March 20, 2012 - Comments Off on SearchABLE1 Cross Keys, Leeds

SearchABLE1 Cross Keys, Leeds

Last night saw the beginning of an event aimed at those in the Leeds area who are in the ‘search’ industry and looking to gain from the wealth of information that is the Leeds digital scene. The event had sold out on EventBrite well in advance, so we were all looking forward to the event with much anticipation.

The venue for the evening was the Cross Keys pub, on Water Lane, in Leeds, which was ideal with the upstairs space available, projector and, of course, a fully stocked bar.

Introducing the event was Si Wilson, synonymous with all things digital in Leeds, a face many know from the Leeds Digital Festival, so we knew this was a great start.

First up was Matt Kerridge, Search Manager at Bloom, who started proceedings with an excellent presentation on Managing multiple SEO campaigns. This was an excellent place to begin, as the room filling up with people from all levels of search, whether that be in-house or agency side, therefore gaining insight into planning, tasks, communication and the tools of the trade really gave everyone a foundation and hopefully some great tips to be taking away from the event. We all manage our time and campaigns in different ways, so Matt’s insight was invaluable for those who either wanted some reassurance they were working the most efficient way, or were after a few pointers to get them started. To finish off Matt even provided the group with a ‘Top Tip’, which was of course the need for everyone to have their own – SEO Monkey!


Next up we had Kirsty Hulse, SEO Consultant & Content Manager at Blueclaw, who presented on Google’s Venice update. For those that didn’t know, this is Google’s new algorithm being tested on certain search queries where local results are given preference, based on location. The general consensus was that this update is very unstable, as Google is almost picking and choosing which verticals are affected by local results. As well as the Venice update, a discussion was had on backlink anchor text and how Google seem to be devaluing sites which are heavily optimising backlink anchor text for certain terms. This is now being seen as almost a spam technique, in Google’s eyes, and the term ‘over optimising’ was discussed, which was interesting and something we are sure to see effect sites more and more.

After a quick refreshment break to top up our beers, we had Jono Alderson, SEO & Data Insight Manager at twentysix, presenting something a little different, which was the history and current state of Semantic mark-up. On a personal note, this was really interesting, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the room felt the same. Jono started with a brief history of HTML, semantic web and how the web has changed from code Vs. presentation (website design), to today, where the two are working together. The current state of semantic mark-up is that is the way forward in term of unifying the process, as in the past there have been different mark-ups for different programs. As well as Schema, Jono touched on Open Graph Protocol which is aimed at Facebook, with the conclusion taken that webmasters should mark-up content for search and the social graph, covering all bases, but being mindful that this is always evolving.

Jono has kindly uploaded his presentation for reference.


The night was going really well, and up next was, Stu Owens, Head of Search at Bloom, talking about what makes a perfect SEO person. Stu started off with asking how we had all get into SEO. As Stu had expected, most of the group had ‘fell into SEO’, almost by accident, but we were all agreed on the fact we love what we do. The presentation took us through 5 key personas Stu felt is required to become a ‘perfect SEOer’, which included being a geek, a Del Boy, the competitor, the creative and the business brain. This was interesting as the whole room was nodding in agreement with each one of these categories, all of us thinking (hoping) we had at least some aspect of all of those personas Stu had covered, within us. So the formula is:

Geek + Del Boy + Competitor + Creative + Business Brain = Perfect SEO person

This was a really interesting presentation that made all of us look at ourselves and do a bit of self-evaluation.

Finally, we had Gaz Battersby, Creative Director from Epiphany who took the topic ofworking design and SEO together. This was again interesting, as it was different from the previous presenters as Gaz described his journey into SEO through working in design and his early life at Sense. Gaz spoke about infographics and how he loves designing with awesome ideas that people engage with and share, which is how search and SEO is evolving. Gaz finished off by summarising that initially he though SEO was simple and nothing he ever wanted to get directly involved with, but has “learned to love SEO through design”, which I thought was a great way to end the evening.

The night gained great feedback from the hashtag for the evening, #searchABLE1, therefore I am sure we will be seeing a searchABLE 2 in the not so distant future.

Thanks for all who came, presented and made the evening what it was.