Last week, our team ventured down to the sunny (and windy!) beaches of BrightonSEO for their autumn conference. It was a chance to meet the industry’s brightest minds and sharpen our own by learning about the newest technological advancements, analyses, and strategies.

We’ve put together a list of our top 5 talks from this year’s BrightonSEO below; check out their slides for more information.

Competitor Topical Authority Audits – Krystian Szastok

These days, we are all well aware that good content is one of the key components of bringing in more traffic, but how do we actually qualify what is “good”?

Krystian had the answer – generating topical authority. Google is attempting to assign pages and domains a reputation metric concerning certain topics, ensuring that experts are being served at the top of the search when a user searches for something. That way, we can be confident that we are getting the correct answer.

That means that your site has to be qualified to talk about something – and talk about it.

Whilst it may be a bit hard to put down some hard numbers on something like reputation, Krystian devised a way to measure it through competitor analysis and visibility for your desired topics. From there, you can see which touchpoints your brand is missing, which conversations you are not a part of, and where you should build out your content.

Find out more about how Krystian did it and even download his template here.

Probabilistic Thinking in SEO – Andrew Charlton

I’m sure this is a problem we have all faced in the world of SEO – how do we predict outcomes or make forecasts when there are so many moving parts?

Well, it’s not a case of giving accurate projects down to the day; rather, it’s a case of thinking probabilistically. Andrew explained how this is a skill that every SEO can adopt as a way to estimate their impact on a site and help communicate with stakeholders in the business, therefore allowing you to make more of the right decisions.

Use data that you already have, such as click-through rates, search volume, and current traffic, and project what may happen should you improve a page, a set of terms, or a whole website. Give yourself a catchment area, i.e., we predict that traffic could increase by 20-40% in the next 12 months. However, don’t feel afraid to say when you don’t have enough data to predict something accurately. That forms your first step: focus on getting some accurate data.

My favourite takeaway from Andrew’s talk was the line, “SEO strategies should be like an investment portfolio”. Take a few big risks but a lot of safe bets to keep the foundation there and solid. You never know how big the win may be.

Get more information about probabilistic thinking with Andrew’s slides.

How to Produce Great Multilingual Content – Laura McInley

We’ve already said how important it is to have great content, and that applies especially so when you’re expanding overseas into other territories. It’s very easy to run your content through a translate tool and put it on your website but is that offering your users something useful, or in some cases, even readable?

Laura talked about how to combat this problem and start building content for different languages even when you can’t speak them! She explained just how important localised content is, with some rather incredible instances of brands getting it wrong, before letting us in on the secret.

You need localised experts.

People who can write for you know the territory and nuances of how that user base communicates and talks about the concepts around it. Build a network of these people in the territories you are operating in, people you can rely on and come back to as and when you create content.

More importantly, ensure to include these people in the content pipeline from the beginning. They will be able to offer valuable insight into what may or may not be fitting for your audience, as well as letting you know what’s going on currently that may be a good opportunity to jump on.

Laura explains how you should approach onboarding these experts and the best ways to interact with them – read more on her slides here.

JavaScript for SEOs – Martin Splitt

Martin Splitt is a developer at Google, so hearing his insight on how to use JavaScript for websites was extremely valuable!

Martin talked about how Google visits and crawls your site, reiterating what their documentation states regarding how they crawl the HTML and the DOM, respectively.

Diagram showing how Googlebot takes a URL from the crawl queue, crawls it, then passes it into the processing stage. The processing stage extracts links that go back on the crawl queue and queues the page for rendering. The page goes from the render queue to the renderer which passes the rendered HTML back to processing which indexes the content and extracts links to put them into the crawl queue.
If it’s visible, it’s on the page. Anything in the DOM is still technically visible; it just might need that secondary fetch to render and access it. That, of course, isn’t problematic and won’t stop Google from indexing your site; there might be a small delay.

This means that you want to get the concrete stuff through the HTML, if possible, to ensure it’s understood by Google immediately, rather than the caching issues that JavaScript may cause. Things like your page title, the description, the hreflang, the canonical – the clearest and most immediate signs of what your page is about and whether Google should be looking at it or elsewhere. If Google is seeing the homepage as the canonical until it’s been rendered, you’re giving mixed signals. Any uncertainty leaves it up to Google to make their best guess, and they do indeed sometimes get it wrong.

He also talked about how there’s no real hard cut-off for how long a page takes to load, which many digital experts have been concerned about. However, it still stands that the faster your page loads, the quicker users and bots like Google can access it.

For more information on getting your SEO and JavaScript to work together in harmony, look at some of Google’s documentation and the accompanying video guides from Martin here.

A digital presence is paramount for businesses these days, so we know just how important it is for our clients to thrive organically, which is why we make sure to stay on the pulse of what is happening in the industry. Get in touch with our SEO experts for advice on organic performance today.