Sun, sea and SEO

Image by Willi Heidelbach on Pixabay
Image by Willi Heidelbach on Pixabay

Guest author Mel Cains reports from this month's Brighton SEO conference.

Brighton SEO is no ordinary business conference. When the conference organiser steps on stage in a full Game of Thrones costume and the stage is flanked by a replica of the Iron Throne… well you just know this is going to be a little out of the ordinary.

From early morning yoga sessions, a beach clean and the legendary after party, Brighton SEO is so much more than a bunch of techies in a room!

Brighton SEO began in 2011 when Kelvin Newman organised meet-up of a few people in a room above pub in Brighton to share ideas on SEO. Fast forward to 2019 and it is a twice-yearly buzzing hub of digital goodness with over 4,000 people from over 40 countries!

Yes, there are very technical talks for those who like to eat data for breakfast, but there are also rich pickings for generalists who want to up their SEO game.

There were two talks that really stood out for me as vital for PR and comms folk.

Lily Ray – Leveraging E-A-T for SEO success

Lily Ray is Director of SEO, Path Interactive, New York. She presented her extensive research on what Google is looking for from your web content. The research explores the impact of the Google core update in August 2018 and more recent updates. If you aren’t familiar with E-A-T, it stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness”, three key factors by which Google will assess and rank your web content.

Lily analysed 100 websites that have been either positively or negatively affected by the Google update to uncover what we can learn from it and most importantly, what we should include in our online content to make sure we get found.

The most important take-aways from this study were:

  1. Improve your online reputation and reviews on third party websites – positive and negative reviews will be taken into account in how your own content ranks in Google.
  2. Don’t overwhelm your users with ads or try to deceive them – websites in the study that featured intrusive pop up ads or deceptive ads found that their traffic went down following the Google updates.
  3. Disclose who your brand is, who your authors are, and why they should be trustedhave a good ‘about us’ page, include a bio of your authors and include why they are qualified to write on your particular topic. Websites that did this successfully in the study found that their traffic increased.
  4. Cite credible sources and receive (organic!) links from credible sources – it is important to cite and link to the credible sources for your content if you want to rank highly in Google.
  5. Make sure content that promotes health or financial information is supported by scientific evidencein the research, content for health products that was evidenced based and reviewed by qualified medical practitioners saw an increase in traffic. Content that lacked such evidence saw a drop in traffic.

All the examples are available in Lily’s full presentation. It is well worth a read. Implement these changes to your web content and you should see improved organic traffic.

Alex Judd – How to manage your online reputation

The second presentation was by Alex Judd from Grayling on how to manage your online reputation. Alex shared the results of his research into the FTSE 100 in which he studied the level of negative search results in Google for each brand. The purpose of the research is to demonstrate the importance of brand search results and how to influence them. He discovered that 80% of FTSE 100 companies had negative content on the first page of Google when searching for their brand. Of this negative content, 99% was from the media. Not only are your potential customers seeing this, but also potential employees, legislators, investors and journalists.

What can you do about this? Alex shared his top tips for moving the negative brand search results further down the page and hopefully bumping them off the first page in Google. Here are just a few you can try. Visit his full presentation for more.

Bid on your brand keywords

Bidding on your brand terms with PPC can push negative organic results further down the page.

Implement organisational schema mark up

Schema mark up is code that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results. It helps to explain to Google what the page is about and can result in extra information being pulled into the search result page. (More detail on schema mark up and how to implement it.)

Claim your knowledge panel

If you haven’t claimed your brand’s knowledge panel then do so. The knowledge panel is information about your Brand that appears in a box on top righthand side of the search results. Unclaimed, Google will populate this box with information it can find about your brand. Claim it and it creates a key area of real estate on page one of the Google search results page for your brand term. How to claim your knowledge panel.

Use Google posts

With your Google My Business account you can create posts that can be seen in page one of the search results for your brand. It is worth creating posts in this space to highlight the messages that you want to be associated with your brand. How to use Google Posts.

Get serious about Glassdoor

In the study, many of the brands were featured on Glassdoor – a website for employees to anonymously rate their employer. It is important that you are taking note of your brand reputation on Glassdoor and actively managing your brand profile on the website. This is particularly important as Glassdoor was one of the key sources of negative brand content in the search results pages in this study.

Alex offers further top tips and details about his study in his full presentation.

When is the next Brighton SEO?

What I really love about Brighton SEO is that I always come away with a notebook stuffed with actionable insights to get on with as soon as I’m back in the office. If this sounds good and you’re thinking ‘how can I get in on the action?’, the September Brighton SEO will be on 12-13 September 2019. You can buy a ticket for the September Brighton SEO for £100, or you can wait for the ballot to be announced for your chance to be allocated a free ticket.

It’s worth signing up to the Brighton SEO email newsletter to get alerts on when the free tickets are released.

The slides from all the presentations at last week’s Brighton SEO and podcast recordings of some of the presentations have been collated to you can find out what you missed.

Mel Cains is a digital consultant and Founder of Focus Mode – a digital marketing consultancy for purpose driven brands. She is webmaster for and social media manager of PR Place.

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