Samantha Noble

Day 2 of #SAScon 2012 – My Write Up

18th May 2012 News, Events 17 minutes to read

It is the end of day 2 of SAScon and there were some fantastic sessions today. Since I got the speaking bit out of the way yesterday, I wanted to spend today taking notes, blogging and sharing some of the great tips, stats and action points that come out of the sessions.

In this blog post you will find notes from the following sessions

  • Keynote – Twitter
  • How Social Media and the Internet is changing the media
  • Link building
  • Location – Adding it to the marketing mix
  • The psychology in search and social
  • Understanding the role of social in search

Let’s get started….

Keynote  – Twitter


It was a fantastic start to the day with Bruce Daisley, who talked a lot about keeping your marketing simple and easy to action and ensuring that you are truly committed to mobile. Some of the key actions and statistics that I took away from this session:

Interstices – “filling the gaps between things”

  1. Be truly mobile, make it simple and make it easy to action
  2. Angry Birds hit a billion downloads
  3. Twitter started off on mobile, the 140 characters is directly relevant to the 160 characters in a text
  4. 80% of the UK Twitter users also use Twitter on their mobile phone
  5. 140,000,000 active users worldwide, 10,000,000 in the UK
  6. The average email takes 2 days to be opened, the average text message takes 4 minutes
  7. Twitter took the approach to keep the platform looking the same when showing adverts. Tweets containing a paid advertisement appear in your Twitter stream in exactly the same way as other tweets, but it simply says ‘promoted tweet’
  8. The average person looks at their phone over 150 times in a day
  9. Twitter uses the sentiment and content of your tweets to target advertising to you
  10. If advertising with Twitter, you only pay on engagement (Re-tweet, read, click through, share)
  11. 25% of the people that saw the Cadbury’s WispaGold Twitter advert re-tweeted it
  12. Broadcasters are using #tags to measure the sentiment of their shows. Previously programmes would say it would take up to two weeks to see how popular the show was but with Twitter #tags they can monitor instantly what people think.
  13. When a programme trends on Twitter, the ratings for that show increases and more people watch
  14. All articles in Heat magazine end with the journalists @ Twitter handle
  15. Shops and restaurants are using Twitter in store to get customers to Tweet before they shop/eat to receive a tweet
  16. 40% of the people who use Twitter don’t actually tweet, they just use it for the personalised news feed

The slides from this session can be downloaded here –

How Social Media is Changing the Internet


This was a panel which was led by Martin Bryant with three panellists from the journalism industry. I have summarised the answers from some of the questions asked around how social media is changing the internet and their day to day jobs.

1)    How has social media and the internet effected your job?


  • The ease of access to technology has changed everything beyond belief, what you can get done and how you can contact people is so much easier than it was when Sarah started in the industry


  • It hasn’t really changed much for James as he started career in 2006, so he is completely experienced in using social media in his day to day job
  • Traditional print has reduced and more time and money is being invested online


  • When Gordon started in the business, he was using a typewriter so the internet and social media has really changed things

2)    Should employees be using a personal and/or business Twitter account to push and promote content and network in the various industries?


  • At The Drum they ask the team to use the company Twitter account rather than their personal accounts when sharing any news
  • They have someone in the team dedicated to monitoring and managing The Drum Twitter account


  • Social media and digital adds a lot of latency to his business
  • He believes that you should encourage having both personal and business accounts as you have a much higher audience reach


  • Her Twitter account is her personal space and doesn’t reflect her employer within it as it showcases her own views
  • None of her employers have ever asked her to include their business name in her Twitter profile

3)    There has been a lot of mentions in the news recently about Linkedin profiles being taken from employees when they leave a business organisation. What are your views on this?


  • Companies taking individuals personal Linkedin accounts if they leave is not something that should be done


  • An employer doesn’t have a right over all the personal social media profiles and there needs to be a clear line between this


  • Businesses don’t and shouldn’t have a lot of control over personal social media profiles

4)    ‘Social Media is Killing Journalism’ is a popular phrase at the moment. How is it affecting your industries at the moment?


  • Print revenues have been declining and will continue to decline but there is still a huge place for big brand authority
  • Social media does kill certain aspects of journalism such as latency but for choices based on authority, it helps
  • Desktop hasn’t made a great deal of money for publishers but tablet and mobile is interesting as you pay for subscriptions so there is more revenue there


  • Businesses need to be aware of social media and use it to benefit them and their business models


  • It isn’t journalism that is under attack but the question that should be asked is whether business models that are dedicated to journalism are prepared for a switch over to social media
  • In the news journalism area, social media helps to uncover more stories and they use this in their day to day jobs

5)    It is Facebook IPO day and people have their eye on what is going to happen with the business. Where do you see people like Facebook and Twitter fitting into the media landscape, what is their role?


  • Twitter is a lot more useful to The Drum as they can see what people are talking about and interact with that


  • Both platforms have incredible crossover with brands and they need to be engaging on those platforms to get more customers engaged with their brands
  • Monetising social media is the key and understanding how to get the revenue
  • Big opportunities to make money and build a good audience


  • It is less obvious how Twitter will become a media entity, but it will be very interesting to see what happens with the Facebook IPO later today

Link Building


This was a very interesting session with a couple of questions from Peter Young, but then the questions were pushed out to the audience. Here are a few of the questions that were asked and some takeaways from each of the panel members.

1)    How has link building changed in the current landscape?


  • It depends on the application of it, but right now Martin thinks that as an industry we have been far too reactionary over the past couple of months and need to take a step back and look before changing things to quickly
  • If you are removing your links, you can do this naturally. 30% of the web disappears every 30 days so you can remove links, but stagger it.


  • You still need volume to compete but getting that volume and how you go about it has become a lot harder over the past couple of weeks
  • Algorithm updates are going to continue so to keep scaling you really need to know and understand your link profiles and what is going on


  • In the past people would build links using methods like paid links but moving forwards we need to be scaling that outreach to get the links you need
  • David recommends that we need to be building relationships and engaging with people and websites to build links


  • The best link builders have always had great process and control but moving forwards there needs to be an evolution of that process
  • If you are able to plant a link somewhere, are you able to take it off should you ever need to? This is a question we should all be asking ourselves.

2)    Paying for links as a means is coming to an end, what do you guys think?


  • This depends what the definition of a paid link is. No matter how you get a link you are paying for it in some way, whether it is through dev time or outreach time so it does depend on how you would define a paid link
  • Go through citations and make sure that you reach out and try to turn them into links
  • When you are doing your outreach, find the sites that you want a link from and reach out to them. Find out what content they are looking for and supply it.


  • Saying ‘paid links’ is very vague, buying links from brokers is definitely not the way to go


  • There is a huge difference between buying links on blog rolls and placing content on an article based site


  • Wouldn’t be worried about the person buying the link, it is more about the link seller website as Google are building a very large list of all the sites that currently sell links and they will be the ones that get hit hard

3)    Is it possible that the SEO industry got into all of this noise, where by we missed a trick and should be doing what we should be doing rather than gaming the system?


  • If a website has got good content and positive user experience then they have been doing SEO. SEO and link building should be baked into everything that you do but it should be done naturally.


  • Creating quality content has always been David’s focus and you need to keep on top of the changing strategies and be prepared for it
  • This algorithm has always been on the cards and it has only been a matter of time before Google try and clean up the SERPs

4)    Where does the anchor text link blend sit with you and how do we need to adapt?


  • Continue creating that good content but don’t always including a link. Let the citation of the brand name help to give you that push


  • You need to have the variation of brand vs. non brand
  • If we have spoken to clients in the past about how you build links, you need to have another conversion to explain to them that the link building strategies are changing. This makes you transparent and you can work together as an agency/client partnership to move forward in the right direction


  • When dropping links, the anchor text should always start with the brand and build up your links on that basis
  • Look at the top ten results and see the blend of anchor text that all the sites have to get a good understanding of the split that you need to compete
  • This goes right back to the sales process. Your sales teams need to be explaining to new clients that link building methods have changed

Location – Fitting it into the Marketing Mix


This session was moderated by Dom Hodgson and all the content was geared around what businesses should be doing to capitalise on location based searches. There were some really good takeaways from each presentation that all businesses with a physical location should be paying attention to.

First up was Chris Johnson from Google UK and he looked at how mobile relates to local. Some points and stats that are really interesting:

  1. 1 in 3 mobile searches has some location intention (maps query or location modifier)
  2. Use Google Analytics to see how your keywords perform differently on mobile, tablets and desktops
  3. 84% of mobile web users use mobile search to look for retailer information (phone number, address, opening hours etc)
  4. Some tools within Google AdWords to help improve local PPC campaign
    1. Location Extensions (Location marker and expendable maps)
    2. Click to Call (5% – 30% CTR increase)
    3. Site Links (More options, more conversions)
  5. 88% of location information seekers on mobile devices take action within a day
  6. Google Wallet is launching – you can store all your credit/debit card information on your phone as well as storing special offers that you have come across. When you go to pay using Google Wallet it will know about the offers and discount them from your purchase

What does location based search look like? This is the subject that Teddie Cowell from NetBooster covered. Some key points to review and consider from this talk include:

  1. Location biasing is the only personalisation filter that you are unable to disable
  2. A large proportion of the updates that Google make each month are related to local search
  3. Use keyword research to work out what types of location based queries and locations are most important to you. Enter your brand term and see what people are actually searching for.
  4. With the new Knowledge Graphs we can expect to see more information about location based searches appearing (opening times etc)
  5. Most US Smartphone and Tablet owners use their devices for shopping related services
  6. Google now change your paid search site link to show the location you are actually based in and push you through to the relevant page on the site. This is a recent update but something that seems to be happening more.
  7. The new Knowledge Graphs will be showing more information about stores within the results meaning that not all searches will need to go through to the main site to find out what they want
  8. Google Places profiles open up the opportunity for smaller businesses as you can compete with larger brands too. Teddie used Florists as an example here as when you search for florists you more often than not see lots of smaller, local businesses rather than Interflora.

‘Google Business Photos’ was the key subject of Malcolm Maybury’s talk. Only around half the audience had heard about this feature. Some of the key features of ‘Google Business Photos’:

  1. Paid for photography service to get photos of the inside of your business that appear on your Google Places profile
  2. There are around 20 paid photographers at the moment available for this service
  3. A one off payment, no copyright, the photos belong to the owner who can use the photos as they please
  4. Full 360 virtual tours so you can move visually around the shop and have a very interactive experience before you arrive

“Local Search on mobile is not as big as you think….yet” says Laurence O’Toole from Analytics SEO.

20% of PC searches are related to location

  1. Local searches constitute 40% of all mobile searches
  2. Mobile users are multi-taskers and use their mobile phones whilst performing other tasks like watching TV, travelling or reading a book
  3. Surprisingly, half the local searches on mobiles are done using applications rather than searching directly from a browser
  4. Facebook is the most searched for term on a mobile and ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ is the longest
  5. 53% of users search for hotels by name so a lot of people know what hotel they want to find out information on
  6. The top 5 searches conducted on a mobile in August 2011 were Facebook, Google, Ebay, YouTube and Hotmail
  7. 1 in 5 people make a purchase after looking for local information either by visiting the store, calling the store or going to the website
  8. Build a mobile friendly site, especially if you are running paid search campaigns and sending traffic through to the site

The Psychology in Search and Social


This is a session that I was really looking forward to having heard some about some of the content from Bas earlier this week. Bas has been spending a lot of time recently trying to understand the psychology in search and social and here are some of the points that I took away from this session.

  1. You can change the Home page of your Google search browser to include whatever background image you want. Google made this change three years ago with personalisation in mind
  2. As people we are very open to trust, we like to listen to people, celebrities and companies who have authority. We also put a lot of trust in the people around us for example, if you visit Trip Advisor you can instantly see where your friends have been and places that they have reviewed.
  3. We as people want what everyone else has. If you haven’t watched The Joneses movie, you should do. This showcases this very well
  4. If children are happy, parents are happy. There is a grocery store in Holland that added a play area for kids at the entrance, when you go shopping the kids run over there and want to play which mean the parents can go off and do the shopping. Again, happy children = happy parents.
  5. 36% of young people check social media after having sex!! What a statistic!
  6. The 1st successful social media marketer was Jesus, he had ‘12 followers to begin with, one then un-followed him’
  7. Google have had a lot of failures when it comes to social media, the only one that had done ok up until now was Orkut. Then they launched Google+ which is all about Social and Search coming together.
  8. Every time that Eric Schmidt says something publicly, we should pay attention. All his previous quotes have actually come true.
  9. Through Google+, Google are going to be getting a lot of information about users. Even if you don’t have a Google+ account, Google can get information on you via Gmail. If you don’t have a Google+ or Gmail account, Google still know about you as at least one of your friends would have emailed you in the past from a Gmail account.
  10. Google use our connections and search patterns to influence our decisions and deliver us with personalised results
  11. Work on your social circle and let the circle work for you
  12. Search Engine Optimisation, Social Marketing and Social Media all need to be used together. They can’t be looked at as separate entities any longer

Understanding the Role of Social in Search


There has been a lot of talk this week about Pandas and Penguins and in this session Andy Betts was moderating Q&A with a great panel. Everyone is talking a lot about integrating search and social and here are some of the key points that came out of this panel.

  1. Link building isn’t going to die! It is reducing its effect, the types of links that used to work may not have as much impact as they would have before
  2. Social media isn’t going to replace link building any time soon
  3. Google used to be a really easy system to game but the social graph is not easy to manipulate
  4. Martin predicts that in 3 years’ time we won’t be having ‘link building’ panels any more, but we will be having ‘social outreach’ panels
  5. Install the Touch Graph app in Facebook to see some really interesting data
  6. The panel believes that in the future sponsored Tweets will be brought to improve search rankings
  7. It is more damaging for a brand to register and not use a social media profile than it is to not have one at all
  8. Engage with the people who are your customers, where they are already hanging out
  9. Not having Facebook data is the biggest mistake Google have ever made
  10. If Facebook decide to move into the search market, they could end up being a serious competitor for Google
  11. There is a retailer in Brazil using Facebook likes on its clothing hangers for social proof. This is a great post to read
  12. Integration with offline and online is going to become even more important
  13. Companies shouldn’t be using different agencies to manage their SEO and Social Media, the two should be brought together under one roof
  14. SEO should not be called SEO any more, it is just ‘Marketing’ and this is what we need to be thinking
  15. Moshi Monsters is a social network for kids, which means that children already have a social circle which will follow them as they grow up

So there you have it, over 3,500 words later and that is my write up of day 2 of SAScon. It has been a fantastic couple of days with lots of brilliant talks. There were three sessions running at any one time so unfortunately, I couldn’t cover them all but if you look on the SAScon website soon, all the speakers slide decks will be published.

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Samantha Noble

Sam is a talented multi-tasker, a dedicated mother to the gorgeous Theo and a big fan of cooking – word on the street is that she’s pretty good in the kitchen but we’re yet to know if this is true or not. Hint hint, we like cake, Sam.


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