My SAScon musings: SEO, Social & Sugar

Posted on June 16, 2015


This year was my first experience of SAScon, so naturally I was feeling excited to gain some valuable knowledge about the industry that Engage Web operates in.

However, I was also a little anxious that I would feel like I didn’t know an awful lot, despite being with the company for over a year. Luckily, this was not the case.

Day one

The first day of the conference had plenty to take in right from the off, with the first keynote speaker, Aleyda Solis, delivering an interesting session on how small businesses can become competitive in SEO. Here, I took note of the factors that should be identified when conducting keyword research, such as seasonality, trend and volume. This was one of the most important parts of the talk for me, as it was the most relatable to my role.

After the team raided Tree Accountancy’s sweet stall, I headed off to a talk on conversion rate optimisation (CRO), which was another session that I really took something from. This was my first solo lecture away from the team, so I felt as though thorough note taking was pivotal here.

It turned out to be one of the most theoretical talks of the day, with plenty to learn from. The major lesson to be gained here was that bigger tests on your website do not necessarily convert to the best results. Instead, it is about the way these tests impact on the customer. Dave Gowers presented an easy three step process to successful CRO that can be very easily understood:

1) Identify the barrier to why customers aren’t converting.
2) Find or create a solution.
3) Present this to the customer at the correct stage of the conversion process.

After Larry Kim’s fantastic keynote speech on PPC, there was a jovial conclusion to day one, which Darren and I enjoyed together. Social disaster management provided us with a great insight into how some companies shoot themselves in the foot over social media.

Day two

The second day of SAScon backed up some of the key points from the first, with many sessions championing the phrase “content is king” and hitting home that engagement with customers is vital to successful marketing.

One of the most intriguing sessions of the day for me was the Alternative Metrics talk. This offered an insight into other ways that we can measure how well we are doing, aside from the obvious metrics of how many visitors come to our sites and ROI. From this session, not only did I learn that your influence can be a measurable metric, but I also learned that selecting the correct KPIs is imperative in conversions. As such, it is best to make sure KPIs are SMART- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.

For Darren, Lianne and me, SAScon had a very enjoyable ending, which saw us launching a series of orange balls at speaker Jon Burkhart while he delivered a very interactive session about how social media marketing should, or rather shouldn’t, be done.

In summary, I found my debut at SAScon to be very enlightening and enjoyable. Not only did I get to throw things at the guest speakers and eat tonnes of sweets, but I also learnt some very valuable things that will definitely come in handy back in the office. These points helped to hit home for me that Engage Web is already going at its business in the right way, through great content that engages with people.

Operations Manager at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Operations Manager.
Alan Littler

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