Our first meetup, Agile SEO South Jersey, was amazing. Richard Ortiz and Bruce Rymshaw gave great presentations, both belting out actionable insights over the noisy bar crowd. This was the first public speaking opportunity about SEO for both Rich and Bruce, and they nailed it.
Everyone I met at Agile SEO, regardless of experience or background, was there because they wanted to learn more about SEO and make sense of all that's happened this year. I heard engaging conversations at each table and I couldn't have been happier to see real and unique ideas being shared. Thank you to everyone who attended!
Rich's presentation on post-Penguin link building explained why you need to change your attitude about how you get links. Some link building methods that were formerly just ineffective can now actually harm your website's chances to rank. If you can build links to your website in bulk, they probably aren't very good links. If you can automate your link building, those links may be hurting your website's reputation.
Doing things that matter, creating resources and becoming an expert can all lead to natural links. Not everything you do has to be newsworthy, but every piece of content you create should have your audience in mind, and Google is not your audience. Penguin and other updates reinforce the fact that Google is learning and will continue to get smarter.
The days of web content just being text in a HTML document are long gone. Google doesn't just see keywords. It sees relationships, ideas, interactions and design. While text is still important for both readers and search engines, people want more. They want to be engaged and they want websites that tell stories, with words, videos and interactivity.
Bruce's presentation speaks to this need and how businesses that haven't yet included alternative content in their online marketing strategies have already fallen behind. But it's not too late and it's not something that only big businesses can manage.
I explained (more like yelled) why I chose Agile SEO as the name of our monthly meetup. Without getting into specifics of agile marketing, I had been trying to create a meetup for several months. But not just a meetup, the perfect event. In seeking perfection, I lost sight of my objective and I just couldn't get it done. I would never get it perfect. Finally, I decided to just do it.
The meetup was created and scheduled that day. It wasn't perfect, but that's OK.
Update: Check out this awesome Whiteboard Friday at SEOmoz to learn more about agile marketing from Jonathon Colman.