Seo Meetup Cardiff: The Trilogy
Good things come in three. So when I heard about the 3rd Cardiff SEO meet up I was tres excited…..
The 2 previous meetup's had been a great success and the 2nd one topped the first, disproving the sequel theory. The problem with this one – is that the trilogy raises expectation. Can the third SEO meet up - match up, never mind surpass its previous successes.
The answer to that, in one (keyword) is YES. This meeting had all the hallmarks of the previous ones but it was the increased interaction and geeky debates that made it stand out.
The meeting was held earlier than usual – a 6.15am start. The feedback from the last one and unofficial reviews suggested earlier the better. And Steve, with his feedback ear to the ground, set the meeting earlier. Hear! Hear!
Turned out to be a stroke of genius as this meeting went on a lot longer than previous meets. After all, content is king, right?
Black Hat SEO
Tom a resident of previous meetings; went from being in the background to centre stage. Not one to ease himself into proceedings – he started with a bang, a black hat bang at that.
Tom included a snippet of his talk on the HQ site. Feel free to take a look, after you've read this of course; rude!
Tom ran through various elements of black hat methods and how they can impact your business in both a positive and negative fashion. All depending how crafty you are and whether you get caught.
The disadvantages of white hat SEO is that it can be more expensive and results take a while longer to come through. Tom suggested that you weigh up the risks of black hat and if you do use the techniques then you can re-invest the profits and success into white hat SEO. Eventually replacing all your black hat success with white hat, helping to sustain the success long term.
Sape was divisibly discussed. Hacking was discussed then dismissed. Word of Warning: Hacking can’t just put your site in purgatory, it can put you in Prison. Luckily Tom doesn’t know how to hack, well that’s what he said :/
What I found the most impressive is that Tom has managed to top rank a gym and site that doesn’t exist. He’s even hoodwinked Google as they have granted power gym a my business listing which is some prime real estate.
Our site has a lot of traffic so it is too risky for us to invest in black hat as a hit in traffic would be drastic to our revenue, not to mention my employment status. Maybe we can put the black hat on a bleached wash and experiment with some grey hat!
Social Currency & Buy-In
From Black to Breezy – Miranda Bishop switched up the subject and ramped up the dimmer.
Miranda proceeded to discuss the evolution of social media and what we can expect in the near future. Indicating and breaking our (probably just me) social media hearts with the news that Twitter is the most likely platform to follow Vine into the social media abyss.
Not one to be upstaged by Tom’s controversial topic. She promoted her own beliefs of tradition over trend. Preferring an e-mail or snail mail, which is so easy to convince her it, could be classed as emotional blackmail.
Fortunately, Miranda didn’t leave her physical address. Which would have surely been inundated with mailshots for the foreseeable future. If she wasn’t out of mailbox reach she would almost certainly be out of pocket.
Miranda’s poor ole mum (metaphorically not literally, unless she also buys all the offers in the post too) took the brunt of her jovial ire of the demographics and audience using certain social media platforms. People switching or migrating to different, fresher platforms as Nan doesn’t have Instagram. Hence it not being called #InstaGRAN (sorry)!
I made a joke about Miranda on the dying platform that is Twitter, suggesting she talked a lot. Well, it was a presentation and she was the speaker….I mean what did I expect – Mute Miranda? There’s one way to never be invited back!
And to be fair she took it in jest
It was also good to have a social media facet to the SEO meet up. The signals from social media do have a positive effect on brands and companies and this can only be good for their SEO and rankings.
Content and Competition
One of the main things I took away was the encouragement of engagement from your audience. Companies can offer big, brash and bold prizes in competitions – this can in some way devalue the competition as people will find it hard to believe the prize even exists, never mind them realistically winning it.
The trick is to offer something that will pique their interest while encouraging their involvement by making the prize seem achievable. Not too expensive and not too cheap and of course it must be relative to your niche. Else you’ll just have competition crazees where ideally you want pre-qualified leads. The goldilocks of rewards – something just right.
Engagement is still very important. Heaps of companies just broadcast their posts and forget entirely about the 80/20 rule. Health/fitness/weight management groups where interaction, and the community effect in the groups is evident and can only be good for the company. Where PT’s could just as easy stand for personality trainers. It’s an example everyone could follow albeit with a little adaption to their own audience
When Miranda invited questions - there was a company/person there that has 80 products but 200+ social media accounts. Even Miranda was rendered speechless!
It would be very interesting to find out the name of that Company and follow their social media progress, not all the accounts though – ain’t nobody got time for that. Just looking at 200 accounts is difficult enough – imagining trying to create engagement for that many.
Xanthe Studios – Site Review
The sites details were released a few days early , allowing attendees a chance to dive under the hood and get into the nuts and bolts of the site beforehand and not just the UX on the day.
This time we had an actual developer to throw rocks (suggestions) at! To be fair to Pete – he took it all in great, not just good faith. The reason he put the site up for dissection is because – by his own admission – he’s not an SEO guy.
Holding his coding hands up he let the onslaught begin…..
Miranda was straight in there with a no phone number or call options visible - surprise, surprise! I added some fuel to that fire advising that the phone number found at the bottom of the page, had a click to call option that didn’t work, and actually returned a 404 error.
Then the comments rained in thick and fast:
• 2 spelling mistakes
• No call to action above the fold
• Duplicate meta descriptions
• One page site
• Abuse, abuse, abuse
All points were discussed and generally agreed that they were for the better. Xanthe is still a work in progress and Pete is now armed with very helpful info to get his site optimised and ranked higher.
It would be amiss to not mention the geek off, where the branded link at the bottom of the website and footer links at other sites designed by Pete would be ‘garbage’. That comment has since been cleared up gracefully by David who has helpfully pointed meetup attendees to a search engine round table article to clarify his point.
Right or wrong, black or white (grey even), there isn’t definitive answers on SEO for the majority of topics. Following best practice is advised and always test, test, test! Debate, including that one is always good, and it encourages learning and development.
What works today in SEO, might not work tomorrow. You can go from top rankings to tanking rankings in one fell manual penalty. Careful guys and gals – it’s a jungle out there.
This is where the compere turned into the Charity Champion. Steve admitted that he promised never to take the stage himself as he didn’t want to hog the limelight and he wanted others to receive the attention and airtime.
However, we’ll forgive him this time. His charitable efforts and altruism deserve to be up in bright lights.
Steve’s client – Adrian, has a daughter that is suffering from Alexander’s disease. Adrian helped raise money for the Climb charity by completing a 10 day, 1000 mile cycle challenge around the UK. This involved himself and 7 chums donating 100 toys and books to 17 hospitals in the UK. The specifics of Steve’s lightning talk depended on the money raised. The more money raised = less time per slide. So by raising money he was raising expectations.
Through his fundraising efforts – Steve had 9 seconds per slide, reduced from an original 20 seconds. Being succinct and swift was the order of they day.
Luckily, during his pre-presentation checks, Steve discovered that he has set the slides to 0.9 seconds…..lightning talk indeed.
To add to the difficulty, Steve also had 5 nominated buzzwords to try and include in the talk. Ringing a bell each time he nailed a word.
The buzzwords were: Clicks and Mortar, Buzz Wedge, Low Hanging Fruit, Black Hat SEO and Link Juice.
I think he hit all the buzzwords bar one, doing the history of SEO and himself proud.
And that wraps up another meeting with the next one due in February. If you attended the meeting feel free to add any comments below. Hell, even if you didn’t you can still let me know what you think. It is almost x-mas after all. The more the merrier!