Everyone and anyone in search marketing in the UK (and some from beyond) was at BrightonSEO 2016.
I went along and wanted to put together some useful takeaways – hints and tips, rather than impressive soundbites.
Here are 10…
1. How to get started with AMP
Branded3’s Stephen Kenwright suggests using PageFrog.
The plugin converts HTML so it complies with both Facebook Instant Articles and AMP, allows for layout customization, as well as monetization.
2. YouTube keyword strategy
Phil Nottingham advised us to use playlists to rank for key phrases you don’t have specific videos for.
Here’s a neat example from Jamie Oliver.
3. SEO tools
Berian Reed, MD of Pure Optimisation, shared his favoured tools for SEO.
- DeepCrawl for SEO project management.
- SEOMonitor to get more keyword data and revenue projections.
- distilledODN for split testing SEO.
- Your CEO for link building (yes, your actual CEO is your best tool to earn links, through interviews, outreach etc.).
- Keyword Expander for keyword research.
4. Content marketing guidelines
Martijn Scheijbeler of The Next Web shared some insights into how brands can approach content marketing like a publisher.
Here are his six steps to content creation:
- Know your sources.
- Know your tone of voice.
- Come up with ideas; don’t think too long.
- Measure what is important to you.
- Strategy depends on resources and scale.
- Think off platform.
5. Prioritising useful content
Stephen Kenwright also gave a lovely example of the power of useful content, which is most important, irrespective of word count or links to page.
Searching for ‘When do the clocks go back?’, compare some of the newspapers’ top returned pages with that of GOV.uk.
GOV.uk’s page is supremely functional, including dates, related content and add-to-calendar button.
Newspapers such as The Telegraph offer longer waffly content designed to rank (and with plenty of internal links) but not suiting the user need as beautifully as above.
Stephen gives a good comparison of GOV.uk with The Mirror’s top returned page.
The Mirror may have 8,500 more links, but its page for this term is pretty useless and the simple GOV.uk version ranks comfortably above it.
A lesson for all there.
6. Avoiding a site migration disaster
Jon Earnshaw, Pi Datametrics, spoke about site migration.
Aside from the sensible entreaty to get SEO involved from the start, the following advice on preventing the staging site from ‘getting out’ caught my eye.
- Remember that robots.txt only blocks crawling not indexing.
- Use IP whitelisting.
- Require a login.
- Use a ‘no index’ meta tag.
7. Local search management
There has been 146% year-on-year growth in location searches on mobile (March 2016, Think With Google).
50% of local searchers end up in-store within a day (via Search Engine Land).
Using a location management platform like Yext will update store data simultaneously across locations, post content to Facebook Locations and Google My Business pages and create store locator pages on site/in app with minimal dev effort.
8. Google Shopping tips
Rob Watson of Supplyant offered some great tips for optimising Google Shopping campaigns.
My favourites were tests showing the effectiveness of longer 150-character product titles and the use of the URL redirect attribute to send users to a category page rather than the product page (which increased conversion by capturing browse-stage shoppers on broader terms).
9. Emerging forms of search
Tom Anthony gave us a nice roundup of three emerging forms of search.
This is the trend that Google Now started a while back.
Google’s own studies show that a third of potential searches go unfulfilled for any one user.
Ubiquitous personalisation is one way to address this, providing more relevant information through an increasing variety of devices.
This is how Tom termed the phenomenon of the results pages capturing more of the funnel.
Direct answers are now available in search through the Knowledge Graph, essentially negating clickthrough to a website proper.
Conversational search is also one part of faceted search, with answers provided directly without a website visited. Microsoft’s Purna Virji predicted at BrightonSEO that by 2020, 50% of searches will come from voice.
The natural progression of faceted search is an experience that will capture more of the funnel – i.e. the filter and sort phase of ecommerce.
Sticking with ecommerce, search is set to collapse the funnel. Tom referred to this as transactional search.
Checking out within the SERPs will negate web search altogether, and will be a large part of conversational search.
Combining all three (ambient, faceted and transactional search), Tom imagined the scenario of talking to a personal assistant.
Saying, “Okay Alexa, buy the cheapest five star washing powder that will arrive before Friday,” requires Alexa to know information about billing and delivery, to find the best product and to complete a purchase (after understanding the language of the query, of course).
10. User-generated content
How can you get your audience to create content for you?
Sophie Turton gave some excellent examples for inspiration, including Mod Cloth’s community of reviewers and Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker (a game based on letting gamers create their own levels).