It was once again time for search marketing professionals to descend upon Brighton for the eagerly awaited BrightonSEO. This year I was a keynote speaker and also hosted a training session.
Luckily, between training, speaking and rubbing shoulders with peers, I was able to catch a couple of the keynote sessions.
If you missed my session or would like a copy of the slides, you can find them here.
Social and Content
The first session I attended covered Social and Content. First up was Stacey MacNaught (@staceycav) who spoke about promotion of content. She made some great points about how only relying on the creation of content with a little bit of outreach isn’t really quite enough. This is certainly what we’ve found at Oban. Content has to be awesome and tell a story which helps to support the objectives of your company and campaign. It’s also worth noting that you really have to spend a bit more effort with this kind of activity, certainly than you did five or six years ago. Stacey made a valid point that promotion is an important part of content, and stressed the importance of using a range of tools to both research and promote your content.
Next up was Hannah Thorpe (@hannahjthorpe). Hannah discussed ideation and making an impact – this was very much about making sure that you get the idea behind your content right, both for the company and the consumer. One of the key things I liked about this was the importance of creating the right content for your audience. Countless times I’ve seen the SEO industry jump on a band wagon. Everyone’s doing infographics? Great, let’s do infographics for EVERYTHING. This just doesn’t work, if it’s not right for the audience..what’s the point? Hannah also mentioned the importance of doing the right research about the types of solutions people are looking for. Content works best when it’s addressing a customer need and researching these needs can be easily done by knowing who your customers are and which forums they use.
The final talk from this session was from Christoph Cemper (@cemper) who was speaking about how to measure the success of your content. Christoph began by reiterating something Stacey had mentioned in the previous talk, likes and shares on social don’t necessarily mean your content is working, many people will retweet something without even reading it.
He went on to discuss the other ways we can track success socially by including comments on posts and requesting information for the download of content such as presentations and whitepapers.
Local and Mobile
After the break, I sat in on a session about Local and Mobile, this might seem an interesting choice for someone working in international seo but it has to be said that local is still an important aspect and with mobile affecting so many searches worldwide – it has to be a big consideration.
First to take the stage in this session was Gary Illyes (@methode) from Google talking about the growing importance of Mobile to both users and search. Amusingly Google weren’t keen on the use of “mobilegeddon” as a term – this caused a few laughs in the SEO crowd. In his talk Gary discussed how important mobile has become and how they’ve been developing solutions to help mobile users find what they want. Google have been covering lots of this with app and usuabiity development including Google Now and a new product called Now On Tap which will allow people to find and contact local businesses based on the content of an email or text.
As we know Google’s big push at the moment is voice search and Gary spoke about how Conversational Search is helping mobile users find things in a more intuitive way. This really does highlight the importance of becoming visible for longer terms and not focussing on just 4 or 5 hero keywords for your SEO.
To conclude, Gary emphasised the importance of making sure your website is mobile so you don’t get left behind.
One of my favourite elements of this session was Greig Grifford (@GregGifford). I’m always amazed both by the number of slides he manages to present in 20 minutes and his ability to tie in movies to his topic. His talk on a ‘Series Awesome Blueprint for Local SEO’ covered some really good gems about local SEO and making the most of your opportunities within the local community.
Greg also emphasised the importance of reading your content out loud before posting it to ensure it’s conversational and reads well – this is something I’ve been a big fan of!
For local city listings you now need to have a physical office in the city you want to rank for as Google no longer allows virtual offices. When optimising for local it’s important to have your target City in all the elements of a page such as the URL, Title, H1, Alt Text and of course the content. If you use maps on your site make sure they are the map from the Google My Business page – if you don’t own this page you can claim it from Google. As for links, they are important for local and using hyper local directories are a good source for these. To help get a local listing, leveraging your local community connections and using citations can be helpful. Look at local competitors as you need to be visibile where Google expects to see you!
Next up was David Mlhm (@davidmihm) from Moz who was discussing the topic of maximising local search presence. He highlighted the fact that it’s harder to get local visibility in Google due to the recent changes Google has made so he spoke about getting listings on some of the other sites people use, such as Trip Adviser. Part of this is because it’s actually more important to get people from within an App and not within a browser as mobile users spend 90% of their time in apps and only 10% in their browser. Some of the apps mentioned included Trip Adviser, Now on Tap (soon to launch from Google), Uber, Yelp and also services such as Facebook, Apple spotlight search which now searches Apple Maps in iOS9 and Cortana on Microsoft devices.
Lastly, I attended On Page Optimisation by Jon Henshaw (@RavenJon ) Co-founder of Raven tool. Jon covered how important it is to get a mobile friendly website and some of the priority items to optimise on a mobile site such as site speed, user experience, structured data and device responsiveness. One of the core things Jon mentioned about optimising for speed is the importance of getting images right. So many websites don’t resize images for mobile and Jon was advocating making sure you have images which are progressively smaller which can be served to users depending on what size device they have.