Brighton SEO eCommerce – Takeaways From The Largest Search Marketing Conference In The UK

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E-commerce Specialist providing strategy and marketing ideas to help companies sell more online.

brighton-seo-van The UK’s biggest and best for search marketing professionals happened again in Brighton last week, and provided an opportunity for thousands of SEO professionals to share knowledge, highlight trends, and probably get slightly drunk in the name of networking at the end of it.

As ever, there were some great insights and fascinating talks to get everyone thinking, and we at the Workroom had a great day there and decided to round up our selection of some of the best Brighton SEO ecommerce related points.

Be alright at everything (Zak Edwards)

Zak founded Prezzybox and had some great insights on how the industry has evolved in the time since he started out. Now he believes the importance is on avoiding silos by not seeing departments as separate from each other, but realising ecommerce is one joined up enterprise. This was a theme built on by other speakers throughout the day. The analogy he used that we loved was that of a football team – the scorer of the goal may get all the credit but in the end it’s a team game. In the same way the attribution of the sale may rest with email marketing, but the entire experience is what is important in creating that sale.

Know the mind of your customer (Alina Ghost)

Brighton SEO ecommerce had some great speakers with really impressive pedigree in online retail, and Alina having worked at Tesco amongst others, certainly had some great insights into managing a large complex ecommerce business. With over 200,000 products to sell, there are some difficult decisions in priorities that need to be made, ones which on the face of it, might not make entire sense (pet products in gardening for example). Only by understanding the mind of your customer can you start to find the way to order things that works for them, and also in a priority order that tells Google what is important and what to rank higher. Alina also extolled the virtues of empowering the team to research and manage their own SEO in order to be able to keep gaining the small wins that wouldn’t be possible on a huge website like Tesco with a small SEO team, which enables Tesco to build the longer tail keywords which are likely to have a better conversion rate than the smaller ones.

Dan Barker (left),
Dan Barker, Alina Ghost, Sophie Moule, and Zak Edwards (left to right)

Use data to inform strategy ( Sophie Moule)

Sophie was another speaker with a great background in large retail and came with plenty insights to help other search marketers ensure that not only that their voice is listened to, but that search marketing is placed prominently where it deserves to be, which is at the forefront of driving businesses, rather than slightly undervalued aspect of marketing which it all too frequently is.

Sophie explained how companies are often all too slow to utilise the information that they have available to inform their business decisions, as SEO can tell them about future shopping patterns. She also explained how attribution of SEO is often fraught with issues and has seen comparisons where last click is compared with 90 day tracking, and often the SEO industry is bad at blowing it’s own trumpet compared to, for example, PPC which has become extremely adept at showing it’s own worth.

Think about the 90+ percentage of people that come to your site not to buy (John Ashton)

John brought a wealth of ecommerce experience to the talk and brought a heavy emphasis on the strategy of SEO and online retail. The most important thing he stressed is the continuous improvement to keep moving forward, rather than risky overhauls. This philosophy of keeping it simple and keep improving was brought through to all elements, as he stressed how it’s better to do a simple segmentation of three groups rather than be bogged down in overcomplicating data that leads to inaction.

We liked the emphasis on the majority of the users that come to the site not to buy, but for other reasons. It’s important to give these people a good experience and not miss out on the opportunity to develop a relationship with them.

In terms of ongoing strategy, not being afraid of failing and having the bravery to try new things, and if they don’t work then clearly acknowledging that and moving on.

Decide what you want to be known for (Graham Macfadyen)

Whilst not being strictly on topic for a Brighton SEO ecommerce blog, we loved the messages that ex head of digital for British Library and Barnodos was extolling about being clear on what you can be the leading voice in online, and therefore changing the game to one that you can win at. This is relevant for retailers as they need to use the content that they have available to them.

Like other talks, Graham talked about the structure of the team always being about message led rather than platform led to ensure consistency and speed, to ultimately enable the company to find a role in peoples lives long term, rather than just be a short term marketing campaign.

brighton seo main arena

Untap the hidden power of customer data  (Edward Cowell)

Not everyone will leave a review and younger people are apparently more likely to, and your NPS score (net promoter score) is vital for ecommerce success, as shown  by Amazon having one 30% above industry average. It is certainly worth bearing where you’ll get reviews and following the three steps in regard to reviews-

  • Audit – understand where you are currently getting reviews and what you have currently 
  • Plan –  tactics to drive more and make it as easy as possible to get reviews and influence them
  • Implement a plan – implement and use these reviews 

Reviews appear in a huge number of different forms and the vast majority of companies not even asking customers to leave reviews. With many third party sources such as Google My Business not being optional, it’s important for businesses to actively drive how they are represented on these. 

Edward also discussed a great idea for those looking to sell high value products in a non price driven way, which is that it could be worth promoting the reviews and rating above price if that is the thing we want customers to focus on.

Content has to mirror the intent – as scrape-amazon-pagesintent is increasingly important (Charlie Williams)

A barnstorming talk from Charlie Williams and one of our favourites on the theme of Brighton SEO ecommerce, had some fantastic ideas on how to leverage content for product pages. With the same product often available from numerous sites, getting the edge with the product pages can prove the difference in ranking and the main way to effect that is by having the best product page content.

A few of the key points that he discussed on how to make better product pages are –

  • Don’t be afraid of bigger pages. It is better to pull all the content together on one page rather than risk users clicking off.
  • Need to know your content inventory available to use and how it can be used. 
  • Content has to mirror the intent as intent is increasingly important in what Google is trying to match
  • Be an expert friend – you can achieve this by tapping into the resources in your business.
  • Use questions and answers from other sites, can even tap into the wealth of content they have on Amazon and use some of that for your own product page.



Brighton SEO eCommerce Summary

There were some great talks on the topic of ecommerce at Brighton SEO this year – the biggest downside of the conference continually increasing in size is the amount of simultaneous talks means that it just isn’t possible to catch everything so undoubtedly some great talks we couldn’t get to.

The conference ended on a high with keynote speaker, Rory Sutherland of Oglivy telling the audience to create a space in which they can be brave, and test the counterintuitive as this is where success is found.

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