You may have seen our blog post rounding up Brighton SEO a couple of weeks back and Ryan’s promise for an upcoming piece of more technical takeaways from the event. Do you see where I’m going…? This is it.
Now, here’s my first insight; being 34 weeks pregnant and attending the largest search marketing conference in the UK is no easy task.
Along with my laptop and notepad, I also packed my hospital bag, my maternity notes, and my husband. As he waved me into the conference I was struck by how many people were there and raring to go – I had to find a seat and fast.
Once wedged comfortably in front of the main stage I realised that like it or not, this was where I’d be staying for the day. Luckily the agenda went my way, with the talks I was most keen to attend taking place here. Plus, with a few of us in attendance we were able to cover a variety of speakers across the smaller stages (some of which you need ninja-like speed and agility to secure a seat in), so my inability to move with ease didn’t hinder our coverage.
Without further ado, here’s my three biggest takeaways from the main stage.
1: Structured data – Test it out
Structured data, schema mark up, micro data, JSON-LD – the terminology alone is enough to put you off delving into the world of mark-up if you’re not a coder.
This topic came up throughout the day and the general consensus is that although it might not be right for everyone, there are types of mark-up that could benefit many types of websites.
We could do a whole post just on mark-up (and we should – note to self!) but let’s just try and simplify this for the sake of our sanity today.
Structured data is a way of using code to tell search engines what type of content we have on a page. For instance, structured data for local business information means we can essentially say to Google, “This is our business address, these are our opening hours, this is our telephone number” etc.
This provides a richer listing in the search results and including this highly relevant information gives a better user experience and should enhance your click-through rate.
You can create mark-up with relative ease thanks to Google’s structured data markup helper, which allows you to select the areas of a page you want to mark-up, test them, and then view the HTML you need to implement (which you can do yourself, or hand to your developer).
2: Link building is alive and well, it’s our approach that needs a re-boot
You may have heard that link building is dead, but the talks on acquisition all provided an excellent case for the opposite. Yes, the days of buying spammy links en masse are over but that’s not exactly hot-off-the-press.
The focus was on intelligent, skilful acquisition through relationship building and this is something we should all be doing. Local links can be extremely effective when your business operates in an area or set of areas as they stand a good chance of referring relevant traffic to your website – as well as increasing link equity.
A quick tip we picked up was to set a Google Alert for your brand name. It takes a moment to do and you can contact those mentioning your brand to ask that they link to you if they are not already doing so. If the citation is a positive one, it’s an easy win on the links front.
3: The Facebook algorithm has shifted the main traffic driver for publishers
Earlier this year, there was a seismic change to Facebook’s algorithm with the aim to push down publisher content to prioritise personal content. We’ve seen significant changes for our clients since this came into effect so hearing the guys from BuzzSumo and Brandwatch talk us through their data-driven insights, and surmising that SEO is more important now than ever before as a result was arguably the most important takeaway from the conference.
So, what does this mean?
Pre-algorithm update, Facebook sent more traffic to publishers than Google but post-algorithm, Google now sends 2x more traffic to publishers than Facebook. For this reason, our focus needs to be re-aligned to focus on the optimisation of on-page and off-page content.
Think title tags, meta descriptions, relevant keyword density, structured data and above all, well-written, useful content.
In summary, stop fearing structured data and give it a go, make sure your link-building approach is first and foremost your relationship-building approach, and ensure you’re assigning resource to optimisation of your published content. And if you’re still a little scared, don’t worry, we can walk you through it…