What does SEO mean when the web itself is a universal exchange of data, information and knowledge? When the web understands the meaning of the content and participation? When the 'things' on the Internet far outnumber the humans?
Phillip Sheldrake – Future SEO Vistas – the Semantic Web and the Internet of Things
I've had quite a few people asking me on Twitter for hotel reccomendations.
Below are some options of hotels that still have rooms available, (somewhat cheekily they are all affiliate links)
Once Niche, Now Mainstream
SEO used to be a niche activity, but not any more. Google provide their own free and pretty decent guide to SEO, most organisations have at least one person with some sort of knowledge of SEO .... SEO has even been heard on The Archers, on BBC Radio 4:
Yes, Colonel Ponsemby-Smythe in Buckinghamshire, whilst puffing on his pipe and listening to the Archers has also been quietly improving the performance of his golf clubs website.
Has SEO Become Evil? Is SEO The Devil's Work?
So ... much of the information that was previously somewhat opaque is now widely known. This is a good and a fair thing: there's no reason why such knowledge should be held in the hands of a few.
However, it's not all applied to enhance the well being of human kind. In Will Critchlow's (of Distilled) video Scaling White Hat Link Building, Will mentions that eHow "are publishing the equivalent of four English language wikipedia's per year". Four! Four Wikipedia's every year! (a truly mad statistic)
However, eHow don't just blindly publish buckets of content, they very carefully mine the things that we search for, identify gaps where content doesn't exist, and try to fill it. Sometimes usefully, sometimes not so ...
And this data mining to mass target the long tail is worrying some folks:
Many of the examples in the above article are examples of organisations mining the vast amounts of data that we voluntarily provide (sometimes unwittingly) to sell more. So, I think its a bit off-the-mark (but it makes a good headline) to point the finger at SEO. I think the examples are more cases of unscrupulous or clumsy uses of our data. The Target example is a case in point:
SEO Is .... ???
So what is SEO these days, and what will it become?
It's certainly changing - Google appears to be finally challenging the more dodgy end of the SEO world:
We've had Google Panda:
... and Google Venice:
... and now we have a heads-up that Google has those who "over-optimise" in Google's sites:
All the above can only be for the good ... finally, hopefully, some meaningful clearing out.
But, there's other kinds of changes happening too: in some cases, Google is taking some elements of control and influence away from site owners: for example, by choosing to change some Title tags in search results:(see also http://goo.gl/jDcjp, http://goo.gl/V2jSg)
This does all makes sense - Google focusing on the quality and usefulness of its results. You can also see this as Google cleaning up its advertising hoardings (after all Google now apparently perceives itself more as an advertising company than a technology company).
But with this targeting of the more spammy end of SEO, and this much greater emphasis on quality content and as Google say "building the for the user", surely SEO is becoming less a set of skills specific to just search optimisation and more an amalgam of other non-search-specific skills -isn't it?
Skills such as:
- Technical: Build a website well (and hence ensure all content can be found by people and searchbots).
- Market Research: Know your potential customers, know what your organisation should be relevant to versus what your organisation *is* currently relevant to.
- User Experience Design: Build for your users, look at providing engaging experiences, understand conversion & bounce rates, A/B testing etc.
- Information Architecture: Build your website/digital presence around what you should be relevant to.
- Creative Marketing (and this is becoming increasingly influential): How to create something cost-effectively that engages, sparks interest, compels people to share/Tweet/link, etc
Are SEO people therefore becoming merely digital project managers that pull together many disciplines not particularly related to search - or - is there more to it than that?
There's been a rash of thoughts about trying to rename SEO to reflect some of these changes: is SEO the world of "organic web strategists"? Or, "inbound marketeers"? I quite like Ian Laurie's comment, that SEO is a marketing tactic, that really its just a strand of "internet marketing".
For my two pennies-worth personally I prefer "data driven natural search marketing" or just "natural search marketing", but DDNSM or NSM isn't as catchy as SEO is it? Thoughts anyone?
Roland is speaking at Brighton SEO on April 13th, examining how we can see what searchbots actually get up to, and why it matters.
Now a day of SEO-conference-fun-joy is good but what would be better?
An extra day of shenanigans!
How are we going to have that extra day? Well we've booked a job lot of
lanes at Brighton Marina's Bowling Alleys for a "BrightonSEO Bowling
Challenge" the Saturday lunch-time after the conference.
So if you fancy proving yourself the best SEO Bowler this is your
chance. You can enter as a team of six for your chance to #win in one
of three categories, 'Best Bloke', 'Top Lady' and 'Team Champions'.
It's £120 (+VAT) per team of six, to enter just send an email to
It'll be a good laugh, a great networking opportunity and a chance to
wear weird shoes.
Long gone are the days when I was able to organise BrightonSEO with a few scraps of notes. It's proper complicated now. That's where I was hoping you might be able to help. We're looking for people who are keen to volunteer to help us on April 13th.
So if you've missed out on a ticket and would like to come, or just would like to help us out on the day this is the perfect opportunity. You could be manning a roaming mic, helping people register or generally make our lovely little event run smoothly.
Wanna get involved? Drop me an email at email@example.com
I've got more news about BrightonSEO that I reckon you might be interested in.
First up, tickets will be released and the line up for April the 13th announced at 9.30am on Wednesday*. (There is one caveat with this, if my lovely wife goes into labour, entirely possible as she's due on the ninth of Feb, I might push it back a few days)
Second we've confirmed our evening party venue, we've got the pub on the Pier again. As there are going to be more of us this time I've also booked the Karaoke bar that's part of the pub for more space. I'm currently in two minds whether to arrange Karaoke or not. Though it would give the potential for these two beauties to get a performance.
p.s did you know that telling your friends and colleagues to sign up to our mailing list makes them think you're smart and clever? it's true.
p.p.s one or two spots for sponsorship are still available, if you were thinking about sponsoring be warned - you snooze - you lose...
*We do have double the tickets of last time, but a glasto style rush for tickets again is very likely, so it may be worth making sure you're by your computer when tickets are released.
I trust you had a lovely Christmas and New Year; I’m still holding strong on giving up diet coke, but how long that will last we shall see.
I have two very exciting pieces of news about the upcoming spring BrightonSEO which I thought you’d like to know about.
The first is the date, it’s going to be taking place on Friday the 13th of April, I thought the ominous date might help avoid clashing with other events - genius idea right? The chances are if you don’t bung this in your diary now you might have to end up doing something boring that day like ‘work’ on that day, so get it in the diary now.
Next up, I can confirm the venue, the Brighton Dome one of the biggest and best venues in Brighton, The last event I went to at the Dome was Michael Macintyre just over a year ago, this may shred an image you had of me having good taste in comedy, but it will give you a sense of how big and grown up the venue is.
So, two very exciting pieces of news about BrightonSEO. I’ll be sharing more info with you over the next couple of weeks on our amazing line up and how you can get your dirty mitts on tickets. In the mean time get back to creating Google+ business profiles, that’s all SEO is these days, right?
p.s. we do have a couple of spots still available for sponsors, so if you’d like a thousand, (yes, a thousand) of the UK brightest and best looking search marketers to know about you or your product, hit reply to this email and we can talk turkey.
p.p.s if you've got a friend, colleague or pet who you think would enjoy BrightonSEO they really ought to sign up to our mailing list
I've very chuffed to finally reveal the details on the BrightonSEO Christmas party, we're going to the dogs... as in greyhound racing (rather than metaphorically getting a bit rubbish) on Thursday the 8th of December.
Now you may remember originally this was going to be paid for event, but thanks to the very lovely guys at Searchmetrics the whole event will be gratis. So with your ticket you'll get
1. Entry to the event
2. £1 Jackpot bet
3. Meal from the grill (burger and chips and that sort of thing)
4. A couple of drinks
Not bad for nowt. That's thanks to the generousity of Searchmetrics, you should check out their site...
So how do you get your hands on tickets? Well tomorrow at 9.30am I'm going to send an email to our list with details of how to register, there's only going to be a hundred tickets which I imagine will go in no time, so might be worth putting a meeting/reminder in your diary so you don't miss out.
So the low down
Brighton & Hove Greyhound Track
Thursday 8th of December
6:30PM til late
Tickets available from 9.30am 27th October.
I like to kid myself that the reason you all come to BrightonSEO is for the
informative talks and witty moderator, but I know the beers in the evening
is a big part of the attraction.
We're not due another conference until April 2012 but I thought there's no
reason why we can't all go for a beer to celebrate the festive period.
I'm gonna reveal all the details and how you can get your mitts on tickets
next week, or indeed where we are going , but in the meantime I wanted to
get the date in your diary.
Thursday 8th of December
Wanna find out about how to get tickets, bung your email in below
So I'm very chuffed to announce the next event is going to take place at the Brighton Corn Exchange, which is part of the Dome complex, it's a proper big venue, where real bands and comedians do gigs, and it's old going to play host to our very own little search conference.
But when I hear you ask? On Friday 9th September
So get it in your diary. And tell a friend, real friends invite people to search marketing conferences, if you don't invite them you're clearly not a real friend.
So we know where it is and when, how do you get your hands on tickets?
Well we'll be releasing the tickets in a few weeks, and the only way to ensure you get headstart on the 'glasto-esque' rush for tickets is to sign up for the mailing list.