Wednesday, 13 November 2013

My Takeaways from SearchLove Conference Oct'13

Last year, one of my professional goals was to attend a conference, preferably a Search or Marketing conference but back then I wasn't so particular. Now, I'm proud to say I've done just that! A couple of weeks ago I attended SearchLove run by Distilled and I enjoyed it, despite a number of hurdles I had to jump to get through it! Can I also say I also attended a Mummy conference last month and blogged about it on my mummy blog...

SearchLove is a Digital Marketing Conference which focuses primarily on SEO with some other aspects of Digital Marketing and Web development included. It takes place in a number of countries every years and this year a number of my colleagues  and I were sponsored by the company to attend the 2 day conference in London.

Sadly, most of us missed Day 1 due to adverse weather which left us stranded in a town called Rugby for about 5 hours, so what should have been a 3 hour trip to London turned into 10 hours! It was a longggg day but we made it into our hotel around 5pm and were just too exhausted to do anything else (except food and drinks of course).

We made it for Day 2 which had about 8 speakers and some of the take away for me were -

  • Telling Stories - I liked the way the speaker connected stories to websites and business in general. When you've advertising on say the TV, there's usually a story around the ad, it should be the same principle when someone lands on your website, what is your story? How does your your website. engage people? And whatever you do, don't lie!
  • Culturability (Culture and Usablility) - I never really thought much about Web Psychology but really this made me think! When you're building websites do you take into consideration the culture you're building it for? Cultures interact and convert differently and you really should consider this when building websites. Some cultures are more direct and bold than others, some cultures are okay with pop-ups while others hate unexpected information. Bottomline, know your target audience and do your research.
    • Something else I really liked which she mentioned was the difference between Persuasion & Manipulation - it's all about intent. Persuasion = Good intentions and Manipulative = Bad intentions.
  • Graph Theory - Now, as much as I'm a graduate of Maths and I kinda get graph theory I'm afraid I got a little lost here. The speaker talked a lot about Graph search, how Facebook is sort of doing this already and this is where Google is going, what with knowledge graph and providing answers, not just pages.
  • Mobile Friendly Website - this should really be a no brainer but so many websites aren't really making such sites. It's one of those easier said than done things. However, with more and more searches being carried out on mobile devices, every company needs to get on top of this! 
  • Persuasive Web design - more and more websites are coming up with cleaner and great website design. This speaker was a major advocate for clean and simple designs, in fact, stats show that 94% agreed the design is post most important in terms of first impressions when they land on a site (I totally agree too!). He also talked about one call to action per screen but keep the attention of the user, use bold colours/banners only when relevant and needed. Also, STOP using generic contact us lady photos (Lord, I hate those pictures! It reminds me of this article I read)
  • Future of Search - Now this speaker went on a lot about Hawksmoor Steakhouse and it made me hungry! But I got the message - if you're not interested in creating/selling a great product then why are you in the business really? It's basically like a sales man who doesn't believe in his product, he can't really sell it can he? He came up with loads of ideas and things you could do as a small business which would help your business, not just from a search perspective but across the board. 
Overall, it was a great conference because I learnt loads of interesting things and I had takeaways from most of the speaks. Were all the speaks relevant to me? I'm not so sure but its interesting to listen to someone not go on and on about SEO, so I think it was a nice break having different speakers from different parts of Marketing and IT.

I initially planned on writing about SEO conferences in general, I honestly didn't think I came away with this much information and ideas from the conference, but it just goes to show that when you write stuff down you remember more!

What about you, did you attend SearchLove or any other conference? What do you think about them generally? Please share your thoughts and questions below or send me an email!

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