If day 1 of SES London 2014 was the ‘look smart and make a good first impression’ day then day 2 was the day when everyone relaxed and wore a jumper. Things were scheduled to kick off with Ian Carrington from Google, so primed with lots of questions the audience settled in for another day of talks…
Keynote – Ian Carrington, UK Director of Performance at Google
Key takeaway – Google is mobile first
As you may expect, Ian Carrington’s talk was something of a sales pitch from Google. That observation aside there was some interesting material to come out of the opening keynote of the day.
Most obvious was Google’s focus on mobile. Carrington confirmed Google’s ‘mobile first’ approach and his main message was that if your website is not optimised for the mobile experience you stand to lose out.
Carrington can also be credited with what was arguably the fact of the day; 90% of mobile devices sold in Japan are waterproof, apparently so that people can use them in the shower!
Brilliant Blogging, Best Practices to Enhance Your Customer Reach – Lee Odden & Bas van den Beld
Key takeaway – Content and ideas can be found on every street corner
Lee Odden of TopRank kicked of this session by explaining how important blogging has been for him. Odden explained how blogging has seen his brand receive notable media coverage with no PR and close sales without the need to employ sales people. Odden’s primary piece of advice was “don’t be a blogging wimp, follow through with what you stand for”.
Odden’s talk was followed by State of Digital’s, Bas van den Beld. Bas explained how ‘lack of time’ is a common excuse that people use when discussing why they don’t blog but he argued that time is not the issue, instead it is a lack of inspiration; if you have inspiration the writing is easy.
On the subject of inspiration, Bas’s opinion was that “content ideas are on every street corner” and used the example that when walking to the conference hall in Westminster he considered how interesting a blog written by a cab driver could be; simple notes on the characters the cab driver has had in their car.
Bas van den Beld’s other key piece of advice was to focus your content on other people; content you write about yourself just isn’t as interesting! A good session delivered by two blogging experts who hit home about the power of a structured and smartly executed blogging strategy.
Game, Set, ROI: Developing an Effective Search & Social Strategy – Jonathan Beeston & Nick Beck
Key takeaway – The aims of search and social are often very different, so make sure you track results correctly
As you can see, social sits comfortably alongside four different departments but marketing (and search) is only one of them. If the aim of social is to influence PR then the goals that we associate with a successful search campaign wont apply. A pertinent point that is often overlooked when planning a campaign.
Beeston also touched upon the challenges of having different teams and departments working on the same campaign. He concluded that team structure is a crucial part of making the likes of PR, search, customer support and product innovation work in harmony.
Next up was Nick Beck who spoke of the importance of employing a scientific approach to testing the effectiveness of social media. Beck took us through various examples including an experiment run by Eric Enge who asked whether Google Plus shares cause changes in ranking. The experiment concluded that there was no evidence of Plus shares driving rankings but they do potentially drive the indexing of new content.
Google Changes a Lot! Hummingbird, Not Provided, Enhanced Campaigns: The Update
Key takeaway – Google is not your friend
This was a panel made up of Tim Grice, Crispin Sheridan and the ever opinionated Ralph Tegtmeier. The session focused on the relentless changes coming out of Google with a particular focus on the Hummingbird update, not provided and enhanced campaigns.
Tegtmeier summarised that Google is not our friend in the sense that their clear and primary concern is to perform as an advertising platform. This was a session full of snippets and insights on how the search industry is evolving.
Among the gems was Tim Grice’s belief that we must assume that someone will manually review your link profile – it is becoming a human process. Sheridan added to this by explaining that companies will require larger teams of people to manually check things.
Tegtmeier rounded things off by taking the audience on a foray through the world of black hat SEO, explaining that his cloaking tactics are so effective and his opinion that negative SEO is the fastest expanding part of the industry. True or false, Tegtmeier displayed his ability to make the audience gasp at regular intervals.
World Class Local: Optimising Listings, Place Pages, & Beyond – Gregg Stewart & Peter Young
Key takeaway – Search is becoming more about context
The final talk of the day focused on local search and was kicked off by Pete Young. Young explained the concepts of explicit and implicit search; explicit is the keyword that the search engine user types in and implicit is everything that Google knows about you.
The idea is that Google uses all of the implicit information you provide; location, language, time of day etc, to build up a better picture of what you are looking for. Young explained how an understanding of this concept is an important part of optimising for local search.
Gregg Stewart’s talk moved on from Young’s theory based ideas to the practicalities of making the most of local search. Perhaps the most important message to come from Stewart’s presentation was that consistency is of vital importance. The idea being that Google relies on your business name, telephone number and address to be the same across different platforms and this is how they identify you as a local business with good local reach.
So that wraps up day 2 of SES London 2014 – lots of notes again and the day was finished in the pub talking with some of the speakers from this year’s conference. Lots of good things to come out of that so notes to follow soon.
Day 3 is next!
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