Mike Essex

236 Amazing Insights From Brighton SEO Sep 2013 (#brightonseo)

13th Sep 2013 News, Events 20 minutes to read

BrightonSEOToday saw another epic Brighton SEO and in typical Kelvin Newman fashion it was the biggest one yet. In this round-up we’ve compiled our favourite tips from over 30 talks spread across nine separate sessions from the day.

As you may have already seen earlier today Koozai’s very own Tara West spoke at the conference with a look at AdWords tips for Local Businesses. You can find all of her slides via that link as well as a 3,500 word writeup of everything she covered.

A big thank you to Cat Fyson, Ali Moghadam and Graeme Benge for gathering together all of the fantastic insights below:

Brighton SEO writers 2013

Cat Fyson – Session 1, Track 1

Real-Time Marketing for any Brand (Oliver Snoddy)

  1. Be in the moment – Build your brand around relevance on social media.
  2. Attention is steered by the visible crowd – Your behaviour is being steered and influenced by those on social networks.
  3. There are 1 billion tweets every 2 days, and 80% of UK Twitter users are on tweeting from mobiles.
  4. Try scenario planning – Plan for live moments, every day moments and connected moments – There are patterns to particular emotions and activities that you can plan to.
  5. Brands can optimise TV ads with hashtags, and create content around adverts.

Google+ For Brands (Adriano Accardo)

  1. Google+ is building experience for users and brands using visual content (images and videos) as a focus for the user interface.
  2. Brands can create communities based around user interests, for example Cadbury’s have a recipes community for baking.
  3. Brand info from Google+ is shown on right hand side of search results page for great brand exposure – It’s like a display ad, but free!
  4. YouTube videos will be instantly uploaded to Google+, and the other way round.
  5. You can livestream through hangouts to share great content as an exclusive; e.g. the Toyota Collaborator, which lets users build a car with friends through hangouts.

The Ins & Outs of Testing Social (Jennifer Sable Lopez)

  1. Always test social with your own data – studies are irrelevant if you’re not using own data
  2. For Twitter, use Buffer for scheduling at right time and use Follower Wonk data to find time when your followers are most active. Unified (used to be LageLever) gives you Facebook data on the most viewed and engaged posts. Simply Measured tool helps for Google+ posts engagement data.
  3. It’s important to test timing of publishing blog posts for most engagement – Only ever adjust your schedule after testing.
  4. Test which content types are working better than others and post more of these types. Try location tests. Always test and then test again!
  5. Find your influencers with these tools – Google Ripples, True Social Metrics, Social Engage, Follower Wonk.
  6. Facebook Insights can also be used to check unlikes, see who is no longer following your brand and determine why (too many posts etc.).

Ali Moghadam – Session 1, Track 2

International Link Curation (Kevin Gibbons)

  1. Grow locally – a one size fits all approach doesn’t work. Local knowledge is the key to success, including search habits and alternative search engine knowledge (for example, Yandex is Russia’s market leader).
  2. But without centralisation, it can become messy. Have a wider overall strategy overlaying good local knowledge.
  3. Don’t fall behind. English language algorithm changes come 6 months before international changes are rolled out.
  4. Links from bordering countries, speaking different languages can be harmful and irrelevant.
  5. Implement HREFLANG. It can work very well for counties with a smaller population.

International Social & Link Building (Alessandro Brunelli)

  1. Social media activity and Google rankings seem to be linked, but take this with a pinch of salt.
  2. Do not judge social sites by SEO rules. To unlock their potential, see them for what they are.
  3. Embrace the local culture and engage with it.
  4. Facebook ads can give you a great scope for your potential reach, audience and help to generate ideas.
  5. Edgerank stems from relevance. The more relevant you are, the more your content is liked and consumed. This increases your posts appearances – apply this attitude locally.
  6. Monitor trends internationally to predict hot topics in target countries. Give clients a whole planet to target.

The Other Search Engines (Jan-Willem Bobbink)

  1. China accounts for 14% of worldwide online sales, despite low broadband penetration and “the great firewall”. There are also government dictated forbidden keywords
  2. Baidu is the market leader, outgrowing google more over time – but they dub SEOs as the enemy of search engines. By comparison, baidu is technically crude
  3. For the Chinese market, optimise for speed first. The Chinese mobile browsing market is the largest and fastest growing.
  4. Be aware of Chinese searching habits. Organic results tend to be exact match. Ads tend to be broad (based on simplified Chinese text).
  5. Baidu has a spam problem. Their Penguin updates are called Money Plant. They have recently targeted article submission and linking directory sites, but they are still some 3 years behind Google’s tech.
  6. Qihoo 360 could be the market leading search engine in China in the next few years, after knocking google off second spot
  7. In Russia, Yandex has an extensive webmasters section. They help greatly with optimising sites for their search engine.
  8. Yandex introduced matrixnet, a ranking system that changes for every product and keyword.
  9. Sape.ru is the largest Russian linking directory.
  10. In the USA, Blekko is emerging as a spam free alternative to Google that is entirely user focused, giving results based on content category.
  11. Duck Duck Go uses around 50 sources and focuses on user privacy. Partnered with Yandex, it takes data from Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, Yahoo and more.
  12. In Japan, Yahoo beats Google on page views
  13. Ecommerce players, bet on China and Russia. Their markets are skyrocketing.
  14. Investigate search culture. Work with local specialists. Use local hosting – just for optimised speed benefits.


Graeme Benge – Session 1, Track 3

How do you Trust people and pages you’ve never seen online? (Dixon Jones)

  1. Prism has opened consumer’s eyes to how their data is not their own
  2. Marketers are getting mugged based on our reliance on third parties
  3. Notional value exists on influence – Twitter followers skews this, Klout reduces this.
  4. This doesn’t just apply to people, pages too, even chrome extensions.
  5. The problem is how do we measure and scale trust across multiple channels?
  6. Majesticseo can measure trust metrics now for twitter URLs, extensions as well as standard web pages.

Making Sense of Lots of Data (Peter A. Passaro)

  1. More data than ever, generated faster than ever.
  2. Big data is 1gb or more and needs extra tools to parse.
  3. Big data will let us understand google, social media, lets Analytics help strategy and proves ROI.
  4. How?  Extract, transform and load. Then analyse, then visualise.
  5. NLT is natural language processing – Making sense of lots of text such as summaries, topics and keywords, sentiment (positive, neutral, negative).

Social Signal Processing. An Introduction (Alessandro Vinciarelli)

  1. Physical non verbal communication such as cues, codes and functions.
  2. The problem for computers is how does a non human entity receive and project non verbal communication?


Cat Fyson – Session 2, Track 1

Video Hacks (Phil Nottingham)

  1. Take a goal driven strategy – The content you use needs to be the right type – Don’t create video for the sake of it. Use YouTube keyword tool to look at what is popular.
  2. Lighting is the most important way to create a professional looking video. Good sound is also vital – Keep the microphone close to your face, not attached to the camera, as it picks up echo.
  3. You cannot outsource the whole video process – You can outsource technical issues, but not your USP – Work closely with local freelancers if you can’t do projects in-house to avoid creating something generic and not branded.
  4. Use transcriptions on videos to provide value to users.
  5. Mark unpopular videos as unlisted instead of deleting them; so they’re not indexed but still count toward your overall views.

The Rules of ‘The Game’: 6 tips for successful outreach (Danny Ashton)

  1. Asking for feedback when outreaching can open up opportunities and build trust for relationships.
  2. Honesty can help build relationships – It’s better not to create personas when outreaching as they won’t last.
  3. Dig deep into content to find affinities that are not just on a surface level. Outreach beyond the obvious topic links.
  4. Overcome the fear of outreaching to bigger more authoritative sites – You never know what will happen if you take the right approach.
  5. Be confident and try new techniques in outreach.

Actionable Content Marketing and Strategy (Tony Samios)

  1. Identify your objectives by understanding your capabilities with past content and your competitors.
  2. Define personality types to determine types of content – Create backgrounds of buyer personas, their motivations, habits and needs.
  3. Map content to buying stages – Focus on key insights of customer and give them what they need.
  4. Outline standards such as writing style, target key words, editorial standard and identify the workflow. Who will create? What will be created? Can it be repurposed?
  5. Create content that people can be passionate about. User generated content works well for this. Listen and engage with audience to share this passion and show you are interested in their passions

Linkbuilding that “seemed like a good idea at the time” (Paul Madden)

  1. Don’t take the easy option, take the quality option.
  2. Look for article sites, directory sites and obvious paid links when you do clear up.
  3. Link audit – Look at a site by how likely they are to be disavowed or marked as spammy.
  4. Remove all bad links to avoid penalties.
  5. We need to be auditing our links carefully according to Google’s standards, not just our own opinions on link sources.


Ali Moghadam – Session 2, Track 2

Mobile Strategy for Small Businesses (Bridget Randolph)

  1. Mobile is huge so be mobile friendly. Big brands are still getting this wrong.
  2. Have a mobile friendly site, be it responsive, dynamic or mobile only on a subdomain. A responsive template is recommended for small businesses. No budget? Use Facebook and google+. Start saving up!
  3. Local search optimisation – a much bigger factor in mobile search. Google+ places and profile pages should be in place and these can be merged. Name address and phone number (NAP) listings should be used
  4. Social media. 4/5 Facebook users are accessing it via mobile. Be cool – Imagine yourself at a dinner party. Would you share the most boring things about your business?
  5. Bypassing the search process: apps are not always needed but can serve returning users, like a loyalty app for coffee shops. Social media competitions can bypass search altogether. Email marketing – Make sure your emails are mobile optimised. More people use mobile devices to read email than to make phone calls.

Design for Mobile… Responsive or Adaptive (Justin Taylor)

  1. Responsive design uses the same template and content, repurposed for a certain device type. Adaptive design uses an alternative template and design, bespoke to that device type.
  2. 40% of mobile searches are searches with intent. 50% of all online sales for mothers day this year came from mobile devices. £13 billion in online transactions expected in 2013 from eBay alone.
  3. Mobile users have a lower tolerance to speed issues and irrelevant content. The user doesn’t care about the technology driving your site, they want the content. The user experience on mobile is key – such as ‘click to call’. See the NHS DIrect site as an example of a badly optimised user experience.
  4. Establish the users intent and cut the clutter. imagine the circumstances that the mobile visitor will visit under. Optimise for the required outcome, eg a sale. Go for your most popular devices by visit using Google Analytics – test with the opera Mobile browser emulator.
  5. Disable autocorrect! Add the right kind of keypad in the right place. Why put a qwerty keyboard for the credit card number field? Serve the user and be smart. Think like a consumer; a hat tip to Dave Trott.

Managing Local Listings (David Whatley)

  1. You don’t need a website to appear In local search. Distance, relevance and prominence drive search. Local listing sites are not link building sites – local listing sites bolster local search information.
  2. Use local listings to project your brand. Addresses are the bedrock as while businesses and phone numbers change, physical addresses always remain the same. Maintain these and consider the following:
  3. the NAP anchor (Name address and phone number) – that combination is the unique identifier for your brand in local search and listings.
  4. Brand and local works when people know the brand but not where to find it. If you don’t have a physical address, you can use PPC, buy an address, use a virtual address or work with ‘distributors’ (retailers etc). You can create separate listings at the same address using NAP – as long as combinations are unique and you have permission.
  5. A survey found what people want from local search most. Phone numbers and address are the top 2. Links to click on are third. The best numbers for click to call are 07 and local numbers. 08 and 07 have very low click to call rates.

Effective AdWords Tactics for Local Businesses (Tara West)

  1. Account structure. Have 2 campaigns for each product or service for locations nationwide and a generic geotargeted campaign. Don’t lose out to inaccurate ip address locations!
  2. Bid on your brand. It’s cheap, gets a lot of traffic and converts well
  3. Use modified broad match. Discover new keywords, boost impressions and improve quality score
  4. Location bid adjustments. Google wants you to bid more for these, but what if you’re already performing well? Drill down to location level and judge your bids based on performance. Schedule bid adjustments should be used in the same way.
  5. Mobile. Set bids at ad group level and adjust on the fly based on performance. -30% is a good place to start.
  6. Does the weather affect your business? Use weather bid adjustments with Adwords and free weather API. For example, bid up on raincoats or garden furniture ads for rainy or sunny days.
  7. Bespoke landing pages are awesome. conversion rates and quality score can go through the roof.
  8. Block ip addresses. You can block competitors IPs by Whois lookup or checking Their email headers – these can reveal the senders ip.
  9. Non profits get up to $10,000 free Adwords credits!
  10. Review extensions, image extensions and call extensions can be great for local businesses. Schedule call extensions to your office hours to save ad spend while you’re out of the office. You can add special offers as an extension too. Improve CTR and quality score.


Graeme Benge – Session 2, Track 3

Crawling the internet for fun and profit (Dom Hodgson)

  1. Link risk has 50-80 servers.
  2. 500 million URLs per week – and this is medium data!
  3. Take care with crawling sites – there’s a risk of DDoS.

How to crush the competition by watching the SERPs (Rob Bucci)

  1. Serp Analytics: analyse and rank more than target keywords
  2. Consider thematic modifiers to take 20 seed keywords to 200 or 200,000.
  3. Keyword difficulty: assess difficulty in line with search demand
  4. Top competitors: first page rankings per keyword.
  5. Unsaturated segments: why compete if there is no need?
  6. Compare segment vs whole data set for top competitor.
  7. The lower the saturation the bigger the opportunity
  8. Distribution of rankings: how many times do you appear in each position?

In-Core Mining of Large Networks (Sebastiano Vigna)

  1. Extracting useful data from large networks: centrality is the relationship between entities distance distribution ie degrees of separation.
  2. This gives an idea of how fast a message can spread.
  3. Hyper ball is a tool for assessing the size of networks as they grow iteratively.
  4. So Facebook has a 3.74 degrees of separation vs over 6 for the web.

A Crash Course in Natural Language Processing (Oliver Mason)

  1. What is it? Artificial Intelligence, computer science, engineering, linguistics and philosophy.
  2. Machine translation is a product of the cold war.
  3. Rules vs stats: difficult to implement consistent rules, stats are impossible to get 100% accurate.
  4. Although, rules are accurate and stats are robust enough for trends

Graeme Benge – Session 3, Track 1

The Keyword is Dead; Long Live the Keyword Stefan Hull (Stefan Hull)

  1. Keyword have lost their appeal, we need to get excited about their value.
  2. Big data is getting in the way of insight.
  3. There is more to insight than keyword research.
  4. Site Structure is key, authority and content too. keyword themes support and underpins all three.
  5. Keyword research reduces the search down to it’s intent.
  6. Change inputs to improve outputs: Discover what answers, what tasks will users want to achieve, then do keyword research.
  7. Instead of diving into what keywords, start with how people think of xyz.
  8. Content ideas will emerge as will keywords that will drive traffic.

Next Gen Measurement in Google Analytics (Dara Fitzgerald)

  1. Don’t obsess with last click: not all visits are equal, not all visit once,not all convert once.
  2. How do you track a visitors subsequent purchase via offline channels?
  3. How do we track across device?
  4. We can: use user segmentation this segment visitor so looks at data across multiple user sessions (visits) this way you can understand what customers are most valuable
  5. Universal Analytics: this promises to sync offline and online data. It will also allow custom dimensions and metrics. In the future it may also track cross device data as long as the user is logged in to your site.
  6. Attribution: using multi channel funnels looks beyond the last click to purchase journeys. This allows analysis of channels that contributed to a goal completion.
  7. Remarketing the ones that got away via Ga: create lists to target cart abandonment to target again. Focus moves to site visitors rather than the unknown.

On Page Content Marketing (Lisa Myers)

  1. The Google algorithm has changed in the last year and a half than the previous three years.
  2. Attitude towards links has changed to being very conservative: “links are bad, nofollow everything”
  3. How people search has changed: in 2005 search terms were generic now the long tail is being used. Example: hotels in greece vs. child friendly 5 star hotel in Greece
  4. Users return to the SERPS and refine their search so a page needs relevance for more than one target, so on page optimisation should now target 2 keywords, proximity to start of tags is important.
  5. Create filters for content eg: type of holiday, quality, facility.
  6. Filters help ASOS rank if a page doesn’t exist eg: red size 12 skirt. No page but the filters on page show you can search for it.
  7. Using rich snippets: rel=author can buy you more visibility in SERPS and make you more clickable.
  8. Links are still important. Create interesting video that is easily shared, add local (to audience) footage to context. Outreach to local papers showcasing the video but don’t ask for a link.

Ecommerce SEO – Selling Does Not Make You Link Worthy (Tim Grice)

  1. 2000-2011 practice was to build links to category pages, that got rankings.
  2. this is not so now, as a you’ll trigger a manual review.
  3. Now you need to add value and become a brand (that users trust).
  4. Leverage content, social media or PR so that you worth talking about
  5. This gives you 2 benefits: it gets you in the conversation and makes you worth talking about
  6. You are obliged now to promote. No arguments.
  7. Pay a writer, they will naturally be inclined to share to their (new) audience


Cat Fyson – Session 3, Track 2

Make your PR idea a National SEO Success (Keith White)

  1. Your idea needs purpose and needs to make clear sense – Ask around organisations for non-marketer perspectives.
  2. You need to think about your desired result before planning.
  3. Online campaigns can obtain stories and can be promoted through PR.
  4. Don’t be single-minded in campaigning – Who can you partner with who has same audience?
  5. Keep continuity across campaign – Have a landing page on your site with content about the campaign.

Data and Content Production (Alan Cairns)

  1. We need to be using open data to support our content – Tools include google.org data search
  2. Visualise data for people to easily understand it.
  3. Give it context to make it easier to understand, and add a narrative to the numbers.
  4. Data helps you stand out as thought leaders in your industry.
  5. Be selective about the data you use in quantity and quality.
  6. We need to do the research and understand the data associated with it quickly to convey our message – We need journalists in our industry.

Low Cost Link Building With Juicy, Juicy Data (Stacey Cavanagh)

  1. You need data to tell story or respond to existing story.
  2. With interesting self-sourced data, the outreach can become reversed as sources want your story.
  3. There are cheap to source survey respondents who are relevant. Use Google consumer surveys or quicksurveys.com
  4. It’s generally free to request information from authorities – occasionally charge for time. Use whatdotheyknow.com for requests. Must be public info.
  5. Update out of data, you can then outreach to original source to inform them of your update, might get a link.

The Inhouse and the Agency SEO should be friends (Max Brockbank)

  1. Agency SEOs are able to share knowledge and expertise amongst each other.
  2. It’s a battle between PPC and SEO – PPC can be more tantalising to the boss as more instantaneous results.
  3. SEO is an organic, longer process which bosses are not always convinced on.
  4. Make SEO bottom line friendly for in house SEOs by itemising costs, explain as you go to in house SEO with clear communication.
  5. Annotate data to make it clear to clients/in house SEO.


Ali Moghadam – Session 3, Track 3

Increasing Prices Without Losing Sales (Justin Deaville)

  1. The cost of acquiring customers is increasing. SEO and PPC costs are rising. The Internet is becoming closed
  2. Claude Hopkins, an advertising revolutionary, said that direct mail was then” severest test” of a marketer. Free, no obligation trials were one of the ideas he pioneered
  3. Market to the undecided. Give them all the information they need to decide.
  4. Try buying the product or service yourself to find user experience issues – the best marketers are often in sales as they understand the end user and their complaints better
  5. Whichtestwon.com is great for comparing button placement and layout. Test responsive designs and exploit every pixel by optimising for different screen resolutions

More Offline Leads from Online Traffic (Ali White)

  1. use dynamic phone numbers – track visitors by the calls they make. Make sure follow up calls happen.
  2. Optimise for REVENUE, not conversions.
  3. Answer the phone. On average, 9% of calls go unanswered. Don’t assume callers will leave a voicemail or that they will call back. Don’t assume that ecommerce sites don’t apply to this – 83% of users seek assistance during a purchase, most by phone.
  4. How do you manage your leads? Make sure you get as much information as possible and don’t put the lead off. Think about retargeting: including location info or phone numbers can increase ctr by 6-8%
  5. IP lookup and mobile responsive phone numbers can optimise for devices and locations.

The Magic of APIs (Matt Beswick)

  1. It’s not just for geeks! But knowing how to code helps. Codeacademy and treehouse are good places to learn online
  2. You can create databases of competitor link profiles and find new link opportunities
  3. Twitter user profiling; you can see who tweets what and monitor trends, without manual sifting. Use that data for outreach
  4. Textwise can find multiple link resources based on seed sites and semantic profiling (more sites with the content your looking for)
  5. www.mattbeswick.co.uk/big-list-of-apis has free examples for you to try out

Facebook Ad Optimisation (Stephen Croome)

  1. The key with Facebook ads is create one ad for many as opposed to Adwords which is 1 to 1.
  2. Competence with the mechanics of facebook ads accounts for little experience. Testing and experimenting is where the learning curve starts.
  3. Learn how to make Facebook ads at Facebook-studio.com but remember the message is more important than the mechanics
  4. Attract with an image. Use the title as a filter – interested or not? Description text to inform. Experiment with images. arrows and colours can be eye catching.
  5. Dark posts have revolutionised Facebook ads. Link ads to a Facebook post first – add a link in that post to the site. You can experiment with different post types and content to see which perform best
  6. Attracting clicks is easy. Images and targeting can get you clicks. Converting and generating leads is much harder. Track all the way to the end to find the best performers based on cost per lead
  7. Keep testing with outliers, the best performers. Experiment with them. Your current winner may not always be the best one to go for

That’s a wrap! We had a fantastic day at the show and if we missed any tips please leave them below.

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