In early 2019 we launched the ReadingSEO Meetup – with seven events hosted so far, popularity grew quickly for our event in Reading – the hometown of Blue Array – which always promises some amazing, expert SEO speakers (as well as the pizza, beer, and great company that comes with them). With this in mind, we decided to take the plunge and also start hosting a set of monthly meetups in London.
Hosting our SEO Meetup in London meant getting a bigger venue (thanks to TechUK) in a central location, close to Farringdon. With talks from Areej AbuAli, Tom Pool, Luke Carthy, and Lisa Luu, our first (and sold out) London event was set to be a showstopper from the start.
Having been an attendee of ReadingSEO for a few months, I was keen to head to our premier LondonSEO Meetup ready to mingle, learn, and maybe have some pizza and beer. We saw some other ReadingSEO regulars, plus a heap of new faces, and got to network and catch up between talks.
Areej AbuAli, BigQuery & SQL for SEOs
First up, we had Areej AbuAli, speaking on Big Query & SQL for SEOs.
Not only is Areej an SEO Manager at Zoopla, but she’s the founder of Women in Tech SEO – a global community for women in the technical SEO field which aims to get its members to support, empower, and learn from each other.
For those who are unfamiliar, BigQuery is an enterprise data warehouse that stores and queries massive datasets by enabling super-fast SQL queries using the processing power of Google’s infrastructure. AKA, according to Areej; “It’s a thing that will help you analyse massive datasets quickly and easily via SQL” (SQL is a language used for extracting and analysing data stored in databases – it’s faster than using Excel as the data is stored separately).
Key takeaways from Areej’s talk included:
- “It’s all about learning to feel comfortable with the uncomfortable.”
- SEOs can use BigQuery & SQL to handle large datasets without dealing with the pain of Excel or Google Sheets crashing.
- Areej covered a number of basic SQL queries: SELECT, FROM, WHERE, ORDER BY, and LIMIT.
- Google’s documentation on SQL is very comprehensive, and covers it in so much more detail than we can!
As well as a host of knowledge, Areej provided attendees with a handful of scripts to get started with BigQuery and SQL (which you can find in her slides here!).
Tom Pool, How to make any site blazing fast!!!
After Areej’s talk, Blue Array’s Technical SEO Director Tom Pool talked us through How to make any site blazing fast!!! (he told me I had to leave in all three exclamation marks).
Tom assists the Blue Array team on a day-to-day basis with pretty much anything technical, became the youngest ever Brighton SEO speaker when he first spoke at the conference in April 2018, and even won UK Young Search Professional of the Year at the UK Search Awards in 2019.
In Tom’s talk, he covered how to improve site speed with improvements besides the standard recommendations.
Key takeaways from Tom’s talk included:
- “Being an SEO has ruined the entire web experience for me. I want to test everything.”
- HTTP/3, though only currently available to Cloudflare customers, minimises the number of requests to a server, and cuts out a bunch of time.
- Minimise and optimise requests to improve page speed even further.
- Lazy loading will reduce initial page size, initial load time, and just generally makes a page faster.
- On the hardware side, “you can power a clock with a spud, but not a blazing fast site (yet).” Upgrade your host if needed, and make sure your server is up to date.
Find Tom’s slides here.
Luke Carthy, How to Find Killer eCommerce CRO & UX Gems with Google Analytics
After a short interval full of catch-ups, pizza, and beer, we settled down for our third talk of the evening; How to Find Killer eCommerce CRO & UX Gems with Google Analytics, from Luke Carthy. Luke is a freelance eCommerce guru who talks about eCommerce SEO, CRO, and sales growth.
Key takeaways from Luke’s talk included:
- Using custom definitions, dimensions and error messages in Google Analytics makes it easier to find where eCommerce sites have lost out on sales (e.g. payment methods declined).
- Having these stats means that you have an idea of lost revenue, and provides devs with problems in the site that you might not have known about otherwise.
- Custom events in GA can be used to power goals, and help you find out things like what items customers are looking for on your site that you don’t sell.
You can check out Luke’s slides here.
Lisa Luu, 4 Search Trends and Tips for 2020
Our final speaker was Lisa Luu from Hitwise, who talked us through 4 Search Trends and Tips for 2020. This covered how different age groups contradict themselves in search, how Amazon is catching up with Google as a search provider, and how whilst mobile is preferred for site visits, this doesn’t necessarily relate to how purchases are made.
Key takeaways from Lisa’s talk included:
- Search is the best source for competitor and customer intelligence. From there, you can look for needs, aspirations and contradictions among potential customers.
- Where & how we search is changing. Amazon should always be on your radar, and expect more transactions on mobile.
- Hone into your intent-based audiences by identifying browsers through search.
- Track what competitors you’re losing customers to and why, and look for gaps to win them back.
Find out more on Lisa’s slides here.
Thank you to everyone who attended our first (of many) LondonSEOMeetups! You can visit the website to grab a ticket for February’s event, but be quick – spaces are going fast!
See you next month!