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Last week the Systemato team was invited to a conference/meeting at Google’s St Giles offices in London. It was held by the Google Affiliate Network, a team which is ramping up business in the UK at the moment. Getting there we asked a police officer where the Google offices were, and although he wasn’t certain, he was right to direct us to ‘look for a funky building, because if it’s Google it’s got to be funky‘.

He couldn’t have been more correct of course. One very interesting fact about the building is the lifts, which you don’t call as much order a lift by pressing which floor you want to go to instead of the call button, and then you’re simply told which lift from the 8 you should get into.

At the Google Offices in St Giles, London


There were three talks in the conference, and an introduction from the head of the GAN team, a very affable American by name of Tony.

1: Content with a view to Google

Pierre Far from the Google Webmaster team spoke about content. He surmised that your content should be ‘something you can do better than competitors or that the market is missing.‘ They key is then to make it discoverable, whatever your means may be – search, word of mouth, ads, social media etc.

Pierre said to ask yourself these questions –

  • Who are your users, and what can you do for them?
  • Can you describe your users?
  • What do you know? Specifically, what do you know about your competitors, and their users?

The answers to those questions can greatly help you to create unique, exciting and compelling content which is relevant to your users and which will be highly rewarded by the search engines. According to Pierre Far, it is always best to think of your content in terms of what value it gives the user.

2: Making money from YouTube

After Pierre Far, Nick Hayward from the YouTube team talked about Video Content Monetisation, basically, about how to make money from your videos.

For a start, especially when talking about ‘viral video, you need to think in terms of universal concepts or emotions, as these are the ones that work best. That’s why baby videos and fail videos are so popular. Think of the last viral video you watched. Was there some concept of universal emotion to it? Most probably there was.

After talking at length about some of the advertising options available for YouTube (which I won’t cover here, but if you want to learn more about those, get in touch here), Nick was so good as to share one very compelling statistic about YouTube usage, namely that –

1 in 6 use YouTube for product demos and reviews

Needless to say this is very interesting for bloggers and people with unique content for a huge variety of niches.

3: Get social with Google+

After Nick, it was social’s time to shine, and so, the Google speaker this time was the awesomely funny Harry Davies from the Google + team.

Although still arguably in its infancy, the masterplan with Google + is essentially to create a human social layer on the web. When you think about it, when you ask about a restaurant or a movie on Facebook you’re obviously asking your network about it. In the very near future, every Google search you make will carry with it these social tips, for example, if I google an artist name and a friend of mine has plus one’d it, I would see that recommendation.

An interesting figure which was mentioned here was that although a third of people are influenced by search, yet another third are influenced by personal recommendation, and more importantly for people who are concerned with the online world, social recommendations increased CTRs by 5 – 10%, which is massive given the tiny amount of work you put in to harness them!


All in all an excellent way to spend an afternoon basking in the knowledge of some awesome people at Google, as well as grabbing a beer with them after. Look forward to the next one where I will doubtless have more irritating and tricky questions for the Google guest speakers!

Mark Debono

Author Mark Debono

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