What we learnt at BrightonSEO : Part 1

BrightonSEO is our (second) favourite search event of the year because of course, we have a bias. It’s packed full of practical, in-depth talks from real experts giving their advice on what they know best – search.

If you weren’t lucky enough to get one of the ballot tickets this April, then we have you covered and decided to a rundown of the key takeaways from our favourite talks.

In this rundown we’ll run through some of the great presentations we went to on some often overlooked aspects of SEO that should still be part of your strategy.

Why I adore Sitemaps, an ex-Google engineer’s love story, Fili Wiese

During this insightful session, Fili looked at one of the often overlooked basics of technical SEO, sitemaps.

As an agency, we do a lot of work on sitemaps and there are some clients that are still not sure how much value they offer.  Additionally, there are a few different types to get your head around which can cause some confusion.

We started by learning that sitemaps aren’t there to manage crawl budget, they are they to manage crawl priority.  Fili then looked at HTML and XML sitemaps and the differences between the two. The key point I took away is that XML sitemaps are the way to go; they allow you to manage additional resources such as images, videos and hreflang’s.

With different types of content needing to be increasingly managed across regions, XML sitemaps are a valuable tool for site owners.

Why we should stop ignoring Bing, Julia Logan

Julia uses Bing as her primary search engine at work and at home. And she thinks we should too. Why? Well, healthy competition in the face of the Google monopoly is no bad thing. People change their search engines very rarely, which only strengthens Google’s position. If we were all inclined to try something new occasionally, then Google’s monopoly could be compromised.

Bing’s UX is also better than you might expect. It’s interface scores better than Google in blind “taste tests”. Bing is also faster than Google and Bing let you submit up to 10K ULRs today (far more than Google allow).

Bing’s grip on the market share is tightening. The rise in the use of voice search is occurring across multiple devices and Amazon, Xbox and IE voice searches are all powered by Bing. Could we see it overtaking Google one day? Would you want to help them on their way by switching your search engine today?

Black Friday SEO: where and when to start, quick wins and top tips, Alexandra Coutts

Alexandra drove home the message that even though it’s only April, brands should already be planning for this year’s Black Friday.

Her research has found that Google puts publishers before retailers in search results, meaning that retailers need to find other ways to appear in SERPs, such as PR with publishers that promote Black Friday deals. It is also worth noting that Black Friday doesn’t necessarily mean discounts, and that brands have real scope to decide what this retail holiday means for them.

Alexandra’s key advice was to ensure your sales page is built, suggesting that one sales page that can be adapted would work well, and remember that you can still capture customer data now to help drive traffic when November arrives. She also recommended making a list of products that are likely to be subject to Black Friday deals, and ensuring that everything is in place to help them sell well, such as good reviews and product images that effectively demonstrate the product.

Lastly, Alexandra stressed the importance of good SEO housekeeping, such as making your site fast and mobile first, as well as ensuring that your servers can take the increased load around Black Friday. Many customers will look at your site in the lead up to Black Friday, but won’t buy due to being in the research phase, so plan for conversion rates to drop off immediately before, but hold your nerve and reap the rewards this year.

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