This October saw the first online brightonSEO—as fresh as if we’d caught it on the city’s beach. So, just in case you missed it, our eagle-eyed Seeker attendees have reeled in all the best talk insights for your SEO and marketing pleasure. Go on, tuck in.
Keyword research is a journey full of twists and turns that should ultimately lead you to fulfil customer needs.
In her entertaining talk, Hacking Content Keyword Research, Judith Lewis from DeCabbit honed in on the importance of seeing the forest, not just the trees, when it comes to keyword research.
If you’re looking for leads to make money and pay salaries, then content needs to be more than just high quality—it needs to be relevant. Keyword research can help achieve this, by showing you where customers’ problems lie and allowing you to solve them.
She shared how her keyword research process:
- Focus on topics, not keywords. Stuffing your content with keywords won’t help fulfil your customers’ needs, and this is ultimately what leads to interest and sales.
- Research your products. Investigate on news, blogs, forums, and keyword-related terms on Google Ads. Answer questions that you find on Quora (or a similar place for your specific customers).
- Identify your niche and topicality. What words do customers use? They may not be the proper names, but using them will make it easier for customers to find and understand you. What common themes emerge?
- Look at competitor keywords. Lewis recommends using SEMrush or Ahrefs to do your competitor research. Traffic coming from videos? Create videos! Be inspired by competitors, don’t copy—or you’ll always be one step behind.
- Validate your findings using data. Use scatter graphs to plot search volume against keyword competitiveness and show the rest of your team (in a way that’s easy to understand) which keywords you should be targeting.
- Use keyword research to amplify your personal brand and thought leadership. This could be on a blog, social, video, podcast, Slideshare or conference speaking.
- Assess, Research, Identify, Measure. And finally, always have a benchmark to come back to, so you can make sure your journey continues to head in the right direction.
For more keyword research hacks, recap Judith’s BSEO talk slides.
A product with five Google Reviews is 270% more likely to be purchased than one with 0.
That’s a pretty amazing stat, right? In her talk, Why Google Reviews are so important & how to get TONNES of them, Daisy Foster–founder of Digitool—explained why this not-to-be-sniffed at marketing tool is worth far more of your business’s time and attention.
So, why are Google Reviews important?
- Attract more customers (review ratings are the biggest driver of clicks in local SERPs).
- Increase your conversion rate—a product with 5 reviews is 270% more likely to be purchased than one with 0.
- Increase visibility in search engines.
- Your business will look better than competitors with fewer reviews.
- It’s easier to create content, as you can use screenshots of reviews as content and case studies.
And here’s how to get more reviews:
- Set a goal for the number of reviews you want to hit, and when, and write it down.
- Figure out your ‘moment of delight’—for Amazon, it’s when open you open the box.
- Ask for reviews in person ‘would you mind leaving us a review?’ If that’s not possible for your particular product or service, try calling or a handwrite a note—make it human.
- Make it easy to leave a review by linking straight to where review is left.
- Keep it personal to make it more likely that customers will care. E.g. if you have a cleaning service, the message should comes from the cleaner that cleaned your home.
Want to learn more about how Google Reviews can help your business? Download Daisy’s BSEO Google Review guide.
Pitch high-quality content campaigns to journalists, or don’t bother.
Journalists are sent endless pitches every day. So you must push your pitch design efforts further if you want to stand out from the crowd. It sounds obvious, but not many people do. Follow Jazmin Batisti’s advice from her talk, Designing for Digital PR, and you’ll be on the right track:
- Be clear on what the client wants to achieve with the campaign, what their expectations are, and what functionality they want in the (possible) assets created for the campaign.
- Ask for brand guidelines—the content needs to look like it’s theirs from the tone of voice to brand colours and typography.
- Optimise graphic for mobile and desktop.
- Large infographics could be split into smaller parts.
- Font size should be min. 14 px for readability.
- Legibility is key, even if that means you have to exclude something fancy.
- Always be mindful of contrast, especially on text (there are lots of contrast checker tools, AAA or AA are the best contrast scores).
- Avoid pure black on pure white and vice versa.
- Don’t rely on sound.
- Don’t place important information on hover (keyboard users won’t be able to read them).
- After the campaign has been completed, create a survey sent to both the client and internally on what went well, what could’ve been better, and how this could have been achieved.
- Collaboration is always key
To delve deeper into what makes great pitch design, see the BSEO talk slides here.
Want to be a diverse industry? We’ve got a long way to go.
Azeem Ahmad’s talk on Why “Diversity” shouldn’t be a buzzword, or a KPI talked about the ‘racial bridges’ that have been built in the past and how we shouldn’t become complacent or think that the work has been done—it hasn’t.
- Figures about people from BAME backgrounds at universities are often manipulated to sound better than the reality.
- Many people, BAME and non-BAME (43% of people in speakers marketing network), believe their company does not have an inclusive culture.
- 62% of people believed their ethnic background has affected their job opportunities.
- Half of us have witnessed or experienced discrimination in the workplace.
He also reiterated the benefits of having a diverse team:
- 87% of the time, diverse teams make better decisions. For all-male groups, it’s only 56%.
- More diverse companies make more money.
Want to actively help create a more diverse team at your company? Here’s how:
- Stop stating that you’re an ‘equal opportunities employer’ and make job descriptions more welcoming instead.
- Set real diversity targets—e.g. ‘X% of our workforce will come from BAME backgrounds by [date].’
- Publish yearly data on diversity. There should be a committee of BAME people to monitor diversity progress.
- Introduce wage equity plans to ensure everyone is treated fairly—this benefits BAME people and women.
- Give extensive bias training to management or anyone making recruitment/leadership decisions.
For a deep-dive into creating real diversity in the workplace, see Azeem’s BSEO slides.
You can employ the brightest minds in SEO, but if you don’t build the right foundations for them to perform in, you’ll never reap the rewards.
Sean Butcher from Blue Array gave a fantastic talk on the importance of always looking after and revisiting your workplace culture, and how shared values can increase people’s motivation and performance. Anyone can copy strategy, but you can’t duplicate culture.
His talk covered:
- Psychological safety in the workplace, and why it creates a culture of performance, confidence, learning, and innovation.
- The key elements that get people motivated to perform to their full potential.
- The importance of providing feedback and crystal clear objectives.
- How core values underpin everything in a successful culture, and how to make them actionable.
First, it’s important to define what culture isn’t:
- Free tea
- “We look after staff”
- Work perks
- Financial rewards
- An excuse to avoid accountability
And then, how to approach your values:
- Find the right balance.
- Values cannot be forced onto people.
- Pick up a copy of Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin to learn more about how people bring culture to life.
- Brainstorm with the company to decide on values—this has to be a group exercise to establish ownership of values.
- Make your values part of everything you do.
- Build routes to progression that align with the desired behaviours of the business.
So, what makes a good culture? There’s no right or wrong, but there are four components that are often present where a work culture thrives:
- Psychological safety—fear is the enemy of flourishing. 3 in 10 people agree that their opinions matter at work. This stifles creativity, so so ask for feedback.
- Intrinsic motivation—people want more than just money, and this motivation has a ceiling. The most deeply motivated people link their desires to a cause larger than themselves.
- Autonomy—people want control of their lives, so trust in people to deliver. A strong culture will influence behaviour even if nobody is watching. Set expectations and give freedom of responsibility.
- Mastery—offer the right kind of challenges that aren’t too hard or too easy (the Goldilocks zone).
People are predictable, so use consumer psychology to improve your marketing strategy.
Andi Jarvis from Eximo Marketing gave a fantastic talk on using insights into human nature to inform and improve your marketing efforts.
Andi introduced two studies:
- The first: a Stanford University study that examined two Amazon listings for a mobile phone case. One product has lots more reviews but a lower average score, the other product has less reviews, but a higher average score. Surprisingly, the product with the most reviews, but a lower score, sold better.
- The second was a wine study. 126 wine drinkers were given a glass of wine then had to say what they would pay for it. They were then given a 2nd glass, and this time they were shown the bottle to examine. 3rd glass – a wine expert came to tell them about it. The three glasses of wine were exactly the same, but the amount they were willing to pay increased because they were given more information. This explains why the phone case with more reviews sold better.
This demonstrates that you just need more reviews. Marketers are scared of low reviews, or even average reviews. They really shouldn’t be (as long as reviews aren’t catastrophic). Low scores usually means there’s a problem somewhere else.
Very few people use review scores in marketing and website copy. It’s often in the footer of websites, and isn’t considered as something to highlight—but it should be.
The key predictable thing with humans: the more information you give them, the more likely they are to consider and buy your product. In an ideal world you’d have somebody in the house of every potential customer giving them information. But how do you do this at scale?
The ad industry uses an acronym called ‘FAB’: Features, Advantages and Benefits.
The example given was two vacuum cleaners. When the ‘features’ lead the copy first (e.g. 500W vs 600W), the customer is very likely to pick 600W as it seems better, but they don’t really understand why.
The ideal set up should reverse FAB to BAF – List benefits, then advantages, then features: e.g.
- Benefit: Healthier family
- Advantage: Removes more allergens from carpet
- Feature: 500W function.
Andi also referred to the power of the brand. The classic example is the Greggs advert where well-to-do people are tricked into buying their food at a fair by rebranding as ‘Gregory and Gregory’.
An important lesson is to tap into consumer psychology at the very start of your marketing process, and make sure you invest in research and strategy.
Talk to your customers directly, and don’t assume that you know them, their interests and what influences their purchasing decisions—many marketers often get this wrong. The answers you get from speaking directly to your customers are rarely what you think they will be.
The most important lesson of all…
Did we mention that three Seekers spoke at brightonSEO this year?
From insights into super-slick content process, to non-spammy link building and successful web migrations, we couldn’t wait to spill the Seeker beans. If you’re interested in working with us and learning more, we’d love to hear from you.
brightonSEO 2020—thanks for having us!