The first ever Distilled Searchlove conference in New York City happened on Monday and Tuesday, the 31st of October and 1st of November. Being a Distilled employee in New York, I was privileged to attend the entire conference and to get to lead a table on Panda First Aid as well, which I hope was beneficial to everyone who attended. Aside from the parties (which are always awesome), the content was top-notch. I am consistently blown away by the amount I learn at conferences, and this one did not disappoint.
In the past I’ve recapped Linklove, which almost killed me, ProSEO Boston, and Mozcon (which also almost killed me). For this one, even though I live tweeted the whole conference (which almost killed my fingers), I’m not going to do a full recap. Instead, I want to follow suit in something that Will Critchlow has taught me and give you some actionable bits and bobs from each talk.
Let’s rock and roll.
Will Critchlow – The SEO’s Toolkit
Will Critchlow always claims that he is not a developer, yet he is quite capable with Django and Ubuntu and talks about programs like grep and sed, which sound scary to me. He shows some crazy nifty ways to graph data as well, which I think I should learn.
Will put together a video about installing Ubuntu, which is the first step in getting going with a proper development platform. Here is the embedded video:
Will gave a great piece of code as well, which he says you can use while using grep (the program) to find all of the times Googlebot has visited your page. He does this by parsing the log files and pulling out all of the instances.
Here’s the code:
grep input.log -e ‘404 .*Googlebot/2.1’ > output.log
Great job Will. I may even install Ubuntu at some point.
Mat Clayton – The Next Level of Social Integration
Mat Clayton from Mixcloud is THE man when it comes to integration with Facebook. Mat is in the uniquely socially shareable space of music, but the tightness of Mixcloud’s integration with Facebook has been the key to their success.
Mat gave some wonderfully actionable tips that actually had me integrating FB:Admin onto my photography site as he was speaking.
If you don’t know, you can use Facebook Insights to see exactly how much your information is being shared or liked on Facebook. It’s just one simple little meta tag, after you create a page on Facebook, to see this information. Here you go:
<meta property=”fb:page_id” content=”(unique page #)” />
Implement this if you use Facebook on your site.
Rand Fishkin – Everything is Easier with Fans
I love hearing Rand speak. At Linklove I likened him to a Southern Baptist preacher in how he gets you inspired and fired up to continue on fighting the good fight.
My biggest takeaway from Rand’s talk about building community is that you have to give, give, and then give some more. To build an online community, you can create venues such as Q/A sections (SEOmoz’s number of landing pages increased by 34% since they launched Pro QA), curation hubs, or forums. Usually you should start with a blog. The first months of this are hard, but if you can crack a certain barrier, it all snowballs from there. Numbers of followers multiply exponentially.
Here are a couple of takeaway points from his talk:
Make profiles a point of pride. Gamify people to complete them and they will link to them. They will be proud!
Reward community members. Pay them in-person visits (think Mozcation), tweet at them, make them feel special because they are!
Namedrop the names of influencers in your posts and titles. Link to them. If they have trackbacks set up, they’ll come check out your site.
For complete coverage, read Outspoken Media’s coverage of Rand’s talk.
Dave Minchala – Local SEO with Boatloads of Data
Dave Minchala is little known outside of the New York City SEO world, but he is a great guy and I would say one of the premiere players in the Local SEO space. He’s also a super nice guy who helped me out a lot when I was moving to New York City back in June.
Dave gave some very insightful filters to think through when thinking about keyword research, which he has written about previously as well. He said to think about the following three before doing keyword research:
Who is their best customer? This is their high value modifier (the one who spends the most)
Who is their worst customer? They want to get this one out the door.
Who is their typical customer? These are the ones that keep the company going.
Here is Dave’s secret sauce for finding the number of citations a business has, and also the places you can go to claim your business’s citation:
Factual.com. Go go go!
Read complete coverage of Dave’s talk over on Outspoken Media.
Laura Lippay – Mining Social Data
After lunch came Laura Lippay. Laura was supposed to speak at our Boston conference on Panda, but had to pull out at the last minute because of back problems. I was super excited to hear her speak, and she did not disappoint. She gave a whole bevy of tools to use for social listening and mining of social data. With her background at Yahoo!, she has needed tools that scale well.
She gave away a wonderful worksheet for doing competitive popularity analysis: http://ow.ly/7d3m8
Laura’s two tools of choice for social listening are Netbase (which is a paid solution) and Amplicate, which looks like an awesome free tool. She did a live demo of AutoTrader, which turned up some funny results for feedback including things such as “Sucks balls.” That was live on the screen. Pro tip: for epic lulz, do live demos!
Rob Millard – The Past, Present, and Future of Linkbait
Rob Millard is a funny dude. He’s one of my coworkers in London who I had honestly never really talked to before this week, but the guy knows his stuff about linkbait.
Rob’s main points were about infographics, which he has been producing a lot of for Distilled’s clients recently. A great grid that he provided through which to think about infographics and creation is “the hook”, meaning why are people going to care and share it? People love to share information that:
- Saves time
- Saves money
- Avoids hassle
- Avoids risk
- Looks good
- Feels good
Rob also shared that you must start with great data in order for graphics to be really good. And you have to tell a story! If you’re not visualizing a story, why are people going to care? Make the graphic funny or provide shocking statistics with data and you’ll go far.
Also, don’t forget to leverage your client’s team and their resources and contacts. These are people who can greatly help out the success of your linkbait. Do things like make sure they have a blog! When doing outreach, know if the target site has done infographics before. If so, they’ll probably be keen to share. If not, you may have to explain it and why it is useful.
Noah Kagan – Rogue Marketing Strategies
Noah Kagan is the incredibly successful founder of Appsumo. He has previously built Mint.com, and was employee #30 at Facebook. Noah is not afraid to fail. In fact, he said that 86% of their tests fail. Of course, the 14% that succeed incrementally and in large ways make a big difference.
Here are some quotes from Noah:
Find tactics that work for 80% and work em hard
Take 20% and go experiment
What works? Do that a lot.
What might work? Experiment a lot
You must have both!
If you can make your money back in 3-6 months, there should be no budget. Spend as much as you can as fast as you can.
Wil Reynolds – Build Content, Build Links
Wil Reynolds rounded out the day. His talk was dynamic as always and he brought solid content to the audience. Many of you may not know that he was trained as a teacher, and I think it really shows through. Wil says that he has been working on bringing bite size, actionable tips to his talks over the past year, and I think he is succeeding. I’ve seen him speak live 5 times this year, and each time it gets better.
Wil gave away a Broken Link Checker for WordPress, which you can use to find all of the broken outbound links on your site. Apparently you can also use it for linkbuilding, but I have not played with it enough yet to do this. Download it and use it if you use WordPress
Another tactic to use is finding expired domains of your competitors and buying them when they expire. Since they’re in your niche (or your clients), then just 301 redirect them. You can also reach out to people linking to the site and ask them to update their links. Boom. Links ++
Day one of Searchlove did not disappoint. I learned a lot, implemented a lot during the day, and I hope that you find these pointers useful. Remember, you can check out the live blogs from the whole conference over at Outspoken Media.
I’ll be back soon with Day 2!