I started the day by taking part in Brighton SEO’s beach clean. I’ve loved the ocean since I was a child. In fact, until I learned that I was better with words than numbers (and realising that the West Midlands is far, far away from the sea), I was hoping to grow up to be a marine biologist.
But anyway, after finding some interesting (and disgusting) things during the beach clean, I was ready for coffee and more SEO chat. There were so many amazing talks and I couldn’t possibly attend them all, but here’s a summary of the ones I did get to see:
The Full Scoop On Google’s Title Rewrites
Speaker: Mordy Oberstein
This talk gave tons of statistics on how often Google rewrites page title tags, including by device, and why. I was hooked by the first stat!
How often Google rewrites title tags
The percentage of page title tag rewrites Google is doing is growing. It jumped from 62% in October 2021 to 65% in January 2022. And it’s rewriting more tags on desktop than on mobile, although only 4% more.
What is Google changing?
On desktop, 55% of the tags Google rewrote used the page’s H1. The search engine is also removing the brand names on page title tags showing on desktop.
But the rewrites are very close to the original tags, with most rewrites being an 80-90% match.
Additionally, Google rewrites homepages less than other pages.
The actual changes are interesting too, Google seems to be:
- Aiming for deeper geotageting.
- Adding brand names to YMYL sites.
- Tweaking so that the most useful information comes first.
- Removing ‘marketing speak’.
Why Google rewrites title tags
Mordy started off with all the reasons that he thought might be the cause before discovering that they weren’t.
- Ranking – it doesn’t make a difference
- Length of title tag – only seems to matter when the page title is longer than twelve words.
- Intent – apparently this is one of the few areas where intent doesn’t impact Google’s decision.
He then summarised the reasons he thinks this is happening. And the main reason is that Google has a lot more information and data to work from. While it’s frustrating to not be able to force the content you want to be shown on Google in the way you want it to be shown, I personally think that Google’s title tag rewrites are more of a blessing than a curse.
Think about it, Google wants people to use its search engine the most, and if it has data that will increase the usefulness of the SERPs and the CTRs, that’s only a good thing, right?
Entity Search: Your Competitive Advantage
Speaker: Benu Aggarwal
Benu began her talk by highlighting the main problems regarding entity search that need to be resolved:
- Content discovery.
- Relevance and topical content.
- Measuring impact.
She also highlights that 90% of digital content is not discoverable, yet 82% of searchers are looking for top of the funnel, discovery content. You can see the problem in that one sentence alone!
The case for an entity-first strategy
I was already a huge fan of entities and schema, but the information Benu showcased made me more so. She explained how:
- Schema can increase organic search by 31% and non-branded traffic share by 121%
- Different types of schema can strengthen entities for better visibility:
- FAQ schema – 98%
- Image schema – 19%
- Featured snippets – 124%+
- Site links – 143%+
Entities are a means for Google to better understand the context of your content, so it’s definitely something we should be leveraging as much as possible.
What needs to be included in an entity-first strategy
For an entity-first strategy to be successful, there are three key areas of focus – topics, intent and then entities and a five-step optimisation framework to follow:
This strategy includes identifying schema vocabulary, gaps and mapping, potential sizing, topical gaps, content elements and enhancements and finally, implementation.
As with any strategy, the metrics you use to measure performance is vital to truly understand your impact. Benu recommends looking at:
- Performance for each type of schema (not just an overview).
- SERP coverage.
- Potential cost savings.
I love how there’s an additional way to communicate what our sites stand for with Google. If you haven’t tried an entity-first approach before, I highly recommend you take Benu’s advice and give it a go.
SEO Gap Analysis
Speaker: Lidia Infante
I’m a big fan of Lidia, having heard her speak at the last Women in Tech SEO conference. She began her talk by highlighting that ranking highly in the SERPs isn’t really about what we do, but about what our competitors are doing. So, when carrying out an SEO gap analysis, we need to ask ourselves the following questions:
- Who are my competitors really in the SEO landscape?
- Are they targeting the same audience and search terms and are they solving the same problems?
- What are they doing?
- How can we do it better?
A nugget of treasure she taught me here is that by using Google Data Studio, you can see the Core Web Vital scores of quite literally ANY website…wow!
So you can review which aspects of CWV your competitors are doing better than you and then make a plan to level the playing field and then overtake them entirely.
How to Go Viral on a Budget
Speaker: Alex Hickson
Having a piece of creative content that you’ve worked your butt off on get picked up, viewed and shared by thousands upon thousands of people who all have fantastic things to say about it is the dream, right?
And, since I was fresh from my training course on PR, I was excited to get another dose of Brighton SEO brilliance. And Alex didn’t disappoint with his step-by-step guide:
- Set goals and CTAs – these are the foundation of your content.
- Think about what emotion you want your content to make your audience feel.
- Tie the product or service into a trend.
- Validate your trend using tools like Buzzsumo, Exploding Topics, Google Trends, Answer the Public. (These are tools that we use a lot in content marketing here at Boom Online).
- Ascertain where your target audience is consuming media, how can you get your campaign picked up on those platforms?
- Create your pitch. And Alex has so many tips here too, such as how to structure it (opener, primary hook, secondary hook, quote, close and how long it should be (400 words max).
- Find your journalists.
- Measure which publications that covered your campaign are sending traffic to your site.
Day one and day two at Brighton SEO left me exhausted. I’d learned so much (and walked around a lot!) but I couldn’t wait until the next and final day. So, I tie-dyed a Brighton SEO tea towel and headed back to my hotel to rest and get ready for day three of Brighton SEO 2022 – all the things I’d learn and people I’d meet tomorrow….