Over 3,500 people descended on our hometown of Brighton last Friday for one of the city’s biggest events; BrightonSEO. For SEO experts, the buzz was similar to that of Christmas and digital marketers from all over the world crammed down to the seafront for their annual dose of all things SEO, PPC and Content.
And the best thing about the whole day?
So now we’re all back at your desk, We can’t decide what was the best thing about the #BrightonSEO ? Can you help?
— BrightonSEO (@brightonseo) April 30, 2018
With so much good stuff to get our teeth into throughout the day (we may have been spoilt with a little popcorn AND prosecco, too), we couldn’t wait to share some of our key takeaways and actionable tips from the day…
SEO and Search isn’t all about Google
While it comes as no surprise to SEO’s that Google’s share of the search engine market is by far the largest of any search engine in the world at present (some reporting as high as 80%+ in 2017), this is not necessarily the case in every country. And with universities all over the world looking to fine-tune their targeting in foreign countries, it’s important to think about the specific and unique search habits in each location.
Whether it’s Bing, Yandex, Naver or Baidu, all of these search engines come with their algorithm quirks and requirements, with some like Baidu blacklisting certain words relating to politically heated events and western democracy. While Yandex, on the other hand, holds links in far less regard than Google does, and has even experimented with dropping hyperlinks from their ranking algorithms.
We heard a lot about mobile too
Which isn’t a surprise. We recently wrote about the implications of Google’s mobile-first index here. But, what did Google’s always insightful spokesman, John Mueller, have to say about mobile?
When asked whether a site with low mobile traffic should prioritise mobile optimisation, John highlighted an important point. The majority of sites have low mobile traffic not because their audience prefers not to use mobile, but because the existing site and SEO is unoptimised and unappealing for mobile use.
And the key takeaway here? If you ensure your site is mobile-friendly you could potentially increase traffic on a medium you didn’t have before, thus increasing the likelihood of more engagement and conversions.
What was the feature on featured snippets?
SEO isn’t just about optimising for those ten organic listings anymore, something we’ve known for some time now. But what was interesting to hear was the scale of this change. When Stat surveyed 10 million keywords, they established that 31% of keywords triggered featured snippets.
This means that SEO as we once knew it is a lot more dynamic than anticipated. Google is honing in on specific content and giving it more attention than other content on that SERP because it’s deemed that piece of information more useful to the user than anything else on that page. And contrary to popular theory, featured snippets don’t always appear in first position – shopping boxes and current events will often outrank featured snippets.
You don’t have to rank in the first position to get a featured snippet. You will be more eligible if you rank first, but it’s not compulsory.
When it comes to content, don’t cannibalise, capitalise
That piece of content that you put your all into and worked so hard on? Make sure it’s not going to go to waste. Content saturation is a huge problem when it comes to SEO, if you’re not producing something unique, Google will struggle to crawl your content and understand it, making it even harder to gain the attention of your audience. Luckily, as HEIs, you’ll have plenty of unique content from current and past students to give you the edge and make sure you’re content is adding value and standing out in the sea of content.
And speaking of audience, you need to keep them in mind at all times when structuring your content too. Images, videos, infographics, bullet points or long-form content? Search Engines will take note of it all and decide on whether the structure you’ve used is relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. Take the time to do some research to see what works, and what doesn’t when it comes to content structure.
We’re already looking forward to what BrightonSEO has in store for September, but in the meantime, if you’d like to speak to our SEO experts about how we can help you with your strategy, get in touch.