Brighton SEO Day 1: Faceted nav, GA4 & more
Another Brighton SEO is done. The sun shone, the seagulls were on their best behaviour and the knowledge bombs landed. Here are my best bits from the front line.
1. Areej Abuali – Unlocking the hidden potential of product listing pages
First up, I sat in Auditorium 2 for the eCommerce block of talks. Areej AbuAli opened up the proceedings with a genuinely pleasant and honest talk about unlocking the hidden potential in your PLPs (Product Listing Pages). Areej told us all about her latest career move and discussed a problem I myself encounter frequently:
What happens when you can’t find anything particularly wrong to fix?
No technical debt, no common technical SEO issues. Where should you focus?
Areej then explained the process taken to identify where improvements could be made on top of an already well built site and how it is integral to reach beyond our normal avenues for data and insights to tap into other teams, their KPIs, their growth strategies etc. to drive overall growth.
Ultimately, Areej’s strategy didn’t work, which was oddly refreshing to hear, and she did a good job in explaining her failings and the why which wrapped everything up nicely.
2. Luke Carthy – The ultimate how-to guide for faceted navigation
Next up was Luke Carthy talking about something I am very passionate about – Faceted Nav. Luke gave a good foundation and insight into all things navigation, balancing the desire to have landing pages for everything with a more balanced approach based on business and customer needs.
3. Monet Blake – David vs Goliath: The rise of sustainable fashion against fast fashion giants
This one was particularly interesting for me, having worked with PrettlyLittleThing for many years in the past. Monet gave some solid insights into how a small fashion brand can find its place amongst the fast fashion giants like PrettyLittleThing and ASOS. She identified several areas of opportunity for smaller businesses as well as negative factors that are starting to affect fast fashion in general.
My personal advice for any fashion brand going up against the big players would be to pick your battles.
For generic terms, the first page is saturated by huge online and high street brands with massive brand equity. As Monet mentioned, identify the gaps and focus your efforts there initially in the hope the Goliaths aren’t also actively trying to plug them. They are, by the way.
Next (also in Auditorium 2, I am recovering from COVID so didn’t move about much) were three sessions on EAT (Expertise, Authority and Trust).
4. Alice Rowan – Convince Google you are an expert and plan your content faster
Alice Rowan started off with a talk around conveying expertise, which covered the importance of actually being an expert when creating content. This is something I have been shouting about since I started out nearly 20 years ago, so listening to someone else really drive the subject home with real gusto (a lot of swearing) was refreshing.
5. Izabela Wisniewska – EAT is not SEO & 6. Mat Bennett – Do the public trust AI writing?
Izabela discussed how EAT is more than just an SEO thing and Mat Bennett dug into whether AI content is understood and trusted by the general public.
Overall all three talks blended well to cover EAT in an interesting way and the session got people thinking and talking which will hopefully move us all forward with a bit more legitimacy.
Matt’s talk was particularly interesting as he had done some testing to see how users responded to AI content. In general, people don’t trust it, but interestingly they didn’t seem to mind it when compared to other cheaply-produced content. The main issue remains that AI can’t generate new knowledge so only certain types of content work.
Izabela’s Twitter is set to private and I can’t find a link to her deck but I will keep looking and update here if I can provide more information. I was sat on the floor behind a pillar so couldn’t get any pictures.
Other highlights from day 1 were:
• Kelvin dressed as a seagull. Been there, done that, appreciate the effort he put in.
• An ice cream van inside the building which was great quality.
• Claire Carlile’s hosting. Such a supportive person
• Arpun Kaur Bhudi’s presentation and stage presence. A really good, captivating presenter.
Onward to day two…