Digibate: The Search Continues


The third in the series of Aegis Media Thought Leadership Digibates brings together a panel of experts who discuss the sometimes perplexing and still largely unexploited world of Search Engine Optimization. Hosted at the luxurious African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel and Spa in Century City, the panel shares their knowledge and experience with both an invited and online audience and respond to questions ranging from what the benefits are of e-commerce to where it’s all heading. In a world undergoing phenomenal change, doing business as usual is no longer the way to keep up. Find out from those applying their minds to the world of business whether you lagging behind and how to catch up . Are you searching for ways to mind your business optimally? Then optimizing your and your customers’ search should be top of mind. Find out more in these enlightening podcasts of this Digibate.


Dawn Rowlands, CEO of Aegis media South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa  has over 20 years of experience in the media industry and has most notably been a shareholder founding partner of NotaBene (South Africas most successful strategy agency) and is the founder of Posterscope SA.

Peter Stewart is the  Managing Director  of Clickthinking/iProspect. Peter founded Clickthinking, an award winning digital conversion agency with offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg in 1999 . In 2011, the company was acquired by Aegis and is now part of the iProspect network with 40 offices operating in 80 markets. He has judged both local and international premier direct marketing association awards including the Assegais and the Loeries and, internationally, as a member of the Digital Academy of Arts and Sciences in New York, the Webby Awards, the internet’s highest honour. In recognition of his expertise, he has been selected by Microsoft to serve on a select  group advising their engineers on ways of improving their search products.

Etienne Beneke  is Head of SEO at Clickthinking/iProspect. He has worked in some of the toughest online environments including casino marketing and online betting. He leads an ambitious SEO team who focus on maximizing organic search opportunities for clients placing them in leadership positions within their respective categories.

Jon Ratcliffe is the agency relationship manager at Google South Africa. His work experience includes five years at Ogilvy South Africa and two years at Quirk in the UK. He has a degree in finance from Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

Paul Galatis is a director at Yuppiechef.co.za a company recognized and renowned for taking a lead in online  branding, design and customer service and user experience. Yuppiechef.co.za in 2010 won Best E-Commere Site in South Africa at both the South African E-Commerce Awards and the Bookmark Awards. They have also won a Gold Loerie.  Paul has a Bachelor of Business Science Degree from UCT. Paul is passionate about intelligent design and the humanisation of business in the online space.


Podcast 1 | Click HERE to listen

Dawn Rowlands gets the digibate started with an overview from Peter Stewart of the history of search.  John Radcliffe talks about Google’s prominence and domination of SEO and Etienne Beneke takes us through how SEO works, what it takes to be a search engineer and how search optimization can be of benefit to both business and customer.


Podcast 2 | Click HERE to listen

Dawn asks the panel to explain the sometimes perplexing terminology around SEO. ‘PPC’, ‘organic and natural search’ can be mystifying to the lay person.  Understanding the value of a click or keyword group, creating a seamless digital journey and converting a digital experience into an actual outcome such as sale is what it’s about. Creating quality content on Google for the online customer ensures contented customers. Paying attention to the development of your online presence through your website is vital. Etienne shares insights into what it is that you need to know about how to make your website rank among the top sites when people search online.


Podcast 3 | Click HERE to listen

So where are the examples of where it’s working? Yuppiechef.co.za is a South African success story. Paul Galatis shares the story of the company that sells the world’s best kitchen tools online and gives encouragement to businesses nervous about moving online. It’s a fascinating account of how to successfully blend good old fashioned values with cutting-edge digital technology and give your customer an experience that will keep them on the line online.


Podcast 4 | Click HERE to listen

Why are marketers still resistant to using Search as a marketing mechanism? There are a number of misconceptions and Peter Stewart sets out to debunk them. Did you know that South African businesses are lagging behind our Nigerian counterparts? What’s more,  small business and big business have a level playing field online. And it doesn’t have to cost anyone an arm and a leg says Peter.


Podcast 5 | Click HERE to listen

So is it all wonderful and amazing? What about the prediction of the impending demise of SEO and is it, like everything else, open to abuse? The panel addresses these concerns and discuss the merits and demerits of using the range of tools available for creating a rich media experience for users.


Podcast 6 | Click HERE to listen

With a predicted 33m Smartphones in SA by 2013, optimizing mobile search is key given that it requires a different approach and focus from desktop.  Jon Radcliffe talks about Google’s approach to Africa’s specific challenges and opportunities and how Google Plus is enriching the search experience in the market place.


Podcast 7 | Click HERE to listen

Why is a third of SA’s top 100 brands not online? Are they missing out on the mobile revolution?  Marketers who understand the need for an integrated digital and marketing mix are reaping the benefits. But top level management has to buy in. There’s room for competition to drive both improvement and innovation, says Google’s Jon Radcliffe.


Podcast 8 | Click HERE to listen

What of the future?  The panel  sums up with some intriguing examples of how Search is already adding value in unexpected ways and  previews where trends may be heading.  There’s no reason to fear  a journey on which the consumer is getting ahead of the market. The Search will continue with or without you.


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