January, 2012 Archive

London Affiliate Conference 2012

We got back today from a long weekend down in London for the iGaming London Affiliate Conference. This is the 3rd year we have been at this conference and each year it just gets bigger and better. The venue hotel was the Grange St Paul’s again which is in a great location for some quick tourist shots.

We had a really busy few days, arriving on Thursday and heading to the iGaming Awards which was a really impressive event held at The Brewery.

Friday was mainly taken up with meetings, with a quick trip to the first day of the conference at Old Billingsgate where the expo just gets bigger and more extravagant each year. Again Bodog took over with their huge stand celebrating the Chinese New Year.

Friday evening started with dinner at the OXO tower with our good friend Dave Snyder

and then a very late night in the hotel bar with a really fun crowd. At about 3am it was time to call it a night. Shout out to Jackie Hole – great to meet you finally 🙂

Saturday started at a slow pace, but fortunately Dave wasn’t speaking until 2pm so by then we’d recovered (just about). Dave did a panel session on Panda and how to recover, which ended as an open panel about general SEO and link building, and then Dave carried on with his solo session doing a Q & A.

A couple of meetings later it was time to head to dinner with Kay Schaefer and then another lateish night in the hotel. It always surprises me how time just passes when there is good conversation flowing.

So, looking forward to the next iGaming conference, but as always it great to be back home 🙂

The SOPA Blackout

So the SOPA blackout has started.

Wikipedia now looks like this

Along with many other sites who have decided to blackout their sites in protest over the proposed SOPA ruling against piracy on the web.

We all know that Wiki is a great resource for information on the web and tends to rank #1 for a million+ searches but its not the only website out there with information on it, but a massive collection of all the worlds knowledge. Maybe if Wiki wasn’t around it would allow the in depth research and knowledge sites to actually get a look in. Personally I don’t think the blackout will really do much to sway the US government on the ruling and I’m sure if SOPA was passed they certainly wouldn’t blackout their websites for good.

Added : If you do actually want to access Wiki just turn off Javascript

The High Speed Rail (HS2) White Elephant

So today the government has given the go ahead to the controversial high speed rail link that will be built between London and Birmingham at a whopping cost of £33billion for the 90 mile route, equating to about £336million per mile. There are a few crazy things about this.

The first phase of the high speed rail link will not be completed until 2026, some 14 years away. The rail link has been pushed through as it is said that it will boost the economy. Has anyone in government done a proper study on what the economy will be like in 14 years time? Do they really think business people will be spending all this time commuting to London or hopping on a train for a meeting? Have they not considered what the digital landscape will be like in 14 years time and that we will all be so used to having virtual meetings, video conferencing, and working remotely from home, that there won’t be this demand on the rail services as there are today. It’s hard to imagine what the digital revolution will bring in the next few years never mind over a decade.

The second phase of the high speed rail line will be extensions to Manchester and Leeds but not until 2033, that’s 21 years away. Crikey, by then my oldest son would be 32 and will probably be married, with kids and well into his career.

The rail link has been pushed as the “most significant transport infrastructure project since motorways” and will cut the journey time from London to Birmingham by 33 minutes (a billion pounds for each minute) down to 49 minutes from 1 hour 22 minutes … well worth the massive expense wouldn’t you say! The crazy thing is that because of all the objections that have sprung up there is now going to be nearly a quarter of the line (22.5 miles) in tunnels, so it will be unpleasant, ear popping and dead phone signal fun all round.

Why on earth haven’t the government used the investment to increase the number of carriages on the existing rail network, done more to stop cable theft and scrap metal dealers to reduce the delays, and then invested the billions in high speed broadband networks, Wifi areas, better power sources for the increasing demand on electricity from all these devices we are glued to and got 4G going.

Women in the SEO Industry

So this post isn’t going to be one complaining about how few women there are in SEO, or how hard it is for women to get into the male dominated SEO industry but more of an exploration as to why there aren’t that many women in SEO and is it a bad thing.

For starters I run a very male dominated company. For many years I ran Bronco as the only woman in the SEO team, doing much of the SEO work alongside Dave as well as managing the whole company. The only other woman that worked for Bronco at the time was Janet, part time in accounts. I’m not a girly girl by any stretch of the imagination and really do prefer an office full of guys than an office full of girls believe me! I used to manage a purchasing team, (pre Bronco) that had 10 women and 2 men and believe me it comes with its issues. It was only a few years ago that we employed Zoe who is now a lead SEO and Hannah who is part of our content team. Out of the 19 people that Bronco now employ there are still only a small percentage of women… 4 out of 19, so around 20%.

If you include myself in the SEO team.. as on a day to day basis I run the SEO team, manage all of the 30 or so SEO clients and deal with all the of new SEO enquiries that we get… then out of the 15 staff that work on the SEO there are 3 women (20%). We have tried over the years to rebalance the SEO team, especially with skilled on page and off page female SEO’s but have always struggled. So why is that?

Personally I believe that SEO isn’t a career for everyone, the same way that programming doesn’t fit with everyone. It’s a specific skill set that is required and the SEO work that we get involved with can be pretty technical, dealing with fixing source code and server set up issues. This I feel requires a certain mind-set that woman aren’t necessarily at comfort with, maybe differences in the way our brains are set up or just the lack of encouragement at school level to go into a technical discipline. For me when I went to Uni back in 1993 Google didn’t even exist and the internet was only just in its infancy. I remember the fear when I had to hand my first Uni assignment in as an electronic typed document, double spaced in a specific font and to me who had never done anything with computers or word processing at school this was a daunting task. I never thought at the time while doing my Management degree that I’d end up running a very successful technical company. Many of the best SEO’s are self taught with an interest in coding as the basis and these tend to be the best, the ones with the passion and drive for results. Often the best SEO’s have already run their own websites and got their own rankings so know what is achievable. Many women just don’t get the opportunity or have the desire to do this given their education.

Again personally I love the male dominated industry but would like to know more about the woman out there and their experiences as to how they got started. Where are they all hiding? There are some women SEO’s that I know who have a high profile in the industry, perhaps blog or speak at conferences, but there must be more woman who maybe are inhouse or part of an agency team who just get on with the job and get the same excitement that I do when you look at rankings or check out the latest Google algorithm change. I have often been asked to speak at conferences given my knowledge of SEO and the industry and I’d rather be a bit behind the scenes and let Dave do the speaking, but have recently joined the Advisory board for the iGaming Affiliate Conference which was great to have input in the conference session schedule.

So where are you all hiding? Where are all the low key, seasoned women SEO’s, that don’t speak at conferences, but are busy in their day to day life working on challenging projects battling with the rest of us in the rankings, and maybe like me balancing a career and a family? What percentage of female SEO staff do other agencies have?

A Year in Pictures – 2011

Happy New Year to you all ….

Following last year’s post of a Year in Pictures 2010, I decided that it would be good to do a Year in Pictures for 2011, as its a good record of what I have been up to, so here goes with some of the best bits…

January – London for the iGaming Affiliate conference (LAC)

I didn’t really take many pictures in February and March, but we did do lots of DIY in the house and went back to London for the SES conference, so to make up for the lack of pics here are the chickens trying to look like garden birds 🙂

April was a trip to Jersey

May was a trip to Spain for the week

In June we got Mollie the Samba to go with Bob the Campervan

In July we took Mollie to Newby Hall to show her with Bob with the rest of the VW Club vans

Also in July we finished the Broncoplex after a few months of lots of hard work

Also in July we had a long weekend at Centreparcs

In August we spent a week in San Francisco for the SES San Francisco conference

Also in August we went to Alton Towers for the weekend and stayed in a Pirate bedroom

In September Miles started secondary school … very proud 🙂

The campervans went into the last show of the season

and also in September we went to Barcelona for the IGaming Conference (BAC)

The last conference for the year was the A4U Expo in London in October, but didn’t get any pictures as it was quite a short trip, but here’s one I was tagged in.

In November, Bronco sponsored the Ripon Bonfire Night again

And the year was finished off in December with the Bronco Christmas Party

Roll on 2012!