Brighton SEO September 2017 – Event Recap – Part 1

Sam Marsden
Sam Marsden

On 19th September 2017 • 33 min read

Friday 15th September saw BrightonSEO return for its second outing of the year. The day was packed with SEO knowledge from all speakers across the six tracks. In case you spent too much time drinking free beer in the DeepCrawl Beer Garden, here’s a recap of some of the talks throughout the day.

Once you’ve finished this recap, make sure to check out our Keynote Recap with Gary Illyes.


Bartosz Góralewicz – Can Google properly crawl and index JavaScript? SEO experiments – results and findings.


Talk Summary

The session covered different JavaScript frameworks, which are becoming increasingly widespread, and the results of Bartosz’s experiments investigating the crawlability and indexability of these by search engines.

Can Google properly crawl and index JavaScript? SEO Experiments – Results and findings from Elephate


Key Takeaways

What is the problem with JavaScript?

Developers often point to this Google article that confirms it’s ok to use JavaScript.

Bartosz wanted to conduct experiments to see how Googlebot crawls Javascript – the two have a difficult relationship.

You can see the full results of the experiment here:

Elephate experiment results 1

Main finding: Not all frameworks crawled and indexed in the same way.

Bartosz then looked at other search engines; only Google and Ask are processing JavaScript – even simple JavaScript.

Elephate JS result;s 2

Ilya Grigorik at Google said – If you fix underlying SEO errors there is no practical difference and you can run Chrome 41 to see URLs just like Googlebot.

John Mueller has said Isomorphic JavaScript is ideal; which is complicated and needs good JS developer.

Google is not excited about JavaScript and it can kill your crawl budget.

Bartosz has created a new site (early beta) where you can’t visit pages without visiting the previous one. Google went one page deep with JavaScript pages but six deep with HTML.


Emily Grossman – PWAs and New JS frameworks for Mobile


Talk Summary

Emily’s talk covered the requirements to build Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and many of the key considerations and technical complexities to be taken into account around perceived page speed, performance and support for old browsers. Emily also walked through some useful tactics to make sure PWAs are indexable, and optimised for mobile devices.

Introduction to PWAs & New JS Frameworks for Mobile from MobileMoxie


Key Takeaways

JavaScript enabled web has allowed for the creation of full web experiences only available to native apps previously.

Emily Grossman - PWA benefits

The only requirements for a PWA are:

That’s all that’s needed.

Some frameworks make it easy to create web apps – Command Line Interface’s like Vue, React and Preeact

Speed and performance optimisation tips

Here are Emily’s tips to optimise a PWA:

Support for old browsers


David Lockie – Using Open Source Software to Speed up your Roadmap


Talk Summary

David’s talk took a top level view of businesses and the digital sprawl that can result from inefficient data flows between different platforms. To remedy this, David spoke passionately about the benefits of utilising open source technology, which removes the risk of getting locked into expensive technologies and instead enables businesses to run lean, fast and agile programmes.


Key Takeaways


Stacey MacNaught – Tactical, Practical Keyword Research for Today’s SEO Campaigns


Talk Summary

Stacey kicked off the mid-morning session on the main stage speaking about the changing search landscape and how keyword research is still more essential and intensive than ever. The presentation then moved on to Stacey’s tools of choice and walked us through some key processes to be used as part of a successful keyword strategy.

Keyword Research Tactics and Tools – BrightonSEO 2017 from Stacey (Cavanagh) MacNaught


Key Takeaways

Use Answer the Public and Buzzsumo Question Analyser to get triggers. Other recommended tools are Kwfinder, DeepCrawl and Google Search Console.

Set realistic expectations – not all searchers are going to buy at the bottom of the funnel.


Sophie Coley – Answering The Public: How To Find Top-Notch Audience Insight in Search Data and How To Apply It


Talk Summary

Sophie’s insightful talk first focused on the beginnings of Answer the Public and their quest to make a visually appealing keyword research tool. The talk then turned to practical ways you can us Answer the Public to can uncover contextual, behavioural, attitudinal and motivational audience insight in your online and offline marketing activities.

Taking audience insight from AnswerThePublic – Sophie Coley at BrightonSEO Sept 2017 from sophiecoley


Key Takeaways

Answer the Public – founded to make KW research more visually appealing and convenient rather than typing out the alphabet to see what people are searching for.

Identifying and understanding your public

Benchmarking your brand

Recommended tools: hitwise, brandwatch, what users do


Kelvin Newman – Scary SERPs (and keyword creep)


Talk Summary

Kelvin finished off the morning’s talks in Auditorium 1 by highlighting some hilarious (and sometimes worrying) examples of Google’s ability to provide misinformation as it moves to the “one true answer” with voice search. Kelvin then moved on to provide some methods by which you can prioritise key phrases you want to rank and ensure you’re covering any gaps in your keyword strategy.

Scary SERPs (and keyword creep) #brightonSEO from Kelvin Newman


Key Takeaways

There are a number of instances of poor sources and incorrect information being in Search.
Even worse with voice search; as it only gives one “true” answer.
Voice search is a move towards “one true answer” – a risk for Google.

There is now less precision in keyword research e.g. Adwords keyword estimates are vaguer.

Query rewriting – what your searching for isn’t necessarily what Google searches for.

It would seem machine learning is involved in query rewriting. It tries to predict what you’re looking for, which isn’t necessarily what you search for.

Machine learning is about making predictions.

Method 1

Are you covering those areas?

Method 2


Fili Wiese – Linkbuilding 2018


Talk Summary

Kicking off the afternoon session in a packed Auditorium 2, Fili spoke about the need to build links which drive conversions and brand awareness. As an ex-Googler and a DeepCrawl CAB member, Fili shared a number of highly valuable tips and tricks to inform and benefit your link building strategy for the long term.

Link Building 2018 from Fili Wiese – SEO Expert


Key Takeaways

Google is fine with link building for discovery, but not for the sole purpose of influencing rankings or PageRank.

What should we focus on instead?

How do we build those links?


Dixon Jones – Creating Workflows for Link Building

Do links still matter? How many links are enough? Can a page rank with no backlinks? These were just a few of the questions Dixon answered in his talk which also covered his recommended workflows for a sustainable approach to link building.


Talk Summary

Do links still matter?

How many links are enough? It’s not that simple.

Workflow for building links:

Identify the right influencers

Engage with influencers

Define the digital asset

Prepare the launch


Greg Gifford – Righteous Tips for Building Totally Excellent Local Links


Talk Summary

Greg’s whirlwind of a talk focused on all aspects of building excellent local links and featured more 80’s film references than you can shake a stick at. Greg shared a comprehensive range of strategies you can use to build local links as well as explaining why building local links is completely different compared to the usual recommended tactics.

Righteous tips for building totally excellent local links from Greg Gifford


Key Takeaways

Local search ranking study 2017 – inbound links are the most important ranking signal.
Links are like votes to your site – more votes, more popularity.

Most link builders go after high DA links. Local SEO is different. Don’t care about DA, follow/nofollow. Care about links for traffic.

We’re usually talking about handful of links or <100 links for local link building.

Google weights inbound links based on authority, relevance and trustworthiness.
Think about what value your business can provide for other businesses.
Focus on long term real world value – form meaningful partnerships.
Local links are hard to reverse engineer. Leverage links based on relationships and partnerships.

5 ways to build local links:

Even more ways you can build local links:

Local link ideas, Local meetups – offer space, sponsor, Local directories – not poor directories, useful ones, Local review sites, Event sponsorships, Local resource pages, Local blogs, Local newspapers, Local charities, Local clubs/organisations, Local calendar pages, Local interviews – can do outreach, Local business associations, Local food banks, Local shelters, Local schools, Ethnic business directories, Local art festivals, Local guides, Homeowners associations and Neighbourhood Watch sites.

Local link building process:

Download Greg’s worksheet.


Jes Scholz – Marketing in 360 degrees: Photos, Videos and VR


Talk Summary

Jes’ forward thinking talk looked at the growing importance of VR and the core reasons behind why this technology is set to see phenomenal growth over the next couple of years. Jes presented two exceptional case studies of brands that have used VR to immerse and influence their audiences, as well as reporting on the excellent engagement seen by 360 content on social channels.


Key Takeaways

VR is a new communication layer of marketing. Website as primary contact point is coming to an end.

VR is immersive

NY Times case study – How do you get people to care about 30 million people displaced by war? Send out 1.3 million Google cardboard devices and immerse your audience in an emotional story.

Merrell Virtual Hike – Move from product testing to product experience. Oculus Rift VR experience. Inspired people to go hiking.
Virtual experience can influence consumer behavior and inspire new desires.

These two use cases are exceptions, not the norm.

81% will tell their friends about a virtual experience = instant social impact

Need to know in advance what you want your audience to think and feel during and after the experience.

Key points about VR experiences are accessibility, scalability and lifespan.

360 photos and videos are here.


Rebecca Brown – Why you Should Scrap your “Content” Budget Line


Talk Summary

Rebecca’s persuasive talk centred on scrapping your content budget and see content marketing as a way of enhancing existing channels. Rebecca then outlined the process Builtvisible as part of their content strategy ensuring it is specific, realistic and profitable.

Why you should scrap your content budget line | BrightonSEO from builtvisible


Key Takeaways

Are we paying too much or too little for content making and is it converting the way we want it to?

The process Builtvisible use:

Effort and tactics


Define the size of the opportunity, define the user intent, align this with the most relevant tactic and then allocate spend within your channel.


Jon Myers – Links, Log Files, GSC and everything in between


Talk Summary

Jon’s informative talk focused on the story of one URL and the power of adding links, Search Console, Analytics and log file data to crawls to better understand each page on your site and it’s indexability. Jon introduced the concept of your search universe where these internal and external data sources are brought together to inform technical SEO initiatives.

BrightonSEO – The Search Universe – Links, Log Files, GSC and everything in between. from Jon Myers


Key Takeaways

Adding external and internal data sources to crawl data is a powerful way of gaining insights about your search universe.

Things to consider when combining backlinks with crawl data:

Log files
Incorporating log file data into a crawl reveals where crawl budget is being wasted.

Identify non-indexable pages receiving bot requests:

Find out how frequently search engine bots hit your site.

For pages receiving low bot requests you could consider:

Understand How Bots Crawl Your Site With Mobile and Desktop User Agents.

Split out hits from a desktop bot and the mobile bot, so you can understand how a search engine is using crawl budget to understand your site’s mobile setup.

What can GSC add?

Adding traffic to the equation with Google Analytics.

Need ability to have holistic overview of what is happening on a page combining log files, GSC, GA and backlinks.

Need tool in place that can scale up for a large site.
Automation is needed.

Your search universe will be different from others and you need to have a deep understanding of it.


Sam Marsden
Sam Marsden

Sam Marsden is DeepCrawl's SEO & Content Manager. Sam speaks regularly at marketing conferences, like SMX and BrightonSEO, and is a contributor to industry publications such as Search Engine Journal and State of Digital.



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