BrightonSEO 2015



Joel Lumsden our Head of SEO and Charlie Hardy one of our lovely search strategists, provide their views on the days event, blogging live. Please feel free to leave a comment if you’ve anything you’d like to add.

Session 1: Social Content

Erica McGillivray | Moz | Flare and pivot for social image sharing

HBO and other big obnoxious brands are ‘killing it’ with images on social media. So what do all these images have in common? Certain design principles and physiological triggers according to Erica.

Design principles
  • High contrast
  • Clean
  • Branded
  • Bold
  • Unity (how the objects relate to each other in the image and the white space – how it all connects)

Pretty basic stuff really but good to reaffirm and remind yourself.

Physiological triggers
  • Challenge audiences
  • Take risks
  • Establish credibility
  • Make human connections

Again, pretty basic stuff but good to have some guidelines to work to.

There were some good points made though:

  • Designer actually needs to be excited about the project. This is actually really, really important.
  • Use a Google doc for social image templates (sizes and formats for different platforms, best practice etc)
  • Get your designer to create image which will allow the marketer to go in and edit and change up as per the template. This is much more efficient than creating bespoke images for everything. Create a variety of images so that is a bit of variety and everything doesn’t look ‘samey’, but at the same time there is still consistency.
  • Tip: Use Open Graph and Twitter cards for marking up your content for social, or things look shit, obviously.

Tool alert: Pablo and Canva – if you don’t have a designer use these to create pretty images

Vicke Cheung | Distilled | Designing content for mobile

Ten Lessons in Designing Content for Mobile from Vicke Cheung

It’s been said by somebody, somewhere, sometime previously that content marketing is mobile marketing.

  • Embrace the true meaning of mobile first
    1. Mobile first doesn’t mean have a good fall-back for mobile
    2. Design for mobile first, or at the same time as desktop
    3. If you don’t design for mobile first you end up putting loads of effort into desktop version, loads of technology, but not compatible for mobile so ends up being a watered down version
  • Simplicity
    1. Design first and foremost from the most vital elements
    2. Seven digital sins – done really well to keep it simple
  • Make decisions with context in mind
    1. Don’t just design for the device you use
  • Test using real devices
    1. Use Google’s mobile emulator but be aware that this isn’t always accurate
    2. Use real devices – it’s the only way you can find some faults
    3. Get someone who is removed from the project to test
  • Trying to be unique and innovative isn’t always a good thing; you might confuse users and they won’t know what they’re doing. The solution: use patterns. Take the ‘hamburger menu’ as an example – don’t create a barrier between your audience and content; use things that you know work and pick the right elements to try and be unique with fun things.

The trouble is when do you sacrifice coding best practice for the sake of something that looks super awesome?

  • Remember performance, performance, performance. It doesn’t matter if your website is beautiful and elegant if it doesn’t load quickly, you’re screwed!
  • Serve selectively
    1. Use media queries to serve low resolution images to mobile
    2. You can rearrange content ‘sections’ for mobile
  • Put users first yawwwwnnn…
  • User-centric yawwwwn

I learnt something new! “Orphans” refers to the word left orphaned on a line by itself where the rest of the title or sentence is on other lines.

Tool alert:

Iain Haywood | The Competition Agency | Making your competitions fun

Making your Competitions Fun – Iain Haywood – Brighton SEO 2015 Presentation from The Competition Agency
  • Maximum qualitative output, minimum quantitative output
  • 2 types of entrants, brand advocates and then the other people (most people)
  • “incentives fundamentally change a users intent”
  • more fun the competition is, less reliance on the incentive – always needs to be a balance
  • basically don’t do contests where the user just has to re-tweet, it’s worthless
  • He said hipster squirrel!!!
  • Actually a really good talk, I was too busy listening to take loads of notes
  • RCS – real company shit/stuff –

Tool alert: Gleam, Rafflecopter and Antavo

Session 2: SERPs

Jon Earnshaw | Datametrics | Cannibalisation

Love it, someone has actually asked Jon to just “SEO it”. If only!

4 types of cannibalisation

  1. Internal conflict – This happens when there are disconnected ecosystems and clusters of isolated pages mentioning a particular term but not talking to the main term page (so to speak). Google is confused and can’t decide which page should be the main page and this is where you get cannibalisation.
  2. Subdomain conflict
  3. International conflict
  4. Semantic flux

Rob Bucci | Get Stat | Advanced competitive Intelligence

  • Personable guy, may or may not be a lumberjack.
  • What can you learn from a site through the SERPs?
  • Should e-commerce websites focus on rankings the search pages over the product pages?
  • For e-commerce website for more valuable keywords you should consider ranking your search pages. For less valuable keywords, consider ranking product pages
  • Always rank pages with the best UX, or better yet, just make sure all your landing pages have great UX
  • I switched off a little I’m afriad, sorryyy Rob Bucci spelt like Gucci
  • Platform agonistic, I like that phrase

Dave Naylor | Bronco | Future of Search

  • DON’T FORGET – Mobile algorithm update on April 21st
  • Why not check out mobile usability issues in Google Webmaster Tools, lots of updates to this tool over the past couple of months

So you launch a subdomain and you wake up with a bit of flux on your pillow, am I right?

  • Does your company or client have an app? Have you considered app indexing? Dave thinks this will be critical for mobile indexing, if you have an app, sort this out.
  • The travel industry is a desktop-heavy acquisition model still (over 70% of people still book travel-related things on desktops) – Pretty much still down to trust
  • He did a good little survey of the audience on mobile usage and it was really clear that people don’t make purchases on their phones outside of apps, or website’s that have stored data on them. Again, still down to trust I think.
  • We’re often told to think of a Googlebot as one person, living in California. Dave think’s its rubbish. If you build a flash website that is GREAT for your user  you won’t rank, so it doesn’t work.

Future of search recap

  • Robots – sod humans, they can work it out, what does the robot actually need
  • Panda – keep it clean, keep it consistent, canonicalise if you have to
  • Penguin – Webmaster Tools is your best friend

Session 3: Link building

Matt Barby | 10 ways to build a link in 20 minutes flat


  • You need to combine great content with great links to stand a chance
  • Press requests – editorial from great sources, e.g. response source for the uk, press request
  • Organise your mailbox and have quick response templates

Building a link in 20 minutes flat using the following mediums….


  1. Citations and broken links
  2. Wiki grabber. Com
  3. Get an experienced wiki editor
  5. Remember google scrapes wiki for answer boxes


  1. Can get relevant do follow links
  2. Submit, get sidebar links, create a sub Reddit.


  1. Sponsor local clubs and meet ups relevant to industry
  2. Beer and pizza is cheap


  1. Build a content outreach team
  2. Leverage industry influencers and their networks
  3. Hire them to write for you – they’ll link back
  4. Give them a ‘contributor badge’
  5. Hey.Press to find journos


  1. Huge audience in community feature section
  2. Check out his blog post
  3. Re-purpose existing data
  4. Adapt data sets into easily consumable format
  5. Validate by seeing if people are asking questions about it first, them outreach

Natalie Wright | The power of backlink discovery

  • Most tips were too elementary to keep my attention to be honest.
  • Check new links to your competitors (using majestic ‘new’ for example).
  • Don’t get bad links.

Session 3 (v 2): Technical SEO

Kirsty Hulse | Found | Schema and semantic web

Schema, JSON-LD & the semantic web – Brighton SEO April 2015 – Kirsty Hulse – Linkdex from Linkdex
  • Snippet saturation – loads of snippets available, some of them are not all that exciting so yes, having rich snippets probably increased CTR
  • All boils down to… if you don’t implement semantic markup, your competitors will so why purposely put yourself at the back of the group
  • Surprising fact – only 0.3 percent of domains are using schema markup on their websites
  • JSON-LD markup – Google is starting to understand it as a accepted form of markup – can implement through tag manager – stops it being massively expensive (kinda)

Tool alert: Tom gisel – good wordpress plugin for google tag manager

It’s not elegant, or efficient and it doesn’t create beautiful code. But sometimes you gotta do it.

Mark Thomas | Deep Crawl | 10 step technical SEO game plan

Mark is from Deep Crawl so I feared this might be a bit salesy, but luckily not.

If your onsite SEO is flawed, links won’t matter.

Step 1: Understand business (macro and micro understanding): seek and you shall find

Step 2: Technical audit of your site: Moz’s audit is good, Linkdex is about to come out with one too

Two things to look at as KPIs: number of unique pages and crawlability.

  • Step 3: Technical seo is constant, need to continuously work on it to create a sustainable environment, sell in recommendations, why should you do it
  • Step 4:  Technical architecture: how are you growing your footprint? Look at unique page growth and engage your content team with growth. There’s an opportunity to highlight thin pages and show your content teams the opportunity, automate checking of paid search landing pages, get people invested

Step 5: Analyse impact

Step 6: Automate

Step 7: Make sure you’re recording historic data, benchmark, seriously

Step 8: Biggest moment of risk, when you’re migrating a website/page, pre-test! Make sure all your technical auditing is fed into this

Step 9: Use APIs, share, report in a nice clean way, make sure everyone can understand, don’t expect colleagues/clients to understand your technical banter


Jono Alderson | Linkdex | Kick ass SEO Audit

  • Technical SEO is super important, yayyyyyyyyyyy
  • The purpose of a site audit is the identification and prioritisation of issues
  • Audits should MAKE THINGS HAPPEN
  • We need to anticipate objections, think of the audience, is the audit going to the client, developer, agency?

Things you need to do before you do a technical audit

  • Keyword and market research
  • Historic performance and commercial data
  • Challenge conventional thinking

Audit needs to be in multiple formats

  • You need to have quick wins

404s, broken links, missing meta, stuff that can’t be argued with, stuff that just needs fixing.

  • You need a long form, editorial audit

This is needed to get senior buy-in. These people are the ace up your sleeve and you need to get them onboard. You need to communicate in their language – talk about brand, reputation, user experience, instill fear and provide risk,

Top tip: colour code technical and experience to make it even clearer

  • Cheat sheet spreadsheet

This needs to summarise issues and generalise. You can template these and include benefits of doing it, impact of doing it, risks, what are the issues etc. Make sure you cover these from a business perspective, as well as from a tech perspective.

You need to itemise issues. The key here is prioritisation and responsibility.

  • All needs to thread in together
  • Always look at the root cause, don’t just keep fixing the same issue again and again
  • Make it commercially friendly, put money and numbers against it, get senior buy-in
  • You will always need to do more than one audit, housekeeping is key. If you only do one audit how will you know that what’s you’ve audited and implemented has made a difference?
  • Eyeball for patterns rather than issues, there is always likely to be 6 other connected issues caused by or resulting from that issue – look for symptoms. For example, the issue isn’t the 404, it’s what’s causing the 404

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