Blog | Events / Conferences

What We Discovered at SearchLeeds 2017


Spiral Media is always on the lookout for the opportunities to expand our knowledge and so this month, we headed off to the second annual SearchLeeds conference.

Held at the First Direct arena in the city centre, SearchLeeds was hosted by Branded3 and featured a broad selection of speakers, offering talks on everything from futuristic paid media strategies to how to get emotional with your content.


We’ve rounded up our best takeaways from the day-long event, along with a few sneaky pics of the event itself, in case you weren’t able to attend;

Adam – Search Engine Marketing Manager


“Getting straight into the nitty-gritty of the latest updates across paid marketing platforms, as well as future predictions, Samantha Noble from Koozai covered everything you’d need to know about the future trends of paid marketing channels.

Looking back to when these platforms, such as AdWords, were first established, they’ve come on massively since, and now consist of much, much more than an Ad targeted to keywords.

We now have detailed audience targeting, performance reporting by demographic, a mass of Ad Extensions for AdWords and more.

By the end of the session, it felt like all the major players (Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat) are replicating their competitors’ features and gradually creating a similar advertising experience with similar targeting methods.”


And free slush puppies too! 

Daniel – Search Engine Marketing Associate


“The ‘Let’s get emotional’ talk by Laura Crimmons focused on the importance of emotion in marketing campaigns.

Laura suggested that while ad spend can help you reach a larger audience, it won’t make your campaign worth talking about. To be engaging, you must create campaigns which evoke strong emotions.

I thought this was incredibly interesting for us in PPC. Google now allows up to four ads at the top of its SERPs so standing out is more important than ever.

I think the best way to stand out is to use language that’s relevant, personal and emotive. There’s nothing worse than typing in a keyword and finding ads which all look the same.”


Jason – Graphic Designer

“Will Critchlow’s talk covering the percentages of where shoppers start a search: Amazon 56% | Google 28% | Retailer 16% was a real eye opener for me.

He spoke about the difficulty in comparing search results between people with no experience and over 3 years’ experience, and the fact that you’ve got more chance of getting it right with a coin toss!

While most of the time, especially with basic SEO implementations, you’d see an increase in organic traffic/visibility as expected, in some cases you saw the opposite trend.

This is likely down to the fact Google is trying to be less like an algorithm and more like a human. Things like this make it evermore important to see the bigger picture and keep the focus on the end user experience, rather than optimising for Google.

Knowing where customers start their journey into search gives us focus on where to concentrate our efforts. This also highlights to us the importance of the need for constant A/B testing instead of being complacent with best practices.”


Charlotte – SEO Manager


“I’ve got to thank Rob McGowan from Response One, as I never knew we have supermarkets to thank for the volume of data we have access to these days as they kicked it off in the 1990s with loyalty card schemes!

I don’t know where search would be these days without it.

It was also good to see a lot of support for the Mobile First way of thinking, as that it is more important than ever that we think ‘Mobile First’ when designing web pages.

I was very impressed with how advanced technology is becoming, and how the future of Search is going to be amalgamation of many different formats.

The Seeing Eye app and HoloLens, for example, show some of the amazing things being done with search and technology combined.

I really liked Sam Jones’ talk about future predictions for Google and the changes it’s gone through in the past in terms of ads layout. It’s amazing to think how much has changed in just a few short years.

Another shout out to Will Critchlow for a great talk about SEO Split Testing and how, despite all the information, data, ranking factors we know about and our years of skill and experience, there will still be pages that rank higher and you will never know why.”


You can find all of the slides from this year’s SearchLeeds here.