Last week, we attended BrightonSEO , one of the UK’s leading search marketing conferences.
Below are write-ups from Jellyfish team members who attended the conference.
How I Earned Loads of Links by Ignoring SEO, Malcolm Coles
The site produces highly original, topical and viral content, including games and quizzes such as the ‘How much are you hated by the Daily Mail?’ quiz (which garnered nearly 8,500 Facebook shares), and ‘Owen Patterson’s Badger Penalty Shootout’ in response to the recent UK badger cull.
Us vs. Th3m even produced a quiz for BrightonSEO, ‘How SEO are you?’, and Malcolm encouraged bored conference attendees to play.
The presentation revealed the Buzzfeed-inspired strategy the site has adopted for attracting visitors. Rather than focusing on search, as most other Trinity Mirror group’s websites do, Us vs. Th3m uses social media as its main traffic stream.
Coles admits that the team ignore SEO, not doing any link-building, and even commit technical SEO crimes such as changing URLs without redirecting old pages. Despite this seemingly contrarian approach, the site ranks prominently for relevant terms in search due to associated volume and quality of social shares and naturally-earned links.
Coles revealed that 85% of the site’s traffic comes from social media, and that 85% of these users access it using a mobile device. Recent analysis by gov.uk found that mobile users were twice as likely to share content, and the Us vs. Th3m team design content specifically to be shared by mobile visitors. Coles makes no apology for the website not displaying well on desktops, as these visitors are significantly less likely to share.
At a conference populated with SEOs a strategy which ignores the SERPs as a traffic stream was a breath of fresh air, and certainly provided food for thought for those rooted in a traditional view of SEO as a process of link acquisition.
Key takeaway: Great content attracts the links and social shares needed to gain search engine prominence.
The Content Marketing Blueprint for Boring Industries, Mike Essex
Mike Essex presented a talk centred on our addiction to the idea of “great content”. Great content is something that we in the marketing industry have become somewhat obsessed with in recent years thanks in part to its perceived ‘viral’ benefits. Mike agrees that this type of content does attract attention but it doesn’t support the rest of the buying cycle. This is where “boring” content comes in.
This “boring” content can range from technical specifications to product information, all of which customers want to know about when buying a product or service.
For example, Microsoft created a technical guide for the Xbox One when it faced backlash claiming that the PS4 was more powerful. The guide not only acted as a rebuttal to the backlash by showing what made their product unique, but was also useful and informative for users and potential buyers. The guide also swayed the opinion of the press, therefore giving a more positive message to consumers.
The lesson to be learned from Mike’s talk is that marketers shouldn’t just focus on our latest piece of “great content” gaining social shares and going viral; we also need to ensure that we have a solid base of “boring” content to convert users to buying after attention has been gained.
Why Blogging Still Matters, Anne Rattigan
Anne Rattigan presented a talk on why blogging still matters in SEO, and what we should consider.
The stand out part of her talk revolved around creating writing guidelines for each client. Brands will often have their own specific tone, layout or even approach to grammar that they will want to implement into all of their content.
When an agency has several clients with a range of people working across the accounts, it can be difficult to keep track of the clients’ editorial guidelines. . By keeping a shared writing guideline for each client, confusion is minimised, and the overall process is streamlined.
Tried and Tested PR Hacks for Awesome Content Marketing, Rebecca Lee
Rebecca Lee offered her insight into how SEO’s can learn from PR’s. She highlighted the importance of investigating contacts that you are keen to make connections with, which can be done by researching their online profiles to learn more about them and their field of expertise.
Once you have this information, Rebecca recommended the implementation of a carefully planned contact strategy – for example, making sure you don’t capitalise your e-mail titles as you’ll be more likely to avoid landing in their spam folder. She also suggested calling journalists both before and after sending an e-mail to grab their attention – after all, it’s harder to ignore a direct phone call.
One key point to remember when pitching content is that journalists are looking for scoops or new stories. This is where “news jacking” can come in handy, where quickly jumping on the bandwagon of a breaking story can help to pitch a topical piece that is of immediate interest.
Rebecca also highlighted that although aiming high for higher authority sites or sources is ideal, starting smaller may be more practical; coverage leads to more coverage, so press in a local paper can be leveraged when pitching to larger national publications.
Content Marketing Roundtable: Essential Takeaways
Our Digital Marketing Executive Jane was invited to take part in the Content Marketing Roundtable, and here are her takeaways:
The main focuses of this year’s Content Marketing Roundtable were the intersections between content marketing and SEO, customer insight strategies, integrating content marketing into the sales funnel and developing specialist thought leadership.
The round table was attended by staff from a variety of marketing agencies, from dedicated content marketing companies to those with a broader digital focus, working across sectors from retail to law and B2B.
These are the top takeaways section by section:
SEO vs Content
Content marketers need to understand technical SEO and digital marketing in addition to having journalistic skills to produce content that meets SEO and wider marketing targets
SEO content marketing needs to integrate with the sales funnel and customer journey rather than simply focusing on technical SEO targets
Content Marketing and the Sales Funnel
Content marketing needs to enhance rather than disrupt the sales process
This means considering where content will be placed onsite and understand how buyers progress through a website
After-purchase follow-up content is important and should address this group’s direct needs
Customer Insight Strategy
Focusing SEO content around customer personas derived from research creates better content that is more shareable, more likely to attract visits from qualified visits and more likely to convert
Specialisms and Thought-Leadership
In-house, developing specialist focus enables creative, dynamic strategy which supplements and enhances sector information provided by the client
It enables agencies to position clients as thought-leaders, achieve top-level placements and create relationships with influencers