We had what we hope was a very successful and informative digital marketing event yesterday in our Lincolnshire office. A very engaged room of 30 people absorbed the team’s presentations on best practice SEO, content management, and PPC. The Q & A session was done alongside Google and it was great to have them contribute to the day and offer attendees a real insight into what is up and coming in the world of Adwords.

A massive thank you to Michael and Colin from Google and of course all of our guests on the day. For the benefit of those who couldn’t make it to this event or would like a recap of the day’s activities here is our walk-through. The day consisted of four main segments that we have broken down for you here and is packed full of the key takeaways (Oh and Nerds!).

On and Off Page  

Richard Hill, our MD, and Matt, our SEO expert, led the days activities with a thorough grounding in the basics of SEO. Here are the five strongest messages that were said in this section:

Matt & Richard Open Lab Live

1. Spend time getting titles, headings and meta descriptions right. Matt added: ‘we have seen quick increases in organic traffic to sites just by re-writing their meta descriptions. You cannot underestimate their importance.’

2. Site speed is crucial – Google admit that they factor this in when ranking a site: ‘a 1 second delay can result in a 7% drop in conversion’.

3. Images can seriously slow a site down and cost you money if they are not optimised. Ensure they have a distinct title, alt tag and description and be sure not to duplicate content across all three boxes. Use a tool that will go in and optimise the size of the images to reduce speed issues – try

4. A great tool to use to find out if you have been hit by a Google algorithmn update (Panda/Penguin) is the Panguin Tool (http://www.barracuda-digital.co.uk/panguin-tool/). Do not do any work on your site until you are absolutely sure that the drop in organic traffic is down through a Google penalty and not something seasonal or technologically wrong with the website.

5. You have to earn backlinks by building relationships with sites with high domain authorities. There is no quick fix and if Google sees a large number of backlinks appear overnight they are likely to raise a flag with Google and you may be penalised for it.

Content Management

Richard fronted this section that discusses how best to formulate a content plan for your marketing campaign. He discussed the need for an integrated approach that combines all the strands of a digital marketing campaign so they act as one powerful voice, rather than lots of little whispers. Combing email with a strong content hub (blog, forum, Q&A page), active social media campaign and PPC will give your business the momentum to carve its place in a competitive market.

The key takeaway from this section came from Richard’s in depth look at Facebook ads. He urged people to avoid the ‘Boost’ button at all costs and manage their ads through the dedicated page. Here he talked about importing custom lists and creating lookalike lists to really target your audience and get the maximum benefit out of your Facebook account.

Adwords In-depth

A very popular section to the day because the audience got to ask Google questions directly about their own experiences with Google Adwords.

Chris and The Google Team

Key takeaways via tweets done on the day:

 

Case Studies

Andy & Matt at LabLive

Finally, myself, Matt and Andy came together in the last session to have an in-depth look at some of the sites managed and owned by the people in the room. Here are some of the issues that we covered:

  • Slim content on blogs that will not gain any traction with Google and are fixated on one subject matter making them unlikely to engage audiences or bring any new traffic to your site
  • Product names missing from page titles
  • Meta keywords being used when they are obsolete
  • Keywords missing in page titles and meta descriptions
  • More than one H1 on each page
  • A ‘buy now’ button that does not stand out from everything else on the page. Think of Amazon’s bright orange buy now button – it matters.
  • Lack of backlinks on the site to build authority and encourage traffic

These are just a few of the main points made. Each attendee was given a short audit of their site that covered backlinks, keywords, site speed and many of the basic SEO tactics discussed throughout the day (plus our special formula H2SEO). It is safe to say that everyone left armed with something to action that could make a significant difference to their site.

 Jodie at LabLive

So that was it for LabLive in 2014. It was a very enjoyable event for the whole team and we found the audience both responsive and appreciative of all they had learnt.

It was great to see so many diverse companies under one roof and hopefully everyone got a chance to network and make the most out of the day. Next time we are hoping to replicate this on a bigger stage – the date will be sometime in March so make a note in your diaries.

A big thank you from Richard, Matt, Andy, Chris, and myself!