Rishi Lakhani, Search Marketing Consultant – Actually Making SEO Happen
This was one of the talks in the ‘Eye Openers’ strand, and it was certainly that. Rishi began by asking if anyone in the room had clients who spent 100k or more a month on SEO. One hand went up. “Porn, gambling..?” “No, travel.” The point of the talk was that there are companies that need to spend big money on SEO if they are to successfully dominate their market, but most do not. Rishi’s opening slide was of an expensive car with a bumper held together by sticky tape, saying that this is too often what happens to SEO – low priority, bare minumum, seat of pants stuff. He then went on to tell us that he’s not a great SEO himself, but his job is to persuade companies to find the damn money. “It’s no use complaining that your clients won’t or can’t pay for SEO,” he told us,”Because that’s your fault.” Basically the decision makers in business only care about one thing – the bottom line – and the only way to sell SEO is not to bang on about SERPS or keywords but to tell them very clearly what the difference will be in terms of profit. Sam Crocker was sitting next me and while Rishi was talking he murmured ‘Smart guy.’ Need I say more.
Zach Colbert, Social Media Manager at White Hat Media – Lev Manovich’s theory of linking and association
In Zach’s presentation we were treated to a theoretical talk about whether hypertext is making us more stupid. My understanding of the argument was that hyperlinking limits and prescribes the associations we make in such a way that free association (something the brain does so well) is suppressed. Although I was interested in this, and wanted to ask a question (such as how has the theory evolved since 2000 or so when it was written), I sensed that the room was becoming tired and this was probably a theory too far for many people. I think Zach picked up on this as he fluctuated between obvious delight in his subject and a ‘whatever’ kind of insouciance.
Nichola Stott – Owner at theMediaflow – Challenging the conventional wisdom of anchor text
She admitted she had a tough gig – last on, everyone ready for the pub – but Nichola did a great job. She showed us the results of some work she’d done on measuring the correlation between keywords-in-anchor-text links and SERPS. Basically, sites that came top of the SERPS for a particular search phrase were found to have far fewer inbound anchor text links than those further down the results, leading her to suggest that you can have too many inbound links using keywords in the anchor text and that this may be classified by Google as a form of spam. Further research had revealed the sites doing better did have brand names appear more often in anchor text. It was an interesting study, and food for thought. If you’re interested to see the tweetstream from this event it’s at #brightonSEO… many thanks again to Kelvin Newman for organising, this was a really brilliant afternoon.