Brighton SEO is always a fantastic occasion to get fresh insights and learnings, and the April 2019 session did not disappoint. As usual, there was such a variety of speakers and talks covering every aspect of digital marketing that it was hard for us to choose which sessions to attend…
Key takeaways for the day:
- Search is still at the heart of the purchase journey
- Everything revolves around the user in terms of relevancy, website speed and device used
- The changes introduced by “Mobile First” indexing are still making waves in the search landscape
- Links are still used by Google to recognise fresh new content
The headliner of the event was keynote speaker John Mueller (yes, that John Mueller), Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst. His talk was the result of some hilarious grilling from Hannah Smith (Creative Director at Verve Search). Mueller sent the audience into fits when admitted that Google stopped using rel=prev/next quite some time ago… but forgot to inform all of us SEOs!
Unfortunately, in the end, we did not obtain any clear answer from him on the question of “Google Using User Behaviour as a Ranking Factor”… probably the grilling was taking its toll.
Some of the best sessions of the day:
The Power of Interlinking (Christoph Cemper)
Christoph C. Cemper, founder and CEO of LinkResearchTools, explained the importance of internal link-building to boost your rankings. Internal links help strengthen your external links but, more often than not, people do not put them to work and rely on banal internal links like “T&C,” or “see price and plans”.
Christoph suggested some simple actions in order to get the most from our internal links:
- Start using more internal links
- Replace branded phrases for money ones (.e. generic explanatory phrases that people search to find your site on Google – see below).
- Make your anchors less time-sensitive
1) Free Link Checker: https://www.linkresearchtools.com/seo-tools/free-seo-tools/link-checker/
2) Creative Minds WP Plugin: https://www.cminds.com/
3) site: command site:www.site.com “service A”
4) FREE SERP checker: https://serpchecker.com/
Marie Kondo Your SEO (Rebekah Dunne)
Rebekah Dunne from Victorian Plumbing was really clear in her explanation on how to ‘Marie Kondo your SEO’ – in other words, how to clean up and streamline your activity in order to uncover keywords and competitors’ keywords showing clear intent.
In the old days, it was all about categories and search terms. Today, Rebekah suggested a way to improve your SEO efficiency in search of Keywords and Content with Intent.
- Taking the KonMari method can make SEO more efficient.
- It works for auditing your keywords and backlinks.
- Check Google Analytics and tools like Moz or SemRush, then make a list of everything that has worked exceptionally well. Doing so you will have an idea of gold topics and search terms to build your work around.
- Put your top navigation search terms into Google Trends, i.e. the core categories/terms defining your business from the perspective of the searchers. Adding the search terms to Google Trends will help you see what is gaining in popularity, what is declining, and which terms you should focus on for your top navigation.
- Enlist the help of your PPC team – ask them to give you the list of the best performing keywords for paid ads, which will aid your SEO efforts.
- One last step includes adding every search term into AnswerThePublic.
- You will get hundreds of KWs. You will discover the most popular after adding them to Moz KW tool.
- After all this work you will have a clearer understanding of your users, allowing you to create and optimise content based on intent.
‘Marie Kondo’ your backlinks:
- Get the list of your links through Majestic or Ahrefs
- Open them and ask yourself: “Would I want a person to come to my site from here?”
- If the site is not of a high enough quality, you might want to ask Google to disavow the link
5 time-saving SEO alerts to use right now (Marco Bonomo)
Marco Bonomo (Senior SEO Planner at MediaCom), with his quick SEO alerts for websites performance, made the day.
Robots.txt issues > Visualping
Robots.txt is a text file telling search engine robots how to crawl and index pages. If there are errors with robots.txt, the indexation of your content will be affected. Visualping is the solution; it will notify you of any changes to a website, which means you will not be caught by surprise if there is a problem. You will also receive an email when new pages are indexed.
Traffic and rankings > Google Analytics Alerts
Marco recommended clever customisable alerts by Google Analytics to monitor traffic and rankings. You can easily set these up to track pages with ‘0 traffic’, ‘drops in goals’, ‘drops in revenues’, and ‘drop in traffic’.
RapidSpike monitors performance continuously and sends notifications when something like page speed drops dramatically.
Facebook, Instagram >IFTTT
IFTTT stands for If This Then That. You can create conditional alerts called applets that connect different services/apps. It’s a free web-based service that automatises some of the boring tasks such as ‘tweet your Instagrams as Native Photos’ on Twitter, ‘Sync Instagrams to Pinterest Boards’ etc…
- Simple issues can cause major problems if left unaddressed
- Readily-available technology allows us to automate so many things: we just need to embrace it
SEO Automation – Screaming Frog & Xpath (Sabine Langmann)
XPath is a query language for selecting nodes from an XML document
Some simple syntax examples include:
//node[@attribute1="attribute_name1" and @attribute2="attribute_name2"]
Sabine then used some real examples to help the audience understand the practical application of her method. It all started from her need to know how many links there were in the editorial content, as well as how many internal or external links for two websites, e.g. yourcat.co.uk vs. thefoodaholic.co.uk site.
The place to look for links is:
The Xpath selector in this case would be:
This example in particular would be useful when needing to compare internal links to certain pages, when attempting to outrank a competitor.
Overall Sabine’s talk was extremely interesting and showed the basic principles of SF & Xpath information extraction to audit pages or websites for specific on-page elements.
The original vision of Kelvin Newman, Brighton SEO’s founder, goes from strength to strength. Brighton SEO is not just about the incredibly interesting talks and training opportunities, but also about the sense of community that it generates among SEO experts from companies large and small. It’s wonderful that so many colleagues from every corner of the globe gather under one large roof in Brighton to share knowledge and insights.