The biggest search marketing event in the North of England, Search Leeds, is now a magnet for search professionals.

And here’s why, the pull is that Search Leeds isn’t a sales pitch. It’s the absolute pick of the search expert crop coming together to give hungry search pros actionable advice and spark more interest and debate in the future of digital marketing.

The brainchild of the fabulous team at digital marketing agency Branded3, Search Leeds is now in its third year and attracting thousands of people from the world of digital marketing to our wonderful city for a day of learning and networking. But, why Leeds? Leeds is renowned for digital excellence and home to some of the UK’s biggest digital rock stars, that’s why!

Oh yes, and another draw is that Search Leeds is free to attend and there’s free coffee and beer.

It was my first year there and, as Head of Content at Igniyte, I tried to absorb as many of the content-related talks as possible. I came away from it buzzing (that’ll be the coffee and beer) and inspired and educated (that’ll be the amazing presentations).

If you didn’t make it to this year’s Search Leeds be sure to save the date for next year – it was brilliant – packed with insight, tips and debate. Here are my top content marketing take outs. I hope you find them useful too:


Robots aren’t going to kill us all – we still need people (phew!)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can add value, but personalisation, human creativity and emotional intelligence are very much essential human traits. Plus, the algorithms used in AI are only as good as the people who can code them, which is why we need increasing diversity in tech – to really reflect and represent society.

But do incorporate machine learning/AI into your strategies to help with your SEO and content – 50% of content in some publications is directed by AI. Make content based on what’s trending on Amazon!


Listen up retail – shoppers want more!

Retailers need to stop thinking store and start thinking, talking and sharing stories.


Marketers need to think laterally to generate creative ideas

Got a new client in an industry that’s new to you – or are you just running low on ideas? Or are you in a new job in-house and responsible for coming up with creative ideas to sell into the media and trade press? Use Gorkana to explore and expand on topics journalists want to cover – and then hone your creative ideas and execution.


We need to think about link relevancy when pushing out content

Acquiring links from relevant pages is more important than acquiring links from relevant domains.


Pinch keyword insight from competitors

Yes really. Closely examine what your competitors are talking about, and the topics in the top 10 search results to create word clouds that show you anything that’s missing so you can include it in your content. Chances are you’re using most of the keywords already – but this will help you to plug any gaps and increase content performance. Use free tools such as Textise to help you too.


When it comes to site migration – content is king

Always think about your audience first, not marketing yourself (or client). Focus on what your audience searches for, what they want, what they need and what will engage them. Oh yes, and a good insider tip, never plan a migration on a Friday!


Shock and horror…

The level of stress caused by mobile phone delays is comparable to watching a horror movie (eek)! It’s time to get appy-er! In 2018 everything is an app, but at the expense of the user. Progressive web apps are faster, engaging and reliable – that’s where we want to be with all of our apps. Much more user-friendly.


It’s okay to listen to the voices… but…

Everyone’s talking about voice search but how many of us are actually using it and does it actually work? Google is looking for information that users need – and that’s not just on web pages. Voice isn’t a fad, but it needs more work.


If your site doesn’t load in 6 seconds you’ve probably lost a customer

60% of web traffic is on a mobile device, and those users who have a bad experience are 60% less likely to buy from that brand in future.


The future of SEO is well and truly mobile: mobile first indexing matters, think structured data, page speed and usability.


4 core themes to content marketing

What are your 3 core objectives?

What is the value proposition?

What is the USP?

What is the consistent message?


And content doesn’t work unless its wanted and consumed by the right people, so think about:

  • Don’t create content for search engines, create content for your audience.
  • Max your creativity – get inspired and create ideas and content people want and need and find interesting and relevant. Identify trends and data – if it doesn’t exist and you think there’s appetite for it – create it.
  • Distribution matters – pushing content to your audience via a mix of owned, earned and paid channels and multimedia.
  • So does discovery – create content in a way that ensures people find it when they’re searching.



  • 40% of searches are moving to YouTube
  • 60% of people are still watching cat videos
  • 54% are watching ‘How to’ videos

And finally, Search Leeds rocks



Sources (and huge thanks to the presenters for such inspiring and useful talks): Kristal Ireland @kristalsmile (Virgin Trains East Coast), Jasper Bell @jasperbelluk (AmazeRealise), Steve Chambers (Stickyeyes), Dave Freeman @davefreeman (Treatwell), Lexi Mills @leximills (Shift6), Danny Blackburn @Danny_Blackburn (Stickyeyes), Stephen Kenwright @stekenwright (Branded3), Kelvin Newman @kelvinnewman (Brighton SEO), Jon Myers @JonDMyers (DeepCrawl), Kirsty Hulse @Kirsty_Hulse (ManyMinds), Gerry White @dergal (JustEat) and Branded 3 @Branded_3 for organising.

The future of digital content marketing? Top take outs from Search Leeds
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The future of digital content marketing? Top take outs from Search Leeds
Search Leeds is the biggest search marketing event in the North of England. Here's why - and my top content take outs from Search Leeds.
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