Friday 13th of April saw the return of BrightonSEO – probably Europe’s largest single track SEO conference with delegates packing out the Brighton Dome, a venue more used to seeing pop and rock concerts.
This was the largest BrightonSEO to date, with the capacity capped at a thousand delegates, selling out in little more than 6 minutes after the tickets became available. Attendee’s came from as far afield as the United States and South East Asia to attend the conference.
I was lucky enough to be invited to open the conference with an hour long panel entitled “Meet the Search Engines” in which Pierre Farr (Google, Webmaster Central), Dave Coplin (Bing, Search Evangelist) and Rishi Lakhani (one of Europe’s most influential SEO‘s) were also taking part.
This is the third time that I have had the pleasure of sitting on a panel with Google engineers answering questions on search,
but uniquely this time I truly believe that we picked up some incredible insight into what we should be looking at as marketers moving forwards.
Some of the highlights were:
- Google/BING both have over 200 unique ranking factors in their algorithm, while links are ofcourse important, they are not the “be all and end all” that they used to be. Social Signals are now playing a heavy part in the algo and potential for interaction and sharing should be considered in every webmasters plan.
- SEO is not dead (despite countless blog posts to the contrary!) and is simply evolving. There will always be “organic” listings in the
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search engines, and optimisation and manipulation to achieve optimal placements will continue to play a crucial role in marketing.
- What to do if you have received a penalty for unusual linkbuilding: Pierre reinforced that their team at Google pay close attention to the reconsideration requests that are submitted through google webmaster tools. If you have received a warning email from google, and suffered a loss in rankings – attempting to remove any links that you feel may have caused the penalty and informing Google as to all the steps you have taken (ie. by sending screenshots) will be a great help.
- Social Signals are growing in strength: Dave Coplin stated that BING use social signals, specifically Twitter and Facebook within their core algorithm. A strong piece of advice isnt to engage in any services that offer to sell “likes” or “followers” as these are always automated networks of dormant accounts, and the scoring in the search algorithm is based on interaction, and velocity of sharing, NOT raw follower counts. Pierre from Google also agreed and stated that “natural interaction levels when you publish great content,
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are enough – you dont need to try and manipulate the system” (paraphrased, as I was on the panel taking notes wasnt an option!)
There are numerous other write ups available online, the best we have seen so far is this post by Silicon Beach Training (and the photo above is credited to them as well, thanks!)