Time To Shake Things Up!
Besides for this being my first time in London and being enthralled by cars driving on “the other side” of the street, this was also my first experience at a professional conference in London (thanks Ari for letting me convince you that we should go!). SearchLove completely lived up to (and far exceeded) my expectations for what a London conference would be like. It was fast paced, full of amazing tips from extremely smart professionals and some of the most phenomenal people from the European marketing community to network with.
It truly didn’t seem like anyone at SearchLove was interested in the mainstream. I felt more than ever that this show was about interrupting the norm. It was about shaking things up and thinking beyond the ‘old school’ tactics we have been using for years.
Want some more proof? Fine. Let me show you what I mean.
Off The Charts Knowledge and Ideas
Storytelling was a big theme at SearchLove and we all need to do more of that. Honestly, at Kahena, this is something that we have struggled with, and coming to SearchLove, I was genuinely nervous about it. Now I am inspired! Not to just tell stories, but to create them, re-purpose them (not in a spammy way), and MARKET them. I found Chris Bennett‘s talk to be my personal favorite and the most relatable. I HIGHLY suggest you take his slideshare deck, study it, memorize it, and live it.
Demographics, Psychographics, and Understanding User Behavior
Nathalie Nahai, the self-proclaimed WebPsych (and an absolute pleasure to be around) spoke about culture and language. Speaking as an Israeli/American, who knew that ‘getting pissed’ means ‘getting tipsy’ in the UK?! This was a wake up call for us to start thinking beyond just persona building and demographics, and start getting a better grasp on user behavior and psychographics. Take advice from Simon Penson and find out where your personas hang out – what are they talking about, what do they like and share, etc. Use this information to go after them!
The Future of Search Engines – Things Not Strings
Kelvin Newman and Abby Covert completely blew my mind talking about graph theory and ontology, which helps us better understand the relationships between entities, words, and categories, and how search engines work both now and in the future.
The concepts of ontology existed way before the internet, and it’s fascinating to see how the two fields are beginning to overlap. As Google tries to understand relationships between entities, we need to pay closer attention to these areas as well. In our industry, I know we will start seeing more about information architects, ontology, and the “natural order” of things. If we can better understand how Hummingbird / the knowledge graph relate to entities, we can then start optimizing for “things” not “strings”.
And of course, the future will be interesting. Tom Anthony and Will Critchlow spoke about key trends for the future of search, which is always a fascinating conversation (and it was certainly thrilling to see that Tom’s predictions came true after I first heard them in Israel at KahenaCon).
As an industry, we need to start looking out for how engines are incorporating personalization for networks, location, devices, and many other signals to help gauge the context in which users are searching.
Refilling Your Toolbox
Another mind-blowing takeaway was the concept of “content acceleration” which Wil Reynolds spoke about. The idea of using a paid catalyst to further promote your content was eye-opening to me. It’s the marketing flywheel which uses the velocity of a promotion as momentum for your content, leading to the snowball effect.
And there are tools to help with that! The tools were flying left and right! Two Israel-based content discovery platforms, Taboola & Outbrain, were mentioned, making us Israelis proud 🙂 Then, Stacy Cavanagh dropped about 36 tips and tricks (that’s right… 36)! You probably want to study and memorize her deck too. One tool she mentioned, Image Raider, I plan on getting extremely comfortable with soon.
A few other notable tools I am excited to try:
- Preacher – Created by Simon Penson
- Bluenod – Twitter Analytics
- Title split testing for WordPress
- Nuvi App – Social analytics which I already have a demo set up with!
I don’t think I have ever been so incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of tools that came out all at once! I will keep everyone posted on how experimentation goes with them and the progress we see.
Networking in London
Needless to say, the networking was out of this world. I had never had a chance to connect with the European pros before. I had been missing out big time not getting to know them in person, or even on the web. Everyone I talked to, like Gianluca Fiorelli and the Distilled folks (Paddy Moogan, Hannah Smith, Phil Nottingham and Bridget Randolph who also kicked butt in her presentation on Mobile) was just pure inspiration to be around.
It was also amazing to see friends like Adam Melson who came in from the States, Jo Turnbull who I finally got to meet in person for the first time, and the incredible Aleyda Solis who already knows I think the world of her 🙂 Another fellow expat who I am really glad I got to meet is Shelley Wilson from Distilled – great guy to chat with especially when its all about American sports somehow making their way to London. Brilliant!
And there was nothing like closing down the bar with Chris Bennett, Wil Reynolds, Will Critchlow, and Katheryn Dawson.
Have I Convinced You Yet?
There is something really special about a single track conference that encourages the crowd to push limits, go beyond the norm, and constantly innovate. I really walked away thinking that as an industry, we are always in beta and always improving. And this is how it happens – by collaborating with, listening to, and learning from the pros, and of course from screwing up and revising.
And if any of this sounds a bit choppy, as a disclaimer, two full days exhausted me beyond belief.
I know there were lots of people I didn’t get to really connect with, or I did and they were not included, but I have every intention on fixing that. There will be many more conferences in the future, and SearchLove is definitely at the top of the list.
Hope to see you there next year!
One Final (Read: Most Important) Shoutout
Saving the most important thank-yous for last, a massive shout out needs to go to Lynsey and Lauren for all the hard work they put into the conference. The entire show went off without so much as a glitch. And while most people don’t get to see exactly how much they put in, I had a little bit of personal insight into just how hard they worked and how much they cared to make SearchLove not just great but exceptional.
Cheers to next year!