The Barcelona Affiliate Conference 2013 is back at the Fira Barcelona and the first day has delivered exactly what we expected: a packed conference floor, a number of new affiliate faces that we have not seen before, models, models and more models, juicy SEO sessions, tapas, German pretzels, more binary options programs, free alcoholic drinks, models, models and more models.
To kick off the day, Intertops, the sponsors of BAC’s opening party, treated [hungover] delegates to mimosas, cake and a brief press conference about the celebration of their 30th birthday. We learned Intertops is a company of several firsts, with a founder who is clearly quite the visionary…Intertops were the first to accept an online bet in 1996 and they were the first to accept a mobile bet in 2000, so we truly look forward to enjoying what they company comes up with after 30 years of firsts, celebrations and success.
In other news, due to the online division’s software shift from Microgaming to Playtech, the Ladbrokes affiliate program has rebranded to Ladbrokes Partners as of October 1st, 2013. New Head of Affiliates Davin Jacobson decided to help spread the word at BAC with a huge booth, top quality branded giveaways and a special 3-month offer for new affiliates who sign up with the program while at the conference.
Throughout the day iGaming Business ran back to back SEO sessions for the first time ever, in response to delegate feedback from previous affiliate events iGaming Business has arranged. The decision to hold a full day of SEO content was clearly a success seeing as each and every session was absolutely packed as we heard from A-list SEO experts including Nick Garner, Dave Naylor, Paul Reilly and Mike Litson.
Garner was full of “top tips” for affiliates in the audience, including a demonstration on how to use his highly recommended tool for checking out a site’s SEO profile, Majesticseo.com. Some of his top tips:
-Description tags do not affect ranking, but they do affect click through rates.
-You don’t need a beautiful website, sensibly organized and structured will do the job.
-Gather URLs of strong websites, especially those within your niche, check out their profiles on Majestic and get a feel for what the data should look like.
-Gathering data and understanding the competitive landscape is essential for SEO- if you don’t like numbers and spreadsheets, then you don’t like SEO.
An interesting point was made by Reilly, when he drew a comparison between what we are doing at an affiliate conference and what we should be doing online with our content- we’re at BAC to network and make relationships and this is the same thing we should be doing online- sharing content, interacting over social media and making relationships so other people share your content.
The day’s final SEO session covered hot topics in 2013 and what we can expect for 2014 from Google and beyond. The very recent Hummingbird update was touched on, with Naylor pointing out that the update purposely impacts desktops in a different way than mobile, indicative of the rise we are seeing in internet use on mobile devices.
Google+’s purpose was discussed, with Naylor explaining that this feature of Google is an “ID layer”, a way of tagging humans to their PCs and Android devices, not a social media site like some of us think it is. The type of personalization and localization that Google is heading towards could be its downfall, Naylor said, as there is a fine line between making things simpler and making things downright “creepy”.
All panelists agreed that affiliates should not be afraid of Google, that they have to take risks, but what affiliates should be afraid of are other affiliates “ratting them out”. Reilly specifically advised that affiliates should beware of other affiliates who are trying to sabotage their sites and should monitor such threats. Naylor predicted that next year will be a big year for “Negative SEO” because affiliates are trying to “get even” as they battle their way back to the top.
As a final note, Reilly added a very heartfelt tip for the audience, begging affiliates to “please, please PLEASE” not buy links from anyone selling a list of links, unless they want their site(s) to get “toasted”, of course.
For those who chose to skip the in-depth SEO today, there was still plenty to do. Most notably the BAC open bar started service at 3pm so delegates enjoyed plenty of drinks and socializing until the lights literally went out at 6:30pm, thirty minutes after the official closing of the show.
Tomorrow we look forward to another day of iGaming affiliate industry fun and if you want to win a VIP table at the upcoming London Affiliate Conference in February, stop by the iGaming Business booth and fill out a postcard- its going to be a good one!
Check out Barcelona Affiliate Conference 2013 Recap, Day 2 here.