• 19 Sep 2017
  • 5 Min read

7 hot topics from BrightonSEO September 2017

BrightonSEO is the UK’s biggest search marketing conference. In September 2017, over 90 of the world’s most influential digital marketing professionals took to the stage to share their knowledge (many of whom will be contributing to our Christmas marketing tips round-up — watch this space!).

If you need help digging out the biggest trends and best tips from this huge event, check out our quick guide to the 7 hottest topics from September’s BrightonSEO, and get yourself up to speed in less than 5 minutes.

1.      Local SEO

Search professionals believe that Google My Business is the most important ingredient in successful local SEO, according to the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey.

In her BrightonSEO talk, Nicole Bullock emphasised the importance of quality despite quantity: “Regardless of the number of business locations you manage in Google My Business, the integrity of each individual listing is key to local search visibility.”

Greg Gifford covered what’s thought to be the second-biggest ranking factor, inbound links, and provided plenty of tips for local linkbuilding. His top strategy? Pull competitors’ links and identify opportunities.

“You need unique links to win, but if a site links to a competitor’s site, it’s probably easy to get a link too. Plus, if you get a link from the same site, it devalues the link for your competitor.”

2.      Linkbuilding

Ex–Google Search Quality team member Fili Wiese aimed to put minds at ease at BrightonSEO: “Google is not against linkbuilding and never has been!”

Inbound links continue to be one of the most important ranking factors, if not the most important. So, while complying with Google’s link guidelines is necessary, being overly cautious could lead well be a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

One of the most crucial tasks is cleaning up your backlink profile. Christoph Cemper highlighted the importance of performing a comprehensive links audit and disavowing all potentially harmful links — not just the few you find on the surface.

3.      Data-driven content

Data-driven content was a huge topic at BrightonSEO.

Bobbi Brant, Ben Harrow, and Marcelle Atunes all discussed the value in taking readily available data — whether it’s the number of on-screen deaths in a movie or the prices of Michelin-starred lunches — and turning it into engaging content.

The three most important factors to success? In-depth research, eye-catching presentation, and targeted outreach.

4.      Crawl budget

Crawl budget, the number of pages that Googlebot will crawl on a website each day, was a hot topic at BrightonSEO.

In her tips for technical-check quick wins, Chloé Bodard advised: “To optimise your crawl budget, ensure excessive URLs for users rather than search engines are disallowed vis robots.txt file.”

In other words: don’t waste your crawl budget on pages that won’t benefit SEO, such as search results or parametrised URLs.

Chris Green described robots.txt, meta robots and X-Robots as “possibly the most important SEO tools”, and provided an in-depth explanation of how to use each one.

Finally, Francois Goube recommended keeping an eye on crawl budget (exploration statistics) in Google Search Console, to help identify errors caused by poor internal linking, pagination, faceted navigation, orphan pages, and spider trap.

5.      JavaScript

Another issue that cropped up in crawl budget discussions was JavaScript, due to concern about Google’s ability to understand these elements on a webpage. Ric Rodriguez and Bartosz Góralewicz explored the topic at last week’s BrightonSEO, and were keen to highlight the potential drawbacks to this increasingly popular technology.

There are serious implications for SEO, with Ric Rodriguez advising: “With JavaScript elements, think: will crawlers still be here to see this? If not, assume it can’t be read.”

Bartosz Góralewicz said: “SEO for each JavaScript framework is different, but indexing JavaScript is only half the battle.”

Plus, SEO tools from the likes of Botify, Moz and Ahrefs are only just adapting to JavaScript, so that could mean reduced functionality or extra costs for adoptees. Businesses should seriously consider the downsides and get professional advice before jumping on the JavaScript bandwagon.

6.      Keyword research

Stacey MacNaught recommended thinking outside the box when it comes to keyword research: “Don’t limit keyword research to product- and service-centric phrases. Start thinking about the triggers — the reasons why people buy — and optimise for those too.”

This means not only targeting people who are in the market to buy, but also those who are in the pre-purchase ‘research’ stage. For example, an electric toothbrush brand could target keywords like ‘how to get rid of bad breath’. These visitors might not buy straight away, but they’re perfect for remarketing to.

On the topic of remarketing, Saija Mahon reminded audiences that loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase: “Working on a restricted marketing budget? Utilise remarketing tactics for highly engaged, low-cost and high-conversion potential traffic to your site.”

7.      Brand voice

In her talk ‘Don’t Call Me Bae: Are You Engaging or Annoying Your Customers’, Mindy Gofton spoke about the importance of getting your brand voice right.

Customers form stronger connections with humanistic brands, and that translates into better sales and brand loyalty: “Emotionally connected customers are 52% more valuable. You need to find what you have in common with your audience in order to make them see your brand as a person, with a personality they can relate to.”


Here at Glass Digital, we stay up to speed with SEO trends and developments to ensure our clients maintain a competitive edge in the search results. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of working with us, get in touch on info@glass.digital or call 0333 7000 555.

Marc Swann

Search Director

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