We're live at SAScon 2015 bringing you the latest news,
views and discussions from the key panels and
SAScon, one of the UK's
finest search, analytics and social media conferences, is taking
place in Manchester on Thursday 11th and Friday
12th June 2015. It's the event that should be in all
digital marketers' diaries, but if you can't make it or you haven't
managed to get the whole day off work, you can keep up-to-date with
all the happenings by following our LIVE blog.
And we're off! Day 2 of the conference has started with an
amazingly fresh looking Richard Gregory. Rumoured to have
been up to the early hours, how does he do it?! Probably as he's
still in his late 20's… (another rumour)
Bang on time for day 2 and Richard has introduced Martin
McDonald - Head of SEO @ Orbitz Worldwide! One of the most
anticipated sessions of the conference. They are an American
company, recently bought by Expedia, this will be very
his twitter handle - has requested questions be sent there - he's
available 20 hours a day. Typical SEO ;)
2001 - 2007 was Martin's favourite time. 'The spamming with
impurity years.' A strong show of hands from SEOs who purchased
links from Digital Point. A blast from the past! Altavista metioned
too. Haven't heard that name since I last listened to The Streets
album. Can you name it?
Google static updates were part of a very different world.
2008 - 2012 was pivotal to where we are today. Link spamming was
the flavour of the day. The best SEOs of today were even
doing this - Google wasn't happened at all. New York Times was
poking fun at them, they needed to tidy things up! And they did!
Big penalties for company such as BMW and JC Penney were given what
the BBC classed as 'The Death Penalty.'
What has happened? Google moved from once a month updates to a
PR machine, renting a space station, Boston Robotic Google Dog, etc
etc etc. They reacted to SEOs taking the Michael, yet offset any
bad PR from their other amazing activities.
You'd have to be crazy to try and black hat anything these days!
- Martin McDonalds top advice. Do you want to risk taking off a
major chunk of a company's revenue!
The evolution of SEOs - from 2000 - 2015
To be a technical SEO you must have a real understanding of
Google, e.g. use of hrefland - allows for expert level decision
making based on the language on the site and which country the user
is in and how that impacts the conversion rate. Now that's not
2007! Shows the shift from SEO to marketing.
And what about content? At Orbitz they are in an environment
were editorial people are building content the same as SEOs were
but don't know how to account for it like SEOs. Their backgrounds
are from writing features etc for newspapers. This is where the
technical side of SEO is now integrated with the rest of
businesses, e.g. this content and marketing activity.
SEOs now need to possess T-shaped skills, have a range of skills
that encompass and touch a range of activities across target
businesses. Are Technical SEOs the CEO's of companies of the
future? SEO is that key to a company!
SEO predictions 2015 - 2025
SEOs of the future will need to look like this:
- Generalizing Socialist
- Technical Craftsperson
- Renaissance Developer
- Master Generalist
Martin McDonald will be working towards the above! He doesn't
think that SEO will be a part of his job title in a year's time.
His role is now 15% SEO, the rest is marketing, content PPC
Controversial point from Martin, his advice for any aspiring SEO
student would be to start their career client side, not agency
side. Lots of agency people in the room - interesting point. What
do you think?
42% of all online spend is on travel. This is why Google are
upping their game in online travel. E.g. Google Hotel Finder, they
charge a PPC (same as Adwords) but also 10% of the nightly spend as
a fee to the hotel company. Big money at stake here. They have been
able to do it because Expedia has bought Orbitz and there is
legitimate competition. This all adds to the animosity in the bay
area of San Francisco.
Amazing presentation and very useful Q&A from Martin. Thank
you very much indeed.
Where next? We'll be live blogging from one of the 3 sessions to
follow. Stay tuned!
Search Director from TecMark Stacey @staceycav talks Quality
With an average of 4800 blog posts published online per minute,
competition is tough! To get your content noticed, Stacey shares
her 6 point checklist:
- Content should be unique
- Tailored - know your audience and write it for them
- Emotive, it should make the reader feel something
- Tells a story
Content doesn't have to be pretty, but it should be unique and
resonate with people. If you want to make the headlines and
generate links, make sure you're using credible data!
Struggling for inspiration? Throw away the post-it notes, use
TecMark's 365 brain lighting
tool for idea generation.
Remember the angle or the execution should be original! If you
want to collect large amounts of original data for your content try
tools such as Google Consumer Surveys, One Poll or
YouGov. With content marketing it's easy to think about
instant gratification. But it's more important to think about long
Content promotion is key - "Build it and they
will come" = Bollocks. It's not enough to just hit the publish
button. Put at least as much effort into promotion as you do in
production! Paid social is severely overlooked, but it's a great
way to get your content in front of a specific target
Stacey's guide to
quality content is now LIVE on the TecMark website - check it
out to discover how you can create quality content on
In-House vs Agency with Paul Morris Head of
Digital and Social Media at Co-op, Matt Carey Head of Digital
Marketing at Anglian Home Improvements and Ben Bisco from JD
High turnover of Executive level staff in agencies is a worry
for clients. It's challenging and unsettling to have to re-train
executive level staff on the account and re-build relationships
with new people. This trend has spurred Matt to bring things
Cost is another trigger for bringing teams in-house. The general
idea amongst the panel is that it's more effective to train staff
internally rather than outsourcing.
As good as agencies are, they are always going to struggle to
have the same depth as an in-house team. If companies are
outsourcing the agencies, they should still have some sort of
internal marketing function who can interpret the data and deliver
It makes sense for a small business to have an internal "Jack of
all trades" marketing function, however it gets more difficult for
medium sized businesses.
It's essential to take time to build relationships with
agencies, get to know the team that will be working on your account
and also provide them with as much information as possible. A
strong working relationship comes from shared learning and
understanding. Ben suggests more Consultants are needed, who
understand how agencies operate and can liaise between the agency
and the client.
The panel discuss collaborating: Agencies will always have
billable hours, therefor projects will have to be worked on
efficiency. This might not necessarily be how the client wants to
work. In an ideal world clients and agencies will collaborate on
projects, rather than saying "come back in two weeks and pitch some
ideas". The client should become an extension of the agency team.
However this is what would happen in an ideal world, but in reality
agencies don't have the flexibility to be readily available at
times the clients might require.
Communication is key - The panel highlight how
challenging it can be to keep track of communications between
everyone invovled in projects. Large scale and intergrated
campaigns may have different teams as well as freelancers working
Agencies need to address this, could Project Managers be the
Women in Digital Panel
Women in Digital session has began with a great panel to talk us
through the report and their thoughts on it.
Panel point to the issue with industry not bringing in education
at an early stage
A lot to be said for training kids in coding.
Is the education sector fit for purpose? There is a lack of
understanding for what is needed.
Difficult to get information to schools and open their eyes to
what is needed to prepare its children.
Is lack of education across the board meaning that there is a
stigma about technical that it is for boys to learn?
Panel discusses the fact that there is more creativity in
technical roles than you think.
One managing director on the panel who is female ensures that
men within her company are well supported to take time off.
The panel discussed that the world of work is changing and that
as we are all more flexible, doesn't this mean that more women or
men who need flexibility can get it.?
When talking about a lack of men in management roles, is it
because men are pushed into the roles as they are assumed to be
able to deal with this better?
There are a lot of amazing men in PR, be careful to gender
stereotype about the roles they are taking.
'When men are strict in roles they are feisty. When women are
tough, they are ball beakers. That shouldn't be the case.' -
Women In Technology, Girl Geeks are 2 of loads of groups that
exist to help women create networks and receive mentoring.
From the audience, a belief that men seem to be recognised more
when they are progressing and progress quicker.
Are women more reluctant to be as confident as men or ask for
Flexible working hours is a must from companies. The more
flexibility, the better your retention and the more productive your
More women to be governors at schools that will push the
Universities ask guest speakers to come in and this is dominated
by men, more women needed.
Majority of conference speakers are men, not women. We need to
try and change this.
That's it for today but here's the outcome of that session:
- Agencies should pay
people what they are worth
- Introduce flexible
working, this is a must
- More women should be
more confident and ask for more if deserved
- There needs to be
more women involved in
Richard Gregory officially opens #SAScon 2015
Richard Gregory's top tips for SAScon:
- Take notes &
- Share your thoughts,
including our research here:
- Ask questions
- Network and meet new
- Ask and attend the
social, sponsored by The Candidate
Don't forget to use the #SAScon hashtag!
Looks like we're running late already! Now it's time for Aleyda
Solis from Orainti. It's all about 'How SMBs Can Win in Competitive
0940 Aleyda Solis - How SMBs can win in competitive SEO
Join 56k+ followers and follow @aleyda now for
loads of search and social media tips and information!
Aleyda - Google continues to offer small businesses a unique
offering, from Ad Words, to SEO to business local to dashboards,
its all simplistic for businesses. But, how do small businesses
tale the lead in very competitive sectors? You need to get a
competitive advantage over the big guys! They're not as flexible as
you so you can act effectively, as long as your approach to SEO is
Aleyda - SMEs - looking to target keywords in SEO for your
website? Verify the competition, volume and trends! Source the best
software and get this information! Get the balance right between
the competitive keywords and those that generate volume. What
converts to ROI for you?
Aleyda - Which Google tools can give you and your business the
best visibility for your products? E.g. aim to be number one in
keywords or optimise your presence in maps? Check out your
Tip of the day so far for SEOs from Aleyda - 'Need to
automate? Use the Ranktank Serpitude SERP & Structured data
Aleyda - Small businesses - not enough results from your SEO
activity? Use vertical platforms to grow & diversify your web
presence! E.g. ebay, Etsy, airbnb etc
The Google Search Console is the single best SEO tool that
@aleyda would recommend if we had to choose one! Great question
from @alexmoss from @firecask
That wraps up an excellent opening session at #sascon. The
amount of amazing SEO tools discussed highlights what an amazing,
diverse, creative and enthralling sector we're all in! Thanks
Market overview - the industry
accoring to the Experts
Market experts highlight a number of
key digital marketing trends.
Paul Frampton - CEO Havas Media Group UK & Tom Cull - MD
Chaired by Richard Gregory, two indsutry experts share their
views on the digital marketplacae.
So what are the pressure points in the digital industry? Talent
is at the top of the list of challenges! It's increasingly
difficult to find talent, hire talent and afford the best talent.
The amount that clients are willing to pay is not in-line with wage
A significant amount of time is dedicated to "Change
management", the sector is constantly evolving therefore is
essential to cater to the changing needs of clients as well as
restructuring and developing teams.
Brands that are doing things right - Brands need to deliver an
exceptional customer experience! Amazon still remains one of the
UK's most valued brands becuase of it's unrivaled user experience,
even though it has been hit with tax evasion scandals.
Changes in the industry - Video distribution is changing,
therefore the media needs to change. How do we define a TV, a radio
or a newspaper, when our smart phone can act as all three.
To cater to client and consumer demands, agencies are hiring a
split between analysts and content creators. There is a need for
individuals with very specific technical skill sets as well as
people with the same skills and capabilities as 10 or 15 years
Search and organic marketing - The way in which
search is defined will change when more voice
search tools are brought to the market e.g. Siri and Cortana
SEO old world (quick links + short term ranking) vs. SEO new
world = content marketing
There are a lot more organic opportunities available for brands
i.e. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter. However they can soon become
Data is the cord that pulls everything together. A number of
agencies have recently acquired consumer data companies. Brands
need to constantly look for ways to engage with and find
opportunities to relate with consumers.
Final comments - what will be keeping you awake this time next
year? Talent! - very high on the priority list from both of
1200 - Social Media - Is it worth it?
Education is key is social! Digital Managers needs to
educate their teams that social media is not one size fits
The average window of response time for B2C brands on
social is 60 minutes.
Customer service is the best aspect of social media
- Customers expect a quick response on complaints,
social is 24/7 & customers have certain
Amazing online customer service is far better than paid
In social media there will be things
that go well & some that won't, but you have to define what
your vision of success is
86% of people ignore TV ads ..if you use them to create
awareness ensure your supporting media are synchronised
If you're willing to be a bit braver then you can get
brand awareness on social
Brands that think there not on social media, you are
your just not leading the conversation
Rather than asking 'is social media worth
it?instead ask 'what is the risk of not being
On the subject of social.. have you entered our #SAScon
#welovewomenindigital competition? Simply share our new peice of
research bit.ly/TheCandidateResearch for
your chance to win a bottle of wine OR comment on the research and
you could win a £50
Iberica Manchester voucher!
1250 Lunch Break! SAScon know how to put on a good
PPC Marketing - AdWords,
Google Display Network, and new social ads on Facebook, Twitter and
5 key trends impacting the future PPC marketing
Trend 1: Price and inventory head wins within paidsearch- search
CPCs keep falling overall but in established markets they are in an
all-time high. Every 0.1p increase in CPC is a decrease in ROI. The
growth of mobile means apps are stealing from desktop searches.
More searches on mobile & apps > mobile has fewer
advertising spots. High CPC and Low growth in searches!
Display ads have much higher inventory, lower CPCs & convert
okay thus better ROI! Display Conversions rates increase with more
Trend 2: The rise of identity based PPC marketing
Evolution of display ad targeting options - people based PPC is
like email marketing but way better!
Through identity based PPC advertising you can target specific
Trend 3 - Mobile Ads: TBC in Larry's afternoon session!
Trend 4 - Google is taking away the toys
Mindless and repetitive tasks are a thing of the past. Keyword
targeting is going extinct in favour of dynamic search ads
Be more creative with ads - write engaging and compelling ad
copy. Use emotion & know your audience. Don't just search for
match type/ suggested keywords.
Be less mechanical! Embrace the chance, be more strategic &
engage more people with Gmail ads and YouTube ads!
Trend 5 - Rise of the Content Remarketing - Convergence of paid/
Social channels are killing organic reach, amplify your
reach with PPC.
Paid promotion yields organic exposure, buy on retweet, get 3
Filter - your
audience (Facebook has over 2500 demographic targeting options)
Advertise - to
you fans (people in your demographic)
Content remarketing amplifies content marketing
and social media - SEO, PPC and Content teams need to work
An exception session from Larry Kim! Very thought provoking!
Sounds like the future of paid search is a more creative and
We've launched our new report -
Women in Digital: A study into gender representation in today's
thriving digital industry! Share it on social media or comment for
your chance to win prizes!
Don't miss the Women in Digital panel session on Friday
Fancy winning a FREE TV? Fellow SAScon sponsors AO have a fantasic competition
running! All you need to do is simply take a selfie with one of
their branded products and share it online with the hashtag
The Mobile Opportunity, The Untapped Goldmine -
Apps are making users lives easier, but currently a huge 60% of
apps have never been downloaded.
Beware! The mobile landing page is the valley of
Larry's mobile marketing hack #1: only pay for calls, not
website clicks, with call-only campaigns.
Mobile search ad clicks are worth more than desktop clicks
- with 18% vs 7% conversion rate.
According to Larry mobile ads have the highest
value but the lowest cost. Wonder how long will
Check out Larry's 5 mobile PPC hacks to remember!
It's been a fabulous day at SAScon day 1! Each year the SAScon
organisers seem to up the bar and the event gets getting and
better! We have recieved loads of great feeback on our Women in Digital report and we're really
excited for the panel session tomorrow afternoon!
See you at the social for a drink or five in the sun and BBQ