BrightonSEO - UK's Biggest SEO Event
The BrightonSEO conference is the biggest search marketing event and conference in the United Kingdom. Leading experts from around the world come together to share their knowledge and expertise about SEO. In just one day, you can learn about content, SERPs, E-commerce, link building, marketing, Onpage and Offpage SEO and so much more.
Sadly, you can only be in one place at a time. That is why we attended BrightonSEO to gather all the information we could for you. We prepared some great key takeaways and hope that they'll get you inspired and help you do your job a little better.
Don't miss out:
We hope to meet you there in September.
Here's what you can read further...
- BrightonSEO - UK's Biggest SEO Event
- Link Building
- Search Quality & Trust
- SEO Audits
- Search & Data
- Site Clinics
- Crawl & Indexation
- International SEO
- Marketing Automation
- Slides and videos we collected for you
The Internet is made out of links between different resources. But don't only think of a link as a connection from A to B. Links also have to do with people. After doing a proper link prospecting, you need to reach out to get those great, relevant links in your niche. Truth be told, outreach is not easy. Talking to bloggers is not easy. Establishing a partnership is hard work. And yes, you need great Penguin-friendly links. Not just any links.
The presentations in the BrightonSEO link building session cover interesting topics such as outreach, link prospecting and link audits. Maybe you wonder what link audit has to do with link building. It has a lot to do. You cannot start a link building campaign and expect to achieve great results if you haven't first cleaned your backlink profile from all those old spammy links that are hurting your rankings.
- The fundamentals of a good partnership are:
- mutual benefits
- trust and clear expectations
- complimentary audience and
- The recipe of a partnership organization process:
- create a brief
- challenge your clients, make them understand the challenge
- find a partner, excite them,
- define the SEO KPIs
- content rights:Who? What? Where?
- manage the project – make sure you manage expectations
- measure – set it up so that you can report it easily.
- To create great partnerships, you need to have local knowledge, pick up the phone, and do the leg work.
- Build relationships with bloggers. Find source bloggers with press pages and create content about them on your blog.
- Outreach as usual and incentivize bloggers with content instead of money. If you can’t offer money, offer time. It can be far more valuable.
- Offer advice or resources and support bloggers to improve their websites.
- Create an ego-bait infographic of 30 of the best bloggers and share it with them.
- Promote their content on your social media channels or company newsletters. Don’t even reach out if the channels you’re planning to promote the articles on have fewer followers than the blogger has. Don’t forget to play fair. Don’t promise to promote something and then go silent.
- Outreach tips:
- Never pretend to be somebody else.
- Don’t be afraid to say what you want.
- Keep e-mails short and to the point.
- You need to audit your full backlink profile to get your work 100% done and keep your website penalty free. Your old backlinks can hurt your rankings. Remember those links you bought in the past? If you didn’t analyze and disavow these links, you still have them in your backlink profile. And guess what? They are hurting your rankings every day.
- Did a negative SEO attack ever cross your mind? You need to monitor incoming links and update your Google disavow file even on a weekly basis if needed. Yes, you need that even in the Penguin 4.0 era.
- Don’t sit aside after you do a link disavow. Google will not take your disavowed links into account unless you do something to speed up the process. The quickest and most efficient way to do that is by using Link Detox Boost (BOOST).
- What if you lost most of the traffic to your website? You’d lose money big time. It’s much smarter to invest in link risk management and have a professional take care of your online business. It will help you avoid disaster big time.
- Don’t forget to build great backlinks for your website. You’ll want to go only for the high-trust, low-risk, Penguin-friendly links in your niche.
If you're serious about your SEO work, you have to try LinkResearchTools
With every report you start, you get freshly crawled and accurate link data from 25 sources. No other link intelligence software can give as much detailed link data and up to date information about your backlink profile.
Search Quality & Trust
In one of the last sessions of the day, it was all about search quality and trust. Exactly that is what Google wants your website to have – onpage and offpage. Therefore, it is important to understand what Google is looking for and what you can do if you don’t reach those standards and maybe even get a penalty.
- Google Webmasters Guidelines get updated all the time without them telling us, so you need to check it regularly.
- A Manual Action will time out, but it takes a long time and can be reinforced. It can be granular, only on a site or the domain. Google does communicate about Manual Actions in the Google Search Console.
- There are different reasons for a penalty, but mostly it is triggered because your outgoing or inbounding links look spammy.
- The Reconsideration Request process is done manually. After receiving a penalty, you need to investigate why it got triggered; then you should fix it and document every single step.
- Try to remove the spammy links, the attempt alone will play in your favor. If you can’t remove them, disavow them, that means this links can’t be used for a penalty anymore. After you have done that, you can file a request. You should keep it brief and tell them what you have done to get rid of the links.
- Quality Raters cannot cause your sites ranking to drop, but Google uses those ratings to improve their algorithm.
- Everyone can and should have an expertise because Google likes that. You can show your expertise by putting an author bio on your website, show citations, and credentials or write detailed reviews.
- Authoritativeness is another key focus now. You should check your facts and be transparent about that on your website. That can be easily achieved by having an “About Us” Page.
- You need to show Google your trustworthiness. For example, if your website looks sketchy, that will be the impression that Google and users get. People will share your content and link to it only if they trust you.
- YMYL (Your Money Your Life) websites are held to a much higher standard. Also, websites that are focussing on medical, financial and legal advice. Newly added to that list are news and information websites. So you should show off what you have.
- A local content strategy can build trust because users are looking for local expertise and at the end, it is always just about the users that have a question, and you should give an answer to that.
- A very good strategy is to work together with local influencers that are known in the area you want to target. They are more economical and can outperform big influencers when it comes to how much users trust them.
- Local content is always mobile content too because users are already on their way or out when they start searching. That is also why traffic at restaurants websites went down because users use the GMB listing.
- Local content always demands the truth because it is much harder to lie when you are addressing a small area.
You need to monitor your website's health, your links, your traffic, your content, your competitors. Doing this manually is not the way to go. Using automation alongside data aggregation is the right thing to do. Remember, in SEO you need to be proactive, not reactive.
- When you take care of SEO for either large of small websites, we all have the same fear: not losing the traffic.
- Make sure to maintain a healthy website and grow traffic. Releases, content changes, redesigns, URL structure changes. It can all break your website without you realizing it.
- You need to implement automated SEO checks and, get notifications in real time. Be proactive, not reactive. Hack the way you work, focus on solutions rather than problems.
- Don’t get intimidated by code, start with Python (.py) automated scripts. Here are some use cases: get rid of the time-consuming countless manual checks, optimize metadata, scrape competitor’s websites, check headings, get timely notifications about relevant changes.
- Content editors change metadata and you don’t get notifications about it. By using a Python script, you can compare HTML and Excel file data and record the changes with a specific date.
- Think about your use cases, reach out to your developers. Learn how to run the script.
- You need to audit your website as often as you can because things can change.
- Just imagine that you do a website re-launch with the de-index checked on. If you don't monitor your website's performance in the SEPRs, you can lose 100% of your traffic and revenue in days. Even if you then get it back the damage can be massive. On a website relaunch that went wrong we've seen a 21% traffic loss in the 1st week and a 80% traffic loss on the page that generated most revenue. You need to monitor your traffic, rankings, robots.txt, meta robots.
- You can recover your traffic quickly if you go to the Google Search Console and ask Google to re-crawl and index all your pages again. Only the asking Google to index some pages, will not bring back all your traffic, so you'll need to make an effort. Make sure you get Google to re-crawl everything.
- When you want to make changes in the URL structure of your website, it's good to map keywords to URLs, check ranking URLs and look for discrepancies after you make the changes. If something goes wrong, it's good to revert the changes to the former URL structure.
- When someone is working on re-designing your website, demand sign-off, development timelines, etc. Push back if something is wrong, don’t make that change. Make sure you know what happens.
- Look at what Google is indexing. You don't want Google to spend the crawl budget on pagination or URLs containing all sorts of weird parameters. Don’t rely on your crawler! Look in your Google Search Console and look at the search results.
- What to monitor? It depends on the site: robots.txt, uptime, crawl data. Identify what matters to your website: keywords, landing pages that count for 60% of your revenue. Some tools that can help with monitoring: Robotto, Serverdensity, Watch that page, ChangeDetection.com or Visual Ping.
Search & Data
There's a great deal of controversy surrounding Google's top ranking factors. We all ask ourselves how Google picks the websites it displays on the first page of search results. Is it links? Is it content? Is it rank brain? Is it something different? For sure, it's a combination of ranking signals that Google uses when choosing the top pages for a search query. We can only look at the data and try to observe different patterns. Tom Capper, Claudia Higgings and Malcolm Slade had some very interesting presentations focused on search and data. You have below the key takeaways.
- Are links obsolete? What can replace them? We navigate the web using links - a useful proxy for popularity and trust. The web is made out of links. But there are now also other ways to browse the web and Google doesn’t need to approximate popularity since they already have all the real data on user behaviour.
- Are links redundant? Google says NO, and the correlation case studies out there are inconclusive. Links move the needle sometimes.
- In March 2016, Google referred to links as being the first ranking factor alongside content, followed by rank brain on the red place. Links are important.
- Google can figure out the brands that we prefer. It knows more, and more and it's becoming more "human."
- Links are currently a ranking factor. All the competitive, data-rich top-end, links don’t mean much, but links might be a big part of what gets you into that shortlist.
- What you should do next: win at user testing, win at brand awareness and perception.
- When you build links, just ask yourself this question: would Google value the tactic you're using in a world without links? Is that a link you'd build even if Google didn't exist?
- Looking at data is vital when you’re doing SEO. As a company, you need to define what you would like to look at and then find the tools that can help you gather and analyze the data you need.
- Use all the data you can get from Google Search Console for free and make the most of it.
- Always be aware of the changes that Google is making in their algorithm. You can use MozCast for a 30 days weather report of the SERP fluctuations.
- Search for Brand / No Brand traffic in Google Analytics and Google Search Console and break it down by device. You will then notice where you need to invest more attention and you can also detect possible technical issues that you can quickly fix to improve your rankings.
- Monitor your traffic and keywords to discover search behavior connected to certain trends, events or even seasons depending on your industry.
- Google is becoming more human, and the Brand might represent the entity type that Google is looking for.
- You can do an interesting experiment by submitting humans to a poll and using it to generate SERP images. See if they can identify recognizable brands that also appear on Google’s first page for different keywords in different niches.
- Brand search volume is not a ranking factor. Brand may represent the entity type Google is looking for. There may be no ranking factors anymore. This can’t be reversed engineered or gamed. Brand are only going to get more dominant.
- How to get Google to choose your website and recognize you as a brand:
- Make more people think about your company and mention it.
- Get more people to search for you and what you do.
- Get people to click your SERP listings.
- Be memorable: online ads, billboard, TV ads.
- Use PR to drive people to your website.
- Craft good SERP listings.
- Make sure that you have a technically sound website.
You have more options:
- Do all of the above
- Only advertise online
- Legacy brand minimum activity. In this case, Google doesn't care if you can't do it all.
In the Site Clinic session, it was possible to submit your website, and three experts in SEO did a live audit and gave the participants some free consulting tips. The rest of the audience got an insight on what they can quickly identify as problematic at the website and which general rules they can stick too.
- You need to be careful with your internal linking, just because you say it is a 404 it isn’t a 404. The same goes for indexation. Don’t do it if it has no value for the user in the search results.
- Don’t use meta keywords we have gone on. But it is always important to produce unique and valuable content.
- Manage user expectation in the search results and you exceed the expectations when they click on your site.
- In the sales database is a lot of information that you can use for your optimization, for example, sessional sparks in purchases.
- Use the structure data and contact data to tell Google on which area your website is focused on.
- PRO TIP: make a landing page for a PDF and put a canonical in the header. Canonicals are a great help when it comes to link juice and ranking, but you need to be careful while setting it up and keep a consistent structure.
- Even though websites are mobile friendly, their performance is sometimes bad. It is important to check images etc. because you can gain a lot by optimizing that.
- Losing visibility for generic Keywords which weren’t important in the first place is not a surprise. If you want to rank for something you need to give enough visible information to Google. Don’t hide for example behind a sign-up.
- When it comes to the internal listing, you need to have a category structure that offers unique content and do not index all the internal listing.
- For highly competitive markets you should try to rank for longtail keywords and give more content so you can outrank your competitors.
- Always do link audits to see if external links are linking to a 404 and if so, redirect them because otherwise their link juice is lost.
- Think about what is useful to potential customers and index those pages. Everything that is not useful in the search results should be de-indexed. Build up strength in the categories, so Google sees that these are the important pages.
- Liking sitewide impacts the visibility for your target page, because it shows Google that maybe this page is important or maybe the other page.
- Find out what page is returned for which keyword and map your targets but don’t over-optimize your website. It is better that every page is ranking for one query then trying to get the whole domain ranking for one keyword. This strategy will get you more visibility for your entire domain.
- Revisit your blog and check your content. One of the best things is not to put the year in the URL and heading because people will think that the content is outdated.
Crawl & Indexation
Crawling and indexation have always been controversial topics. Three great technical SEOs have joined forces in this session to talk about crawling issues. They talked about common and less common issues, but they also came up with some very cool solutions. This is for sure worth reading and digging deeper into.
- Crawl Budget: what Google can or wants to crawl. It shouldn't crawl empty pages, 404s, duplicate content, spam, soft 404s, hacked content. To sum it up. You don't want Google to crawl what you don't want your users to see. You should only show them the high-quality pages. You don't want Google to crawl duplicate content because that can bring a Panda penalty along.
- How to block Google and other search engines from indexing your content?
- noindex <meta name=“robots" content=“noindex">. It won’t deal with crawl bloat in the short term, but it still is an effective tactic;
- url parameters in the Google Search Console - a powerful tool when used properly; no need for developer support;
- xml sitemaps: don't include redirected URLs, No-index URLs or poor quality pages;
- robots.txt: Caution! Powerful crawl bloat tool when used effectively for blocking crawl paths
- “Prioritizing what to crawl, when, and how many resources the server hosting the site can allocate to crawling is more important for bigger sites, or those that auto-generate pages based on URL parameters” Gary Illyes.
- Pruning. Why? Because of spinning, excessive blogging, saturation, over-optimization, sparse articles. An ongoing content audit is still essential.
- How to keep your content up to date:
- 301 redirects that match the content you're redirecting to. Don't redirect a BrightonSEO recap from 2016 to your homepage, but rather redirect it to a BrightonSEO recap for 2017;
- use Canonical instead of 301s if you want to keep both articles even though they have similar content;
- remove all the bad content; focus on high-quality content and update old content;
- repurpose great content and make it evergreen;
- update seasonal content;
- analyze your backlink profile and recover links pointing to a 404.
- If you want some extra insights on how your site is being crawled, look in the site log.
- "If your website generates and displays the same (or very similar) content on multiple URLs, the canonical tag could be used to bucket them together and assign one master (canonical) version." (Moz)
- Why use canonicals? If you have no developer support, if you want the other versions to be online, you don’t want to slow down things with redirects, if you want to improve the ranking by consolidating the power and trust of 2 pages, then you should use canonicals.
- The canonicals should:
- not point to a 404, 301 or 302
- be listed in your XML map
- use absolute, not relative URLs
- be internally linked
- be used on highly similar content
- REL canonical is a hint, not a directive and Google may ignore it if it thinks it was not implemented the right way.
- Set-up HTTP canonicals for your PDFs using .htaccess:
Header add Link ‘<https://example.com/guide>; rel="canonical’
But be careful. You can easily break your entire website if you make a mistake.
- For the paginated series, Google doesn't recommend doing a rel=canonical from page to (or any later page) to page 1, as these are not duplicate pages.
You have two options:
- create a ‘View All’ page - and canonicalise <link rel=“canonical” href=“http://ww w.example.com /example?view-all”/> - this may affect the speed of your site
- use paginated series markup
<link rel="prev" href="http://www.example.com/example” />
<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/example?p age=3” />
Nowadays there is more to SEO than On-page and Off-page. Many companies are big global players and the rules for SEO change when you must cover it for different countries, languages or even continents. At the international SEO conference, you get some insights and real-life examples on how you can handle international SEO.
- Taking the Lingo: The wrong assumption is very often that English is kind of ok because it is the business language. But people search in their own language. But except for brand names, they are mostly searching in their own language. With addressing them in English you are not communicating to the market. So, it comes down to a hybrid way of searching - a mix of English and local language. Also keep in mind that even though US and UK citizens speak English, they do not use the same terminologies.
- Shortcuts to translation: The wrong assumption is to let Google Translate do the work because it doesn’t translate everything. So you have two different languages on your website and it doesn’t change the URL which is especially bad for your SEO. One of the most important things to remember is to never impose your language on your potential customers.
- Selling ice to eskimos: The wrong assumption is that the same products will sell in another market because they did good somewhere else. You need to understand that not everybody likes the same brands and is not interested in the same products. People also prefer to pay differently in different Countries, so you need to keep an eye on that in your billing process.
- The techie stuff: Most people get the Hreflang tag wrong. Very often people have the wrong language and country codes. The country code is not always what you assume; You also need to be careful about the correct syntax of your codes. Use the full URL and not just relative URL and look out for the internal linking. And not all search engines support this tag so you need to use the local tag.
- The rollout needs to be customer centric, they move to mobile, non-interruptive, non-intrusive and reach the market as quickly as possible.
- Do your research first! Have you had mobile websites before and what was or is the link structure? You need to know that because it can help you but also possibly harm you.
- You need to know the technology stack. What is the domain structure and redirect capability and server resources capability? Everyone in the company needs to know what is expected of him. The most important thing is to get your house in order.
- Identify the mobile approach that is best-suited for your business. You need to think about crawl budgets and server capabilities, and then you can start rolling it out to a small market to test everything.
- The problem with translations is often that the translations are done first and the text is optimized afterwards. SEO localisation is combining the two to get high quality, reduce costs and work faster.
- It is important to have a Continuous Delivery because otherwise, your competition is faster.
- The best approach is to connect the CMS to a translation connector. Therefore the translator can see immediately when new content is produced and can translate and optimize it right away
- It is important to have a well thought out SEO Strategy and research what the countries and languages are, that you want to address and especially what the goals you set.
Marketing Automation is one of the key features in every marketing department. Not only is marketing automation important to have a more time-saving way to connect to customers, but also to address them more efficiently.
- The most important thing in marketing automation is to remember the customer because he gets often forgotten. You need to know what that the customer wants to give him the right content. But you need to distinguish between a customer and a prospect, because they need two different things.
- Define, select and execute and track the marketing campaigns. True marketing automation always includes a feedback loop and is driven by analytics.
- At the end, it needs to be about the customer and not about the company. You need to look at the customer journey and get to know your personas to understand what the customer likes and wants.
- AI and the internet of things will have a massive impact on marketing automation. It will be more personalized and on time because we will be able to process the data in real time and we will understand better what the customer wants.
- We must always stick to three main points Trust, Transparency and Understanding. Customers need to trust the company, the company needs to be transperent and everyone needs to understand the technology we are using and working with.
Slides and videos we collected for you
Raj Nijjer – AI and Structured Data: How Voice Search Raises the Stakes for Businesses | Video
Purna Virji – Keywordless Searches: How Your Camera is the New Search Box | Video
Will Cecil – Developing an enterprise level SEO data strategy – challenges and experiences from the frontline | Video
Tom Capper – Links & rankings: The story in the data
Claudia Higgins – Getting the most out of the SEO data you can get for free
Neill Horie – SEO & Artificial Intelligence Optimisation
Lotty Chudley – Persuading Consumers to Part with Their Cash: Tips & Tricks for Conversion
Laura Hogan – Utilising Search Console for SEO Quick Wins
Marco Volpe – How to create your own dynamic remarketing
Sam Vandermark – Looking beyond paid search for better biddable results
Daniel Rowles – Mobile first indexing – what it means to you in practice
Zak Edwards – Don’t be Awesome! Just be alright at everything!
Alina Ghost – Managing SEO in a Complex Business
Sophie Moule – Using Search Data to Inform Business Strategy
Marcus Tober – Why SEO and Content Marketing must always be data-driven | Video
Tom Benett – Measuring Content Success with GTM | Video
Julia Ogden – The 8 Step Checklist for Creating a Show Stopping Distribution Plan | Video
Adrian Phipps – How to rank in the answer box | Video
Polly Pospelova – How to take advantage of Google using Usage Metrics for rankings | Video
Sam Auchterlonie – How to hack your SERPs using a lean approach | Video
Alexandra Lever – How partnerships and sponsorships can help your search marketing efforts| Video
Sam Charles – How to Build High-Quality Links Without Spending Money | Video
Christoph Cemper – 5 Years of Google Penguin | Video
Rory Sutherland – Are we creating a culture where it pays to be boring? | Video
Anita Valentinova – Power of simple – Python scripts to automated SEO checks
Philip Gamble – Technical SEO beyond the initial audit
Charlie Whitworth – How To Combat Crawl Bloat & Prune Your Content Effectively
Sean Butcher – So You Think You Know Canonical Tags?
Janet Plumpton – How to use XPath for eCommerce Websites
Omi Sido – Beyond the Basics of Website Migration: Tried, Tested & Successful
Greg Gifford – Advanced Local SEO Tips to help you murder your competitors
Barry Adams – Google AMP Case Studies
Bastian Grimm – Beyond the bullshit: 3x Hardcore Site Speed Optimization Techniques
Tony Lu – How realtime dashboards can help you make better decisions.
Al Wightman – How can Google Data Studio help me?
Alban Gérôme – Easy page element tracking with Kermit
Sophie Turton – The psychology of language for PPC
Tara West – How to boss Sequential Advertising in Facebook
David Cox – Needles and haystacks: The challenges of discoverability in academic publishing
Malcolm Slade – Brand: The Only Future Ranking Factor
Emily MacKenzie - SEO-Localisation Workflows for Continuous Delivery