#BrightonSEO – Session 2

In BrightonSEO, The Digital Marketing Blog by SimonLeave a Comment


So, the morning’s first two sessions come to a close and what a morning it has been! we’ve had talks that have opened our creative minds from the likes of Dave Trott and Anthony Mayfield. The second session has given us practical insights and tips on how to build websites thanks to Martin Belam. We’ve got to understand how Google’s updates have affected search ranking results by the form of a case study by Rebecca Weeks. Stephanie Troeth showed us the power of words and how to set your tone right. Finally, rounding up the morning Tom Anthony demonstrated how to use APIs for SEO.

So, lets review what we learnt in session 2. Martin Belam from Emblem showed us the importance of building websites that work well for users. With 12 years experience in web design Martin shared his thoughts on search engines. He told us how fantastic they are as the queries typed show exactly what a user/customer wants. He feels that often many people treat search engines as mere robots, when it’s important to remember that there is a human with a question or need at the end of the each search query. Therefore, its so important to think about your site usability, does it accommodate the users search query? Does the site visualise fluency for both users and equally as important as spiderability.

He also stressed the importance of web designs and the fact that they need to be tailored to a users needs. Make sure navigation is transparent, steer away from over complicated tactics like no-following link equity to footer links, this will just muddles the page and consequently will be detrimental to the website. Also if you are targeting non-branded terms and you decide to use them within the site make sure they make sense.

After that Rebecca Weeks (SEO Associate Director and MGOMD)  was chasing the algorithm for us. The talk was based on a case study, from her own experience of a previous client. This particular client gave her the following brief:

Within 7 months they had to improve 52 keywords (mixture of local, sector specific and vanity terms).  The challenge – this could only be achieved through link building, there was no opportunity to change onpage content.

The approach:

The campaign started by creating lots of content and focussing on quantity rather than quality, this worked for a short while, then came the Google updates; Venice, Panda, Penguin. Then it all went downhill. A rethink of the campaign was undertaken and the focus changed to quality not quantity.


From the original 52 target keywords; 23 target positions met their target, 7 performed better than expected, 13 keyword positions were maintained and 8 dropped off the face of the Earth! The client was happy with these results.  However, after reviewing this campaign MGOMD decided to terminate their relationship with the client. They got a conscience and decided that some of things were bordering on being black hat.

So what did we learn? Rebecca summarised her learnings with this sentence “Chasing the Algorithm: Smart SEO or Hopeless Effort? Smart SEO’s learn and adapt.”

Next, Stephanie Troeth took the stage to speak your users language. This talk covered the importance of language and content on your web site and how to optimise these elements in order to connect with your users.

Instead of asking ‘what is the user experience’, Stephanie asks ‘what makes a unique great product?’. Your business, brand and user are the core elements to create such a unique product. Your brand is what distinguishes you from the others, not technology. She distinguished between an emotional and rational approach to the user experience. The first question you need to ask yourself is ‘how do you want people to experience your brand’? Do you want to evoke an emotional or a rational act?

Finally, she told us the most important thing is to listen to your user to see what they like. Be sure to use open ended listening methods to see what works and find out why people behave in certain ways.

The last talk of the morning came from SEO agency Distilled – API?WTF?  They presented us with this statement “APIs are popping up all over the place, yet for many SEOs it is still unclear exactly what an API is, and what it offers.” We were then shown APIs in a way that made them understandable and accessible, even to non-techies. We were reminded back to the time when the internet was a boring image-less place, with terribly slow loading times. Nowadays we have social, videos and real time applications. Ten-years ago the average person was spending 40 minutes online a day – now it’s four and a half hours. What will happen in another 20-years? Does that mean we’ll be surfing the net all day? We then had a quick poll with just 10% of the audience revealing that they were online in 1992.

In session 3 you’ll be learning from Richard Baxter on how to be a better SEO. Tony King will be showing you how to get your SEO changes made when working on big brand sites. Lynne Murphy will be offering her linguistic perspective on SEO. James Little from topcashback will bring the third session to a close with his insights on affiliate marketing.

Click here to catch up on the talks from session 1.

Remember to enter our amazing Instagram competition! Send us your best pictures from the day at #brightonseo! The lucky winner will get their hands on a brand new iphone5!

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