Search Marketing Seminar Round-Up

by Jessica Ramesh

The Figaro Digital Search Marketing Seminar took place last Thursday at The Hospital Club, Covent Garden, with presentations from Barracuda Digital, Curated Digital, Edit-Place, Branded3 and Liberty Marketing. Delegates were guided through an intricate search journey, avoiding Penguin and Panda along the way, and snacking on delicious SEO-filled content marketing sandwiches. (More about SEO-filled sandwiches later).

We grabbed a few delegates for a chat before the event to find out what they were hoping to get from the day…

I was really keen to attend a Figaro Digital seminar. I had heard a lot about them but had never made it to one before. I really hope for some tips and takeaways, and am keen to hear more about Google penalty algorithms as well as organisations’ content marketing strategies.” Renee Doegar, Head of Marketing at London Review of Books.

“The most valuable thing I look to get from these sessions is confirmation that we are either doing things right or wrong and the chance to speak to experts about any problems we are having. The speakers are always varied and explore different elements of a subject, so you get a good overview and come away with lots of ideas.”  Peter Johnson, Marketing Director at National Geographic Kids Magazine.

I wanted to attend the sessions as, after several years of being CRM focused, my remit has recently changed to take in elements like SEO. I want to get a feel for the current SEO arena.” Sinead Archer, Head of Marketing at Cosmos Holidays.

Herding Pandas and Penguins: The Anatomy of Google Penalties—How to Protect Yourself Against Them and How to Recover From Them

Martin Dinham – Director, Barracuda Digital

“It’s not easy and it does take time. You can end up being behind where you were before.”

We’re all conscious of Panda and Penguin looming over our websites and scrutinising our every move. Martin at Barracuda Digital shows us how the Google algorithms, which penalise marketers for “thin content” and “spammy links” respectively, can damage a brand’s search ranking to the point of no return. But how do you avoid getting hit with a penalty? First, audit your website on a regular basis. Things to look out for include subject relevance, site wide links and general site authority. If any of this looks unnatural, then carry out a link removal process. Document your actions, too; then, if you do get a penalty, you can highlight these when using the Google disavow tool. But remember, if you’ve been penalised, “You are at Google’s mercy, it’s going to take time to recover”.

Hello, Digital Marketing

Simon Douglass – Founder, Curated Digital

“SEO in its old format is dead, say hello to digital marketing.”

“Try and imagine that SEO never existed” says Simon at Curated Digital, because those tactics don’t work anymore. SEO, in the way we used to think of it, is dead. Over the years, Google has tried to make the search experience less easy to manipulate, and this has meant that marketers have had to think more about their content and how they’re talking to their audience. If you want to succeed, you need to plan content in advance. Discover the interesting content in any brief. Create a helpful on-site content hub. Master the art of curated content (linking content with user experience in mind), and be brave but useful. Promote your content through relevant channels and to the right audiences.

Improve your SEO Impact: How to Convert SEO from a Cost Centre to a Profitable Marketing Channel

Julien Wolff – Co-founder & CEO, Edit-Place

“The idea is to penetrate the market fast, but taking your time.”

In the translation and geolocalisation of your website, Julien at Edit-Place stresses the importance of a comprehensive digital content strategy. “How am I going to be able to adapt my content on my UK website into a targeted market knowing that, as a European, I can’t rely on a market of one billion people speaking the same language?” Well, rather than trying to translate the entire website quickly and cheaply (and probably inaccurately), Julien proposes that translating some—not all—of your content, adapting it to the targeted market, and then analysing the impact, could be a profitable strategy for penetrating the market.

Aim to End the Search

Stephen Kenwright – Head of Search, Branded3

“You need to be providing the right answer for people who don’t really know what they’re looking for.”

You can create content and build links more effectively if you know why you are doing so, says Stephen at Branded3. Google is looking for content that is relevant and of a good quality for its users. As SEOs and marketers, you can influence your relevancy by conducting keyword research with particular focus on specific, longtail keywords. Look at the keyword queries the user is entering, and create relevant content for this user. “If you provide a good result for a very specific search query, you’re also a good result for a very general search query because you’ve answered at least one possible user intent.” Essentially, the only way to rank higher and get more traffic is to make sure you’re answering that query—not selling the product that is relevant for that query. Make sure no-one else has the chance to get there first.

Content Marketing vs Marketing Content: This Time it’s Searchable

Richard Foulkes – Digital Account Coordinator, Liberty Marketing

“You can’t just do content marketing with SEO in mind. You have to look at the whole picture.”

As Lee Odden, author of says, if content marketing is the sandwich, then SEO is the mayonnaise. Although you might happily enjoy the blissful union of the finished product, you wouldn’t just eat the mayonnaise on its own. Therefore, suggests Richard at Liberty Marketing, you need to look at the whole picture when marketing your content, not just SEO. Solely looking at search terms is not enough if you are trying to gain an understanding of your audience. You need a strategy in order to build authority from the bottom up—from products and content. Strategy is key.

Written by Estelle Hakner.