Industry News

The best of Search Leeds

11 Jul 2016

July 7th saw over 400 digital marketers assemble at Branded3’s first ever SEO conference: Search Leeds.

The event was a huge success and the Pi team were proud to have sponsored it. In fact, we had such a great time that we’ve already confirmed our attendance for next year.


Who attended Search Leeds?

The delegate list was a who’s who of the search industry, and were a friendly bunch to boot – including digital agencies, recruiters, freelancers, start-ups, global brands and of course SEO platforms like our fine selves.


Search Leeds attendees


Where was Search Leeds held?

Search Leeds took place in the Royal Armouries, by Leeds Dock; a trendy waterside location.


The Search Leeds pre-party

We at Pi braved Southern Rail and Virgin Trains to head up north for a three day Search Leeds experience.

After a four hour trip, we arrived at the Royal Armouries, set up our stand, took a height-ordered photo (of course) and beat a hasty retreat to get ready for the official Search Leeds pre-party.

Search Leeds - Pi Datametrics

The event was held in town at a swish bar named Manahatta. With our drinks vouchers in tow, we headed to the bar and got chatting to our fellow Search Leeds delegates.

Search Leeds Pre-Party


The Search Leeds schedule

A grand total of 22 talks ran throughout the day, from 9.30am to 17.30pm, followed by Q&A sessions and some expert SEO panels thrown in for good measure.

Search Leeds - Dock 29 and Main Stage - Pi Datametrics roundup

The day’s events took place across two locations simultaneously: the Main Hall within the Royal Armouries and Dock 29 - a vibrant, circus-themed bar.

The Main Hall could easily have passed for a nightclub, with its ambient, purple-hued lighting and huge dimensions; while Dock 29 was a bit more intimate, but no less atmospheric, and doubled as the conference space, and after-party venue.

The Branded3 team was on fire for Search Leeds and the atmosphere was buzzing throughout the day.


Search Leeds | Pi Datametrics CTO Jon Earnshaw | 5 things you need to remember for a smooth migration

At 10.35am, our CTO Jon Earnshaw began his talk in the crowded Dock 29 venue. Focussing on many anonymised case study examples, Jon revealed how site migrations can present a great business opportunity, with the right SEO tactics and thorough planning.

Jon’s key takeaways:

  • SEO is not the icing - it’s a key ingredient
  • You can’t just SEO it!
  • Get expert help
  • See this as an opportunity
  • Don’t always believe the old ‘migratory myth’
  • Utilise data - before, during and after
  • Plan

Search Leeds - Jon Earnshaw - Pi Datametrics - 5 things you need to know for a smooth migration

Watch Jon's Search Leeds talk here:


View Jon's Search Leads slides here:

Other talks at Search Leeds

Talk topics ranged from link building to content creation, and the future of search.

Jono Alderson | Linkdex | Your world is about to end | 09.35am

Jono Alderson kicked the day off in Dock 29, with a pretty theoretical talk that sought to predict the transformation of search, advertising, capitalism and the digital space - only slightly intimidatingly titled “Your world is about to end”

Search Leeds - Jono Alderson - Your world is about to end

Jono spoke ten to the dozen, and focussed on the evolution of “Lifetime Value Modelling” – an approach to business which is customer-centric, seamless, experience driven and uses personal data to satisfy consumer needs.

In his talk, Jono predicted that the future will see more self-serving technology, in-line with the sharing economy generated by the likes of Uber and AirBnB.

View Jono's slides here:


Hannah Thorpe | | How to get stuff done | 10.05am

Next up, Hannah Thorpe from spoke about how to “Get stuff done” in 6 stages - a best-practice style talk on how to work with stakeholders (clients and colleagues) successfully and achieve the best results from a project.

  1. Define the why
  2. Quantify everything!
  3. Individual Tasks vs. Milestone Tasks
  4. Understand your Stakeholders
  5. Ask for forgiveness, not permission!
  6. Make good choices!


We at Pi particularly identified with, and enjoyed the “Job Titles vs Personality Types”:

Search Leeds - Hannah Thorpe - Whitenet - How to get stuff done

The Playfuls: Joker, intelligent, witty and loud

The Powerfuls: Silent in meetings, consider all angles, assertive, and productive

The Peacefuls: Like to avoid confrontation and slightly anxious

The Precises: Calm, tactful and tolerant


Tim Grice | Branded3 | Strategy for rankings | 14.05pm

As well as operating the day’s events with military-like precision, the Branded3 team also made time to give some great talks themselves.

CEO, Tim Grice, spoke on the topic of Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines; 160 pages which he confesses to have poured through in his spare time, and then handily simplified for us.

Tim stated that there are 3 main areas which Google focuses on when crawling and indexing your site:

  • Quality
  • Authority
  • Trustworthiness

According to Tim, at the last point of investigation there were 4500 quality raters; a number which is expected to have quadrupled since.

Search Leeds - Tim Grice - Content strategy for rankings

Tim sums up what Google considers as being good quality:

  • Topical Information
  • Social/media forums
  • Experience/Opinion
  • Selling products

And poor quality:

  • Lack of editorial content
  • Purpose of page unclear
  • Poor grammar/spelling
  • Technically poor
  • Duplication
  • Distrating ads
  • Basic information/content overkill

Search Leeds - Tim Grice - Branded3 - Content strategy for rankings

Tim also shared an interesting theory that the arbitrary, unnamed updates and drops which occur every so often (May update & November drops) in between official algorithm updates (i.e. Panda and Penguin) across specific industries, are feedback from manual reviews conducted by Google’s quality raters.

Also from Branded3, Stephen Kenright spoke on the main stage on "Stop best practicing, start doing":



Food glorious food!

One of the main highlights of Search Leeds was the (free!) food. Breakfast, lunch and snacks were supplied generously in the exhibition hall during the breaks, and every bit of them delicious.

We were very impressed!

Search Leeds food

Search Leeds exhibitors

Pi exhibited alongside six other companies, including Branded3, iProspect and Search Laboratory.

It was definitely a week of sport: first Wimbledon, Tour de France, the Euro’s, and then, of course, the Search Leeds exhibition entertainment.

We set our sights on the glamping trip that was up for grabs at iProspect stand – and tried our best to channel our inner Andy Murray, but no such luck!

Next, we tried a spot of golf with MET marketing, but it seems we need to work on our swing…

Search Leeds - exhibition stands - Pi Datametrics roundup

Search Leeds after party

Soaking up all of that juicy digital knowledge was thirsty work, so we headed across the way to Dock29, which had, by then, been reverted back to a bar, for a well-deserved drink at the after-party. It was sunny up north, and we had a great time making some new digital friends.

Search Leeds - After Party

Branded3 aced it at Search Leeds

The Branded3 team did a brilliant job creating a professional, friendly and convivial event - which we were really proud to sponsor and attend.

Search Leeds - Branded3 - After Party


Louise Linehan

Louise Linehan

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