BrightonSEO April 2016 – The highlights


So, we’ve returned from BrightonSEO and it’s fair to say that there were some absolutely fantastic talks and sessions – all featuring industry-leading experts and some really interesting snippets as well as some comedy as well!

There was sessions and individual talks that we were looking forward to but unfortunately, we didn’t get to see all of the talks that we wanted to beforehand.

Alas, we found that it was a blessing in disguise because the entire conference was sprinkled with expertise on anything and everything SEO-related. The clue is in the name, of course!

But ‘what did you get out of it?’ I hear you ask. Well, here at Tecmark, we have produced a list of the talks we believe were the best of the best of the entire conference.

Barry Adams – How to identify and fix crawl optimisation issues 

The native Dutchman (in his own words ‘a Dutchman named Barry, I know’) was an absolute pleasure to watch and listen to as his talk on crawl optimisation issues investigated and informed on how to correct optimisation errors that are commonplace and entirely fixable. 

With his own brand of language (!) (We know you were dosed up on painkillers, Barry!), we were introduced to the ways Googlebot crawls websites. Barry outlines the main elements that Googlebot looks for when crawling.

  • Site crawls
  • XML Sitemaps
  • Inbound links
  • DNS records
  • Domain registrations
  • Browsing data (shock horror)

Even though Barry’s presentation was based upon the core fundamentals, it was refreshing to see someone use real life examples of the effects and also the remedies to crawl waste and how to technically secure your site against the problems of such a result. 

His first example was touched upon a project that Barry had worked on which resulted in 96,000 URLs being crawled but only 412 resulting in unique pages.

Barry also made use of tools that we are familiar with to demonstrate examples too. Deep Crawl and Screaming Frog had their praises sang loudly and it was great to see them used enforcing points such as the website that had 73,000 URLs crawled but only had 250 pages indexed.

Safe to say that Barry made it known that someone had a big problem with that one!

Oliver Mason – Server Logs After Excel Fails 

We had been looking forward to this talk on the recommendation of a colleague and although we hadn’t much experience (OK, none whatsoever) in dealing with server logs, we enjoyed the talk in identifying how they were useful to us SEOs in a myriad of ways. 

Oliver introduced the idea that server logs are incredibly useful because there ‘is a lack of overlap between server logs and crawl tools’. Essentially, they’re unique in the information that they tell us.

They let us know what is happening and what Googlebot is doing. We found this particularly interesting in the sense that we seem to react to problems rather than anticipate them and looking forward there are always ways of figuring an ideal way of prevention rather than cure.

Tom Bennet – Site Speed for Content Marketers 

We both really enjoyed Tom’s talk on site-speed, which we would have missed had we managed to squeeze into the Dome Studio for the technical session. 

But we weren’t disappointed, as Tom Bennet delivered a really informative and practical presentation in which he displayed (live…!) how a website is transformed through site-speed improvements. 

He opened with the snippet that for every 1 second of improvement – conversion rate increased by 2%

What can be done?

Improving images and the lossless compression of them can save a huge amount of data. The example used featured images saved at 95% of the quality when ’70-80% will do for the web’.

Fonts and icons as well were also targeted and the weights and styles which when compressed resulted in a significant reduction in the overall file size.

Overall, it was a really interesting talk and one that had many interesting takeaways.

Marcus Tober – Ranking Factors Reloaded – Why Content is Your Key to Success 

Marcus then took us through a number of (Star Wars themed) slides, to tell us all about ranking factors, and what exactly Google does take into account when deciding where to rank a site in the index.

He demonstrated how a website that follows a checklist of elements can often rank higher (with poorer content) than a site that does not follow a structured checklist. 

He went on to mention sentiment (which was one of the recurring themes throughout a number of sessions at BrightonSEO this year) – which he stated was beginning to become an incredibly important ranking factor. We discovered how websites need to stay relevant and provide a solution to users and their problems – via content.

Greg Gifford – Marketing to Local Customers: Moving Beyond Local SEO

Greg is really well known for his sharp and snappy presentations, and this one did not disappoint. The deck was 105 slides long (all road movie themed) and delivered in 20 mins!

We were really looking forward to this talk, as a current client we are working on working involves a project where local SEO and marketing to localised customers is a primary performance indicator across the campaign. We were really interested to hear what Greg had to say on the subject.

Greg gave us some really useful insights regarding link building – we were told to grab as many links from the local community as possible, as there is evidence to suggest that these links hold higher authority when focusing on a local campaign.

He also made clear that both off and on-page signals are hugely important when working a local campaign – including a Google My Business profile as a primary asset.

Siobhan Swainston – Handling On-Site for Retail & Fashion Businesses

We wanted to sit in the eCommerce session this year, as we felt it would be beneficial to see how large sites handle issues such as out of stock products, retired products and seasonal demand. 

Siobhan’s presentation demonstrated the way that some of the larger fast fashion retailers handled issues such as this.

Ecommerce site structure was another element that Siobhan touched on in her session – she showed us how site structure and including a faceted navigation, and leaving the hard-sell to the product pages, rather than through the category pages.

These were just some of the really interesting sessions we attended at BrightonSEO, we’re really looking forward to the move to the larger venue!


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