Ahead of next month’s ionSearch, we spoke to organiser Fergus Clawson about his vision for the event, what we can look forward to and much more besides…
1. It’s the inaugural ionSearch event; obviously there are a range of search and digital events across the UK, so how do you see ionSearch differentiating itself?
That’s a good question. Rather than trying to explain why ionSearch is different to other conferences I will explain what ionSearch is and what it hopes to achieve.
ionSearch is an advanced search marketing conference where the speakers involved intend to push the boundaries and will explore all things SEM, with the agenda consisting of talks on SEO, Link Building, Content, Social and PPC. The day will consist of three main components; the Main Auditorium, the Experts Panels and the Search Tools suite.
The main auditorium will play host to the nine keynote speakers. Each speaker will have 40 minutes to present their thoughts and insights to the delegates. We feel that 40 minutes will allow the speakers enough time for them to delve deeper into their subject areas, allowing delegates to take away actionable skills from leading experts.
The expert panels will have set agendas, however the panel members will encourage audience participation. This will ensure there is a two way conversation between the audience and the panel. Key sessions include: SEO for Ecommerce, MY SEO Tool Kit, Killer Keyword Research, SEO Content Strategies, Creative Link Building Tactics, SEO for Ecommerce, Maximising ROI for high-turnover PPC Campaigns, How to Use Twitter, Facebook and G+ for SEO, Mobile SEO and SoLoMo and Black/Grey/White Hat – where do you Draw the Line? Plenty of room for debate, insight and discussion!
The Search tools suite will feature some of the latest SEO/PPC tool technologies. This type of a session can typically be a bit of a conference turn-off at risk of being directly pitched to. I can safely say however that the speakers in the tools suite will not be delivering a sales pitch, instead they will show how various tools can help maximise search campaigns. SEOs at the coal face know the need for good tools and without them their work would be a lot more laborious, less productive and less insightful; that’s why we feel it is important to include a room dedicated to search technology. Kenshoo, Wordtracker, Linkdex, CognitiveSEO, AnalyticsSEO and SearchMetrics will be in the tools suite so it’s a heavy weight line-up.
There will be also a Speakers’ Corner at ionSearch so there will be a chance for delegates to get onto their Search soap box.
Last but not least of course is the location. Currently there isn’t a midweek business-centred search conference in Leeds (our office in based in Leeds) and the North is a hotbed for Search Marketing so it makes sense to bring some of the top names in search and local talent together. We have set tickets prices as low as possible; we want delegates to feel they are getting excellent value for money. The conference won’t just be all work and no play, however! There will be an after party and plenty of networking opportunities.
We want delegates to go back to their various workplaces and feel they have been treated to a top end conference. Most importantly the delegates will use the knowledge obtained at ionSearch and hopefully implement much of it within their search campaigns (and come back in 2013 for more!).
The ionSearch Conference is building momentum and we’ve received lots of positive feedback from the wider search community. The team who run the SASCON conference, based in Manchester, are particularly helpful and we thank them for their support.
Use this discount code to get 10% off the standard ticket price: IONSEARCH10 – www.ionsearch.co.uk
2. What are the main sessions you’re looking forward to seeing yourself?
For the main keynote speakers it’s hard for me to favour a particular session as I know each speaker will bring something special to the table on the day. For example Nick Garner (Head of Search at Unibet) will run the G+ session with Matt Bush (Head of Agency at Google). Nick and Matt will go head to head and will explore G+ from a user and business point of view.
Lee Odden (CEO TopRankBlog) and Dave Snyder (CEO Steelcast) are both flying in from the US exclusively for ionSearch. I am really looking forward to what they both have to say. I’ve seen Martin MacDonald (SEO Director at Expedia) speak before and he didn’t disappoint so I’m sure his talk will be full of the latest insights and actionable advice. Of course I can’t forget Kevin Gibbons (SEOptimise), I haven’t seen Kevin talk yet but I’m sure he’ll deliver the goods.
The panels and tools sessions will be full of tips and tricks. The last panel of the day Black Hat/Grey Hat/ White Hat where do you draw the line featuring Martin Macdonald, Ralf Tegtmeier, Dave Snyder and David Towers will attract a big audience and any session with the words ‘black hat’ in it usually causes a stir.
3. What do you think have been the biggest game changers in search during the last 6 months and should be the key takeaways from the event?
I’ll tackle this from an SEO perspective. In my opinion the biggest game changers during the last six months are the following:
In terms of what people can expect to take away from the conference, all of the above points will be discussed in depth by leading experts. The day will focus around these changes and how the SEO industry and related techniques will respond to them, including content marketing, link building techniques, social media, mobile and tools. If you are looking to optimise a site for search this year, ionSearch will provide valuable, insightful and actionable takeaways whatever your level of expertise or niche.
4. The agenda looks great, with a nice mix between presentations, panels and tools – what type of audience is this aimed towards and why do you think people should attend?
The conference is ideal for anyone who has an interest and passion in search and wants to learn the latest tips, tricks and trends. The conference isn’t trying to be elitist and welcomes all corners of the digital community from one-man bands, agencies, in-house teams to directors and CEOs. The conference is aimed at the advanced level, however whether you’re a seasoned pro or an early adopter I expect everyone who attends ionSearch will take much valuable insight back to their office and will use this in their various search campaigns.
Why should people come to ionSearch? Well the line-up is fantastic, it’s fairly priced, it will offer the latest advanced tips in search marketing, it’s in the centre of Leeds, hosted in a great venue, Google will be there, there’s networking, tasty food, it’s a no brainer! Hope to see you there…