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Brighton SEO

Once again the SEO Team took to their laptops for 2 days attending the different talks available at Brighton SEO last month. There was a great range of talks to choose from, all delivered by expert talkers, opening up topics for debate and enabling SEOs from across the globe to hone their skills.

Our Takeaways

After 2 days of attending talks brimming with information, here are the insights and tips we took away from virtual Brighton SEO:

  1. An internal search results page could end up ranking better than a dedicated category page. As SEO’s, we usually try to have a suitable landing page to help us rank for our target search terms – but after all the optimisation, Google may still opt to prefer the internal search page if it believes it provides a better answer to the user search queries.
  2. GPT-3 from OpenAI is scarily good at generating human-like text from a prompt. But how can this help us as SEOs? Using GPT-3, it is possible to copy & paste content from a web page and have it summarise the article within ~160 chars for a meta-description. While it may not be perfect, this could be a great timesaver for a situation where you would need to create meta-descriptions for a large number of pages.
  3. Google cache aggressively and probably won’t listen to your cache-control headers. Images, CSS, JavaScript and API crawls can all be cached and Google may hold onto these for some time to help preserve the crawl budget. Use the URL inspection tools in Search Console to see if Google is seeing your page the way you expect them to.
  4. Use data to drive your user-centric navbar design! You have plenty of data within Google Analytics that shows how users navigate around your site. Make sure you pick out the most important pages and ensure they are easily navigable to the user.
  5. We use DevTools regularly, but it’s always been something we pick up as we go. It was great to hear some tips about how we can use this powerful feature of Google Chrome to help within SEO. For example, local overrides can allow you to changes elements of the page locally and run lighthouse tests with your changes. This could be great to see the impact of your Core Web Vitals recommendations before they are handed over to the developers.
  6. Longform content doesn’t belong in FAQ’s. This area is for users who have been unable to find the content that they were looking for in your existing content and are looking for a pithier response.
  7. When pitching your new content via email, password protect your articles or emphasise when your post is due to be published. Doing so means that you avoid clients accidentally referencing your content prior to your article being published!
  8. Image Tags need to go beyond identifying the objects in the image. Consider using topic mapping to identify the links between the objects you are trying to describe, and the areas that you might be missing by keyword search terms.
  9. Make use of pagination on the comments on your article posts to reduce the DOM size and improve loading speeds.
  10. Create a Pivot chart in excel based on user traffic to decipher which pages are the most popular on your site. Organising the information this way helps you to identify popular pages that you might have missed from your navbar or highlight the need for a restructure.
  11. The bigger your site the more at risk you are of index bloat. Rather than letting Google crawl everything, it’s good to have more control over the different pages and sections Google indexes to ensure the focus is on pages that have the potential rank well and bring in leads.
  12. Neural matching impacts 30% of queries and is used to understand the patterns and concepts behind various search terms. This means your page doesn’t need to match the text, it needs to match the idea behind the search. So think less about keywords and more about the topic.
  13. When looking at your content, look beyond the keyword. Instead focus on how users interact with the site and products. This can inform any necessary changes to your content. It also allows you to embrace the ‘fuzzy’ keywords: Google wants to match you to users with unclear search terms.
  14. Accessibility is crucial! Currently, 70% of UK and US sites do not meet accessibility standards, whilst 90% of sites don’t meet accessibility standards worldwide. There’s also data to show that if a disabled person visits a site that isn’t easy to use, there’s only a 12% chance they’ll return.
  15. When developing an internal linking strategy, consider the pages your backlinks point to. Backlinks are more likely to point to the informational pages on a site, rather than the transactional ones. It’s important that the link equity and value of these backlinks is passed onto the pages more likely to convert.

 

 

Our Thoughts

 

We checked in with some members of the team so see how they found the experience. For our recent joiner Ellie, it was her first time! When we asked if it lived up to expectations, this is what she had to say:

“Overall, I really enjoyed my first Brighton SEO Conference as it gave me a great insight into the many different specialisms that exist within the industry. I’m looking forward to being able to (hopefully!) attend the event in person next time!”

Eleanor, Digital Marketing Assistant

 

We also spoke to one of our more senior members of the SEO team.

“Having been with Uprise Up for a few years, I’m fortunate enough to say this is not my first time attending Brighton SEO: both off and online. There’s always something to learn from these talks, it’s never time wasted! Over the last few conferences there’s been a growing focus on automation. Whilst it’s generally agreed automating where possible is the way forward, there still seems to be contradiction over what should be automated and what still needs human interference. This is a conversation I can see progressing more in the future.”

Aimee, SEO Consultant

 

As lovely as it is to attend Brighton SEO in loungewear, we collectively look forward to having the opportunity to go in person once more.  What were your favourite takeaways? Did something stand out to you that we haven’t mentioned? Feel free to get in contact today and start a conversation, we look forward to hearing from you.

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A Very Different Brighton SEO: Highlights and Takeaways.

Brighton SEO

Brighton SEO 2020

Ever wanted to turn up to Brighton SEO in your pyjamas? While it’s unlikely there’s a rule preventing you from doing so, there’s a good chance that 50% of the attendees seized the opportunity at last week’s conference. With all the talks being released in a video format online, I generally thought that the format of the conference worked great. Having the ability to pause and rewind the talks was extremely useful, although I did often find myself falling behind on my schedule.

As per usual, there was hosting of different talks on different topics presented by some new and familiar faces. We did our best to cover as many of these as possible, and have collated some of our favourite ideas and takeaways from the events below.

Key Takeaways

  1. If you want to understand the technical performance of your competitors, site search and XML sitemap cross-referencing is a great way to get a quick idea of your competitor’s indexing on Google.
  2. With Digital PR, often the small pieces you outreach alongside big campaigns can provide a lot of support, or even outperform. Whether it’s little pieces made from desktop research or articles using statistics sites, never underestimate the little content wins.
  3. When completing keyword research, user intent is becoming even more crucial. Especially for eCommerce, bear in mind how your user refers to your products – if you refer to them differently users are likely to struggle to find these products, on your site and in search.
  4. Need a boost to your internal linking strategy? Consider pagination. As Google crawls these links it’s a good way to ensure content doesn’t get lost. Though pagination can’t be relied on for full content accessibility.
  5. Using the “Fuzzy Lookup” add-in for Excel can help speed up tasks such redirect mapping and 404 mapping. Fuzzy lookup allows you to combine to datasets and help to locate the most similar value from one set to the other. A useful add-in that I’d previously never heard of!
  6. Introducing Python and machine learning into part of your SEO strategy is becoming increasingly popular and great way to save time. Got a site of thousand of images and no alt-text? Consider using MMF, a Python library that uses machine learning to describe what an image is portraying to be used for alt-text.
  7. Using headless CMS is becoming an increasingly popular way to create and publish content. It has many advantages of a traditional CMS, such as WordPress, and doesn’t contain the usual bloatware that come with them.
  8. Look at your client’s log files. It’s not always easy to get hold a of site’s log files, but doing so can contain valuable information on how Google crawls your site. Analysing these logs can tell you how Google crawls your site and can inform whether you may need to make changes to your site’s structure.
  9. A common marketing mistake is to try and present a brand as the best, which can be difficult for brands to prove and consumers to validate. All brands need to do is prove they aren’t the worst. Brands can be successful sitting in the middle of this spectrum.
  10. Large scale Featured Snippet acquisition could be achievable by an update to the back-end coding design, whilst the front-end design of websites remains untouched. Time to get in touch with your developers!

 

Were you attending this year’s BrightonSEO? Please comment below what your main takes were. And, as always if you have any questions about SEO do contact us.

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Brighton SEO 2017 – Our 30 Key Takeaways

Brighton SEO 2017

Back In Brighton – Our Highlights

 

At Uprise Up we’re back from enjoying all that Brighton SEO 2017 had to offer!

Brighton SEO is not just about Search Engine Optimisation. We gained some great insights into Analytics, Social Media and Email Marketing, as well as Business Strategy. The wide-ranging sessions from industry experts offered real food for thought and were jam-packed with tips, do’s and don’ts, discussions and new tools to help meet our digital marketing objectives.

It’s safe to say we’ve all learnt something we’re eager to put into practice and in this blog, we’ve pulled together our top take-aways:

 

Top 30 Takeaways

 

Technical SEO

 

  • Google’s Gary Illyes hinted that the rank boost of secure sites might be getting stronger!

 

  • Bing’s research into trust online showed that 74% of users trust the search engine’s ranking as much as the brand.

 

  • Local links, irrespective of the type of sites they are, can be enough to cover Google’s relevancy criteria for local SEO.

 

  • For ecommerce sites with multiple languages, use the sitemap to assign hreflang tags rather than the page.

 

  • Think about infinite scroll & pagination. When infinite scroll goes wrong you can get orphaned pages & uncrawlable content, which can impact ranking and sales.

 

  • Using faceted navigation gives a great user experience and works well with infinite scroll, but can lead to many competing pages throughout a site. To combat this, make good use of robot.txt files, canonical tags and parameter handling.

 

  • You can dynamically change meta data through Tag Manager instead of through the CMS, and Google will be able to use these changes when ranking. For example, an ecommerce site could dynamically append the current offer to each product page (e.g.. 25% Off – Black Shoes).

 

  • Tag Manager can be used to extract the meta data on every page. Then, by creating a custom dimension in Analytics, this meta data can be seen alongside your regular Analytics stats (Pageviews, Bounce Rate etc.).

 

 

 

Content SEO

 

  • Create data heavy content to increase the chances of people linking back to your website.

 

  • When approaching a webmaster about content, look for the ‘what can I do for you’ and not the ‘help me by sending a backlink’ approach. Use as many sources as possible when creating your unique content and make it relevant to your target audience.

 

  • Use the 3 H’s content strategy – Hero (big-ticket featured content), Hub (regularly scheduled content) and Hygiene (helpful, informative content).

 

  • Blogs receive on average 97% more inbound links than other content.

 

  • Statistics blogs are a great source of links, even on obscure subjects. Don’t be afraid to try one for your business!

 

  • Long form video (15 mins+) ranks higher in the YouTube search results than short form video.

 

  • Video doesn’t have to be expensive to make as modern day smart phones are capable of recording high quality video.

 

  • Using 360-degree photos and VR technologies allows you to engage with the consumer on a higher level, evoking emotions and memories in the viewer (making an emotional connection). This will ensure they engage better with you and your content.

 

  • Utilise user reviews for your product or service to look for potential keywords. What adjectives do users use when they give you 5* reviews? What about 1*?

 

 

John and Ben in Brighton Pier cutout

Ecommerce

 

  • Keep out of stock & seasonal pages live where you can! Advise the product is retired or out of stock, then direct them to similar products, or take their information and email them when it is available. However, for non-priority pages, it is still best to redirect to a similar product.

 

  • Avoid using years in HTML developments.

 

  • The usual SEO factors don’t apply for ecommerce sites. Search engines know what ecommerce sites are – they don’t need the same amount of text as a content page would. What is important is the use of relevant keywords, easy access in menus and good usability of filters.

 

  • Make use of keywords in your ecommerce sites’ descriptive text.

 

 

Social Media

 

  • Use a tool like Brand Watch to discover latest trends, search phrases and affinity with brands and use it to steer content.

 

  • Have a social media strategy that integrates with all of your marketing mix. Don’t tweet and blog about random things, make sure it fits with your brand and overall marketing strategy.

 

  • Micro influencers can be a better investment than larger influencers. Choosing micro influencer followers of a larger influencer only keeps the message within that network, so branching out is important. YouTube influencers will be more willing to be flexible.

 

  • Brand evangelists are 52% more valuable than the average satisfied customer. They will be the fans who will truly get involved and will share your message to friends, family and beyond.

 

  • Take the time to understand your audience – learn how they engage, the language they use and how your brand personality matches theirs – then develop your strategy, A/B test and measure their engagement beyond the number of likes. Ask for feedback, reviews and ratings!

 

  • Don’t fill the need, create the need. You’re not filling the need of buying a drill, your filling the need to create the hole.

 

  • If you want to create Facebook video content, make sure you optimise and upload it to be viewed vertically. Only 9% of users do this, and the vast majority of videos are played this way.

 

  • Don’t worry about your sound in social media videos, 85% of people play them on mute!

 

We hope you find these take-aways useful! All the slide decks from the conference will be added to the BrightonSEO website blog page, or if we can help you with your digital marketing at all please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!

 

Also, if you want to see our previous experiences of BrightonSEO and see how these takeaways compare to previous BrightonSEO conferences, you can read our blogs on Brighton SEO Key Takeaways – April 2017 and Brighton SEO – Our Top 9 Takeaways (Sept 2016).

 

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Brighton SEO Key Takeaways – April 2017

Brighton SEO 2017

Brighton SEO Highlights

While many lessons were learned at Brighton SEO (the April 2017 edition), there was definitely one that stood out above everything else – Remember to test your t-shirt cannon before you host an event (sorry Kelvin!).

In all seriousness, Brighton SEO was an event that was full of great knowledge and ideas to take away. Many expert speakers with engaging topics were present and I’m going to do my best to summarise some of the more useful information I took away from the event.

The events I attended were as follows;

  1. The Future of Search
  2. Content
  3. SERP’s
  4. Link Building

 

While each of the sessions were informative and enjoyable, we all had our ‘aha’ moments. Here are mine:

 

Ranking for the Answer Box

 

This was a talk I particularly enjoyed, as I am getting more clients who have quick answer boxes showing up for some of their key search terms. Some of the key action points from this talk by Adrian Phipps included –

Write in the correct format – 82% of information that appears in the answer box is in the form of paragraphs, 11% in the form of lists (especially bullet points) and 8% in the form of tables. This lets us know how we want to produce our content.

The first 100 words are key – Aim to answer your audience’s questions within the first 100 words of content. Where this is done correctly the chances of showing up in the answer box increase significantly.

Question the page title – Put in simple English, include the question being answered in the page title. This highlights to Google in no uncertain way what the relevance of the on page content is.

Look to answer related questions – By answering questions people in your niche are looking for you are more likely to improve engagement metrics and ensure that Google see your webpage as relevant for the search query you want to rank for.

Target 1,200+ words – Google seem to reward longer content, as long as it provides value of course. Look to thoroughly answer the question(s) your audience is asking.

User intent should guide what you do – Remember that user intent is the foundation of SEO (where there is motivation, needs and wants)

Don’t’ forget tried and tested SEO practices – In the bid to rank for the Answer Box, don’t forget to have health checks on your website. Make sure your page speed is good, there are no duplicates to be found and you are redirecting deleted pages correctly. There are many other things to check but just having good SEO practice as your foundation will give you a good chance of appearing in the answer box.

Building Backlinks without a Budget

 

Probably my favourite talk at Brighton SEO was by Sam Charles, who is a popular blogger that gave some quintessential tips on approaching webmasters for backlinks.

Put yourself in the webmaster’s shoes – One of the most surprising things I heard at Brighton SEO was the amount of time most bloggers are propositioned daily. Imagine owning a small blog that is thriving and getting 20 – 30 emails per day from people who clearly want a backlink from your website. Next time you’re approaching blogger keep this in the back of your mind.

It helps explain why most bloggers don’t even respond to a query, if it’s not original and of value to them. So make sure you are offering great value to the blogger.

Honesty is a must – Most people that approach bloggers aren’t fully upfront with who they are and what they’re goal is. Being honest, is essential in getting bloggers who work with you. Most bloggers, will do a little research on whoever is supposed to be approaching them. At the end of the day, when you ask for that backlink you’re going to have to state which website you want it pointing to. If you’re not honest from the jump off it will begin to show-off.

What can you offer – If someone is going to be sending backlinks to you, what benefit are they going to be getting from the trade-off? This can be as simple as amazing content, however in such cases, be sure to have links prepared where you can send them for a review of your writing style. On the other hand, it can be as complex as offering your services to them (if you’re an SEO person you can run an audit, if you’re a lawyer maybe offer them advice on incorporating their business).

Ego bait them – This one may not work for too long but it’s still worth a go. Create a list of top bloggers in your niche and include some of the key websites you want to get backlinks from. Tweet them to let them know about your post. It panders to the ego, which is one of the best ways to get people to act.

 

Content Distribution PlanDistribution Arrow

 

What are you trying to achieveDifferent websites are going to have different goals when creating a content distribution plan. Some key ones are building backlinks, building brand awareness, increasing organic traffic levels and improving keyword positioning.

Knowing what you’re KPI’s are will also stop you from wandering away from your initial goals. Set these from the start (with a little flexibility in case they prove to be unrealistic).

Who are your audienceIf your content is going to be effective it needs to resonate with your target audience. Make sure all content you produce is written in a style and format that your target audience can easily digest. For example if you’re targeting early teens (13-15) you might not want to produce 2,000+ word articles without images/videos to break up the content (you might not want to do that for adults either, to be fair).

Making these considerations ahead of time will ensure you have a much higher chance of producing successful content.

Find out who key influencers areBy identifying key influencers in your niche you’ll be able to get your most valuable content in front of more eyeballs. Contact these people, build relationships (by offering to help them before asking for anything in return) and you’ll find you perform much better in the long run.

Decide on distribution channelsAgain, if you’ve done your homework and know your audience and how they digest content, you’ll be able to select the correct distribution channels to better reach them.

While there was so much more picked up from this year’s Brighton SEO, the above is more than enough to help you do your job that much better (if you’re in the SEO space). If you didn’t go to Brighton SEO this time, make sure you get down there next time. You’ll find it’s well worth it.

 

 

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BrightonSEO – Our Top 9 Takeaways

Brighton SEO Highlights – September 16

 

Last Friday saw the 13th Brighton SEO conference take place. Having outgrown the Brighton Dome, this year and having ‘come a long way from a room in a pub’, the conference was held at the Brighton Centre. If you’re not familiar with Brighton SEO, it’s a place where all forms of SEO geeks can gather and discuss all things SEO.

On the programme this year there were several speakers from around the world talking about all manner or SEO topics, from the importance of local SEO to the future of SEO and the potential dystopia associated with it.

brighton-seo

 

Due to the sheer amount of information on the day I’ve decided to break it down into a nice list of the top 9 takeaways from the conference (in no particular order):

 

Never stop link building outreach

Even once you’ve hit your target number of backlinks to a page, article, post, don’t stop – there are many sites which will still link to you and not including them is just causing you to miss out. Local and regional press are a prime example – often freelance journalists write for multiple papers and sites, both local and national. By providing continued outreach and building relationships with sources, you can open doors you never thought were there.

 

Site migration doesn’t necessarily always have to a big impact on site performance

Whilst often site migrations result in lower rankings and visibility, this is usually the result of poor planning and not involving SEO from the offset. As we and other agencies have found, instances where SEO is well implemented from the start and is involved in the design process show far more consistency in performance across the migration. SEO and 301s needs to be integrated early on.

 

The ever increasing importance of local search

Local search is becoming more and more important to Google and other search engines, and as a result they are starting to put more weight behind local listings. This has led to a huge increase in the number of tools and services available to help manage listings and to capitalise on this ever growing sector – many of which featured at Brighton.

 

Google don’t give consistent – or even correct advice on how the algorithm works/is being developed

This is something that we’ve seen before, and at Brighton plenty of other agencies were also talking about where Google’s advice on things such as backlinks and 302s etc. simply aren’t borne out by the results.

 

The continued direction from Google (and other search engines) is to pull the data that users are looking for into the search engine rather than serve people to a different site

Ecommerce is moving in this direction too and we expect the ultimate goal to be where the products of Tesco, Asda and others are pulled into Google and the entire journey, including payment, is kept within Google – in a manner closer to Amazon or eBay. With Google’s phenomenal reach, this would place the search engine in an exceedingly powerful place across all ecommerce.

 

Our job is increasingly becoming the role of a scientist

The algorithm is too varied, inconsistent across sectors and quickly evolving to implement ‘best practice’ any more. This was a main topic of a very good Keynote speech by Will Critchlow at Distilled. For us as an agency, we are moving away from an ‘audit to pass on to clients’ model and more into a proactive way of working with clients where we can implement most of the changes ourselves, keep on top of changes to the algorithm and test what we work on with clients, making the amends needed as we go.

 

Content duplication for eCommerce is a big no-no

Whilst this might seem common sense for most sites, it is often overlooked when it comes to ecommerce and shopping and can even result in a penalty from Google if you’re not careful. Unfortunately for ecommerce, canonicals won’t cut it either, so avoid duplicate content at all costs! If you have a product that covers multiple categories, it’s recommended to use long-tail flat URLs e.g. www.upriseup.co.uk/Black-Silk-Evening-Maxi-Dress as opposed to having both upriseup.co.uk/Black-Dress/Maxi-Dress and upriseup.co.uk/Evening-Dress/.

 

Descriptions are crucial for Shopping

The 150-character Product Titles are what’s going to entice the user to click on your ad or product, so they need to be fully utilised and filled with relevant info and keywords. By using an ad redirect option on the Merchant Feed you can also send top-of-funnel searches to a ‘category page’ to direct users to the top items. Speaking of which, by ensuring that the most relevant top-selling item is the most relevant item you’re able to further boost potential sales.

 

The future of HTTP & HTTP/2

Currently, if your website is performing badly on HTTP, the upgrade to HTTP/2 isn’t going to fix your site – it will still perform badly. To even be able to use HTTP/2 your site will also need to have HTTPS so if you’re thinking of making the jump, this is a big deciding factor. Many agencies have described the move from HTTP to HTTPS as essentially a new site migration which can cause massive issues down the line if not implemented properly. You can see the effects of HTTP/2 here.

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