The Brighton SEO Edit: Part 1
Cutting Through the Noise: Delivering Profitable Content Strategies in Competitive Markets
Back in 2004, the internet was a slow and steady place, with users quite willing to wait upwards of 23 seconds for a page to load. Nowadays, it only takes a one-second delay to increase bounce rate by up to 20%. The bar for creating quick and optimised pages has never been higher.
Sam began talking about his own experience in creating effective pages, explaining how organic revenue shot up by taking simple measures – redesigning and optimising the site, fixing technical issues and updating existing content.
But this wasn’t enough; while the site was gaining visitors through organic search, it wasn’t retaining customers. And this is the key to getting heard in even the noisiest marketplace – what makes users tick?
Sam continued by offering the five stages he goes through to help boost returning traffic:
- Become a recognised voice in your marketplace by creating memorable experiences.
- Get known across social media and show that you care.
- Try and stand out offline, becoming a known brand and getting your name out there through more than just great optimisation.
- Make your content informative with the intention of educating through valuable resources.
- Align your content with that of industry experts, while putting your stamp on standard content formats.
- Ensure you’re clearly communicating with customers. This will help to build positive relationships.
- Shout about great client results and award nominations, evidencing your success.
- Ensure your landing pages and your site map are intuitive, making it simple to navigate.
- Unique and helpful content will make the onboarding process easier.
- Make sure your clients or customers feel special, giving them access to exclusive events or products.
- Enable them to become your biggest advocate, giving them the means to promote your business.
By following these simple steps, and looking further than just SEO KPIs, you can become an authority, leading the way within your marketplace. Try and see the bigger picture when creating content, with the user always at the forefront of your thinking.
Digital PR has come a long way over the past five years; having a huge impact on not just SEO but, on the PR industry too. Digital PR often gets mistakenly seen as not quite one or the other but, Laura’s talk really highlighted the power of our discipline. As digital PR professionals, we’ve taken the creativity and influence which stems from Public Relations and combined this with online data to give real results that can be reported to your boss.
Traditional PR metrics like AVE (advertising value equivalency) aren’t a real reflection of who your brand has reached but, SEO data allows us to report on things which are measurable and tangible. As PRs we can impact the number of links we get, the quality of these links (based on things like DA//DR), how topical they are and the positioning. This, in turn, can all impact goals that are shared with the other teams, whether this is SEO goals such as rankings, traffic and revenue or more PR based goals such as brand sentiment, brand search and getting the brand to appear more often in the SERPs.
Basically, Laura’s message is that digital PR is powerful and influences multiple marketing channels. Her final tips were,
- Be better SEOs – report on owned goals as well as shared goals – integration
- Be better PRs – report on the benefits beyond links, but make it measurable
- Be better marketers – think multi-channel, think integrated, think user first
The Future of Search is Understanding Human Psychology
Although there’s no way to look at the way each person’s brain worked to find out how to perfectly market to them, understanding consumer tribes and the human psychology behind them can be the difference between hitting your target audience and completely missing the point.
Google’s search is designed for how humans think, which is why it crawls for long term keyword searches and content that can provide the best answer to the user so they can get where they want quicker.
Becky Simms gave some valuable advice in her talk, making you question;
Do we think more about selling our product & service in our web content than interacting with human emotion when writing content to optimise our site?
It’s great to have good traffic to your pages, but traffic isn’t everything and ultimately, don’t you want them to fill a call to action? Whether that be to buy a product, pick a service or fill in a form.
Getting there means creating amazing content which is emotional and memorable. Using colourful language to evoke emotion is the difference between connecting with the user and just creating a run of the mill page about your product that people don’t engage with.
Top 10 takeaways for writing the best content to engage readers and get great search results:
- Be more descriptive and fun
Play with your language, humans find descriptive words more engaging to read.
- Think about bringing emotion to your content
What feelings does your product or service evoke, can you use this.
- Be outside in, not inside out
Think about your audience’s challenges and needs first, before broadcasting what you do.
- Think about context not just explaining the features
What’s the impact?
- Consider how you can include visual language
E.g. see, show, dream, horizon, observe, foresee, etc.
- Consider how you can include auditory language
e.g. Announce, hear, mention, state, tell, listen, etc.
- Consider how you can include kinaesthetic language
Feel, motion, build, support, foundation, active, etc.
- Have Balance
Remember that Google understands context more than ever before. Ensuring the right balance between human first content and the right signals for Google is imperative
Remember you are attracting the attention of a human. Think about their desire to tell a story and how to show impact
- Content is King
Through content you have the power to affect your user’s behaviour – be aware of this
It’s important we start thinking about the ‘human’ in the search phase when creating out content, because its humans that read it – not just google.
Claire Gamble gave an engaging talk on how even in this ubiquitous digital age, face-to-face events are still invaluable in creating lasting coverage and results. She outlined that it’s essential to understand what your event would offer to a busy audience, where time is even more precious. She encourages people to find a hook, and make sure that the event can produce timely, relevant and shareable content.
Claire spoke about being conscious of the coverage you are pushing about your event before, during and after. Making sure you capture the event professionally and visually to share coverage real-time (e.g. bringing the event to journalists who can’t attend) but also being able to engage with attendees following the event is another essential she highlighted.
By having participants share their experiences and images after the event, it perpetuates the coverage and engagement – long after the event is over.
Ultimately, the value from hosting events in the digital marketing industry is more than the links and social shares. Face-to-face events still have the power to build trust, more valuable engagement and create meaningful relationships as an authentic brand.
For his Brighton SEO debut, Will Hobson gave a compelling talk about how Reactive PR can lead to links. Through this discussion, he delved into why consistently being alert with both industry and general news is a vital as a part of your PR Strategy.
Through having a news room hub within a Digital PR team, teams can execute various ways to respond to news stories that are relevant in relation to specific specialisms:
- Internal Voices & Spokespeople: Through having a representative within the company, brands can position themselves as experts in topics, and jump on various news angles as a way to build on links, outside of larger PR campaign activity.
- Use Social Media as a Reactive Tool: Companies who have given themselves a strong persona through social media, have responded to various topics through these means. Take Greggs, they have a great presence on social, they’re not afraid to respond to controversy and it gets media outlets talking. In turn, they respond to these via news articles as journalists appreciate the brand voice, and it becomes main stream news.
- Newsjacking across events: As with social media, various marketing campaigns that show personality on various events and times of the year bring in press- turning your brand into a voice keeps it trendy, and relevant.
Hobson’s Top 5 Tips for Success:
- Find the Best Way to Consume News: Be it on Social, Traditional, Apps, Online, TV…the list goes on! Find an effective way that you can consume news, and ensure to look at what other companies and competitors are doing for inspiration. Explore current topics and trends and see if you can creatively make them relevant to yours or your clients brand.
- Know your Brand/Client’s Key Audience: Discover relevant audience data, that will enable you to effectively target the relevant news to jump on. Paid teams usually have expert insights, and you can additionally use tools such as “Linkfluence”, to tap into your relevant audience.
- Create a Calendar of Events: Identify and be prepared for when your brand/client can use their expertise as a strong voice- there are days for almost every day, it’s how you use it is what turns it into a story.
- Don’t be afraid to fail: Countless times companies have taken risks within PR that have not gone to plan. If you have an idea that is slightly different or outside the box, execute it and see what happens- it may just be the best campaign you could run!
- Dust yourself off an try again: Do I have to say more?! Everyone makes mistakes- it’s about taking the risk and how you recover which makes you successful!