While many lessons were learned at Brighton SEO (the April 2017 edition), there was definitely one that stood out above everything else – Remember to test your t-shirt cannon before you host an event (sorry Kelvin!).
In all seriousness, Brighton SEO was an event that was full of great knowledge and ideas to take away. Many expert speakers with engaging topics were present and I’m going to do my best to summarise some of the more useful information I took away from the event.
The events I attended were as follows;
- The Future of Search
- Link Building
While each of the sessions were informative and enjoyable, we all had our ‘aha’ moments. Here are mine:
RANKING FOR THE ANSWER BOX
This was a talk I particularly enjoyed, as I am getting more clients who have quick answer boxes showing up for some of their key search terms. Some of the key action points from this talk by Adrian Phipps included –
Write in the correct format – 82% of information that appears in the answer box is in the form of paragraphs, 11% in the form of lists (especially bullet points) and 8% in the form of tables. This lets us know how we want to produce our content.
The first 100 words are key – Aim to answer your audience’s questions within the first 100 words of content. Where this is done correctly the chances of showing up in the answer box increase significantly.
Question the page title – Put in simple English, include the question being answered in the page title. This highlights to Google in no uncertain way what the relevance of the on page content is.
Look to answer related questions – By answering questions people in your niche are looking for you are more likely to improve engagement metrics and ensure that Google see your webpage as relevant for the search query you want to rank for.
Target 1,200+ words – Google seem to reward longer content, as long as it provides value of course. Look to thoroughly answer the question(s) your audience is asking.
User intent should guide what you do – Remember that user intent is the foundation of SEO (where there is motivation, needs and wants)
Don’t’ forget tried and tested SEO practices – In the bid to rank for the Answer Box, don’t forget to have health checks on your website. Make sure your page speed is good, there are no duplicates to be found and you are redirecting deleted pages correctly. There are many other things to check but just having good SEO practice as your foundation will give you a good chance of appearing in the answer box.
BUILDING BACKLINKS WITHOUT A BUDGET
Probably my favourite talk at Brighton SEO was by Sam Charles, who is a popular blogger that gave some quintessential tips on approaching webmasters for backlinks.
Put yourself in the webmaster’s shoes – One of the most surprising things I heard at Brighton SEO was the amount of time most bloggers are propositioned daily. Imagine owning a small blog that is thriving and getting 20 – 30 emails per day from people who clearly want a backlink from your website. Next time you’re approaching blogger keep this in the back of your mind.
It helps explain why most bloggers don’t even respond to a query, if it’s not original and of value to them. So make sure you are offering great value to the blogger.
Honesty is a must – Most people that approach bloggers aren’t fully upfront with who they are and what they’re goal is. Being honest, is essential in getting bloggers who work with you. Most bloggers, will do a little research on whoever is supposed to be approaching them. At the end of the day, when you ask for that backlink you’re going to have to state which website you want it pointing to. If you’re not honest from the jump off it will begin to show-off.
What can you offer – If someone is going to be sending backlinks to you, what benefit are they going to be getting from the trade-off? This can be as simple as amazing content, however in such cases, be sure to have links prepared where you can send them for a review of your writing style. On the other hand, it can be as complex as offering your services to them (if you’re an SEO person you can run an audit, if you’re a lawyer maybe offer them advice on incorporating their business).
Ego bait them – This one may not work for too long but it’s still worth a go. Create a list of top bloggers in your niche and include some of the key websites you want to get backlinks from. Tweet them to let them know about your post. It panders to the ego, which is one of the best ways to get people to act.
CONTENT DISTRIBUTION PLAN
What are you trying to achieve – Different websites are going to have different goals when creating a content distribution plan. Some key ones are building backlinks, building brand awareness, increasing organic traffic levels and improving keyword positioning.
Knowing what you’re KPI’s are will also stop you from wandering away from your initial goals. Set these from the start (with a little flexibility in case they prove to be unrealistic).
Who are your audience – If your content is going to be effective it needs to resonate with your target audience. Make sure all content you produce is written in a style and format that your target audience can easily digest. For example if you’re targeting early teens (13-15) you might not want to produce 2,000+ word articles without images/videos to break up the content (you might not want to do that for adults either, to be fair).
Making these considerations ahead of time will ensure you have a much higher chance of producing successful content.
Find out who key influencers are – By identifying key influencers in your niche you’ll be able to get your most valuable content in front of more eyeballs. Contact these people, build relationships (by offering to help them before asking for anything in return) and you’ll find you perform much better in the long run.
Decide on distribution channels – Again, if you’ve done your homework and know your audience and how they digest content, you’ll be able to select the correct distribution channels to better reach them.
While there was so much more picked up from this year’s Brighton SEO, the above is more than enough to help you do your job that much better (if you’re in the SEO space). If you didn’t go to Brighton SEO this time, make sure you get down there next time. You’ll find it’s well worth it.