• 18 Sep

    BrightonSEO Key Conference Takeaways – September 2015 Edition

    The team from have touched down in Brighton! We have joined together to attend the UK’s popular digital marketing conference BrightonSEO. We are covering the most exciting sessions/talks, taking notes so you don’t have to.

    For those unable to attend the conference, our live blogging will keep you updated around the world of SEO so you don’t need to feel you are missing out. Key takeaways are also always helpful to refer back to once you’re back in the office, allowing you to refresh your memory.

    If you have any questions about any of the topics covered at the conference, leave us a comment, we are always more than happy to share our insight and thoughts.

    Here is the important bit! What topics are you interested in? Follow the internal links below to navigate easily to areas of interest to you…

    Onsite sessions

    Jon Earnshaw: Is your content working better for someone else?

    Key points:

    • 37% of global marketing budget is spent on content
    • Creation of content wont work effectively without curation – you need to make sure you keep an eye on your content
    • Have you noticed a drop in visibility? – check the SERPS
    • A glass ceiling is created by the theft of web content
    • Stealing content can cause peaks and drops in traffic volumes which is a continual process – but the person who steals the contents ends up in the better position

    What should have been done?

    1. Be alert to the initial flux
    2. Explore the historical data from SERPS
    3. Identify the offending URL/Website
    4. Carry out a scraper report

    Don’t turn your back on content

    1. Make it unique
    2. Rule out cannibalisation
    3. Delve into the SERPS
    4. Has someone taken your place?
    5. Monitor resellers and channels

    Chris Green: Cannibal Content – Stopping Your Website From Eating Itself

    Cannibalised content are web pages that compete with each other in search or web properties that you own, resulting in content that eats itself. Is your content competing with itself?

    1. Be aware of cannibalisation
    2. Look into the right tools to fight cannibalisation
    3. Do something about it

    Is the content that overlaps duplicate content? The answer is yes and no. Cannibalisation can be pages talking about the same thing in a different way.

    Have the right tools in place to track your content and its performance. For example:

    1. Rank tracking – use this to track URLs for specific key words over time
    2. Google analytics
    3. Check ranking shifts against organic traffic
    4. Search analytics reports

    Time to identify the cause:

    1. Screaming frog – carry out a full crawl
    2. Majestic – carry out a backlink audit

    What’s ranking and why?

    1. Canonical tags
    2. Internal linking
    3. Off-page signals

    Put it all together!

    1. Rank tracking – two pages ranking
    2. Site audit – what are your pages targeting? Are there overlaps?
    3. External signals – what is the cause?
    4. Reflections – what are you dealing with?

    How do you fix it?

    • Change your site structure
    • Change or add internal links
    • Give your preferred page
    • Give more love (marketing wise!)
    • Have keyword targeting.

    After all,

    1. Prevention is better than a cure
    2. Linking signals are hard to change
    3. Sister sites and brands don’t go away over night
    4. Restructuring sites can be a nightmare

    Do it right the first time! How to do it right?

    1. Through keyword research
    2. Identify primary and secondary terms
    3. Assign to sitemap
    4. Be logical in how you do keyword mapping

    Take a step back and look for potential overlaps e.g sub categories with little difference such as B2B and B2C areas on your site talking about the same terms and services.

    Pete Campbell: From SERPs to Markup: How to Increase Your Earned Traffic.

    Google works to finds the answers to what you’re looking for before you ask the question.

    • By 2019 162 billion queries will be on mobile devices and 62 million on desktop
    • Apps are becoming increasingly influential over a browser experience e.g snapchat discover
    • Google saw a fall in searches last year – mobile had a role to play in this

    Increase earned traffic by:

    Micro data – form of html markup to inform google about the context of your web page. 66% of 100k top websites don’t have micro data which can be used to increase click through rate and lower bounce rate for example, open graph (social media) and schema (websites).

    1. Organisation schema
    2. On site breadcrumb
    3. Site links search markup
    4. Article schema
    5. Product/aggregate rating schema
    6. Open Graph Tags
      • Can control the description, image, title etc, can use CTA button e,g, shop now.
      • Meta tags – twitter firstly needs to approve twitter card markup and then you can also use twitter card analytics to track performance
    7. Google now cards: Structured data in email campaigns

    Social Content Sessions

    Charlie Williams – Understanding Your Audience; Agile Thinking & Our Content

    • Content that connects with our audience is the only way to stand out for increasingly similar products/services
    • By putting the audience first, we can connect with our audience to also build better content experiences
    • Tell stories about your products; this can be about the users experience of your product and service
    • Think in topics (bucket lists) rather than optimizing for individual keywords
    • Agile thinking + SEO, keyword research, UX & content strategy = a content development environment
      • Agile thinking gives a framework, an attitude, to why we want to take bits of SEO, keyword research, UX, social media & content strategy, to develop great content
    • What can we learn from agile? Fixing one content issue at a time, and having user goals as our primary focus
    • Questions, questions, questions – every search is a question, those who answer them best get the most credit, so find the questions your audience is asking
    • Where to find the questions our audience is asking? Google Suggest, Google Trends, competitor FAQs, Quora, user-centric keyword research, surveys (ask your audience to tell you their questions!) and user testing (especially of competitor websites)

    Google tells us that ‘a question can take you anywhere’ and this is exciting because if we can answer, it can take the searcher straight to us.

    All in all agile thinking helps SEO in two ways:

    • Focus on one issue at a time
    • Help us understand the audience, so we know what to target

    Stacey MacNaught – Your Content Is Awesome – Now What?

    When you are working on a piece of content a good idea is great, but you can’t ignore promotion. Without promotion, your piece will get nowhere. Outreach alone does not count as promotion.

    To be successful you need to learn a variety of things about your industry and your audience which you can do by following these steps:

    1. You simply need to ask yourself, what does success look like?
    2. Conduct research into how your audience behave and what their interests are. Once you know this you can start to test your messaging across the different social platforms, to see how your audience respond before you roll out the full campaign
    3. Find out who your influencers are and organise them into tiers so you know the difference between your major and minor influencers
    4. Develop a “cracking” headline that will get you noticed

    Why people share content

    There are many reasons why people share content online, but do you know why?

    Understanding these reasons will help you to develop the right types of content and enable you to promote them effectively. Stacey recommends taking a look at a study by New York Times which looks at the reasons why people share online.

    Promotional tactics

    Outreach is only one promotion tactic but this alone does not count as promotion. There are a number of tactics you can employ to promote your content:

    • Paid press release distribution
    • Paid social and content discovery
    • PPC for content promotion – most advertisers do not target “research” terms – it means you can get incredibly targeted and cheap traffic
    • On-page SEO for content

    Hannah Thorpe – Ideation to Impact: How to Create and Sell a Digital Marketing Asset

    There needs to be a process behind your ideas:

    • Take notice of your commander’s intent – what does the business need to achieve?
    • Carry out effective research
    • Carry out industry content analysis
    • Use your creativity
    • Sell!

    Industry analysis:

    • Work out who your influencers are, and organise them into tiers, running from the *top* influencers, who need the most personal attention, through to small bloggers, who have a smaller, niche influence
    • Work our where the gaps in the market lie
    • Does your audience actually care about the gaps?

    How to sell your idea:

    • Reinforce your commander’s intent – it is crucial to tie the idea back to the business first and foremost
    • Show why you chose your idea – don’t just explain the data behind the idea you chose, show the data which made you pass-up the chance to follow up other ideas to explain your process
    • Make it look good – don’t go designing the entire campaign (that won’t work!), instead, create something compelling that looks great!
    • Encourage discussion and debate around your idea

    Christoph Cemper – How To Measure Real Success Of Content Marketing

    Christoph takes a look at the metrics that really matter when running a digital marketing campaign:

    • “Social signals measure only distribution”
    • “I can like 50 posts per minute, but does that mean I’m engaged?” – probably not.
    • Links = user engagement
    • Comments = user engagement
    • Downloads = user engagement
    • Clicks and views = user engagement
    • User engagement = an impact metric
    • Measurement splits into two areas:
      • Take ‘buzz’ and ‘impact’ (distribution and long term impact)
      • You only understand the value of a piece of content by looking at buzz and impact together

    Christoph put forth the argument that in order to measure success, you need to understand the relationship between ‘buzz’ and ‘impact’.

    Digital PR Sessions

    Tanya Korobka: How to Master Digital PR?

    Digital PR is ultimately about connecting people and building relationships.

    Superstar PR

    1. 84% of people trust recommendations from friends
    2. Relationships are like spider webs – they continue to grow. Every one of your personal contacts can introduce you and connect you with more people
    3. We connect with people through their vulnerable/weird selves
    4. How do you keep personal connections? Be helpful, give not take


    Social media = niche interests e.g. reddit rather than traditional media


    1. Get attention, replies and conversation
    2. Got a good story? Make sure you have good email subject lines, use words such as opportunity, people love this word


    1. Everyone you meet has the potential to change your life
    2. Don’t be an annoying business person be the real weird you
    3. Be generous and helpful (you’ll get back in return what you give without having to ask – give not take)
    4. Mobilise people through movements they are passionate about
    5. Care about customer stories not your brands stories

    Lucy Freeborn: What we can all learn from the content strategies of premium brands

    1. Define the reason for engaging in specific channels so consumers know what they are going to get from brands
    2. Coherent content strategies across website and channels, making sure messaging is connected
    3. List of guidelines you follow when on social media. For example: 3 filters you stick to on Instagram
    4. Make sure the people you’re working with have the same language and feel e.g. bloggers
    5. Use different content across social channels. Make each unique and give a reason for people to follow you across all platforms

    Ask yourself this:

    • Do you know what type of content your customer wants?
    • Have you worked out what you want your content to do?
    • Are you ensuring consistency across your brand?
    • Are your PR and digital content teams talking to each other?
    • Are you maximising e-commerce functions within the social media? Data capture, rich pins etc.

    Razvan Gavrilas: Dominating Organic Search using Cutting-Edge SEO Analysis

    Increase your SEO visibility by carrying out analysis:

    • Keyword research
    • Large scale localised top 10 SERP extraction
    • SEO visibility analysis


    1. Link prospecting
    2. Create campaigns to attract high quality homepage links
    3. Can easily overtake competitors due to link diversification

    Content sharing audit:

    1. Social shares extraction
    2. Social visibility calculation
    3. Google ranks vs sharing correlation

    Social mention is a helpful brand monitoring tool.

    Matt Roberts: Inspire investment in PR

    PR is about reputation! 

    What do SEO’s want PR’s for?

    1. Angles
    2. Outreach
    3. Journalist influence
    4. Links

    What do PR’s want SEO’s for?

    1. Visibility of PR content
    2. ROI justification
    3. Content strategy
    4. Technical SEO

    SEO’s need to know when their own entity should rank, understand the value of content and what it should say.

    PR’s need to plan, to help manage those moments that impact reputation and what searchers do next.

    1. Reputation and consumer behaviour is front and centre
    2. Set goals and become strategically aligned with one another both, SEO’s and PR
    3. Tell a cohesive and data driven story

    Data Sessions

    Anna Lewis (Wiggle) – Making sure your analytics makes money

    5 key areas in analytics:

    1. Analysis
    2. Tracking
    3. Reporting
    4. Insights
    5. Testing

    Work out which one will help you move forward:

    • Accuracy and understanding
    • Goals and KPIs
    • Choosing effective strategies
    • Balancing dev insights and service provision
    • Testing and optimisation

    But first, avoid making a decision based on flawed data!

    Top tips for avoiding mistakes:

    • Test installation – make sure the data coming in is correct
    • Use debugging tools
    • Check reports for issues
    • Get multiple eyes on it
    • Review regularly

    Common GA errors:

    • Filters
    • Multiple tags
    • Sampling
    • Cross domain tracking
    • Campaign tracking
    • Property level settings

    Top debugging tools:

    • GA debugger
    • Tag assistant
    • Event tracking tracker
    • Google tag manager preview

    Check you’re making money:

    • It’s not all about sessions
    • Understand business objectives
    • Line your metrics up with bottom line
    • Segment to ensure you don’t miss details

    Implement a method for choosing analytics priorities

    Choosing priorities:

    • Potential
    • Importance
    • Ease of implementation

    Test, but know what you want to achieve:

    • The more you test, the more you learn
    • Testing proves your theories
    • Helps you choose future directions

    Key points:

    • Make sure everyone’s on the same page
    • Share your definitions of metrics and dimensions
    • All reports need keys and descriptions
    • Reports should always have commentary from the relevant team
    • Make sure you know the direction you need to go

    Kristina Baus – Data Driven Digital Marketing Strategy: How to do it?

    Why do we need to analyse data?

    • Data driven marketing strategy is extremely important
      • 64% of people feel they need to be connected to the internet at all times
      • 4% – the average no. of touch points before a conversion
    • Almost everything will be connected with the development of the internet of things
    • Measurable data is actionable data
    • Too much valuable data is being ignored
      • Data companies analyse only 12% of their total data
    • Data driven marketing spend is constantly increasing

    How should we approach big data analysis?

    1. Determine how data-driven you are as an organisation at present
    2. Determine what drives your decision making
    3. Establish what data you need to collect to support your decision making process
    4. Collect the data
    5. Analyse the data and think of the data in the view of the customer experience
    6. Roll out your customer focused information
    7. Measure ROI
    8. Repeat and improve

    Analysis Examples

    The amount of data collected is increasing and we need to understand to how to analyse and create the right strategies for our clients.

    Content Sessions

    Shelli Walsh: How To Have Ideas for Creative Content

    • Content marketing has been around for over 100 years, it isn’t a new thing
    • Content is not king, concept is king
    • Don’t limit your ways of thinking to create ideas
    • Be a lateral thinker – remove limits, it doesn’t matter if you are wrong


    The six thinking hats – Helps you generate ideas thinking from 6 different perspectives

    The why technique – Keep asking why, never stop thinking like a child

    Combine ideas – For example, the mobile phone and camera were two separate devices. Apps such as, snapchat and Instagram would not be around if these concepts had not been combined

    Anyone can learn thinking skills!

    Cathal Berragan: Lessons Learned on the Way to Half of a Million Twitter Followers

    Starting with a Twitter page that isn’t getting many followers?

    Cathal came up with an idea to create a twitter page about exam problems, gained a lot of followers which led t0 companies such as Spotify and Tippy Tap approaching him. He has featured in the press including Daily Mail and Buzzfeed.

    Hi advice?

    1. Your profile shouldn’t look like a book
      • Humans crave visual content
    2. Make sure you are always online in order to communicate with your audience
    3. Don’t give your social media profile to an intern
    4. Don’t develop ‘cool dad’ syndrome. Your content should be natural and reactive i.e. the people who run your channel should run their own channels well

    Pippa Moyle: Merging Your Business Into The 24 Hour News Cycle

    • You have 3-5 seconds to engage your audience
    • Think like a journalist – create content that would be in the news cycle

    4 Vital qualities of a journalist:

    1. Know your reader
    2. Produce good quality content
    3. Follow the news
    4. Keep thinking about your reader

    What’s the secret?

    Know your audience and get the thinking right!

    Paul Madden: A Systematic Approach to Managing Relationship & Links

    • All about the people and the relationships with the right people
    • Outreach – reaching out to the right people after creating your content
    • The aim is to build a network of influencers in niches, that can benefit all future projects

    How to find the right contacts:

    Use tools such as, Buzzumo and Ninja outreach to connect you with the right people.

    • Outreach by email is common but it makes it hard to gain that personal interaction
    • Social media allows you to relationship build (although it is a long game)
    • Think like a salesperson – every conversation gets you closer to your goal
    • A lot of us use email but in order to be noticed you need to do what is over and above what everyone else is doing, such as having a conversation over the phone
    • Set a goal for each communication
    • Decide what broad niches you want influencers in and connect with those people

    Key steps:

    1) Build inventory of relationships before project

    2) Foster relationships over time so they come to you

    3) Unless you go the extra mile you will lose out on that race

    Paddy Moogan– Reverse Engineering Successful Content

    Keep in mind;

    1) The story

    2) The data

    3) The production


    • Brainstorming and idea generation is difficult for most of us
    • Brainstorming ideas needs structure and guidelines
    • Not all ideas are good ideas

    Brainstorming consistently is the hardest part!

    • Some ideas fly but you don’t know why
    • You only learn by doing stuff
    • Look for trends

    Brainstorming and the idea generation stage:

    • Create a brief for everyone involved in the brainstorm, this should be the goal
    • Should contain themes, data, visuals, guidelines and constraints
    • Find your content competitors i.e. for travel, targeted keywords such as cheap flights, cheap holidays
    • Look wider than your direct competitors. Sometimes these are the people that do things really well
    • Look at those with a bigger audience as well as direct ones
    • Find visuals, don’t over think this. Look at ones that have been created. Think about if you can  do it better


    • Buzzumo has a feature for content analysis to look deeper into websites.
      • You can gain useful analysis from this
      • You can also get an average number of shares per post, but you need to have realistic expectations
    • You can find out what posts work well and create a word cloud by using a tool called word up. Ask yourself can you do any of these aspects better?
    • Huballin, Google’s keyword planner and Brandtale are tools useful for keyword research
    • can be used for data sourcing. If you can’t find data online get your own e.g. google consumer surveys

    Kelvin Newman: How to have less rubbish ideas

    The majority of what I am going to tell you is not new but this should help you to start thinking differently about things that you should do, that you might not currently do.

    • You will have better ideas when you understand your context and when you create reliable methods and the right environment
    • The web is a network – too often we talk about link building. It is important to understand the quality of the link and who is linking to you as well as the context
    • Everything happens in context – what might be a good campaign for others might not be right for you
    • Use fusion tables as a way to visualise link relations giving you an interactive/visual snapshot of your site
    • “An idea is nothing more or less than a new combination of old elements” – James Young Webb
    • A new idea can be generated through remixing ideas

    You will have better ideas when you understand context and have reliable methods.

    By Farah Ali Events
  • 10 Apr

    BrightonSEO key conference takeaways – April 2015 edition

    The team from are here in force at the popular UK digital marketing conference BrightonSEO! We’re covering the most exciting parts of the conference so you can spend more time listening to the speakers, rather than having to take those pesky notes on your pad, tablet or laptop.

    If you haven’t been able to make it to the conference, you may also find our running commentary helpful so you can stay in the loop with what’s new in the world of SEO.

    When you’re back in the comfort of your office make sure to revisit this post so you can refresh your memory about the key takeaways from the day. And please feel free to drop us a comment if you have any questions about what was covered at the conference as we’re always keen to share our insights and opinions.

    Now for the important stuff – what conference topics do you fancy reading about? Click on the internal anchor links below to find what you need quickly…

    Social Content sessions

    Erica McGillivray: Show Your Flare and Pivot for Social Image Sharing

    A quote to remember… “Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture” – Allen Ginsberg

    Think about these design principles when choosing or creating images for sharing:

    1. Use high contrast – use bright colours and use with black or white to set them off
    2. Make them bold – use thick lines
    3. Unity – their should be flow between elements to capture attention

    Some other helpful tips:

    1. Match copy with images
    2. Challenge audiences
    3. Take risks
    4. Establish credibility
    5. Make a human connection
    6. Make sure you don’t confuse users with elements like play buttons on static images that can’t load video content
    7. Don’t repeat text across imagery and text when not needed

    Sprout Social has a good reference for social image sizing:

    If you post similar images often, create simple and customised templates for easy image and text swaps

    Implement Open Graph tags

    Erica recommends tool called Rival IQ –

    Social images generated an average engagement increase of 468.95% for blog posts on Twitter in case study

    Vicke Cheung: Designing Content for Mobile

    Lesson 1: We need to completely embrace the meaning of ‘mobile first’

    • What DOESN’T mobile first mean?
      • Mobile first doesn’t mean having a good fallback for mobile, or designing purely for the desktop version then implementing mobile afterwards
    • What DOES mobile first mean?
      • It means that you need to design and build the mobile version FIRST, not afterwards

    One problem that you will come across is that space is a premium, so make sure you KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

    Start designing with the vital elements of your content – you can then start to add more if needed

    Watch out for orphans. On a mobile these can take up premium space, and they’re needless

    Let go, plan for change – not every device will render exactly as you designed them

    Don’t design for a specific screen size, there are waaaay too many!

    Make decisions with context in mind – make sure you don’t just design for the device that you know, or are used to

    Make sure to be aware of your design in the context of other operating systems

    Test on real devices – use Chrome’s in-built mobile emulator (Right click + inspect element + click on the mobile icon)

    Nothing beats testing on the real thing

    Remember that you actually sit much further from the screen when designing on a computer, so be aware of sizes

    Be unique, but make sure people can still understand how to use the site/app etc. For instance, use simple UX patterns like hamburger menus

    Build a bank of inspiration that you can come back, then ask your developers if you can recreate this type of thing

    It’s not enough to have content be responsive on a purely visual level – performance is key

    Serve selectively – don’t serve the same image file to mobile as you would for desktop. Save different versions of the image in different sizes, then use media queries or javascript to specify when each image size should load

    We will always have to be user centric in our designs, so ensure you ALWAYS put your user first, because recognising your user’s needs is paramount to success

    Iain Haywood: Making your Competitions Fun

    Why do a competition? Revenue, SEO, Social, User acquisition, Opt-in…

    Set campaign priorities before you start – a plan could be done in less than 60 minutes

    Follow these 3 golden rules for competitions:

    1. There is more than one type of entrant
    2. Your competition is unlikely to be a panacea
    3. Incentivisation fundamentally changes the nature of intent

    Think about levels of fun and reliance on incentives to attract entrants

    If you’re creating a landing page you can host creatives, entry mechanisms and links to your T&Cs – the benefit is attracting links and branding signals

    Utilise Rafflecopter, Cleam, Antavo if helpful

    Games don’t need to cost the earth if you use this as an entry mechanism

    SERPs sessions

    Jon Earnshaw: Cannibalisation – the SEO’s biggest nightmare, and how to identify it

    “Cannibalisation in all its forms in on the increase!” – Jon Earnshaw

    Monitor the visibility of your content daily

    Never be fooled by a straight line

    Always investigate suspicious flux

    The 4 types of cannibalisation are: internal conflict, subdomain conflict, international conflict, semantic flux

    Internal cannibalisation

    Sometimes you need to dig deeper to discover what’s going on

    Always check for internal conflict first

    Argos saw search term “iPad price” drop out of SERPs due to 4 similar product pages – they are competing with each other for the top rankings

    Debenhams saw search term “living room furniture” fluctuate as they had 5 competing URLs

    Use canonical tags to tell Google which page is preferred for indexation

    Subdomain conflict

    The www. version of Tesco Mobile pulled the subdomain off page 1

    Mobile phone provided Three had similar issues – there were 3 conflicting pages from www site

    International conflict

    Hotels Combined rarely visible on page 1 – the .com version stealing the SERPs

    Semantic flux

    Curry’s competed with PC World resulting in semantic flux

    Yorkshire Bank competed with Clydesdale Bank with same consequence

    Dave Naylor: Dave predicts the future of Search

    Use Google Webmaster Tools to check any issues with mobile; some SERPs are saying ‘mobile friendly’ so providing conflicting messages – which source should be trusted?

    Dave prefers to use responsive design as opposed to separate mobile sites to avoid chance of position flux

    In his study of 275 keywords, 215 matched position over mobile and desktop. 37 were better on mobile and 23 were better on desktop

    He thinks that Google has got really clever with sentiment (addition of “buy” in search term usually means that the user wants to buy something)

    Consider the industry that you are working in to think about how users actually use your website across devices – where are they going to find information or convert?

    On average, there is a 5.8% conversion on mobile

    Websites that performed better had user details stored or a mobile payment provider excelled

    Google said build a site for users not search engines, but Dave debates this saying you would fail if you used a flash site, etc.

    Users don’t care which page has a hreflang tag or a rel=canonical tag

    Matthew Barby : 10 Ways to Build a Link in 20 Minutes Flat

    Creating great content is vital to ranking higher, but it’s not the only factor – “Combine great content with great links and you’ll stand a chance of ranking on the first page of Google”

    Earning great links isn’t easy, but you can start by applying fundamental link building methodologies to your campaign. Just make sure you modify them to work for your audience

    Utilising press requests is a quick and easy way to earn editorial mentions in potentially top publications. There are a number of sites that you can sign up to and you can receive alerts by email (Slide 14)

    Wikipedia can be a great spource of easy but highly authoritative and relevant links. There are three elements to look at: citations, broken links, and your own listing

    Citations – use a tool like to find articles that need citations
    Broken links – Use to find articles marked with ‘dead links’. Recreate the content from the dead link, then update the article, referencing your content.
    Your listing – Create a page for your business, but make sure you adhere to their strict guidelines
    Vital: Find an experienced Wikipedia editor who can upload your entry (you will likely need to pay for this service)

    Get featured in, or supply content to online publications within your nice. The best way is to start small with a larger quantity of articles, before moving to higher authority publications, but publishing less.

    Try and utilise BuzzFeed’s community. Youc an create an account and submit an article for ‘community selection’. But make sure you:

    • Don’t shamelessly promote products or services
    • Don’t use keyword rich anchor text
    • Ignore BuzzFeed’s guidelines

    You can help your article by:

    • Running social advertising
    • Getting influencers to share the post
    • Sticking to the tried and tested format of BuzzFeed

    Adapting raw data is a great way of making boring information interesting. Start by finding data that might be interesting to your target audience, then look for questions based on this topic. From here you can start to get a feel for paint points etc. and you can create content from this that will be helpful/interesting/entertaining etc.

    Natalie Wright : The Power of Backlink Discovery

    Find a competitor, or interesting piece of content that is ranking #1, and put them in to Majestic (you could also do this is with Ahrefs!). You can then discover who is linking to this content, and whether you might be able to get a link from these brands. You could also consider creating your own version, and outreaching to them.

    Use the ‘New’ tab to discover week by week where your links are coming from. This a great way to show a client their ROI. It can also help you adapt your link building startegy.

    Use a tool like Majestic (or Ahrefs) to discover your bad links. To clarify, a bad links is:

    • Irrelevant
    • Low authority
    • Exact match anchor text

    Backlink discovery helps you prioritise your SEO tasks, and ensures that you can be proactive, instead of reactive with your links. It can also help you improve your rankings

    By monitoring your links carefully and diligently, you can make informed decisions in regards to opportunities, as well as reporting on your ROI. It will also help you to maintain a healthy backlink profile

    Samuel Scott : Stop Thinking About Links. Start Thinking About Publicity!

    Unfortunately we weren’t able to attend this talk, but there’s a summary of his slides on Samuel’s website here:

    Technical sessions

    Kirsty Hulse : Schema, JSON-LD and the Semantic Web

    Rich snippets + knowledge graph = does this increase click through rate? Probably

    Ticketmaster are good at owning their brand SERP

    If brands don’t implement structured markup, competitors could steal the limelight

    Only about 0.3 percent of domains are using schema markup on their websites – Searchmetrics study

    Linked Data video available on YouTube:

    Google recently endorsed use of JSON-LD as a way of doing mark up

    Add JSON-LD using Google Tag Manager

    Structured markup doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated or require development resource with GTM

    Datalayer is scalable, flexible, resolves security issues, measurable

    You must keep JSON-LD in sync with what appears on the page

    Video credit:

    Mark Thomas: A 10 Step Technical SEO Game Plan

    Search might change in it’s nature, but technical SEO will remain fairly similar throughout time

    If a site is technically flawed, it doesn’t matter how many links you have etc.

    How to be the backbone with the 10 step technical SEO game plan:

    1. Engage – what are the objectives of the business, what are individual teams prioritising, is there a team that is blocking implementation? Engaged teams support recommendations because they care more.
    2. Comprehensively audit – there are two main KPIs – number of unique pages, crawlability. Identify thin content on your site to find quick opportunities to make improvements
    3. Solution sell two key wins
    4. Share architectural insight
    5. Anaylse impact 
    6. Automate – spend more time doing real work
    7. Start making history – make sure there is always someone who can answer technical questions that influence the business success
    8. Be there in the hour of need – all site releases should be pre-tested, migration can be tricky
    9. Share and communicate – do this through clear reporting with APIs
    10. Control the future – be the person that people come to when it comes to thinking about what happens next

    Jono Alderson: Doing an Awesome Site Audit

    Technical SEO is hugely important yet consistently terrible – users get poor experiences which harms reputation and can reduce overall profit

    Fixing things is big and complex. Can fix things but it is important to sort out why they exist in the first place – focus on the source of the issue

    Site audits are for identification and prioritisation of issues

    Important to avoid audits being thrown to the side and not used – nobody wants an audit, they want success. It should be there to make things happen

    Anticipate objections – who will be receiving it? Multiple audiences have different needs so know your audience (c-level, management, marketing, tech, finance, legal, third parties)

    Audits should be presented in different formats – quick wins, long-form editorial piece, spreadsheets with itemised issues, cheat sheets, storyboard style presentation

    You will need exhaustive keyword and market research, performance/commercial data

    Content Marketing sessions

    Rebecca Lee : A supercharged approach to PR SEO success

    Hannah Smith : Jaws in Space (How to Develop & Pitch Creative Ideas)

    It’s easy to get wrapped up in formats – a guide is a format not an idea (the same goes for videos and infographics).

    People share ideas, not formats!

    The relationship between social shares and links is not as linear as you might think

    Try to distill your thinking, so that you can communicate why your ideas are right for your client

    People share content that:

    • Makes them look smart
    • Makes them look cultured
    • Makes them look like they care about being creative

    Results don’t just happen – you need to promote your piece tirelessly

    For an adorable round up of Hannah’s presentation that puts the AW in Jaws, watch the video below!

    Video credit:

    Krystian Szastok : Using DIY Data Visualisation to Fuel Your Content Marketing

    Fireside Chat with Apprentice winner Mark Wright

    The last thing on the BrightonSEO agenda is to listen to Apprentice winner Mark Wright. He’ll be talking about his experience on the BBC programme as well as telling us about what he’s learned along the way. We will definitely be listening to this one, which we’ll summarise below with embedded tweets.

    Mark Wright – Fireside Chat

    [Image credit:[email protected]/859842214]

    By Hannah Butcher Events SEO
  • 21 Sep

    BrightonSEO 2014 Roundup

    BrightonSEO seemed to come back around particularly quickly this month, once again giving the SEOs at a good excuse to get together and go down to Brighton in force.

    I was lucky enough to attend the speakers’/sponsors’ meal at Smokeys with a group of well known faces, from the likes of Moz’s Matthew Brown, to International SEO guru Aleyda Solis, and not forgetting BrightonSEO’s organiser Kelvin Newman, to name just a few.

    Arriving at the dome the following morning to check on the stand, we did a quick scour to seek out the top conference swag – this year I’ll have to give credit to Calltracks for the remote controlled helicopters – Well done Alex for the lucky win, this has already provided hours of office flying time!

    After previous experience, I decided to stick to the main concert hall this time to avoid fighting for a seat in the smaller conference rooms.

    First up was Ian Miller, search director of Crafted Media, to talk to us about predicting the future of Google and why it’s ‘no longer a search company’, but rather a data platform.

    According to data published on comScore Google now has a 68% share of the search market. Many rely on Google as a gateway to the internet, but Google is no longer just a search engine, something that is very apparent when looking at how it has branched out into many other areas by acquiring new companies at a rate of knots (see the list here). Most recently it bought Polar, a start-up business that specialises in social polling, to bolt onto Google+.

    My vision when we started Google fifteen years ago was that eventually you wouldn’t have to have a search query at all. You would just have information come to you as you needed it

    It is clear that most of the acquisitions in recent years were with a single goal in mind; to gather people’s data in order to further understand what humans want.

    Ian predicts that we will see Google evolve a lot over the next few years, moving away from simply ranking web pages based on their content and other signals that can be easily influenced, and more towards context, while anticipating your next move to serve you results that are relevant to you and your routines.

    This is nothing new – I’m sure you’ve noticed car insurance ads “conventiently” appearing just as you’re beginning to think about renewing your policy, or bicycle related ads following you around via Google’s display network after doing a bit of searching around for a new bike. Well, expect to see more of this!

    But Ian doesn’t think Google is evil, rather a helpful side-kick that will provide you with useful tips just as you need them.

    “Google will become your cybernetic friend, helping you with all aspects of your life”

    All of this means that SEO is no longer just about keyword research and link building. Gone are the days when Google was only interested in finding and indexing pages – Google now wants to understand them. As a result, businesses are going to have to smarten up their online strategies if they want to keep up with this fast-moving search monster.

    Matt Roberts – Why we all need to study Momentology

    Next up was Linkdex’s Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Matt Roberts, here to tell us why we all need to study ‘momentology’. But “what is momentology?” I hear you ask… It seems that Matt wants us all to move away from thinking of our online marketing efforts as ‘SEO’, and start referring to it as ‘momentology’. I bet he does – Linkdex own the domain!

    But it seems that Matt has also identified the need for contextual thinking in order to influence consumers at the right time, so maybe he’s onto something.

    Matt discussed why we should start optimising the entire search funnel, from discovery, to making a purchase, and not forgetting the after-sale feedback, while putting consumers in the centre of our strategy.

    He also highlighted that we need to look at the bigger picture and think about all of the pages that our visitors are viewing at each stage in the buying cycle.

    Content curation is a great way to create content quickly and effectively – sharing, organising and grouping.

    The 5 types of content curation are:

    • Aggregation – pulling information from various sources into a single place. For example, Aleyda’s own aggregation of SEO tools –
    • Distillation – curating content into a simple format. For example, top takeaways that allow readers to easily digest the most important points.
    • Elevation – curation with the aim of identifying a trend or insight from smaller posts, such as tweets.
    • Mashup – curation that combines existing content into a single piece.
    • Chronology – content curation that pulls historic information and orders it by time. For example “the evolution of search”. This allows us to see shifts in trends over time.

    “Curation provides more content sources, better content ideas and identifies friendlier content format”

    Aleyda talked about using RSS feeds and alerts to identify the most shared content that is relevant to your industry.

    Laura’s talk was based around a simple yet effective idea – encouraging internal teams to work together in harmony and share resources – particularly PR and marketing teams.

    Laura highlighted that there’s generally a lot of cross-over between the work carried out in each team, and often a lot of missed opportunities. Integrating your teams will allow members to understand how they can work together and help each other, building good relationships along the way.

    But first your SEO team will need to gain the trust of the other teams. It’s possible that the reputation of your SEO team has been tarnished by bad experiences from a previous agency, so you will need to get them on-board by talking them through how your work can complement theirs, and vis-versa. Better still, put a case study together and show them.

    The next step is to make them feel included. Next time you’re planning a campaign, ask them what their goals and KPIs are and look at ways you can help them to achieve these. Invite them to your meetings and value their input, while helping them to see the value that you can add.

    If you’re still having trouble getting them on board then think about putting a campaign together that you know will get their attention by hitting their KPIs and “dazzle them with success”. Share the results and they will soon be ready to jump on the SEO band wagon!

    “Build it and they will come…Built it. Shit, they’ve not come”

    Building links using spammy tactics is still working for some, but this is by no means a future-proofed strategy. Earning links through content may also come with a risk, but not the traditional penalty-inducing risk that would be more familiar to an old school link builder. Rather, it comes with the risk that your efforts could lead to nothing. However, the key to avoiding this is understanding your audience.

    Using Demographic and Interest Reports in Google Analytics will help you to find out what demographics are actually important (i.e. which ones convert). It’s important to speak the same language as your audience as this will help you to engage better with them.

    There are also some useful (free) tools that can provide you with demographic information. Google’s display planner is a good place to start, but other tools such as Similarweb allow you to pull out all sorts of useful data that can help you learn about your audience and their interests.

    SocialMention can also be useful when looking at which social channels you’re being mentioned in, although it can be hard to sort through the irrelevant results to find what you’re looking for.

    A great tool for segmenting your Facebook data is This allows you to export the data from your account and reuse it to spot trends and tell a story.

    Gisele Navarro – 72% of Internet users do not speak English: International outreach

    Gisele spoke about another simple but effective concept that shows how many businesses are missing a trick by failing to reach out their existing content to their international audiences.

    “If you don’t outreach your most successful content, somebody else will, and they won’t pass any of the credit on to you!”

    Gisele spoke about how important it is to provide more than just a translation, but ensure the content is interpreted properly and localised to the correct audience. As with ealier talks, understanding your audience was a key takeaway.

    If you don’t have the resources to have your content translated, try outreaching your English content to foreign media.

    Be confident – there’s not likely to be much competition so you should be ahead of the game.

    Moz’s Matthew Brown flew in from Portland to share his thoughts on rich snippets and what’s to come.

    You’ve probably started to see some rich snippets disappearing from Google’s search results but, as with most updates of this fashion, observing results on will show the rest of us what we can expect to see in the near future. In this case we are likely to see fewer rich snippets and more semantic mark-up. One of the most utilised rich snippets – review starts, also appears to have been dropped.

    However, Google is now able to build its own snippets without requiring schema.

    The Pigeon update gives us another example of the difference between Google US and Google UK. Matthew mentioned how this recent algorithm update has had a huge impact on local results in, and hinted that the Pigeon would soon be paying a visit to the UK. His advice was for businesses that have multiple brick-and-mortar shops to think carefully about the potential upsets Pigeon could cause.

    Matthew also addressed Google’s move towards providing us with answers to search queries without even leaving the SERPs. For example, you may have recently used Google to calculate a sum, or the distance between two cities:

    These types of results are becoming more and more common, and with the arrival of the ‘Google knowledge vault’ – an algorithmic upgrade of the knowledge graph, Google is collecting an unfathomable amount of data, with the ability to sort it and understand it, without human editorial involvement.​

    Jan-Willem Bobbink’s talk followed on nicely from Matthew, with further insight into Semantic search.

    Jan-Willem kicked off with a personal demonstration of how Google uses freebase (acquired by the search engine in 2010) to understand entities, based on their relationships and attributes.

    In his example, Jan-Willem showed us that how creating his own personal page in Freebase and populating various attributes, he was able to influence details that appear in the knowledge graph when searching for his name.

    The ‘Feedback’ button under the knowledge graph box allows users to highlight incorrect details by selecting any of the attributes and submitting details of the error. For example, this entry states that Jan-Willem is 108 years old, so is a good example of some data that needs correcting!

    However, as Freebase relies on humans to enter the details and get them right, Google has taken things a step further, by creating an algorithm that is capable of ‘automated entity retrieval’. This means that Google can make the connections between entities itself.

    There are a huge number of databases containing resources that can be used to enrich your own content, so whether your website would benefit from information on geographical locations using ‘Geonames’ – a database containing over 10 million geographical names and 9 million unique features; or your website specialises in types of fish and would like to automatically generate pages pulling in data from Fishbase – a database with information on thousands of species of fish, the content is there for the taking.

    These databases are free to use (including Google’s FreeBase) and accessible via APIs, so with a bit of coding wizardry, you can soon be pulling in relevant content automatically. You can also add build links by adding your own data, so some good reasons to have a look!

    Final thoughts

    I haven’t managed to cover all points or indeed all of the talks from the concert hall, so please free add anything that really stood out for you using the comments below.

    By Sam Gooch SEO