STAT is one of our favourite SEO tools, providing us a huge amount of insight and data into the ranking performance of our clients and their competitive landscape.
We’re always really happy to work with STAT and have done on various occasions, including our very own Edd Wilson appearing at STAT’s big event “City Crawl” in London last year.
Last night, I (Laura Hampton) spoke at the STAT City Crawl event, held at The Whitworth art gallery in Manchester city centre. I delivered a talk entitled ‘Digitally Marketing a Digital Marketing Agency’, alongside three other industry experts who shared their own experiences and brand new data with the audience of around 20 digital marketers. This is my review of the event.
What we learned at STAT City Crawl Manchester
It’s the first time STAT has taken its City Crawl event to Manchester, and only the second or third time they’ve run the event at all.
The idea of the event is to bring together a small group of marketers, intimate enough to allow everyone to contribute, but large enough to give a range of people to meet. Being a relatively young conference, it attracts a different crowd, and different speakers, meaning the range and topical focus of talks was very different to those we’d expect to see on the usual conference circuit.
Alexander Darwin – Twentysix Digital
Alexander was the first speaker of the night, who spoke on the subject of links.
Links, he explained, are still an essential component of digital marketing – which, of course, we all know – but context, he suggested, could say more about your brand than anything else.
What Alexander was suggesting was that the context within which our links are placed have a large influence over the way our brand is perceived and therefore ranked. The contextual relevant of our brand to other entities or topics is in large part dictated by our backlink profiles – so be sure to review your backlink profile frequently!
As I spoke about in my talk, links are all about showing what group you’re part of – essentially, who are the kids you hang out with in your neighbourhood, and what do those relationships say about you? Being aware of the meaning of those relationships will help you to make better decisions on the link targets you have and the broader marketing activities you engage in to develop those links.
Derek Gleason – Workshop Digital
Derek joined us all the way from Sierra Leone, to share his awesome insights into the value of brand in search marketing.
As Derek explained, SEOs have typically either ignored brand, or allowed it to exist alongside SEO but with little integration. Forward thinking marketers, he argued, need to be aware of the necessity of brand and its importance in developing search rankings and CTRs.
He shared with us an example from Berkshire Hathaway, a website which, in all honesty, really shouldn’t be ranking at all if design is any way as important as we are led to believe but somehow, it gets a lot of visibility because of the equity of its brand. By that, Derek meant the broad range of activities in which the business has partaken in order to grow into one of the biggest brands in the US, but also the backlink profile which indicates that branded terms have long been cited alongside key search queries in anchor text, leading to the site ranking for such a broad array of high volume keywords.
Derek’s key takeaway? Invest in your brand, see search results.
John Campbell – Roast
John was our final speaker of the evening, and he presented a large scale, big data experiment his agency has been conducting in recent months.
Keen to understand what he needed to do to get his clients to achieve placement in voice search, John and his team have invested in analysis of over 10,000 search queries across 22 verticals to assess the trends and insights that could be derived.
Aside from being, in all honesty, pretty sad that we didn’t think to do this first, we were totally inspired by the approach the experiment had taken and the depth into which they were slicing that data for even greater insight. Look out for their full report on the Roast site very soon.
Laura Hampton – Impression
I was the third of the four speakers, and I talked about how we’ve grown our agency from a tiny start up to what STAT called us – “one of the UK’s most renowned marketing brands”.
It’s been an exciting journey that’s allowed us to flex our marketing muscles in all the disciplines we also offer to our clients (SEO, PPC, PR, CRO, web) and on top of that, to do some more traditional marketing like offline events, awards, even leaflets, to do what Derek described and build our brand equity.
My key takeaway was that agencies need to apply time to their own marketing and give it the respect it deserves, treating it as a (albeit non-paying) client. Our own marketing is where we innovate and showcase the very best of what we can do.
I wrote a follow up post over on LinkedIn about why I felt it was appropriate to share all of our marketing secrets with our competitors…
Slides from STAT City Crawl Manchester
Here are the slides from the speakers: