BrightonSEO: Talking Points & Key Ideas To Take Away
BrightonSEO has well and truly cemented itself as the go-to bi-annual event in the UK SEO calendar. Give it a few more years and it might be the number one event in the global SEO calendar. Big names like Bing, Microsoft, Linkdex, SEMRush, Majestic, AHREFS and Moz are always out in force. Sadly, Google is yet to make an official appearance but there are often speakers who have been working at Google before.
We had several of the Verb SEO & Social team attending this year and listening to most of the talks. Ahead of LEARN event next week on the 4th of May, we’ve compiled some of our key talking points from the morning session and what useful information and action points we’ve taken away with us.
Here’s what the team had to say about the Future of Search…
The ‘Future of Search’ was as doomsday ominous as you’d expect. The first talk, given by Raj Nijjer from Yext, discussed voice search. Raj talked about how structured data was going to be used by voice search AI and that we need to focus on optimising our structured data for this. Whilst what he said was very true and as an industry we do need to focus more on structured data, it was very much the same story but coming from a new angle. Structured data is important and we know that he wasn’t telling us anything new there. However, with voice search apparently going to make up 50% of searches by 2020 (we’ll see if that actually happens and whether they’re useful searches) AI will be using a lot of structured data to help deliver the results requested. So much of BrightonSEO is companies plugging their tools and Yext did so but with a relevant opinion to what’s going on in the industry. I’ll take away that we will experience AI searching for companies or products but they’re still going to do this by using keywords. Nonetheless, I don’t believe that the majority valuable of searches will be through Alexa or voice search because we spend a lot of time out of the house, either in offices or public places, and it would be unacceptable to constantly be shouting at our phones. Voice search will be part of the marketing mix but won’t be the only valuable asset.
The next person to come on stage was Purna Virji from Microsoft, talking about keywordless searches. It was another doomsday moment that speakers love to throw out there. People are searching through images now, that’s been happening for many years. However, it doesn’t mean images will replace keywords. It means that people might search an image to find where it came from. Purna then moved onto apps and how image searches will be used there, where you want to buy what you have just seen or to find something similar to buy. Apps aren’t something we deal with very often because that moves into app optimisation which is a tiny part of the SEO industry. We only care about search engines, predominantly Google in most countries, but also China’s Baidu, Russia’s Yandex and Bing in the US. To start covering app optimisation for image search was bizarre although interesting. The reason for talking about app optimisation was so that Purna could start talking about Microsoft HoloLens. This ironically led back to searches with keywords as she showed the HoloLens could display a website or search engine in front of you and you could type in any search with your fingers on a virtual keyword, think minority report only less cool. I didn’t take away anything from this talk that had SEO value except that HoloLens will have a virtual keyword which means keywords will still be relevant.
The final talk of the session was by Will Cecil from Adapt Worldwide, who spoke about the opportunities, mistakes and future of international digital marketing. What we loved about Will was he got back to basics after all this talk of AI, voice search, augmented reality and keywordless searches. Will talked about the volume of content on landing pages, keywords, keyword density, multilingual content, technical aspects of using multilingual content and avoiding the common mistakes that people make with all of this. He had good old data to show that pages with the most content ranked 1st or at least in the top three and the more content you had the higher you rank. Google is, after all, an algorithm which looks for high-quality content, so the more you have, the better. He also had data showing that high keyword density (percentage of the content that was the keyword) meant you ranked well. Obviously, there was a limit to this, as too much and it is keyword stuffing. 5%-10% seems to be the key but some sites had 14% and ranked 1st. My view is that your keyword density needs to be at 7% and if the site in 1st has a higher keyword density then match or beat this as long as you don’t go above 15% keyword density. We take away from this that we’re doing the right thing at Verb and sticking to the basics goes a long way to making you rank highly if not in 1st place.
Overall, it was an informative morning and the rest of the day saw some interesting talks around local SEO, paid social, link building and technical SEO. The one thing we wish BrightonSEO would do is record all of the talks and put them online so you can watch talks you weren’t able to attend. They currently only record the main stage and a few sponsor talks. We look forward to September’s conference and if anyone would like a ticket, let us know as we can arrange a ticket for our clients.