Andy Williams

Brighton SEO Write Up – Morning

13th Apr 2012 News, Events, News, SEO Blog 7 minutes to read

Brighton SEO kicked off today with some fascinating talks and presentations from the morning session.Whether you didn’t get the chance to go, or need a little reminder of what you saw,  this write up will recap what was said with all of the key points and takeaways included.

Just like the presentations themselves, your opinions and thoughts are most welcome, so if you have anything to share, please leave a comment.


We started with a Q&A session with four experts on the panel, made up of Pierre Far, Dave Coplin, Martin Macdonald and Rishi Lakhani.

Questions came from the floor and pre-asked. With many questions being asked, we’ve focussed on some of the more interesting ones:

Will SEO die?
The speakers all agreed that SEO will never die. It will change into what customers will need it to be. SEO may no longer be the right terminology that is relevant to what we now work on. Is SEO all about changing title tags or is it now about everything?

Question to Pierre: What is a bad link?
Site owners should ask themselves: is the link genuinely there to link to good content or is it there simply to gain a link. This is what should be asked before you create a link. Take part in link networks or farms and you are clearly not looking to gain genuine links. Of course buying links is a no-no.

How do you optimise your content?
Pierre: Ask yourself two questions: what are you offering the customer and did they get it? It’s not just about content, it’s about videos, reviews and a good user experience. Also think about how people will share your content.

This also brought up an interesting question: does this mean the media is a ranking factor?
Pierre wouldn’t be drawn in and urged people not to use SEO as a check list. If you create good content then you will naturally tick the boxes.

What is a good social signal and what is a bad one?
Dave: Good content that is being shared and content that is being shared quickly. Is buying “likes” a bad thing? The general feedback was that this wasn’t a bad thing – the hard work was then giving these people what they liked to keep them interested.

Future SEO Vistas – Philip Sheldrake

Philip spoke about future vistas and to try and get us thinking differently about what we do. Are we now all using web 3.0? What is web 3.0? Is it about understanding the meaning of web content and social web participation? Web 3.0 is the semantic web.

Semantic web is based on three triples: subject, predicate and object. By understanding this triple we can start to understand how we can identify the full potential of semantic web. Google is getting more semantic.

Publish your content in a semantic way and you will link up your content naturally. There will be a common link. Semantic search can help businesses learn to find out what the world needs, what content and information is valuable and helpful to the consumer.

Re – launching a brand online – Sam Noble

Sam started by asking “what is a brand?” A brand isn’t what you think it is – it’s what they think it is. A brand is how people see you. But why would you want to rebrand? Here are some key reasons:

  • Over crowding
  • Identification
  • Ownership

What should you look into?

  • One brand fits all – Sam gave Virgin as a good example of this
  • A family of brands – Nestlé was given as the example here
  • Unrelated brands – Coca cola was used as this example, different audiences are targeted by different brands

Research your competitors and your industry. See what you like and what they do well. Also look into what you don’t like. Next step, get a brand agency involved, but research the right one to use. You should then brainstorm with your agency, and check your TDL’s to make sure they are available.
Grab your social profiles and trademark your new brand – to help protect your brand.

Then you need to plan your relaunch:

  • Secure your trademark
  • Set a go live date
  • Register your domain
  • Claim your social profiles
  • Update your company documentation
  • Review your brand consistency
  • Keep it on a “need to know” basis

Finally dominate the search engines for your brand. When someone searches for your brand make sure you are found. This is where Page One domination helps.

Market Research Tips and Thinking Processes – Adam Lee

Adam ran through market research tactics and thinking processes. We were given three examples:

Example one: A small company that can’t take on big generic terms. Instead create personas to help find out what people are talking about and engaging in. Listing bullet points to highlight what their audience is looking for helps to build the persona. Using these personas that fit within your audience, you can find the influencers. With social media monitoring you can review what terms are more personal to their business and what sites they want to engage with.

Example two: A successful large company looking to launch new software. Social media analysis allows them to monitor what people are saying about their brand. Engaging with their client base to see what they think of the brand. To find out more they step outside of the company to use focus groups, instead of talking about the brand itself. Building a focus group community allows them to use them again.

Example three: A company looking to find the next big thing. Asking questions related to products already being used allows them to see how and why people are using something. This brings about a different way of thinking. Reviewing habits, why do people use products the way they do? Do people get caught in a habit or do they remain loyal to the brand out of habit? So, how do you get past the noise? Grab their attention through recall, recognition and user testing. These steps allow the company to understand the audience.

By combining these three examples you are able to quickly carry out your market research.

Microformats and SEO – Glenn Jones

Glenn opened with Schema and how a number of search engines had become involved to create the platform and how Google now wishes to display information using Schema markups. We were taken through a number of mark ups:

  • Microformats – a way of marking up data with pre existing attributes of HTML
  • Micro data – marking up data with the html5 attributes
  • RDFa – marking data with custom attributes and namespaces

Glenn then reviewed when these should be used. Glenn preferred the simplicity of micro formats over micro data.

We were shown an example of a SERP that showed results containing markups being used. This also uncovered further area of information that was displayed as a result, which in the future will help provide a richer SERP.

Glenn then took us through an example of how markups can be used within each other to feed the search engines different elements of information. Yorkshire Pudding Recipes was used to show how you can mark up such information.

Once you have your markup completed, it is important to use the Google rich snippet testing tool to ensure that this has been done correctly. The tool will give you an example of how your listing will appear.

Glenn also spoke about authorship. Authorship provides social proof and allows you to collect all your content under one recognised author to help gain trust in your content.

Searchbots – Roland Dunn

Roland looked into what Searchbots actually see when the crawl out sites. Google Analytics doesn’t tell us this data, Google webmaster tools tells us some information but not much. Web server log files allow you to see when search engines last visited the site. Research found that 40% of the time a strong sites with a huge list of URLs only had two URLs crawled.

Does the Googlebot request all URLs served by a website? Rolands Research showed the answer to be no. With each visit the same number of URLs was never requested. This brings about the question “if the Googlebot isn’t visiting all URLs, what is it doing and can we change this?”

Does Google spend it’s time cost effectively? No, not always. The Googlebot can become distracted and even lost. You can check log files and see where the Googlebot is going. If it gets distracted, look into where and amend accordingly.

Roland’s talk brought an end to an interesting morning session at BrightonSEO. Some good tips and new ways to look at information and online behaviour were presented and discussed.

Since the conference finished, Shellshock UK have put together a fantastic infographic summarising the event.

Brighton SEO Infographic April 2012

Infographic Design by ShellShock uk

If you have anything you’d like to add, you can carry on the discussion by leaving a comment a below.

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