Una comparación de conferencias SEO entre España y Inglaterra

El pasado noviembre tuve el placer de acudir al Congreso SEO - también conocido como el SEO Pro - como ponente invitado en el Hotel Olympia de Valencia, aquí en españa. Prefer English?

El organizador, Miguel Lopez, de Marketing Online Valencia casi el solo, organizó con un esfuerzo tremendo, un evento fabuloso que reunio la mayor peña de los mejores talentos SEO españoles para machacar ideas y fortalezer amistades durante tres intensos días.

No voy a detallar las presentaciones. Eso ya se hizo en su momento tras el evento por varios otros ponentes y asistentes de todas partes del mundo.

Basta con decir que el nivel era altísimo y las presentaciones fueron todos un éxito. Ya lo ha confirmado más que uno quien viajo desde lejos para vivirlo.

Por suerte mi trabajo y mis raices hace que amenudo viajo entre españa y inglaterra y como siempre caigo en la tentación que comparar lo bueno y lo malo de cada uno, me atrevo aquí hacer una comparativa de los eventos SEO entre españa y el Reino Unido.

Foto gracias a @carrero

La selección. A lo grande.

¿Realmente importa o no si hay muchos eventos para elegir? En el Reino Unido el panorama SEO es más grande. Bueno, no voy aquí a indagar en estadísticas, comparando empleados por agencia, ingresos o métricas de Search o PPC, pero si me arriesgo en algo, me atrevo a decir que el SEO como una profesión está más establecida dentro del mundo del marketing en el Reino Unido que lo está en España. ¿Y que? Pues, al tratar de la magnitud de conferencias, el aforo, y frecuencía de eventos, el Reino Unido tiene un montón para eligir. Desde lo gratis, a lo muy marchoso, hasta el precio VIP y eventos SEO que forman parte de un mayor evento de marketing, hay mucha variedad.

En cambio, españa tiene menos eventos pero no quiere decir eso que sea una desventaja ya que todo depende como cada evento le saca partido, ¿o no? Durante el Congreso SEO en Valencia, los setenta o asi asistentes tuvieron más que suficiente tiempo para verdaderamente hacer enlaces estrechos profesionales y reforzar amistades.

En cambio en el Reino Unido, yo por lo menos me he encontrado debido al tiempo limitado, que he tenido que investigar con mucho cuidado de antemano los asistentes y empresas al que quisiera hacer networking para que pudiese desvirtualizar a todos los SEOs a tiempo. Lo cierto es que existe un buen rollo entre SEO españoles que aún recuerda aquellos tiempos de SEO en inglaterra antes de la época de Google.

Y seamos claros, solo porque seas es primero en inventar algo, no te confiere el título de ser el mejor practicante de ello. Los Ingleses ya conocen esto a tope, el futból por ejemplo...err ¿Quién coño gano el último Mundial?

Inglaterra golea de un tiro libre con un rebote algo chanchullo

El marcador a los 20 minutos: Inglaterra 1 España 0

Organización del Evento

Por supuesto un evento de gran envergadura requiere bastantes recursos para garantizar que todo transcurra bien y esto inevitablemente contribuye al precio de la entrada.

Durante el SearchLove en Londres de Distilled, hubo un montón de gente para llevarlo todo a cabo, el audio visual, toda la grabación y lo todo lo demas que exige sacar adelante el evento.

No es solo el evento en si, sino todo su promoción previa y despues que pone a prueba a los organizadores y sus capacidades promocionales.

El SearchLove de Distilled hizo bien en generar interés antes del evento en octubre y crearon un librillo para los asistentes repleto de entrevistas con los ponentes.

En españa Miguel Lopez del SEOPro sin embargo armo un buzz varios meses antes con un uso listo del blog y Feedburner poco a poco enviando correos de entrevistas con los ponentes durante los meses previos.

Esto mantuvo un hashtag hilo continuo durante las semanas previas al evento. Los asistentes no se marcharón sin cosillas mientras que algunos asistentes y empresas ponentes repartieron regalos y mas importante códigos e invitaciones a pruebas gratuitas de herramientas SEO y lo demás. No fue una versión cualquiera de shitforlinks.

Es cierto que SearchLove punteo bien repartiendo los PowerPoint poco despues del evento, con la grabación de video de las ponencias - eso si a la venta -  en cambio SEOPro solo repartio los .ppt entre los ponentes de forma privada y sin audio o video.

Como ya han pasado cinco meses desde que di mi presentación (Representación de datos para SEO o Infografía para atraer enlaces) Miguel ha permitido que lo publique.

Puedes pillar todos los enlaces de la presentación o leer y comentarlo en una versión foto albúm Google+. Descargatelo entero desde mi Dropbox pero ojó desafortunadamente los videos de YouTube no se reproducen en Dropbox.

Relativo al tema del networking y la marcha, diría que Valencia triunfaba por encima de Londres.

A pesar de que tanto SEOPro y SearchLove montarón el evento continuo en una sala, de presentaciones con una duración de 45-60 minutos (y no de forma multi-canal), el horario de Londres era brutal con menos opciones para hacer networking comparado con Valencia.

Es cierto que hubo una fiesta networking despues del evento principal en Londres, pero no todos atienden ya que hay que desplazarse del local de la conferencia al bar.

Claro, la cultura del sandwich, o tapear de pie en Reino Unido se considera normal, y no es para declarar que la comida no estaba bien -  ¡que va! - y al fin del cabo la gente no viene para la gastronomía, sino para las ponencias, pero aún así, la comida en Valencia durante los tres días era de gloria.

Asistentes se sentaban en un restaurante, con amplias oportunidades para conocerse uno a otro y las ponencias volvían a empezar a las cinco de la tarde y acababan a las ocho.

Ese parón de medio día permitía que asistentes SEOPro pudiesen ponerse al día con sus temas de trabajo o tomarse una siesta bien merecida.

¿De que otra forma vas a recuperar esas horas perdidas de marcha hasta las tantas? Basta con decir que Valencia gano cualquiera comparación de marcha nocturna.

Centrocampistas españoles deslumbran con un tiki taka de muerte y un toquecito de película para marcar un empate merecido.

Marcador a los 45 minutos: Inglaterra 1 España 1

Champion & Premier league SEO

Entonces, vamos al grano y preguntamos ¿como compara la calidad del SEO entre los dos eventos?

Ambos eventos pueden presumir de una calidad de presentaciones muy altas.

La gente había hecho sus deberes, y compartía sus datos y trucos aprendidos, al menos parecío que los asistentes de SEOPro y SearchLove salieron en ambos casos muy satisfechos.

Ambos eventos han sufrido críticas de gente quienes malinterpretaron comentarios que se difunden por Twitter o que se convierten en medio mentiras, gente quien juzgan el evento sin haber asistido en persona.

Por supuesto en ambos eventos, el tema del Panda dominaba aunque en españa el elemento más común fue un homenaje casí mítico al scraper.

Edit: una mención de Panda merecida fue la coincidencía que seleccione una infografía para mi presentación de una empresa llamada AttachMedia. Sin saberlo de antemano, el autor de la infografía estaba presente en la sala y se introdujo despues. ¡Había venido desde Peru solo para el evento!

Los ponentes SEO de SearchLove en Londres, incluían nombres destacados de EEUU y Brítánicos, en contraste en Valencia con alguna excepción eran casí todos de españa.

Creo que hubo varias ponencias en Valencia que se merecían una mayor audencía como por ejemplo, las presentaciones de navegación de facetas avanzadas de Fernando Macia y Rodney Cullen. Me gusto especialimente la charla de SEOcial media de Jose Llinares.

En españa la gente no tenía pelos en la lengua a la hora de hablar en alto de técnicas del lado oscuro, en comparación cuando algo parecido ocurre en Reino Unido viene con advertencias de no probarlo a solas, de no retweetearlo y todo se habla en voz baja. ¡Ssssh!

En cambio en españa hay mucha soltura del tema, quizas porque tampoco las declaraciones se amplifican fuera del entorno SEO comparado con el Reino Unido.

Yo no soy partidario de lo gris/negro aunque no puedo denegar que a veces sea éxitoso, pero eso si, desde noviembre del año pasado algunas ventajas de las técnicas mencionadas en Valencia han disminuido con los cambios algoritmicos de Google, incluso diría que algunas ya son contraproducentes.

El año pasado me alegre ver que renombraron la descripción del puesto de Matt Cutts, al ser reconodico como un ingeniero distinguido en vez que el Jefe de WebSpam en Google.

Imagínate si llamaramos al equivalente del mundo de Marketing Directo como el Jefe de correo basura. Vaya.

Bueno, lo que quiero decir es que mientras que el SEO en mercados anglo-sajones madura, la disciplina es cada vez más aceptada como una práctica típica de marketing y su definición engloba el inbound marketing, denominado tambien en castellano como el marketing de atración.

Hay un esfuezo colectivo por líderes del SEO en el mundo anglo-sajón de posicionar el SEO más como una práctica normal de marketing en vez de continuar sufriendo una mala reputación e evitar una percepción de una imagen del SEO en crisis.

Incluso el debate de la definición del Inbound marketing se ha acelerado desde noviembre del año pasado y poco probable se calme en adelante.

Si contrastamos con la situación en españa, yo siento que la profesión del SEO está aún algo más lejano del centro de marketing online a que debería estar.

Parece haber un roce entre la comunidad SEO en españa y su equivalente de Community Managers tan ruidoso.

Los esterotipos contienen algun grano de verdad, el Community Manager tiene que demostrar el valor de sus acciones y los SEOs tienen que practicar más acciones sociales.

Hubo un momento en Valencia durante las ponencias que se vio una diapositiva contrastando los salarios web 2.0 y se producio alguna reacción de alarma y algo de irritación en la sala.

Esto fue a pesar de que diapositivas previas de casos de éxito habían demostrado el valor disproporcionado comercial que el SEO había ortogado a las organizaciones.

Incluso hubo un evento más orientado al Community Manager en Sevilla ese mismo fin de semana (EBE) y se sentía algo de resentimiento mientras se cruzaban algunas palabras sueltas entre ambos campos por Twitter.

Un clásico repetido

Quizas no sea justo comparar eventos SEO en cada país. Creo que SearchLove y Congreso SEO fueron igualmente un éxito y si tienes alguna oportunidad de acudir, deberías ir a cualquiera. En serio.

A mi me resulta muy raro a la hora de comparar paises y decantar por España o Inglaterra en estas circunstancias. Incluso cuando los equipos nacionales compiten en algún deporte, suelo respaldar al que pierde en ese momento más que nada para que haya más competición.

...a la selección española le niegan un penálti en los últimos instantes e Inglaterra pilla un gol en el minuto 93!

Marcador final:

Inglaterra 2 España 1

Of course this post is also available in English.

La conferencia Distilled de Linklove fue la semana pasada en Londres y Boston. Aquí hay un resumen (en inglés). Si te lo perdistes, habran videos SEO de la conferencia a la venta.

El Congreso SEO se celebra este año en Madrid, el 6 y 7 de julio 2012. Las inscripciones con descuentos se acaban muy pronto.

¿Que opinas?

¿Inglaterra triunfa a españa en conferencias SEO o al revés?

¿Tarjeta amarilla para mi juicio o qué?

SEO Anglo Spanish conference comparison: No contest

Last November I had the pleasure of attending the Congreso SEO - also referred to as the SEO Pro - as an invited speaker at the Olympia Hotel in Valencia, here in Spain.
¿Lo prefieres en español?

The organiser, Miguel Lopez from Marketing Online Valencia, had made a herculean near solo effort to put on a superb SEO event that united a devoted bunch of the finest Spanish SEO minds to knock heads and hearts together for three days.

I won't delve into a detailed round up of presentations. That was already done in the afterglow of the moment by several other speakers from Spain and attendees from around the world.

Suffice to say the excellence of thought and presentations was outstanding. Don't take my word for it, other seasoned SEO speakers who travelled afar can attest to the level on show.

Fortune has it that my job and background means I frequent England and Spain for work and pleasure all the time, and as I am tempted, with so much in life, I often pause to contemplate the pros and cons to each. So this is my take on how Spain and UK stack up at SEO events.

Photo thanks to @carrero

Event choice. Size and shirt matters.

Or does it? In the UK the SEO scene is bigger. I'm not going to start digging up the stats, comparing agency head count, billings or search or PPC metrics, but I will put my neck on the professional line and claim that SEO as an industry is a more an established profession in the UK and accepted discipline within marketing compared to that in Spain.

And so what? Well, in terms of conference size, attendance and frequency of events, the UK has a wealth of events to choose from. Ranging from the free, the spirited raucous to the premium priced and the SEO events that form part of a larger online marketing fairs, there is a wide choice on offer.

In contrast, Spain sports less amount of formal events, however that is not necessarily such a bad thing, as it's what you do with your SEO event that counts, right? During the SEO Pro in Valencia, the seventy or so attendees had ample time over three days to really make solid professional connections and strengthen friendships.

In contrast in the UK, I've often found myself forced to diligently pre-research attendees and companies whom I wanted to network with, before the event, to allow myself time to adequately devirtualise the SEO brains in the room.

Wealth of riches you might say, well there certainly is a camaraderie in Spanish events that has echoes of the earlier days of the British SEO scene in the pre halycon days of Google.

And let's be clear, just because you're first to invent something, that does not confer you the status of the best practitioner at it. The British know that all too well; Football? err Who won the last World Cup for petes sake?

England score from a free kick with a cruel deflection!

Scoreline at 20mins: England 1 Spain 0

Event organisation

It goes hand in hand with size, that a large event demands significant resources to keep everything all tickety-boo and this will invariably be a large contributing factor to the price of the ticket.

During London's recent SearchLove event by Distilled [c], the army of people running the show allowed for professional sound and vision, full recording, and all the ancillary tasks required for a glitch free event.

It's not just the event itself, but all the promotion of it before and after that places great demands on the organisers and tests their promotional skill.

Distilled's SearchLove did a good job of whipping up interest via online buzz prior to the event in October and produced once again a delightful printed booklet for attendees packed with speaker interviews.

Spain's Miguel SEOPro Lopez however, single handedly built buzz several months before hand, deftly blogging and regularly emailing interviews with speakers' SEO stories for months beforehand.

This sustained a hashtag level of interest in the event for weeks in advance. Attendees didn't go home without any goodies though as several attendee and speaker companies dealt out schwag or more vitally, free trial codes for worthy paid SEO services/tools. It wasn't just a Spanish version of any old shitforlinks.

Where SearchLove excelled was the supply and openess of the speaker .ppt decks after the event and the filming of the presentations, in contrast SEOPro restricted the distribution of slides only among the speakers privately and neither audio or video recorded presentations.

As five months have elapsed since my CongresoSEO presentation (Representación de datos para SEO or Infographics for linkbuilding) Miguel has kindly consented for it to become public.

Grab all the links from the presentation or read and comment it in this Google+ photo presentation. View or download the entire deck from my Dropbox although please note unfortunately the embedded YouTube videos will not playback.

In terms of hob nobbing, mingling and entertainment I'm afraid there was little contest between Valencia and London.

Whilst both SEOPro and SearchLove ran single track jam packed days of speakers presenting for 45-60 minutes, the London timetable was brutal on social options for mingling compared to Valencia.

Yes, they're is after-event shoulder rubbing at SearchLove but its attendance is partial relative to conference crowd.

Of course the sandwich lunch culture, or should I say stand up SearchLove noshing is accepted practice in the UK, don't get me wrong the food was very good and people came for the talks not the grub after all, however the food in Valencia throughout the three days was just glorious.

Attendees sat to eat in a restaurant in well mixed up tables during the event and conference talks would restart at five ending at eight o clock in the evening.

That stoppage time during the day allowed for delegates at SEOPro to catch up on business or take a well deserved siesta.

How else are you going to recuperate the mad late hours of partying? Suffice to say Valencia stole the show on the partying aspect.

Superb tica-taca possession by Spain's midfield, then a sublime touch sees Spain equalise.

Half Time Score Line: England 1 Spain 1

Champion & Premier league SEO

So when it comes down to the crunch, how does the quality of SEO compare between the two?

Both events boasted a high quality of presentations.

People had done their homework, generously shared their data and insights and anecdotally it seemed attendees were highly satisfied with both Congreso SEO and SearchLove.

Both events have suffered from external criticism from non attendees who have either misinterpreted comments, that seep out via Twitter or morph into Chinese Whispers.

Sure enough both events were dominated with a plethora of references to Panda, although in Spain the most common element that unified all presentations was a devout homage to scrapers.

Edit: one worthy Panda inclusion, was the bizarre coincidence that I selected an infographic to show during my presentation from a company called AttachMedia, unbeknown to me, the author of it was in the audience and introduced himself to me afterwards. He had come from Peru just for the event!

At London's SearchLove, speakers included big USA names in SEO as well as local Brits. In contrast Spain featured pretty much all local based talent with a few exceptions.

I think there were presentations in Valencia worthy of a wider audience such as the advanced faceted navigation decks from Fernando Macia and Rodney Cullen that would go down well with an audience in London and further afield. I particularly admired the SEOcial media thinking from Jose Llinares.

However there was no shrinking violets in Spain when it came to openly talking exposing the darker techniques of SEO, in contrast when this happens in UK, it's usually preceeded with a stern warning not to try this at home, a plea not to RT and a hand clasped over the microphone.

If anything Spanish SEO's pull no punches when discussing dark SEO in public, possibly in part because their thoughts are not as amplified compared to the UK.

I'm not an advocate of grey/black hat techniques although I can't refute there are short term success eeked out at times by some, although since November of last year, some of the techniques discussed in Valencia have since proved ineffective and infact counterproductive with further algorythmic refinements by Google.

Late last year I felt a little relief to note that Matt Cutts was referred to in a Google Blog as a Distinguished Engineer instead of the Head of WebSpam.

Indeed imagine a Direct Marketer equivalent being continually referred to as the Head of Junkmail. Hardly appropriate.

Anyway, my point here is that as the english speaking SEO market matures, SEO is more mainstream marketing accepted and it's defintion evolves to overlap social and inbound marketing.

There is a collective effort by leading english speaking SEO practioners to drag the SEO discipline more to the marketing mainstream than continue to suffer from a poor reputation and escape the perception of SEO in crisis.

If anything the debate about definition of Inbound maketing has accelerated since November of last year and is unlikely to subside.

In contrast in Spain, my feeling is that the profession is still too far from the centre of online marketing.

There is a telling friction between the SEO community in Spain and it's noisy Community Manager's virtual nascent sister it is awash with.

Unfortunately stereotypes have a grain of truth in them, Community Managers need to get more accountable and SEOs need to get more social.

At one point during the presentations in Valencia, a slide with the average advertised salary levels contrasting Community Managers and SEO's jobs, drew gasps of mild shock and the odd irritation.

This was despite the previous slides demonstrating the disproportionate commercial value SEO had conferred to the organisations.

There was actually a Community Manager centric event in Sevilla at the same time as the Congreso SEO and there was a palable gulf of disdain between the occasional interesecting monolgues on Twitter amongst the two camps during the weekend.

A game of two halves

It's perhaps an unfair call to compare SEO events in both countries like for like. I think SearchLove and Congreso SEO were both successful in their own right and if you have the chance you should attend either of them. Seriously.

And as usual I am quite torn between any comparison between Spain and England and whenever the national teams compete in sport I typically back the underdog for want of more competition.

...Spain are denied a penalty in the dieing minutes of the game and England snatch an injury time winner in a goal mouth scramble.

Final Scoreline:

England 2 Spain 1

Por supuesto este post también está redactado en castellano.

Distilled's LinkLove conference was held last week in London and Boston. Here's their round upIf you missed it, you will be able to buy SEO conference videos

Congreso SEO is being held in Madrid on the 6th & 7th July 2012. Early bird discounts expire pronto.

So what do you think?

Does England pip Spain for SEO conferences or vice versa?

Did I referee that right or would you give me a yellow card?

Dr Seuss' SEO Star Wars

So Search is changing, what's new?

SEO is ever more morphing to inbound marketing.

Sometimes advantages in Search last only as long as the professionals privileged to have tested their thesis, discovered a prize technique, exploited a flaw, escaped punishment of one, or preferably gained a massive reward for successful inbound marketing efforts.

And before not too long, often the cat is out of the bag and that advantage becomes standard fare.

Step forward Rich Snippets.

Rich Snippets are the prized gold stars and descriptions a search result can boast of adjacent to the URL in Google's search results.

Last week, Joost de Valk, aka Yoast, blogged about rich snippets everywhere in a self fulfilling post detail, since Google started applying seller extensions more liberally in the search results in recent weeks.

The original GoogleBlog Spot post about Rich Snippets infact seemed to garner less attention or engagement than the post from Yoast.

Search Engine Land reported the videos in a quick post, but miserably failed to cast any analysis on the matter.

Star Wars, the next frontier

So the theory is that seller extensions, to you and me, gold stars, help users separate the wheat from the chaff when we Google.

And welcome that they are, in that we demand ever more social proof of content on the web, they are worthy of caution.

do you trust a starred result because the publisher has earnt it through merit or because they have managed to have it display through ingenuity?

Yes, seller extensions - gold stars - are also a superb device for publishers to display collective social proof of customer reviews, ratings and so on, irrespective of the sector they compete in.

And the click-through rate of results with stars is no doubt higher than those without.

But are they infallible? I mean do you trust a starred result because the publisher has earnt it through merit or because they have managed to have it display through ingenuity?

The truth is at the moment, there is little way to verify the authenticity of those stars, and indeed Google do not appear to, as of yet, pre-vetted the search results that sport them.

In those snippet video tutorials Google hint at reserving the right to control the display of starred results, however the initial results of webmasters' efforts suggest this is a worrying loophole that has no discrimination in place.

The plain fact is that publishers can fabricate them and just mark up their pages with technical precision, just as they have embellished customer testimonials since day one.

Google has just made it easier for site owners to display stars for all their results

In many instances starred reviews link to 3rd party sites of the publisher so that is acceptable, but the difference now is that Google has just made it easier for site owners to display stars for all their results, on all pages if they so choose.

There are services for Business Owners that can assist you to garner verifiable reviews such as TrustPilot which I recently trialled for a client with great success. Therein lies the crux of social proof, it must stand up to scrutiny to really offer you legitimate long term advantage.

I suspect the whole Schema bandwagon, which is really in it's infancy in some ways, is likely to be a real differentiator in the future as publishers and aggregators scramble towards a more meaningful web.

If anything, 2011 has professionally taught me that it's now less about rank anymore than richness and trust of search results.

Part of me cannot believe there is no Mountain View checks and balances in place for this. Yoast concludes in his blog that he "very much doubts whether this will continue to be as easy as it seems to be now though".

It seems we'll all be seeing the stars soon even if some of us are not.

Are you star struck when you view search results?

ps. I read this Dr Seuss story to junior Gailey probably every week to his delight, here's the full version 12min video of the The Sneetches

Happy Marketing Christmas

Actually, I'm being serious.

I started the relationship because I thought we would both get something out of this, but alas no, you: email marketing manager, just bundled me into a huge list, and this is your nemesis.

Don't worry, email marketing manager, there's plenty more like you out there and with cool services such as Unroll.me I can also bundle you up with your cohorts, and one-click-unsubscribe from all of you.

Boom!

Hey, I don't want to sound ungrateful, keep those unsubscribe gift links coming!

Happy marketing Christmas.

The Supermechanical Internet of Things - Twine

When people postulate what web 3.0 will be like, or talk about the Internet of Things, they typically prescribe it's creation to men in labs with white coats producing web enabled devices for giant corporations to churn out of factories.

Your power to connect stuff.

This is different. Twine is exciting because it honours that same creativity that propelled web2.0 - enabling consumers to be publishers - by putting the power into the hands of the end users and not the intermediaries or manufacturers.

Twine is like the real life cousin of IFTTT and allows everyone to manufacture their 3.0.

Exercise your imagination and standback to adjust your filters.

It's been fun viewing how rapidly this brilliant Kickstarter project reached its funding goal this week, and I am eager to obtain a device as a backer, but is this project more than just Arduino for the hoi polloi?

Is the Internet of Things coming to a hand near you?