The biggest search conference in the North of England. A free one-day event created to bring together the brightest and best of search. No sales pitches – just actionable advice in the UK’s SEO capital.



We have a fantastic line-up of speakers confirmed for this year’s conference. You will be learning from industry leading experts who’ll provide you with actionable SEO advice that can be applied to your business and your individual role.

We’ll be announcing additional speakers in the coming weeks so make sure you’re following us on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest SearchLeeds updates.

Purna Virji, Senior Manager of Global Engagement

Named by PPC Hero in 2016 as the #1 most influential PPC Expert in the world, Purna specializes in digital marketing, AI, and the future of search. With over fifteen years in the business, she is a regular keynote speaker at conferences across the globe such as AdWeek, The Next Web Conference and INBOUND. Purna is also a columnist for Search Engine Land and Moz. An award-winning former journalist, Purna was the CEO of Purview Marketing prior to joining the Bing Ads team. In her spare time, she’s an avid traveler, aspiring top chef and amateur knitter.

Title: Intelligent search and intelligent assistants: Exploring the AI-era of search
What it’s about: Search is metamorphosing. In this AI era, search engines are no longer about waiting for people to tell them what they need. Rather, it’s moving to where search can start to predict what you need, via intelligent assistants and conversational inputs. In this talk, Purna will share insights into how AI is changing how we behave as consumers and what we need to do as marketers to adapt. Attend this session to get a practical guide on what search marketers need to do in order to prepare.

Jon Myers, Chief Growth Officer

Jon is an experienced Digital leader with 19+ years’ experience, a dedication for which he was named Search Personality of the Year at the 2017 UK Search Awards. His diverse background includes SEO, PPC, Display, and Paid Social across large agencies, publisher-side with Yahoo, and more recently the Ad Technology space as VP and MD EMEA of Marin Software before joining DeepCrawl as Chief Growth Officer. Jon is active in the Search community, and most likely found charming audiences at conferences around the world, whether speaking, moderating, judging awards or sharing knowledge with the community.

John Rowley, Digital Marketing Manager

John Alexander Rowley has been passionate about helping businesses of all shapes and sizes improve their digital performance for almost 15 years. During this time he has helped shape the digital marketing strategies for multiple organisations across various sectors, most recently focusing on ecommerce growth at Thorntons as part of a €13b global organisation (Ferrero). John is accountable for over £1m in digital marketing overheads and manages an in-house team with expertise across Paid and organic search as well as Email/CRM, Affiliates, Social and Direct Mail.

Title: Creating a data-driven customer journey with personas and smarter investment
What it’s about: Today, the customer journey is a complicated matrix of multi-channel, hyper-targeted and in-the-moment marketing. So it’s no surprise that digital strategies rely heavily on data. Delivering fantastic commercials & loyal customers requires a data-driven marketing strategy to understand the customers you’re marketing to and how to invest in areas that really matter.

Stephen Kenwright, Strategy Director

Stephen is Strategy Director at St. Ives Group-owned Branded3 – the Best Large SEO Agency in the UK (according to the 2017 judges of the UK Search Awards), and is responsible for owned media, including search and analytics.  Stephen has presented at more than 100 industry events since joining Branded3 in 2012 and now organises the SearchLeeds conference, hosting hundreds of marketers from around Europe every year.

Title: Customer-centric search: serving people better for competitive advantage

Hannah Smith, Head of Creative
Verve Search

Hannah spent 7 years working in offline marketing (they just called it ‘marketing’ back then) until her fairy godmother told her that the internet was the future. Not one to ignore such sage advice, she made the switch to online in 2007. By day she’s Head of Creative at Verve Search, and by night she dreams of owning a book shop.

Title: What happens when a werewolf bites a goldfish?
What it’s about: For the past seven years Hannah’s been tasked with coming up with ideas which people will share and journalists will want to write about. The question she’s asked most often is “where do you get your ideas?” In this session she’ll reveal the genesis of a variety of successful creative campaign ideas, alongside a bunch of things she’s learned about creativity along the way.

Kelvin Newman, MD & Founder

Kelvin started arranging a pub meet-up for search marketers that’s now the world’s biggest search marketing conference – brightonSEO. More than 3500 people attend each event from 40 different countries and last time their free tickets sold out in less than five minutes. He’s a podcaster, writer and presenter interested in events, search marketing and how algorithms are influencing society.

Title: Three practical (and inventive) ways of pinching keyword insight from your competitors
What it’s about: A lot changes in SEO but one thing that hasn’t is the essential need to understand how your customers are searching and the words they’re using. This practical session will share some hands-on ways of taking keyword ideals from your SERP rivals.

Lexi Mills, Managing Director

Lexi is a multi-award winning digital marketing expert, specialising in integrating PR and SEO at both a strategic and tactical level. Her research work focuses on the opportunities, ethics and risks of machine learning and AI within the sector of internet search. She combines technical search algorithm knowledge and psychology to create data-driven measurable communications strategies that maximise influence on human behaviour.

Talk title: Advanced integrated influence strategy and tactics
Talk synopsis: The advancement of AI and machine learning in social and Google algorithms have created an enormous impact on consumer perceptions and behaviour. Lexi Mills will discuss how publishers are responding to this and in turn how we, as content marketers, should be adapting our tactics and strategies to continue to influence rankings and build links and brands in this environment.

Lexi will share her top integrating marketing tactics and strategies she uses to build links and create influence now and in the future. Alongside some advice on how to talk clients into signing off on PR SEO and content ideas.

She will conclude by looking at how these algorithmic changes are influencing the requirements for integrated marketing and the challenges they represent in getting new products and technologies to consumers.

Kirsty Hulse, Managing Director

Kirsty is the founder and Managing Director of Manyminds, a digital marketing agency that works exclusively with freelancers in remote teams across the world. With clients ranging from global blue chips to small start ups, Kirsty has truly disrupted the way companies outsource their marketing efforts. With over a decades experience defining SEO strategies for some of the world’s biggest brands, she is a recognised digital expert and has spoken at conferences across the world on digital, innovation, leadership and of course, links.

Title: Content marketing tips that won’t break the bank
What it’s about: Our customers, and the journalists, that we are trying to engage are expecting more and more from our content efforts. In a world of interactive graphics, quizzes and games, how can we create exciting and engaging content, that earns links and drives traffic, without a huge price tag? Kirsty will walk through practical and actionable steps on content marketing campaigns without the huge price tag.

Jon Greenhalgh, Director of Paid Media

Jon is Branded3’s Paid Media Director, having over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a strong track record of developing market leading digital products and growing agencies digital revenues. He has a real passion for developing the right digital strategy to help Branded3’s clients grow and to deliver best in class activation.

Title: How to grow in the most efficient way possible

Fili Wiese, SEO Expert

Fili Wiese is a renowned technical SEO expert, ex-Google engineer and was a senior technical lead in the Google Search Quality team. At he offers SEO consulting services with SEO audits, SEO workshops and successfully recovers websites from Google penalties.

Title: Structured data explained
What it’s about: Want to know how and which structured data to implement on your website? This no-hype session focuses on SEO tips that will help you move the needle. No complex theory but highly actionable SEO tips. This session will have SEO tips for all levels of experience. Join ex-Google engineer Fili Wiese to learn all about structured data and how to make it work for you and avoid common pitfalls. Having programmed websites and Google internal tools, Fili Wiese is the go-to guy when it comes to technical and international SEO.

Jill Quick, Founder
The Coloring in Department

Jill has been working in digital marketing since 2003 and is the Co Founder of The Coloring in Department. A professional digital marketing trainer who has taught thousands of people, across hundreds of companies, ranging from startup founders, SMEs to Fortune 500 Brands. Unfiltered, down to earth, with a goal to explain analytics and digital marketing concepts in a clear and digestible format. She has a knack in creating guided, practical, step-by-step, paint-by-numbers style templates to get you where you need to be, faster.

Title: Track campaigns like a bloodhound: How to make your marketing work harder
What it’s about: Tracking your campaigns is not a nice to have, it is critical, you need to know what is working and what is sucking. But what if I was to tell you that you may be doing your tracking all wrong? Would you feel nervous? A pang of panic? Have you made the right decisions? Did you back the wrong horse?

The good news. It is an easy fix, and you don’t need anything ‘technical’ apart from a knowing how Google Analytics works when it comes to putting your inbound traffic into the Acquisition reports.

This talk will show you how it all works, common mistakes and how to spot them, how to map out your channel planning in a repeatable process so you never have an issue with your campaign tracking. No more mistakes, no more backing the wrong marketing channel horse!

Bastian Grimm, Director Organic Search
Peak Ace

Bastian Grimm is Director Organic Search at Peak Ace and a renowned expert for large scale, international SEO. Having a background in software development and more than 15 years of experience in online marketing, Bastian still hugely enjoys all aspects of technical SEO. Peak Ace is an award winning, Berlin-based full service performance marketing agency with a strong focus on “all things search” serving clients in more than 20 different languages. Prior to running his own companies, he set up and trained in-house SEO teams for brands like Fox Mobile Group and oversaw their SEO activities in 25+ countries and for 100+ websites.

Title: International site speed: Going for super-speed around the globe
What it’s about: Especially in a mobile-first world, fast loading websites are of utmost importance. Also, Google has been very vocal about anything web performance in the last few years and is pushing hard to innovate repeatedly. But performance is so much more! User satisfaction should be the main goal because expectations are clear: You’ve got two to three seconds maximum to deliver, so make it count. During my talk I’ll be walking you through various advanced topics around web performance optimisation going way beyond Accelerated Mobile Pages (and other short-term solutions) to make any website really, really fast.

Dawn Anderson, International SEO Consultant
Move It Marketing

Besides being an international SEO Consultant and Search Strategist with a love of technical SEO with her agency Move It Marketing, Dawn is also a trainer and lectures at Manchester Metropolitan University. Over the past decade or so she has worked with industry leading brands and startups on SEO campaigns across fashion, luxury, legal, auto, travel, finance, telecoms, insurance and gambling.

Title: What Lies Beneath’ – ‘The Iceberg Approach’
What it’s about: We’ll take a look at ‘The Iceberg Approach to SEO’. As we move increasingly to an era of smaller screen search (or no screen), we need to consider ways to say more with less and communicate this to both search engines and users. We’ll explore semantics, the knowledge graph, schema and ontologies combined with UX as methods to pass themed ‘equivalence’ from below the surface of the site or the individual page.

Kristal Ireland, Head of Ecommerce and Retail Technology 
Virgin Trains East Coast

A specialist in digital transformation and technology strategy, Kristal is an award winning, strategic and experienced digital marketing expert. A regular digital conference speaker and industry commentator Kristal has worked in digital for over a decade developing digital solutions for some of the UK’s biggest brands. Now the Head of Ecommerce and Retail Technology for Virgin Trains East Coast, Kristal leads the retail technology roadmap for the rail operator across all major technology and marketing platforms

Title: Will robots destroy us all? Putting ethical debate back into the narrative about the future of AI
What it’s about: AI undoubtedly has the potential to unlock a paradigmatic shift in the way that humans live, work and love in the world we call home. But is enough attention being payed to the ethical considerations companies and brands need to make in the face of such a brave new world? So much of the narrative around AI is focused around ‘how we can’ as opposed to asking the much bigger questions of whether we even should.

Kristal Ireland heads up retail and technology strategy for Virgin Trains East Coast and holds a degree in the Philosophy of Technology, she will be discussing the ethical and philosophical challenges AI poses for brands and customers alike over the next 20 years. Kristal will be giving insight into the way Virgin Trains are assessing the potential impact of AI on its work force and customers and why ‘Doing the Right Thing’ is just as important as getting it done for the company.

Gerry White, Global Technical SEO Lead
Just Eat

Gerry White is an experienced Technical Marketer, who has been working within digital in one form or another for twenty years, recently working clientside for Just Eat as Global Technical SEO Lead, in his limited spare time, Gerry also helps run a round table event called Previously Gerry was Technical Director at an agency based in Brighton, analytics consultant at the BBC, search analyst for the Government and many more roles, you will often find Gerry in a pub arguing about the finer points of growth marketing.

Title: The past, present and future of Mobile
What it’s about: Everyone by now has realised that mobile has shifted from being a quick check when you are out of the house, to actually the primary device for many companies. Historically this presented challenges but rapidly it is developing into an opportunity as marketers can do far more as the opportunities within the mobile space will increase faster than any other source. Gerry’s talk will provide a brief look into what is happening in the future and whether you can cash in on this.

What skills will the next generation marketer and SEO consultant need to grow, to be ahead of the competition?

Andraz Stalec, Founder
Red Orbit

Andraž Štalec is the CEO and Co-founder of Red Orbit, the leading digital performance agency in Adriatic region. Data, analytics and performance run through his veins. He is also a European search awards judge, Google certified trainer and a regular speaker at major international digital marketing events.

Title: 5 false assumptions about your traffic
What it’s about: Analysing online traffic and making sense of all the data is something digital marketers do every day. After all we need to understand what’s going on in order to grow the business. Sometimes our assumptions are based on past experiences, sometimes we can support them with data, but quite often they are based on pure logic. Are they really? Over the years we’ve worked with numerous clients and learned that some assumptions are proven wrong more often than not.

Jasper Bell, Head of Commerce

Jasper brings twenty years of experience gained both agency and client side across digital marketing, strategy and commerce. He’s responsible for Amaze’s Commerce proposition and consulting activity across new and existing clients. Jasper has worked agency side at Modem Media, Redwood, Ogilvy and Glue, on brands such as GM, Hasbro and Unilever and client side heading up the Energy Saving Trust’s digital team and within Barclaycard managing a range of eCommerce channels. Jasper is a regular contributor to Amaze’s thought leadership agenda and speaks on a range of subject at events.

Title: Retailers … STOP thinking store, START thinking story
What it’s about: eCommerce started life as a straightforward click & buy distribution model but has evolved into a vast array of business models and a blurring between technology, content and customer experience. With marketplaces dominating access to consumers and content and experience as the new currencies how can brands and retailers go beyond simply fulfilling the sale to inspire the consumer and tell their stories? In this session we explore how brands and retailers need to maximise the value of content and in tandem trial new techniques and technologies to win over the customer.

Matt Holmes, Head of Search & Performance Media 

Matt is Head of Search & Performance Media at Distrelec – a European distributor of electronic components for engineers in the world of robotics, electronics design and automation. Formerly Head of Paid Search at Emirates, he specialises in guiding international, multi-lingual brands through times of digital transformation. Matt is passionate about pushing what’s possible in digital marketing through making the best use of tech, people, and processes.

Title: The International Paid Search Playbook
What it’s about: What’s the difference between a Superbowl-winning NFL team and a winning international PPC team? Not as much as you’d think. Combining his love of the NFL and experience running global campaigns for Distrelec and Emirates, Matt Holmes brings you his top 5 strategies for winning now and leading change for the future.

Julia Logan, SEO Consultant
IrishWonder’s SEO Consulting

Julia Logan has been involved in SEO since 2000. She is an SEO consultant at IrishWonder’s SEO Consulting helping clients large and small achieve success online. She has also been a speaker at a number of industry events.

Title: How to audit your site for security
What it’s about: Nobody likes a site with security issues – neither Google nor your visitors. (Hackers do but you probably don’t want to make their life easier at your expense, do you?) Making sure your site is secure can save you a lot of headache. Luckily, you don’t have to be an InfoSec whiz to do it – find out about some simple checks you could incorporate into your regular onsite audits to help make your site more secure.

Rachel Costello, Technical SEO Executive

Rachel is a Technical SEO Executive at DeepCrawl and spends her time researching and communicating the latest developments in Search, as well as driving the DeepCrawl brand forwards. Her origins were in the creative space, but her interest in the technical side of SEO was sparked early on. She has since been on a journey to research everything technical, while maintaining a keen interest in the written word, design and user experience. She started out in the industry doing content and social media, but noticed technical SEO work going on around her and asked, “Hey, that looks really interesting, can I have a go?” She has been working in the field ever since, in roles spanning in-house, agency-side and now within software.

Title: Stop confusing search engines with conflicting website signals
What it’s about: Are you sending mixed signals to Google? When canonicalisation, pagination, hreflang and mobile alternates aren’t implemented correctly, conflicting website signals will baffle search engines and leave them to make their own assumptions about your website and what’s important. In this talk, Rachel will share examples where a website’s signals can be ignored or overruled, leading to disastrous impacts on performance. Don’t leave anything to chance – be sure that the most important areas of your site are respected and given prioritisation when being indexed and shown to users.

Rob McGowan, Strategy Director

Rob’s focus is on identifying how Edit can use data, technology and creativity to drive business growth. Responsible for nurturing innovation, evolving our culture and developing our services, Rob working with the Edit team, identifies how new approaches and technology can bring benefit to the business and to Edit’s clients.

Sam Wright, Media Director

Sam is a multi-channel media expert, focusing in on using data to benefit Edit’s clients’ bottom line. Adept at drawing actionable insights from statistics and unlocking sustainable business growth for clients across multiple sectors, Sam is an expert in integrated cross-channel acquisition strategies which drive ROI and consumer action.

Chris Rowett, Performance Director
Journey Further

Chris Rowett is Performance Director at Journey Further, overseeing the agency’s team of PPC, Programmatic and Paid Social analysts. He has worked in digital his whole career, managing seven-figure media budgets for the likes of Matches Fashion, Virgin Holidays, Safestyle and Allianz. Chris is a regular speaker at industry events including BrightonSEO and Prolific North Live, with a focus on paid search and attribution.

Title: Supercharging Google Shopping
What it’s about: Build, enhance and optimise. From building powerful feeds to advanced analysis techniques and the latest tech, join Chris to learn the 3 steps to supercharging your Google Shopping campaigns.

Kristine Schachinger, CEO & Founder
Sites Without Walls

Kristine Schachinger has over 20 years digital experience including a focus on website design and implementation, accessibility standards and all aspects of website visibility involving SEO, social media and strategic planning. She additionally specializes in site health auditing, site forensics, technical SEO and site recovery planning especially when involving Google algorithms such as Penguin and Panda. Her twenty years in design and development and fourteen years in online marketing give her a depth and breadth of understanding that comes from a broad exposure to not only digital marketing, but the complete product life-cycle along with the underlying technology and processes. She is a well known international speaker, author, and can be found on LinkedIn.

Title: Entities, Search, and Rank Brain. How it works and why it matters
What it’s about: When Google switched form strings to things it also switched to entity based search. This session will discuss what entities are, where they come from, and how Google uses them. How did this change Search for us as SEOs and what do we need to know going forward. And no discussion would be complete if we did not discuss how Google uses Rank Brain to help better its understanding of these entities.

Danny Blackburn, Content Director

Danny is Content Director at digital agency Stickyeyes, part of IPG Mediabrands, with responsibility for content strategy for a wide range of clients including Staples, Hertz, and Tesco Bank. With extensive experience in journalism and content marketing, Danny has also worked on digital content with Asda and EE and was responsible for the digital and social media operation at the Press Association – the UK’s national news agency.

Title: Complete Content: A new model to drive SEO success and much, much more…
What it’s about: The days of gaming Google are long gone – in 2018 ‘good’ content is the key to driving SEO performance. But what does that actually look like? What types of content should you focus on? Complete Content is a simple new framework which will help you use content – in all its forms – to drive long-term SEO success. And as you’ll learn, it can deliver much, much more too.

Angus Hamilton, CTO
Search Laboratory

Angus is responsible for managing the team that develops Search Laboratory’s proprietary software. He also sets the strategic technical direction of the company; planning and delivering future developments required to support Search Laboratory’s global client portfolio. Angus has over 20 years’ experience in IT development and management. Before joining Search Laboratory Angus headed up a team developing legal software in Leeds, where he merged his law degree and passion for developing to build case management software and workflow systems for lawyers.

Title: Is attribution coming of age this year?
What it’s about: Marketers have known for some time that paid search, SEO and other marketing channels can no longer be evaluated as stand-alone investments. Yet many brands still struggle to find an attribution model that makes sense, and far too many still rely on first- or last-click models. In this session Angus will take a cold hard look at the mathematics behind attribution, and will provide insights into Google Attribution and Google Attribution 360.

Contact details

Marketing enquiries
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