We’ve rounded up some of the most engaging insights from BrightonSEO. These conference talk topics will bring you up-to-date on some of the most interesting changes happening in our industry, as well as give you some useful tips to implement in your own SEO.

Catherine ‘Pear’ Goulbourne: How to Find Content Gaps When You Don’t Speak the Language

Any marketer who wants to scale their content marketing across languages, must start by identifying content gaps based on SEO data and insights in multiple languages. Catherine ‘Pear’ Goulbourne gives us the building blocks to start multilingual content marketing and help us identify the biggest opportunities and avoid any mistakes.

Why you need to know your market first

It is important to understand the market before looking for content gaps. We need to find out the search engine split and ranking factors in order to find out what content we need to create and what SEO we need to implement.

Competitors: who are they and how do we compete with them?

It is important that we look at two groups of competitors: perceived competitors and SEO competitors; SEO competitors do not need to sell a similar product or be similar businesses. If they appear higher in the Search Engine results pages (SERPs), they are considered a competitor. Consider looking at four SEO competitors and four perceived so you can focus on the most important competitors.

The two groups help give clients the full SEO and content landscape to compete more evenly within that market.

How to find your SEO competitors:

  1. Firstly, we can use an SEO tool, such as SEMrush, to paste the client’s URL and find competitors. This is done based on common keywords shared with that brand.
  2. We can then export this list and remove any competitors we deem irrelevant. We now have your list of SEO competitors.

SEO competitors vary for each market and each country.

How to find content gaps:

Before we start looking for content gaps, we find it useful to check our own content inventory to help minimise production of duplicate content by accident. Creating duplicate content cannibalises old work and wastes time.

There are various tools to help us find content gaps, SEMrush and Ahrefs for example, which can help us identify gaps.

  • Use SEMrush content gap feature to show where the gaps are and which competitors we need to pay attention to. To do this, all we need to do is enter competitor URLs.
  • SEMrush will then produce a visual to help see keyword equity between all competitors. This is in the form of overlapping circles . Where the circles do not overlap, it shows what keywords your client is not visible for.
  • We then need to have a look at what content they are building around these keywords and think about how we can produce content that is better than what these competitors offer.

To add additional value to what we already have, we think that using Screaming Frog can be quite
useful. It will crawl competitors’ websites and provide a list which can be exported into Excel, sorted through and any extra information can be added into our gap analysis document.

We can then add seasonality, demographics, content themes, pillars or whatever is going to be helpful. We can do this by looking at the content on our own site, and even using auto-translate in the browser if it is in another language.

What we find most useful is taking screenshots, finding evidence and resources to refer back to when you’re creating your own content.

How to take your work one step further:

Get LIMEs (local in-market experts) which are native speakers who don’t just translate but localise. Localisation implementation can have a great impact as they can give clients visibility in other countries and markets.

You will need someone who speaks the language in order to produce content however the research stage is something you can do yourself.

Steph Whatley: How to ‘SEO’ Forums, Communities and UGC

Steph Whatley discusses an under-covered topic in SEO, forums , which she believes can actually help give us increase in search visibility and keep people on our site for longer by giving users large amounts of content to consume. Forums enable for more user-generated content and the ability to open up a new dialogue with customers too.

However, many forums have been affected by some significant algorithmics drops over the past year but there are ways to help this. Firstly, Steph’s number one rule is to use logical and consistent URL paths.

There are three reasons that forums may not be performing as well as they would like:

Duplication: Forums are known to have duplicate threads which target very similar topics. Likewise, thread titles and meta titles can be very vague which do not give search engines much idea with regards to context and relevance; this can cause issues from an SEO point of view, such as keyword cannibalisation, poor ranking and lack of user engagement.

How to tackle duplication:

  • Use auto-prompts to suggest an existing relevant thread to the user, instead of creating a new one.
  • Introduce a minimum character limit for thread titles.
  • Show users thread title guidance to remind them that it will be beneficial to create a descriptive, engaging post in order to get higher visibility and level of discussion.
  • Use an internal search feature to make it easier for users to find existing, relevant threads. Crawling: Forums have the potential to grow exponentially, therefore it is difficult to manage crawl budget .

How to tackle crawl budget issues:

  • Complete in-depth log file analysis to look at where irregular crawling is taking place.
  • Consider our internal linking .
  • Increase crawl rate by adding modules in your page wireframes, e.g. ‘recent’, ‘popular’ or ‘trending’ posts.
  • Direct crawlers to deeper pages using HTML sitemaps .
  • Don’t over-paginate . It is recommended we allow for 20 to 30 replies before generating a new page.
  • Deal with content cruft . Remove any content that is not fresh, engaging, relevant and has no SEO value.

Trust: It is vital that a website contains quality, authoritative content in order to rank competitively and be successful. Evidently, from a trust perspective, user-generated content is risky.

Search engines look at three areas when considering the trustworthiness of a site:

  • the link graph: who the site is connected to and how.
  • content quality: favouring in-depth, well-written articles containing verifiable information.
  • site hygiene: how many crawling issues there are on the site’s pages.

How to improve trust signals on a forum:

  • Use moderators which can close/merge duplicate threads, ban trolls and spammers, bring threads back on topic and remind people of forum rules.
  • Blanket rel=nofollow all outbound links within user-generated content.
  • Check our backlink profile regularly and reject harmful links through Google Search Console.
  • Reference and cite factual content to make it more reputable.

Previously, when auditing forums the biggest challenge we have faced is dealing with the vast number of URLs that are being generated due to websites using parameters to build new URL threads instead of clean URL structures which can be managed in an easier manner.

Additionally, the number of thin (low quality) pages has also been a challenge as naturally some pages on a forum will have zero or minimal responses from users. It is important rules are put in place to prevent this from getting out of hand. Regular audits are important as this can identify low quality pages which have not received traffic over a period of time can be removed.

Sal Mohammed: Why AI Will Be a Key Part of Your Team, Not a Replacement

There are now many tools out there that feature artificial intelligence (AI) which can conduct a number of time-consuming tasks. Yet, there seems to be some skepticism towards AI with many wondering whether it should be considered an opportunity or a threat.

Sal Mohammed speaks on how AI and automation are aspects of technology that work to efficiently meet ever-changing consumer needs, such as increased curiosity, impatience and demand. In fact, he claims AI will help enhance the overall technological experience, even if it does disrupt the SEO industry, as well as many others, causing a lot of job changes.

The three areas that Sal chooses to outline are:

Acquisition: AI can help us target businesses and pitch to them more accurately which, in turn, will help you win more clients.

Execution: AI will have a huge impact on the precision of our work. Humans are more likely to make errors and have certain flaws. For example, time and speed of calculation. AI will help minimise error and increase speed of execution. We can use AI as leveraging tools to help give us the upper hand.

Delivery: AI can help in the way we report, a very time-consuming task, that usually ends up as more of a ‘data-dump’ rather than actual insight for clients. It can ensure that useful data is provided in the best way possible without fault.

A note from us

You must understand that you simply cannot go against these technological advances. AI may start to unsettle our industry however the key to success lies in how we deal with these changes. It is important to remember that AI cannot do everything humans can. For us, the key is to be creative. Computers are not good at being creative yet humans are irrational empathetic so perfect for just that. The real magic is in the human touch.