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Sneak Preview

SES London

20–24 February, 2012 SESConference.com

February 2012

Download the SES mobile app.

It’s the End of SEO as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) Now is the perfect time to liberate yourself from the algorithm. page 10

Successful SEO Marketing in Other Languages 13 Job Forecast for Digital Marketing in 2012 14 Competitor Backlink Analysis for the Web Strategist 16


contents

Follow SES at twitter.com/SESConf

COVER STORY

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IT’S THE END OF SEO AS WE KNOW IT (AND I FEEL FINE) Now is the perfect time to liberate yourself from the algorithm.

COLUMNS

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CONFERENCE INFORMATION

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AVINASH KAUSHIK KEYNOTES SES LONDON

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MEET THE EXPERTS

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SPONSORS & EXHIBITORS

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NEW TOPICS AT SES

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SESSIONS NEW TO SES LONDON

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SEO IS DEAD.… NO, IT ISN’T.… YES, IT IS.… Despite the doomsayers, SEO doesn’t die—it evolves, and we need to adapt. SUCCESSFUL SEO MARKETING IN OTHER LANGUAGES Emerging markets offer the potential for great ROI. Find out how to adapt your site for non-English-speakers.

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PROVING YOUR SEO WORK IS WORTH IT Evaluate your marketing campaign by how closely it meets your intended outcomes.

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COMPETITOR BACKLINK ANALYSIS FOR THE WEB STRATEGIST Harvest nonobvious and strategic insights from a commonplace technique.

JOB FORECAST FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2012 Opportunities—and salaries— are likely to keep growing in a field that has withstood the economic downturn.

February 2012

Access the SES London mobile app for the latest information. ▶▶ Stay informed with up-to-the-minute notifications ▶▶ Organise your schedule easily using the Schedule-at-a-Glance function ▶▶ Receive alerts and important real-time communications from the SES Team ▶▶ Connect to the conversation with the built-in Twitter feed ▶▶ Rate and comment on the sessions you attend ▶▶ Locate exhibitors you want to visit ▶▶ Save and share photos of your show experiences ▶▶ Use the Friends feature to network and exchange info with other attendees

iPhone, iPad, & iPod Touch or search for “SES London” in the App Store

All other phone types or visit http://m.core-apps.com/seslondon12


staff Matt McGowan MD, North America

Mike Grehan Global VP, Content

Sharon Morabito Head of Events, Americas Program Development Senior Program Director Marilyn Crafts Conference Program manager Laura Roth Head of Event Content (UK) Lorna Candy Conference ProduceR (UK) Irina Gaspar

about SES Welcome to the London issue of SES Magazine, our first digital-only issue. We remain committed to providing the high quality of content that you’ve come to expect from the print issue. As always, we’re eager to hear your feedback and learn what topics you’d like to see. SES London, held on 20–24 February at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, will see the debut of several exciting sessions, including: •• 11 Ways to Be Invisible to Search Engines •• A 13-Step Checklist to Jumpstart Your Social Program •• S ite Redesign? Don’t Forget SEO Migration!

Operations (UK) Operations Manager Operations Executive

Steve Brown Emma Battman

ClickZ & Search Engine Watch Executive Editor, ClickZ Director, SEW Managing Editor, News Senior Editor, News Staff Writer Copy Editor Asia Desk Editor

Anna Maria Virzi Jonathan Allen Zach Rodgers Kate Kaye Christopher Heine Caitlin Rossman Adaline Lau

Sales & Marketing Sales Directors

Account Executive Director, Client Services Marketing Director Marketing Manager MKTG Mgr—Exhibitions (UK) Web Designer Online Operations manager Online Operations associate

Andrew Katz Elaine Mershon Elaine Romeo Peter Westerholm Elizabeth Huston JoAnn Simonelli Angela Man Amy Xu Jessica Watkins Rebecca Holz Louise Laberge Aleksey Gershin

Magazine Editor Contributors

Dawn Cavalieri Christian Arno Stephen Croome Kevin Gibbons Andrew Goodman Jake Langwith Dave Naylor

Corporate Chief Executive Group Managing Director

Tim Weller James Hanbury

SES: Volume 6, Issue 1 | February 2012 © 2012 Incisive Media plc To subscribe, contribute, or view past issues, visit www.sesconference.com/ses-magazine To advertise, contact sales at sales@sesconference.com or +1 (212) 457-4993. Comments? Want to unsubscribe? E-mail us at magazine@sesconference.com Incisive Media, U.S. 55 Broad Street, 22nd fl. New York, NY 10004-2501 tel +1 (646) 736-1888 fax +1 (646) 390-6612

Incisive Media, head office 28-29 Haymarket House London SW1Y 4RX, UK tel +44 (0)20 7316 9609 fax +44 (0)20 7930 2238

We are pleased to bring our extremely popular “Meet the Experts” roundtable to London, along with sessions that are new to SES London, including: •• Is Retargeting/Remarketing Right for You? •• Developing a Video Optimisation and Marketing Campaign •• Tablet Display Advertising: Challenges and Opportunities See pages 18–21 for the dates, times, and descriptions of new sessions. To make the most of your week in London, be sure to download the SES London app. The most up-to-date agenda can also be found on the conference website, SESLondon.com. And don’t forget these upcoming events: •• SES Accelerator, San Diego, 9 February, Hilton San Diego Bayfront (SESAccelerator.com) •• SES New York, 19–23 March, Hilton New York (SESNewYork.com) •• SES Shanghai, 16–18 April, InterContinental Shanghai Puxi (SESShanghai.com) •• SES Toronto, 11–13 June, Hyatt Regency Toronto (SESToronto.com) We look forward to seeing you at an SES Conference soon! Best regards, Mike Grehan, Chair SES Advisory Board Chair Global VP, Content Incisive Media

Matt McGowan Managing Director, North America Incisive Media

SES ADVISORY BOARD

Comprised of both industry thought leaders and real-world practitioners, the Search Engine Strategies advisory board brings together top players in the field of interactive media and search. The team works to deliver continually cutting-edge search techniques, more integrated and relevant content, and professional development resources to SES attendees. Mike Grehan, Chair Global VP Content SES/Search Engine Watch/ ClickZ

Marilyn Crafts Senior Program Director SES Advisory Board Coordinator SES Conference & Expo

Anne F. Kennedy International Search Strategist Beyond Ink USA

Jonathan Allen Director SearchEngineWatch

Bryan Eisenberg Bestselling Author bryaneisenberg.com

Jon Myers Head of Account Management Yahoo! UK & Ireland

Matthew Bailey President Site Logic Marketing

Paul Fegan Head of e-Learning Incisive Media

Lee Odden CEO TopRank Online Marketing

Chris Boggs Director, SEO, Rosetta

Andrew Goodman President Page Zero Media

Laura Roth Conference Program & Training Manager SES Conference & Expo

Mikel Chertudi Sr. Director, Online & Demand Marketing Adobe

Bill Hunt President Back Azimuth Consulting

Crispin Sheridan Sr. Director of Search Marketing Strategy SAP

Eddie Choi Managing Director Frontiers Digital

Aaron Kahlow Chairman & Founder, Online Marketing SummiT


Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, Keynotes SES London Business Optimisation in a Digital Age Tuesday, 21 February, 9:oo–10:00am The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre Register

We were promised that one day marketing would become rocket science. Well, we are almost there! Search continues to become more complicated, and more exciting. Then there’s social and email and display and video and … so many more things. It is hard to understand how to do one thing right, much less try to do all of them right. In his exciting keynote, Avinash will share his unique perspective on balancing multiple media channels, leveraging super awesome metrics, grounding your digital existence in driving economic value, and leveraging the Clear Line of Sight model to ensure you are optimising across all four of the most important business drivers (come to the keynote to learn which four!).

Meet the Experts at SES London 2012

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new session format is taking the SES Conference series by storm, and it’s coming to SES London in February. The Meet the Experts   Roundtable is an hour-long session within the conference agenda that allows you to meet top speakers, authors, and practitioners and    have all of your questions answered. Each of ten concurrent roundtables centres on a specific topic and features two experts. You can simply move from one table to another throughout the session, meeting a wide range of specialists and coming away with solutions to your challenges. As this session takes place twice in the agenda, there is no need to rush—there is plenty of time to meet everyone. Potential topics include: Facebook Ad Formats Customer Engagement SEO, PPC, SMO: Trends for 2012 Local and Social Optimising Landing Pages

Mobile, Search, and Social SEO Content Marketing Enterprise SEO Link Building Conversion, Testing, and Analytics

Video Optimisation Analytics Driven Engagement Ad Optimisation Email Marketing Information Architecture

Metrics for SEO Keyword Modelling Reputation Management Web Analytics Generating Leads from SEO and PPC

Both sessions take place immediately before a networking function (a drinks reception on day 1 and lunch on day 2), enabling you to take your conversations straight into the bar or to lunch, where you can continue to network. This roundtable has been cited by many attendees as the best session at the whole conference, so we are excited about featuring it at SES London. We look forward to seeing you there! To see the latest list of experts and topics, download the London SES app or visit www.SESLondon.com.

See pages 18–21 for a list of new sessions at SES London.

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sponsors & exhibitors SES London | 20–24 February, 2012 Expo Hall Hours: Tuesday, 21 February, 8:00am–6:30pm | Wednesday, 22 February, 8:00am–7:00pm

SILVER SPONSORS Marin Software Stand 10 www.marinsoftware.co.uk Marin Software is a leading provider of online advertising management solutions, offering an integrated platform for managing search, display, and social marketing. The company provides solutions for advertisers and agencies of all sizes, enabling them to improve financial performance, save time, and make better decisions. Marin Enterprise, the company’s flagship product, addresses the needs of online marketers spending at least £50,000 per month on biddable media. Marin Professional delivers the same power and ease-of-use as Marin Enterprise, through an application designed for marketers spending less than £50,000 per month on paid search. Headquartered in San Francisco, with offices worldwide, Marin’s technology powers marketing campaigns for over 1100 customers managing more than £1.5 billion of annualised ad spend in more than 160 countries. For more information, please visit: http://www.marin software.co.uk.

SubmitEdge Stand 9 www.submitedge.com Located in the UK, the US, and India, SubmitEdge is one of the largest contextual link building companies in the SEO Industry. We are an ISO 9001-2008 certified company with over 200 in-house employees. Since our production house is in India, we can offer services at affordable prices. SubmitEdge has served over 18,000 customers worldwide since 2006. Our link-building effort has helped our customers achieve their SEO goals to get organic ranking, leading to increases in traffic and sales. SubmitEdge is the brain child of Kush Infosystems Pvt. Ltd. that specialised in SEO, content writing, and web programming.

SPONSORS AdInsight Stand 27 www.adinsight.com AdInsight Clarity is a comprehensive visitor level call tracking and call analytics solution designed to help businesses justify ad spend, increase conversions, and cut ineffective advertising. It is a complete visitor level call tracking solution that tracks every website visitor, from how they found your website to what pages they looked at before, during, and after they call your business. Because we track every visitor, we can tell you how all your website traffic is performing, not just your search traffic. This helps you build a true representation of your website’s performance and ensures you are seeing the complete picture. And as AdInsight Clarity tracks every website visitor, it will report on an unlimited number of keywords too.

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Adthena Stand 8 www.adthena.co.uk Adthena is one of the UK’s most popular Competitor Search Intelligence Solutions. Adthena’s Search Competitor Intelligence is unique—it finds all your competitors and all the keywords that are relevant to your marketplace. It not only reports on the competitors and keywords but also reacts to the fluidity of ranking, spend, share of voice, and all other PPC / SEO & SEM activity—giving you matchless power in your market. So don’t fret, benchmark all your SEM campaigns with one complete tool and be the king of your market. For your free demo please request now at www.adthena.co.uk/demo.aspx, call us at 00 44 845 201 2211, or send a message at @adthena.

Anicca Solutions Stand 19 www.anicca-solutions.com Anicca is a London– and Midlands–based full-service digital agency. Our services include: 1. Paid advertising and e-commerce marketing •• Paid search, social, and display—we specialise in conversion and revenue optimisation with fixed monthly fees and transparent reporting. •• E-commerce marketing—including channel management and pay-for-results based fees. 2. Search, social, and online marketing We provide strategy, training and ongoing project implementation for search engine optimisation, social marketing, blogging, etc. 3. Web design and development Our search engine–friendly websites are built using our Reflex Content Management System with integrated blog and optional database and e-commerce functionality. 4. International marketing International and multi-lingual websites and international search marketing.

Bing Bag Sponsor www.bing.com Search advertising with Microsoft helps you efficiently reach your next best customer—within your budget and with the support you need to get started, optimized, and measure your results.

broadplace.com Stand 23 www.broadplace.com Broadplace Advertising Ltd has been established in the UK for over 7 years and currently manages the search marketing needs for more


sponsors & Download the app or visit SESLondon.com. exhibitors than 450 clients and agencies in the UK. We provide a unique and highly proactive approach to campaign management across all forms of search marketing such as SEO, PPC, Link Building, and Social. Broadplace is also a Google Adwords Certified Partner with more than 20 qualified individuals. We operate from offices in Central London and Surrey with a team of 150+ dedicated and passionate search professionals. We offer very competitive prices whilst ensuring there is no compromise on our quality of service and delivery from a name that you can trust and rely upon. All of our content is supplied by our own in-house UK-based content writing team. Our account managers are based in London and Surrey, providing regular reporting and full support by phone, email, and face-to-face meetings.

ClickZ Stand 6 www.clickz.com ClickZ is the largest resource of interactive marketing news, information, commentary, advice, opinion, research, and reference in the world, online or off. From search to social, technology to trends, our coverage is expert, exclusive, and in-depth. Our mission: to help interactive marketers do their jobs better.

Indus Net Technologies Stand 5 www.indusnet.co.in Indus Net Technologies (established in 1997) provides an integrated, result-oriented approach to Internet marketing including Search

Engine Optimisation, Pay-Per-Click Management, Website Analytics, and Conversion Optimisation. We have an uncompromising commitment to quality, which is reinforced through our excellent process framework and on-going Research & Development program. Our team of 350+ top-notch professionals working from the UK and India helps our 5500+ clients achieve the highest ROI from their online investment. We work with digital marketing agencies all over the world as their trusted and reliable outsourcing partner. We help them reduce their cost and provide ready-to-use team to scale up faster. Our white-label approach ensures that we remain transparent and work in the background to help our partners compete better. Some of our online service brands related to Internet marketing are Promote2Please.com, Submit2Please.com, and Content2Please.com.

Info Cubic Japan Stand 25 www.infocubic.o.jp/en Info Cubic Japan is a search engine marketing (SEM) firm serving more than 500 businesses in the Far East. Established in 2002, we have optimised more than 5,000 keyword searches designed to drive traffic to our clients’ web pages. Info Cubic Japan, however, doesn’t stop at search engine optimisation (SEO); we also provide individualized cutting-edge global marketing strategies, advanced pay-perclick (PPC) analysis, and website localization for the market in Japan. In addition, our extensive experience with the Japanese Internet enables us to help our overseas customers effectively market their goods or services in Japan.

product & service guide Advertising Networks teliad...................................................... 14 Blog Advertising teliad...................................................... 14 Content & News Feed Providers PRWeb...................................................26 Display Advertising Marin Software................................. 10 Interactive Marketing Associations & Publications topseos.com.......................................... 3 Lead Generation Marketing Finder...............................17 Marketing Optimisation Solutions Adthena.................................................. 8

Linkdex...................................................11 Marin Software................................. 10 PRWeb...................................................26 Searchmetrics GmbH........................ 2 SubmitEdge........................................... 9 topseos.com.......................................... 3 Marketing Supplier Intelligence Marketing Finder...............................17 Organic Search Marketing Anicca Solutions................................19 broadplace.com.................................23 Indus Net Technologies.................... 5 Info Cubic Japan................................25 KeywordFluency...................................1 Linkdex...................................................11 PRWeb...................................................26 SEO.in...................................................... 4 SubmitEdge........................................... 9 topseos.com.......................................... 3

Stand #s on right. Pay-Per Click Networks & Management Services broadplace.com.................................23 KeywordFluency...................................1 Pay-Per-Call Companies Anicca Solutions................................19 Search Marketing Agencies Anicca Solutions................................19 broadplace.com.................................23 Indus Net Technologies.................... 5 Info Cubic Japan................................25 SEO.in...................................................... 4 SubmitEdge........................................... 9 teliad...................................................... 14 Search Marketing Software Adthena.................................................. 8 KeywordFluency...................................1 Linkdex...................................................11

Marin Software................................. 10 Searchmetrics GmbH........................ 2 Specialized Search Engines (Multimedia, Mobile, Shopping, International, etc.) Info Cubic Japan................................25 Staffing Solutions Indus Net Technologies.................... 5 Training Courses & Certification in Search Marketing Online Marketing Institute............ 13 Website Search and Technologies Adthena.................................................. 8 Searchmetrics GmbH........................ 2 SEO.in...................................................... 4

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sponsors & exhibitors SES London | 20–24 February, 2012 iProspect WiFi and Cocktail Reception Sponsor www.iprospect.co.uk iProspect is a global digital performance agency employing over 1,000 specialists in 48 offices, across more than 37 regions globally. In the United Kingdom at our London offices we currently employ over 170 staff specialising across a broad range of digital solutions including paid and natural search, social media, paid social, performance display, affiliate, lead generation, shopping feeds, analytics and conversion optimisation. We also have a dedicated ad operations and development team of 30+ people supporting our clients’ business operations and building out bespoke technical solutions such as reporting dashboards and search tools. With a proven track record of driving measurable business results through creating integrated and customized digital marketing programs, we act as a business consultant and trusted advisor to our clients utilizing technology and data to provide tangible insight and analysis that generates results and increases ROI. To discover more please contact us at digital@iprospect.com or on +44(0)20 7492 2830.

KeywordFluency Stand 1 www.keywordfluency.com KeywordFluency is a multilingual search marketing service providing language support for international campaigns exclusively to agencies. With over 40+ languages in-house and experience across a wide range of sectors and projects, KeywordFluency works as an extension to an agency team, providing the multilingual knowledge and expertise to enable agencies to effectively meet client needs and easily take on international projects. Services across SEO, PPC, PR, and Social Media are provided by native speakers of each target language, who are also search specialists to ensure linguistic, cultural, and technical accuracy.

Linkdex Stand 11 www.linkdex.com Linkdex is a free enterprise class SEO platform where you only pay for valuable, actionable, profitable data. Linkdex was founded by a team of seasoned search marketers. Together with a rapidly growing group of passionate business and agency users, Linkdex is developing the software to deliver on an ambitious product vision. Linkdex is also a platform that is evolving further and faster than any other, with a dedicated team of Europe’s leading developers working flat out, turning user feedback into new features as regularly as every two weeks. None of this would be possible without a £ multi-million investment from one of the world’s leading venture capital funds and Silicon Valley’s highest profile investors.

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So whether you’re aiming to benchmark what SEO is delivering against the competition or work more productively for your team, with Linkdex you can Seize Every Opportunity.

Marketing Finder Stand 17 www.marketingfinder.co.uk marketingfinder.co.uk is the new user review website for the digital marketing community. Contribute to this resource by reviewing your search agency, or other digital marketing provider you work with. Plus, access the free library of high-quality whitepapers. It’s free to use and helps you benefit from the market experiences of others.

Online Marketing Institute Stand 13 www.onlinemarketinginstitute.org The Online Marketing Institute (OMI) is an education-focused, career development organisation offering marketers accreditation in the various fields of online marketing. OMI’s curriculum of case studies, best practices, peer validation and trend analysis is delivered to students via workshops, webinars, seminars and online learning channels. OMI’s education program was built in conjunction with leading universities, research firms and associations to give marketers market-tested practical knowledge that can immediately benefit their careers. OMI’s courses are available to the general public.

PRWeb Stand 26 http://uk.prweb.com/ PRWeb leads the industry in online news distribution and publicity. It takes the press release—formerly the expensive asset of large businesses—and makes it accessible to organizations of all sizes, as an inexpensive, hugely effective means of sharing news online, becoming more visible, attracting inbound media enquiries and winning new customers. PRWeb is a service of Vocus. (NASDAQ: VOCS)

Search Engine Watch Stand 6 www.searchenginewatch.com Search Engine Watch provides tips and information about searching the web, analysis of the search engine industry, and help to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines.

Searchmetrics GmbH Stand 2 www.searchmetrics.com Searchmetrics is the global expert in search and social analytics software, empowering marketers to increase visibility and market share on the world’s leading search engines. We create value by providing the best quality data on a global scale. Clients and


sponsors & Download the app or visit SESLondon.com. exhibitors partners worldwide rely on Searchmetrics to maximize return from search investments with actionable insights that help better manage, improve, and scale search marketing campaigns. Searchmetrics’ robust search marketing tool, Searchmetrics Suite, is supported by a unique server infrastructure that offers monitoring of over 100 search engines in over 30 countries worldwide. Searchmetrics Suite is also home to the Searchmetrics Essentials data modules, SEO+SEM and Social, encompassing the largest, fastest databases for search and social media available. Headquartered in Berlin, with subsidiaries and offices in New York, London and Paris, the company delivers real web intelligence to a growing international customer base. You can follow Searchmetrics on Twitter @Searchmetrics or on Facebook at www. facebook.com/Searchmetrics. For more information, please visit: www.searchmetrics.com.

SEO.in Stand 4 www.seo.in SEO.in is an online marketing agency with an aim to create comprehensive services that provide results for our clients and partnering agencies. We provide our services to numerous small businesses, enterprises, and other agencies looking to outsource their work to another agency in the online marketing industry. We have a history of working with companies of all shapes and sizes and continue to offer our services in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and India. We offer a variety of online marketing services as a part of our online marketing suite. It is our mission to make our services work for our clients.

Serving customers on a global scale, teliad supports anybody from SEO agencies to blue chip corporations as well as specialized online shops. Over the last couple of years, teliad has become the place to go for many renowned brands helping them to rank better and earn more. We would like to invite you as well to profit from our experience and know-how of many years in the industry. Please come see us, so we can talk about your online marketing needs and our SEOlutions.

topseos.com Stand 3 www.topseos.com The independent authority on search vendors, topseos.com evaluates and ranks the top Internet marketing companies. Categories ranked by topseos include: search engine optimisation, pay per click management, affiliate marketing, social media optimisation, and many more. Since 2002, topseos has been a trusted resource for businesses looking to launch or improve Internet marketing campaigns. The pathfinder service allows topseos to work directly with you to help find companies that best fit your business needs. Why waste time searching through thousands of sites with false promises? Go straight to the authority, gain insight into the industry, and work with the best.

Quantcast

Lanyard Sponsor www.seomoz.org SEOmoz develops the industry’s #1 SEO software, provides a robust link intelligence API for third-party applications, maintains a comprehensive collection of SEO and online marketing resources, and hosts the web’s most vibrant SEO community. SEOmoz PRO offers a complete set of software, tools, and resources to maximise and simplify your site’s search engine optimisation. Linkscape, SEOmoz’s unique index of the web that crawls over 350 billion URLs, powers the popular Open Site Explorer link analysis tool and over a dozen SEO software companies. SEOmoz is also home to Roger MozBot, the world’s most helpful and cuddly robot.

Stand 24 www.quantcast.com Quantcast is an audience measurement and targeting company. The pioneer of direct audience measurement, we start with the industry’s most in-depth understanding of digital audiences to help marketers and publishers buy and sell the most effective targeted advertising and drive conversions through the full funnel. Our products let publishers match their audience to the exact consumers an advertiser wants to reach with impression level targeting. Ranked Fast Company’s #3 Most Innovative Company on the Web and the Overall Winner of AlwaysOn’s Global 250 Top Private Companies, Quantcast is used by the world’s leading advertisers, the top 10 media agencies, and 100+ million web destinations. Launched in 2006, Quantcast is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by Founders Fund, Polaris Venture Partners, Revolution Ventures, and Cisco Systems.

teliad Internetmarketing GmbH

Yahoo!

Stand 4 www.teliad.com Rank Better—Earn More! teliad is an international SEO services provider with a broad product portfolio. We offer a wide variety of services in the area of link building and search engine optimisation to fulfil any request. Since its inception in 2005, the German based company has established itself as the European market leader for text link advertising.

Bag Sponsor www.searchalliance.com/uk/en/home Yahoo! is the premier digital media company, creating deeply personal digital experiences that keep more than half a billion people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the globe. And Yahoo!’s unique combination of Science + Art + Scale connects advertisers to the consumers who build their businesses.

SEOmoz

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focus

SEO

SEO Is Dead.… No, It Isn’t.… Yes, It Is.… Despite the doomsayers, SEO doesn’t die—it evolves, and we need to adapt. by Dave Naylor

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   ou may wonder why one of the sessions at SES London is titled “SEO is Dead. Long Live SEO!” As you probably know, the phrase on which it is based— “The King is dead. Long live the King”— dates from the Middle Ages. It signified the continuation of the monarchy: although the old king was dead, a new one would succeed him immediately. SEO is the same: it’s not dead; it has just taken new forms.

Prophets and Prophecies of Doom

end is nigh”, and the rest are just ignorant or misinformed as to what SEO actually is. You could be forgiven for thinking that the people who make these predictions, based on nothing more than the usual evolutionary process of technology, seem to have spent time at the Rupert Murdoch School of Sensationalist Baloney. Where were the cries of “computer networking is dead!” when wireless came out? They didn’t exist, because this was just another form of networking. People just need to learn the new system, which is still based on the same core fundamentals and principles.

Tactics will certainly change, as they always have done, but this doesn’t mean that SEO dead—far from it. The ever-changing aspect is what keeps the good SEOs passionate and achieving the best results through keeping up with the changes in the field.

Back when I started in this industry, people said, “There’s no money in that, Dave”, “That will never last”, and even “You should get a proper job”. Indeed, for the last few years, we’ve been hearing about “the end of Google” and “the death of SEO”. I’ve learned not to pay any attention to these statements. Many people are using such phrases merely as catchy headlines, controversial as they are,

Actual Industry Health SEO hasn’t even been under threat, let alone near death. Until the day that Google decides to stop crawling the web and only put out ads (which, of course, will be the beginning

altogether, rendering it useless—again, a highly unlikely scenario. The fact of the matter is that as long as there are organic search listings that are found via keywords from a search box, there will be SEO. How can there not be? Owners of websites will still want more prominent,

to get SEOs like us to click and enquire further. Others are PPC advocates, some are doomsayers similar to people who wander around with billboards claiming that “the

of the end for the search giant, and they’re smarter than to trigger such a thing), SEO will be very much alive. They might remove the search box from the search engine

profitable positions with any search engine results pages because users will still want the first results returned to them to be the most relevant and to have a choice.

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SEO

The problem is that many people simply don’t understand SEO and how broad it is as a technical discipline. It doesn’t die; it simply evolves. Maybe it will take a new name for itself at some point if that’s really necessary, and maybe some aspects will change. Tactics will certainly change, as they always have done, but this doesn’t mean that SEO dead—far from it. The ever-changing aspect is what keeps the good SEOs passionate and achieving the best results through keeping up with the changes in the field. At the end of the day, websites still need to be fast, usable, informative, and above all, index-able!

Supply and Demand Maybe it’s not the technical side of SEO that people are referring to; maybe it’s the demand for SEO services. Bearing in mind that many searches in Google for certain products and industries have dropped a little lately, the graph on the previous page doesn’t show a dying industry to me. I’ll accept that in the worst case

SEO is Dead. Long Live SEO! SES London Wednesday, 22 February 5:00–6:00 p.m. The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre Register

scenario, demand for SEO is possibly evening out, but it’s certainly not going down. We know that this data isn’t exactly reliable, but using it as a rough indicator for the health of the industry, I’d say we’re pretty safe. Lots of existing companies, wanting to conquer markets, are only just getting to grips with the potential of online marketing. Then there are new businesses, with new opportunities and new products, that want a piece of the action. Mix in the fact that the number of Internet users is still rising—meaning more people to buy products and services—and you’ve got the ingredients of a healthy industry for a long time to come. Sure, new technology will come out that will alter how things are done, but that’s what evolution is all about. We need to adapt to the changes and keep up with it all.

Conclusion What’s changed so far? Well, it used to be about the on-page SEO and links. The effect of link profiles has changed, branding is

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more important now, and it’s obvious that once Google gets around how easy it is to game social signals, these signals they will become an increasingly important factor, too. The problem is perception. If you see SEO as a static set of knowledge and processes, then you’re looking at it all wrong. SEO is exactly what is says on the tin: it’s optimising for search engines and giving them what they want, which necessitates dynamic skills and processes, because what they want changes! It’s just evolution (search evolution not Darwinian, of course). David Naylor (commonly known as DaveN) owns Bronco Internet, a successful web development and SEO agency. He is considered one of the best SEOs in the world, with a proven track record in the most competitive markets. His driving force is the belief that there is no point having a site if it doesn’t rank number one.

Does SEO still give you the necessary oomph to rocket you up the search engine charts like it used to? Or is it a just-in-case best practice routine these days? Can anyone prove it does work; can anyone prove it doesn’t? We have a panel of experts for you to agree with—or disagree with. It’s a totally open discussion, and it’s led by the most important person in the room: you! We need your real world experience, opinions, and feedback. This is the perfect primer leading directly into the infamous Black Hat, White Hat Unconferenced session. Panellists include: •• Ammon Johns, Managing Director, Ammon Johns & Co •• Judith Lewis, Head of Search, Beyond •• David Naylor, SEO, Bronco

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It’s the End of SEO as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) Now is the perfect time to liberate yourself from the algorithm.

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by Andrew Goodman

ack in 2001, search was cool. It was the golden age of Google, when the company was so confident you would find relevant results that they had an “I’m Feeling Lucky” button that would take you directly to the first Google result. (Yes, the button still exists, but it’s a relic of the past. Google has even said that they don’t remove it because people identify nostalgically with it, and because it helps defend the brand.) Google was the Dirty Harry—or perhaps more aptly, the Cool Hand Luke—of search. Search was cool for a long time. Then one day, it wasn’t. Ironically, it took Microsoft to channel popular dissatisfaction with search by portraying zombies who were, literally, channelling a search engine. The “Cure for Search Overload” adverts produced by Bing were a breath of fresh air, in part because Bing aimed to challenge Google’s dominance. They were also the first intentionally funny thing Microsoft has ever done. The premise was that trying to get information from a search engine can feel like a strident conversation with a possessed psycho who can’t pick up on the context or intent behind words. And isn’t that true? Search can still feel like a warped user experience. Keywords, keywords, everywhere, and not a drop of relevant information. No answers—just word noise.

10   SES • February 2012 {London}

Psycho Search Results: An Artefact of the Medium? Why all the keywords? Of course, you typed them into the box. The website publishers placed them in the body of their documents, or even in page elements (like title tags) intended to help people find the information. Keywords appear in the anchor text of hyperlinks that point to pages. They’re skilfully placed there sometimes by good information architects, and other times by marketers. Steeped in HTML and web standards, early online marketers developed a kind of tunnel vision. In subsets of the medium that cropped up as much through timing, happenstance, and market need as by conscious design (think Google’s PageRank or Yahoo!’s categorized directory), we were lulled into becoming closed off to the wider possibilities for reaching out to audiences. Early SEO tactics seem almost comically shortsighted. The search engines just “did things this way”, and we needed to keep up with them. Cutting-edge at the time of its release in 1996, A Webmaster’s Guide to Search Engines started life as a grid that had rows for the seven or eight popular search engines at the time, and columns for different dimensions of how those search engines treated content. To please several search engines at once would be difficult, but you did not have to fear: a dungeon master’s

technique called “cloaking” made it possible to show different content to please various search engines. Yeesh. Hundreds of thousands of marketers marched in lockstep to tactics of this nature. Others took shortcuts, including using submission tools to submit to “all 550 search engines”. Sites such as All Search Engines listed thousands of search engines—you know, in case you missed any.

What Changed? Directories proved to be less nimble and comprehensive than users needed them to be. The hundreds of competing search engines shrank down to a competitive landscape of approximately one. After a time, the shine was off Google’s (albeit skilful) ranking of the best web pages in the classic ten blue links layout. Not only did spammers gain something of an equal footing with Google, but the results were getting to be, well … boring. Google, of all companies, knew that, because a lot of its own users went looking through different sources of information— News Search, YouTube—that Google also happened to own.


COVER STORY / SEO

SERP multiplicity would be the antidote to a humdrum search experience. Hatching a perfect plan to drive traffic to its own properties and to spice up the look and feel of the results pages, Google released “universal” search, a type of blended page that would deliver a mix of result types depending on the user and the perceived intent of the query. Companies like Bing and Wolfram Alpha picked up on similar trends. If you seemed to want movie times, weather, news, a video, or a scholarly journal, the engine would pull the information from the appropriate database and serve it to you more directly, or at least give you better options to go directly to a premier source rather than leaving you to sort through a jumble of web pages of uneven quality. Add to that page a variety of ad formats, and you get a much different landscape, one where there are fewer rewards for ranking by slavishly throwing resources at the same old ranking tricks. Tack on to that more sophisticated signals for the search algorithms to take account of—like behavioural signals of trust and satisfaction, now made much easier for companies like Google to measure because of the high number of logged-in users and the widespread installation of tools like Google Analytics—and you really set the table for the liberation of marketers from dinosaur SEO tactics. What else changed in Google’s world, and yours? Today there are 250 million Android devices in the world, 90 million Google+ users, 500 million Twitter users, and 800 million Facebook users. The average Facebook user has 130 friends.

The Medium Dictated the Strategy, and Now It’s Changed What if your message wasn’t constrained by the old, unimaginative rules of the medium? What if you could come up with a timeless statement of the products, service, values, and other core meanings associated with you and your company, and just “port them over”

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anytime you faced a shift in the landscape of Some of the Psychobabble conventions and standards that the medium Comes from Your Peers seems to be following? Probably the most far-reaching shift in how Hang on a minute. It’s never that way. we are going to consume and seek out inforTo borrow an idea from Marshall McLuhan, mation has to do with our social networks. what makes it onto a medium is constrained We’re essentially tuning into a collective and inspired by the interactive experience channel, where we are constantly exposed dictated by the medium itself. When “new to what our real-world peers are thinkmedia” meant TV, it forced advertisers to ing, doing, buying, reading, and listening play a very particular game as skilfully as to. Prior to Facebook and Google+, this was possible to maximize their return on invest- already taking place, fitfully. But with these ment. As cool as it was at the time, TV had universal connectors, the information folstandards like every medium before and after lows us around. it. For advertisers, that largely meant whatI know that my high school classmate ever you could say in 30 seconds inside of Jackie—a comic actor with whom I’m conrectangle measuring 20 inches diagonally. nected on Facebook, and who hosts a cookIndeed, every advertising medium in his- ing show in Canada—recommended a recipe tory has been a constrained game that has for pumpkin soup. I know that not because about as much flexibility as, say, tennis: the I was on Facebook at the time, but because boundary lines are clearly drawn, and you I was reading a different recipe on a popular always keep score in the same way. website that she also visited. It’s become a Yet web standards and search conven- universal signal for many of us: “Jackie likes tions aren’t as constraining as they seem, and this”. To add a dash of sincerity, Jackie’s face now we’re forcing them to be more flexible is looking out at you next to the cartoon whether they like it or not. Consumers and thumbs-up. device makers today are in a party mood. It’s When I visit the home page of YouTube, Interactive Spring. We, the 99.9%, are look- before searching for anything, I see six ing to break those conventions. For starters, featured videos all based on +1 recommena lot of people are sidestepping the browser dations by my peers. Search marketer Jill already, as Mike Grehan observed in a July Whalen is at the top of the list. Jill has been 2010 interview. That’s only the tip of the following me around the web quite a bit iceberg. We’re not going to be stuck with lately. Among other things, that means that narrow, arbitrary standards and conventions Jill is a top-notch marketer, not content to much longer—if we ever really were. rest on her laurels. The proliferation of devices, business After years of riding high on the cachet of models, and truly creative uses of how infor- “the algorithm”—the secret, holy formula that mation is dealt with via Internet Protocol is would magically return the most relevant astounding. We jump from strict-seeming results—search engines are quietly showtextual navigation or email (another medium ing it the door. Many of the narrow, seemthat seemingly forces you to adhere to its ingly dispassionate measures of quality and acronym-spouting protocols) into broadcast relevance will be replaced by, quite simply, media. We move seamlessly from online to what people think. offline information consumption and targetOf course the old measurements won’t be ing. Consumers look at scanned online ver- gone entirely. A much more complex, natural sions of the flyers that clutter up their mail- conversation is going to be reflected in what boxes. Marketers more easily track phone you see and do online, including search. It calls back to online actions. QR codes provide seems that we now place less trust in the instant gratification. ultimate wisdom of search engines. They’re

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SEO The fact that the algorithm is rapidly becoming an obsolete concept should liberate you to pursue your fundamental visibility wish list in a more varied way, driven by company priorities and empathy with your audience and customers rather than a narrow set of web indexing and keyword ranking best practices.

shifting the game to inject more of what we do trust: people we know. In real life, the links between us aren’t hyperlinks; they’re actual links between people.

SEO Requires Doing More, but Not Necessarily Doing More SEO So, what are you going to do with this newfound freedom? The classic SEO response has always been to “chase the next algorithm”: if posting video to YouTube is now a great way of gaining search engine visibility, then you should put out a YouTube video. That specific tactic may indeed work, but it misses the point. Today, you do better if you take advantage of the opportunity to unburden yourself from marching, lemming-like, to the beat of whatever quirky tactic seems to get you ranked well in search engines this month. The fact that the algorithm is rapidly becoming an obsolete concept should liberate you to pursue your fundamental visibility wish list in a more varied way, driven by company priorities and empathy with your audience and customers rather than a narrow set of web indexing and keyword ranking best practices. Following the most basic rules remains important work, but it only gets you to average performance. You must do more. For over a decade, that more amounted to so-called link building. Why? Because search engines were less sophisticated and came to rely too heavily on one measure of peer reputation: link authority. Even the phrase “the structure of the Web”, as seen in the background literature that explains how that structure is used to calculate the relevance of a page, treats the web as something akin to a natural phenomenon such as a crystal. But it isn’t. Ninety percent of it has been grown by marketers trying to logroll and game their way to better rankings. “Links were a better quality signal when the world didn’t know that they were a signal”, Eric Enge recently wrote. “But, those days are gone.” So mix it up. Pursue a visibility strategy cooked up on its own merits, completely independent of how it might affect your

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search rankings. The fruit of that effort in terms of improved rankings then becomes icing on the cake. As a sample, you could try the following six initiatives in 2012: •• Produce valuable video content so that people can put a human face to your company and maybe even learn something in the process. •• Create your business’s Google+ page and hold never-ending conversations about newsworthy events in your business. Maintain a strict ratio of 80% content and personality, 20% promotion. •• Try at least two forms of paid digital media (say, Twitter ads and remarketing image ads) that you haven’t used in the past. No form of customer acquisition is truly free, and you can get (nonfree) SEO love by upping your overall marketing spend. By increasing your marketing investment, you’ll create more interest, more sharing, and more website usage behaviours that search engines can pick up on and reward you for (indirectly). •• Replace the old (and scarce) photos with recent photos of you looking smart while you speak to an audience. Post and share them using the newest platforms. •• Join two new industry associations with the goal of getting you and your company name (and links to them) into a new realm. Pick groups that seem vibrant and friendly enough to allow various forms of social sharing and mentions to come about naturally. •• Put a LinkedIn maintenance day into your calendar monthly. Learn to use more of the advanced features. All of the above has to be about something—if not about your products or company, then what? Well, something. Empty self-promotion is tedious. Follow Hugh McLeod’s dictum and work on creating social objects. Whether they are cartoons, new and original takes on something, or personal

photos with charm, these social objects have to be remarkable enough to share. Am I merely stating the obvious? Actually, I’m swimming against the mainstream tide of mediocre SEO, where the din of “just pay a company to write and scrape articles so that you have enough keyword-rich material to feed to search engines” convinces many business owners that they should align their companies with just that type of mediocrity. Would you (nonironically) put a velvet Elvis in your dining room? Then why put that kind of junk on your company site? There is no cloaking this stuff anymore. People can see it. Any visibility tactic in which you decide to invest should provide you with multiple benefits. The bonus for companies that do all these things while their competitors lazily buy a few links from phony blogs is—yes— ranking better in tomorrow’s search engines without having to chase the algorithm du jour.

Real Marketing versus Boondoggles It’s 2012, not 2002—time to move on from the sad grey zone of trumped-up busywork, algorithm-chasing, and voodoo. You can spend a lot of cash on this for very little result. With a hat tip to the great Jill Whalen, your bottom line may improve if you avoid these boondoggles. They made sense in a narrow window of time when users and marketers accepted the limitations of a conversation that resembled a keyword-spraying confab with a possessed psycho. Now, it’s smarter to move to the edges. Either cover the basic best practices better, or step up your output in the exciting new realms of visibility, sociability, transparency, and trust. Andrew Goodman is founder and president of Torontobased Page Zero Media, a fullservice marketing agency that focuses on paid search campaigns as well as a variety of custom digital marketing programs. He is also cofounder of Traffick.com and the author of Winning Results with Google AdWords.


MARKETING STRATEGIES

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Successful SEO Marketing in Other Languages Emerging markets offer the potential for great ROI. Find out how to adapt your site for non-English-speakers. by Christian Arno

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aking your website stand out among millions of others is an uphill battle. There’s no doubt that the Internet is a crowded place these days—at least in English. By thinking beyond a monolingual audience, many marketers are discovering an easier way to climb the search engine rankings. The idea that English is the universal language of the Internet is becoming less and less true each day. The last decade has seen an explosion in web use around the globe, mainly among speakers of other languages. Chinese is expected to soon overtake English as the dominant online language. According to Internet World Statistics, the use of Arabic has increased by 2501 percent in the last decade, compared to just 301 percent for English use. Despite these figures, many companies still concentrate on the dwindling proportion of English speakers. Roughly one in four web users speaks it as their mother tongue, yet a December 2011 study by W3Techs shows that 56.6 percent of web content is in English. This imbalance offers a wealth of untapped opportunities for international search engine marketers. It takes less effort to achieve those elusive first page rankings in other languages, simply because there’s less competition. You can potentially get a huge return on investment by taking advantage of new and emerging markets.

Considerations When Translating Your Site It’s hardly surprising that most consumers would rather browse the web and make purchases in their native language. The European Commission found that 82 percent of online consumers were less likely to buy goods if there was no information available in their native language. Translating your website is only the first step to reaching international customers. While some of your existing SEO strategies will work in other languages, it’s important to consider local differences. For one thing,

Google doesn’t have the same dominance in every country: most Chinese people prefer Baidu, while Yahoo! is still the leader in Japan. One of the first considerations is whether to target your translated websites by country or by language. It might be tempting to create a single French website to cover France and Quebec, but it’s unlikely to perform as well as individual sites. Most search engines give preference to websites that have a local domain name and are hosted in country. Furthermore, you might run into problems due to differences in dialect and language. Just as British English differs from American English, the German language varies in spelling and meaning across Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. Localising each website for a particular country gives it a more authentic feel, inspiring confidence in users. The downside is the increased cost, but it’s usually worth the extra resources. Keywords won’t necessarily be direct translations of English equivalents. You might be surprised to find many Italian users prefer English search terms. Once more, differences in dialect can be a potential pitfall. For example, in Spain coche means car, while to most Latin American Spanish speakers it means baby carriage. Free tools such as Google’s Global Market Finder can give you an idea of what people in different countries are searching for. Check your list of keywords with a nativespeaking specialist to avoid any embarrassing mistakes.

Differences in Search Engines and Link Building Targeting the right search engines is a must. Anyone considering marketing in China should become familiar with Baidu, which has a reported 75.5 percent market share. In South Korea, Cyworld is a key player, while Russians prefer Yandex. Each search engine uses different criteria to rank pages. Recommended for all foreign websites, a top-level, in-country domain name is particularly important in China,

since Baidu requires sites to have a Chinese domain name and be hosted on a server within the country. Although Yahoo! Japan is powered by Google, its algorithms aren’t exactly the same and it delivers slightly different results. It tends to prefer a greater keyword density than Google: 7 or 8 percent, compared to 2 percent. Yandex is phasing out paid links, but these still count in its rankings. Once your site is up and running, building in-country links is the next step to increasing its prominence. International PR and marketing experts can help ensure that it is listed on local directories and receiving coverage on industry websites. Link building is important for most search engines, but some handle it in different ways. Baidu values incoming links, but places less weight on the authority of the linking site—meaning quantity could matter more than quality. For Japanese marketing, getting listed on Yahoo! directories is an important way to stand out from the crowd.

Conclusion Finally, don’t forget that the site must appeal to real human users as well as search engine spiders. Creating well-written, engaging copy and a professional-looking site is more important than squeezing in as many keywords as possible. The end goal of any SEO strategy is to increase the conversion rate—whether that’s filling in a contact form or placing an order. No matter the language, the key is finding the right balance between SEO and usability. Christian Arno is the founder of professional translation services provider Lingo24. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 160 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated more than 60 million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV and World Bank.

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CAREERS

Job Forecast for Digital Marketing in 2012 Opportunities—and salaries—are likely to keep growing in a field that has withstood the economic downturn. by Jake Langwith

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o 2011 has passed us by all too quickly. Here in early 2012, it’s natural to wonder what the job market will look like over the next 12 months. It’s been one hell of a year, with huge turmoil in the world’s economies still unfolding and talk of worse to come. As a backdrop to all this worry, people still need to work, and inevitably many of you will change jobs.

Still a Candidate-Driven Market In an article published last year (“So How Is the Job Market Looking in 2011?”), I said that if you worked within SEO, social media, PPC, or analytics, you were pretty safe from unemployment. Do I still stick by that, or have I done an about turn and shot off in a new direction? Thankfully, the former. I still believe firmly that if you have good skills in any of these areas, then you are safe within a market that has not only weathered the economic downturn but also continued to grow. Now that’s a good piece of news with which to start the year. Throughout 2011, the job market continued to thrive, and salaries within certain niches are still rising. Worldwide, the market has become even more candidate driven, and I expect this trend to continue. The majority of applicants are receiving over five interview requests and multiple offers. Competition is fierce to hire, and companies are starting to feel the strain when it comes to convincing someone to join them rather than a competitor. The end of 2011 saw a big shift upward as companies prepared their business forecasts for 2012 and monitored revenues and growth over the previous 12 months. This resulted in an increase in vacancies across most job sectors within digital marketing, with the lion’s share going to SEO. The continuing problem of attracting trainees into the market is creating a lack of experienced talent at the more senior end of the hiring process. Certain agencies and companies have recognised this fact and

14   SES • February 2012 {London}

looked to invest in graduate training programs in order to bring more people into search and increase their skills. I expect that more companies will do so. At the top end of the market, applicants are looking for more diversity in what they do. For example, SEO directors can find it hard to move any further up the career ladder, but by learning social media, PPC, affiliate marketing, etc, they can aim for marketing director roles, which will give them the increase in salary and responsibility they desire.

Worldwide, the market has become even more candidate driven, and I expect this trend to continue. The majority of applicants are receiving over five interview requests and multiple offers. Outlook for Key Areas It is clear that natural search still dominates when it comes to online marketing campaigns, and that more companies are looking to increase their spending and resources in this area. This has produced many more vacancies than actual applicants. Roles within paid search are also increasing steadily, and again there is a complete lack of experienced people looking to move on. As salaries tend to be slightly higher within SEO, some people have actively looked to move into natural search, causing a decrease in the number of PPC people available. Two boom areas in 2011 were social media and web analytics. Both of these have continued to see massive growth and salary increases, as competition at all levels is still incredibly tight. Some of the highest salaries I saw on offer last year were within these sectors, and I expect to see the same throughout 2012.

Taking their online sales channels seriously, end clients rather than agencies are driving the demand for people with web analytics skills. People who understand data and its place at the heart of search campaigns and marketing are in high demand. Luckily for applicants and sadly for clients, there is a huge lack of experienced analysts, and companies are regularly getting into salary wars when it comes to job offers. This situation is forcing wages higher. More and more analytics professionals are also being tempted away into other industries such as banking, where the salaries can be hard to refuse. An area that I didn’t cover much last year was mobile. Although still very much a blossoming sector, mobile is seeing high demand, and I anticipate people making the jump as specialists within the sector. It is hard to compare salaries as there really hasn’t been any precedents set so far, but I expect to see some big numbers offered in order to attract serious talent to start building teams and divisions, especially within the agency world. People working within UX are also finding themselves in high demand, with just about all the roles being permanent and all the applicants being contractors. This makes for a nearly impossible situation as permanent and contract salaries never even come close. It will be interesting to see if this market continues to be contractor driven or whether permanent salaries will increase in order to convert people into permanent roles. I advise any firm looking for permanent UX people to seriously look at what you pay, as this is most definitely the sticking point within the sector.

The International Scene As the world continues to move online, international recruitment is an area to watch. Certain geographic regions find it harder to source people locally than others. Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, for example, are actively looking to attract talent from continues on page 19


ANALYSING CUSTOMER DATA

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Proving Your SEO Work Is Worth It Evaluate your marketing campaign by how closely it meets your intended outcomes. by Kevin Gibbons

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head of SES London, which gets under  way on 20th February, I’ve been giving    some thought to SEO metrics and the     importance of being able to prove the return on investment achieved through web marketing efforts. Web analytics packages make it relatively easy to track visitors from their entry to your site until their completion of purchase; this can be made even more specific if you have an e-commerce site that requires a login. However, when you promote the site elsewhere online, you need to know whether the customers who purchase the most arrive via your PPC ads or your organic SEO efforts— and, most important of all, how much it costs to get them to your landing page at all.

Know Your Ambitions Define your web marketing campaign in terms of its intended outcomes. Positive ROI is an obvious element, but if your initial aim is to build brand awareness, you might be willing to accept a period of negative ROI in monetary terms in exchange for an increase in visitor numbers and positive mentions in discussion forums, chat rooms, and social networks. If you are hoping to build traffic, think about what type of traffic you want. A high percentage of new unique visitors indicates that you are reaching a new audience, while a lot of repeat visitors suggests that your site is well established, at least in the minds of those who have seen it before.

Fill Your Funnels Make sure that you have clearly defined funnels in your analytics in order to track visitors from arrival to checkout. This way, you can clearly see whether those arriving via PPC ads are more likely to make a purchase, whether their average order size is greater, and whether the typical amount spent on your site is greater or less than your average cost per click. Even a modestly positive ROI is an inherently good thing: PPC is scalable, limited

only by the available cash flow in a given month, so these small profits can soon add up if your site has large numbers of visitors.

Target Your Keywords In terms of natural search optimisation, the work you do is a long-term investment. A highly ranked page will continue to attract traffic for some time to come, without requiring any additional cost. This is at odds with the cost-per-click nature of PPC campaigns, and makes both unique and repeat visitors relevant in tracking performance. Consider creating entire microsites or collections of landing pages that are targeted at specific keywords but not used as destination URLs in your PPC settings.

If you know from the outset what you are trying to achieve, your work is “worth it” as long as you achieve those ambitions— and you should be careful not to be distracted by other types of traffic or by outcomes you had never planned to aim towards.

drive traffic to your site, but also help your site to appear more authoritative to the search engines and raise its ranking as a result. A truly holistic web marketing campaign can address all areas at once: •• building brand equity and inbound links; •• raising organic search rankings and number of clicks in natural search results; •• competing for primary keywords in PPC campaigns; •• encouraging website visitors to return in future; and •• driving conversion rates and average basket sizes higher for those users who arrive.

Bring It Back to ROI

Whatever your ambitions, the nature of modern business—particularly for companies that operate solely online—is such that you will probably have to prove positive ROI. Remember to include repeat custom: the lifetime value of each visitor, rather than only their first purchase. If many of your customers return time after time, this could be a deciding factor in whether your ROI is positive or not. Also consider the organic benefits achieved; for example, if a new PPC landing page ranks highly for organic keywords, you By focusing on the performance of these may receive a boost to your visitor numbers pages, you can see which keywords are most via your natural search listing, without haveffective among your natural search traffic, ing to pay for those clicks. and focus on these topic areas for the future. Ultimately, if you know from the outset what you are trying to achieve, your work is Marketing Beyond Search “worth it” as long as you achieve those ambiWhile it is easy to think of search marketing tions—and you should be careful not to be as the only kind of web marketing for the distracted by other types of traffic or by outmodern-day era, it is still important to build comes you had never planned to aim towards. your brand—and to receive more type-in traffic as a result. Kevin Gibbons is founder and As your brand equity grows, look out for director of search at UK search people searching specifically for your comagency SEOptimise. A highly pany name rather than the generic name respected blogger on search of the product or service you supply. Also engine marketing and social be aware of incoming links from social netmedia, Kevin writes frequently works and other websites. These not only for SEOptimise and Econsultancy.

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ACTIONABLE ANALYSIS

Competitor Backlink Analysis for the Web Strategist Harvest nonobvious and strategic insights from a commonplace technique. by Stephen Croome

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ink builders use competitor backlink analysis to find websites that have linked to their competitors so that they can replicate them. It is a means of targeting low-hanging link fruit, as it is more likely that someone will link to you if they generally link to sites in your niche. A criticism of this technique is that it leads to acquiring only links that your competitors already have. I don’t believe this is a bad thing, but it is certainly better to acquire both the links that your competitors have and new links. To do this, you need to take a step back from the granular, one-byone link-building methodologies and take a 10,000-foot strategic view. A web strategist can use competitor backlink analysis to discover strategies that are working for competitors in order to duplicate these strategies in a scalable manner, acquiring links that a competitor does not yet have. As a strategist, you should be looking to understand the general types of activities or niches that are successful for competitors so that you can duplicate what works and do it on a larger scale. Here are the five general steps: 1. Understand who is doing well. 2. Pick three top competitors. 3. Grab their backlink data. 4. Segment the backlink data. 5. Develop a scalable plan of attack for each segment. You should be looking to identify types of websites that link to your competitors so that you can create a link-building plan that gives all of these types of sites a reason to link to your site. In this way, you can gather not only the easy links from that segment that link to your competitors, but also links from other sites in that segment that don’t. To be clear, the end game is to create magnetic pieces of content, specifically for a potential link’s verticals, so that everyone in those verticals wants to link to your website.

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Here is an example from link building in the rail industry.

1. Understand Who Is Doing Well—Use www.freeseo.co.uk/marco/ for SERP Saturation Analysis It is easy to focus on the biggest brands in your industry as your main competitors and miss the smaller brands that are doing very well with SEO. SERP saturation analysis (finding the websites that appear most often in the top 10 search results for a bucket of keywords) can help you discover the sites that are quietly flourishing.

Figure 1. Top 10 Largest Competitors for the 100 Top Searched Rail Keywords by SERP Saturation. You can see how MoneySavingExpert could be missed as a competitor without this type of analysis. As a strategist, you should be finding out how they performed this well against established brands with contextually relevant content and links (and in this case, those big official sites have loads of high-quality government links to which MoneySavingExpert doesn’t have access).

2. Pick Three Top Competitors—Load Them into an SEOmoz Campaign Figure 2. These Top Competitors from the SERP Saturation Report Will Be My Targets for Backlink Analysis. MyTrainTicket does incredibly well to rank for lots of keywords despite having a relatively weak domain authority. As a strategist, you should be figuring out what links they have that power this.

3. Grab Their Backlink Data—from an Open Site Explorer Export

Figure 3. Backlinks to MoneySavingExpert’s Cheap Train Ticket Page.


ACTIONABLE ANALYSIS

By drilling down to the page on MoneySavingExpert that actually ranks for “cheap train tickets” and looking at only external, followed, or 301’d links to that page, you can see links from the BBC, Nature, and Exeter University. What tactics did they use to get these? By segmenting their backlinks, you can ascertain the types of sites that are linking to them, and why.

4. Segment the Backlink Data—Use Excel URL

PA

DA

Links

Links to Domain

Category

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/mindthegap/2011/01/  mind_the_gaps_mind_your_wallet.html

49

100

3

574,586

Comment Link

http://cl77.justhost.com/%7Eforumjo1/  viewtopic.php?f=46&t=3122&start=150

33

89

1

29,439

http://www.jamendo.com/es/user/hombrepac/

44

89

1

17,117

broken

Reference

http://www.exeter.ac.uk/eventexeter/location/findus/

39

80

1

6,134

Student

http://crave.cnet.co.uk/software/book-cheap-train-tickets-we-review-  the-best-rail-booking-websites-50001767/

37

76

1

8,941

Reference

http://www.thesite.org/travelandfreetime/travelintheuk/  publictransport/cheapuktravel

38

75

2

3,888

Reference

http://blog.mrandmrssmith.com/2008/10/top-10-budget-travel-tips/

34

66

4

1,760

Reference

http://kevan.org/blog/minilinks.cgi?tinyurl=

29

66

2

2,538

News

http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB. cgi?num=1116613395/15

23

58

1

1,079

Reference

http://cow.neondragon.net/index.php/category/credit-crunch/feed

23

57

1

1,015

Reference

Figure 4. Extracted URL List Categories by Type of Content Containing Links. You need to visit each URL and then categorise the type of link. Once you have built your categorisation of the 100 links of each competitor, you can start aggregating that data for powerful insights into who links and why.

The end game is to create magnetic pieces of content, specifically for a potential link’s verticals, so that everyone in those verticals wants to link to your website

focus

5. Develop a Scalable Plan of Attack for Each Segment Now that you know what types of sites link and why they link, you can attempt to build “magnetic web content”—high quality content, specific to a niche, that attracts links. In the above train example, you could run competition to give away a year’s first-class rail ticket for a student. You could present it as a treasure hunt, in conjunction with the most powerful university websites that you have identified in your analysis. A tactic like this can be scaled to include any number of sites, which will all naturally give you a link for taking part. Infographics and interactive infographics are another example of this magnetic content. Infographics tend to work best when narrowly targeted at a niche so that there is a natural synergy with targeting specific site-type verticals. Lastly, develop reference material—for example, price comparison tables that news sites can use as reference material for the cheapest or most expensive train journeys. With this type of knowledge and a will to pursue effective strategies over granular link building, you can replicate and build on the link-building strategies that are successful for your competitors while also establishing the type of magnetic content that will attract links by itself over time. Stephen Croome is interested in getting companies to re-engineer their products to market themselves. He works as head of SEO Strategy at SEOGadget or mucks about with marketing strategy at firstconversion.com.

Figure 5. Segmented Data Displayed Visually.

sesconference.com • SES   17


sessions SES London | 20–24 February, 2012 | hosted by New Topics at SES

Download the app or visit www.SESLondon.com for complete agenda and session descriptions.

Day 1—Tuesday, 21 February

practical case studies, you will have actionable ideas that you can apply to your own business.

10:30–11:30am

SEO Track 11 Ways to Be Invisible to Search Engines Search engine visibility today entails a lot more than just tweaking keywords to rank well in the “ten blue links” for core keywords. Blended results, plus increasing sophistication in search algorithms, make one-dimensional tactics obsolete. Companies should take a 360-degree approach to search engines visibility. Unfortunately, many do just the opposite: they don’t stand up to be counted, and competitors get all the attention. This session lightheartedly pokes fun at companies who seem bent on doing whatever it takes to remain invisible online. By resolving to do the opposite of what these companies are (or aren’t) doing, you’re guaranteed to come away with at least three urgent “to-do’s” for your 2012 digital marketing plan. This session also explains why marrying a 360-degree approach to a strategy of “giving away more” to those who can find you actually reduces your long-term dependence on heavy media spending.

Speaker: Andrew Goodman, SES Advisory Board; President, Page Zero Media

Speaker: Sundeep Kapur, Digital Evangelist, NCR Corp.

3:30–4:30pm

SEO Track Site Redesign? Don’t Forget SEO Migration! Companies often implement new content management systems and website redesigns without consideration of the effect on their search engine visibility. Numerous websites have suffered dramatic drops in search engine traffic due to an insufficient SEO migration plan or no plan at all. This session will provide website owners with best practices on mitigating negative SEO effects of a website redesign, new content management system implementation, or aggregation of multiple websites. If your business is planning on making changes that will affect content, URLs, or templates, this is a must-attend session. Speaker: Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board; CEO, TopRank Online Marketing:

Speaker: Russell O’Sullivan, Digital Marketing Manager, Healthspan 11:45–12:45am

Kick Start track Google Analytics Basics— Implementation and Analysis Strategies The real gems that can be mined from web analytics data can only be found through proper implementation (i.e., getting the data you need) and proper analysis methods (e.g., using advanced segmentation). Learn some simple yet powerful ways to configure Google Analytics tracking for your own site or for clients, and then see how to segment your data to discover actionable insights. Speaker: Yehoshua Coren, Founder & Principal, Analytics Ninja LLC

2:00–3:00pm

Day 2—Wednesday, 22 February 9:30–10:30am

PPC Track PPC Campaign Architecture Paid search marketing has been around for over 10 years now, but the core principles can be broken down into three key areas: campaign set up and architecture; bid management/strategy; and optimisation of keywords, creative, and landing pages. Campaign set up and architecture is the bedrock of any PPC campaign. Get this part wrong and you will not see the success/ROI of the other two parts or your campaign as a whole. In this session, you will hear from PPC experts on how to get this key campaign element right and truly set up for success!

Kick Start Track A 13-Step Checklist to Jumpstart Your Social Program

Moderator: Jon Myers, SES Advisory Board; Director, Account Management, Yahoo! UK & Ireland

Social media can be a very effective way to drive up engagement, reduce costs, and increase “attributable revenue”. Many businesses have initiated social media programs, but only a few have been able to drive the promised returns. Join us for a 13-step approach to improving your social ROI. After a session full of lessons, tips, and

Speaker: Jonathan Beeston, Client Services Director, Europe, Efficient Frontier

18   SES • February 2012 {London}


Download the app or visit SESLondon.com.

sessions

you ensure that your brand has a visual presence in search? How should this tie in to what you are doing elsewhere on the web? Search engines and social networks are intrinsically linked, and brands looking to be head-and-shoulders above their competitors need to produce rich and shareable content that is complemented on all of its digital touchpoints.

Speaker: Sam Fenton-Elstone, Head of Media, iCrossing UK

3:45–4:45pm

Social Media Track Why Content Strategy Is Crucial for Social Search Content strategy seems to be the new buzzword of the moment, but just like social media, it’s nothing new. Without content, social media would fall flat. It’s what makes social media rich and infinitely shareable. A content strategy is crucial when it comes to being effective not just in the social media space, but also in the integration of social media and communications (both off and online), which has a great impact on a brand’s search profile. We all know that search is incredibly important for attracting a new audience, helping campaigns succeed, and managing crises. With search engines increasingly including richer content in listings and social networks opening up for search engines, how can

Speaker: Chris Boggs, SES Advisory Board; Director, SEO, Rosetta

Speaker: Rachel Hawkes, Account Director, Elemental

Job Forecast for Digital Marketing in 2012 continued from page 14 the UK and US. Notably, an agency director in London moved to Asia with more than a £100,000 pay rise. Now that certainly is something that’s hard to say no to. Australia is tempting British marketing professionals with prospects of sun, sea, sand, and money.

Conclusion My main predictions for 2012 are sustained growth across digital marketing and

increasing salaries due to a lack of applicants. I do not see this situation changing any time soon. More and more companies are going to struggle to fill their open positions. Many applicants are still seeking in-house jobs because of the stability and corporate benefits offered. All in all, 2012 should be a very exciting year, and digital and search marketing are great areas in which to work. You should have no concerns about finding a new position if you decide to look around.

Jake Langwith runs the SEO, PPC, analytics, and social media teams at Firebrand Talent Search, an international recruiting firm. With over 16 years experience across the UK, Europe, and Asia Pacific markets, he has established a strong team of industry experts and works in close partnership with some of the world’s leading digital agencies and companies.

sesconference.com • SES   19


sessions SES London | 20–24 February, 2012 | hosted by Sessions New to SES London

Download the app or visit www.SESLondon.com for complete agenda and session descriptions.

Day 1—Tuesday, 21 February

Day 2—Wednesday, 22 February

3:30–4:30pm

9:30–10:30am

PPC Track Is Retargeting/Remarketing Right for You?

SEO Track SEO Tools of the Trade

You spend a lot on paid search and invest hundreds of hours into your SEO. Search traffic is among your best converting traffic because the consumer is hunting for what you’ve got. Yet, depending on your site and keywords, it’s likely that 80 to 98 percent of search visitors leave without a purchase, becoming a lead, or making contact with you via phone or social media. All is not lost; technology offers additional opportunities to communicate with consumers even if they never registered on your site. Remarketing, also known as retargeting, is a technology that allows marketers to show their ads to former site visitors while visitors surf elsewhere on the web. It sounds very simple; however, a lack of awareness around the technology has ruffled some feathers in the industry. In this session, you’ll learn the success factors for retargeting. In addition you’ll learn how to execute a campaign that balances the amazing yet anonymous intent information gleaned from search terms against the “creepy factor” of running retargeting ads that make some consumers feel violated.

If you are responsible for your company’s search engine optimisation, then you know that you need all of the various tools of your trade close at hand. This session will describe the tools that will help you to accomplish your tasks, including indexing, competitive analysis, site ranking, diagnosing and remedying problems, page level information, site level information, and on-page optimisation.

Speaker: Dax Hamman, Chief Revenue Officer, Chango

Speaker: Richard Baxter, Founder and Director, SEOGadget

Speaker: David Naylor, SEO, Bronco

12:00-1:00pm

Meet the Experts: Round Table Forum See description under Day 1, 4:30–5:30pm.

Day 3—Thursday, 23 February 10:45–11:45am

Speaker: Guy Levine, CEO, Return On Digital

4:30-5:30pm

Meet the Experts: Round Table Forum Join us at our all-new “Meet the Experts Roundtable Forum,” where you’ll have a unique opportunity to learn, network, and share information with your peers and leading industry specialists. With a choice of several roundtable discussions, each focusing on different key topics and featuring two experts, this session is not to be missed. Simply choose the roundtable most pertinent to you and join the discussion! You can also move freely between different roundtables to make sure you get the most out of this session. After the forum, take your conversation and new contacts with you straight into the expo hall for our networking cocktail reception where you can continue the discussion over a few drinks.

Local/Mobile Track Developing an Integrated Mobile Marketing Strategy Do you want to learn smart mobile marketing strategies that are effective for converting mobile traffic with mobile SEO, PPC, and applications? Do you want to develop action items for developing, launching, and tracking an integrated mobile marketing strategy. This session will help you understand how mobile marketing fits into the traditional and online marketing mix and determine what marketing strategy is most appropriate for your business. It will provide tips for updating existing sites to work on a variety of mobile devices and will expose the major online marketing mistakes that are being made by some of the top mobile marketing agencies. You will walk away with a clear understanding of actionable mobile SEO best practices including mobile site architecture and local and universal SEO tactics that work in a mobile application. You will also know how to author metadata that is compelling in mobile search results. Speaker: Angie Schottmuller, Founder, Interactive Artisan

20   SES • February 2012 {London}


Download the app or visit SESLondon.com.

sessions

10:45–11:45am

2:00–3:00pm

Accelerator Track Advanced Keyword Modelling

Local/Mobile Track Search on Mobile Devices: The Next Frontier

Google Instant’s and Bing’s intent-based results are creating a need for a new generation of keyword research, expansion, and modelling techniques. This session will offer ways to integrate data from search, social, and traditional media to identify new opportunities and revenue streams.

Search on mobile devices is a different game than it is on the desktop. Users can’t rely on Google to deep link into their mobile apps. Yet they need search even more on these smallest screens to find the content they’re looking for. So why are the search features within apps so old school? Search results do not appear as users type (they invariably have to hit the “go” or “search” button); search features don’t save users’ past searches or learn from their past activity. The Android OS does not offer any solutions. Must each app developer code his or her own search solution? Let’s envision a scenario for mobile that would provide more robust search for each app—with instant results, real-time indexing of cloud-based content, and on-device content—and learn from the user’s past behaviour. Maybe Google will listen and make it part of Android, maybe Adobe will include it with AIR, or maybe a startup will figure out how to do it!

Speaker: Richard Baxter, Founder and Director, SEOGadget

Speaker: Edward (Teddie) Cowell, SEO Director, Guava

12:45–1:45pm

Hot Topics Developing a Video Optimisation and Marketing Campaign The Internet’s second most popular search engine can be a tough Tube to crack, but not with this advanced team of video SEOs and marketers. Do you really have to blend an iPhone or sit on a horse backwards pitching shower gel to have a successful video marketing campaign? This session will answer these questions and more by sharing successful video marketing case studies, specific advanced optimisation tactics, and YouTube networking advice that can help boost your next video marketing projects to the next level. Speaker: Massimo Burgio, Founder & Chief Strategist, Global Search Interactive

Speaker: Greg Jarboe, President & Co-founder, SEO-PR

Speaker: Sri Sharma, Founder and Managing Director, Net Media Planet

3:30-4:30pm

Local/Mobile Track Tablet Display Advertising: Challenges and Opportunities With the launch of the iPad 2 and a suite of Android tablets, it is safe to say that tablet display advertising offers marketers a very unique and totally new medium of mobile engagement with consumers. Given the rapid growth in the use of tablets, advertisers would be wise to incorporate tablet advertising into their marketing plans. But tablet advertising is not without its challenges. What is the best way to deal with these new advertising platforms and networks in this post-PC medium? In this session we will address solutions to this and other challenges in this new and burgeoning marketplace. Speaker: Piers North, Head of Strategy, Yahoo! UK

sesconference.com • SES   21


Connect the Signals between Search, Social, & Display SES New York Conference & Expo March 19–23, 2012 SESNewYork.com

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