SearchLeeds 2018

Three Actionable Takeaways

Over 1500 digital marketers, PPC advertisers and content creators flocked to SearchLeeds this year, what is now billed at the biggest internet marketing conference…in the North of England.

Whilst Brighton SEO still holds the national title (you can check out what we thought of 2016’s edition here), there was a lot to be said for the wealth of information and discussion on offer at this free event.

36 speakers from all corners of the SEO community were on-hand to discuss a huge range of topics. So our own SEO team, John and Will, battled an early alarm clock, ferocious winds and cancelled trains to make it up to Leeds to see what all the fuss is about.

Digital marketing is an industry awash with buzzwords and (usually false) rumours, so it was refreshing to be presented with a series of talks that offered some clear cut info with some practical actions.

Here are a handful of simple takeaways that you can use to improve your digital presence:

Mobile first

Aside from serving free beers to every attendee, search data nerds DeepCrawl offered up Jon Myers to the Main Stage who was discussing the looming presence of Mobile-first indexing. He began with an important point that regardless of where your site is ranked, if it’s not mobile-friendly it’s likely that you’ll deter users from making future visits:

Due to the increasing percentage of mobile-web users, Google are beginning to prioritise mobile-ready sites in the search rankings above those that aren’t up to the task. They’ll do this by primarily ‘crawling’ the mobile version of your site:

You can check how your site stacks up by heading to Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test and talk to us if you need a hand getting up to speed.

Content marketing on a budget

The abstract world of Content Marketing has long been considered the preserve of big brands who are able to dedicate even bigger budgets to push high-concept content to the masses, but Kirsty Hulse set out to argue otherwise. Her snappy title: ‘Content marketing tips that won’t break the bank’ was enticing enough to draw the biggest crowd of the day at the Main Stage:

Credit: Richard Wilson

Kirsty offered some simple pointers on how to create content that plays to the strengths of your brand. Understanding your brand’s objectives, value proposition and USP are key to providing a consistent message which can then be communicated through the content that you create, whether this is a video uploaded to YouTube or a simple blog post. She offered the example of Greggs’ recent Valentines Day promo which flipped the script on their usual message.

Credit: Greggs

Of course, Greggs had the marketing clout and brand power to make this campaign a success, but Kirsty argued that it was ideas (rather than assets) that were important in creating successful content. Free online tools can be used to quickly knock together attractive quizzes and slideshows that have the potential of providing you with additional traffic and even garnering some precious links from other sites.

‘Pinching’ keywords from competitors

Understanding the internet searcher’s intent is part and parcel of working in any field of SEO, so it only follows that companies will do anything to gain insight into how users are searching for the services they provide. Brighton SEO head honcho Kelvin Newman was on hand to keep an eye on the competition and also share some tips on how to look outside the box when it comes to sneaky keyword research.

He began by explaining that simply writing copy for your primary user was ‘lazy’ and that it makes more sense to check out what kind of language your competitors are using, so that you can utilise the kind of terminology that the search engines associates with your niche.

One of his key tips was to use to quickly extract the base text from your competitors site and then feeding this raw text into a word cloud generator to quickly identify which words you’re already using and which ones you could think about incorporating into the copy on your site. He also suggested trying the same trick by ‘textising’ Pinterest search results in order to extract more tangential terms around your niche:

Credit: @kelvinnewman

SearchLeeds provided us with a wealth of inspiration, knowledge and cheeky hacks that we’re looking forward to experimenting with and served timely reminder that ours is an industry that never stands still – unless there’s a game of footie on a big screen that is…