On Friday, 12th April, search marketers from all over the world descended upon the UK’s south coast to pack out the Brighton Centre and take in fresh ideas from some of most influential thought leaders in SEO, PPC, and digital marketing. The event hosted over 80 talks and provided countless insightful presentations throughout the day, so I’ve selected my top three talks. They covered the best way to deliver technical recommendations, how to gain meaningful featured snippet clicks, and an alternative approach to eCommerce product lifecycle management.
Areej Abuali shared her experience in tackling a sprawling 2.5 million-page job aggregator site to make it crawlable for search engines. A unique takeaway here is that the most comprehensive list of technical actions isn’t necessarily the ‘best’ recommendation that can be delivered. Instead, delivering the most vital or game-changing recommendation, waiting for this to successfully be fully implemented and then delivering the next tier of recommendation, is the best route to successful prioritisation.
Featured snippets being an important part of SEO strategy is nothing new, but a nuanced approach to understanding what terms to target needs to be central to this strategy.
Izzie Smith spoke about search intent and suggested that before targeting a featured snippet, we need to understand what the user intent behind the search is and consider whether it’ll drive a click to your site or not.
Emily Potter starting off by stating that featured snippets are somewhat overrated, with popular studies providing misleading statistics and being unreliable.
After conducting her own studies, she concluded that featured snippets lack sophistication and aren’t the one size fits all answer to boosting traffic, but if you’re willing to pick the right targets, target your content accordingly and accept the game isn’t fair, then you’re in with a chance.
Top actionable snippet takeaways:
- Focus on opportunities where you outrank the snippet holder and steal elements such as H1 headings
- Create rounded answers which include two opposing points of view with ‘however’
- Re-format your content based on that of the current snippet holder
- Get your structured data right to make it easier for Google to crawl your content easier
Luke Carthy presented on one of the most common issues in eCommerce: product lifecycle management. Here he challenged the long-standing practice of 301 redirecting discontinued products to closest category pages by proposing that continuing with SEO for these pages captures the continuing search demand, reclaims backlinks from referring domains, and provides a far less jarring experience for the user.
By creating explainer pages (showing the original product isn’t available but recommending a specific alternative to the customer) to replace the original product page sites can demonstrate their intent has been matched, but while the exact product isn’t available a carefully selected closer alternative can be purchased instead.
While this option itself presents additional lifecycle issues regarding how long to leave these pages live and indexable for, the potential of regaining lost traffic and revenue is certainly enticing for eCommerce sites.