BrightonSEO is one of the biggest SEO conferences in the UK and provides SEOs with a chance to, ‘meet, learn and do their job a little better.’
Our Web Services team recently went to the April BrightonSEO event and here are the key takeaways from the day.
One of the recurring themes throughout the day was how SEO efforts need to be data-driven to be effective.
Discussing conversion, Lotty Chudley highlighted the importance of testing SEO efforts to see what works and what doesn’t.
A/B testing, customer journey analysis, and consistent content optimization were just some of the methods she suggested to use to gain valuable insight about site users, which can then be exploited to improve conversion.
Marcus Tober from Searchmetrics further emphasized this point, as he discussed using the customer journey to create ‘really relevant content.’ Better content doesn’t have to be new content, repurposing content that already ranks well, and removing content with little to no traffic can improve SEO considerably.
Ricemedia’s Head of Search, Laura Hogen provided another interesting look at how data can be used to improve SEO, this time using Search Console for quick wins. She suggested not just fixing crawl errors but using them to find quality links that simply need updating.
Crawl errors can also highlight older content that ranks well, but the internal links are no longer available. Repurposing this content with updated links provides an easy way to improve SEO rankings.
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Laura also highlighted the importance of the search analytics report for SEO. All the information within this report is actionable and can provide plenty of quick win opportunities. Trends can be discovered, blog posts ideas generated and the findings can be applied to other channels to improve SEO considerably.
The afternoon's session on SERPs provided various insights into how to be more visible on search engines (specifically Google).
Sam Auchterlonie from Skyscanner discussed her ‘lean approach’ to hacking SERPs to your benefit. She suggests that the key is to find the smallest thing that will make an impact and start by optimizing that.
One great example Sam used was that Skyscanner improved their CTR by approximately 10% by simply adding a rating score to all their airline pages.
Linking back to data, she highlighted that you need to build, measure, and learn in order to see the best results.
Utilizing Usage Metrics to take advantage of Google was discussed by the Head of Search at Delete, Polly Pospelova. Talking about how Google relies on how users interact with sites, Polly highlighted the importance of clicks and CTR (click through rate).
"82% of answer boxes are simple paragraphs, and the other 18% consist of lists and tables"
User satisfaction is often judged by the time to click. "Long clicks" (long time to click) suggest higher user satisfaction as this is when the user stays on the result and doesn’t go back to the SERP to find another answer. Polly suggested treating organic searches like paid to achieve these long clicks.
Making meta-data ‘pretty’ and creating the organic snippets appealing to human’s, not robots, are just a few of the ideas Polly provided for gaining long clicks.
Adrian Phipps who provides SEO solutions for Saga provided his insight into how to rank in Google's answer box, also known as ‘Position 0.’
In short, content that makes it into Google’s answer box is content that answers questions. Content that is chosen is often ‘quick answers’, which attract and engage the user. 82% of answer boxes are simple paragraphs, and the other 18% consist of lists and tables.
Adrian stated that to get position 0, content generally has to already be ranking on page 1 and not be PPC. The answer to the target question should be in the first 100 words of the content, and answering multiple related questions in the same content will further boost your chances of getting in the answer box. Using Phipps method, Saga went from 0 to 283 answer box rankings in 24 months.
Link-building has always been a key part of any SEO strategy, and the link-building session at BrightonSEO provided some detailed insights into how to make the most of link building strategies.
Alexandra Lever discussed using partnerships to improve SEO efforts. She said that both parties involved in a partnership need to complement each other, and they can be used to build authenticity when companies who are well-respected in their industry are partnered with.
Link-building within these partnerships is a great way to improve SEO, and once a campaign has run, the data gathered can be used for future partnerships.
Christoph Cemper from Link Research Tools reflected on 5 years on Google Penguin, and how this search algorithm has impacted on SEO.
As this search algorithm updates in ‘real time’, negative SEO can hit at any time and a penalty can result in a traffic drop of 99%, so it’s important to keep on top of all your websites links.
A benefit of the ‘real time’ updates is that there is faster recovery, so if your website does incur a penalty it can be fixed by the next crawl.
Christoph highlighted the importance of auditing all back links to remove any risky links that could result in penalties. He also emphasized the need to disavow regularly so Google ignores the links you can’t remove.
Distribution of the content you create for SEO purposes is an important consideration. If you don’t distribute it correctly your SEO efforts will be ineffective.
This is exactly what Zazzle Media’s content and PR director, Julia Ogden discussed in her talk during the content session. Breaking it down into a 10-step checklist, Julia highlighted the key areas that need to be considered to distribute content effectively.
Starting with your objectives and the audience you want this content to target, you can then discover ideas to target them specifically and how to shout about your content.
Julia stated that for any idea, validation is required; will the idea work, and is the content unique? You then need to determine what success looks like for you, is it RFQs, CTR or improving Google rankings? A distribution plan also needs to be created, what channels are you going to use to share this content; owned, earned or paid?
All of this information should be included in a campaign plan, and once the campaign is running and then complete, all of this data can be used to measure if it was successful.
The four key takeaways above are not new ideas for SEOs, but BrightonSEO provided us with new approaches and thoughts as to how we can implement them successfully. It's also important to highlight that all of these SEO approaches are linked, and an effective SEO plan will use a combination of all of them to generate the best results.
BrightonSEO is a twice yearly conference that takes place in Brighton. The next BrightonSEO is due to take place on 15th September 2017, more information can be found here.
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