Now in its seventh year, SAScon is a search, analytics and social conference which takes place each June in Manchester, featuring some of Europe’s leading speakers.

SEO and content marketer, Kayleigh Conway, was there this year and she picked up no less than 205 nifty tips and tricks for improving your digital marketing in 2016:

Day One

Keynote 1

by Jim Banks, Director of Paid Media, Groove

Jim Banks

1. Don’t name your PPC campaigns and include keywords in your UTM parameters unless you want to throw your competitors a curveball

2. Just because the search engines tell you to do something it doesn’t mean you should; look at the time you invest versus the return it’ll bring

3. Always use a dedicated PPC landing page and cut out the fluff to bring your quality score and conversions up

4. Don’t just import Google to Bing; use Bing as a loss leader and for when you can’t afford Google AdWords

5. If remarketing feels creepy, you’re doing it wrong

6. If you’re not getting cease and desist letters, you’re not trying hard enough

7. Be friendly with the search engines and try to get on Betas as a cost-effective way to test hypothesis

8. Cross-device tracking is set to get better; Google may just crack it

9. Virtual reality ads, social growth and Bing growth will be the next big things

10. Apps allow brands to bypass the search engines and bring traffic directly to them

Creativity and Data – A Winning Content Formula

by Stacey MacNaught, Tecmark

Stacey MacNaught

11. You can’t come at content marketing as an aggressive link builder

12. Data can come from surveys, proprietary data, Freedom of Information data, Analytics, third party scraping

13. Content found through longtail search can assist in the sales process, whether an instant conversion or retargeting leads

14. Tweets and Facebook shares are not winning; national press mentions are winning

15. National press coverage not winning without links off the back of it

16. To get coverage AND links you need good data, a linkable asset and a compelling story

17. You need to be a credible and impartial source, completely transparent with your data as well as timely

18. If your client thinks they have none of their own data, ask the RIGHT questions about customer behaviour etc

19. 2,000+ survey respondents will help you break it down by region to target local and regional press – easier to get coverage than nationals

20. You need backup questions in your surveys – people will always respond in unexpected ways

21. Have your headline in mind but expect that to change too

22. If using third party data, you need to find a new angle to it and turn it into a story nobody expects

23. Case studies bring a human element to your data – no one cares about the numbers, case studies make it an easy sell

24. Don’t underestimate your budget and time for promotion – plan this from the beginning

25. Buy consulting time from journalists to present their latest bug bears about press releases and have them tear yours to shreds

26. Sanity check your ideas – has it been done before and is it really a good idea?

27. Test content on places like Reddit where people won’t be afraid to tell you what they really think

28. Your Nan will always love everything you do – ask someone who doesn’t need you to like them for the truth

Influencing influencers for your brand

by Steve Bartlett, CEO, Social Chain

Steven Bartlett

29. It’s not just about what we own, it’s about what we know

30. Word of mouth recommendations still the most powerful form of marketing

31. Social proving studies show time and time again that people will copy what they think the majority are doing

32. Millennials like to think of themselves as non-conformists but really they still conform

33. If 50 influencers post about a product at once it has the power to sell out

34. Consumers are increasingly rejecting ads and prefer to learn through content – native advertising should not disrupt this experience

35. Ripple effect – if an influencer likes the product they will feel a stronger affinity to your brand, go on to buy from you, post unpaid endorsements and naturally evangelise your brand

36. Look at influencer engagement; brands tend to go for bigger celebrities but follower numbers aren’t as important

37. Map your audience and how many times they will see a brand message from X number of influencers on X number of channels

38. Emotions drive social sharing – the worst emotion you can invoke is indifference

39. Use reverse psychology, perceived limited supply and FOMO to get your message trending

40. Don’t underestimate the power of telling people to tag a friend

41. People are unsure how to use new platforms like Snapchat and Periscope – use disruptive campaigns to get them to follow you from one platform to another e.g. treasure hunts

42. Take the perceived value of the prize, perceived likelihood of winning and your credibility to drive engagement

43. If the barrier for entry to competitions is high, make it fun to take part

44. Brands need to let influencers say it their way – brand wording sounds unnatural and doesn’t resonate

45. See Snapchat like a TV series – the message needs to be compelling, consistent and an ongoing story

How to Perform a technical SEO audit

by Barry Adams, Founder, Polemic Digital

Barry Adams

46. Site security not optional; site hacked for 1.5 hours got de-indexed, security now under remit of SEO


Native Advertising – Not as new as you think

by Francis Turner, UK Managing Director & CRO, Adyoulike & James Hart, Founder, Head & Hart

Francis Turner

47. Sponsored content with an ad alongside it works incredibly well

48. However, brands don’t always have a place in sponsored publishing e.g. religious propaganda

49. People are busy, they don’t care about ads

50. Your brand can’t be considered if you haven’t been noticed

51. As consumers pay less for publishing we get noisier ads

52. Brands who are native endure

53. Native is culture – when a brand blends in, listens, connects authentically

54. When people forget they’re being sold to, they become more likely to buy

55. Get people together, create a conversation, talk with them – culture brings people together, not advertising

56. Use technology to listen to what people are talking about before you start talking

57. People don’t care if content is paid for, so long as it’s disclosed and adds value

58. Shorter headlines are starting to do better than long, due to mobile

59. The more creatives you have working on native advertising, the more engagement you get

Social Commerce – Move over search, social commerce is here

by Ann Stanley, Co-founder & MD, Anicca Digital, Samantha Hearn, Head of Social Media, Anicca Digital, &Rob Hughes, Head of Earned Media, JD Williams

Ann StanleyRob Hughes







60. Social brings less traffic but it’s growing rapidly and doesn’t get enough credit for assists etc

61. People don’t go on Facebook to shop – but Pinterest users have more shopping intent

62. Not many brands are taking advantage of dynamic remarketing on Instagram

63. They also aren’t using Rich Pins on Pinterest which allow shoppers to buy without leaving the platform

64. 80% of Pinterest content is repins – opportunity to increase your reach with buyable Pins which automatically update

65. Twitter’s dynamic marketing is working very well

66. Buy button tips for social: keep product value low t build trust and educate customers that their data is safe

67. Tailor Pin boards with keyword research and commercial strategy

68. Update dead links to avoid losing out n customers months and years after initial posts go live

69. Social shopping sites with peer-to-peer recommendations like PolyVore have users who are highly engaged and ready to buy

70. Leverage influencers sharing products similar to yours and people already sharing your products

71. Use paid features to boost your most shared products

72. Audit your audience and platform first to find out where your audience are

73. If you’re going to do social, do it right and invest in it first

The UK digital consumer, 2020

by Paul Lee, Partner, Global Head of Research, Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Deloitte

Paul Lee

74. People like the idea of change but don’t like the reality of it

75. Internet speeds will continue to grow in next 5-10 years – but consumer demand is insatiable

76. NYC is replacing phone boxes with WiFi hot spots – gets consumers used to high speeds and makes them want it when they go back to their home/hotel connection

77. Faster speeds = more content can be downloaded as well as ads and trackers

78. Cloud storage is getting full of content we’ll never watch again

79. Live streaming security/cat watch webcams will increase – how will ads impact this?

80. 360-degree and VR cameras will increase data usage – good as a compliment to existing ad campaigns

81. Smartphone users, particularly younger users, are making fewer calls

82. Instant messaging is going up and young people go wherever their parents aren’t where they don’t feel monitored

83. Tech is being used to hide shyness and get out of making a call – restaurants are using it to automate ordering to turn tables faster

84. Bots conversations – using tech for the sake of tech?

85. Completions on desktop and tablets are higher than mobile – predict that pre-populating checkout process and use of fingerprint authentication will become more utilised

86. Fingerprints can authorise payments in seconds, enable impulse purchasing and enable TV ads to result in transactions before ad has even ended

87. VR has several barriers to overcome – much more expensive to buy into and less used than smartphones

88. People consume entertainment together – VR headsets shut everyone out

89. TV could be the new publishing as ad blockers drive advertisers elsewhere

Keynote 2: Beyond mobile – Our coming lives in spatial computing

by Robert Scoble, Futurist, Rackspace

Robert Scoble90. Spatial is the fourth user interface; with each change comes a paradigm shift where large companies disappear

91. AR glasses are evolving very quickly and everyone will eventually wear glasses

92. Screens will be virtualised; smaller workspaces and less expensive monitors

93. We won’t need SIM cards or phone companies in 5 years

94. The tether on VR glasses will be gone in 18 months

95. VR engagement is as long as 19 minutes+ per session

96. AR filters are being developed by cosmetics companies to sell to consumers

97. Deep cultural changes will come with the uptake of AR and VR

98. The glasses will be able to control your house, self-driving car etc.

99. Everything is going to have the IoT in it

Day Two

Keynote 1

by Marty Weintraub, Founder & Evangelist of aimClear

Marty Weintraub

100. Being a marketer is heaven or hell depending on how good you are

101. You can buy native content for SEO so long as the links are nofollow

102. Find authoritative websites in your niche then use site: to see if they run sponsored posts

103. Google indexes paid-for posts so long as the links aren’t paid for

104. Why suffer with SEO when you can just buy it?

105. Facebook advertising, you can target people now based on their likes AND whether they have money

106. You can exclude people who search for free stuff – don’t bother marketing to people who don’t want to pay for things

107. Add in psychographic layers – purchase behaviours or intents

108. Twitter is more lenient in what you can market

109. Beacons allow you to gather data and market to devices nearby

110. Filter retargeting

111. Specificity is the enemy of scale – algorithms want to go broader

112. Keywords are getting too expensive; we need to find the cheapest way of capturing clicks and then retarget them

113. We need to stop worrying about last-click conversions; it’s a two-step process and we need to refine our audiences

114. If you want amplification budget, drive people to your content then run keyword campaigns to those people and compare results to running keyword campaigns generally online

115. Need to get creative with retargeting and segmenting your audience – don’t retarget with general messages

116. Influence the influencers – use filtered targeting to market your content to journalists

Paid Social and the Quest for Creativity

by Laura Thomas, Head of Online Display, MediaCom

Laura Thomas

117. When everything is measured, is our creativity restricted?

118. We are tied to direct response and one-click conversions

119. Facebook has given users power to instantly feedback on rubbish creative

120. We’re far more accountable now

121. This needs to empower us as social advertisers

122. We know more about our audience and have more creative options than we ever have before

123. Take third party data, social media network data and your own data to create lists and lookalike lists to target

124. You don’t need to have a presence on the social media platform anymore, you can straight up buy advertising space and still have an impact

125. More and more people are watching video without sound – split test with and without subtitles

126. Use beacons to follow users with OOH advertising and provide an experience

Gen Z, Millennials and Media

by Kristal Ireland, Head of Social, twentysix

Kristal Ireland

127. Millennials and Gen Z get a hard time in the media

128. Described as self-obsessed, overweight, lazy, self-entitled

129. Millennials is just a term marketers use to talk to other marketers

130. Grouping a huge amount of people into one demographic – much more complex than that

131. 5 tribes of millennials: Influencers, Adopters, Apprentices, Entertained and Contented

132. Why do marketers want millennials? Millennials have some disposable income, but not as much as older generations

133. Brands trying to appease their demand for slick user experience

134. Look to official statistics, not small-scale data and calm down about chasing millennials

135. What can brands do? Be authentic, talk to customers as a real person

136. Or… Stick your product on a Kardashian

137. 70% of millennials consider a brand’s ethics when making a purchase

138. Young people have a knack of spotting insincerity

139. Make meaningful contributions, not hollow statements jumping on the CSR bandwagon

140. If you’re going to target the kids, always make sure you test it on them first

Creative campaigns for SEO: Why, not how

by Lisa Myers, CEO & Founder, Verve Search

Lisa Myers

141. People don’t buy what you do but why you do it

142. Facts and figures don’t drive behaviour – what you do is just proof of why you do it

143. Ideas needs to be simple enough to stick and meaningful enough to make a difference

144. “Plans just don’t work in the battlefield”

145. Add layers of authority and go beyond your original plan if the opportunity arises

146. Collaborate and build out to make an authentic and useful piece of content

147. Data and emotions are your friends

148. The execution of data pieces is what counts; make it accessible for consumers

149. Nostalgia and history + technology = sweet spot

150. How you think and react to situations determines your success, not your IQ or your upbringing

151. Instead of how, think why – do the things you care about and have passion

152. It’s not about the SEO tools you use or what you know – you need to have the right mindset to get those links from the nationals

Determining the Appropriate Channel to promote your content

by Joanna Parnell, Managing Partner, MEC & Rick Guttridge, Managing Director, Smoking Gun PR

153. It’s about the context and attention span

154. It has to be relevant – can be based on someone’s search behaviour

155. Need to look at audience strategy in relation to content

156. Brands operate in the active stage of consumers looking to buy, but we need to be aware of what people need in the passive stage

157. Yes we need strategies in place for each social network, but don’t follow the herd – it’s already a crowded marketplace out there

158. Standing out with your content and having a point of view is important

159. It’s the behavioural data you need to utilise from a content perspective

160. What content is most engaged with

161. In the passive stage we have great scope to be creative and push people to purchase faster

162. Measure and learn from a content perspective, not a media perspective and how people are responding to

163. Go where consumers are spending their time; don’t dilute your budget

164. Ideas without measurement and application is ‘fluffy PR’

165. Work with superfans to create the content for you then promote their content

166. Rehash your content over and over for different channels

167. Work linear with processes but also lateral with ideas

Is Generic SEO dead?

by Mike McDougall, Head of SEO, Stickyeyes, Stephen Kenwright, Director of Search Branded3, Ryan McKay, SEO director, MediaCom, Barry Adams, Founder, Polemic Digital & Lisa Myers, CEO & Founder, Verve Search

168. The core technical SEO hasn’t changed, it’s the linking algorithms forcing people to be classier with their strategies

169. SEO used to be easy; stuffing keywords used to actually work but it’s more fun now earning it

170. If you want to use shortcuts you have to be a lot smarter about it

171. How much time you have to spend with a client is now much greater

172. You used to have best practice and then the links came once you hit the ceiling – now you can do new technical things that no one else is doing

173. Links are harder to get and technical has its opportunities

174. The best advice is don’t listen to what Google says!

175. It’s challenging to find SEO people who are creative and understand the tech side

176. You don’t have general digital marketers anymore – it’s okay to hyperspecialise

177. Teams are increasingly being restructured to specialise by team; no more general link building teams with people who do everything

178. Tracking and analysing and proving your worth to clients has become more difficult

179. You’ll always have clients who don’t want to buy into SEO or argue with the data – just let them go and watch their results drop

180. SEO steps on the toes of PR and brings its own challenges – SEO as a role is becoming murkier

181. Need to guide PRs on creating SEO assets and why they’re important but also to let the PRs do their thing

182. Broken link building and quick wins breeds thinking that link building can be done for free at great scale

183. PR agencies are missing a trick not taking advantage of including SEO

184. Stop counting number of links – go for the high-quality ones every time

185. Use a rounder measurement strategy – don’t just measure SEO impact but engagement too

186. Why would you waste time writing one article and getting one link doing guest blogging when you can make one piece of great content and get loads of great links

Measurement and accountability of content investments

by Sam Brown, Digital Marketing Manager, & Chris Green, Head of Search, StrategiQ & Olga Gabdulkhakova, Head of Social, SEMrush & Tom Mansell, Owned Media Account Director, iProspect

187. Marketers don’t know what to measure, measure the wrong things or don’t see the impact their marketing has

188. 52% of marketers struggle to measure ROI of content marketing yet 51% are still going to increase spend

189. Content marketing is reaching a production vs performance plateau

190. But need to stop throwing loads at the wall and seeing what sticks

191. It’s more than blogging, links, citations and social shares

192. It’s about business objectives and measuring our success

193. Collaboration is key: 61% of the most effective teams meet daily/weekly

194. Regular roundtables with stakeholders

195. Have an agenda and objective

196. Pull in previous data, be agile, understand what’s working and what needs to change

197. Ditch the vanity metrics that look good but don’t tell you anything about business objectives

198. Take holistic approach to how search, social and content performance attribute back to business objectives

199. Tracking events at key consumption moments is more valuable than average time on page

200. Track the interactions that drive sales

201. Thinking of content marketing as direct lead generation is where content marketing fails most

202. Engagement with site content, repeat visits, attribution model etc. much more useful

203. Track ALL the things

204. Invest in tracking how content is being consumed

205. Use this to prove value and produce better content

This post was written and edited on the day of the event, so please forgive any spelling or grammar mistakes. If you spot any, please feel free to email

Kayleigh Conway

Kayleigh is a member of the link building team and is involved with Receptional’s SEOand Content projects. With a degree in Criminology and an NCTJ diploma in magazine journalism, Kayleigh is a former trade journalist. When not at work Kayleigh can be found hanging out on Instagram with eco-friendly brands.

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205 Tips And Tricks From SAScon
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