Search Leeds 2019 Round-Up: Here’s What You Missed

This year, the team at Ricemedia had the pleasure of attending Search Leeds 2019, the largest search marketing event in the North. With a host of fascinating talks from some of the biggest names in the industry, it was a great day for learning. From technical SEO, to content marketing, PR and Google Analytics, we’ve pulled together an overview of some of our favourite talks from the day. 

How To Create Fake News For Links: Oliver Brett, Screaming Frog

In a talk that was both witty and informative, Oliver Brett from Screaming Frog outlined some creative ways to gain links and coverage for clients. The talk covered everything from news jacking, creating fake news stories, making fake websites and using humour to gain traction. It showed how linkbait, when executed correctly, can be a funny and powerful asset in your digital marketing strategy. 

The talk began by showcasing some of their previous successful PR campaigns which went viral, including their ‘Privi-Pee’ story. This campaign involved making a fake website and product for a plumbing client. The ‘product’ was a cape that you could attach to the wall for men to cover themselves whilst they use the urinals. This story went viral, creating many backlinks for the plumbing company – and even got on the Today Show in USA. This was a great example of how a crazy idea can convert to links, which converts to traffic, which ultimately converts to money for the client. Another successful campaign that they administered involved creating a fake LED England Shirt during the world cup for a LED lighting company. This proceeded to get links on big publications such as the Guardian and The Sun. This campaign highlighted the importance of creating a story based on what is trending on the media at the time. 

The moral of the story? For link baiting to be successful, you have to adhere to the following steps:

  • It needs to be funny
  • Target live blogs
  • Get your timing right
  • Continue the opportunities
  • Never promise anything
  • Don’t be too obvious
  • Use realistic graphics and branding (even if you have to make it all up)

To view some of Oliver Brett’s SEO puns, follow him on Twitter @LordOfTheSERPs

Combining Your Organic Paid Strategies For Greater Effect: Sarah Barker, Sticky Eyes 

Sarah Barker from Sticky Eyes’ informative talk explained the importance of collaborative approach for both paid and organic strategies. Some brands are still approaching search marketing as two separate channels – often engaging two separate agencies to work on two very different approaches. But is this delivering the best possible return on investment? Sarah looked at how to break out of the single channel vacuum and build strategies that adapt to customer intent, but also competitor movements and messaging. 

She began the talk by referring to Steve Jobs’ success in his collaborative approach with the planning of Pixar’s headquarters. Jobs promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations by breaking down the initial plans of three separate buildings for each sector to build one big building with a great atrium space that acts as a central hub for the campus. There is where all the companies collaboration and creativity happens, but how do we build our atriums? To become successful we must find ways to encourage collaboration, for all digital channels to work in harmony:

  1. Encourage collaboration 

It is important to share data and encourage meetings between different teams, understanding the relationship between the two channels, paid and organic, to come up with an agreed approach that work in harmony with one another. By combining reporting – this will help generate informing optimisation and measure the overall success of a digital marketing strategy, as the success of one channel can better perform the other. 

  1.   Find the equilibrium between search and paid 

Keywords that rank position one organically, if there is no search competition and shopping results are not displayed, pause them. Then activate keywords that do not rank position one organically, or if there are search competitors present or even if shopping results are displayed. 

  1.   Message testing 

Trial SEO features, such as page titles, as PPC headlines to gather data to see which keywords would be the best at converting and have the highest CTR – these can then be used in SEO. 

  1.   Integrated content strategy 

There are two factors to consider when choosing content to prioritise: organic rankings plus PPC keywords will enable a clear content strategy to be formed. 

So, what did we take away? In modern search, combining both paid and organic digital marketing techniques are becoming increasingly relevant to deliver the best possible return on investment. To read more, find Sarah Barker’s slides from the day here.

Discovering The Truth In Dark Traffic: Helen Politt, Avenue Digital

Helen Politt, Head of Digital at Avenue Digital gave a super insightful and interesting talk on how Google Analytics is misattributing traffic to other sources. Starting with the bold statement that she invented the bagless vacuum cleaner when she was a child (until she found out that it was already a thing), she then goes on to announce that she’s got beef with Google Analytics because traffic is being mis-categorised, thus stealing credit for the efforts of other campaigns. While most people consider ‘dark traffic’ as questionable traffic from a questionable part of the web, in this instance Helen meant any traffic that was being mis-attributed in GA. We learnt the following:

  • If you have ‘Other’ under ‘Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels’ then that’s a sign that your traffic isn’t being tracked properly.
  • Direct Traffic is a lie most of the time – here are a few reasons
    • When you go from HTTPS to HTTP the referral is stripped, thus attributing this to direct traffic.
    • WhatsApp is encrypted, so any links that are clicked on in WhatsApp are stripped and then attributed as ‘direct’.
    • Google Analytics can’t tell what Word docs, PDFs and Non-Web documents are when links are clicked on them, so they lump this into direct traffic.
  • When people search using Google Home App on Android, this is often considered as ‘direct’ traffic.
  • MSN, Yahoo, Bing and Duck Duck Go were all being attributed to direct.

So, how do you resolve this?

  • You can create filters that re-attribute the traffic, but remember – this is permanent and will skew the year-on-year and month-on-month data.
  • Use Campaign URL Builder to track all of your links (external only, never internal).
  • Use Campaign URL Builder on Google My Business.

You can find her slides below:

Search Leeds 2019 Slides

Find the slides from all the talks below!

Main Stage:

Kirsty Hulse – Manyminds

How science can help you have better ideas

Bastian Grimm – Peak Ace

Why most SEO audits are SH*T

Jon Myers – Ascending Media

All things mobile in a mobile led world! Optimise or fail

Jennifer Hoffman – DeepCrawl

The business value of SEO

Gary Arnold – Edit

Personalisation in a Search journey

Matthew Howells-Barby – HubSpot

Everything you need to know before scaling your SEO internationally

Samantha Noble – Biddable Moments

Put your money where your data is

Sarah Barker – Stickyeyes

One Search – Combining your organic and paid strategies for greater effect

Britney Muller – Moz

Machine learning for SEOs

Stephen Kenwright – Rise at seven

Content marketing frameworks that will get you paid more

Shyam Dattani

Search, the easy way: The content sales-person analogy explained

Barry Adams – Polemic Digital

JavaScript is ruining the web (and I love it)

Sam Marsden – DeepCrawl

Overcoming Technical SEO challenges for enterprise sites

Alexandre Sigoigne – Myposeo

Build SEO content strategy based on SERP and competitive analysis

Luke Monaghan – Fetch

Site Speed: Time to meet the mobile expectation

Laura Bartlett – House of Coco Magazine

Why social media is more than just the numbers

Sophie Coley – answerthepublic.com

Search Listening: Why and how you should be using Google data way beyond traditional keyword research

Will Hobson – Edit

Why social media should be part of your search strategy

Shannon McGuirk – Aira

Making headlines: Which newspapers are most likely to publish your content (with links!)?

Beth Nunnington – Journey Further

PR that drives performance

Jill Quick – The Coloring in Department

UX and marketing: A tinder match made in heaven

Andy Duke – Stickyeyes

Rise of the Robots: How well can machines measure UX?

Angus Hamilton – Search Laboratory

Leveraging your first-party data for successful cross-channel marketing campaigns​

Nichola Stott – Erudite

The state of PWAs

Emily Potter, Distilled

Featured Snippets – the achievable SERP feature

Rory Truesdale – WeWork / Conductor

Intent optimisation: Why it matters & how it can improve your SEO results

Jon Greenhalgh – Edit

AI in Paid Media and strategies you can use tomorrow

Puneet Vaghela & Sal Mohammed – Adzooma

Research and execution: Marketing’s most important relationship

Tanesha Stafford – Armchair Marketing

Land Grab: How to win business from your competitors with Google PPC

Hannah Perry – Manchester Airports Group

The multi-million pound keyword

Owen Gill – Pendragon

Who should bring PPC in house and who shouldn’t

Luke Carthy – Mayflex

Killer CRO tips with a SEO web crawler

Rob Smith – DQ&A

Demystifying in-housing for advertisers and agencies

Fabrizio Ballarini – TransferWise

Building, hacking and killing a bespoke CMS

Lukasz Zelezny

The butterfly effect in SEO

Polly Pospelova – Delete

How to hack rankings with page speed optimisation

Matt Holmes – Thomas Cook Airlines

How to run a great request for proposal (RFP) process