If you’re interested in digital marketing you’ll know how well regarded the Brighton SEO conferences are. A search marketing conference, which takes place twice a year, and series of training courses, the Brighton SEO team decided to take the show on the road. They visited Birmingham with a trio of talks looking at search engine optimisation.
Lionel Kappelhoff from Oncrawl was the first speaker of the evening. As well as sponsoring the event – and welcome drinks, he talked about Oncrawl, an SEO crawler that helps people understand how Google drawls their sites and improve SEO performance. The service allows people to see in real time what Google is doing and understand the impact of SEO optimisations. The system allows people to understand that SEO is a science, not an art, and can see how long between when people hit publish on a page and when bots crawl your website.
Local lad Luke Carthy warned us about his dinner before launching into one of the funniest presentations I’ve heard in a while. Luke works in e-commerce SEO, and talked about what happened when he removed several hundred search URLs from the company’s website. In short they saw a year on year growth, and Luke talked about why this might be, why sites like Argos, which rely too heavily on search might be problematic and why category URLs are more important than search. He warned the audience that if you search for a website on any popular search engine, the search page results shouldn’t be one of the top results. Luke talked about ways to possibly recreate some of the successes he’s seen by de-indexing search URLs which don’t have any traffic and discouraging colleagues from linking to search results, instead they should be linking to the category pages. He also reminded people to keep tabs on your organic traffic and monitor your KPIs to ensure that the activities you’re doing benefit what the organisation require.
Last but not least was Kirsty Hulse. Kirsty is a freelance SEO specialist and talked about some of the challenges she’s faced whilst in the role for nearly 10 years. With plenty of examples, Kirsty’s talk was probably the most accessible. She started with a frustration shared by SEO specialists and public relations consultants alike – when newspapers strip out links to brands from their news stories. Kirsty also contacted a group of people to ask what they think the role of SEO is about, and the perception from those working in the industry and those who employ SEO people was quite different. For a lot of people, SEO is still about ratings and link building. Kirsty also talked about the crossover between SEO and traditional PR in terms of what often builds links, such as piggybacking relevant news and gift guides for upcoming events sent months in advance. More broadly, talking to journalists about what they’re working on, building real connections and focusing on creativity and not tired formats were other ideas Kirsty suggested would have real benefits. She’s written up a lot of her talk into a blog post, which can be found on LinkedIn.
Attendees were invited to stick around afterwards and continue the conversations, but it was a Monday night and my brain (and notebook) were full.