Dramatic red fireworks in the sky

BrightonSEO 2019 Takeaways – Digital Marketing Strategies From The Best

Amazing to be back in Brighton again; what a great job Kelvin and the BrightonSEO crew are doing. « Helping SEOs meet, learn & do their job a little better » is their moto. Relevance is representing with a larger crew from our Monaco & Bath offices than ever. As every year, I am putting my key takeaways onto LinkedIn Pulse so anyone who didn’t make it can feel like they did 😉

I am the CEO of a boutique full service digital agency and have a heavy penchant for SEO. BrightonSEO is an SEO convention, one of the largest of its kind. With eight different halls and rooms, and twelve sessions divided into four parts of the day, BrightonSEO offers digital marketing specialists (in-house, and agency) almost 100 separate speakers and talks. It isn’t just SEO – there’s a lot of content marketing, commerce, site speed, cross channel, measurement, SERPs, competitor research, linkbuilding, client success, internationalisation, digital PR and – new this year – PPC, or search advertising.

So to honest and practical advice, let’s do this. CTR – U Ready……

The Big Man – John Mueller – Google – « ON THE SPOT »

John Mueller from Google speaks at an event

Success is « keeping my job », he says.

At Google we are looking for more Google people to talk to more SEO folk to keep up the communication. Job anyone?

These days we are looking to talk to the front-end developers rather than SEOs. There is still so much to fix on the front end – Google needs more websites « Google optimised. »

Google just wants to read more pages, more easily

Response on « Position 0 » – The Google Search Snippets – We want to get the information to the user faster and give them the opportunity to get more info if they need it. We don’t agree we are 1) stealing other people’s website information so they can’t make money and 2) using it to help sell adds, making revenue from others. It does help bounce rate.

Response on the Rel Previous Next catastrophe « Google: Rel=prev/next Is Not An Indexing Signal Anymore; Help Docs Removed »……we just stopped using it and then let people know. It was bad PR – we should have given developers more time.

As to whether we follow Nofollow links – I can’t say yes, but we definitely know they are there; it is too big a whole in their link graph.

Recent Outage – was a Google issue, everything is back to normal.

Submit a URL, or submit a site map on Search Console if your pages are still not there.

Voice Search – it’s another type of keyboard, isn’t it?

Information has to be easily accessible for search engines and users whether it is for desktop, mobile or Google Home. People using voice search are listening to music and turning their lights on and off, so don’t panic.

Voice numbers, even if we had them, would be difficult for you to deal with. We can’t give you all the numbers.

Snippets & Schema

Driving ‘meaningful’ clicks with enriched SERPs by Izzi Smith, Sixt

Izzi Smith with backdrop of fire

54% of SERPs don’t lead to clicks thanks to SERP features – Rand Fishkin. So they are kind of very important.

But they do increase CTR & are the right kind of clicks – i.e. converting/lasting.

Is CTR a ranking factor for Google? Doesn’t matter, and they wouldn’t tell you anyway.

Just satisfy users intent & drive meaningful clicks.

Richer organic beats any kind of other traffic.

Work on searcher intent: Transactional – Answer – Research – Local – Visual (Inspiration) – Fresh News – Brand

Avoid pure answer intent!

Check if the Intent can be met. Mid-longtail search is lucrative.

Aim to rank above the fold as these will generally get the Google snippet.

Be proud & present in Map Packs – it leads to increased URL traffic = NAP, citations, reviews, enriched profiles, images

Structured Data provides meaningful data.

More engaged traffic from rich snippets leads to more time on site, and convertibletraffic.

What shall I do?

  • Make sure all your company data is correct, as Google is coming to take it.
  • Align your data: Wikipedia listing, Square logo, 
  • Target and win featured snippets with transactional intent.
  • Make them clickable + use buzz words.
  • Mobile images thumbnails now at 75% – check queries and make sure images are the best and most impactful.
  • HTML tables are epic
  • Jump links on relevant page for site links.

Featured Snippets – the achievable SERP feature? by Emily Potter

Emily Potter presents

Featured Snippets increase brand awareness for sure, but, other info:

  • Position 4 and up are more likely to own them.
  • Average Rank is 2.1, unlikely under 10.
  • CTR increase in 6%.
  • Featured snippets work.

I use Stat software = https://getstat.com

  • Include the Keyword in the Title!
  • Turn content into a list format.
  • For transactional – use an HTML table.
  • Focus on the competitors.

Are they answering the query better, what format are they using, are they using better headers than us?

To do

  1. Find out which keywords have features featured snippets?
  2. Avoid keywords with commercial intent.
  3. Flag where you are higher than the owner.
  4. Look for low-hanging fruit.
  5. Steal Headings from competitors if you rank higher organically.
  6. Use « however » to bring two points together – 1st agreement, however, 2nd argument.
  7. Add on-page content for well performing pages.
  8. Re-format the content to match that of the current owner.
  9. Paragraphs onto lists, lists into tables.

A Structured Data Case Study: How to Make Your Websites Stand Out in Search by Kenichi Suzuki

Kenichi Suzuki at a Google summit

Structured Data multiplied traffic by 2.7 and session duration by1.5 – on Recipes.

115% increase in structured data + 15% lower bounce rate on Jobs listings.

POLS – search data.

Dataset search – must add to schema +dataset.

  • Use Events
  • Use Breadcumbs
  • Restaurants

Specific structured data is important.

Badges are given to Recipes and Products.

New Rich Results for 2019- 

  1. How To @type How To (subsection of recipe) 
  2. FAQ

30 Structured Data sources are available at the moment.

Why add structured data?

  • Google supports all types of properties of schema.org
  • Rich Results have the chance to enhance search performance
  • Choose wisely which structured Data to use
  • Add as much as possible


Using data science to work smarter, not harder in PPC by Chris Pitt

Chris Pitt in front of white board

Must combine Data and Categorise Data for PPC especially for top level reporting.

Use Supermetrics to mix the data = https://supermetrics.com/products

Use PowerBI to do the rest.

Add CRM data to dashboard

Open Weather Map – API can be useful for some businesses.

Time Decomposition = true seasonality of your website; allows you to know when you should be spending the money.

Distance Matrixs API allows location mapping. 

PPC can we used to predict the future. Use exponential smoothing used to prodict the future @ 80% accuracy.

Use that to show the customer what he/she can expect.

Become a Local Hero: PPC Tips to Boss Your Neighbourhood by Oliver Ewbank

Oliver Ewbank presenting

1) Google Map Ads

2) Google Display Network – local newspaper

3) Store Visit Conversions

  • Google allows you to estimate foot fall – new vs returning

4) Campaign – near me or with location keyword

5) Location Settings – must used advanced – people in your targeted location

  • Run user location reports
  • Bid Adjustments according to goals
  • People closer convert better to the store

6) Extensions

  • Add as many extensions as possible

7) Keyword Strategy

  • Near me, can I buy, near me now

8)Ad copy – location, location, location

9) Location – increase conversions by 10%

10) Call adjustments – on mobiles

11) Messanging Extentions

12) Landing Pages

  • Location, Location, Location
  • Unbounce landing page tool
  • Test site speed though

13) Call only campaigns with Retargeting

14) Local Campaigns Format to drive store visits

  • 30 day minimum
  • More than 10 stores

15) Local Inventory Ads – For Products Instore 

16)Local Catalogue Ads

  • All products available – Need products feed


A) Structure for success – Test

B) Store Data

C) Regular User Location Reports

Land grab: how to win business from your competitors with Google PPC, by Tanesha Stafford

  • Interesting tactic is to use shop locations of your competitors and advertise in these locations to compete on price (ex: car dealerships)
  • Always monitor the marker and if there is a new product coming up, remember that it’s the perfect opportunity for your company to advertise
  • SKAGS are great when users know exactly what they want. The speaker gave an example of looking for “strapless dress”. First ad she clicked on had all different kinds of dresses, so not what she was looking for. This ad was based on “phrase match” most likely. Then there was a SKAG from a different company, which led to the page with strapless dresses only. So, she was happy to find what she was looking for. Takeway: do not piss off your customers by trying to sell them something they don’t need. Use SKAGS for particular requests to avoid phrase matching.
  • SEM RUSH is great to use to identify when competitors ads appear and make your timing right

Search is Stagnating: It’s time to explore more biddable diversity, by Matt Whelan

Matt Whelan presenting

Search is calming down – there is less search now.

  1. Impression Numbers are down
  2. CPC is going up 10%
  3. CTR is going up 6% as people are doing ads better
  4. More Ads per page

Google must increase yield from search =

  • No more exact match
  • No more device targeting
  • All gone a bit enhanced

Who needs Words anyway, now its all about Audiences/Remarketing.

A completely automated ecosystem? Is that possible in Google Advertising?

Don’t put your eggs in one basket.

Search is the best most converting strategy.

Facebook hasn’t the intent, but does have Accurate Data targeting, Impactful Ad Formats, and Cheap Impacts.

It is all about Video – you can see how much they are engaged. You can retarget the really interested people.

= Find audiences using broad video promotion.

Anyone who sits through a contact lens video for 10 seconds wants contact lenses 😉

Get off the one-touch conversion horse – people don’t do that: people engage many times before they buy.

People are clicking ads at lunchtime and converting in the safety of their own home.

Check out OUTBRAIN & TABOOLA softwares.

Issues with Youtube 

  • Skippable ads have changed audience expectations
  • Natural skipping behaviour
  • No built in content control
  • Retargeting is limited to Google System


Targeting – keyword too granular affinity too broad channel is best but touch to scale

Must know what content works.

It is a 2-stage retargeting only don’t get caught up in bumper ads etc.

Online display does not work.

Account Management

Search vs. Bureaucracy: How to Stand Up an Organic Search Program for Your Client, by Heather Physioc

Heather Physioc presenting

Worth doing an Emersion Workshop with the client – 2-Day Bootcamp.

  • Crash course in their brand DNA
  • What are the Threats/priorities
  • How can we work together?
  • Developer meetings
  • Content is very complicated – bring them all to the table
  • Analytics Experts – Goals & Kpis

Onboarding checklist

  • Getting Access & Information – must explain and give consequences
  • Problems in the past
  • Bottle necks
  • Budget limitations
  • Any sort of conflict?
  • Sticky Note Task – What will make the project succeed, what will make it feed

Test their search maturity?

Initial-Repeatable-Managed – Mature- Optimised.

Use a Q&A to work out the maturity curve.

It is a collaborative effort.

Align on potential and limitations of a search program.

Clearly Articulate this Shared Purpose

Misaligned Expectations are a Huge Problem.

Retaining Struggling Clients: How To Rebuild Trust – Laura Hogan

Laura Hogan presenting

The average person makes 118 mistakes yearly.

Average lifestyle of a client is 18 months.

Why do clients leave us?

  1. Mis-sold – expectations have not been met
  2. Understanding of their business
  3. No action – need a full action report
  4. Ranking drops
  5. Misaligned expectations
  6. Poor results
  7. No support – especially in-house marketing team
  8. Communication – if the client is chasing you you have lost the relationship

How to keep your clients?

  1. Set clear targets – gant charts – face-2-face
  2. Plan – 3/6/9 month plans
  3. Business understanding – Use an Onboarding Questionnaire
  4. Get to know them
  5. Be Honest
  6. If something goes wrong be accountable & do it face to face
  7. Support them e.g. setting up Analytics Dashboard. Have their Back
  8. Education
  9. Send e-mail to your in-house digital client team latest news
  10. Communication

Read – Dom from Distilled Article on Account Management

So important to know how long a client have been with you.

Have you spoken to your client this weekE

Efficiency in the workplace: Mindset mastery and meditation, by Briony Gunson

Briony Gunson talks

Our Mental Health has a direct relationship on our work

How can we control our mindset?

Need to get into deeper states of focused attention & creativity.

This is more the case these days.

Touching Beliefs & Values.

Read – Cal Newport, Deep Work

We lose attention 6-10 times per minute owing to smartphones (goldfish).

Ted Talk = Alan Watkins

By 35 years old = 98% of thoughts and feelings and actions are pre-programmed.

The mind is a record of our past experiences.

Stress can shut down cognitive and creative abilities.

A problem shared is a problem halved.

Suitable setting, right audience.

Courage, openness, patience.

Forget Alexa, The Voice Search Devices Of The Future – Patrick Reinhart

Be aware of voice search, but maybe we will be marketing to devices.

Beyond Google

Why we all should stop ignoring Bing, by Julia Logan

A close up of the Google sign
  • Googe is a leader on desktop overall – but it varies from country to country, device to device. Don’t ignore BING because in some countries its market share is growing
  • We need to keep an eye on yahoo because it’s partially bing.
  • Results on DuckDuckGo appear from bing & yahoo. This is very relevant when it comes to high net worth individuals.
  • Image search from SIRI come from BING. Kindle is also powered by BING.
  • Bing is faster than Google.
  • You can connect apps to your site and get data from everywhere.

Voice visibility: tracking voice results on Alexa & Google, by Steff Preyer

  • Over 1bln voice searches is happening every month.
  • Most people use voice for weather and music but the third most popular request is “asking questions”. This is where the opportunity for businesses lies.
  • There’s no second ranking when it comes to voice search. You need to own it.
  • Answer boxes are great. But it’s not the only thing. It’s only 20% of all voice search results.
  • Sometimes answers we provide are too long and not structured, so they are not picked up by google home or similar products.
  • Similar responses are becoming better.
  • Short answers are to explore.

The research:  https://wearerabbitandpork.com/whitepapers/voice-search-ranking-report/2018/q1

Link Building

How to make fake news for links, by Oliver Brett (SEO manager at Screaming Frog)

Slideshare link: https://www.slideshare.net/OliverBrett/how-to-make-fake-news-for-links

10 tips to scale up link building for your clients, by Sam Morton

  • Google alerts need to be to set up!! You need to then find any mentions and try and turn them into links.
  • Try to turn no follow links into follow.
  • Reverse google image into links.
  • You can transcribe videos on your blog and then send it to bloggers/influencers (creators of the video” and encourage them to share.
  • Great outreach tools: pitchbox, buzzstream, tonoson, ninjaoutreach (social influence & content sharing).
  • Always personalise your emails. Difference in open rate is between 5 & 25 per cent.

Slideshare link: https://www.slideshare.net/SamMorton6/sam-morton-10-tips-to-scale-link-building-for-your-clients

Gamification: Link building in a fortune, by Becky Simms

  • People love games that challenge their brain.
  • Becky creates cool games for her clients and then sends them out to media and gets great coverage. Example: https://www.reflectdigital.co.uk/find-50/football-quiz-play. It is a game of only one page (not too expensive) that got them amazing coverage and website visits.

Slides: https://www.reflectdigital.co.uk/blog/gamification-brightonseo-19

Future SEO

Huge SEO success stories and what we can learn from them, by Marcus Tober

  • UX is important for the new google update according to his research.
  • SEO —> product management. Less content is sometimes helpful.
  • Site speed & Byte weight are extremely important.
  • Use Google Lighthouse.
  • User is key. According to his studies some sites have increased their visibility due to better content and better design. Oldschool websites start to lose visibility.
  • It’s important to combine links with social data, because that is what Google does.
  • Bubble graphs should be the new standard, because they represent the impact of volatility.

Forget Alexa, the voice search devices of the future, by Patrick Reinhart

  • The future is about marketing to devices and not to people, which is scary.
  • Half of the voice searches happen in a car.
  • We need to focus more on things that we can measure, rather than on voice search.

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