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A Snapshot of SES London 2013 – Day Two


Hi guys, Matt here reporting on SES London 2013. Day two featured an eclectic range of talks, taking in content-driven SEO, PPC and remarketing. Some of them rocked while others weren’t really up to much.

SES didn’t blow my mind as much as SearchLove last year, but maybe that’s because SearchLove was my first time. You always remember your first time. Despite the occasional unfortunate  bit of sexism (how is asking Sam Noble when she changed her hairstyle an SEO question?) it was a pretty good event. Here are my thoughts on some of the presentations, with the main takeaways from each.

If you’re looking for SES Day One, our very own Sachinda Jayatilleke gives you the lowdown here.

Remarketing/retargeting done right… and wrong

Guy Levine


Guy’s presentation was insightful and entertaining, containing actionable (and occasionally policy-breaching) tips from the trenches, along with the revelation that he was ‘bi-search’. The emphasis was on how to use Adwords remarketing more effectively on an audience that’s getting increasingly ad-weary.


Be creative with your calls to action

Rather than just showing your viewers ads to ‘buy now’, why not be more creative with your creative? Display ads to people who have already made a purchase asking them to like your Facebook page or to leave a review of your product, for example.

Treat remarketing less like search and more like email marketing

If you run a site like Groupon with different daily deals, serve up a different image ad each day of the week. These timely communications will grab your viewers’ attention much more than seeing one ad 20 times.

Use Google Analytics to create segmented remarketing lists

Now that Analytics is integrated with Adwords remarketing, you can easily create segmented lists and serve different ads to different types of user. For example, you could create a list for people who have spent over 5 minutes looking at a certain piece of content and another to people who have made a purchase with a basket value over £50.

Content-driven SEO on a shoestring

Catherine Toole


Another awesome talk was by Catherine Toole, who began by talking about how the content bar was now set even higher than ever (Red Bull sending someone into space, Ocado’s in-house magazine being so good that brands take out advertising space in  it). She managed to offer up some refreshingly new tips, as an ex-journalist, on a subject that can often feel a bit old hat in SEO.

Why you?

Are you an expert on your chosen subject? If not then you shouldn’t be writing about it! Stick to what you know and what you’re an authority on. If you need to produce more than one piece, ‘chop up’ your existing content differently for different audiences. This is what MailChimp did with their beautiful guides to email marketing. They’ve essentially re-skinned the same information to make it suitable for different demographics (e.g. musicians, IT professionals and bloggers).

Listen to your audience for hidden angles

The best ideas are not to be found by doing keyword research but by listening to what your customers are saying on social media and in product reviews. By doing this, Hasbro discovered that what people really loved about Monopoly were the playing pieces. This enabled them to develop a campaign around the idea of ‘why is there a dog but no cat?’ which generated tons of excellent exposure from big media outlets.

Simon Penson


Simon Penson tackled content-driven SEO from a different point of view, focussing on how we can guarantee ROI and make content creation more scalable. His solution was to break it down into processes and assign them to the right-brained and left-brained members of the team (i.e. those who deliver amazing ideas and those who are more logical and typically ‘SEO’).

Simon’s suggestion to be a ‘long-term persona’ (i.e. be a fake person) didn’t go down too well. If your actual persona is that far removed from what you’re writing about, should you really be writing about it in the first place?

The best writers aren’t always best at outreach

Delegate the production and promotion of content to different members of the team. Right-brainers may be able to write the best content but left-brainers might be best at looking at the data and coming up with an outreach approach that converts well.

Sponsor a Facebook post

If you have created some brilliant content and are planning to share it on Facebook, consider pushing it out as a sponsored post. It won’t cost much, you can choose your target audience and it will be seen by a lot of new faces.

Create an ebb and flow of content

If your blog only contains big competitions, it’ll sound like you’re shouting. If it only contains top five lists, it’ll seem flat and boring. Publish a range of different types of content to keep things fresh, interesting and dynamic.

Find the site’s most shared piece of content

Use Social Crawlytics to identify the most shared piece of content on a site and pitch a similar angle to them. If it was successful once then it should be again, and they’ll appreciate that you’re trying to help make them more popular.

That’s all on day two, folks. Check out Josie Sampson’s post on SES Day Three



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