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September 22, 2017

Absolute Digital Media at BrightonSEO

On the 15th September, we sent our account management team down to BrightonSEO to hear from some industry experts about all things digital. There were over 100 leading marketers who presented a variety of interesting and informative seminars. To make the most of the day, the team split up to pack in as many seminars as possible. We thought we’d share our experience, so here’s a breakdown of everything we learnt during the day from each speaker.

Google Speaker

The Future of Search

To kick things off, we went to learn about the future of search. Saeley Johnson JNR, from Mindshare Fast, led a seminar called ‘Speak Easy’. The increasing popularity of voice search was discussed, as more consumers are beginning to use voice search technology, particularly on mobile. AI technology, like Cortana and Siri, is only accelerating the growth of voice search. We’ve already seen voice search being adopted heavily across the US but European and Asian countries will soon see the same level of interaction in voice search as the US in the near future. It won’t surprise many people to hear that users engage with voice search technology more when they are given more human-like responses, instead of generic robotic ones. As voice search continues to grow in popularity across the globe, we need to begin optimising our target pages for voice search.

Up next was ‘The Psychology of Search’ by Vikras Arora from Bing. This seminar focussed on the “Who? What? Why?” of our campaigns. The message here was clear; we need to think carefully about whom our campaigns are targeting and use these three questions to help users find exactly what they are searching for quickly and easily. Although keywords are essential, we should really think about the phrases we use as well as traditional keywords, CTC, designs and context. Being innovative and trying new things can really pay off in this area as being different can help you to stand out online.

On Page

Moving on to on page seminars, Chloe Bodard’s (Ricemedia) ‘SEO Quick Wins From A Technical Check’ emphasised that the basics should never be overlooked. A simple technical check to ensure that your site is optimised correctly from a technical SEO perspective could improve your rankings, helping you to get straight to page one. Some of these basic technical checks to undertake included ensuring that 301 directs are correctly implemented, sitemaps (both HTML and XML) have all pages listed and that these links are working correctly, so users go straight to the right page.

In a similar school of thought, Sebastien Monnier (WOPTIMO) discussed ‘How Google Tag Manager Can Help Your SEO’. Here we found that simply using Google Tag Manager can help to optimise your website. This handy tool can manage all site wide scripts and can be used to implement both website’s page titles and their Meta descriptions. You can even add canonicals using Google Tag Manager, if your website’s CMS doesn’t already provide these functions.


There was some great ecommerce advice from Ann Stanley (Annicca Digital) in her seminar ‘Top Tips For Using Google Shopping Ads’. She suggested that using folders instead of sub-domains can help businesses to target internationally. Although the Hreflang tag is usually found in the source, she advised putting it in the site map. Another piece of advice, which SEOs may often overlook, is ensuring that you use the right language and terminology for the country you are trying to target, for example be aware of variants between American and UK English. It might not seem it but the difference between a ‘Sweater’ in the US and a ‘Jumper’ in the UK is very important.


Technical SEO

Getting into the technical side of things, ‘Advanced Site Architecture­­ – Testing Architecture & Keyword/Page Grouping’ from Dominic Woodman (Distilled) was all about the architecture of websites. The success of any SEO campaign can depend on something as simple as how the user navigates around the website and if the architecture makes sense. Sometimes SEOs take the approach of creating extensive numbers of pages, which is great for ranking but, when the pages are placed randomly throughout the site, it does little for usability. Of course, in-depth keyword research is essential, particularly for determining exactly how many pages are available for each keyword group. Despite this, site navigation needs to remain a priority. Content should be placed in the correct place on the website so it makes sense. Once this step has been completed, go through and add internal links throughout the whole domain back to this new page, ensuring that authority from the root domain passes through the page.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

The seminars discussing Accelerated Mobile Pages, also known as AMP, were driven by a heated debate about whether or not we should be implementing AMP.

Arguing against the use of AMP was Jon Henshaw (Raven Tools) with his seminar ‘Forget AMP, Make Fast Sites’. He argued that we, the users, have ruined the internet by building our sites so that everything is big, animated and technical. As a result of this developer trend, Google has introduced AMP and is pushing for it to combat these mistakes made by SEOs and Designers. The problem with these design choices is that it significantly increases the amount of things a server has to communicate back to a search engine. The aim of AMPs is to reduce the amount of code, including CSS and Java Script, so that the server has less to communicate. But using AMPs for this purpose can be problematic as website functionality has to be sacrificed. On top of this, AMP is a Google product which means that advertisements will increase on the site. So, even if AMPs speed up a websites loading times, the bounce rate could rise due to the number of adverts on a site. The solution? Improve the load speed of the site as a whole, instead of implementing AMP pages on a website.

Arguing in defence of AMP was Aleyda Solis (Orainti) with her seminar ‘Setting AMP For Success’. She stated that we should be trying to understand why and how to implement AMPs as Google is pushing harder for this on websites and in the mobile SERPs. Websites are being built with more and more pages, which means we need to optimise how a page structure is coded. An excellent example of a website that’s already using AMP successfully is Forbes. Their website is huge, with a wealth of articles and information. Despite this, their load time has fallen to 2 seconds, from approximately 11 seconds, on their AMP implemented pages. This shows just how successful AMP can be! It’s no secret that Google is putting mobile first but now simply optimising a website for mobile may not be enough to continue to rank.

Ranking Factors

The seminars about ranking factors provided lots of information about finding the ideal ranking factors for your industry. In, ‘Markup, User Driven Change and Your Future’ by Duane Forrester (Yext) we learnt that every industry has their own ranking factors online. Some focus on keyword density while others focus on the quality of content and how well questions are answered. He also spoke about Yext’s helpful tool for determining the ranking factors of each different industry.

David Furch and Jo Turnbull’s seminar ‘Mother Knows Best’ discussed how targeting specific ranking factors based on your own personal opinion doesn’t always work best. Older generations might not think in the same way as younger generations. Each audience group has their own preference for design styles and the way content is written, so it’s essential to make sure that pages are relevant to everyone.

Advanced Keyword Research

Moving on to the advanced keyword research seminar, Stacey Macnaught (Techmark) discussed ‘Tactical, Practical Keyword Research for Today’s SEO Campaigns’. One of the latest changes to Google is that it is becoming increasingly focussed on finding relevant questions and their answers, instead of specific keywords. Again, coming back to the earlier seminars, voice search was mentioned here as it is predicted to be responsible for 50% of all searches on Google by 2020. The most common format for voice searches is a question that needs answering, so advanced keyword research will need to become more flexible, moving away from set, specific keywords, in order to answer these questions.

Paid Social

Paid social is an important part of digital marketing, as Duane Brown discussed in his seminar ‘The Next Frontier in Marketing’. He pointed out that creativity is key when it comes to successful paid social campaigns. However, to continue to generate influential results, SEOs need to take the time to research the search parameters in great detail. This will help them to find out more about their target audience. This process is expected to be time consuming but it will also be highly beneficial.

Susan Wenograd’s (Five Mill) seminar ‘Facebook Ads: Turning on the Faucet Without Drowning’ discussed how to use this powerful paid social tool effectively. Facebook ads can be incredibly successful and have an enormous reach when managed successfully. Despite this, there are ways to manage Facebook ads to receive optimum results. A top tip learnt on the day was to never increase your paid social budget by more than 20% every two days, otherwise you risk targeting completely the wrong audience.


Kicking off the outreach discussions was Marcelle Antunes (Verve Search) with ‘From Conceit to Contrete: How to Produce Creative Campaigns Worthy of BBC Coverage’. She discussed the nature of outreach, suggesting that it should focus on PR and not just initial link building. The importance of high quality content and the accuracy of the information within it was discussed, as great content is able to gain coverage on its own. A good way to make connections is to talk to journalists from the major newspapers, such as The Sun or The Times, for free link building.

‘How You Can Use Automation to Personalise Outreach’ by Simon Brisk (Click Intelligence) taught us about the uses of automated programs within outreach. There are a number of ways that outreach can be personalised through automation. It’s a good idea to create a few drafts of an outreach template to find one that works and receives good feedback from webmasters. The ideal template will speak directly to your contacts, creating a unique outreach experience and setting you aside from the masses.

Account Managers

Overall, BrightonSEO was a very informative day and we found out a lot about what to expect in the future of digital marketing. We can’t wait to implement some of the new ideas we have generated from BrightonSEO. If you’d like to find out more about our services get in touch with Absolute Digital Media today.



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Ben Austin

With a solid background in the sales and finance industry, Ben was inspired by the possibilities of SEO after propelling his own website to search engine success. With a natural flair for digital marketing and a strong work ethic, his entrepreneurial streak soon took over, leading to the birth of Absolute Digital Media.

Naturally ambitious by nature, Ben didn’t stop here, instead pushing the business to new heights, offering a wider range of services to more and more clients. He is now proud to employ a number of SEO, PPC, web design, social media, copywriting and marketing professionals and is driven by all things digital marketing. His passion and persistence have led the company to multiple awards and accolades, such as the company being awarded the prestigious ‘Best Use Of Search – Finance’ award at the UK Search Awards 2018 and announced as Digital Agency Of The Year at the 2018 Southern Business Awards. When he’s not busy leading the company on new ventures, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

Email b.austin@absolute.digital

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