ionSearch: The Future of SEO’s and Superheroes

PushON | April 19th 2013


SEO’s are online marketing Superheroes

This was perhaps the stand out quote to take away from day one of the ionSearch conference in Leeds. The PushON team made the trip over yesterday for the first half of the two day event, organised by Blueclaw, to listen to experts in the search world who had travelled much further, from Germany, Canada and the US.

The theme of the day was very much the future of SEO and Search, with discussions on how to move forward from the Penguin and Panda updates that have impacted the industry. This was centred around both a cleaner, content led approach, as well as some reputation management for SEO’s – particularly those who are wrongly labelled spammers!

BIG Data was the buzzword in the keynote from SEOmoz’s @AndrewDumont who kicked off the day with why we should be looking at a wider range of reporting data (or BIG data!) than just the basic website metrics. He suggested a range of tools that he uses to report on important social data, and briefly mentioned a related secret project that SEOmoz are working on – you can find out a little more about this and sign up for updates at

The day was split into three tracks, with workshops and expert panels running alongside the main speakers. These discussions covered the day’s theme of SEO recovery and future plans, with the first panel talking about link removal and Google penalties. There was some great advice to be taken from this, notably DON’T PANIC and rush into using the disavow tool prematurely. Further panels looked at using content to drive conversions and thoughts about ‘what makes a great link’. Kelvin Newman revealed one of the proudest links he’s built – from PR9 site – or “the inventors of the internet!” as he more delicately put it!

Without a doubt the highlights of the day was the presentation by animated German Marcus Tandler (@mediadonis), in which he led us through 477 slides in less than 45 minutes (honest!!) Marcus put some answers to the question ‘what’s next in search?’ and whilst it was hard to take detailed notes as he jumped from slide to slide of amusing Matt Cutts quotes and images, he made some important points about the  need to continuously producing new linkable content, as search is time sensitive and subject to trends. A thoroughly entertaining presentation though, and I look forward to attending his event in Munich later this year – SEOktoberfest!

The final, and much anticipated, talk of the day was delivered by Martin Macdonald, finely titled “Why I’m quitting SEO” (he isn’t..) Martin ran us through the issues that we as SEO’s are facing, due to bad exposure after penguin and panda updates, which have tarnished the industry with the tag of spammers. This is where he delivered the stand out quote from the day – “SEO’s are online marketing Superheroes”. Martin’s point was that SEO’s ‘get the net’ (another favourite line) and will be responsible for managing the reputation of SEO and encouraging people that our future SEO work is clean, creative and capable of delivering great results. The only outstanding question was what we will be called? Growth hackers, inbound marketers and content marketers were all mentioned, before Martin ended on his belief that one day SEO’s will have taken over all the top marketing jobs and world! Watch this space..

Notable mentions also go to Shain Shapiro, who revealed the secrets of Hootsuite’s social community and #hootups, as well as Nichola Stott and Ross Hudgens, who hosted fantastic talks on link building strategies rapid-fire content marketing.

As is tradition with these SEO events, we headed to the nearest bars for a much needed drink after a long day of talks, before we all met up again at Tiger Tiger in Leeds for more drinks and a social! It was a shame that the PushON crew had to leave at a reasonable time to come back to Manchester but I’m sure the rest of the night was enjoyed by all! No doubt there’ll be some bleary eyes at the second half of the event today (which we’re disappointed to be missing!) focusing a bit more on Social Media alongside SEO.

Big thanks to all at Blueclaw and the sponsors of ionSearch for a great, and incredibly entertaining and thought provoking day. See you all at SASCon!