An SEO & Content Consultant’s BrightonSEO Findings
6 min read
On the 19th of April, I attended my first SEO conference, and it just happened to be BrightonSEO, the world’s biggest SEO conference featuring some of the most influential and impactful speakers from a variety of huge brand names and businesses!
After sifting through the almost overwhelming amount of talks and conferences that were available, I decided to attend three that I believed would be the most useful for me in my job role:
- Content Marketing
- Onsite SEO
Below are some of the key takeaways I walked away with from these talks that I think would be useful for digital marketers of all levels. Whether you’re a marketing expert who just wants to confirm their current knowledge or you’re a beginner to the world of digital marketing and you want to pick up a few tips and tricks to get you started, there’s plenty of information here that you can instantly apply to your digital marketing campaigns.
Link Your Way to The Top
This was an eye-opening talk for me, bringing to light a selection of useful SEO tips that I can use on a daily basis in my tasks whilst confirming some prior knowledge I already had on onsite best practices.
In this talk, I learnt that whilst you can easily over-do internal linking, you can’t overdo external linking. Why? Because external linking adds a great sense of trust and authority to your website. This doesn’t mean that internal linking is dead or should be avoided, not by any means! In fact, it was decided in one of the talks in this conference that internal linking is the most overlooked and undervalued tactic in all of SEO.
It was suggested by Christoph C. Cemper that if you want to increase your rankings, you should start with your website. Your site can be a hub for internal linking opportunities and if you take advantage of this and link smartly throughout your site, you can see your search terms appearing higher up in SERPS.
Speaking of Search Terms…
There are more ways you can utilise your search terms to increase your internal linking opportunities. For example, you should change your branded phrases to “money phrases”. Money phrases are general explainer terms, and phrases that people are more likely to organically search for to get exactly what they want.
By swapping out branded phrases with these money phrases, you can get more internal liking opportunities for your site and gives you more opportunity to aggressively target these keywords with interlinking.
Some Sitemap Insights
As you may already know, a sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages on your site and the relationships between them. Search engines are quite clever and can read your sitemap to determine which pages of your site are more important. The main types of sitemaps are:
- HTML Sitemaps
- XML Sitemaps
- RSS Feeds
Many people will assume that putting a link in a sitemap will mean it gets crawled, however, there is no 100% guarantee it will be. If you want to make sure your URLs get crawled, you can link them from key indexed pages as liking from existing pages will allow Google to discover those pages automatically.
The main takeaway from the sitemap section of this talk? You should only have canonicals of indexed URLs in your sitemaps. This is because if a URL is canonicalised, this tells search engines that you don’t want the URL to be indexed and instead imply that you want the canonical URL to combine indexing signals.
The Power of Voice
Since the majority of my role at Digital Ethos is heavily content based, this was an essential talk for me to attend. Not only did I get some useful insight that was fresh and new, but I could also confirm that my current best practices were still the best way to go about content creation.
A recurring theme in the talks in this conference was the use of voice, either in your branding or in the use of podcasting.
Marketing With Podcasts
I’ll be honest and say this was unexpected. I didn’t think podcasts were still an essential part of marketing campaigns but I was proven pleasantly wrong! Podcasts are currently booming, with 6 million adults tuning in to a variety of podcasts every week. This means 6 million adults, every single week, are being influenced by their favourite podcasts to buy products or services. Hello, lucrative new audience market to advertise to!
Corinne Card suggested that podcast listeners are more heavily influenced to buy something after hearing about it on a podcast. Why? Because if they are a loyal podcast listener, they will have built a relationship and sense of trust with the speaker in the podcast, but also, its because voice is powerful and can inspire more impulse purchases.
Podcasts can be a vital tool for businesses looking to market products or services as they offer a platform to effectively deliver information whilst injecting personality and brand voice.
On the Topic of Brand Voice
This talk was super engaging, as you’d expect a talk on brand voice to be. I always knew that brand voice was imperative to delivering an effective campaign, but this talk by Bethany Joy really confirmed this to me.
If you have a great brand voice, your SEO campaign will be more likely to pay off. This is because a consistent brand voice applied across your different marketing platforms and channels can effectively communicate what you’re trying to sell whilst resonating with your audience.
Don’t try to attempt to cultivate a brand voice that makes you sound different to your actual brand personality. Your brand voice must represent you. If you try and be something you aren’t, chances are our audience will see right through this and avoid you as this will cause some trust issues.
It’s important to remember that when it comes down to it, people don’t necessarily remember what you say, they remember how it made them feel.
A Fresh Take on 404 Pages
Let’s face it, no one likes it when you land on a 404 page of a product you want to buy. It can completely take away from your user journey and can cause an abrupt end to your online shopping experience. Not only can this be frustrating for the user, but it is also a lost opportunity for businesses to convert.
According to Luke Carthy, the Digital Lead at Mayflex and one of BrightonSEO 2019’s speakers, there is so much more you can do with discontinued products to drive your revenue and to ensure you don’t lose out on potential business from your customers.
One of the most interesting and effective ways you can overcome 404 pages for discontinued products is to recommend suitable alternatives to your customers. Let’s look at the fashion giant ASOS, for example. You’re shopping on the app for a pair of black jeans and you land on a pair that you like, but they’re completely out of stock. What does ASOS do? Instead of interrupting your user journey with a blank 404 page, they provide a stream of alternative products that are as similar to your original product as possible.
This way, you can still find that perfect pair of black jeans without having to leave the app. This is a win-win situation, keeping the user on the site and converting them, whilst allowing that user to find what they were searching for.
Wait! That Discontinued Product Still Has Some Juice…
Naturally, if you’ve discontinued some products from your website or they’re out of stock, you’ll want to go through and remove them from your site. After all, you don’t want those dreaded 404 pages, right? But by doing this, you’re actually throwing away perfectly fresh SEO juice!
If you keep your discontinued products on your site, you can continue to take advantage of their detailed product descriptions and internal linking. They won’t do any harm on your website if you follow the above advice, just make sure you exclude these products from internal search and PPC campaigns.
Haven’t Been to BrightonSEO Yet? Well, It’s About Time You Do!
It’s safe to say that I learned a whole host of interesting things during my time at BrightonSEO, and I’d thoroughly recommend booking tickets to attend. Not only did I get some valuable insight from influential speakers, but I also got to mingle with like-minded digital marketers and chat about this ever-growing, ever-changing industry.