Think Visibility 5 – March 2011

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The UK’s newest SEO/Affiliate conference has just had it’s 5th outing, again at the Alea Casino in Leeds. I’ve been before, to Think Visibility 2, back in September 2009, and so I kind of knew what to expect, but also knew that there were surprises to look forwards to!

Pre-party!

Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the pre-party as I didn’t arrive in Leeds until after 11pm on the Friday night, but by the sounds of it there was a lot going on – especially the scalextrix  racing!

The conference sessions…

From the actual conference, I tried to attend the sessions that I thought were in areas that I lacked skills and knowledge, so I went to the ones focused on link-building mainly.

Session 1 – Paddy Moogan (Paddy’s Blog) – Links

The first session was by Paddy Moogan, and he focused on talking about links. Taking the form of a site clinic, he gave real-life examples of where the site owners should be getting links from. Of course, many of the ideas can be applied more generically to other sites.

One of the useful take-aways from the sessions was the use of various web tools to scrape twitter profiles for blogs to then contact the owners for links – especially as they are likely to be quite highly targeted. I didn’t know for example that Google Docs is fantastic for it’s scraping ability, with the ImportXML function! That certainly needs more investigation!

Paddy then went on to talk about some slightly shadier SEO, but unfortunately it can’t be repeated :) Very informative though!

Session 2 – Stephen Pavlovich (Conversion Factory)- Mind Games

I’d never seen Stephen talk before, but in just the 45 minutes in which he was talking, it became apparent that the guy is so knowledgeable and passionate about the subject, and definitely an expert in his field. It was certainly eye opening session, and very thought provoking. For example, people are very irrational when they are competitive, and will do anything to get what they want. eBay is a great example of this, as people will get into bidding wars, often paying over the odds just because they want to win.

Session 3 – Paul Madden (Automica) – Outsourcing

This was a session that I was looking forwards to, but felt that it fell a little short of what I was expecting. Paul explained how he’d outsourced for a year and had a lot more freedom and free time, but needed to manage people a lot more. Outsourcing using oDesk, Rent-a-coder, 99designs, etc… all helped and meant that Paul could travel. I think the reason it fell short of my expectations though is because I was, in a way, expecting too much. There’s not too much that Paul could have talked about that I hadn’t already read online. Having said that, the biggest takeaway from the session was the crowdflower site! I’ve always wanted to try Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, but obviously being UK based, I couldn’t. Crowdflower lets you do that from the UK, as they are an intermediary. Definitely one to try! Thanks Paul!

Session 4 – Dixon Jones – Majestic SEO Link Intelligence

Dixon presented a session on link acquisition and ensuring that you keep the links you acquire, rather than gaining them in the short term. Techniques such as press releases / news articles are good for links, but they aren’t sticky enough and it is something that needs to be repeated. However, using technology and social media to acquire links is very worthwhile – paper.li are great proof of this, having a link acquisition graph that nearly all sites would be proud to have, mainly using social media and engaging with people.

Ensuring that you keep your links is also a big factor. Again, xe.com/ucc have had a great link acquisition rate over the years, but are not keeping it up now, and a lot of the historical links are starting to be removed, so their total number of links is dropping.

The takeaways from this one were a couple of link-building tips.

Session 5 – Gary Taylor (Gary’s personal blog) – Domains

Gary’s session talked about whether it was better to buy a keyword domain and develop yourself, or buy an existing site and develop it further with the view to increase the income. Unfortunately, the outcome of the presentation wasn’t entirely conclusive. Of course, either option would work with a lot of time and money invested. For the purposes of the challenge that Dom threw to him (1 domain, 100 days, make a sale or flip the domain), Gary found that purchasing a site (rottweilers.co.uk) actually brought more money in from affiliate sales and adsense in a 1-week period than developing a basic site. Having said that, had he not had problems with 1&1 being, well, useless, the results may have been different!

Session 6 – Dave Naylor (Dave’s SEO blog) – SEO tips

Dave’s sessions are always packed full of little nuggets of information, and this session didn’t disappoint at all. Of course, many of the little tips are often common sense, but it’s always helpful to have them reinforced by hearing them from someone who knows what they are talking about!

The biggest takeaway for me from this was a little tip in that separating CSS and JS  calls out to separate domains or subdomains will speed up your page load speed. When a HTTP request is made, only a certain number are made to a single domain or subdomain at any one time.  By splitting out CSS/JS/Images to separate subdomains, you can make more requests at once, so the page loads quicker.

Also, page titles and meta descriptions are a lot more important than I thought, and something that should be set on a page – by – page basis, rather than being autogenerated.

Drink Visibility

During the day, and at the evening session it was finally good to be able to meet up with people that I’d only ever spoken to on twitter. Dan Harrison kindly introduced me to a few people whom I ended up having interesting chats with – Darren Singleton, Greg Findley, Paul Clarke, Mark Boyd, Dixon Jones, and Gary Taylor to name just a few! A few of the other guys there

Unsurprisingly, Al Carlton organised the poker tournament. I have to admit playing poker when sober isn’t something that I’m great at, and after a few drinks, when it is ‘free’ money, it is something that I’m even worse at. However, it seemed like a good idea, so I joined in. Playing against the legendary poker hustler Clarke Duncan (who didn’t even look at his cards throughout the game!) I eventually came up against him with a 4 and 6 in my hand. We both went all in, with Clarke taking the victory with just a high card! As Clarke ended up losing to the eventual winner George, I’m ‘technically’ taking 3rd place as I lost to Clarke! I know I was actually about 25th, but a ‘technical’ 3rd sounds better ;)

Pick’n'Mix

Genius! Kudos to Dom and the team for providing a much needed sugar boost with the pick and mix! With a great selection from milkshakes to dolly mixtures there was something for everyone. Oh, and how could I forget the flying saucers! Delicious! Thanks guys :)

 

Other reviews

Becky Naylor has posted her review of Think Vis online now too – Why I Love Think Visibility

Andy Barr (10 Yetis) has posted some thoughts on Think Vis too, 10 Yetis Review of ThinkVisibility Conference 2011 in Leeds (I actually wanted to chat to Andy as I follow him on twitter but have never actually met him – putting faces to names is always good!)

 

 

4 Responses to “Think Visibility 5 – March 2011”

  1. itsmartie March 7, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    great review i really enjoyed this conference but went to the opposite sessions.

    Although when spoke to people after the conference quite a few said that domains one was abit pointless as it dint actually work which was a shame really

    • Richard March 7, 2011 at 11:17 am #

      I do agree about the domains one being a little ‘inconclusive’ but it was still interesting to see the thought process behind it all really.

  2. Andy March 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Hola, cheers for the mention, appreciated. Maybe catch up at the next one, unless paths cross before.
    Was a great event and I spent most of my time trying to put faces to twitternames :-)

    • Richard March 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

      Hi Andy – no worries for the mention :) Your writeup was one of the first that I’d found before writing mine so it got included! Always good to have someone elses opinion too! Yeah would be good to put your face to your twittername/feed! Cheers for the twitter follow too :) I’m always intrigued as to what the #ginbiz tag is all about too!?

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