BrightonSEO April 2017 – Write Up of One of The Best Search Conferences (After SearchLDN)

I had a fantastic time at BrightonSEO, April 7th. Kelvin and his team put on a great event. There were 6 tracks, so many smart speakers, I took down some notes from the sessions I attended in Auditorium 1.

Outside venue BrightonSEO

AI and Structure Data: How Voice Search Raises the Stakes for Business

I loved Raj’s presentation. Raj Nijjer from YEXT spoke about the growth of AI, structured data and voice search.

Voice search has increased over the past few years and now 12% of households have this voice activation services. The new age of search and the new generation of searches (the generation after Millenials) now ask more questions via voice search. The growth in shipments of these voice devices (like Siri and Amazon echo) has risen to 24 million devices for this year. Google Home UK launched April 6th and it is cheaper than Amazon echo.

Raj Speaking at BrightonSEO

Raj then went on to say about the importance of structured data.  Eg if you are looking for a restaurant, it is important that your restaurant has reviews, opening times, type of restaurant and it appears on Google maps. Ensure that you have structured data for your business. Google is automatically setting the filter for you eg cheapest, best hotel or the best restaurant. If you are working for a brand and you are not setting this for your brand, then you will miss out.

Where are People Finding Your Brand?

It used to be Google, but this is changing.  Now it is Facebook and Yelp and Apple. We spend a lot of time optimising for websites, but there are so many other channels where the other views come from. There is 4.8 times more engagement from intelligent services (eg Siri, phone, Amazon Echo)  than from your website. So make sure you are in control of this data.

Google Local is not the only place where you can upload data. Google Map Maker – shut down cause Google Local Guys is much better. The role is shifting into more user generated content

By 2020, 50% of searches will be voice searches.  If you see the next generation, they may be used to asking amazon all these questions. They are not used to typing things in. It used to be the case where if you were not ranking number 1, then you would be losing out.

NOW, if you are not in the knowledge graph then you will lose out. If you are not there, then you won’t show up. People are looking for answers. Therefore you need to have and show deep Knowledge about your business. For example if you accept reservations online, opening hours, online ordering. has now come out with guidelines on menus. There are lots of attributes for different industries. This is all rich content like images and videos. It is also reviews.

Google Local Ranking Factors

  1. Relevance
  2. Distance
  3. Then content

87% of consumers won’t even consider a business with a low number of reviews. (Source BrightLocal 2016).  Make sure you are feeding Google the right data.

How Can You Control This?

There are lots of different platforms, there are different experiences and different locations. The content is consumed in many different ways. There are so many locations for some brands like Tesco. You have to direct customers and you want to control the data they see, so make sure you have opening times for your stores, correct address, sale details etc.

It is not just Google anymore. Voice search is the most fragmented platform. Google is good with knowledge graph, Amazon is good at e-commerce. How can we capture traffic from intelligent services, speak to YEXT. 

Keywordless SearchesL How Your Camera is Te New Search Box

Purna Virji gave an insightful presentation about keywordless search and how your camera is the New Search Box. We thought the Millennials were Tech Savvy as they used 2 screens at once. Now we will have Generation Z and they are using many more screens, plus they communicate with images and emojis.

Where does search fit in? Now we talking about visual intelligence. The growth of visual search has  been changed by strength of artificial intelligence.

In 2001, Google launched image search and they had 250 million images. Then in 2011, they had 10 billion images indexed. Now you can search by typing or by image. You can take a picture and get an answer. This is convenient as it helps solves a problem if you don’t know what something is.

The Rise of AI

Six years ago, Microsoft started an AI project. Now it is  and it can recognize this  photo., you can upload a selfie of yourself and then it will guess how old you are. – allows you to take a photo of a house, and then it will tell you if the house is for sale or not and if it is for sale, the price.

Social Media

Last year in Pinterest launched “visually similar results”.  Now they have a features called “Shop the Look” when you arrive on pinterest, it shows the photos and then allows you to can click on a part of the photo to then see where that item of clothing/product can be bought. Pinterest is now turning into a conversion channel (whereas before they directed traffic away from their site). What is even better is Pinterest Lens which is trying to be the shashyam of photographs. It is going from discovery to conversion in one single tool.

Google Translate

You can take a photo of anything and it will translate it for you. This is particularly useful when they are characters you cannot guess,eg Chinese/Japanese characters


Make is visual – take stock what you have, like more images on your landing pages. Or can you categorise them better? Make sure you have better quality images and optimise them.


Purna gave us some tools we could use such as:

  • Cloudsight – this powers Camfind. It tells you what the image is and where to find it.
  • Cognitive Searchers APIs
  • BING Image Search API
  • Augmented Virual and Realtity
  • Mixed reality – eg Microsoft Hollow  lens
  • Blippare app – they teamed up with Domino’s for an advert, which meant that when users saw the advert on their phone, then it would tell the user where their nearest Domino’s was.
  • Holo Lense, powers Holo Tours – you can stand there and it will put a hologram. How good is this from and education stand point?
  • Zeekit – all women in audience could download it, the women could see how those clothes on the NY Fashion week looked like on their own bodies. How amazing to use technology to try on clothes
  • Sefora used Snapchat technology to put virtual artist, you can see how the lipstick look on you without looking at it.
  • Lowes – like a B&Q, partnered with Holo Lens to show the finished kitchen a customer would want to have. It also allows consumers to move the cabinets and move other elements such as the fridge to see how it would look.
  • ARToolkit –

Keep in mind does this need AR or VR? Will it solve a problem?

Purna Virji

I was not able to cover Will’s presentation. Will Cecil spoke about Developing an Enterprise Level SEO Data Strategy – Challenges and Experiences from the Frontline

Why SEO and Content Marketing Must Always Be Data Driven

After the break, Marcus Tober the founder of Searchmetrics was on stage. Marcus said that content should be Data Driven.

Problem 1

How do I  Research topics and create a guide for writers?

Look at the tools in the market – eg Google Tag Manager, HubSpot,

We all love data The one tool used by writers, which is Word is :

  • Expensive
  • Not Measurable
  • Lots of effort

50% of the data is irrelevant or is a distraction. There are no relationship between the topics.We need better data.

When the first Panda was released 2011, people complained about poor quality and cheap content companies. Searchmetrics is investigating the success for good content.

Marcus Tober

Problem 2

How can we create relevant content?

We have something called Content score. It measures the relevancy according to user intent. Content relevance is a ranking factor. It makes sense, because people stay on the page and buy. Big brands have problems.  They talk about this concept, but maybe they are not doing it correctly.

We follow this “Publish and Forgot” strategy, so we write lots of content, but people are not using or reading the content once it has been written.

People don’t by products directly.  Eg iPhone  6 vs Galaxy S 5.

There is a huge search volume but people are not optimising for these terms in the Consideration Phase. Many people optimise for the queries in the awareness phase as it has a  much higher search volume than when people go into the transactional phase.

Therefore Tesco should have a comparison page for these phones, but they do not. Remember the customer journey as shown below.

Marcus Tober

Repurpose your content

80% of content cannot be found. This is wasted.

Marcus then gave us an example, which had a lot of content. But had less but was ranking better. Now in the past 2 years, their visibility has grown by 53%. 2 years ago, was 20 times more bigger.

Strategy 1) – Specialise – this is super important.

Strategy 2) Clean Up

Understand what your user wants,  and focus on that.

Strategy 3 ) – Update your content.

Marcus talks about one client They had to persuade the client to get rid of 95% of their content. The pages that were removed did not have traffic in last 19 months, so they did not lose out. They built redirects for the upper category pages and then also their pages look much better, useful lists (as well as the text), there are user friendly content  – eg different colors and also it is what we call holistic content and that is what is still left. These pages are much more successful.

When it comes to health pages, the usage in the number of lists in health is much higher. For example if a user searches for avoid hair loss, they want to see clear images and list. Wiki has  structured content and visual content. In total on the home page, they have 17 unordered lists. However, another website, has text only and no structured text.

Download the full presentation from Searchmetrics. 

Measuring Content Success with GTM

Tom Bennet, was up next and spoke in great detail about Google Tag Manager.

Tom Bennet

Everyone is producing content and they need to take time to understand how it is affecting business KPIs. Therefore confidence with web analytics software is critical. It allows clients to make information based on decisions to what is working and what is not. It important to have a robust tracking code.

Google Analytics (GA) lets users see newsletter sign ups and what authors and categories on the blog are driving more visits to the sales pages. Google Analytics also helps with Value engagement, shows how commenters on the bog are behaving differently to others.

Google Tag Manager (GTM)

GTM can be used to deploy GA. It allows you and the marketing team to make your tracking more proficient.

What is GTM ?

  • Tags need to be present on your page.
  • Tags,  the what – like Universal Search
  • Triggers – the when , when do we want them to fire a tag.

With GTM we can see how users are starting to engage with us when people sign up to a newsletter.

This is a powerful approach but often amounts to scraping. Tag Managers can give us a better way of doing this, allow to carry out reporting buy giving us the Data layer which sits between the HRM and the tag manager.

What is the data layer?

It is structure data about the current page, separate from the actual content. It can be populated automatically with the CMS.

Tom then went into a lot of detail which was great, but I was not able to recap all of it. Does anyone have the link to the presentation?

The 10 Step Checklist for Creating A Show Stopping Distribution Plan

Julia Ogden from Zazzle Media was up next and gave a great presentation.

She said we all need to follow 10 steps to create a content distribution plan.

Create Persona

  • Create a persona to give them a personality. Come up with an awesome idea.


  • When doing a brainstorm, come with every signal example.
  • Hero Content Brainstorm.
  • Look for news and seasonal ideas. Unique data too.

Julia at BrightonSEO

How to Shout About It

Hero campaign such as these need to supported by other content to help spread the word and get good links and places.

  • There is still real value in infographics especially if have data.
  • Video – 69% of all consumer internet traffic
  • YouTube received more than 1 billion unique visitors every month.

Who Cares?

  • Ask yourself who else cares?
  • Validation check list.
  • Do you have a hook?

Check with Professionals About the Comms Process

Identify the relating sites, the influencers, the journalists, find out things they have published and written before. Give reason for you to contact them. Build up the relationship with feedback for the idea. Give this information to creating teams.

What Does Success Look Like?

  • What do you want to achieve and the metrics?
  • Agree the metrics
  • The number of places and links to get from it
  • And the traffic


  • Very important to use all option available to you
  • Owned, Earned and Paid

Julia from Zazzle Media

The Plan

  • Campaign planning – how going to keep track of all this.Then put in a time line – who people are getting.
  • Keep track of owned channels.

Measure Success

Do you track organic, referral social traffic, visibility/reach impressions (Hitwise)?




How to Hack Your SERPs Using a Lean Approach 

After lunch, Sam Auchterlonie from @Skyscanner gave her presentation

Sam started the presentation by saying we have something in common. We are never short on ideas. So how can we get past this brick wall?

1) Speak the language of business -understand the main metric 4 the business

For example Sam said that she wants to make changes to the site but she does not always have the resources.

There is a page for every airline on Skyscanner. The pages rank well and gets clicks. Sam wanted to improve CTR and capture more. CTR is a good user metric. Sam does not have the tech know how to update the review. BUT she knows that she how to add the star for the reviews.  1 min work saw an increase in CTR by 10%.

Then this got rolled out globally. Sam also said this was in the back log, but she managed to get it prioritised.

2) Developers need our help – they are busy and have a lot of backlog. Give the dev team the changes that will work and make a difference

Sam said that customers were searching for Marbella or Ayia Napa but don’t know if there is an airport. Sam kept getting pushed back when she asked if they could design a section of their site to host this content. Sam was told that this could not be added as it didn’t fit into the site architecture of the site.

3) Think lean, think small, how can we learn more quickly what works?

Sam thought how can I get more work off the backlog? There is only one area of the site that Sam could create the page, which was the news site.

4) Find the shortest path to validate ideas with experimentation

So Sam created a page about Ayia Napa airports, where customers could fly to and linked to the relevant pages. Got position 1 rankings and also managed to get the Google answer box and now trying to get people to convert.

Sam said we should not stop at a hurdle, we should keep on going and trying to provide a business case to make the necessary changes to the site. Built, Measure and Learn, do not give up.

Think Lean and Start Small.

Sam at SkyScanner


How to Build High Quality Links Without Spending Monday

Young Entrepreneur 2016 nominee, Sam Charles gave a great presentation about building links.

Below are just some of the tips Sam shared:

1) Source bloggers with press pages and create content about them on your blog

2) If you can’t offer money, then. Offer time, it can be valuable – eg give  content. Now Sam gets lots of traffic because of a piece of content someone offered her.

3)  Offer advice or resources and support bloggers to improve their website

Resources for bloggers – es SEO Consultant, graphic designer

4)  Create an ego bait informagraphic of 30 best bloggers and share it with them.

5) PROMOTE their content on  your band social channales or company newsletters

But please don’t do this if you are going to promote it has less followers than the bloggers. Oh and play fair – agree to promote the content through the newsletter or social channel and then go silent

Rules for outreach

  1. Never to pretend to be somebody else
  2. Don’t be afraid to tell us what you want
  3. Keep it short
  4. Keep mails short and to the point.


Sam Charles at BrightonSEO

5 Years of Google Penguin

Google Penguin is now 5 years old and Christoph Cemper from Link Research Tools gave an in depth presentation about This update and what we should do

1) Real time effect means that the Google Pensuin 4.0 can hit anytime. Sooo watch out for negative SEO. If you are not tracking links then someone could be building links for you

2)  Google Penguin in the past was easy to spot.

BUT  now it is more specific. It is specific to pags and directories and keywords. But the problem is, people may not notice it. The small fluctuations are harder for SEOs to spot.3) Faster recovery

3) Quicker Recovery

Penguins data is refreshed with every re-crawl

So what do SEOs need to do in this world?

Collect and recollect and analyse all the links. Don’t just look at one slice of the links.So yessss look at all the backlinks as many as possible to understand what is really going on for the website.

Do not do a top level approach. You have to go into the details.

With Link Research Tools April 2017, now that can see up to 20x more links for your domain. 20% more link audit quota for Superheros and agency accounts. Need to also think about redirects that had penalties as they will pass penalties on to you.


Fantastic Day at BrightonSEO !! Until the next one.

Brighton Pier

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