Friday 2nd September saw the second BrightonSEO of 2016, and the first at their new, slightly larger location of The Brighton Centre.
Once again Klood Digital took the long, long train journey from Milton Keynes to the sunny* seaside town to find out what was new in search marketing and rub shoulders with the industry’s best and brightest.
Here’s what we learned…
*Wet and windy
302 redirects are better than 301s… maybe
Cristoph Cemper, founder of Link Research Tools and Impactana, gave a talk titled ‘7 More Things You Didn’t Know About Links’, which included a very interesting section on which redirects are best to employ.
The received wisdom on this is that ideally you want to be using 301 redirects for website or webpage migrations that are permanent, and that 302s should only be used when they are temporary.
However, Cristoph states that, having ran several tests, that the rankings for pages powered by 302 redirects enjoy consistently better rankings than those powered by 301s, which slowly start to lose positions over time. He suggests that the secret behind the effectiveness (at least that he found) of the 302 might be that when Googlebot finds a 302 redirect it can’t apply anything to it to affect the rankings - because it’s only temporary. It therefore says to itself it will simply check again the next time it comes around.
An interesting theory, and certainly one that is at odds with current ‘best practice’, but certainly something that warrants a bit more attention.
Voice search is only becoming more important
During Purna Virji’s talk on voice search, she quoted a comScore stat which said that, by 2020, 50% of search will come from voice. A pretty staggering figure, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Purna had some key points to make about how voice search should impact on SEO strategy.
Firstly, that we need to rethink keyword planning with greater emphasis on long tail phrases, as voice searches are typically made up of four or more words compared with the one to three making up text searches.
Purna also talked about intent and how important that was for voice search, particularly around words such as ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘how’ and ‘when’. We need to be creating content that caters for those sorts of searches.
Another cool little tip was to think about your branding, and whether there are any common misspellings and, importantly for voice search, whether there are any common mispronunciations of your brand. If so, you need to take these into consideration when optimising your website as well.
HTTP (or Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is basically the protocol that looks after the connections between your browser and a web server, and HTTP/2 is the first revision of the HTTP network since 1997 - so long overdue then.
Back in April of this year, Google’s John Mueller said that HTTP/2 would have no impact on SEO:
“Search engine crawlers (even if they don’t support HTTP/2 yet, like Googlebot) will continue to work normally, you don’t have to set up redirects, change links, add markup, or make any changes in Search Console.”
However, considering HTTP/2 is set to make websites that support the new protocol significantly faster (and as we know, site speed is a ranking signal), it follows that it will indeed by an indirect signal - and who knows if it will become one in its own right down the line.
Don’t necessarily worry about AMP
On the subject of site speed, Fili Wiese - former Google Search Quality team member and now SEO Consultant at Search Brothers - gave a fascinating talk on how to make your website ‘record-breakingly fast’.
Fili’s talk was full of excellent little hints and tips for maximising your website’s load time, and we’d recommend checking out the slide deck, but one of the most interesting points he made was regarding AMPs, or Accelerated Mobile Pages.
AMPs are stripped back versions of web pages designed for faster loading on mobile devices, something Google has claimed will help those web pages rank better in the SERPs. However what Fili recommended was not making sure you have lots of AMPs, but rather that you adopt the best practices of AMP and apply it across your website.
After all, AMPs may be the flavour of the month right now, but what about in one, two, or even five years time?
Make sure you check out the slides of these four talks, and you can also take a look at the slides of (almost) all of the speakers at the latest BrightonSEO here.