Last Friday afternoon was spent by just shy of 300 digital marketing professionals and enthusiasts in the Morrison Hotel in Dublin at the Dublin SEO Summit. The event was sponsored by SEOMoz and eCelticSEO and featured a line-up that included Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz, Niall Harbison from Simply Zesty, Joanne Casey from Glow Metrics and Brian Martin from eCelticSEO. Below I’ve outlined the 10 most important points raised throughout the course of the talks given, which every business owner should consider in relation to their own businesses and presence on the web. # 1. If you sell internationally translation is only the tip of the iceberg Translation of your website by Google language tools is better than nothing obviously but it really only does a middling to okay job. Language is about so much more than just word for word translation. In terms of Search Engine Optimisation, cultural differences in the people searching for your company’s products & services can have a massive impact on the terms they use to search. # 2. Understand properly what your website objectives are “We want to capture the #1 spot on Google for Perfumed Red Twine”. The likelihood is that capturing the first spot on Google for that key-phrase will not be overly difficult but in real terms that means nothing to the business unless that key-phrase carries traffic, which in this case it probably doesn’t. It’s critical that you properly understand what the outcome you wish to achieve from your SEO activities is and that your KPI’s are correctly aligned with those outcomes. # 3. Never ignore offline marketing when considering online strategy According to Joanne Casey, 67% of searches are driven by offline factors such as TV and radio ads to name just two. If your company is conducting offline advertising you should always make sure that your offline copy informs your key-phrase choice online. # 4. Get the full story from Google with Webmaster Tools I deliberately didn’t make one of the take-away points in this article “Use Analytics to Track your progress/results” because I’m operating under the assumption that with Google Analytics being free, and very, very good, that you are probably already using it. If you are, then you’re one of the 78% of Irish businesses who are already using it. If not you should be! If you are already using Google Analytics then you should also be using Google’s Webmaster Tools, which in conjunction with G.A. will give you a much more complete picture of your websites performance, which will inform future decisions in relation to marketing. # 5. There are no shortcuts to sustainable success Niall Harbison said “Content + SEO + Hardwork = success” and I couldn’t agree more. There are no shortcuts to sustainable success. If you want to build a business that’s still going to be there in 5 years, and you want your website to be a key element in generating leads and growing organically (through search), then you need to create a resource that is useful and helpful to people. A good quality blog post will take about 4 to 5 hours to write & publish. You get quicker with practice but the process still takes time and that’s inescapable. # 6. Ranking position is NOT all that matters Naturally occupying the #1 spot on Google carries with it a certain kudos, however with the developments Google have implemented to provide rich snippets now there are a lot of other factors that can influence your website’s all-important CTR (Click Through Rate). Some results will now have a picture of the author, or a star rating to augment the meta description. Video’s and images are regularly found in the top results pages and social factors will become more and more prominent in the future. Optimising your website’s snippets can have a massively beneficial effect on your CTR and as a result your website could potentially outperform (or come close) in the metric that really matters. # 7. You do NOT need to rank for highly competitive “money” key phrases To quote Rand Fishkin “The chunky middle & long tail of Google are amazing”. In fact attempting to win the top organic listing for a keyword in the Fat Head where the list of keywords is limited is a bad idea because Google want to keep those keywords for themselves and their advertisers. Regularly blogging/creating content and encouraging User Generated Content in the form of blog comments and social discussion will have a huge impact on your websites ranking for key phrases in the Long Tail. # 8. Google Adwords Keyword Tool is not the only keyword research tool you should use Google’s Search Suggest tool is a much quicker way to get some suggestions for focus keywords for your blog posts and articles. Another tool mentioned a number of times throughout the course of the event was UberSuggest. Google News is also another great source for long tail keyword idea’s that will carry traffic. # 9. SEO starts on your own site but to dominate you need to work off-page too Think about it, there are a lot of sites on the internet that allow you to upload your content – such as, YouTube, Slideshare, etc. These sites by and large have great domain authority so to dominate SERPs listings, particularly for your brand, use these websites and upload content to them. Google+ can be hugely beneficial from an SEO point of view for your website so you should consider how you can best optimise your Google+ account and page to drive Google link juice and traffic to your website. # 10. It’s more important than ever to get social sharing right At any given point in time only a small percentage of your fans and followers will be online. If you want the majority of these connections to see your tweets (and yes you do!) you’re going to need to schedule a number of variations of the same tweet throughout your day. Use hashtags because they will help your tweets get to a much larger audience (particularly at events!) and mention people to get their attention. If your tweet is of value the person you’ve @ mentioned may re-tweet (RT) which would put your message in front of all of their followers. On Facebook and on Google+ the snippets that appear when you paste in a link to your status update really matter, so make sure to get them right. Try to make them as appealing and click worthy as possible. # 11. There are a number of things you can do to easily increase your traffic Check your website’s speed and optimise it so that the pages load as quickly as possible Fix 404, 302 and 500 page errors on your website Share your content across your social networks and also on social bookmarking websites such as Digg, StumbleUpon and Delicious Make sure its easy for your readers to share your content Implement a re-marketing strategy There was a lot of great content provided at the event on the day and even more on an ad-hoc basis afterwards at the post event party where all the speakers were available to chat to. I’d highly recommend popping along to their next event, even if you just have a business website you want to try and get working harder for your business. What are your current SEO and business website challenges?