Highlights: BrightonSEO (September) 2023 Conference05. 10. 2023 Autor Roman Teuschel
Our international agency loves international conferences! A total of seven specialists (partly from the Czech SEO team and partly from the international department) went to the SEO conference in Brighton again. What excited us most at BrightonSEO in September 2023?
1. Scale a global SEO strategy with limited resources (and buy-in!)
(by Roman Teuschel)
I had the highest expectations from “AI SEO” and topics related to expansion or international SEO. In a few points, I will try to summarize the presentation by Sukhjinder Singh – Scale a global SEO strategy with limited resources (and buy-in!).
I was wondering how a UK SEO consultant with a lot of experience in international SEO would differ from us or our best practices.
The session was split into 3 parts, the first being the longest.
#1 Research and Planning
The speaker talked about how to prioritize based on predicting the turnover potential (by locating a sample of KWs with searches and estimating CTR, conversion rate and average order size).
As well as how to make comparisons with competitors. Through Semrush or Ahrefs to check visibility/traffic, or compare with Search Consol – how well the data fits. Likewise on the link portfolio. With that said, focus on content/location or link building first.
Along with identifying the various regional differences (preferred search engines, social networks, different languages used in the region, …) consider not only the “potential” but also the difficulty of succeeding in the market. However, some tips were only “digitally oriented”, which in reality may be insufficient.
Also important are limitations in logistics, legal aspects or perhaps the habits of shoppers (from shopping behaviour to the e-shopping cart). This has not been taken into account at all in the balance sheet!
#2 Delivery of expansion
The lecturer started this part with a classic reflection in which he asked when it is better to expand with a domain on a subdomain, with a subdirectory or with a local and completely new domain.
He shared with us his quick-wins for TECH SEO, including interesting (and often unfamiliar to me) plugins: hreflang; CWV; duplicate content; and indexing issues due to redirects or missing content; …
He very rightly pointed out the issue of “translation vs. localization of keywords”, among other things on the fact that there may be more or less synonyms or long tails somewhere.
Finally, he again passed on a few tips on local SEO and link building (which unnecessarily were too elementary, but certainly also beneficial for many).
#3 Delivery on a Budget
In this part, he thought about when it is better to use local freelancers and agencies or how to manage it centrally = in-house person, main agency or a combination of both. It was a bit self-promotional at times, but there were some good tips in there too!
I would be interested to see his real-world practice/applicability on some points, but I liked his boldness in predicting the impact on sales – see estimates and planning at the beginning of the article. Outside of the SEO world, many factors matter, such as proper website localization, competitive product and competitor brand awareness, to client brand awareness/authority. All of these things impact CTR and conversion rate.
2. Five steps to building a user journey map for your SEO strategy
(by Anna Podruczna)
The presentation prepared by Grace Frohlich ‘5 steps to building a user journey map for your SEO strategy’ discusses the importance of user journey mapping in SEO and content marketing to build trust and drive conversions. It outlines the steps to create a user journey map and how it can be used to improve SEO and content alignment.
User journey mapping involves visualizing the stages a customer goes through from their initial search for a solution to conversion, focusing exclusively on online search touchpoints. It helps align website content with user search intent, which is crucial for effective content marketing.
Search intent, often different from the actual search query, plays a vital role in user journey mapping. By mapping search intent to each stage of the journey, brands can appear in the right places at the right time with relevant content, benefiting both users and search engine rankings.
The article provides a five-step process to build a user journey map with the usage of AI:
- Define user personas by understanding your target audience’s goals and motivations related to search.
- Create a user journey with stages and milestones based on user motivations and pain points – here ChatGBT can be really helpful while using prompts, for example:
- Let’s look at one of the user motivations ChatGPT gave us as an example—“Improve customer retention and loyalty.” To get more granular and identify specific ways to help your audience, you could type in the prompt:
“My company is a SaaS customer relation management company. I’m researching my customers’ problems and pain points about customer retention and loyalty. What are the most common pain points for my customers around improving customer retention?”
- Build a keyword list, including currently ranking keywords and aspirational ones, to identify gaps in the user journey.
- Assign keywords to milestones to ensure content alignment.
- Categorize keywords by search intent and topics to spot content opportunities, as example below:
Once a user journey map is created, it can be used to monitor and improve SEO:
- Pinpoint areas that need improvement by monitoring stages and milestones.
- Ensure site content aligns with user intent by mapping pages to keywords and intent.
- Track content performance by user journey stages and topic groups instead of individual keywords.
- Continuously review and adjust the user journey map to keep it aligned with user behaviour.
In conclusion, user journey mapping is a valuable tool for SEO and content marketing, helping businesses build trust with their audience and drive conversions. By understanding search intent and aligning content with user journeys, brands can create more effective content marketing campaigns and improve their online visibility. For more examples and step-by-step instructions, you can check Grace’s presentation.
3. Arabic SEO: How to Engage 400 Million Arabic-speaking Audiences
(by Miroslava Kuběnová)
Arabic is a language spoken by almost 400 million people and is 4th most used language online. What is more, most of the Arabic searches happen on Google, therefore there might be potential for business.
Did you know that on an everyday basis is a lower number of people who speak the correct version of the Arabic language? This brings difficulties, but at the same time potential business advantages.
Taleb Kabbara has spoken more about this issue and provided many tips on how to deal with it and bring out the best possible outcome.
First of all, we should mention that there are many dialects and the differences are immense, therefore there should not only be “Arabic”, but e.g. Arabic (Lebanon), Arabic (Morocco),…
This is not all, as Taleb has mentioned, people like to combine French-English-Arabic in one sentence.
¡67% of domains using Hreflang have issues !
Let’s summarize why Arabic websites do not perform well in searches:
- It is considered as SPAM by Google (“text translated by an automated tool without human review or curation before publishing” is considered by Google as spammy-generated content)
- As shown below, automated translations do not have the same final traffic and search results may differ (aforementioned point with dialects).
Below there is a basic translation from English to Arabic, In Saudi Arabia the Google translation has the wrong dialect and the search volume shows as 5.6K. If the native speaker comes to the game, the final search volume is 18K.
Taleb has provided an example where he changed just a few words to the correct dialect in the client’s website and the final revenue in 60 days was 4x higher.
- this brings up another point- most of machine translation tools are useless
Who should translate your content into the Arabic language?
How should you approach the Arabic SEO Project?
(From the perspective of website translation to Search)
Firstly, focus on the translation:
- hire the Native translator
- create authentic local content
Secondly, Taleb has stressed the point about localization and how it is significant. Localize the search queries by market and use the correct hreflang tags!
Last but not least, is the optimisation process. Do not forget to optimize the content and local search queries.
The Arabic language reminds us how important is correct translation and localization to the target market. It shows us that generalization and not enough effort overall hurt SEO activities and finally the ranking results. This should be thought of before an expansion of business to any market.
The main point that we should take from this in my opinion is to consider dialects of one language in multiple countries (e.g. Spanish) as well as dialects within one country (e.g. Poland). Regarding the Arabic language, understanding dialects and having native speakers is the key to gaining a higher search volume.
4. The new SEO metric that makes SEO 10 times more valuable – Share of Search
(by Nikola Novosadová)
Andrew Holland introduced the metric that:
- we all know,
- most of us actually know what it means,
- a few of us use it,
- …and hardly anyone uses it to its full potential.
Let’s look at it…
…Share of Search is the volume of brand search queries relative to all search queries for all brands in a given segment. It can interpret Market Share very well as it correlates with it. (However, there is no causality)
Nice definition, but how do you link this to SEO activities?
By looking at Share of Search, we can see how we can create a “buyer intent search” – for example, by creating custom brand terms that are highly converting – Disney plus, Rento insurance, Bazos… we know that if someone searches for these types of queries, they’re probably closer to converting than someone who searches for the word “car”. So Holland’s idea is to “cut through the noise” and focus on terms with a clear intent to purchase our service or product.
The PR plays a role. The old way of gaining links by publishing PR articles is therefore not completely useless, according to Holland. It just needs to be leveraged properly. Build awareness of your brand and products with PR articles, not the category. Create “buyer intent” content. Teach people to “use” your brand and your name. And they will start looking for them.
5. Embracing AI in SEO: How to 10x your SEO leveraging AI bots
(by Tomáš Osinek)
Those who have been in SEO circles for a while must have already registered Aleyda Solis. Firstly, because of the quality content it produces and secondly because of its sophisticated SEO newsletter, which I recommend anyone who is serious about SEO to subscribe to.
Her presentation on the interconnection between the worlds of SEO and AI was a delightful summary of how to think about using AI in SEO, in which situations AI can be used for greater efficiency and where AI can be a bad master rather than a good servant in SEO.
The diagram by Alexander Tiulkanov, which Aleyda also used in her presentation, serves as a springboard for this issue. Thinking that AI will simply solve all the worries of creating quality content for you is short-sighted. In a way, certainly but if you are creating content where domain expertise and real-world experience is the main deciding parameter, you cannot do without human intervention to satisfy search engines (“Yes I know, we create content mainly for humans“).
However, it should also be emphasized that in SEO, the use of AI is not just about creating new content, but can also help you in many other areas from reporting, and data analysis to finding opportunities for building backlinks and more.
It is not easy to summarize the whole lecture in a few sentences, so I recommend going through the whole lecture separately. You can find the lecture at this link, the slides are quite telling, so it is possible to understand their meaning without deeper context.
What I would like to highlight from the lecture is the AI Prompt Generator for Digital, Content Marketing & SEO, which Aleyda has developed so that your prompts given to the AI meet certain quality parameters, which in the end will improve and refine your desired output. It is great when people share things they’ve invested time and effort in with the community and know that they can save other people’s work by doing so.
Image Performance Budget
(by Mario Baross)
Designers want premium pixels but SEO specialists want a page that loads fast.Myriam Jessier mentioned that it can be hard to balance all tasks so having an Image Performance Budget can help.
“An image performance budget sets limits and provides a useful framework for discussing website performance with stakeholders“
The budget exists to reflect your reachable goals. But what are the things that we can consider for the image budget?
- The total size of the images
- The format of images
- Image compression
- Responsive images
- Lazy loading
- Number of images
So what can we do to improve our website? (Step by step)
- Define your goals – Do you want a shiny design or a happy customer and SEO/UX team?
- Set your budget – figure out key metrics you want to measure (for example page loading speed or number of images)
- Optimize your images – Ideally, all images should be under 100KB
- Monitor performance – measure the development of your goals
- Iterate – revisit and adjust your budget
Don’t forget about your website’s images. They usually make up a significant portion of each website but are often forgotten. Also, almost one-third of Google search results are images, so consider them in your SEO.
Master your messaging
(by Mario Baross)
It’s not enough to be ranked 1 in SERP if your content messaging is not on point. Many businesses fall into the “me me me syndrome” where they communicate in a product-centred way, as mentioned byDiane Wiredu.
Stop talking about how perfect your product is. Give customers answers and help them understand what they can achieve with your products or services.
So instead of:
“Here’s what our product can do”
“Here’s what you can do with our product”
Once you understand your audience and communicate to them your solution for their problems, it’s time to stand out:
- Surprise me – use unexpected words in your copy.
- Less is more – beware of too many adjectives or too many things.
- Get to the point – be clear and concise.
- Keep it personal – write to ONE reader (one person, one problem, one solution).
10 quick wins to improve your rankings (using Ahrefs)
(by Daniel Maťaš)
Probably everyone from a linkbuilder to a freelance SEO specialist has worked with third-party tools at some point. The endless hours spent on clients were a little more manageable, thanks to some great SEO tools. So how on Earth do we boost our rankings using just a few handy features?
There are 10 steps that Andrei Țiț mentioned in his lecture. Of course, the day-to-day work of an SEO specialist consists of clicking between different third-party tools, finding solutions in Google’s analytics tools, and using lots of plugins or extensions. But Andrei demonstrated a 10-step guide on how to improve search engine rankings.
1. Manage your website’s technical issues
The cornerstone of the entire setup of getting your website working properly is Technical SEO. Tools like Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, Semrush and Mozz all show you some of what is working or not working properly on your site. Solving any indexing, crawl, and speed issues is key to increasing your site’s rankings.
2. Update existing pages with low-growing fruit keywords
Long-hanging keywords refer to phrases or queries that have low competition and high search volume. It’s a strategy for gaining positions quickly and successfully. With basic keyword-focused research, all you need to do is filter out the low-competition, high-search words among your keywords, work with the relevant words, and grab the most profitable ones.
Of course, the best searches are with competitors, so you need to start there and catch all the keywords you can use.
3. Find opportunities to use featured snippets
We’ll stay with keywords a little longer. Featured snippets are sources of information that connect directly to search terms and provide answers to users as early as the 0th position. You can find out for free by user intent and competition. You don’t need to search for anything new, research what your competitors have already discovered. Search results provide a lot of suggestions that can be deployed on the web, the content of the given landing pages can be optimized and you will benefit from it.
4. Update pages with declining traffic in the last 6 months
Everyone clearly understands that the pages that generate traffic are essential for websites. Everyone wants traffic! You need to track it on the most visited pages and notice the declines.
Everyone wants traffic!
Identify the pages you visit that are experiencing a decline, write a plan to adjust your textual content, and monitor how the changes are affecting your site’s traffic.
5. Discover gaps in your content and that of your competitors
If you haven’t used Content Gap Analysis, now is a good time to start. In this analysis, you’ll learn where you have gaps compared to your site’s competitors, which keywords they’re grabbing onto, what positions they’re ranking for, and how many competitors are benefiting from them.
6. Update content on older pages with lower search rankings
Even low traffic is traffic, after all. If a site is bringing in 20 visitors a month, that doesn’t seem like a big number. NOW, just imagine 200 such pages. That’s already a big number.
In third-party tools, you can filter pages by traffic, which you just need to update and add just like in point 3.
7. Redirect links from broken 404 pages to functional pages on your site
Getting backlinks and building a link portfolio is a long-term process, we can agree on that. No one likes it when 530 links heading to a single landing page randomly disappear. You won’t find this out just by scouring the internet, it would take hours. That’s why third-party tools can filter out pages with 404 status codes. The extra work is just redirecting that error page to a functional page. And the lost links are back.
8. Work with internal links on your site
Imagine a website with lots of categories and an extensive blog section containing hundreds of articles. It’s possible to teach the editorial team to incorporate internal links when writing blog articles, to go through each article manually (which takes forever), or to use third-party tools like Ahrefs or Sem Rush. You can have drafts in seconds and send them straight to be incorporated into articles or optimize landing pages.
9. Uncover link gaps between you and your competitors
Link Intersect analysis is already well known. When acquiring links, you need to think about the competition and the amount of link opportunities that your competitors have that your site does not. Instead of crawling through a lot of sites, we only need a few clicks in the SEO tool. You need to choose your site’s competitors and the tool will reveal to you where you have the opportunity to insert a backlink, because in the same place your competitor already has a link.
10. Find brand mentions without a link
Brand mentions are a great way to quickly and easily see where to turn plain text into a backlink. Tools like Google Alerts can show you wherever your brand has been mentioned and you can turn that mention into a link pointing to your website. All you need is a bit of luck and good communication skills.
In conclusion, this is a really simple list of 10 steps that we can do every month to try and improve our website both technically and content-wise as we add more and more links to our portfolio. All of these steps would take up a lot of time if we tried to use different web analytics tools, but Ahrefs can do it all on its own. You can find everything in the Site Explorer, Web Explorer and Site Audit tabs.
This is all from us, we hope you find it useful.