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BrightonSEO - Our Top Five Takeaways

On Friday 15th September 2017, the CLD team made our way to the slightly sunnier climes of Brighton for the bi-annual BrightonSEO conference.

BrightonSEO brings together speakers from agencies and organisations across the country, covering a wide range of digital marketing topics.

We bring you our key takeaways from the world of SEO, content, social, paid search and more.

1. Woah nelly, hold your paid search horses! (@jeroenmaljers)

The message from paid search expert Jeroen Malijers was that all too often, marketers pull a campaign together at speed. 

When there is an immediate need to drive traffic, we tend to jump straight in just to get something live. Instead, we should really be taking the time to understand the brief and ask ourselves some pertinent questions.

For example: What problem do I really solve? Who are my audience(s)? Can I define a persona? What is their intent? What would I search for in their position? What other products or services could be found under my search terms? Who are my competitors? How can I standout?

If we really want to give our campaigns the best chance of success, we need to get under the skin of our potential customers, clearly define our objectives and tailor our keywords, message and targeting accordingly. We should then test and refine again and again.

2. Bridge the customer disconnect (@HarrisonAmy)

Amy Harrison’s presentation focused on the customer disconnect that often rears its head in digital marketing campaigns today. As Amy explained 

“There is often a huge disparity between what we promise customers and what they actually get”. 

The example Amy used was a site offering office space. The messaging clearly showed ‘Get a quote now’, however Amy did not receive an instant quote for the office she was interested in. Instead, she received a whole string of emails and calls about unsuitable office space that was miles away.

The key lesson here is that in our eagerness to get a lead or sale, somewhere along the way we’ve lost sight of the customer perspective. It’s crucial to really put ourselves in our customer’s shoes and to test our sales process rigorously from end to end, ensuring that customer expectations are consistently met.

Watch the presentation: The Customer Disconnect: How inside-Out Copy Makes You Invisible

3. Match up user intents to pages (@dom_woodman)

We give information architecture many different definitions but few of them really help us to crack it. 

Dominic Woodman suggests that we should steer away from complex methodologies and focus on ‘matching up intents to templates and pages’. 

Most of us have a tendency to bolt pages onto our websites rather than structuring them so that they support our evolving aims and objectives. However, if we use user intent as a starting point, this will help us to create a website architecture that truly works for our audience.

The next step is to use carefully planned internal linking to ‘relate those pages so that search engines can understand the relationships’. Dom believes that if we are able to do both of these things, our customers will see the right pages at the right points in their journey. In other words “users are suddenly somewhere they are happier to be”.

View the slideshow: Matching Keywords to Pages – Information Architecture

4. Social media doesn’t work in isolation (@Allegra_Chapman)

Cobb Digital’s Allegra Chapman tackled the tricky topic of measuring ROI in social media marketing. 

60% of marketers say that measuring ROI is their biggest social media challenge. The problem is that most of us try to measure everything. When we do, we can often fall into the trap of evaluating each channel in isolation.

As Alexa explained, “this is just not how real life works. Even for the slickest of ecommerce businesses social media is rarely as simple as spending a fixed amount of money to get a defined amount back”.

Whilst attribution modelling can help, no one tool will be completely accurate, particularly in the age of dark social and anonymous browsing.

As the customer purchase journey just isn’t linear, Alexa emphases the importance of viewing your marketing efforts holistically. She asks us to consider the role that social plays in each stage of in your existing purchase cycle. From here, you can start to generate actionable insights “rather than gazing at a spreadsheet full of random numbers”.

View the slides: Measuring the ROI of social media marketing

5. Full steam ahead for the Mobile First Index (@methode)

Google’s Gary Illyes remained characteristically cryptic in his Brighton SEO Keynote, refusing to be drawn on specific algorithm updates. He simply re-iterated 

“There are 2 to 3 changes to Google’s search algorithm every day”, updates he terms ‘Freds’.

Nevertheless, he did offer a few breadcrumbs when it came to the mobile first index, saying that we are likely to be hearing more about this in the next few weeks.

Gary advised that those with responsive sites should have few concerns. Meanwhile, if you have an m. site, you should make sure that the content you want to rank for is on the mobile site as well. You should also pay attention to meta data, no index, structured data, images and media etc.

Gary tried to reassure the audience that they would still appear in the mobile first index, even with a desktop site, emphasising “you don’t have to worry that you’re going to disappear”.

That’s our low-down from BrightonSEO. If you have any digital marketing questions you want to pick our brain on, or if you have a project you want to have a chat with us about, drop us a line on, or send us a tweet @CLDagency.