SAScon 2014 – the Fifth Search Analytics Social Conference in Manchester (Day 2 Recap)

The second day of the SASCon starts on time, even though the number of attendees has shrunk a bit after the last night social. With smart phones ready for tweeting and pens scribbling random notes the audience welcomes the first keynote speaker for the day:

SASCon 2014 Cindy

Photo credits: Don’t Panic Events

Keynote – Mobile, Big Data & The Could

Cindy Krum, MobileMoxie

Just like the previous keynote speakers Cindy agrees that soon (in 2020) mobile will “eclipse” desktop judging by the current trend that the average person usually has 2 or more mobile devices (e.g. phones, tablets) at his disposal.

She stresses out how important it is to gather, preserve and analyze data in order to maintain a competitive business and to develop a winning marketing strategy in the long run.  Thus cloud storing, she predicts, will actually be the preferred data preservation technique in the future and would serve countless applications. As an example she points out Hadoop which is open-source software framework for data storage and processing used by Google, Yahoo and Ebay.

The talk takes an unexpected turn when some of the session attendees start questioning the morale behind this massive data collection and usage of the unaware Internet users’ behavior and profiles. They share their concerns as to whether such future would be for the good or bad of mankind. Cindy quickly notes that there is no time for future speculations because the data collecting, processing and employment mechanisms are working at this very moment, i.e. the future is now.

SASCon 2014 Judith Lewis

 Photo credits: Don’t Panic Events

Bloggers vs PR vs SEOs

By Judith Lewis

This session was by far among the most engaging and valuable talk on content strategy at the conference. Judith was willing to discuss in details much of her experience and ideas with the attendees, though she preferred that we don’t reveal in public the tricks and tips that she shared with us. In order to respect her request and yet to satisfy a bit your curiosity, we are to mention the key concepts that she pointed out:

As seasoned blogger Judith found it easy to explain the standard blogger’s mindset to the present marketers:

  • Be honest of your intent.
  • Never ask for/mention links.
  • Approach a blogger because of his writing skills and expertise, not for the links he could publish to your website.
  • Be respectful and attentive to the blogger’s needs and feelings because the blogging community is really supportive of its members. If once you have mistreated or offended a fellow blogger, the chances are you (and God forbid your business) will get the long awaited public online exposure, but in a negative light.
  • Keeping personal contact with bloggers is important for straightening your relationships.

SASCon 2014 It's not all about Google

Photo credits: Don’t Panic Events

It’s Not All About Google

Barry Adams, Polemic Digital

Nichola Stott, The MediaFlow

Irish Wonder

This panel was quite refreshing and argued against many of the latest Google practices. The discussion attracted much attention and managed to stir up the spirits just before lunch.

Barry Adams questioned Google’s intentions of imposing all the guidelines and requirements related to website management. He admitted that webmaster optimizations like nofollowing links, creating xml sitemaps, disavowing links, adding structured data have nothing to do with user experience and have no impact on usability as Google originally claims.

He also commented on the “stealing tactic” that Google has adopted when extracting content from business websites and then posting it directly into its SERPs (Search Result Pages). A perfect example would be the scraped website data that Google posts in the Knowledge Graph. Many would argue that Google is stealing website traffic via that approach, while Barry goes one step further and brings up a pretty visual metaphor to characterize Google’s behavior – the Toxoplasma Gondi parasite.

Barry’s presentation catches the attention of the audience and even if it has a humorous note, the message resonates long after he is done speaking: ”Rather than Google adapting to the way the web is evolving, the web is evolving the way Google wants.”

Nichola Stott further talked about the search engines’ tendency to “directly reply” to all questions their users may have. She mentioned Yandex Islands  – a new feature that offers purchasing a product (airplane ticked) from the SERPS. As Yandex say “What we suggest to web developers and publishers is nothing but conversion improvement via interactive snippets”. However, is that good news to the website owners as well as the search engine users … now that would be a rather controversial question.

Nichola also shared how fascinating the Wolfarma Alpha widgets were and especially mentioned their Facebook analytics.

The final talk of this session was held by Julia Logan a.k.a. the IrishWonder. Her presentation was a ground-breaking for a room full of “whitehat”-sworn online marketers, who are admiring and fearing Google.

She shared study results according to which the number 1 online activity in USA is social networking. As Julia rhetorically asked whether social networks were not actually “a Google Killer” she advised to concentrate one’s advertisement efforts on Facebook (currently the strongest social network) given that it offers higher flexibility and conversions.  As she concluded: “Facebook users are more likely to buy from brands they’ve been previously engaged with”.

Julia was not shy to admit that Google is powerless before the scalable and rankings promising blackhat techniques. However, she also comments that in case you build up a strong referral system (social network resources including) – no organic traffic is actually needed.

SASCon 2014 Local&Mobile

 Photo credits: Don’t Panic Events

Local &Mobile  – a match made in Heaven?

Gilli Goodman, Google

Dan Sodergren, JustTaxi

Matt Hunt, Apadmi

Gillie Goodman gave away some interesting stats about the constant rise of the mobile search:

  • People spend on average 15 hours per week on conducting mobile research.
  • 69% of the mobile searches are conducted within a 5 miles radius of the given venue.
  • 77% of the mobile searches are conducted within a PC reach; 68% of those are done at home, 9% at work and 17% on the go.
  • 55% of the mobile searches are done within an hour of making the actual purchase and 83% – within an day of making the actual purchase.
  • Having conducted the search on a mobile 17% of people purchased the product/service on mobile, while 82% made an in-store purchase.

Gillie admitted that by 16 September this year Google would be expecting that the mobile searches would overtake the desktop searches for most categories.

Then the statistical data gave way to a more creative presentation – Dan shared a lot of intriguing local marketing strategies. He pointed out the importance of local based radio. He mentioned the positives of ensuing more convenient shopping experience via searchable store maps, created by companies like aisle411. Traffic and navigation apps like waze are another good source of data which combined with weather info, could be put into good use for advertizing and marketing of specific products/services.

Overall the presentation was quite energetic and full of interesting out-of-the box ideas worth trying out.

The closing lines were left to Matt, who added that Ibeacons and their push notifications patented by Apple are the future of highly targeted local advertising.

SASCon PR are we just seo bitches

PR are we just SEO Bitches?

Andy Barr, 10 Yetis

Dave Naylor, Bronco

This final panel examined how PR and SEO actually coexist in the today’s online marketing environment. Dave, an SEO specialist, and Andy, a true PR strategist, complete each other’s strengths and shape up the perfect team that holds the technical and the creative aspect together.

As Dave explained, he is more concerned with the technical SEO aspect of optimizing the online visibility of a given business. However, without utilizing the valuable symbiosis of SEO and PR one could hardly enjoy worldwide results.

How it works? Here is a simple example: if Andy goes over the competitors’ links he is able to assess which ones are valuable for his client. However it seems to him absolutely impossible to convince the selected resources to eventually link to  his client. Here is what Andy’s actually really good at: convincing people and working with already established key relationships. He can easily obtain the needed links without much of an effort.

However in their opinion people specializing in SEO cannot substitute those mastering in PR and vice versa. The set of skills required for the two career paths are quite different and so are the qualities that a given specialist should possess.

Dave shared an essential tip worth remembering: “not all people who write for a given media are in fact journalists. Most of them are just writers, who can easily be convinced to cover a story and work for you.”