Search Scientist at the Smart Business Show
On Thursday 29th May the Search Scientist team attended Northern Ireland’s first Smart Business Show at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast. An innovative event designed at providing a platform for local businesses to network and discover smarter, more efficient ways to do business, it was encouraging to see such a great turn out and so many welcoming faces on arrival.
We started off with a walk around the arena to discover our new surroundings noting exhibitors from Microsoft and Google amongst many faces from around Belfast showcasing modern technologies and digital opportunities.
Among our favourites were the 3D printers and 84inch touch screens (as below).
Smart Businesses Zones were located throughout the arena, with recognised speakers giving insightful presentations on relevant business areas:
- Information, Communication & Technology
- Start, Growth & Management
Having successfully found our bearings, and dragging ourselves away from the cool 3D printer! Our next stop was the Smart Marketing Talk Zone where we caught some great informative presentations most notably from Barry Adams, Paul Adams and Google.
Highlights of the Smart Business Show
Our Favourite Presentations:
Paul Adams – Social Media ‘thinker’
Paul is considered one of the most important social media ‘thinkers’ and has impressive experience within the sector having worked for both Facebook and Google where he led a research team and was fundamental in the development of Google+. We were excited to hear Pauls talk and he didn’t disappoint.
Paul started off by stating that the term ‘social media’ doesn’t actually make sense and predicted that in the forthcoming years this particular term will disappear, he denounced Facebook as a website or an app and instead pointed to company’s such as Facebook being eco-systems where people go to check find out their friends are talking about and interact with likeminded people.
He pointed out the current fascination with getting people to ‘like’ you on social media or to ‘share’ your content and concluded this should not be outlined as goals or targets. Paul made some points that almost seem obvious but are extremely relevant and provide the foundations for successful on line engagement.
- People want to feel unique…. So make them feel special….
- People want to feel connected…. To belong to a group with substance
- People connect through lightweight interactions
The third point here is perhaps the most important; people respond best to short communicative interactions, asking questions and LISTENING to their answers, that make them feel involved and wanted. To get an idea of your target customers, try answering the following questions:
- Why are they talking?
- What are they about?
- Who are they talking with?
Successfully answering these 3 questions will help you engage and build relationships with your customers. How you appear and interact on News Feeds is much more important than how your business page is displayed. Do you click on to profile pages of a business or simply interact with them on your news feed?
Paul’s talk was very insightful and provided plenty of food for thought, not only the future of social but for the future of the internet.
It was another full house as the Google search quality engineers took centre stage in the Smart Marketing zone. There were a lot of curious faces in the audience and we suspect they all had one question in mind, how can I get my business to rank higher on Google? The Google team did provide some very useful pointers on what they look out for on a website.
- Describe your business in a concise, informative phrase
- Easy to read domain name for website and sub pages
- Unique meta descriptions and title tags
A useful area highlighted during this talk was the importance to help Google understand images and this can go a long way in google recognising your site.
- Give your images short, descriptive file names
- Write a short caption below each image
- Use “alt” attribute to describe image and help Google understand it
Google were also very much encouraging businesses to set up Google Webmaster Tools and to use the Data Highlighter tool within it.
Most importantly Google stressed the importance of keeping website content relevant and up to date. Provide your customers with up to date information that they need and Google will recognise this.
Quote of the day:
“The best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google… or the first page of Bing”, Barry Adams.
One important area that many speakers touched on during their presentations is the rapid growth of tablet and smart phone devices, where more and more users are now doing their online browsing, searching and purchasing. This is an area that is going to keep expanding and it is very important that your website is responsive and behaves the same on mobile devices.
Smart Business Show was a fantastic experience, with so many insightful keynote speakers and local businesses getting involved. This was the first time the show was held in Northern Ireland and we predict a strong future for the event.