SEO: London Bloggers’ Meetup

 Extended platform on corner of building

In search of the cutting edge.

Another great evening of insight with the London Bloggers Meetup on 11th September 2014. My key takeaway was that if you really focus on developing and publishing uniquely insightful content on a blog that is well built and loads quickly then you are getting the most important bit SEO right. But check out my notes to see if you agree.

SEO doesn’t matter … except

Yiannis Pelakanos of Klaxon said SEO doesn’t matter. That’s because all that Google (Bing and Yahoo) are interested in is ‘shared users’. Some 95% of Google’s $50 billion revenue in 2013 came from adverts.

What really matters is the speed at which your blog loads and the user experience. If you take more than 4 seconds to load you lose about 45% of your visitors. And if you attract the wrong audience and they leave your website unsatisfied then you will have a problem with pogo-sticking! If it happens a lot then your ranking drops.

The only way to get to grips with user experience is by using Google Analytics. Measure and analyse traffic to your blog and see what bounces and what sticks. You need to understand your audience and how well you connect with them; a bounce rate less than 60% and you are doing quite well.

According to Yiannis, links used to matter but in the last year there has been a shift towards ‘authority’ and ‘trust’.  Today it is all about the quality and authority of your content. You rank higher if your content is good and the BBC, universities and government links to it. Check out Yiannis’ post on the Three Cs of SEO.

No magic … just engagement

Charlotte Gunnell from said that bloggers are an asset to the Metro and to journalists. Her top tip for improving SEO was to think about users and how to engage them and ranking will follow, ‘no magic’!   Links are not dead but they have to be good to enhance SE rankings.

The more people that bloggers reach (and then link back to the blog), the more ‘visited’ it will become. Best advice: think long term, enjoy yourself (because it can be a bit of a slog) and really know your stuff because that is why users visit, recommend and return to blogs.

Charlotte suggested that ‘everything comes from your obsession’. Always have something to say (more content = authority = ranking) and become a real specialist: ‘go niche and then the niche of the niche’ to find something where you are the undisputed master.

Have conversations and generate comments. Be passionate and make people agree or disagree. ‘Don’t be afraid of negative feedback’. Engage with your community because it translates into shares, and follow up with contacts and people following with a view to guest posts.

Getting the exposure of the bigger sights can give your blog the authority you are looking for. Some tips: be newsworthy, produce fantastic headlines, be polite, roll with the punches, and don’t be afraid to go into detail.

Here’s some useful links Charlotte shared: Search all the tweets since 2006. Topsy makes products to search, analyse and draw insights from conversations and trends on the public social websites. Keyword Tool is a free online keyword research instrument that uses Google Autocomplete to generate hundreds of relevant long-tail keywords. Good blog on search engine optimization.

SE Roundtable: Authoritative place for latest on Google and SEO … pretty technical.

Kate Toon is a writer, copy writer and SEO guru. This is her personal blog and this is the office

Search Engine Land for the latest on SEO trends

Good questions deserve chocolate

Judith Lewis of SEO Chicks and decabitt stressed the importance of blog architecture, content, and popularity/links in enhancing blog rankings. Links of course depend on where they come from. Title tags are less important but still significant.

Sadly, early on in Judith’s talk the mention of exquisite chocolate bars for those that asked good questions seems to have triggered a migraine with the results that within a few minutes I was no longer able to see the screen or my paper and had to pack up and leave.

The last I heard was ‘2 key words per page’, and ‘2 pages per key word’. If I remember correctly the point was not to overburden one page with too many key words and not to repeat the same key word on all pages. It’s not helpful when you, the user, or Google wants to find something.

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