Handy Tips From SMX London 2010 Day One

smx logoDay one at SMX London 2010 was outstanding, particularly the SEO track. Rather than writing up individual session notes, I thought it might be nice to summarise a few of my favourite tidbits from the day.

In no particular order, here are some of my handy tips from SMX London 2010.

Keynote – Barak Berkowitz, Managing Director of Wolfram|Alpha

1) On Wolfram Alpha: Wolfram has a database of trillions of data objects. When a query executes, Wolfram creates a query result from multiple data sources and will calculate the results specifically for the query requested. Ever wondered about the ratio of the gdp of Japan to China? This query demonstrated what Wolfram Alpha call a  “LIVE math”, where the actual result is calculated in real time.

2) On Wolfram Alpha terminology: Wolfram is not a search engine, it’s a “computational knowledge” engine. The results don’t send you somewhere else – they’re designed to provide you the results WITHOUT sending you elsewhere. There was definitely a penny drop

3) On the structure of data at Wolfram Alpha: Data is curated at Wolfram. They have hundreds of “data curators” who find and evaluate data sources to include in Wolfram’s results. What particularly impresses about the Wolfram offering is their strong understanding of the meaning of a query – which the search engine term, “Intuitive Language Understanding”.

SEOgadget Traffic on Wolfram

4) Wolfram Alpha results for the query: “SEOgadget.co.uk” uses Alexa data to estimate traffic levels on a site. There was some discussion later on that Wolfram could sell additional data on behalf of paid traffic sources (think: Comscore, Hitwise) should the user wish to drill down or acquire more complex, non public domain infromation. An interesting potential monetisation strategy.

Day one panels – general tips and notes

5) Rand Fishkin recommends you should read Bill Slawski’s Reasonable Surfer Model – his presentation can be found here

6) Link position on the page matters – links in body copy pass more value (or could be considerably more valuable) than footer and sidebar links (SEOmoz)

7) Twitter data is influencing the SERPS (SEOmoz)

8) Domain to domain 301 redirects pass much less value now, compared to the past. If you’re using this as part of your SEO strategy, you might need to think again. Rob Kerry.

9) W3C Validation doesn’t make a difference to your SEO – Mikkel DeMib Svendsen

Mikkel’s speed tips to improve your site performance

  • Clean up your Code
  • Use  a CDN (Content delivery network)
  • Compress your objects using GZip
  • Check your “text to code ratio” – below 10% is bad
  • Get rid of view state in ASP.net (use cookies!)
  • Keep all JavaScript in ONE file
  • CSS in one file (no inline styles)
  • Remove empty containers (empty divs, spans ect in the HTML source)
  • Remove all comment tags in the line environment
  • Minify (or obfuscate) code – eg: removing all line spaces (this can speed up the rendering of a page, although the code layout looks pretty bad)
  • Remove unnessecary meta tags eg: revisit-after
  • Remove Dublin core – no good for SEO

10) Use Zemanta to find relevant links and images while you’re blogging using their WordPress plugin) You can sponsor a link inside the plugin, which may improve your chances of getting linked to by the users of the plugin. Andrew Girdwood.

11) Promote yourself with Outbrain’s Outloud service, $10 a month for around 1 million impressions. (Andrew Girdwood).

12) Kelvin Newman‘s tips for getting links from Student websites

  • Offer a student discount (then ask to be mentioned on their website)
  • Give the university some Good press – the press office always highlights good press
  • Participate in a scheme – eg staff placement / work experience
  • Sponsor a student event (it costs peanuts)
  • Deliver a careers talk (It’s hard to get a job as a graduate)
  • Get boycotted by a student union and they’ll link to you…

13) Kelvin’s tips on getting Government links

  • Launch a community website (one of the few sites they’ll link out to)
  • Set up a charitable website…
  • Some .gov sites have business directories
  • Put on an event – the more local the better
  • Start a campaign the council agrees with
  • Run for parliament