BrightonSEO key conference takeaways – the April 2015 edition live blogging BrightonSEO
The team from are here in force at the popular UK digital marketing conference BrightonSEO! We’re covering the most exciting parts of the conference so you can spend more time listening to the speakers, rather than having to take those pesky notes on your pad, tablet or laptop.

If you haven’t been able to make it to the conference, you may also find our running commentary helpful so you can stay in the loop with what’s new in the world of SEO.

When you’re back in the comfort of your office make sure to revisit this post so you can refresh your memory about the key takeaways from the day. And please feel free to drop us a comment if you have any questions about what was covered at the conference as we’re always keen to share our insights and opinions.

Now for the important stuff – what conference topics do you fancy reading about? Click on the internal anchor links below to find what you need quickly…

Social Content sessions

Erica McGillivray: Show Your Flare and Pivot for Social Image Sharing

  • A quote to remember – “Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture” – Allen Ginsberg
  • Think about these design principles when choosing or creating images for sharing:
  1. Use high contrast – use bright colours and use with black or white to set them off
  2. Make them bold – use thick lines
  3. Unity – their should be flow between elements to capture attention
  • Some other helpful tips:
  1. Match copy with images
  2. Challenge audiences
  3. Take risks
  4. Establish credibility
  5. Make a human connection
  6. Make sure you don’t confuse users with elements like play buttons on static images that can’t load video content
  7. Don’t repeat text across imagery and text when not needed
  • Sprout Social has a good reference for social image sizing:
  • If you post similar images often, create simple and customised templates for easy image and text swaps
  • Implement Open Graph tags
  • Erica recommends tool called Rival IQ –
  • Social images generated an average engagement increase of 468.95% for blog posts on Twitter in case study

Vicke Cheung: Designing Content for Mobile

Coming soon!

Iain Haywood: Making your Competitions Fun

  • Why do a competition? Revenue, SEO, Social, User acquisition, Opt-in…
  • Set campaign priorities before you start – a plan could be done in less than 60 minutes
  • Follow these 3 golden rules for competitions
  1. There is more than one type of entrant
  2. Your competition is unlikely to be a panacea
  3. Incentivisation fundamentally changes the nature of intent
  • Think about levels of fun and reliance on incentives to attract entrants
  • If you’re creating a landing page you can host creatives, entry mechanisms and links to your T&Cs – the benefit is attracting links and branding signals
  • Utilise Rafflecopter, Cleam, Antavo if helpful
  • Games don’t need to cost the earth if you use this as an entry mechanism

SERPs sessions

Jon Earnshaw: Cannibalisation – the SEO’s biggest nightmare, and how to identify it

  • “Cannibalisation in all its forms in on the increase!” – Jon Earnshaw
  • Monitor the visibility of content daily
  • Never be fooled by a straight line
  • Always investigate suspicious flux
  • 4 types of cannibalisation: internal conflict, subdomain conflict, international conflict, semantic flux

Internal cannibalisation

  • Sometimes you need to dig deeper to discover what’s going on
  • Always check for internal conflict first
  • Argos saw search term “iPad price” drop out of SERPs due to 4 similar product pages – they are competing with each other for the top rankings
  • Debenhams saw search term “living room furniture” fluctuate as they had 5 competing URLs
  • Use canonical tags to tell Google which page is preferred for indexation

Subdomain conflict

  • The www. version of Tesco Mobile pulled the subdomain off page 1
  • Mobile phone provided Three had similar issues – there were 3 conflicting pages from www site

International conflict

  • Hotels Combined rarely visible on page 1 – the .com version stealing the SERPs

Semantic flux

  • Curry’s competed with PC World
  • Yorkshire Bank competed with Clydesdale Bank

Dave Naylor: Dave predicts the future of Search

  • Use Google Webmaster Tools to check any issues with mobile; some SERPs are saying ‘mobile friendly’ so providing conflicting messages – which source should be trusted?
  • Dave prefers to use responsive design as opposed to separate mobile sites to avoid chance of position flux
  • In his study of 275 keywords, 215 matched position over mobile and desktop. 37 were better on mobile and 23 were better on desktop
  • He thinks that Google has got really clever with sentiment (addition of “buy” in search term usually means that the user wants to buy something)
  • Consider the industry that you are working in to think about how users actually use your website across devices – where are they going to find information or convert?
  • On average, there is a 5.8% conversion on mobile
  • Websites that performed better had user details stored or a mobile payment provider excelled
  • Google said build a site for users not search engines, but Dave debates this saying you would fail if you used a flash site, etc.
  • Users don’t care which page has a hreflang tag or a rel=canonical tag

We love a little link building chat, so you can be sure that we’ll be posting about the following talks as soon as they’ve happened.

Matthew Barby : 10 Ways to Build a Link in 20 Minutes Flat

Natalie Wright : The Power of Backlink Discovery

Samuel Scott : Stop Thinking About Links. Start Thinking About Publicity!

Technical sessions

Kirsty Hulse : Schema, JSON-LD and the Semantic Web

  • Rich snippets + knowledge graph = does this increase click through rate? Probably
  • Ticketmaster are good at owning their brand SERP
  • If brands don’t implement structured markup, competitors could steal the limelight
  • Only about 0.3 percent of domains are using schema markup on their websites – Searchmetrics study
  • Linked Data video available on YouTube (we’ll add the link here in a bit)
  • Google recently endorsed use of JSON-LD as a way of doing mark up
  • Add JSON-LD using Google Tag Manager
  • Structured markup doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated or require development resource with GTM
  • Datalayer is scalable, flexible, resolves security issues, measurable
  • You must keep JSON-LD in sync with what appears on the page

Mark Thomas: A 10 Step Technical SEO Game Plan

  • Search might change in it’s nature, but technical SEO will remain fairly similar throughout time
  • If a site is technically flawed, it doesn’t matter how many links you have etc.
  • How to be the backbone with the 10 step technical SEO game plan:
  1. Engage – what are the objectives of the business, what are individual teams prioritising, is there a team that is blocking implementation? Engaged teams support recommendations because they care more.
  2. Comprehensively audit – there are two main KPIs – number of unique pages, crawlability. Identify thin content on your site to find quick opportunities to make improvements
  3. [oops, I missed this – it’ll be here shortly]
  4. [oops, I missed this – it’ll be here shortly]
  5. Anaylse impact 
  6. Automate – spend more time doing real work
  7. Start making history – make sure there is always someone who can answer technical questions that influence the business success
  8. Be there in the hour of need – all site releases should be pre-tested, migration can be tricky
  9. Share and communicate – do this through clear reporting with APIs
  10. Control the future – be the person that people come to when it comes to thinking about what happens next

Jono Alderson: Doing an Awesome Site Audit

  • Technical SEO is hugely important yet consistently terrible – users get poor experiences which harms reputation and can reduce overall profit
  • Fixing things is big and complex. Can fix things but it is important to sort out why they exist in the first place – focus on the source of the issue
  • Site audits are for identification and prioritisation of issues
  • Important to avoid audits being thrown to the side and not used – nobody wants an audit, they want success. It should be there to make things happen
  • Anticipate objections – who will be receiving it? Multiple audiences have different needs so know your audience (c-level, management, marketing, tech, finance, legal, third parties)
  • Audits should be presented in different formats – quick wins, long-form editorial piece, spreadsheets with itemised issues, cheat sheets, storyboard style presentation
  • You will need exhaustive keyword and market research, performance/commercial data

Content Marketing sessions

We are excited to listen to the content marketing sessions, and will put our takeaways here as soon as we can!

Rebecca Lee : A supercharged approach to PR SEO success

Hannah Smith : Jaws in Space (How to Develop & Pitch Creative Ideas)

Krystian Szastok : Using DIY Data Visualisation to Fuel Your Content Marketing

Fireside Chat with Apprentice winner Mark Wright

The last thing on the BrightonSEO agenda is to listen to Apprentice winner Mark Wright. He’ll be talking about his experience on the BBC programme as well as telling us about what he’s learned along the way. We will definitely be listening to this one, which we’ll summarise below.

Mark Wright – Fireside Chat



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