21 Take Aways from Brighton SEO

21 Take Aways from Brighton SEO SEO

The landscape of web design and online marketing is ever changing. As technologies evolve, search engines grow more sophisticated, and users become more educated. What was best practice six months ago, may be redundant. All this means that as online marketers we need to grow and evolve ahead of the curve.

Brighton SEO is the UK’s biggest and most comprehensive SEO and online marketing conference, attracting talented speakers from around the world, as well as 1700 delegates to the sea side town. Six of the Urban Element team attended the talks, tasked with learning the latest developments in web design, SEO and marketing so that we could bring back this knowledge and benefit our clients.

Social Media

1. Social Media imaging doesn’t need to take too long.

Creating image after image for social media can be daunting, especially with limited budget for design. However as long as you have a good eye for design and the right tools, you can create striking, meaningful images that will resonate with your audience.

2. And it can add a HUGE amount of value to your Tweets.

This was proven by Erica McGillivray of Moz who showed us just how effective Social Media Imagery can be. After investing in Imagery for promoting YouMoz, blogs saw an average of 468.95% increase in Click Through Rate.

21 take aways from Brighton SEO

3. Images will hit harder if you play on human psychology.

Erica also argued that people shared content on social media to show off the ‘best version of themselves.’ This means that images should convey positive, bold, interesting messages that will allow the sharer to be seen in a positive light.

4. Optimise your site for sharing.

The most successful content is content that will resonate and make an impact with your audience, regardless of the industry. Because of this it is likely that audiences will want to share the page with their peers. Optimising your site with Open Graph Tags and Twitter Cards will allow the social media platforms to pull in much more information making for detailed and visually appealing social media posts.

Content and Creative Ideas.

5. Keep competitions fun.

Competitions are a great way to increase your audience and create relationships with customers and clients. Competitions that have a compelling fun factor, will create better relationships and more loyal followings. Furthermore, the more fun a competition is the less financial incentive that is needed to encourage entries.

6. Work with Ideas, not formats.

It’s easy to see something we do go well, format it, and try to replicate it across a range of clients. However a good idea is not a universal concept. People don’t share formats, people share creative ideas.

7. Make Ideas that ‘Stick’.

Good, marketable ideas are the ones that stick. They connect with people on a human level. Hannah Smith, from Distilled, shared her 7 step process for working out if an idea will stick. A good idea will be:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Story Driven
  • Sharable

8. Don’t shoot down creative ideas.

At their inception all good ideas are flawed. It’s impossible to think of the ‘perfect’ idea. As such many fledgling ideas can get shut down before they truly make a mark, especially when working to a frame work like the ‘stick’ format. Instead of using these frame works to shoot down an idea, use them to build an idea up.

9. Using numbered lists? Never work in Multiples of 5’s.

If you’ve been on the internet any time in the last 18 months, then the chances are you’ve seen the numbered lists format being used for blogs.

10. And always keep it above the high teens.

If you’re using numbered lists you need to add ‘more than average’ value, so keep your lists above the high teens, with 17 as a minimum – 21 works well.

Design, SEO, and Usability

11. Embrace the True Meaning of Mobile First.

Vicke Cheung of Distilled spoke about the importance of designing content for the mobile first. When designing content that will be viewed on multiple devices, working the smallest version first allows you to focus on the most important elements before expanding into bigger screens. That way you are never losing information or design in the shrinking process. Instead you are expanding and adding value.

12. Using Chrome’s in-built Mobile Emulator.

The amount of mobile devices on the market mean that testing websites to make them universally accessible can be a daunting task. Chrome has made this task much easier through its mobile emulator feature which shows how a website will render and react on different devices. It also tests how fast a website will load on different band widths, including 3G, 4G and GPRS.

13. UX is about more than just the user.

Trends and research strongly suggest that User Experience (UX) can have an implication on search rankings. By tracking ease of movement and bounce rates Google can determine how accessible a website is.

14. Usability far outweighs aesthetics in web design

Surveys have found that users value an easy to use interface over and above the aesthetics of a website.

21 take aways from Brighton SEO

15. Heatmaps are an accurate measure for successful UX.

Heatmapping technology is an accurate way to determine how a user is interacting with your site. It is actually something that Urban Element do for clients through our support and development package.

16. Cannibalisation can kill SERP listings

One of the biggest areas that can hold websites back from gaining top rankings is url cannibalisation – where two of your own similar pages targeting similar terms are competing for rankings. This means that similar pages compete and end up clustering together rather than having one page reaching its true potential.

17. The best designs are not always the most innovative.

In fact using tried and tested conventions is the best way to attract and maintain users, making them feel at home and more comfortable interacting with the website.

18. Don’t use fictional personas use real people.

When running personas exercises, it’s easy to blur the line reality and the stereotype. The risk of this is that when running personas exercises it can be easy to miss the mark. To avoid this it’s better to have a real person in mind when conducting personas exercises.

The Fun Bits

19. Brighton is beautiful!

The Sun was out, the pubs were friendly, and the food was fantastic. A huge thank you to Meat Liquor for feeding our hungry team after a three and a half hour journey to Brighton from our office.

21 take aways from Brighton SEO

20. There is always time to catch up with old friends.

Although we attended primarily to stay abreast of most recent developments in the SEO world, it was nice to meet and catch up with friends, including old colleagues, current clients, and old friends.

21. Alan Sugar Cosmetics gets 20 searches a month.

The final talk of the day came from Director of Climb Online, and Apprentice Winner, Mark Wright who had some interesting insights into Lord Alan Sugar. After investing in a makeup company, attracts an average of 20 searcher per month for Alan Sugar Cosmetics.

Find out how we can make these ideas work for you.

Brighton SEO gave us fantastic insight into the way that the world of web design and online marketing are changing. Many of the ideas raised are already being implemented across our portfolio of clients. If you are interested in finding out more about how we can help your business, then please get in touch with our team.

Matt Thomason
- SEO Specialist

As a Digital Marketing Executive, Matt specialises in the reporting, analysis and implementation of SEO best practice on clients' websites. His role at Urban Element is to ensure websites are being indexed by search engines, ranking for target topics/keywords and are appearing on visible SERPs. Matt has experience of working with various search marketing tools, such as Moz, Screaming Frog and Google Analytics, as well as popular CMS Adobe Business Catalyst and Wordpress.


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