10 Bite-Sized Learnings From BrightonSEO
Last week, a handful of staff from the SEO department packed their bags and made their way down to the sunny town of Brighton, for the bi-annual digital marketing conference, BrightonSEO. This year was even bigger and better, with a new venue and even more talks than ever before. In case you missed any, we have highlighted our top learnings in handy bite-sized chunks below.
1. Local search is a big deal (and its changing)
Local search was extremely present among a lot of the conversation at BrightonSEO this year. It’s particularly apparent in terms of ensuring customers have faith in your brand or product.
It seems more than ever, reputation marketing should be a cornerstone of every local business marketing strategy. Research suggests that positive reviews improve clicks by 22%, and 92% of consumers read online reviews. Ranking locally is getting tougher as more businesses have identified the opportunity present, so it’s critical to ensure they have a reason to choose your brand.
2. Embrace content personalisation
Content personalisation and dynamic URLs can often leave SEO-ers hot and bothered. It seems, however, that unique content experiences are on the rise, so we need to get on board with it. New insights suggest that 75% of consumers like it when brands personalise their content, and 52% of marketers see content personalisation as critical. Essentially, online consumer experiences are becoming uniquely personal to us.
This creates a problem for SEO's, as we are very fond of static URLs, links, content queries, traffic and indexation. However as more content becomes individual, SEO needs to be part of that conversation. We can tackle this by understanding intent behind keywords, creating personas and journeys based on keyword topics, and utilise GA audience segmentation to optimise content for personas.
3. You need to be comfortable failing (and learning from it)
"Experience is overrated: thinking you are getting better with time passing is crazy". It's recommended that companies should hire based on passion and grit, rather than experience within the industry. Often, experienced outreach managers can be guilty of staying within their comfort zones and lacking the confidence to go for the big dogs. Never be scared of failure, it's about constantly solving problems and never giving up.
4. Migrations don’t need to go horribly wrong!
Migrations have been known to strike fear, into even the most established of SEO’s, however, you really don’t need to panic. There is really no need to forecast a drop in site traffic, revenue or visibility when going through a migration.
Although it's important to stress that there is (of course) no such thing as 'magic SEO dust' that can be quickly sprinkled at the end of the process, the following steps must be taken prior to carrying out a site migration:
- SEO need to be involved from the very beginning, initial conversations always need to include an SEO expert.
- Leave plenty of time for redirects and mapping. Make sure you get a list of all URLs for the entire site early on in the process.
- Thoroughly test, being lazy with this, could mean drops in traffic and increase in 404s later on.
- Data is critical. Benchmark where you are before the migration, this will help eliminate any internal conflict or cannibalisation.
- Designate a clear owner. This person should have the responsibility, involvement and empowerment. Their neck needs to be on the line, meaning they will be the pinnacle point of the whole process.
5. Old school link building techniques can teach us a thing or two
Quantity still matters, although quality is always first priority, outreach is a numbers game, and you may have to email 200 / 300 journalists and bloggers to get a good amount of responses. Content marketing is a fantastic way to build links, but it isn’t the only way.
Tactical link acquisition is also still alive, particularly when chasing orphan links from sites that have used your image or referenced your brand, these can often be quick wins to gain links from highly authoritative sites.
Don't overlook local and regional news sources for writing up brand stories. Often these feed into the nationals, and they also have high domain authority in their own right.
Lastly utilise freelance journalists, they typically write for multiple newspapers and get paid to get their stories published which can mean that your message can go a long way.
6. Videos no longer only live on YouTube
In the past, brands may have used YouTube as their ‘cupboard to store all video content’, however, the explosion of video on social platforms has meant that brands need to reconsider the way in which video content is produced.
Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, Daily Motion and Periscope all now support video content, in a way which was not possible just a few years ago.
Creating a ‘one size fits all’ video will not work in the new wave of video platforms, due to technical limitations and restrictions and varying user behaviours depending on the platform. We should be thinking platform first, understanding where your target market is most active, and where they are likely to share content, then create your content based on the platform(s) selected.
7. Don’t be tempted to create overly seasonal content
Although it can be a great link building technique, tying content that you are creating to a timely event can mean that it ends up as becoming a one hit wonder.
It can be very difficult to try and promote content once the related day or event you are referencing is over. Use the event as part of your promotional efforts, but try not to reference it at all if possible.
8. CTR can affect your rankings (but not for long)
The age old argument around the link between click-through rate and site visibility has been settled (well, sort of). After some testing, which involved sending bot traffic to low performing sites, it became apparent that an unusually high level of clicks to a site does, in fact, increase its ranking position.
That being said, the improvement in site visibility was short lived, with a swift drop in rankings within weeks of the test.
This may not need to be a current part of your SEO strategy, however, it is clearly something that google are testing and worth keeping in mind for future proofing current SEO strategies.
9. Featured Snippets are your best friend
It’s no secret that featured snippets can send some seriously high-quality traffic to your site, here are the steps to maximising your chances of being featured by google.
- Ensuring your content is targeted towards the topic / industry you are writing for.
- Make sure your site optimisation is up to scratch.
- Produce relevant and insightful content that is likely to be shared and therefore google will deem authoritative.
10. Content must always resonate with your audience
People will only link to your content if it captures their imagination, makes them feel, or makes them care. This content creates links, shares and likes.
This may seem simple, but it's critical that we begin to think deeper about the meaning that lies beneath our creative content. Why would that piece of content mean something to your audience?
Does the piece provoke nostalgia?
Can people use content to poke fun at their friends or colleagues?
Does the content offer a way of flirting with their online companions?
If the content you create is visually appealing but lacks a deeper meaning that will resonate with your audience, the chances are it is unlikely to be shared. Keeping in mind what your audience really care about is the key to content success.
We hope you found these points useful, and if you are interested in chatting with our SEO team, do get in touch!
Felicity Dudley - Marketing Manager