SearchLove 2017 Event Recap – Part 2

Alyssa Ordu
Alyssa Ordu

On 24th October 2017 • 28 min read

The 16th and 17th of October saw the return of the one and only SearchLove, a favourite amongst Search Marketers worldwide. We were delighted to be exhibiting, to be sponsors, and frankly; to be there! Distilled’s Will Critchlow, Lynsey Little, Leonie Wharton & everyone involved did an incredible job bringing the stage & the sound to life. And let’s not forget Rob Ousbey & Niralee Thanki, for their constantly witty entertainment as hosts!

I would also like to give kudos to the brilliant Phil Nottingham for memorialising the event with incredible photos, which are embedded throughout this post.


Jes Scholz


the new era of visual marketing


Jes Scholz – CMO of Ringier – kicked off her session with an overview of image search, how it’s evolved and how we’re yet to tap into its full potential as SEOs.




LABELLING IMAGES: encourages more clicks, especially for eCommerce (e.g. price product brand availability), Jes saw a 25% lift with this within 30 days!
DON’T: de-prioritise image SEO for page level SEO because it can now deliver for those API’s
DO: have high resolution, clear pictures that aren’t obfuscated, have structured markup to improve how you’re seen in SERPs, go for label badges
CHECK: your structured data using Google’s tool
SUBMIT: an XML sitemap, do a site:query, do your site:queries on a mobile phone to see the functionality like your users, don’t take a laptop selfie people!
THINK NEW ERA: snap to act, searchers see something, and snap pics to get information or buy with an app i.e. I see I snap I convert.

This is the direction visual search is heading in, taking offline experiences and delivering them online. This will allow for people to take a photo and for it to deep link them to that product, which will have serious implications for brick and mortars. Make sure you have this functionality so your competitors don’t beat you, by literally buying the shirt off someones back by snapping someones outfit.

Human outfits are literally marketing opportunities (kinda scary), as cameras become the search query. For Jes, the website as the primary point of conversion is coming to an end.


Signing exclusive partnerships with Pinterest like Bixby and Amazon have done.
Amazon spark – social discovery network (like if amazon tried to do Instagram) everything on the visual search is immediately stoppable.
REPRIORITISE: your keyword focus, and prepare for when the camera becomes the primary search box.
BUILD: a minimal viable product to share with your c-levels to get that buy in. They won’t understand what you’re trying to do unless you show it to them.
LEVERAGE: pre trained image classifiers (like amazon recognition) or train your own
MIND YOUR COMPETITORS: Letgo is doing things their competitor EBAY isn’t doing which means they’re stealing ebay’s customers!
IMAGE RECOGNITION: becomes the eyes of smart speakers, tap into it with skills. AKA image recognition can get real creepy real fast (think back to the video Jes shared!)
-85% of all social images don’t contain any text brand mention – visual recognition can pull logos like Coca Cola and know to tag them in pictures where they appear by image, but aren’t written about through visual listening.
-This is great for tweets where the brand isn’t tagged, and for leveraging user-generated content, as it recognises logos and products
TIP: start using logo recognition, because visitors who engage with UGC are 2x more likely to convert! It acts as visual product reviews.
-Check out brandwatch and logograb to turn selfies into sales.


david levin


Social Content masterclass: platform specificity


David Levin – Creative Director of That Lot and tweeter extraordinaire – gave us quality examples of how to speak and engage with your audience in language that resonates with them. Oh, and he also made me laugh for pretty much a solid hour.

As laughing and dictation aren’t natural bedfellows, this one’s gonna be straight up bullet points. Not to worry Greg Gifford, *no kittens were killed* during the creation of this event recap. If at this point you’re lost, check out the tweet below…It’s a bit of an ongoing local SEO ‘inside joke!’

But anyway, back to Dave!


ross simmonds


content distribution: how to give your content more life


Ross Simmonds – Digital Marketing Strategist at Foundation Marketing – opened his talk about a networking conversation which got overthrown by a neighbouring conversation about butter, AKA distraction is real. What happened to shift his focus onto a different conversation is: The Cocktail Party Effect. This happens when we hear something more interesting or appealing to us, and we gravitate towards that, or the brain focusing on particular sounds over others in a sea of noise. On the internet, we see this happening the loudest.

So, how do we stand out from the crowd? Especially, in an age in which (for many, like Ross) Content isn’t King.


CREAM CONTENT: rules everything around us.
DON’T: rely on the idea that if we create content people will find us.
UNDERSTAND THAT: Content is quickly becoming a commodity.
STOP BEING BASIC: Bragging that you create great content is like bragging that you’re raising your kids. Thats what you’re supposed to do.

DISCOVER: the interests of your audience and leverage some relevancy.
SOME: Dads don’t like good beer.
DIVE INTO: ‘audience insights’ to speak to targeted audiences.
DISTRIBUTE: relevant messages.
CUSTOM AUDIENCES: Email marketing as this increases the relevancy and the likelihood that you’re going to get people’s clips.
USE: top posts to gain insight into what content will work; repurpose and turn successful posts into videos!
SHARE CONTENT WITH: subreddit focused advertising; to serve people with what they actually want
FIND: great slack communities (we should do this for our community! Search on slack list for SEO)
TIP: Medium is the new guest blogging, mind shift; it’s not just about SEO! Discover medium publications you can also contribute to!


emily grossman


from website to web-app: fantastic optimisations and where to find them


Emily Grossman – Director of App Strategy of Mobile Moxie – laid down the web-app LAW, with mountainfuls of practical tips for web optimisation, and then some.


SHADE: Google tried to introduce the ‘render’ thing, but Google glossed over this. The development community took this pretty seriously. We’ve got nothing to worry about, we don’t have to worry about them (Google) looking at the source code and rendering the JavaScript…BUT good luck with that! 99 PROBLEMS & THIS MENTALITY IS ONE: Other Search Engines’s aren’t rendering vanilla JavaScript at all, forget about JavaScript frameworks!
WHAT COULD YOU DO INSTEAD?: Here are a couple of other options that are better: 1. try ‘rendering’ before google has to 2. Client side v server side rendering which means your server can deliver something to your browser which doesn’t require the rendering step! This also makes things look a little bit more like we’re used to. Server-rendered content is the way to go (Jeff Shelley),
-But do you lose the benefit of a single page app? Maybe.

1.a ‘isomorphic javascript’ JS code that can run on both the client and the server. Lifehack! Or devhack 🙂

The app-like web: PWA = so users can launch apps outside of the app itself and yet it STILL FEELS like an app experience, and these can work offline! Pretty useful for those tube journeys eh? But it doesn’t have to be identical offline as it is online. With PWAs you can make these different if you like, as The Guardian has done and continued to drive engagement.

Basic PWA technical requirements
1. You need an APP manifest (a JSON file you link to in the head of your website like so)
2. You need a service worker (they sorta run the show of web requests and they never have to hit the server, even sans internet)
3. You need a HTTPS mobile friendly website (you need to be a secure site)


You don’t need to be a SPA or use a JS framework, a normal site with vanilla JS can become a PWA but NOTE your service worker DOES need to be written in JS Use Lighthouse to check if things are working. You can access it outside of Chrome Dev Tools Performance optimisation = there are GREAT gains to be made through speed (check for a million case studies on the bennys of this).

Service workers can speed up sites on repeat views, these can reduce our load times as we’re loading directly from cache! To set this up you could cache your entire app’s ‘shell’ or set them up to cache o specific user interactions Time to Interactive is HIGHLY correlated with conversion rates.

Make it useable faster; break up existing JS into smaller chunks AKA code splitting (optimising for JS routes), following the PRPL pattern is also helpful.

Heres the BIGGIE: recommend using Link Rel=Preload as it allows you to find critical assets and move the start download time closer to the original request (hey browser this is something you’ll need later on in the waterfall but lets preload now instead of waiting till later which makes for a more seamless experience).


cheri percy


digital witness: tales from the charity frontlines


Cheri Percy – Account Director at Nonsense London – talked to us about change. How you can affect it, and contribute to the impact you want see. Like David Nevin earlier in the day, Cheri instilled an appreciation in us about speaking to our clients, customers or donors in a language they understand. Breaking the rules, and enticing people with edgy, fresh content and the power of creative collaborations, like featuring comedians in campaigns 🙂

As a self-professed digital do-gooder, she shared several successful campaigns, for causes worth looking in to.

Here are a few:


How do we position what we’re working on as the cause people should promote?
-Aim at root causes; not symptoms.
-Build collective responses not individual solutions. Use clever wording to grab attention like; fundraise-however-the-hell-you-want.
-Transform attitudes with the power of collaboration.
-Making viral mass fundraising phenomena shows that calling on millennial mindsets inspires people across generations.

Build a network of digital champions across your organisation (charity starts at home!), make digital culture programmes to help your teams internally with writing for the web/social etc and ups killing people with the day-to-day processes they use. -Dissolving the role of the digital team is OK!

Think about what people are actually looking for and ask yourself, are you delivering that?

Get involved with influencers to get people involved with your cause e.g. via donations, raise awareness and drive traffic to your site which will influence your next year’s digital roadmap (especially if it goes well!)



justin briggs


the why and how of creating video content for search


Justin Briggs – Founder & CEO of Briggsby – shared countless practical steps we can take to use video to disproportionately great results in search.




will critchlow


seeing the future: how to tell the impact of a change before you make it


Will Critchlow – Founder & CEO of Distilled – started off his talk by telling us that whilst split-testing over the last 18 months, he’s seen that common recommendations make no difference. In fact, they can be really, really bad. He admitted that even when we do recommend the right things, we can be a bit shotty on the deetz (preach!).

Will suggests we do less pointless things, and screw up less often. And make really, really effective recommendations 🙂


WE DON’T: have the right ways of thinking about internal links – we need to analyse these better
WE DO: have Data (or can get data) only for our own site
CASES: where the real ranking factor is a machine-learned proxy for the real thing
TA MADE A TOOL: Tools like SERP Turkey by TA can be useful to see what users think by measuring, great thing to consider before you make changes

WHAT ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO QUALITY? Think about what quality content means/how you communicate it to bosses or clients/how you measure it or talk about it
DO: user testing + quality tests , there are so many benefits of running surveys such as removing brand bias!
CAPTURE: the data but also capture the human preference


Here are the factors we need to analyse better=internal links!* (here’s where we unashamedly geek out). Remember that everything looks like a graph, but almost nothing should ever be drawn as one (O’Reilly). Interactive visualisation sin Gephi are useful for discovery and diagnosis.
*For an excellent resource, check out Will’s blog post on internal links right here.




Though the jury is out as to whether or not we did karaoke…

It’s safe to say we had a hell of a lot of fun.

BIG thanks again to all of the folks at Distilled, all of the incredible speakers, the spirited attendees, and Phil Nottingham for catching such brilliantly candid moments.

Kirsty, Jono & Emily


TA & Jess


Dee & Ore


Craig & Mark


Niralee & Ade







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.



Get the knowledge and inspiration you need to build a profitable business - straight to your inbox.

Subscribe today