hours of video
  • Hadoop – becoming opensource option of choice. Used with R and MongoDB – good tools of choice for data crunching in cloud.

James Murray – Experian

  • If you were to put each individual data point Experian have, into an Excel you would be able to cover Paris
  • 2 exabytes of data created online every day
  • Customer behaviour is changing due to connected life, user sophistication and mobile tech
  • 11% of consumers are using a tablet as their main device…. Er hello retail websites???
  • 8,300 social networks and forums
  • Your customer only sees the brand. They are channel agnostic. Splitting teams by expertise creates inherent disconnect

Session 2 – Content Strategy

See here for a detailed write-up

Session 3 – Influence the Influencers – Lee Odden

Main speaker – Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing

  •  64% increase in content marketing budgets in the uk
  • Consumer publishing extends over 240 million blogs
  • 34% increase each year in companies blogging (though eveyrone is doing the same stuff, to get “more hooks in the water”)
  • 94% UK marketing function use content marketing
  • 39% highly effective use – 72% (B2B) 45% (B2C) are investing more
  • Influence is not having 50-1000 twitter friends

There are four types of content classifications according to Odden:

  • Evergreen (timeless, always relevant)
  • Curated (take whats current and input it in a newsletter > monthly eshot)
  • Repurposed: making ebooks of above
  • Co created = participation marketing, find common goals, go to your own community

 

Lisa Myers and Cheri Percy

Lisa Myers of Verve Search and Cheri Percy of Distilled

Session 4 – Unlocking the Secrets of Mobile Video, Cheri Percy and Jon Mowat

First speaker is Cheri Percy of Distilled

  • “in design, there are no more ‘hero sizes” – Mashable CTO. E.g. design is platform agnostic
  • By 2017 85% of the world wil have 4G devices
  • 51% of 2013 web traffic came from a mobile device (Cisco)
  • Do not neglect YouTube analytics
  • No. shares x total engaged views/1000 gives a manageable engagement score
  • Vine – explore tab for loads of trending topics
  • Share your first post on Vine with hashtag #firstpost (community convention)

Jon Mowat of Hurricane Media

  • Stories are told in narrative beats
  • Start with “the deal” and reach a “conclusion”
  • 62% of 18-32 YO prefer to check their phone in any “downtime” (as opposed to sit and think)
  • 37% say they check their phone if there’s a lull in conversation
  • Campaign need emotional and logical beats (but be careful when using together)
  • YouTube is a destination not a stopover. Only 1% click-thru to site from YT!
  • Don’t be afraid of the Pro channel and keep your brand films up to date inc. deleting old films

 

Enter Your Awesomeness for the European Search Awards

European Search AwardsOh yeah – The search is on for Europe’s top search and digital talent, as the European Search Awards 2014 is OPEN for entries! You know you want to get your shizzle on and show off how absolutely amazeballs AWESOME you are, don’tcha? DONTCHA???

Now in its third year, the European Search Awards attracts hundreds of entries from the leading search and digital agencies and professionals throughout Europe. Categories include Best Use of Search, Best Pan-European Campaign, Best Mobile Campaign and Best Agency. Trust me – HUNDREDS and we have to read ALL OF THEM so get creative and make sure you cover off the IMPORTANT points people! The awards, which are organised by Greater Manchester based events agency Don’t Panic, are open to companies based worldwide who are delivering work in Europe.

So come on – IMPRESS ME! Yep, that’s right, in addition to judging every UK Search Awards so far, I’m on to my second European Search Awards judging panel and I’m looking to get all judgmental and reward awesomeness!

The deadline for entries is 17 January 2014(ish), and the shortlists will be published on 14 February. But you know, it isn’t just me who is getting involved in this awesomeness… there are a HUGE number of other judges. So many that here is just a smattering of the judging panel which includes:

•       Jose Truchado, Director of SEO, Expedia
•       Judith Lewis (ME of course), Founder, deCabbit Consultancy
•       Danny Goodwin, Associate Editor of Search Engine Watch
•       Gianluca Fiorelli, Founder of LoveSEO
•       Kaspar Szymanski, SEO Consultant
•       Bas van den Beld, Founder, State of Digital
•       Bastian Grimm, Managing Partner, Grimm Digital
•       Fernando Maciá Domene, CEO, Human Level Communications

BOOYA! The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Friday 28 March 2014 after the brilliant and amazing RIMC conference (which you’ve already bought your tickets for, right?)

Don’t Panic launched the UK Search Awards in 2011 and the European Search Awards in 2012 and the inaugural US Search Awards took place in Las Vegas in 2013. Ya, the US is well behind the rest of the world ;-) JK!

And now for a word from our sponsors…
The European Search Awards are delivered in partnership with headline sponsor Manual link Building and in association with Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference(RIMC) and SEMPO.  The PR is handled by PR Agency One.

For more information about the European Search Awards, please visit www.europeansearchawards.com

Technical SEO Best-Practise: Slides from The Digital Marketing Show

Last week myself and my UK-based fellow SEO Chicks spoke at the Digital Marketing Show at Londons’ Excel. Our panel discussion was on Technical SEO, with each of us leading a few slides on one main topic; detailing the best-practise concerns and of course, the most common mistakes.

Here are the slides from the day and our twitter handles precede each section so feel free to tweet us if you have any technical questions.

Click-to-call Syntax and a Weird 404 Issue

For many of us working in technical SEO for an agency, the first stage of any new client win is to perform a site audit. Whilst many agencies will have their own procedures most experienced professionals will start with crawl-related checks and research. If a site (and pages therein) can’t be crawled, then they won’t appear in any search engine index and if there’s nothing indexed, then there’s nothing to optimise. (So let’s all go home and play CoD.)

As part of the checks and diagnostic procedures we make sure to cover at theMediaFlow, we have a look at any reported crawl errors in Google or Bing Webmaster Tools. I want to share with you a recent example of some unusual errors found as part of such a process; what caused these errors and how to fix them.

URLs with Company Phone Number Appearing as 404

In this part of the process I was looking to identify how many types of 404 errors were in play, (rather than instances of 404 error) and noticed that many of the thousands of total reported 404 errors followed a particular format. To refresh our memories Google Webmaster Tools reports the URL path, post domain…

Sample of 404 errors from Google Webmaster Tools

 

 

 

For the example site in question many of the errors appeared as follows:

——

0800%20111%201111

normal-directory/0800%20111%201111

nothing-to-see-here/normal-directory/0800%20111%201111

honestly-Im-okay/nothing-to-see-here/normal-directory/0800%20111%201111

——

The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted that there’s a common theme and that:

a) all these 404 errors have a number in the path

b) stripping out %20 (which means that a space has been encoded) would leave us with a phone number format #### ### #### (i.e. four digits, three digits, four digits)

and c) that such phone number formatting used with 0800, 0843, 0845 and other non-geographical types are often used as customer service phone numbers.

So… you may know where this is going… For every URL on the site, there appeared a second version, with an appended directory – that (directory) being the addition of their own phone number.

 

What time is why?, taken from Know Your Meme

Given that the symptom reported (i.e. a 404 error URL for every genuine URL) logic would suggest there was an error in the mark-up around the phone number in the site header area as opposed to anywhere else it might occur, so this was my first port of call.

In Chrome and using Inspect Element to look at the isolated element (mark-up of the phone number) everything looked hunky-dory. Schema>Organisation mark-up was in place with the correct itemprop, (itemprop=”telephone”) so nothing of concern; however when I looked elsewhere in the code I found the following well-intentioned use of a href to phone number (for click-to-call) mark-up.

code_error

 

 

Now; referencing the phone number as per above was facilitating click-to-call functionality, so any front-end testing they may have done would show positively that a smart device user could click the phone number to call the company. However, due to the omission of the tel: instruction the syntax had the side-effect of creating a relative file path to the phone number as appendage to the existing URL. Hence generating thousands of annoying 404 errors that could easily be avoided, making for a much more effective crawl process.

 

Correct Click to Call Mark-up

To correctly reference the phone number and effect click-to-call without generating 404 URLs due to relative file path annoyingness do as follows:

<a href=”tel:+44#########” itemprop=”telephone”>

The important part here is the addition of the tel: instruction, as it is the omission of this that also creates the relative URL and thus generates our 404 errors. The addition of +44 (UK dialling code) was an optimisation so that the click-to-call would connect regardless of location. I found this piece on click-to-call links really useful background reading, particularly that there’s a list of additional native app URI schemes too!

So, not exactly a ground-breaking error or a revolutionary fix that will rocket this site up the SERPs overnight; however this was one of those weird quirky consequences of a simple code omission that could have hindered crawlers and inhibited the business progress a little. I thought it might be worth sharing as the cause of why these 404s appeared wasn’t immediately obvious.

With thanks to Joost for confirming my logic on the syntax omission and for sharing my belief in relative URLs as the root of evil

What Online Marketers Can Learn from the Arts Sector (and vice versa)

I recently had the opportunity to attend a conference on digital engagement in the arts sector. The conference took place in Brighton and was hosted by Culture24.

Culture24 is a non-profit organisation with a mission “to support the cultural sector in reaching online audiences”. The conference was in some sense a launch event for their newest research, in the form of a report titled Let’s Get Real 2.

[Quick sidenote: The first Let's Get Real report was released in 2011, and became the starting point for an 11-month research project which brought together 22 cultural organisations to learn about "the practical use of technologies to gather data and how to draw meaningful insights from this". The result of this research is the Let's Get Real 2 report.

The full report can be downloaded from the Culture24 website.]

But what I want to talk about today is how we, as SEOs and digital marketers, can learn from this research coming out of the arts sector and use it to help us do our jobs better. So I’ve put together a few  general takeaways from this conference which resonated with me, and which I’d like to see us SEOs and online marketers thinking about more:

1. your target market is an ‘audience

One of the recurring buzzwords of the day was ‘audience’. I know that we as marketers do sometimes use the term ‘audience’ to describe our target market, but how often do we think about what that word means?

Consumers and customers seek you out in order to satisfy a need for a product or service. This is not engagement, this is purely transactional.

Audiences, however, come to see and hear you because they are interested in what you have to say and/or show to them, and in some sense they want to engage with that. For performing artists, the audience is an active participant in the performance.

(more…)

Gimme My Money

Recently we’ve seen several SEOs fussing about not getting paid, resorting to outing the offenders. Everyone’s favorite Dutchman-in-Ireland Barry Adams wrote “How I’ve Been Shafted By Darryl Collins from Banjax and Gingerparts” (which sounds so much like a revenge porn title) and the comment section is completely full of people coming forward to say that they’ve either also been shafted by Mr. Collins (that is so hard to type without giggling) or that it’s been a problem for them with someone else. Suffice it to say, it IS a problem. In my Link Club, we’ve recently discussed how to avoid this and let me tell you, it’s definitely a huge problem and I’m still trying to collect on an account for a client who left us years ago and still owes us a small fortune.

money

When you’re starting out, it’s tough to demand payment upfront because you might not think you have the credentials to back that up. Hell, you might not have them to be honest. However, we’re in an industry where some people feel that if we don’t get them the exact results that they think they deserve, they think they can screw us. The client I mention above signed off on buying links, saw the link report each month, and was happier than a pig in shit as long as he was making money but when he gets slapped by Google? He doesn’t want to pay us because we “got him into trouble” doing what he knew was risky, what he asked us to do, and what he was informed about every single month without fail. Funnily enough, this trouble of his happened 2 years after we stopped working with him and was never mentioned as a reason why he couldn’t pay until Google sent him the warning. Before, he’d just say something about it being hard to pay but he was working on it, but the second Google gets him? He can’t pay because it’s all our fault.

We’ve had other issues with various excuses attached, such as “we didn’t know what you were doing, not REALLY, because we didn’t have time to read all your emails or the actual contract which clearly listed exactly what you’d be doing” and “we were thinking that when we did not say yes please abide by the contract and continue working as we’ve both agreed, you’d know that we didn’t really want you to keep working.” If you went to the dentist and had a tooth filled, would you refuse to pay because you didn’t understand the chemical composition of the filling? Can you get out of a late payment for your mortgage because you didn’t like the color of your roof? Why do SEOs keep getting screwed like this?

screw

Here’s another problem: to get a client, you have to lay out enough strategy and tactics that you plan that they can just take you out of the process, do it themselves, and screw you. If you try to be vague enough to hook them but not give too much away, you might not land them as a client. Do you have any idea how many proposals I’ve had to clarify where I’ve had to list out actual ideas, because the general ones didn’t make the potential client feel comfortable that I could do a good job? Too freaking many, and guess how many of those came through? I can’t think of a single one, and after the last go-round with it, I just walk away if they don’t want to pay me upfront for the ideas that I want to implement, because I do enough work for free. I don’t make money off writing for any site but there’s always the person who comments that I should have given them more information and more tips. There’s always someone adding me on IM or emailing me, asking so many questions that I finally have to point out that I have a company to run and things to do for my own work and that I cannot continue to dig into THEIR problems, and every time I say this, I don’t get an apology. I get a comment about how they thought I was supposed to be a nice person and then they go into the guilt phase of being sorry they wasted my precious time.

I’ve always been against outing sites for doing bad things so logical thinking dictates that I should feel the same way about outing clients that don’t pay, but I’m not. I’ve never personally done it but will I? Who knows. I’d rather spend time brainstorming with my employees than sending the 15th email saying “we still haven’t received a check from you and I’m making a very indignant frowny face due to it.” When I hit my first non-paying-client roadblock, I sought the advice of other people as to how to handle it and the number one response was “threaten to out them somewhere for it.” However, I’m still uneasy with doing what Barry did although I respect him for it, but I’m still uncomfortable with it because with my luck, I’ll out someone who has been in the hospital in an iron lung for 3 months or something. Is it bad karma to do it? It’s certainly bad karma not to pay someone who worked for you in good faith. Some people are crazy though and will do whatever they like whether they’re right or wrong, and since I am Dr. No, all I can imagine is that I’ll pick the true psycho to out and say hey, Mr. Po Pants didn’t pay me for my link audit. Mr. Po Pants will end up burning my house down and since all my vinyl is in storage, he won’t even have any problems from toxic fumes.

In the end I suppose that the way around getting screwed like that is to demand payment upfront and in full. The first time I did that I was slightly embarrassed (thanks Mom) but I laid out my reasoning to the client and to my great surprise, she said “no problem. It’s happened to me too so I respect you for it.” Wowzers. Sometimes when something isn’t going to cost much, I’ll just do it and bill the client later but I’m now chasing payments from two people because I was that stupid. So I’m going to get better about it, and the second someone screws me on my money, I’m shutting them down. If a client felt like I was wasting their money and doing nothing, I’d expect them to shut ME down so I need to do the same right? Right.

So get your money upfront if you can. Get a downpayment if you can’t get the full amount, but don’t let it slide when things start to go wrong, not even for a second, because if people think they can avoid paying you, or that they can pay you very late, they’ll do it. If you’ve never worked with the client before, get at least a percentage of the amount before spending time on it and lay out the contract so that you have legal recourse if they don’t pay. Make a plan for how you’ll handle this if it does become a problem for you, and let clients know as soon as they sign on. Put details about payment expectations on every invoice, even if it’s just that payment is expected within x number of days. If payment isn’t made by the due date, stop working and tell the client you’ve stopped and will continue when the check arrives. It’s actually starting to work well for me, so no outing for me just yet. However, give me a few more months and if I’m still chasing that one client, it might just happen.