My original draft of this blog post totaled at about 3,000 words, but who wants to read that? So, in the spirit of good quality content: Here are the best 12 things we learned this year at SAScon:
1. SAScon 2015 ‘The conference you need to be at’… i’m not going to lie, if you are serious about search you need to be there, (this is not one of the things we learned, it was just a pretty good event, and you should go).
2. The swearier the seminar, the better – it’s true, the more sweary you are, the better you will hold the attention of the room, and call me immature, I enjoyed those seminars the best.
3. Small businesses can actually compete very well in the competitive market place of agency-giants. You can team up all you like and make an SEO super-giant agency…
ahem. Zazzle, Sticky Eyes… I’m looking at you.
BUT small agencies are actually more flexible to their client needs and you will likely get a more personal experience. Also, (needless to say) a smaller agency will care more about your business.
4. Icebreakers: get people to kiss each other on the cheek in the first workshop of the day, and it will STILL be awkward (especially if the ratio of men to women in the room is about 70/30).
Aside from that the key take aways from this workshop with Elizabeth Clark ‘50 Shades of Shopping’ were: Google shopping is a fickle thing, make sure you’re not lazy with your taxonomy selections, the more detail you can provide about your product the better. Also make sure to provide SKUs as shoppers are super savvy and will search using these to find the best price.
5. When you’ve been up since 4.30am coffee is no longer a need, a magical life-bringing elixir, and essential to your survival.
6. People are awkward; they browse on one device and purchase on another, this makes it very difficult for us SEOs to stitch together an authentic user journey. The answer to this is to either make a login essential on your website, or take multiple devices into consideration. Not very helpful, but until we can install microchips into people’s brains to track their every move, this is the only choice we’ve got.
7. Never take the slot after lunch. You know why.
Despite this, founder of Wordstream and all around industry big wig Larry Kim kept us all in the game with his entertaining slideshow revealing that this was his first visit to the UK, and to Manchester…
Some key take aways from this:
- Remarketing adverts are twice as more likely to convert once clicked and the likelihood of clicking reduces the more the user sees the advert.
- Mobile is requiring a different approach to PPC and advertising.
- New technologies will allow for more specifically targeted marketing campaigns.
8. Self promotion: yes it is important that your face appears when you Google yourself, yes Googling yourself has become an actual thing. We were lectured in the importance of marketing oneself from PR star Linzi Boyd, who spoke of the importance of your own online presence and branded image. Watch out Google images I’m all over it!
9. The key to success in social media is: ‘just don’t be a dick’ – Andy Barr 10 Yetis
(This also gets the prize for the sweariest workshop)
10. Although Google’s conditions may be tough it is worth seeing that Google’s infrastructure can’t actually handle the growth of the web and the amount of websites in it. This is why Google needs sites to be clean and accessible to bots, if not it is not feasible financially for Google to spend time trying to crawl poor websites. – Measuring ROI from content with: Ben McKay (MEC), Claire Hill (Content Marketing Association) Catherine Maskell (Reed) and Jamie Toward (MEC).
11. In house vs agency (with Paul Morris, Head of Digital & Social Media Co- op, Matt Carey Head of Marketing, Anglian Home Improvements and Ben Bisco, Head of Digital, JD Williams). This debate seemed skewed towards in house being the preferred outcome, not surprising as none of the panel were from an agency. However I can make some good arguments of my own for working for and with an agency:
- Agencies have a wealth of experience in SEO, developers, front end, project managing, when you buy into an agency, you also have plenty of technical back up.
- Agencies are flexible and work with your in house marketing team to alleviate a large chunk of pressure so they can become more focused.
- Agencies pay for expensive tools you wouldn’t want to shell out for in house, they have also tried and tested the best tool on the market and know which ones are best to use.
But I may be biased…
12. All I can say is Yossi Erdman of www.ao.com (appliances online), head of brand and social media is an absolute hero and we had a great session showing that using social media in a fun way is hugely successful. That people will really surprise you with how inventive they can be. Also that if you inform someone’s spouse about his or her job performance, it makes him or her work harder…
Key take aways:
- Respond to your social media complaints quickly and efficiently.
- Allow audience participation, you will be surprised at how inventive your customers are.
- Have fun with your social media strategy be inventive and creative.
13. Start discussing ‘women in digital’ and you will receive a LOT of audience participation. Currently the ratios are that there is more than double the amount of men working in digital than women. Essentially the argument boiled down to education, the lack of encouragement at a young age for everyone to be included in technical. This is what we need to be looking at to encourage more women to take up a career in digital. However this subject warrants a whole blog post, so I’ll save my thoughts for that. Keep an eye out!
14. I lied it’s 13 things I learned
15. Well now it’s 14…
But this could go on for a long time…