#LeedsDigiFestival2019


The SEO Mixer Hosted by Blueclaw

A fabulous time had by all!

Fergus put his card behind the bar, so that was an instant mistake, he told the bar only the first 50 drinks, but I’m not sure they were counting…😂. The SEO mixer talks though lived up to its name and were a great mix of onsite and offsite covering the whole spectrum of SEO. Each speaker had something different to offer and it was great to be in a room with so much experience in the field.

TL;DR

This post got long. Wayyy too long. But here are the handy takeaways.

Get 100% in the lighthouse tool

  • Implement Http/2
  • Defer Offscreen Images
  • Serve Images as Next Generation Web-P formats
  • Change the image size depending on the screen size
  • Only load what you need, when you need it.
  • Make very good friends with your developers.

UX is the new age offsite signal

  • Customers start their journey way before they land on your website
  • Between Google and Facebook they probably know your customer will visit you before the customer does
  • Keyword tools data sets aren’t strong enough to identify specific long-tail converting terms.
  • Your clients brand needs to own every little result it can. Start with Google suggested search
  • Get an advantage for non-branded by creating content around things people search for like “Does ASOS accept Apple Pay?”

Google Sheets and APIs

  • The tools are limited but effective
  • Combining multiple APIs provides new data insights.
  • Callum doesn’t iron his t-shirts

Building Awesome PR links

  • Start with a story not the content medium
  • You don’t have to spend a lot to get PR traction
  • Prepare to be reactive to yield the best results

What your boss / client wants reporting on for SEO

  • Not your google data studio report
  • Focus on the things they care about like revenue and profit
  • Predictions are fine as long as the practices being implemented will aid improvements
  • Find the right reporting balance for the person.

See not too painful.

Now if that has whetted your appetite for an in-depth link directory of a post with an awesome conclusion that is basically a summary for SEO tips in 2019 that get real results then carry on reading.

Talk 1 – by @polly_p from delete getting 100% utilising the lighthouse audit tool

Getting a 100% in the lighthouse audit tool isn’t easy, but Polly at Delete went on a mission to prove that it could be done and to be fair she really went on a mission. She dubs herself a technical SEO but after jumping through the hoops to get 100% she is practically a developer.

The findings were awesomely insightful and here are a few of her top tips I picked up.

Look into and implement HTTP/2

Rather than me poorly explain what this is and why it makes a difference have a read of this. One of the main benefits of http/2 is the concurrent connections to the server, where http/1 can only handle 6-8 concurrent connections, http/2 can handle “virtually” unlimited concurrent connections but is normally limited by the browser to about 100.

Real world benefits mean faster page load speeds, even when requesting multiple files at the same time.

Polly was pretty adamant that without this change the other changes wouldn’t of been pretty pointless.

I’m just contemplating how the hell to explain it to a client and their developers

Deferring Offscreen Images

Don’t load the images that aren’t needed based on the device that is being viewed on. Basically if you hide images when on mobile or tablet, don’t load them in the background.

Again this is a pretty helpful explanation on achieving just that

Serving images in Next Gen formats

Mostly WebP – detect if the browser supports WebP then auto convert it, if not use the back-up png or jpeg.

Change the image size depending on the screen size

Change the images to an src set so that the image is changed depending on the size of the browser. It means providing multiple images but the result is a faster page load speed and the right quality image for the right screen.

This is my mate James on his stag do…sorry mate but it kind of makes sense for the changing screen size point…kind of.

Only load what you need, when you need it.

Not just with images, but review technical caching, and optimise the code to load resources when they are actually needed implementing lazy loading.

So what about the impact on the SERPS?

Well the user experience is better and the site has seen some great improvements around core SEO terms, so Polly and the team at Delete are pretty happy with the efforts by all accounts.

Great talk @polly_p

Talk 2 – UX is the new age offsite signal by Martin McGarry @gamblinginseo

UX as an offsite signal and “not that fluffy changing colours on buttons stuff” was a great concept spoken about by Martin.

His presentation and images of search funnels put his point across perfectly. We don’t own our website traffic any more in fact, due to both Google and Facebook algorithms becoming more sophisticated, they are likely displaying the content users want to see before they even recognise it. Martins point is a simple but effective one. If the traffic on your website has mostly decided their reason for being there, then your marketing and user experience needs to start much earlier.

My kid in a tunnel…because it sounds like funnel and I didn’t have a pic of the slides.

Martin is using keyword research to take advantage of this, mostly utilising Google’s Suggested Search options to find branded and non-branded ranking opportunities.

On the branded side, the idea is to make sure that where your brand name is involved make sure you rank for everything. Even the small FAQs. The example Martin gave was around Apple Pay and how ASOS don’t own their own Apple Pay query. Instead a bunch of affiliates are pointing customers in the right direction (and ASOS are giving away a fee as a result).

This weird URL in green takes customers far away from any likely conversions or products. Which will more likely push them into a competitor who can offer a better more seamless experience.

Martin pointed out that most tools such as SEMRush, are limited to using past data, whereas Google is more reactive and those one off search queries in a month can add up to a decent amount of revenue if you are continually adding content and definitive value to your website.

The same logic can then be applied to non-branded queries. Doing some manual research into the questions your customers might ask, then making sure the website adds value to a customers query, with an emphasis on being specific.

Martins theory, is that as Google moves more and more to a voice based search query, the more specific the information on a website needs to be to answer customer queries. And rewards those sites with trust and authority around a topic, on more generic searches as a result.

So, ultimately the earlier you can start in that sales funnel, the more traffic, revenue and better rankings you create.

As part of his talk Martin wanted a tool that gave Google Suggest results. One that came to mind, but I was too shy to shout out was answer the public. Great tool when it was free, but feel like they might of gone all Hollywood with their Pro update.

Talk 3 APIs and Google Data Sheets by @blanchardCallum

Callum is the Blueclaw in house data analyst. Coming in strong with a Physics degree and a computational mathematics background it’s a wonder this guy styles his hair so beautifully.

His talk was short and sweet, showcasing the power of Google Sheets over excel, whilst combining it with multiple APIs to create keyword analysis that gives a different view on things.

I helped develop Market Scout for Blueclaw and the theories Callum discussed were implemented in the various in-house tools Blueclaw have developed over the years for client insight.

The example he used highlighted the average page speed of the websites that ranked for the first page of a particular search query, which when looking for any advantage in the optimisation world might just give your client the edge by combining the learnings from Polly P’s talk earlier in the day.

So great insights and Callum highlighted a few areas where you could borrow the code for the APIs from.

A few of the tougher questions focused on the limitations inherent within the SEMRush API, but if you need a reliable indicator on more generic terms then I think the tools Callum creates are bloody useful.

Talk 4 – Carrie Rose from Edit and how to get awesome links from PR

Carrie Rose is a force of nature, talking at one hundred miles a minute, yet breaking a complex process into realisations that make you think “damn, wish I’d done that”.

One viral campaign a client turned down, so she used it anyway.

There were many take away from this talk, but I’m going to borrow a couple from my ex-colleague George Webb over at delete in an article he wrote about a similar talk Carrie did at Search Love Leeds.

  • Don’t forget about niche publications, they might not be as authoritative as national press but their relevance to your clients more than makes up for this.
  • ‘If a journalist can cover your content without having to link back, then start again!’

Adding in one of my own

  • Start with the story not the media or graphic that will tell it. Sometimes a blog post demonstrates the story just as well as a £20k interactive microsite. Saving you both time and money.

Talk 5 – Pendragon – 5 Rules for an SEO in house.

This talk was great!!!

Obviously bit of a legend for making things happen in SEO is @stekenwright but an interesting take on SEO reporting.

As someone who has lived his life agency side apart from a recent stint in an internal marketing department it really helps to solidify what perspective the person reading your report needs.

Does your boss’s boss care about scroll depth? No of course he doesn’t! And he doesn’t care about your fancy google studio report either.

Just a random one I pulled from Google but you get the picture.

He does care about the money you save, the revenue you’re predicting the changes you’re implementing will generate and the impact that has on the profit margin.

The “how” you’re doing it has multiple levels, always be prepared to explain your tactics, but ultimately the reporting should be top level and not full of jargon.

The main takeaway for me was, to create a simple report that tells the main story without having to go into the full depth of everything you did to get there.

Of course…some clients are different and like the detail, so maybe just work out the reporting layer that works for them.

Finally concluding…

That turned into an epically long post and was essentially me commenting on my own personal takeaways. I’m hoping if you’ve stuck with me till the end you found something that you can use.

Thanks to all those that gave up their time to talk through their 2019 SEO advice, as the service has evolved over time the complexity of delivering for clients is only getting more difficult to explain, so for those willing to stand up and give out some free advice is invaluable for the next generation of digital marketing experts.


About Sam Raife

Author of Battletoys.co.uk, I have been part of the SEO world for nearly 6 Years in one format or the other. Now an SEM Manager in Leeds and very much still a lover of all things Tech, Gadgety and all things Marvel. Expect lots of low priced technology reviews and the occasional SEO tip or two...this blog not being a good example of that.