Brighton SEO sign on building

AMBITIOUS X BrightonSEO 2023

It’s that time of year again when we make our way to the brilliant BrightonSEO conference. The sun was shining, the sea was blue and our Strategy Lead Joe Wright attended Thursday to hear from the best in the industry.

Starting with TikTok for Search.

Is it the new Google, no this is a clickbait title. Nothing is the new Google. However, Tiktok has similar functionality in terms of the algorithm and this is something that we can use to our advantage. Things like food and recipes are being taken by TikTok in terms of search because video is so memorable. But in general, it’s not taking over. Yet.

TikTok is great for top-of-the-funnel work, grabbing attention and getting in front of people.

As with other social media platforms, be considerate of your hashtag usage. Three hashtags is best as overuse of hashtags is generally being seen as spammy. TikTok is smart enough that it can place your content effectively without hashtag overload. Be sure to optimise your caption but don’t stress about hashtags by loading up as many as you can.

TikTok ads are relatively cheap and effective – a test found that a video received 13k views for only £6. Ads are a great way to get in front of your audiences.

As with every social media platform, consistency is king so make sure you plan ahead for success. Once you start, ensure your videos are regularly put out.

Things to be aware of:

  • Poor sound is more unforgivable than poor video quality.
  • Don’t be scared to take videos down, remix them and repost. You won’t be penalised, but rather potentially rewarded for it.
  • Sharing authentic stories performs best.

Is content still king?

We all know the saying that content is king, but it’s not true. This talk delved into the always hot topic of content. Is content still king? No…

GREAT CONTENT IS KING.

How to produce great content, ask yourself these questions: Is your content:

· Helpful?

· Human centric?

· Emotional driving?

If so, your content can be king. Don’t write for SEO, write for your customers. Always think about the message and your personas before you think about the asset.

What is the future of content:

  • Brand voice and tone
  • Narrow personalisation
  • Multi-asset
  • Leveraging AI
  • Quality over Quantity
  • Human-centric
  • Pathological empathy
  • Storytelling
  • Evoking emotions = more likely for people to share.
  • Be authentic and vulnerable.

Chat GPT is going to flood the market. Having a strong brand voice will help you stand out. AI tools often have voices that sound quite similar so how can you ensure yours will stand out?

This builds into the wider work required to build and create your reputation. You need to earn the trust and earn the right to your customers’ business, and content can help you with your next steps. Push for purchase intent keywords and natural backlinks that raise awareness of your content to interested audiences. The best SEO content ranks well, engages visitors and generates sales.

Revenue should be your SEO objective. And this means that articles don’t always work.

When it comes to measuring success, traffic isn’t a good metric. Ask yourself, is it good traffic? Is that traffic converting? Are you getting the sales that you deserve?

Even your FAQs should have a purchase intent. Niche calculators are very effective and so are product or service guides.

SEO strategy talk

This was more of an operational look at SEO and showed how much senior leadership prioritise and value SEO when it comes to big decisions. And without a doubt, as a SEO strategy can make or break a company online.

Information is key. Keep relevant teams up to date with the information that is relevant to them and no more. A useful tactic is an SEO clinic within the company, listing helpful ways to myth bust within the team.

Onsite SEO talk

This was a very interesting talk that considered the psycholinguistic element to SEO or understanding the psychology behind search. We start with the difference between cognitive schema and web schema. Schemas (or schemata) are units of understanding that can be hierarchically categorised. They can also be webbed into complex relationships with one another. For example, think of a website and the links that happen there.

A cognitive schema and neuro links in the brain help you understand the world by creating links between memories, thoughts and more. These are the norms that we subconsciously understand.

It also allows your brain to compartmentalise so you can focus on tasks or certain things at one time without being overwhelmed with all your thoughts and memories. Computers have to catch-up with this, predict and create their own schemas.

Knowledge graphs are the answer. It allows the computer to learn through contextualising information for computers. They have human moderators but draw information from across the internet.

Google’s knowledge graph is hidden. We know it uses Wikipedia, draws from third parties for plug-ins and is moderated automatically. Using SameAs tags can help Google understand and properly rank your website. It’s a massively important feature and can dramatically improve ranking. Using Wiki in SameAs tags is a good way to do this.

The keynote

Areej Abu Ali is an inspiration. The best talk of the day. And no one expected anything less. She spoke about what the last 10 years of SEO looked like and what she sees for the next. Seeing what the last 10 looked like, all condensed in 15 minutes, was eye-opening to say the least. The appetite for stress within the industry must be sky-high, because as digital PR and SEO professionals, the amount of pivoting, adaptation and innovation that is needed is pretty much constant.

And what is clear, is that the next 10 years look like much more of the same. Change begets more change, and it’s not about to slow down anytime soon. The obvious one is AI and its effect on the industry and how the rise of LLM’s are going to affect search. But it’s far more than that, Google has shown its appetite for updates has only grown in the past few years and this will continue with the emergence of Bard and Magi, Google’s two new pet projects.

As much as people like to think that LLM’s are going to replace search they just aren’t. They do very different things and there will always be a need for a search engine like Google. And when it comes to SEO, the fundamentals are also going to remain the same for the most part: links, content and technical.

These are the only real things that we can control, so let’s take a minute and do just that. Batten down the hatches for the changes that are undoubtedly coming and focus on the fundamentals.

Watch out for another blog soon on why and how PR is going to become even more intrinsically linked to SEO and what that means for AMBITIOUS PR.