Five key insights from brightonSEO

Blog published by KISS, under Business Development, Marketing, Search Engines, Strategy

I was lucky enough to attend this year’s brightonSEO conference, which was a fantastic, full-on, informative, fun and well-organised event.

Brighton itself was as wonderful as ever - lots of great places to eat and things to do, shout out to Earl’s SandwichesDishoom Permit Room and Yoga in the Lanes.

There were the five hot topics that came up time and again within the hustle and bustle of brightonSEO:

1. SGE - search generative experience

It seems there’s a new buzzword: SGE. This is a new experiment from Google labs, heralded as ‘a new era of Search’ which aims to provide more information and context around searches, rather than just a list of links. It uses generative AI within the Search results page to summarise viewpoints, insights and help users get things done more easily. We’ll be keeping an eye on this to see what the general feedback is.

Google has also started to adapt Search functionality within the Shopping interface, adding a summary at the top and a recommended list of products. This list is refreshed every hour and displays more than 1.8 billion listings. It’s currently available in Search Labs on Chrome desktop and the Google app in the US (English only so far). Keep an eye on your target keywords to see whether it’s kicked in for that keyword or topic and adapt your tactics accordingly – especially if you are within the eCommerce space.

2. E-E-A-T still applies! Content will always be king

E-E-A-T or double E-A-T is from Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines, and it stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. The second E was an addition in 2022 which aimed to address originality issues by ‘Underscoring the importance of content created to be original and helpful for people’. E-E-A-T is not a direct ranking factor, but Google aims to consistently serve results with high E-E-A-T so it can be used as a fundamental framework for creating search-optimised content. There was a brilliant and insightful talk from Carmen Dominguez at brightonSEO on how to create an organic strategy using this framework to stay one step ahead of Google.

3. Content needs to be considered to help you meet your sustainability goals

Not only is having vast repositories of content unwieldy, but it also has a massive impact on the environment. Servers used to digitally store content have huge carbon footprints - according to the International Energy Agency, data centres generate 3.5% of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so it’s more important than ever to ensure that the content you’re producing is unique and relevant to your audience. With the rise of large-language models such as Chat GPT, it’s increasingly likely that content created by these, and published online, will be duplicated or based on a similar body of information. Ask yourself, is this content providing an answer or a different perspective to content that already exists?

4. New regulations for cookies

Google has announced plans to restrict third party cookies to all Chrome users by Q3 of 2024. On 4th January 2024, it began the first step of the process by restricting third party cookies for 1% of Chrome users globally, which will increase as the year progresses and third-party cookies are phased out. Collecting your own data is key as you won’t be able to rely on third party data as much in future, because of the changing regulations coming later this year. Now is the time to start collecting! Encourage email sign ups and focus on growing your following on social media to create audiences that can stand the test of time and changing regulations.

5. AI – it’s not just Chat GPT!

I expected lots of content at brightonSEO to be about AI, as it’s a topic that’s been spoken about so much you may even be switching off at the sight of the acronym by now! One phrase that seemed to be repeated in pretty much every talk that covered AI was that ‘AI does not just mean Chat GPT’, and we were reminded that there is a broad range of ways to use AI to support your search marketing. Let’s not forget that Google uses its own proprietary AI tools to continually improve its service. Top platforms that were mentioned were and PageSpeed Insights.

Overall, it was clear that there is a continual imperative to look beyond the now, and to hold firm in the face of faster change than we have previously experienced. As digital marketers, we need to keep on the front foot and stay up to date with the latest developments to ensure we and our clients have a steady, rational perspective powering search marketing efforts. As always, we must continually check our target keywords and the impact our content is having on the different ways SEO is measured and assessed.

As for brightonSEO, it’s a phenomenal conference for anyone involved in SEO, content, social media and PR and you’d absolutely find a wealth of relevant talks whatever your role in marketing. The SEO community is genuinely lovely, supportive and a very stylish (!) bunch, so whether you’re new to the industry or a stalwart of search, you will be welcomed with open arms at brightonSEO and beyond.

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