Digital Marketing , Digital Transformation , Optimisation

SEO Brighton April 2024 - Our Top Ten Takeaways

Author: Stuart Lane
May 03, 2024
Appius attended SEO Brighton April 2024 last week and we bring you our key takeaways from the the world's biggest SEO event.
Read on to check out the things you really need to be scared about, some important times to 'get real' in your SEO approach, and finally some really progressive insights to adapt to where SEO is at in 2024


Scary SEO insight #1 - Google SGE could massively reduce your SERP real estate and your natural traffic


If you haven't heard about Googles plans and experiments with SGE (Search Generative Experience) then its time to catch up.


Early predictions are that AI generated content from Google on page 1 will override 20-60% of serp exposure and natural traffic - with some even estimating 80% drops. 
So what can you do? Get ready and have a plan to feature in the AI generated content.
Credit - Anna Morrish - "Micro Moment Marketing"
Scary SEO insight #2 - Google Core Updates Hitting Links, AI content and the 'Bucket of Death' effect
'Penalty analysis' from the impact of Google Core Updates reveals impact from spikes in negative referring domains in spite of Google statements regarding links not being important.
Other penalty analysis reveals indicators of poor grammar and readability, and also obviously AI generated content.
Even positive changes to your content can result in a 'bucket of death' period where Google re-evaluates your content, which can leave it floundering but can also be followed but the uplift you were hoping for.
Credit - Rad Palusak - "Algorithmic Penalty to 373% revenue increase"
Scary SEO insight #3 - going viral can actually hurt your SEO performance - context is king
It is possible for a viral flurry of significant links to your content to actually damage your search listings.
The cause of this is Google changing the 'context' of your site and domain authority because of the nature of the viral content and inbound links. If this is not actually the purpose of your website then you are in trouble in the medium to long term.
So what can you do? Make sure that the context of your content aligns well with your website or evolve your website quickly in line with the new and particularly current and topical content you are generating.
Credit - Maja Jovancevic - "What Happens to your website when you go viral?"
Get real SEO insight #1 - Real SEO growth is market share / transparency
Ok so you report your YoY and MoM natural search traffic. This could be an increase based on general online activity from your audience, or even a decrease that actually still relates to an increase in market share.
Lockdown really brought this reality home for a lot of websites and SEO professionals.  During lockdown they saw false positives from increasing market in online services and false negatives for position gains when market interest was in limbo.
So search KPIs without competitor and market trend context aren't really real measures of success - you need to expand your KPIs to include these factors.
Credit - Tom Vaughan - "The good, the bad and ugly of SEO success"
Get real SEO insight #2 - Raw AI content wont cut it - curation is key whether AI used for just text or your whole brand
Google can spot AI generated content when it has been done as quick and non curated exercise. Your SEO software can probably spot it too, now - and will be telling you to change it.
Nothing really beats original content and real user content sites like Reddit are getting a bit of a boost as a result.
AI generated content has a value as a potential starting point at any level - whether it be as small as some link anchor text or as big as a whole website and business with an AI generated identity. You must curate this content though - plan to spend time adapting your generated content and review it with an expert if you are not one.
Credit - Manuel Madeddu - "SEO AI Automation"
Get real SEO insight #3 - you can actually work regulation and compliance into your SEO friendly content strategy
If you work in a regulated industry like finance or healthcare you may feel you are in the middle of an endless fight with regulation and compliance teams, impacting your ability to match content to user intent.
Actually knowing the fundamentals of the regulatory frameworks that apply to your industry and your team are working to. Speaking the same language is a great start.
A more constructive dialogue and proactive approach can mean you can find ways to weave warnings and clarifications into useful and readable content.
Credit - John Forth - "Creating Content in Regulated Industries"
Progressive SEO insight #1 - Look outside the box - using organic channels for SEO research and competitive edge
Tiktok and non natural search channels can provide content ideas, and feature language being used that are not part of conventional search, or even featuring in historical search volumes info in your software.
Content needs to be evaluated differently in these channels - amount of shares, sub communities forming in places like Reddit. New words and phrases will emerge for things and can be spotted and mapped ahead of becoming searched terms with more widespread usage. Will you be wearing a 'large t-shirt' or a 'pump cover' to the gym this week?
Credit - Ray Saddiq - "Build relevant content by researching your audience on all organic channels"
Progressive SEO insight #2 - Find your SEO audience in new ways - niche audiences as a tribe and the rise of video
Did you know Google guidelines mention video over 100 times and state that equal priority can be given for video, web page or PDF depending on content and context?
More mobile usage has meant more video usage. Tiktok and Youtube approve and provide content faster than Google, and visual and sound quality of video is NOT a rating factor for Google.
Google can identify an author, credibility and popularity signals from non Google channels and Youtube too and apply this to your organic content 'weighting'. Video can provide access to your audience more easily and rapidly in many scenarios, so should have increasing priority in your SEO strategy.
Humans are programmed to form into tribes with similar interests and beliefs so mapping 'entities' being referenced by groups as well as their interests, can identify new content opportunities - eg a new music artist related to an interest that a group has like guitars.
Credit - Benjamin Szturmaj "How videos can elevate your Google rankings and improve your E-E-A-T, Dixon Jones - "Writing content that search engines can really understand"
Progressive SEO Insight #3 - Expand your SEO toolkit with Regex and BigQuery
Regex or regular expressions are a programming language that was established in the 1960s and that can be used in Google Search Console (GSC), Google Analytics (GA), Google BigQuery, Google Sheets, Excel and Power BI.
Asa result you can filter SEO related data in Google Search Console or these other tools e.g. to narrow down to particular datasets or by other factors eg branded and non branded keywords.
Google Search Console and Excel both have levels where they 'top out' so for a fuller dataset BigQuery is a great repository. This allows for larger datasets, queries and a longer term view of data such as Google Search Console data - which is limited to 1000 records and some frustratingly short timescales for certain pieces of key information like indexing.
Credit - Matt Greenwood - "Filter Magic, a beginner's guide to using regex"
Progressive SEO insight #4 - Embrace the new E-E-A-T and your company experts, particularly for YMYL websites
Google E-E-A-T is the updated version of E-A-T and stands for Experience, Experience, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness - the 'Experience' part at the front being the newest factor.
Google classifies sites and content with impact on a user's health, financial stability, safety, or well-being as 'Your Money or Your Life' and gives more weighting to particular content characteristics.
As a result if your site conveys any kind of expertise, or particularly expertise in the YMYL space, your SEO performance will really benefit from attention to these guidelines.
Clear author schema and expert profiles for experts, , showcasing trust signals, reviewed content, readability, appropriate length for the content itself... the list goes on and includes much more that you need to consider!
Genuine expert content beats AI generated content every day, but experts needs to be motivated - ask them "do you want to raise your profile?' pre-brief them and be ready to sit down with them and adapt to their personalities with great interview and questioning skills.
Credits - Amanda Walls - "SEO for YMYL industries", Rin Hamburgh - "How to leverage subject matter experts to create EEAT-boosting super content"
Appius have been successfully delivering SEO strategies for clients since 1998. SEO is part of our digital marketing services, delivered by our Experience & Engagement team who are part of a full service digital agency offering.
If some of this isn't totally clear we can translate as needed, add our own experience in these areas and provide more detail on request if you contact us.
Outside of the takeaways we would love to understand your SEO training and execution needs - contact us for more information or to set up an informal chat with our SEO and digital marketing experts.


About Author
Stuart Lane
Stuart Lane

Managing Director, Head of Experience & Engagement at Appius


Appius have spent over 20 years transforming digital experiences across multiple sectors.