10 min read

#brightonSEO 2013 - Roundup & Recap

Three of Adtrak’s Internet Marketing Consultants headed to the seaside town of Brighton this past weekend for a spot of SEO swatting up.

Attending a variety of talks, they’ve grouped together, by category, the top tips they found interesting and learnt from, at April 2013’s #brightonSEO.

Jump to: Technical / Content Marketing / Penalties

SEO Research


Rich Falconer, LBi
  • Grepping allows you to use regex to scrape the SERPs looking for specific lines of code.
  • Combine a program called HTTrack to scrape with grepWin to process for greater SEO analysis of your competitors.
  • e.g. how many top 100 sites for keyword X use schema, how often is the main keyword featured.

Technical SEO

Crawler Access

Rich Falconer, LBi
  • Be wary of using AJAX to load quality content as the crawlers are not being given the full picture.
  • Instead, HTML5 now offers pushState() which makes your content accessible to the search engine crawlers.


Alan Cairns, BozBoz
  • Use HTML5 tags to better establish your site’s credibility…
  • For those in a niche sector, use the <dfn> tag to define jargon and you could well be rewarded with an enhanced SERP.
  • Equally, use <cite>, <blockquote>, again which are signs to the search engines that information is being credibly cited and lends itself to denoting your work as being professional.

Google vs Bing

Pak Hou Chueng, BlueGlass
  • Google and Bing use different algorithms, therefore ranking results can vary dramatically. After removing spammy links which subsequently benefited Google, Bing results plummeted from page one.
  • Might be necessary to have a separate site (no-indexed to Google) to serve each search engine.

Onsite Search

Alan Ferguson, Central Bedfordshire Council
  • People will use a search facility if the desired page is not immediately available so optimise your internal search to be sensible. Give them common sense results.
  • Think like a customer, speak like a customer – in your navigation, in your titles, in your page names.

Automating SEO

Berian Reed, Autotrader
  • Autotrader group of websites enjoy 11 million uniques a month.
  • Use Analytics intelligence alerts to monitor spikes and dips in traffic.
  • Install Tynt for automated link building, customise the inserted text for promotion. Tynt can show which keywords are driving users away (content gaps).
  • SEOtools for Excel – free plugin.

International SEO

Aleyda Solis, SEER Interactive
  • Only worth doing if there’s a potential for traffic – check Analytics etc, perhaps even set up an alert.
  • Don’t force your users, give them the option to redirect to their country specific site. e.g.
  • If possible, use a country specific IP for your country sub domain.
  • Localisation is key – make sure your site is relevant to the country e.g. currency, local phone numbers etc.
  • Use Lexipedia to find relevant local terms.

Advanced Analytics

  • Enhanced Link Attribution – in Analytics settings tick it, add the extra line of code and see where in your site people actually click. This version is far better than the original which didn’t provide the click rate of specific hyperlinks. (Anna Lewis, Koozai)
  • Don’t just Event Track for the sake of it. Use the figures as part of ongoing improvements, e.g. improve the amount of brochure downloads, don’t just count them. (Anna Lewis, Koozai)
  • Chrome extension Google Analytics Debugger. Allows you to see what data your site is reporting back to Analytics. This is good for times when you know that the source for your keywords i.e. organic or paid, is off. However, before installing, you need to clear your existing cookies in Chrome Advanced Settings. (Nikki Rae, Future Insight)
  • When setting up subdomain tracking in Analytics, for example mobile, Goals and Top Content will count both index.php unless a filter is applied distinguishing the hostname e.g. (Nikki Rae, Future Insight)


Social Markup

Alex Moss, 3 Door Digital
  • If you have limited time, markup for Facebook Open Graph. The other networks are capable of defaulting to this when you add a link, whether in a tweet, or a FB post, or on +.
  • Twitter card functionality (summary card with a title, description, thumbnail image, video player with Youtube capabilities, app – which is not presently functioning, product, photo, gallery) need to be activated per domain, so register now.


Tips from Ex-Googlers

Fili Wiese, Jonas Weber and Alfredo Pulvirenti
  • Google knows what a normal backlink profile looks like for any particular market.
  • Currently, Google is not taking additional action on information gathered from disavow submissions.
  • If one of your links resides on a site you do not trust, disavow the entire domain.
  • Links reported by Webmaster Tools is just a sample, not a full link profile.
  • All spam reports are looked at, usually within a month.
  • 1st reconsideration request probably not acted upon, might take 7 or more attempts.
  • With reconsideration requests, show Google you’ve done all you possibly can to remove dodgy links. They want to see that you’ve sweated a bit!

Useful Tools

  • LinkRisk – BETA link tool for testing unnatural links. It uses various sources (Majestic SEO, Webmaster Tools etc.)
  • Trendsmap – Visualises the latest trends on Twitter. Could help to generate content ideas.
  • Imageraider – Similar to Google’s Image reverse search feature. Add list of URL’s and see where your images have been published (or stolen as the case maybe).
  • GrepTheWeb – Enter a text string and find out how many domain and backlinks mention your query.
  • Robotto – monitors website changes and will notify you when these changes occur. Particularly handy if you client keeps changing their site. Includes monitoring robot.txt.

Media and PR

How to Approach Journalists

Geoff White, Channel 4
  • When pitching to journalists – Write about people, target the real world and use a case study to write about bigger issues.
  • Press releases should contain no more than 3 links. This should look natural and you can use the footer for keyword rich anchor text.
  • TV news has very limited time, can only run biggest stories.
  • For TV, think in pictures.
  • How does the story tie in to the real world (need real examples people can relate to) i.e. case studies.
  • Best stories are about people.
  • TV can’t plug products (undue prominence).

7 Successful Weapons of Successful Content and Outreach

Lexi Mills, DynamoPR
  • Use Trendsmap to find regionally popular content.
  • If the brand name includes the full domain name. Asked client (previously Names Co) to change name to, much more likely to get links from the media.
  • Finding ideas:
  • Compelling images make a story stand out.
  • Tweak the story and make it scale to other niches.
  • Track social profiles of news sites.
  • Twitter is great for breaking the ice.
  • Makes bribes relevant i.e. cup cakes with muppet heads on to promote muppets film.
  • Send interesting articles to journalists, even if not related to your client.

Content Marketing

Go Big or Go Home

Hannah Smith, Distilled – content marketing
  • Straightforward infographics were working okay, but to get links from the biggest sites required higher quality content, requiring an average time of 40 hours to produce.
  • If you are getting stuck in a rut, it maybe time to look at bigger content for your client.
  • Investing in big content – great content can be expensive and time consuming, that’s without outreach work on top.
  • Content needs to support brand positioning. Get it signed off and make sure it’s repeatable.
  • If you’re risk averse (which you should be) use evergreen content as rather than topical content as it has a longer life span.
  • Set goals and targets before launch – so that everyone knows what they are aiming for and when it needs to be done by.
  • Prove results with a test before asking for more money (agency takes the initial risk, no downside for client).
  • Agree benchmarks for success with client.
  • Solve problems – content that answers a question works well. What problems do your clients/customers face? For small businesses: social media, productivity tips etc.
  • Have lots of ideas, cull the poor one’s.
  • Produce content in alternative forms of content e.g. WordPress screencast how to’s.
  • Not every piece was a winner, but more than paid off overall (= happy client!).

The Business of SEO

Search in Commerce

Dan Patmore, head of search at Argos
  • To sell management and other stakeholders on search, you need to be able to make predictions.
  • Sometimes you just have to say you don’t know.
  • Most decisions come down to potential for increasing revenue & profits (as expected!).
  • Site speed incredibly important for Google ranking and in particular raising conversions.

How to Manage 1000 SEO clients

Nik Rinylo & James Bavington, Creare


  • Choose the right clients/target audience.
  • Don’t be afraid to turn clients away.
  • Get Sales, Web & SEO teams together before starting any new campaigns.
  • Manage client expectations.
  • Learn from mistakes and successes.


  • Importance of a great website; Decorative Bathroom Systems 0.67% to 2.64% conversion rate lift.
  • Send recommendations to clients for approval & get it signed off first.
  • Learn where best to put time and effort using Pareto’s 80/20 rule.
  • Consistency and frequency of communication is key.
  • How will the client measure success i.e. do they have trophy terms.


  • Keep your team motivated, prizes, trips out etc.
  • Split teams into relevant roles e.g. delivery,, managers, R&D and account managers.
  • Training workshops provided for every element of SEO, enabling team members to reach the same standard.
  • Standardised training for new hires.
  • Work with local Uni’s to sign up new graduates.


  • Using a bespoke automated CRM tool, assists with every stage of an account from point of sale through to delivery.
  • Outsource where it makes sense to.
  • Document and formulate best practices e.g. for writing an htaccess file
  • Trial new tools and methods first before rolling out to all clients e.g. Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

Creare Facts

  • Over 1500 clients total.
  • Average spend of clients: £400
  • 2x as likely to keep client if they make the site.
  • 30 web designers, 60 SEO consultants.
  • Greater monthly spend equals more time spent on an account.
  • Each SEO team member manages roughly 30 clients per month.

All in all, #brightonSEO had a wide range of content to suit all needs.

Plus, we musn’t forget it even had a free ice cream van!

– Ash, Paul & Kerry


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