SearchLeeds 2017 Event Recap

Alyssa Ordu
Alyssa Ordu

On 20th June 2017 • 40 min read


#SearchLeeds – Event Recap

Thursday the 15th of June saw the second SearchLeeds conference kick off up North. With a pre-party, after party, AND world-class speakers leading no frills talks focused on actionable data – it’s safe to say we left with our heads full of new tricks (and a slight headache!).

If you weren’t lucky enough to attend SearchLeeds or want to revisit the presentations, here’s a roundup of each of the speakers at the DeepCrawl sponsored event.

A BIG thanks to Branded3 for organising an incredibly successful event, it was a joy to be a part of it!

*Note, as this was a 3-track event we were not able to attend each of the 35 speaker sessions.


Jon Myers – Preparing your Website for Mobile-First Indexing

“In my talk, I hope people learn everything they need to consider from a mobile set up perspective. From my session I hope people can take away a lot of practical applications to apply in preparation for the switch to Mobile Index. Not only things that need to happen now – but also the future and longer term gains as we move into a different environment. Mobile is growing, and new things need to be considered to maximise the new Google order.”

responsive and desktop

Key takeaways:

1. Pre Mobile First – History of Mobile:

2. After Mobile First – The Impact Mobile-First on Different Mobile Configurations.

Getting ready? Here’s what you need to consider:

3. Preparing for Mobile First with DeepCrawl

4. Future of the Future:


Check out Jon’s slide deck below for a step by step guide on how to crawl your dynamic, responsive or separate mobile site.


Paul Madden – Links as a metric in 2017, are they still relevant and how do we ensure value?

Key takeaways

1. Links Still Count!

2. Links Haven’t Gone Away, They’ve Just Shifted

3. Tips

Here’s what I learned from catching up with Paul about the industry latest, and of course his talk at SearchLeeds.

What do you hope people learned from your talk?

I hope people gain a much more intimate understanding of the key issues around how links, as a signal, have changed in the last year. There are some threats and opportunities in those changes and I hope to help guide the audience through the topic and give them a number of new areas to consider and act on for their own sites.

What’s exciting you most in Search right now?

We are in a period of change. There is more change in the way search is delivered now than there has been for many years. In times like this good marketers adapt and poor marketers fail…I enjoy the chance to adapt and hopefully compete.

Check out Paul’s slide deck here:

SearchLeeds 2017 – Paul Madden – Co Founder , Kerboo- Links as a metric in 2017, are they still relevant and how do we ensure value? from Branded3

Paul is a Co-Founder of Kerboo.


Matthew Court – Mobile-First Optimisation for Non-Responsive Websites

Key takeaways

1. Serve the Same Content on Desktop & Mobile Sites

2. Think with Responsive Sites Going Forward

3. When Devs Make Changes on Desktop or Mobile Counter it – Suggest they do both!

Check out Matthew’s slide-deck here:

SearchLeeds 2017 – Mathew Court, SEO Consultant – Mobile first optimisation for nonresponsive websites from Branded3

Matthew is SEO/PPC Consultant at Auto Trader.


James Carson – Audience development: How SEO and social work together at a large publisher

Key takeaways

1. Think About What Success Looks Like on Search versus Social

2. Tool tips – James gives us the scoop on what works for SEO & Social at a large publisher like The Telegraph


James is Head of SEO & Social Media at The Telegraph.

Check out James’ slide-deck here:

SearchLeeds 2017 – James Carson – Head of SEO and Social Media, The Telegraph – Audience development: How SEO and social work together at a large publisher from Branded3


Danny Blackburn – Content Blueprint to Drive Serious SEO Success

“The aim of my session is pretty simple – I want to demonstrate in a really practical way how content can drive SEO success.”

Key takeaways

1. Danny is sick of hearing ‘content is king’ people. Content Isn’t a Silver Bullet !

2. Don’t Rely on Hunches – Focus on 3 Areas

I caught up with Danny to see just what he hopes people gleaned from his talk, and to pick his brain about the industry’s latest news.

What do you hope people take from your talk?
“Content is a tiny little word but it covers so much ground – from on-site to off-site, from basic functional content to sexy creative campaigns, and everything in between. That means there’s a lot of confusion about what content is, what it can do and how it should be used. You also find different agencies coming at content from very different angles and that creates a lot of friction and confusion. For some it’s about social engagement, for others it’s about CRO, for others it’s about ranking for commercial terms. So what I want to do is to step back a bit and look at content in the broadest sense. I want to demonstrate specifically how you can identify and pull the specific strategic levers needed to improve SEO performance.”

What’s exciting you most in Search right now?
“There’s a lot of talk of AI right now and while that’s seriously fascinating what really excites me right now is the humanisation of search. Forward thinking brands are starting to wake up to the fact that search isn’t just about ranking P1 for important commercial keywords. That’s still super-important, but search presents a much bigger opportunity to engage your audience and help them overcome their challenges. Search has a massive role to play throughout the conversion funnel – from awareness to consideration to conversion. By truly understanding what people want and need throughout that funnel search marketers can deliver huge business benefits. The explosion of mobile devices and now voice-enabled home assistants only makes that more important. What are your customers searching for that’s relevant to your brand and product and how can we create content that meets that search need?”

Danny is Content Director at Sticky Eyes.


Stephen Power – We don’t go online, we live online

  1. It’s About Getting the Right Message, to the Right Person, at the Right Time

Stephen is Agency Development Manager at Google


Check out Stephen’s slide-deck here:

SearchLeeds 2017 – Stephen Power – Agency Development Manager, Google – Audience development: How SEO and social work together at a large publisher from Branded3


Dawn Anderson – Too Much Choice and Too Little Space: Choice Theory & Crawl Budget

“We need to rethink ‘assistive’ ways in which we can keep both consumers overwhelmed with choice and search engines looking to crawl efficiently happy at the same time and offering some solutions.”

Key Takeaways

1. Humans Love Choices, But There’s a Catch

2. Be Conscious of DUST – Different URLs Similar Text (and near duplicate content)


3. SEO’s Make Mistakes too

Check out Dawn’s slide-deck here:

Dawn Anderson SEO Consumer Choice Crawl Budget Optimization Conflicts from Dawn Anderson PgDip DigM


Barry Adams – 5 Things I Learned from 50+ SEO Audits

“SEO audit recommendations can turn in to tangible business gains when handled properly, I hope people learn that from my talk.”

Key Takeaways

1. Barry is Basically Tyrion Lannister

2. Barry (and much of his audience) Think Google is Full of S***

3. How Google ‘Crawling’ Works: Barry Breaks it Down

4. Barry is a Shade Master

5. Barry Imparts his Infinite Wisdom Upon us

Barry is SEO Consultant & Founder of award-winning agency Polemic Digital, Co-Chief Editor of State of Digital and a member of the DeepCrawl CAB.

Check out Barry’s slide-deck here:

5 Things I Learned From 50+ SEO Audits from Barry Adams


Will Critchlow – Lessons From SEO Split-Testing

“I think there is a lot of scope for a bit more science in what we do.”

Key Takeaways

1. Will Critchlow Gives Interactive Talks

2. People are Bad at Judging When a Page Will Rank

3. Traditional CRO A/B Testing is User Oriented, SEO A/B Testing is PAGE Oriented

Will is Founder & CEO of Distilled.

Check out Will’s slide-deck here:

Lessons from SEO split-testing from Will Critchlow


Aleyda Solis – Winning Conversion-Driven eCommerce SEO

“I hope people gain specific actions to implement in their own E-commerce SEO processes to grow results and more importantly, actual profits.”

Key Takeaways

1. Maximising Visibility for eCommerce Clients Means Maximising Profits

2. Prioritise High-Value Pages

3. Aleyda & Barry Take Hilarious Photobooth Sessions!

4. Structure

4. Ain’t Nothing Wrong with Rules!

Aleyda is Founder and SEO Consultant of Orainti, and a member of the DeepCrawl CAB

Check out her slide-deck here:

Winning conversion driven E-commerce SEO #SearchLeeds from Aleyda Solís


Tim Grice, Branded3 – SEO considerations (most) businesses don’t care about, but should

I caught up with Tim and asked him a few questions not only about his talk but his thoughts on the industry overall.

So Tim, what do you hope people take away from your talk?

My session is designed to help businesses rethink the way they prioritise, invest in and report on SEO. I want to illustrate how SEO is about maintaining market share not just growth, and how small improvements in technical SEO can deliver business changing results.

What’s exciting you most in Search right now?

The re balance of offsite vs. onsite SEO, we’re now seeing big shifts in performance from technical changes to a website, whether it’s site speed, dealing with duplication or improving accessibility.

Businesses have neglected the technical elements of their websites in favour of link building for years, however the emphasis on user experience and mobile have meant huge gains can be seen from getting technical SEO right.

Tim is the CEO at Branded3.

Here’s an action shot of Tim taking the main stage:

Tim Grice

Stephen Kenwright – How to be Amazon and Beat Google at Search

Key Takeaways

1. Amazon or Search Engine?

2. Where do Shoppers Start their Search?

3. SEO was about Building Links, now it’s about Building Search Engines

Thank you to all of the incredible speakers, hosts, and of course Branded3 (shout out to Stephen Kenwright!) for bringing this event to life!

As this was a 3 track event and I was unable to attend each and every talk, you can check out all of the speakers slide-decks right here.

Though we didn’t take any #wingshots, we did take a few photo booth shots. Maybe some whisky shots too…



Alyssa Ordu, Mark Johnstone, Yogi Mistry, Jonas Johansson

Jennifer Hoffman, Alyssa Ordu & Dom Hodgson embrace eclectic hat wear. Don't judge us.

Here’s what attendees had to say about SearchLeeds:

Sam Noble
Ned Poulter


Alyssa Ordu
Alyssa Ordu

Alyssa is a keen traveller, cocktails & dad jokes enthusiast who does Marketing, in that order. A lover of outreach, connect with her for opportunities to collaborate, or exchange a pun or two.



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