From content, all the way to TikTok and AI, we have collated our favourite SEO tips and tricks from a recent SEO conference.
The SEO industry is rapidly changing (what's new there?), and as we saw in the recent Google I/O conference, there are some big changes on the horizon for search results in 2023 and beyond, especially with the incorporation of AI summaries in search results to help searchers get answers more quickly.
Read on for a selection of our SEO tips and tricks from expert speakers at BrightonSEO, ‘The World’s Biggest Search Conference’, for the very latest ways to improve your SEO:
Content & SEO
We know that quality content is essential for SEO as it boosts search rankings, attracts organic traffic, and establishes authority in a specific field.
It incorporates targeted keywords, engages users, and improves overall website visibility and user experience.
Our favourite content & SEO learnings, tips and tricks:
1. There is still the rhetoric throughout talks that quality trumps quantity, however users need easier access to information so quick summaries are important (Carrie Rose)
2. People have a limited amount of 'working memory', which is why they skim read (to reduce cognitive load), so make sure your subheadings accurately summarise your page's content, and you use easy-to-process imagery (Emma Russell)
3. The longer the consideration process and the higher cost, the more in-depth information is required on your website to help users make their decision (Giulia Panozzo)
4. 77% of Google search results containing featured snippets start with the word "why" (Niki Mosier)
5. Purchase intent FAQs and buyer guides are still important tactics for driving traffic with SEO, and helping to convert users into customers (Dale Bertrand)
6. In some niches, calculator widgets still have the ability to drive traffic that is more than for informational search terms (Dale Bertrand)
AI & SEO
We are all hearing a lot about AI disrupting SEO as well as many other industries, with ChatGPT and similar generative Large Language Models (LLMs) getting a lot of media coverage.
However AI can be used for SEO in many more ways than simply creating content, to make you more efficient.
Our favourite AI & SEO learnings, tips and tricks:
1. SEOs are advocating using AI and tools to automate repetitive, low skill tasks to allow more time for more important work (Tom Pool)
2. AI is going to flood the market with content that has the same tone of voice, so your brand's own recognisable tone of voice will become more important than ever (Carlos Meza)
3. AI content generated to drive sales can drive users to your competitors. Instead, use AI to make your processes more efficient and save time, e.g. for content briefs, metadata, basic FAQs, schema markup, adding intent classification or grouping keywords sets (Ashley Liddell)
4. AI cannot be relied upon to create content: Consider Google’s E.E.A.T and Y.M.Y.L guidelines, will unchecked AI generated content ever be reliable enough to create content that could impact someone’s life or livelihood? (Ashley Liddell)
Technical & SEO
Technical SEO is crucial because it ensures that a website is properly structured, accessible, and optimised for search engines. It focuses on factors like load speed, indexing, and crawlability, which directly impact search engine rankings.
By addressing technical opportunities, websites can improve their visibility, user experience, and overall SEO performance.
Our favourite Technical SEO learnings, tips and tricks:
2. It is still true that pruning and removal of low quality pages improves crawl efficiency (Dale Bertrand)
3. Canonical tags are still important for crawl efficiency. Google Merchant Centre can cannibalise your site's crawl budget. Only re-cache pages when they are updated. Avoid calls to APIs and databases that do not contribute to SEO (Thomas Grange)
4. Bing's Content Submission API is worth using for large websites, increasing indexing and traffic in Bing (Thomas Grange)
5. Schedule crawls outside of business hours using Screaming Frog to save time, use custom extraction to scrape a wide variety of information or elements from a website to save time (Tom Pool)
Social Media & SEO
We all know that how people use the internet is changing, and users are spending more and more time consuming content on social media.
Just as we see things like App Store Optimisation (ASO), Amazon optimisation, Barnacle SEO, Shopping, meta search, Google Business, in SEO we also have to think about how we can improve findability and performance on other third party platforms such as YouTube and TikTok, to ensure we’re prepared for the future.
Our favourite Social Media learnings, tips and tricks:
1. TikTok is becoming an increasingly important channel in some industries such as fashion, beauty, food, travel and well-being (Rachel Pearson)
2. Social media platforms are increasingly becoming a destination for research, which erodes Google search volumes over time. The same may even be true if you're seeing your own companies brand terms decline (Carrie Rose)
3. Telling a story with content means being authentic and vulnerable, going out to find interesting content that your audience will thank you for after reading (Carlos Meza)
4. Think of search everywhere: create targeted videos to appear in TikTok and YouTube searches, use your influencers to do this too because recommendations mean more than content from the brand itself (Carrie Rose)
5. Use AI tools to more quickly re-purpose website content into a format for other platforms such as social media, to save time (Ashley Liddell)
Off-site & links
Digital PR and link building are essential for improving online visibility and search engine rankings. Digital PR involves building relationships with influencers, journalists, and industry experts to earn media coverage and quality backlinks.
These backlinks act as endorsements, signalling to search engines that a website is reputable and authoritative.
Our favourite off-page and digital PR SEO learnings, tips and tricks:
1. Relevancy is still one of the most important metrics for links, as is quality, although these can be hard to come by and require more time (Lauren Henley)
2. Report on a wider range of metrics, further than simply 'links', because coverage drives more than just links, and links drive their own impact that provides ranking improvements, referral traffic, email sign ups, social engagement and much more (Isa Lavahun)
3. Just a few links to a specific page, or a specific product page can be very effective, particularly when competing with large, high authority competitor websites (Lauren Henley)
4. When doing digital PR, forget about Google, what if Google didn't exist? How can your campaign capture audiences, cut through noise, build trust and brand fame, influence audience behaviour? Think about objectives in this way, because that's what Google wants to see (Isa Lavahun)
5. For link building outreach, recipient conversion rate is now somewhere between 0.7% and 4% in 2022, whereas in 2017 it was 3% and 7%, meaning link building using outreach is bearing less fruit (Sam Oh)
6. AHRefs has created a tool to help with the outreach process that uses a large database of authors, allows you to vet emails before sending, and takes out a significant proportion of operational costs, making it more accessible (Sam Oh)
7. Implementing an efficient, ongoing HARO pitching process can be a good source of ongoing links with a low cost per link, particularly if the industry you're in is less digitally mature or competitive (Brenton Thomas)
SEO Reporting & Data
Data and reporting are incredibly important, they are the way we keep a track of how what we are doing is impacting business performance. We want to do more of what has a positive impact, less of what is negative, and there’s no testing without data.
With the July 2023 Google UA to GA4 switch deadline, there has been a lot of talk on data and reporting in the digital marketing industry, but how can we make reporting more efficient and more effective?
Our favourite SEO reporting and data learnings, tips and tricks:
1. Automate any daily or weekly report emails, and use Google BigQuery to store large volumes of search data without the performance impacts of Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel (Tom Pool)
2. Use App Scripts or Macros to automatically format documents rather than doing this manually every time (Tom Pool)
3. Tailor what you report on depending on the stakeholder because each has a different priority. Think strategically about how you are going to achieve business goals and add value to the overall business (Isa Lavahun)
4. Do not measure SEO ranking results one month after a change has been made, it takes longer to see a result, and it may lead you to believe the change you made was a bad one, when it was in fact an improvement when measured over a longer period of time (Greta Munari)
User Experience & SEO
Our favourite SEO and user experience learnings, tips and tricks:
1. We can use neuroscience to our advantage, such as 'Mismatch Negativity', where something unexpected in a list stands out, 'Serial Position Effect' where the first item in a list is our anchor, for example the first price in a list of products is used as the basis for how much something ought to cost (Giulia Panozzo)
2. More neuroscience concepts; N170, where human faces generate a lot of attention and stand out, and there are many more such as distance and size effect, negative bias, availability heuristics, scarcity, simulation theory, human validation factor - read about how Neuroscience impacts User Experience and SEO here (Giulia Panozzo)
Video & SEO
Our favourite video SEO learnings, tips and tricks:
1. Video is becoming more important, with YouTube and TikTok videos influencing most buying decisions at some point (Carlos Meza)
2. 9:16 vertical videos are the future, so now you can create one piece of video content and share it across multiple platforms instead of having to film in multiple aspect ratios (Carrie Rose)
The ever-shifting sands of SEO
Overall, the signs are that the SEO basics are just as important as ever, but there is lots more to consider than there has been before.
Whether it’s structured data and schema, scaling using AI and automation, ensuring your brand is findable on social media, and that your website is offering a fantastic experience to users and easy to crawl for bots, there is a lot to think about.
If you couple these new considerations with the ever-changing search engine results page landscape that is constantly incorporating new features, there has never been a more important time to get expert support to tackle everything and increase your brand’s online presence and business performance.