Think Visibility 4: Discoverability, Linkerati and Hat Burning
Think Visibility 4 – September 2010 – Themes and Highlights
The morning after the day before. And I fear I may be turning to the dark side.
You see there’s an iMac in every room of this hotel. And it’s nice. It’s very nice indeed. After years of blinkered PC loyalty, less than an hour using this thing is giving me a serious case of Mac-envy. It’s changed my perspective.
Changing perspective is what any conference like ThinkVis should be all about in many ways. Challenging existing ideas and perceptions to give a broader and more balanced view. Think Visibility 4 did it very well.
Mel Carson, Community Manager at Microsoft Advertising, summed up that idea in the context of social media with a quote from Benjamin Franklin:
Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.
Not unlike my iMac epiphany, it’s not until you really start to get under the skin of something that its relevance or significance or usefulness becomes clear.
Mel’s entertaining keynote highlighted how “discoverability” is key for social media assets, the importance of buzz and sentiment tracking, and putting value on “brand interactions”. Microsoft’s B2B social media white paper entitled “Learn & Earn” received a worthy mention in dispatches. Mel also shared seven value indicators of social media marketing:
- Lowering Costs
- Earned Media
- “Return On In-Action”
That last one is acutely relevant to many businesses who are still struggling to get their collective heads around social media marketing, including PR agencies who Mel noted had, “come last to the social media party.”
Social media is about ideas.
In a humourous and highly informative presentation that focused on article marketing and linkbaiting, Lisa reiterated that “social media” are just the tools, while “social media marketing” is the what you do with them. Key to success, Lisa pointed out, is the “influence of the social Linkerati” and in my favourite soundbite of the conference:
It’s crucial to integrate.
That’s where the social challenge comes into play.
The influence of the Linkerati was emphasised again in Jaamit Durrani’s authoratitive and engaging 45 minutes about Linkbuilding in Real Life. Jaamit is SEO Director at OMD and delivered what was probably the presentation of the weekend.
Deep links kick arse!
…so don’t obsess about links to your home page was a key message, along with the importance of achieving a pragmatic balance between link quality and quantity.
He also took the opportunity to make an admirably bold observation about the SEO industry:
It’s time to burn our hats.
…making the valid point that while there may be distinction between so-called “white hat” and “black hat” techniques, all SEO involves attempting to manipulate the search engine indices to some extent or other and that, without a healthy freedom to experiment and test, SEO would cease to evolve.
Overall, Think Visibility 4 more than lived up to its billing and my expectations. Although much of the seminar content covered topics that fall into the “same shit, different decade” category, the reiteration of sound intelligence is never a bad thing. When it happens in the context of social and search integration, the effect can be perspective-changing.
Thanks to all involved and particularly to Dom Hodgson and his team.
ThinkVis photos courtesy of Martin Cunningham on Flickr.
Other ThinkVis blog articles worth reading for more detail on some of the presentations:
- Liveblogging on SEO tips, tools and techniques (Dave Chaffey)
- Top Takeaways (Paddy Moogan)
- Think Visibility – A Love Letter to You (Annabel Hodges)
- Cherry popping SEO goodness (Claire Carlile)
- 10 Reasons Why Think Visibility 4 Rocked (Illiya Vjestica)
- Think Visibility Roundup (Kieron Hughes)
- Social Media, Spamming & SERPS (Carla Marshall)
- Think Visibility & Confessions of a Conference Virgin (Rhys Wynne)