Notes from the 2015 Brighton SEO conference – 1,700 people packed into the Brighton Dome!

Mobile and local: 

Google Now: 

  • Available on iOS
  • Hummingbird remembering previous searches, e.g. “Who is the US president?” “Who is he married to?
  • We should all complete and verify our G+ accounts
  • We should all implement schema through webmaster tools

Local SEO:

  • Blog at
  • “Local SEO never stops”
  • For local SEO he recommended link building with low domain ranking sites
  • He showed some examples of how important consistency of detail (e.g. address / name, etc) is
  • Citation consistency also vital, some good examples of this too
  • One client went from 6th to 1st page Google just by tightening these up
  • Yelp powers Apple Maps (didn’t know that) and used in the UK

A month of content:

  • The SEO benefits of evergreen whitepaper
  • Scheduling in advance
  • Posting at optimum times
  • Planning 6 months in advance (this is probably a bit ambitious for us, I’d be happy if we could make 6 days!)
  • Local posts in local areas
  • Doing nice extra digital things like installing countdown plugins to get people excited
  • They did some Buzzfeedy nostalgia things tied to their messaging, like ’25 computing milestones over 25 years’
  • Lesson – don’t post after big holiday, posts that usually do well don’t while everyone’s catching up on emails!
  • Crowd sourcing posts, publishing the best of everyone’s feedback in a blog
  • Backup content if things fall through
  • Using creative commons for images / Buzzfeed
  • At the end of this session, I also got to do a bit of stigma busting:

Link building:

  • Penguin loves what users love
  • Bad links will be punished

Platform recommendations: 

  • #prrequest
  • IFTTT alerts
  • Use wayback to find cached content
  • Reddit
  • dofollow
  • Publish on the community stream, Buzzfeed
  • 21 is the optimal list number
  • Majestic/moz for back link building and checking bad links to your site
  • Learn from the people who rank above you using the tool, shows link patterns etc
  • Use keyword research tools

Approaching a content strategy: 

  • Add genuine value
  • Be audience focused
  • Optimise for intent, not keywords
  • Relationship building
  • It’s not about what you want your audience to know, it’s about what your audience want to know
  • Look at the whole story around each audience – persona work, basically
  • Look at what’s stopping people converting and how can you anticipate and address it
  • Consistency of content – brand, tone, quality, format, imagery, multi channel links

Botify tool:

  • Looks at every link on your site
  • Divides the content, gives you analytics breakdowns, shows duplicates, errors, etc
  • Be careful of double redirecting, bad for site speed and SEO

Canonicalisation – my favourite talk:

  • Head terms like ‘motorcycle clothing’ – high search, low conversion
  • Longtail terms – low search, high conversion (people know exactly what they want so are quite likely to buy it)
  • They had the problem of having high domain authority overall but being outranked by smaller sites on specific items because of their site structure
  • All their individual product pages canonicalised back to /jackets so were all Google indexed as such
  • They really needed separate pages for high ranking search terms, e.g. Belstaff jackets in order to compete
  • They had to weigh up the obvious drawbacks of this, e.g. pagerank dilution, content duplication, index bloating and search engine crawl waste
  • They took an audit of all the keywords relating to each individual product, ranked them by post searched and created separate pages for their top 10
  • They decided on 3 attributes as the max and were careful to assign rel=nofollow and rel=noindex so they filtered out illogical matching, e.g. leather jacket blue green / leather suede jacket female
  • Priority then = e.g. Belstaff jackets, male, leather
  • His tip “Maximise the number of useful and reduce the number of useless pages”

Site security:

  • Don’t have the same password for everything “you might be fine with people hacking your Twitter account, but you’ve now just given them your banking password too”
  • Keep your software up to date to security updates apply
  • Implement SSL and use https
  • Long passwords are actually better than short because of the way they’re hacked. Use a phrase not word
  • Keep your browser up to date

An interview with Mark White, nothing about SEO but an interesting insight into the weird world of the Apprentice!

  • All the winners work together in one building
  • Quite big psychological tests to get down from final 1000, e.g. building an idea desk while people ask you very stressful and random questions, then someone comes along and smashes it up just before you finish to see how you cope!
  • Someone follows every single one of them every minute of the day to make sure they don’t cheat, Google, watch tv etc
  • Their company is “Climb Online” What a great name!
  • He talks to Alan Sugar every day
  • There’s a year in between filming and airing, he talked about having that year hiatus of being ‘no one’ and then at the whim of the BBC everyone suddenly knew who he was
  • Interestingly, he doesn’t really get a choice about anything – they decide every detail and he fronts it
  • People who come second get a lot more freedom