Our top takeaways from BrightonSEO

Bringing together some of the brightest SEO brains across the UK, BrightonSEO is a staple event for the industry taking place twice a year. So, it’s no surprise that we ventured down to the event last month to hear from the huge range of speakers.

With events across every industry having to take a backseat during the pandemic, getting back to the first in-person conference of this scale was an important move. Filled with experts in many fields, BrightonSEO reignited many of the sparks in the space.

Whilst there was fun, freebies and an ending that included a beverage – there were many lessons the team picked up throughout the day with our top three key takeaways being:

We’re all talking more and more about Digital PR!

The recognition and growth seen by digital PR in the last few years have been huge. As it proves its worth in the industry, more people than ever are confident about the impact and importance of having the additional support of using it alongside SEO efforts.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with digital PR, it is used to increase a brand’s online presence in a measurable strategy that drives traffic to a website and generates links that boost organic rankings, sales, social following and engagement. Blending traditional methods with an SEO focus, the aim is to improve reputation and recognition for consumers through SERP (search engine results page) rank and general awareness.

Following Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller declaring his understanding of its benefit, the industry has begun to receive more backing and has seen continued growth. The versatility of media landscape and opportunity presented by digital PR allows brands to develop their awareness whilst also improving website backlinks, exposure and SEO.

There’s a new key in town

It’s true, there’s a new key in town – with a few speakers talking about the move from keywords to ‘topics’. Websites and brands are looking to become more of a knowledge base as having authority over topics has become the way to go, in order to cover a wider range of content for their readers.

| ‘Words vary between languages, topics don’t’ said Entity SEO, Dixon Jones, Majestic

Proving to be passionate about topics taking their rightful stage when developing onsite content, some top tips shared by Dixon included:

  • Building your site as if it is a miniature knowledge graph
    Building content pages around the knowledge graph
    Creating topic landing pages

Solutions lie in the way we think, feel and search

People were on the agenda this year at BrightonSEO, with more speakers considering how the user thinks, feels and searches.

Consideration for the user journey and search intent is growing. Jack Nottidge (Stickyeyes) discussed the significance of understanding exactly what people are searching for when reviewing SEO methods. It’s important to decipher what people really want from their search terms, so you can give them what they want, as well as what they need.
Kenda Macdonald from Automation Ninjas ran an entertaining discussion on the human brain and the odd way in which it thinks. Comparing humans to Minions, Kendra described the brain as full of corruption, or cognitive biases, and spoke about how the little errors we all make on a daily basis are bad for our own and our client’s marketing.

As a marketer, you have to understand cognitive bias, and how it affects everything you do within SEO. As per the Google effect, people only see what they want to see, so your page needs to: keep things simple, repeat your message, provide meaning, be explicit, summarise your message, highlight key points, and look at the bigger picture.
The first step to fighting back against the brain is to understand that mistakes can and do happen on a day-to-day basis. As soon as we plan for those mistakes, we can learn how to compensate for them.

Jay and Grace’s key learnings in a nutshell…

Jay’s Learnings

  • A lot of people are talking more and more about Digital PR, even in some of the SEO heavy sessions, more people are confident about its impact (following Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller recommending it).
  • Interestingly “topics” are replacing keywords and the industry is looking to make their sites more like knowledge bases of content – which is great for bringing in more people to explore a website.
  • There is 100% an industry standard, whilst everyone has their own flavour of what they’re doing – it all remains pretty similar. Which of course is bound to happen but reassuring when putting things together for our approach.

Grace’s Learnings

  • Consideration for the user journey and search intent is growing. Jack Nottidge (Stickyeyes) argues that it’s important to understand what exactly people are searching for when reviewing SEO methods. Research has to go into what people are asking for. It’s important to decipher what they really mean from their search so you can give them what they expect as well as what they need.
  • Understanding cognitive bias and how it affects everything you do within SEO. People only see what they want to see (Google effect), so your page needs to: keep things simple, repeat your message, provide meaning, be explicit, summarise your message, highlight key points, and look at the bigger picture.
  • Deep linking is important when it comes to link building. Users respond better when results are immediately available to them. Be sure to link to a particular page with specific content, rather than a simple homepage.

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