My gameplan for Brighton SEO was twofold:
1: Get as many free drinks as possible
2: Catch some good talks… whilst scouting for more free drinks
3 Drinks In
It’s 8am and I’m ahead of my morning routine by one drink (the cat was sick on my bed and it pushed me to the gin). But my ill feelings towards my cat Harry were soon expunged by the prospect of Brighton SEO. A place where likeminded people gather to talk tips, make jokes about the need for ‘great content’, aggressively head hunt others, and of course drink!
4 Drinks In
We’re on the train to Brighton and I’m eyeing up the Drambuie on the food cart when it hits me that we’re surrounded by other excited SEOs, eagerly discussing the latest industry buzz. I imagine any muggle on board would be deeply confused about the controversial gang war between the white hats and black hats. Not quite as gory as bloods vs crips but equally as played out.
5 Drinks In
Still on the train I managed to trade my bottle of water for some whiskey off a man I nicknamed ‘waste bredder’. Brighton SEO agenda on the table and whiskey in hand, I picked out the following plan:
6 Drinks In + 2 Free Drink Vouchers
Entering the venue I spotted an old acquaintance from my hustling days giving out name cards and free drink vouchers. 6 Fingered Filo was his name, and I’d helped old Filo get off a murder charge a few years back in South East Asia, meaning it was easy to get an extra drink voucher (passed to me with a sweaty hand and sleazy wink).
The first thing I noticed about the setup of Brighton SEO was that the main hall wasn’t setup for any talks in the mid-section like last time. In fact I never actually found where they were being held. That’s the only problem with the Dome theatre; it has more sections than a mental institute. But they still hold the technical talks in the smallest room!
7 Drinks In
We hit the first talk of the day by Ian Miller. Ian’s talk was a good reminder that ultimately, Google is an advertising company who has fingers in many industries and technologies. I asked Ian if he thought Google would move into the VR space, seeing as they’re everywhere else:
Follow Ian Miller @millerian
If someone doesn’t make a VR bar and program it so people see rainbows instead of sick when blowing chunks, I’ll be disappointed in mankind.
On a more sober note, Ian’s talk made me think of the extra $200 million reported in the yearly revenue Google makes from having a slightly different shade of blue in their ads. With the recent drop in authorship snippets and the live testing of different colour star ratings, it’s important to remember that changes in the SERPs can have a signifcant impact on Google's revenue from advertising.
8 Drinks In
Unfortunately I missed Jon Earnshaw’s talk on cannibalisation, which we’ve seen an increasing amount of in the last year due to Google’s move towards semantic search. Instead I waited in line for the next set of tech talks after the break, as I knew from last time that the room gets full incredibly quickly.
9 Drinks In
Tom Bennet’s talk was arguably the best this year at Brighton SEO. That’s not because it was around this time that I was hitting a state of drunken euphoria, but Tom’s short demonstration of how you analyse log files was incredibly well-articulated and useful.
Part 1 of Tom’s guide to log file analysis can be found here.
In short, collecting and analysing data on how Google Bot visits your site allows you to understand which sections of your site are not being crawled. This could be due to a loop caused by poor website architecture, a technical issue related to redirects, or just poor internal linking. Having all this data at hand will allow you to make improvements to make Google crawl the most important sections of your site.
Tom if I ever see you at the pub I’ll buy you a drink or five (but only if I have a company card on me).
Follow Tom Bennet @tomcbennet
10 Drinks In
By this time I’m pretty drunk. Not from the drinking, but from Tom’s talk. Figuratively speaking, nothing gets me drunker than in-depth log file analysis.
But onto the other talks:
Adrien Menard & Annabelle Bouard – How well does Google know your site?
Discussed a tool relating to log file analysis and how they’ve seen success in increasing organic traffic by making Google find sections of sites that weren’t getting crawled before.
Tom Whittam – Proactive measures for good site health
Discussed the purpose of disavowing links in order to be proactive, especially important considering the impending Penguin update and the issue with sites effected by penalties not recovering until the next rollout.
Gerry White – Hacking Google docs to detect and diagnose penalties
Displayed a great way to display data about each client through Google docs for easy daily data digestion:
Follow Gerry @dergal
Matthew Brown – Structured data and rich snippets: What’s left
Good arguments made for how JSON-LD markup is likely to be on the rise soon. Matthew also discussed how Google is going to increasing focus on ‘actions’ by the user in its knowledge graph data:
Follow Matthew Brown @matthewjbrown
Jan-Willem Bobbink – The semantic web & structured data, a journey into the unknown
Great insight into the large variety of data sites out there, such as Fishbase, Eagle-I, and Geo Name. Use these sites APIs to easily pull in content to your websites in order to create entities between your content and increase your landing pages topical authority.
Follow Jan-Willem @jbobbink
20 Drinks In
I’m close to being clinically dead due to my blood to alcohol ratio. However before I fade to the peaceful black I can safely say that there were some very interesting and useful talks at this year’s Brighton SEO. The speakers I saw gave us insight into how we can inspect our data more effectively, whilst giving us that broader vision by Google which impacts our everyday tasks. If the paramedics can pump my stomach well enough, I’ll most certainly be back next year.
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