Brighton SEO Write up – April 2014

Ayima
Reading time: 6 minutes
30th April 2014

The Ayima team were down at BrightonSEO last week, attending talks by speakers such as Kate Dryer, Gemma Birch, Jose Truchado and Bastian Grimm.

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Kate Dreyer – The Global Site Migration Monster – A Case Study

Kate Dreyer, a Global SEO Manager at Education, began by explaining why you might decide to migrate two sites. As user-experience gets more and more attention, a site migration is often considered as an option, especially for multilingual websites as content can be unified across various domains. Migrating your site to another domain is a good opportunity to improve design and content for users and adopt a more consistent URL strategy among ccTLDs, sub-directories and sub-domains.

Kate made the point that planning is key. The first step is to make sure all involved in the team are aware of what you are looking to achieve, for example provide them with SEO training.

The next step is building a realistic timeline alongside a full checklist. The latter cannot be based on any templates as every website is different, although the following elements have to be taken into account for most multilingual sites: hreflang tags, page titles and meta descriptions, 301 mapping, XML sitemaps and robots.txt and geo-targeting set in Google Webmaster Tools – something that we ourselves have conducted numerous times and have proven to be successful.

A site migration also raises the question of content. Kate goes on to explain that on top of looking into new keyword opportunities, it is of the utmost importance to get an accurate and localised translation; Kate recommended using natives only for this task. On this note, if a website is targeting two different countries sharing the same language (Mexico and Spain for example), do not simply duplicate content. Also, if the idea of canonicalising both versions to one version comes to mind, it would be ideal, as the other version would not get indexed. It is recommended that the Spain version and Mexican versions of the site have differentiated content.

Kate recommended contacting website owners to ask them to re-point links to the new URL(s) as it can be really helpful in avoiding further link building efforts.

And finally, Kate concluded her talk by stressing the importance of analytics tracking on the new domain and having it run parallel to the old tracking. This action helps to compare previous traffic figures with the new ones and, if necessary, to make amendments.

Gemma Birch – Facebook Who? The Lesser-Known World of Social Media

An insightful talk by Gemma Birch, a marketing manager at Webcertain Group, outlining that other than the usual social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, there are other highly used social sites all around the world that can be utilised to the company’s advantage.

Gemma explained that places like China are blocked from Facebook and YouTube, however they have their own sites, Weibo, Renren , and Youku that are used daily by the large population.

Many other countries are active on Facebook (1.2bn users) as well as their own cultural social networking sites. Here are a few examples Gemma had mentioned: Russia – VK and odnoklassniki.ru, Latin America – Ask.fm and Orkut, Spain – Tuenti.

Gemma then concluded her argument by explaining why global companies should make the most of these social channels – The advantage of having your company appear on these social networking sites can encourage trust in the brand in these countries. The more users that interact with the brand on these sites, the more trust people in those countries have in the brand. It increases awareness even further by targeting non-Facebook users and helps the company to gain a competitive advantage over other companies.

Jose Truchado – Mobile SEO – Is responsive the solution to all our problems?

Jose Truchado, Director of SEO at Expedia presented “Mobile SEO – Is responsive the solution to all our problems?” Arguably one of the most interesting speeches during this year’s Brighton SEO conference, due to the growing importance of mobile SEO in today’s digital landscape.

He explained how user’s search behaviour is changing. These days consumers spend 15+ hours a week using their smartphones and 52% of UK smartphone owners search daily, 29% search weekly and 10% search monthly – clear justification of why we should start focusing a percentage of our SEO efforts on mobile. The analyst firm BIA/Kelsey has projected that mobile searches will overtake desktop searches in 2015. In addition, Ian Carrington, Google’s Head of Mobile and Social, also affirmed that mobile search will reach a “tipping point” in the next few years as it overtakes desktop search.

As mobile user-experience is an important consideration for mobile device SEO, you need to specifically consider your options; responsive web design, dynamic serving and parallel mobile web.

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Jose explained that even though the best choice for SEO is a responsive web design, we should also consider the different options to best cater for the client. Ayima agrees with Jose’s statement, as responsive sites do not always meet the clients’ technical capacities and needs. However, the real challenge is that as mobile optimisation is still fairly new, there is no single best way to implement it.

Jose then went on to say that as SEO professionals, we should make our clients aware of the opportunities that they could potentially gain from their mobile site or, the business that they could potentially lose from not having one.

He finishes his talk by recommending that every business should consider how consumers use their mobile phones to access their site and understand their audience by using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools. Google is getting serious about mobile SEO, so don’t forget that if a site is not built with mobile in mind, this could have serious implications for your business in the future.

Bastian Grimm – The Need For Speed: How To Make Your Website REALLY Fast!

Bastian Grimm from Grimm Digital undertook a talk titled “The Need for Speed: How to make your website REALLY fast!” – this was an interesting talk to attend as site speed is something that tends to be overlooked in SEO.

Site speed is important and Bastian found some interesting metrics – Amazon, saw an extra 1% increase in revenue for every 100ms load speed that they improved. You will generally find that higher-ranking sites tend to load faster than those that rank lower.

So, when making your site as quick as possible there are quite a few things that Bastian considers:

  • Inline CSS and JavaScript are common on-page elements nowadays, but they tend to have an effect on your page load time.
  • CSS should be moved to the top of your page and stored in external files- Ideally one, if not, then as few as possible.
  • JavaScript should be stored in the same way. However, to prevent render-blocking, it should be placed at the bottom of your page.
  • Whilst you are cleaning up your on-page code, make sure you get any white space removed. This may not make a huge amount of difference to start off with, but it doesn’t need to be there and getting rid of it could shave off valuable milliseconds.
  • Images are another on-page factor that can cause a considerable difference. Image sprites are very useful for making pages quicker. However, if you would prefer to keep your images on the page, then ensure that you compress them..
  • Make your social buttons asynchronous, ensuring that they do not interfere with page rendering. However, be careful with this method. If scripts change on the parent sites, your buttons may stop working.

Bastian suggests that when testing your site speed, make sure you use a web-based tool instead of a browser based one. The browser tools rely on your browser speed and could seriously warp your results.

All in all, BrightonSEO was an exciting and insightful experience. We thank all the speakers that contributed to the event.

This post is co-written by Johanne Boyer @_jo_boyer, Tom Whittam @Tom_Perignon, Pilar Gisbert @PilarG_G, and Krishna Uka @KrishnaUka

Written By Ayima
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