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Sun, sea, sand and search can only mean one thing, it’s time for BrightonSEO! Although we didn’t see much of the sun, didn’t go in the sea and briefly glanced at the sand, what we’re really here for is to enhance our SEO knowledge. For those that don’t know, starting out as a chat in a pub, BrightonSEO is now one of, if not the largest SEO conference in the UK. Here are my top three talks from the day:

The Hidden Pitfalls of Ecommerce SEO - Dave Naylor 

First up, we take a look at some examples of SEO within larger scale ecommerce sites. Starting with Under Armour, where their compression shirts continually rank first or second for the keyword ‘compression shirts’, however, the ranking page is /en-gb/mens/tops/short-sleeve-shirts/ rather than /en-gb/compression/. Surely the latter would be the more relevant page?

Both pages have no content and javascript is only allowing 12 products to be indexed per page. How can they get away with this?! Would this happen with a smaller brand? In short, no.

Google suggests having one representative URL for category pages and one representative URL for individual product pages, so why do big brands like Under Armour get away with not following these guidelines? Also, for every URL that is indexed by Google you will need content, not just products. Neither pages on the Under Armour site have any content, interesting.

It’s also interesting when looking at other big brands. For example, ASOS had 2 canonicals on a product page, with the other URLs having different prices. Again, surely not great practice? Enough of bashing the big players, if you want to see a good example of hreflang, look no further than Sports Direct. These guys have nailed it.

The Bridge between on and offline retail - David Whatley 

Next we deep dive into local SEO with David Whatley of mishop local. David starts off by stressing the importance of having a physical address for local search and consistency across each. This includes:

  1. A consistent name, address and phone number (NAP)
  2. Consistent Categories
  3. Rich content
  4. Customer reviews
  5. Links to location specific web pages

All must be consistent across your Google My Business pages and any other local listing sites you show up on. Practicing in local SEO and getting it right significantly reduces online competition when people are searching in your local area, but you need to understand what they’re searching for locally to understand their journey. He explains that people searching locally are typically looking for:

  • Opening times
  • Directions
  • Phone number to call
  • Store information
  • Website

Once they’ve found what they’re looking for and want to click through to your site, they should be taken to the relevant store landing page, not the main website as they’re looking for local information. Local search can raise awareness of your ecommerce capabilities and these landing pages act as the front door to your website, therefore need to be informative and inviting.

How to put a price on digital content - Simon Bennison 

My final talk focuses on monetising your digital content. Marketing has evolved, and so has avoiding advertising. In 1986 we’d stick the kettle on and go and make a brew, now we use adblocker extensions in our browsers. Therefore, we need to focus on our own event to earn as much coverage as possible to increase visibility and maximise profit.

So, where’s the cash getting splashed? According to Simon, 63% of marketing budgets are spent on offline media, leaving only 37% spent on digital marketing. Of this only 2% is spent on SEO, whilst 5% is spent on paid search. Seems pretty low, but what’s even more shocking is that 39% of traffic to sites is from SEO, whereas only 2% of site visits are driven by PPC. So why are people spending so much of their budget on this channel?

We need to make content marketing easier to invest in by devising a good strategy consisting of three things:

  1. Diagnose the nature of the challenge
  2. Devise a structured plan
  3. Take coherent action

Find the content that’s missing by aligning your company vision with the research of your competitors, then define your audiences and analyse the demand. After all, great is better than good.