28 Jun Five great talks at Search Leeds
– 28th June 2019 –
This year’s Search Leeds conference didn’t disappoint. All the talks I went to were great, and reflected the continuing journey of SEO from being an opaque technical skill, as it was often seen in the early 2000’s, to the business-critical discipline that it is today.
Here are my notes from the five talks that I found most useful:
Why most SEO audits are shit
The speaker, Bastain Grimm, is an experienced SEO who went directly from the conference to the EU Search Awards where he won ‘Search Personality of the year’. Over the years we’ve put a lot of work into the style and readability of our SEO audits and continue to do so. Several of the points he made resonated with me:
- Include an executive summary – a snapshot of why you’re doing this audit, what you’ve found and what you recommend
- Put detailed technical findings into an appendix
- Report on causes, as well as symptoms
- Ensure your recommendations are actionable, prioritised and include an estimate of impact
The business value of SEO
- Becoming customer obsessed
- Reporting on business impact metrics
- Making friends with your Development team
Key points for me were around how we can further develop the relationship between our SEO team and our clients’ / partners’ tech developers. When did an SEO last take a developer out for a beer? Do they know:
- If devs work to sprints, or how their workflow works?
- What comms platforms they work on?
Personalisation in a search journey
Gary Arnold, Strategic Consulting Director at Edit, (the agency behind Search Leeds). A possibly confusing title to this talk, Gary discussed the need for employees in an agency to have multiple skills.
Partly it’s the responsibility of agency owners to keep their staff motivated, happy and fulfilled (and with better career prospects), partly to give your agency the edge, and partly because in 5-10 years’ time a good deal of SEO work will be done by machines. SEOs need wider skills to maintain their employability.
He used the ‘comb-shaped skills’ analogy: what process understanding do your people need – the base of the comb, and what technical skills do they need – the multiple teeth of the comb.
Put your money where your data is
She talked about the wonders of Google Data Studio (‘GDS’) and came up with some great ideas I’d not thought about:
- Supermetrics is a clever tool that allows you to pull data into GDS from multiple sources. We use it a lot at upriseUP, but I’d not personally thought about using it to pull in data from Google My Business to report on local SEO performance.
- Supermetrics also enables you to report on site speed (from Google Analytics) and shows you which section or pages of the site is slowing it down. Whilst GA is never in my experience that accurate at reporting site speed, it’s the relative reporting here that is so useful
- Embed a URL into GDS so you can see the page you’re reporting on
- Mailchimp (or other email marketing tool) integration – showing how your email campaigns are performing, without having to login to anything other than GDS
- Google Ads auction insights: reporting on campaign performance, and interestingly, which other organisations the campaign is competing with
- Deals with conversion windows for Facebook ads & Google Ads. The problem, in summary, is that advertising platforms in general will take the credit for a website conversion using last click attribution. For example, imagine if someone first sees your website on Google. They visit your site and follow you on Facebook. After a few weeks they go back to your site from Facebook and make a purchase. Very often a performance report will attribute that sale to Facebook, when in fact it should be attributed to Google. Samantha explained that Data Studio deals with this ‘attribution’ issue. This is one I need to investigate further!
One Search – Combining your organic and paid strategies for greater effect
- Using PPC to do keyword research, and test SEO title-tags and meta-descriptions.
- Using a different mix of SEO & PPC according to:
- where a buyer is in the sales funnel – see slide 14
- …and what kind of keyword / intent there is – see slide 21
- The classic sales funnel isn’t really a funnel any more – see slide 6 for how Stickyeyes visualises it