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5 things we learned at BrightonSEO 2017

Written by Charlie Carter | 13-Apr-2017 07:38:00

Last Friday we were lucky enough to attend BrightonSEO and enjoy an agenda packed full of expert speakers who are passionate about their role in SEO (and beyond!). BrightonSEO held true to its reputation as the biggest SEO event in the UK, even overtaking Harry Styles as the trending topic on Twitter...

We attended a variety of talks, ranging from link building and search quality to machine learning and VR. We've compiled our top five take-outs from the day, which we feel will be important considerations for brands and marketers alike in the coming year.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an SEO’s game

Although we’re a long way off the likes of C-3PO or the Terminator, we are currently in the heart of the artificial intelligence revolution. As search marketers, we shouldn’t ignore the advancements in AI as it has a number of applications in digital, including image based search, chat bots, and targeted ads.

Another use of AI is voice search.
Neill Horie from The Home Agency emphasised that voice search is most definitely here and its increasing prevalence shows no signs of slowing. As an illustration of this, last year 20% of queries from an Android phone were voice queries; a share that continues to grow. Additionally, the Amazon Echo was Amazon’s number one best-selling product of 2016 and introduction of hardware like this will only aid the growth of voice search.

As a result, Neill suggested we move away from SEO and towards AI optimisation. SEOs currently market to search engines, but as search engines are just the surface interface, why not market straight to AI? “Artificial Intelligence is our domain”.

Automation is key for communication

To get the most out of your SEO activity, your actions should be proactive not reactive, and this is a key mantra here at equimedia. The key to achieving this is through clear communication about changes to the site and its performance.
Anita Valentinova from Vistaprint highlighted the importance of notifying SEOs when changes are going to be made ahead of time to help stay on top of performance and catch problems quickly in order to retain performance.

One way to ensure timely communication in SEO is through automation. The example used was Python scripts; when the script is run, it compares the expected values for the site against the current values and if there are any discrepancies between the two an alert is sent out. This ensures that SEOs are the first to know of any differences on site enabling them to investigate these before an impact is made.

Andreas Voniatis from Artios was quick to assure us that automation is here to help enhance our jobs not take over! Automation can be used to analyse many aspects of SEO and saves both time and effort on routine processes that could be better used elsewhere. Resources to set up automated reports are free and openly available so there is no excuse not to use them to enhance your SEO.

Phillip Gamble from Found said, to save both your time and your SEO performance, “Vigilance Pays.”

How to combat crawl bloat

Search engines don't like crawling rubbish pages and it's in your best interest to help them find your most important information quickly and easily to ensure they are indexed. Crawl bloat, as defined by
Charlie Whitworth from Banc Media, is when you make search engines work too hard to crawl your site and therefore don't take full advantage of your crawl budget.

There are several ways that can help you fix existing bloat or prevent it in the first place; these include the use of no-index tags, URL parameters, xml sitemaps and robots.txt. Though these are basic SEO practices these prove very powerful when used correctly.

Utilising Google My Business

Emily Knox from Tug noted that they have seen a decrease in traffic to restaurant websites seemingly due to the increasing use of Google My Business SERP results.

Despite being available to users since 2014, not everyone is utilising the option to its full potential. Google My Business is a free way to control how you appear in search results and helps you edit your business information quickly. It’s a particularly user-friendly result as it presents all your business information in one succinct, mobile-friendly format, allowing users to find the relevant information and contact you without entering the site itself. Consolidating this information on your site will increase user engagement with the SERP feature.

Find out more information on how to get started

There’s no such thing as a virtual reality expert

Sam Watts from Make Real emphasised there should be more realistic expectations of virtual reality and that people have been too quick to jump on the bandwagon, forgetting that the technology is still developing and the hardware just isn’t out there yet. This year the techniques and uses should be more carefully considered, and as Sam points out, only 11% of people have tried VR, so if you are thinking of running a VR campaign it will probably be the first experience for many.

VR is an evolving industry and so it was interesting to hear Sam say that you shouldn’t trust a VR expert as there is no such thing. If you call yourself an expert it means you’ve stopped learning, a mantra that should be applied to all areas of digital.

Those were our top five take-outs from this year’s spring BrightonSEO. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or
get in touch to find out more about our work in SEO and content.