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#Searchlove New York Recap – Day 2

John Doherty —  November 5, 2011
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*If you haven’t read it, check out the Searchlove Day 1 Recap before reading this post*

Searchlove New York day 2 started out with a bang. People rolled in looking a bit bedraggled, but mostly none the worse for wear, from the previous night’s Halloween party. If you want to see pictures of some of SEO’s finest looking great in Halloween costumes (we had Steve Zizzou, Buzz Lightyear, a cowboy with a horse, and Waldo, just to name a few), check them out here:

Chad Burgess (Harry) and Rand Fishkin (Steve Zissou)

Michael King – Targeting Humans

Day 2 started off with a bang with my boy Michael King starting off with a Hammer Dance to wake us up! Don’t believe me? Check out Rand’s photo:

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Mike’s talk was entitled “Targeting Humans” and he talked about the intersection between search and social and how they can be used together to build personae that allow you to target people directly on your site. You figure out who is on your site, what their “need state” is (ie are they looking for information or looking to buy), and then target the information directly to them. How do you do this? Well, you should really check out Laura Lippay’s tools (Amplicate, etc), but Mike showed how he is using Facebook information to build personas based off of actual people on the site. Check out his presentation from SMX for more info.

The biggest takeaway from Mike’s talk was his expose at the end (written by his friend Josh) about how they believe that Chrome is Googlebot and Googlebot is Chrome. Basically, Google is able to see everything that we see and is able to parse Javascript.

If this is true, the SEO game has changed. Oh yeah, and some weird things happened that day, like Mike’s site would not stay up and Google announced officially that they can now parse Javascript. Hmmm…tin foil hat time.

Rhea Drysdale – Online Reputation Management

Up next was Rhea Drysdale from Outspoken Media. Rhea, I would say, is one of the premiere experts on ORM. She has dealt with a lot of different people who want their reputation cleaned up online, both because of something stupid they did or because someone is slandering them. She did a great job of showing us the importance of ORM by saying “How do you want people to remember you when you die?” Your online reputation is part of this.

Rhea’s main tip for flooding search results is finding a lot of reputable sites that you can get profiles on. Some of these rank really well, so you can start driving down the bad results in your SERP.

Then get citations from places like Hoovers (for business), Quora, Meetup, CareerBuilder, etc. All of these will give your profiles or company credence.

Another consideration is to use multiple forms of media to flood the search results. Think about using video, PR, Wikipedia pages, and images as well as on-site content. Not only will this help you get your good name back, but once you have it back you can continue with this content creation to be proactive in protecting your search results.

Also, don’t be stupid.

Stephen Pavlovich – What does a CRO Expert Bookmark?

Stephen Pavlovich is one of the premiere conversion rate experts in the world. He has made a lot of companies a lot of money by making tweaks and changes to their sites. Some of these changes amount to literally tens of millions of dollars more of profit per year for companies.

So what is Stephen’s key to success? What is in his Swype file (a collection of resources, essentially) and how does he build it?

The answer is simple: Evernote.

Evernote Logo

Stephen uses Evernote on his phone to take photos of advertisements that he sees in the wild, and he uses the Chrome bookmarklet to highlight areas of websites that he finds as he is browsing the Internet. He builds an ideas library so that he can refer back to them when brainstorming for ideas for new or existing clients.

Stephen said that you never know what will work for you specific client/site, but you need to test out different ideas, and one great way to get these ideas is to build this resource library.

(Personal note: I use Evernote in my everyday work and it has changed my life)

Tom Critchlow – Big Business SEO

Tom’s talk essentially comes down this slide from his Enterprise SEO talk at a Mozcation:

When you are working with small companies and startups, SEO is all about hustle. You move fast and make quick changes.

With enterprise SEO however, you have to worry about processes. Big businesses take a while to implement changes, usually, so you often must change the process to facilitate GSD (getting sh*t done). This is incredibly powerful, too, because once you have baked SEO into the processes of the large company, you can really win because these sites often have a lot of links, a lot of credibility, and can easily dominate SERPs for competitive terms.

Here is the big takeaway from Tom’s talk:

Find a C-level executive with a paid LinkedIn account. Sit with them for 3o minutes and use their LinkedIn account to contact other C-level executives. Now you are teaching an exec about SEO, building links with related companies, and starting to get an SEO advocate internally.

*Personal note* – I also recommend getting unnecessarily involved people out of the way. In big corporations, often you have managers of managers of managers. They don’t really need to be involved. Learn their KPIs (key performance indicators) and work to satisfy those, but then find your one or two people who can really push changes through and who will be your advocate.

Bob Rains – Why I’m a Whitehat Now

Bob Rains has done a lot of nefarious deeds on the Internet in the past 10-15 years. When he gets on stage, he tells a lot of awesome stories and cusses like a sailor, which brings his talk down to earth and actually inspires me.

Bob talked about how the Internet used to be easy to push around and make money from (his words were “Internet, pay me b*tch!”).

The biggest takeway from Bob’s talk, for me, was him asking if you want to wake up every day wondering if your rankings will still be there on your MFA sites, or if you want to be the guy who creates the “MOST AWESOME THING EVER” so you can be proud of it. Blackhat is not sustainable, and Bob got tired of it. Now, he’s seeing that whitehat can be just as much if not even more fun, because you can be proud of it. Blackhat is like a lie, Bob says, that you constantly have to remember what you said last time. With whitehat, you can be proud.

Pro life tip: you can hack elevators too. When you get in, hold the floor you want to go to and the close button. Hold both until the elevator starts moving. In 75% of cases, approximately, the elevator will go right to the floor you selected. Boom. Life hack.

Rob Ousbey – Outreach, Is It All About Hustle?

Up next came Distilled’s own Rob Ousbey, who leads our Seattle office and is our VP of Operations. He has done a lot outreach and has built some great processes to use when building relationships to get links. Do you ever feel (like me) that you don’t know how to build a relationship that will lead to links, at least not quickly? Rob gave some actionable points.

First, outreach is about these three, in order:

  • build relationships
  • get coverage
  • acquire links
Rob then gave an awesome first-contact strategy for building a relationship. NEVER ask for a link in a first email or contact. The goal is to provide value, and you must have their attention before they will link to you. Here is his process:
  • Follow them on Twitter
  • Comment on their blog
  • Retweet something of theirs
  • Tweet at them
  • Comment again on their blog
  • Email them

Michael Gray – WordPress SEO

Up last was Michael Gray talking on WordPress SEO. If you don’t know who Michael Gray is and you use WordPress or your clients use WordPress, you’re doing it wrong. Michael knows his stuff.

Michael had a TON of information in his slides and ran through them pretty quick. I was furiously trying to take notes. Michael gave a couple of phenomenal insights though. Here they are:

 Use “<link rel=”image_src” href=”" />” to connote the image you want to show for your WP snippet when it is shared.

Do a content audit every 3-6 months. See what pages are not meeting goals. If the page isn’t doing anything, kill it. (and 301).

Keep articles and posts focused. Use head and tail concept to link articles. Narrowly focused will rank and convert better.

Use WP touch to make your website mobile friendly. It’s paid, but worth it and brandable.

Running 60 plugins will not slow down your site. Running 60 bad plugins will slow down your site.


That’s a wrap, folks! Rand Fishkin won the head-to-head between him and Will Critchlow. Both gave great presentations and provided a ton of value for the people who were brave and submitted their sites for review. They each got about $10k worth of consulting right there! Seriously, come next year and submit your sites. It will more than pay for your ticket, I promise.

As always, check out Outspoken Media’s great live blogging coverage as well.

John Doherty

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I'm the new (as of October 2013) Online Marketing Manager of Hotpads.com, soon to be based in San Francisco. Previous to Hotpads I worked at Distilled for 2 years as an online marketing consultant. In my spare time I shoot lifestyle photography, explore new and interesting food in New York, ski, rock climb, and update my Twitter and Google+ accounts.

4 responses to #Searchlove New York Recap – Day 2

  1. Nicely summarised.

    Having sat through this years torture of watching the #searchlove hashtag jam packed with good messages, it is defintely on my “to-do” list for next year.

    Just have another 300 odd days to find the cash to cover the costs…

    • Well I’m sorry you had to sit through two days of torture, but I hope you learned a lot, and I’ll keep an eye out for you next year! It’s definitely a conference worth attending.

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