ionSearch Day One

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The second annual ionSearch conference was held in Leeds last week, attracting the great and the good from the search industry.

The citys Millennium Squares Carriageworks provided the setting for the two-day event, which also saw Search Laboratory CEO Ian Harris present on multilingual SEO.

Here is a summary of the highlight talks on day one.

Exploring the Differences Between Web & Marketing AnalyticsAndrew Dumont, SEOMoz

The responsibility of getting the ionSearch ball rolling fell to SEOMozs Head of Business Development Andrew Dumont, who eased us delegates – by that time already pumped full of complimentary caffeine and croissants – into the first morning with his presentation on marketing analytics.

Amid several lamentations of Google Analytics tendency to show data as Not Provided, Andrew stressed the importance of businesses tracking wider marketing analytics, rather than simply web analytics.

He added that it was critical companies "start to look beyond the traditional metrics that were all used to," and that marketing was a continuous process. His three main takeaways were: measure, learn, and evolve.

Andrew advised marketeers to think broader and to avoid a set-it-and-forget-it strategy, with a lack of team communications cited as one of the major pitfalls to be avoided.

Rapid-Fire Content Marketing – Ross Hudgens, Siege Media

ionSearch may be a Leeds-based conference with a Northern heartbeat, but you would have been forgiven for thinking you were in the land of the US of A on Thursday morning as Ross Hudgens (pictured), founder of Los Angeles agency Siege Media took to the stage, making it two American speakers in as many sessions.

Content marketing, according to Ross, requires repetition and consistency, and by nature is labour intensive. Ross believes a lot of companies are not taking full advantage of their content potential, while many are missing out on social media traffic by not SEOing their Twitter profiles.

Image courtesy of Chris Taylor.

Whats Next For Search – Marcus Tandler, Tandler.Doerjie

When Marcus Tandler quipped that he had 477 slides to get through in just 45 minutes most delegates in the theatre merely laughed it off as a hyperbolic joke – however he was being deadly serious. For those in attendance it was a whirlwind ride through Marcus predictions for the future of search, with the transition from slide to slide so fast that it often looked as if a video was playing rather than Windows Power Point.

Marcus, whose Munich search company was recently awarded the title of German start-up of the year, looked at the future of Google and what Google+ means for the industry. He believes that traffic will take on an increasingly prominent role in search rankings in the future.

Regarding those SEOs who try and outthink Google and subsequently get burned by updates Marcus called upon the knowledge of well-known philosopher and sometimes boxer Mike Tyson, who said: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

Big Brand SEO, Expert Panel

A panel of four SEOs from both agencies and large brands discussed how SEO works for larger, more high-profile businesses.

Andrew Girdwood from LBi talked about the integration of SEO with major brands other advertising campaigns. TV campaigns, he said, don't cause people to search – even if they are prompted to do so. Citing first-hand experience of working on four campaigns where this has failed to instigate a considerable increase in search Andrew explained that it is much better to advertise a suggested hash-tag rather than a search term.

Other takeaways from the session included how big brands can take advantage of their existing domain authority and cross link to newly-launched product pages to rank very quickly for new search terms, and that offline PR without links is important to get people to search the mentioned terms.

Multilingual SEO, Expert Panel

Search Laboratory CEO Ian Harris spoke on the multilingual SEO expert panel. The main takeaways from the panel were:

  • Understand you dont understand the culture
  • Dont make business decisions based on results from Googles Global Market Finder
  • Dont translate your keywords
  • Use multilingual linguists to manage international campaigns
  • Localisation of campaigns is crucial

For more information on multilingual search check out our whitepaper Web Magnetism: Attracting Global Trade Online.

Why I'm Quitting SEO – Martin MacDonald, Expedia

After nearly eight hours of presentations and panels on SEO you may think a talk about quitting the industry is a strange way to round out day one of ionSearch – however as is the case with the majority of blogs and presentations bearing such an attention-demanding title, there was a twist involved.

Rather than quitting the industry Martin MacDonalds talk centred on his abandonment of the term SEO. He argued due to the spammy past (although, it was quite clear from several points and questions raised throughout the two days that many SEOs are yet to take off their black hats) that SEO is a term permanently sullied and therefore an alternative industry title needs to be found.

Martin – who on several occasions vociferously admitted he had previously been a practitioner of the black hat art-form – discussed the title Inbound Marketer as a replacement. Delivered with admirable energy for the last slot of the day Martins presentation raised several interesting points about how SEOs now need to be more than just that – they need to think of themselves as digital marketers.

He maintains that SEOs are the superheroes of the internet as they above anyone else understand how it works and thats why its imperative they move away from their spammy history and towards being the Chief Marketing Officers of the future, with incredible content the vehicle for such a transition.


Check the blog tomorrow for the highlights from day two of Ion Search