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#BrightonSEO 2014 The highlights

Brighton SEO certainly lived up to the hype, great content and presentations, and most of all great atmosphere! Here is a roundup of the two most interesting presentations I attended.

Tim Grice – Engagement & Brand Awareness as a Ranking Factor

Tim kicked off his presentation with a purposefully controversial statement,” Links are dead!” which was sure to get the audience tweeting their objections. Tim went on to clarify the statement and said how other signals are now just as, if not more, important when trying to secure the top ranking positions.

  • Google is taking engagement statistics into consideration i.e. how long does the visitor stay? How long does it take them to leave? How deep into to the site do they go? If these figures point to low engagement then you will likely suffer in terms of ranking.
  • Understand who is visiting your website and their journey from the SERPs to your website. This will give you a better understanding of how the content on your website is relevant to the specific keyword they used to land at your site. If it is not relevant, make changes!
  • Understanding visitor behaviour will help you make changes that will increase engagement on your website. This can be done by conducting surveys with users to find out what they are looking for and if they are satisfied. This is will ultimately help you increase your ranking and avoid a pesky Panda penalty.

Overall we should be taking a more humanistic approach when creating content that appeals and will make people engage either on site or off site via social media. This is the one sure fire way to let Google know that your site is actually relevant and useful to the audience.

Peter Handley – SEO Auditing Checklist & Process

I am always looking for ways to improve and add to my technical audit process, my current process is an amalgamation of SEOs from across the web and of my colleague’s knowledge here at Verve.  Peter’s process is broken down into 6 key steps, you can download the checklist and see the slide deck here.

  • Crawl: Screaming Frog

If you have a Screaming Frog, here’s a cool trick. By adding the Google Analytics tracking code into the custom filter section, you will be able to see if the code is present on all pages.

  • Integrity: Source code

You can increase the loading times of pages by removing junk and unnecessary code from site’s source code. This is to be done with caution.

  • Optimise: Titles, descriptions and headings

Peter talked about how his method over the years has changed from keyword stuffing to a more humanistic user-friendly method. Try to focus on descriptions that appeal to the reader and are enticing. But still try to get those keywords in there where it feels natural.

Peter’s process is thorough and brings up a few interesting points. The most important one, I feel, is the last one, which often goes unutilised. That is to REPEAT. After we have completed a technical audit it is important to go back and redo the whole process again. As Peter said, you are sure to find new errors possibly as a result of making changes and trying to improve things in the first place.

 

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