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Brighton SEO April 2015 Review

Profile image for Monika Grzankowska

Over the past few years Brighton SEO has grown to be one of the most popular and respected natural search conferences in the UK, attracting speakers and attendees from all over the world.

This is one of my favourite digital conferences and I quite happily made my way down the M27 to attend for the 6th time in a row!

Throughout the day there are various speakers covering vastly different subjects of digital marketing that three sessions of three talks often happen concurrently making it difficult to choose what to go to. Furthermore, all sessions have limited capacity so you need to make your way down to the presentation room as quickly as possible to ensure you can get in. Luckily I managed to get into my chosen sessions without any difficulties.

With both Kherrin and myself attending this year, we decided to split and attend different talks to ensure we got as much new information out of this conference as possible in order to share it with our colleagues back in the Adido office.

Now, it would be rather ambitious to review every single talk I went to so instead I’m going to focus on my favourite three for you.

1. GARY ILLYES – WEARABLES, MOBILE, AND THE INTERNET AS WE KNOW IT

Gary works as a Webmaster Trend Analyst for Google Switzerland, dedicated to creating a better search experience for users by helping webmasters create amazing websites. His main interest are in web security (XSS, XSRF, injections, you name it) and general webmaster stuff. The session he ran focused on the mobile algorithm update that Google will be rolling out on April the 21st as well as the differences between mobile responsive and native app solutions.

In our recent post, Annie explained what the new mobile update is about so I’m not going to go into it in too much detail.

Gary has confirmed that the update is definitely happening and it will be stronger than the previous Penguin and Panda algorithm updates combined.  30% of websites that are still missing out on mobile responsive templates will be demoted with only the brand and paid searches remaining protected. If your business heavily relies on organic traffic from mobile devices, you have less than a week to get a responsive solution installed.

Gary also answered the recently trending question: Should I build a native app or a mobile responsive website? His answer was “do what works for you / your clients”.

Native apps access clear identity, allowing you to use precise locations to push information to users but do require constant updates and maintenance. Whereas a mobile friendly site is not only cross device and cross platform, but is available immediately, search and user friendly and there is tons of documentation on best installation practises.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  1. Make sure your website is fully mobile responsive before April 21st, check for any errors in Google Analytics Mobile Usability reports and test it using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool.

  2. When trying to choose between native apps and mobile responsive websites think of what would work best for your clients and whether you have enough resources and budgets to keep native apps up to date.

2.  GREG GIFFORD – LOCAL SEO WILL HELP YOU LIVE LONG AND PROSPER

Greg came to Brighton all the way from Texas and this guy really knows a lot about Local SEO.

Greg loves movies and his presentations always have a film theme to them. On this occasion we were treated to a presentation on local SEO featuring 105 sci-fi movie references. Greg managed to cover a lot of information at a very quick pace, giving away some great tips on local SEO and the recent Pigeon update.

He broke down some of the key technical, on site and off site elements to focus on if you want to increase your local SEO rankings. He also made a very important point on data consistency when submitting NAP information. By giving an example of one of his clients for whom he increased local rankings by simply reducing the different ways the NAP data appeared on the client’s site itself. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  1. Google My Business - set up, maintain and use it on your website.

  2. Pay attention to Google roll outs in the US and future-proof your SEO strategy.

  3. Get reviews - 88% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust reviews from family and friends.

  4. Be consistent with NAP citations.

  5. Optimise your site for local SEO, use your city in H1, title tag, meta description, on page content, alt text, url and embed Google maps from Google Places for Business on your page.

  6. Create awesome, relevant content for your local audience.

  7. NAP on every page marked up with schema.

 Here is Greg's presentation. 

3. KIRSTY HULSE – SCHEMA, JSON-LD & THE SEMANTIC WEB


This presentation is in my top three because I not only found it very informative (not knowing much about data linking) but also useful for many of my clients.


In her presentation Kirsty explained how we can implement structured markup to support a semantic web in the most cost effective way. Semantic web is a creation of a common framework that allows data to be shared and used. It reinforces the meaning of information in search.  This can be done using JSON-LD which allows data to be exchanged between a website and search engine as well as adding the markup to your site without using markup attributes of HTML.


WHAT’S JSON-LD?


JSON-LD is a lightweight Linked Data format. It is easy for humans to read and write. It is based on the already successful JSON format and provides a way to help JSON data interpret at Web-scale. JSON-LD is an ideal data format for programming environments, REST Web services, and unstructured databases such as CouchDB and MongoDB.


HOW DOES JSON-LD WORK?


JSON -LD introduces a very simple concept called context. The context tells the application how to interpret the rest of the data in the document. In other words JSON-LD gives your data context.


The great news is that JSON -LD doesn't need to be the <body> of the page, it can be embedded in the <script>  in the <head> of the page and it can be implemented using Google Tag Manager.


More information about JSON-LD can be accessed and played around with on JSON-LD playground.


KEY Takeaways:

    • JSON-LD IS a cheaper way of implementing structured data for clients with limited budget/resources.

    • It can be implemented using Google Tag Manager.

 

Other presentations that are worth a look at include a presentation from Chloë Garrett-Dyke on increasing lead generation and Looking at Three Years of Google Penguin Updates and Beyond by Christoph Cemper.

As always I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Brighton SEO and I am already looking forward to the next event in September!

 

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