Top 7 takeaways from Brighton SEO

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By Amy Jones


We hopped on the train to Brighton once again for the bi-yearly search marketing conference to discuss all things SEO. The best speakers in the industry were at the event to share insights and tips.

Here at TrunkBBI, we’re always eager to expand our knowledge to drive growth for our clients. So, 2 of our SEO team headed to the event, and it didn’t disappoint. So, you’re in the know, we’ve rounded up our top 7 takeaways. Let’s get to it.

Talk 1: The art of data storytelling – Kathryn Choi

Put simply, data storytelling is understanding, visualising, and communicating data. Crafting a narrative your audience can follow is vital. That’s because merely visualising data isn’t enough, as people interpret data in different ways.
Stick to this storytelling framework to make your narrative more defined:

  • Audience: Think about who the report and analysis is for. Who your audience is will affect the language and level of detail used. Think about what the audience cares about and the questions they will ask.
  • Context: Set the scene of what the report looks at to consider in the analysis. The campaign analysis is the best place to start.
  • Theme: What do you want your story to be? Stay focused on the theme, and don’t switch halfway through the story.

Theme examples include:

  • Comparisons – Comparing campaigns to set benchmarks
  • Optimisation – Understanding what worked well and what didn’t
  • Test and learn – Running tests to prove a hypothesis or theory
  • User behaviour – Understanding how audiences interact with content
  • User journeys – Understanding the journey through your website

Talk 2: How to conduct an efficient and effective competitor review

Many speakers also discussed the importance of competitor analysis. If you’re new to competitor analysis, it’s all about researching your competition to gather context about their keyword, content, tech, and backlink strategy.

It allows you to benchmark your performance against competitors and helps you understand changes happening on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Wondering when it’s the right time for competitor analysis? Consider it when:

  • Launching a new website or product
  • Strategy planning for the year ahead
  • Following an algorithm update

There were also many top tips to help maximise competitor analysis for different channels. Here’s what we learned:

For content SEO:

  • Identify organic competitors.
  • Perform keyword research, considering KWR (keyword research) and audience impact.
  • Identify keyword gaps and assess competitor rankings.
  • Check content gaps and develop lower-level content to build topical authority and show expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT).

For off-site SEO:

  • Check competitor authority using tools like Ahrefs.
  • Assess the quality and quantity of competitor backlinks.
  • Identify top-performing content by analysing links.
  • Use this information to clean up your backlink profile and explore opportunities for digital PR.
  • Identify relevant referring domains for outreach.

For tech SEO:

  • Analyse website architecture and look at how it impacts rankings.
  • Examine the internal linking structure and look for ways to improve it.
  • Prioritise linking from high-authority pages to lower-level content.
  • Investigate how competitors use advanced elements like multimedia content.
  • Track competitors’ rich results and consider schema markup for your landing pages.
  • Make sure your website is accessible and usable on mobile devices and without JavaScript.
  • Compare core web vitals with competitors and use tools like Page Speed Insights.

Talk 3: How to tackle keyword cannibalisation and dominate the SERPs – Charlie Whitworth

The next talk addressed keyword cannibalisation and achieving dominance in the SERPs. Keyword cannibalisation is where URLs on the same domain compete for organic non brand rankings, causing confusion over which URL to rank. This ultimately reduces visibility and impacts organic performance.

It’s important to address keyword cannibalisation, as search engines favour reliable, people first content.

Here are the strategies the speakers discussed for discovering keyword cannibalisation:

  • Conduct site searches and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) analysis to see what types of results Google is returning for specific keywords.
  • Use tools like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to identify SERP fluctuations for a given term.
  • Use SISTRIX’s “show keyword cannibalisation” feature and daily keyword history to determine SERP fluctuations.
  • Use a SERP similarity checker tool like Keyword Insights to work out if a term requires a dedicated landing page.
  • Google Search Console data can help gain insights into keyword performance.

So, how do we tackle Keyword cannibalisation?

  • Conduct a content audit to discover if keyword cannibalisation is an issue for your site.
  • Ensure you are clustering your keywords based on search data from SERPs and user search intent.
  • Based on this KWR and your content audit, prune out any duplicate, similar, thin or low engagement URLs.
  • Fill in your content gaps, not by creating URLS for every keyword but by optimising for clusters and entities.
  • Ensure your content is created to match user search intent for the keyword set.

Talk 4: Designing viral content – Margaret MacArthur

Viral content is the golden ticket for many brands. Done correctly, a single piece of viral content can drive brand awareness and traffic to your website. We learned producing viral content is more about knowing what not to do, as we can’t guarantee what’ll go viral, but we can do things to help the cause.

Things to avoid:

  • Content that’s too long. Gen Z has an attention span of 8 seconds, which reduces to 1.3 seconds for ads!
  • Avoid being late—trending sounds can be over by day 3. Be quick; otherwise, it may not be worth your time. Try to action things on day 1 or 2.
  • Avoid being too niche: appeal to as many people as possible.
  • Content doesn’t necessarily need to fit in your niche. Go for it if you have a good idea.
  • Be wary of creating high-quality visuals: ask yourself what your time is worth. High-quality content isn’t usually what works on TikTok. Don’t prioritise fancy content over creating content your audience will appreciate.

Talk 5: The most common Hreflang issues – Patrick Stox

In a study, we heard that a whopping 67% of domains have hreflang issues, and the most common problems include:

  • Pages missing X default
  • Pages missing self-reference hreflang tags
  • Hreflang tag reference redirected
  • Pages missing reciprocal tags
  • Hreflang tags point to non-canonical URLs
  • Page with incorrect hreflang value
  • Pages with inconsistent language attributes
  • More than one page referenced for the same language
  • The same page referenced for more than one language

Talk 6: How to handle internal linking on large scale websites – Julien Deneuville

Speakers also discussed how to effectively internal link on large websites, focusing on adopting key strategies, tools, and structures.

Here are our takeaways:

  • Internal linking structures become crucial to maintaining a seamless user experience.
  • Product out-of-stock scenarios lead to internal 404 links, requiring 301 redirects.
  • The screaming frog tool provides a Link Score configuration to identify pages needing internal linking.
  • Internal linking strategies include breadcrumbs, sideway links, SEO link blocks, location lists, and adaptable blocks.
  • Maintain a balance in the number of pages linked from the homepage to avoid spreading authority too thinly.

Talk 7: AI and content

Another hot topic was AI and content. Speakers educated us on the importance of creating authentic content and Google’s ability to spot AI-copied content. Other points included:

  • Recent reports suggest AI-generated content is now less sophisticated than it once was.
  • Avoid using AI for reviews, as this growing issue in e-commerce may put off potential customers.
  • As a rule of thumb, AI can help you create content, but each section of new info should have its own specific prompt.
  • A case study showed that AI-generated content ranks but fails to attract clicks. This could be because of poor titles or meta content.
  • There’s been a change in Google’s guidelines. They now encourage “helpful content for people in search results” rather than specifying “written by people.”

Find out what SEO can do for you

Want to learn more about SEO? Get in touch with the TrunkBBI SEO team using the form below. Alternatively, call us on 0161 711 1000 to find out how we can drive growth for your business with targeted SEO campaigns that deliver results.

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