Brighton SEO Summary – October 2022
It’s October, which many of us associate as a month for ghouls and ghosts, and all things terrifying. And yet, there was nothing spooky about Brighton SEO – back for its second conference of the year, except perhaps the growing emergence of AI in marketing.
Here, we explore some of the fantastic talks we encountered at the event, starting with an insightful presentation on AI content.
Can You Trust AI With Your Content? – Mat Bennett (Agency Coach, Mentor, Consultant)
AI content marketing is a hot topic for discussion at the moment, especially with the emergence of AI design. This was the theme of Mat Bennett’s insightful talk, who made use of – admittedly unnerving for some of the audience – artificially generated designed slides. Rest assured, these robots aren’t going to take control of the world, but do they have a part to play in the content of tomorrow?
For his research, Mat put artificial intelligence to the test. The results were intriguing. First things first, it’s important to understand these tools are not necessarily AI. More accurate terminology would be “word prediction tools,” because they scour the web and learn language patterns and habits. The example Mat used to explain this was “Once upon a time…” Present this phrase to an AI content tool, and it generates a fantasy tale, based on the notion that, “Once upon a time…” is often a prelude to fantastical stories. This doesn’t make the tool sentient or even smart per se, but it can certainly understand a subject and, sometimes, produce a form of relevant content.
Google does allow it – for now. The new Google Helpful Content update is bound to have a big impact on AI content. Those systems that churn out useless content will struggle. The content will no longer rank because, frankly, it isn’t helpful. The more advanced, powerful systems may be capable of producing informative content for the reader, but the language can become repetitive and stale. For any brand looking to build an identity, this can be harmful.
That’s not to say AI content doesn’t serve a purpose. In the future, as the systems become more advanced and reliable, they may be able to manage live, basic updates. Think football match results and weather bulletins or traffic coverage. There may be a purpose for AI content, but there are still plenty of question marks about the capabilities of the technology itself.
AI content may serve a purpose one day, but it should be reserved for everyday pieces of predictable copy. Well-written, useful, and engaging content takes more than just research and words on a page. It takes expert understanding of a brand, the topic, and the KPIs to ensure performance, and to succeed in ranking highly with Google’s Helpful Content update.
What the Clusterf***? How to Convince Google You’re An Expert – Alice Rowan (Freelance Content Writer)
If there was a way to explain how to approach content from start to finish, and how to organise your content strategy, this was it. Alice Rowan, a freelance content writer and B2B expert, opened the talk with a laugh-out-loud but very accurate analogy:
“Vapid content is like small talk; nobody really enjoys it, nobody gets anything out of it. On the other hand, topic clusters are the content equivalent of a DMC – a deep meaningful conversation. Topic clusters are insightful, eye-opening, and full of information you never knew beforehand.”
Google’s August 2022 Helpful Content update was understandably a key topic across Brighton SEO, and a focal point of Alice’s talk. The update prioritises useful, informative content and weeds out anything that doesn’t provide value. No more small talk, Google only wants content that is informative and valuable.
In order to produce meaningful content, you need a comprehensive strategy. Alice explained how a content campaign should run with eight key steps.
- Choose your topic wisely.
- Identify the lead magnets.
- Pick your supporting content.
- Think about optimisation, but prioritise people first – make the content valuable.
- Commit to quality research. Good research is crucial for EAT.
- Work on your linking strategy. “Click here for more information” doesn’t suffice.
- Create cornerstone content. Bold because it’s that important.
- Distribute efficiently. Reduce, reuse, and repurpose. Break the content down into useful, smaller pieces.
The Tug Take:
Planning out your content and dedicating time towards a campaign, rather than rushing the process and producing something uninspiring, is important. Good copy sells – but that’s not all it can do.
The Elusive ROI of Content Marketing – Tim Souls (Ahrefs)
The return on investment for content can be challenging to identify. The first part, the cost of investment, is relatively simple to calculate. Take the monthly team salaries and divide the total sum by the amount of content. This will give you the cost per article.
The return on investment can often be more difficult to work out. On the face of it, there are leads, conversions, and sales – elements we usually look for when judging the success of a piece of content. However, Tim Souls was quick to point out that this is “just the tip of the iceberg.” The surface-level benefits of a good piece of content doesn’t tell the whole story. We also have to consider the retention, re-activation, and revenue expansion that can come from good content.
Retention keeps customers informed, and can prevent them from transferring to other brands. Re-activation wins back customers, perhaps those who have previously taken an interest in your product or service but did not follow through with a purchase. Revenue expansion takes your existing customers and builds more revenue – utilising the sale of additional products or services, such as a tripod for a camera, or a phone case.
However, retention, re-activation, and revenue expansion, are not the only areas where content can have an impact. There are even more benefits to quality copy – benefits that can be difficult to track but that impact ROI.
- Word of mouth
- Brand awareness
- Paid Acquisition
- Thought leadership
- Hiring / onboarding
- Customer support
All of these elements can be enhanced through well-written content. For example, informative guides can educate your consumers and reduce the amount of call time for your customer support team. This means useful content that doesn’t just prioritise keywords. Thinking about content in these terms can help you grow revenue both directly and indirectly – showcasing its return on investment.
Elements like reduced customer support time can be hard to track, so it’s no surprise that marketers don’t always identify every benefit of good copy. Tim Souls is correct in his evaluation of content and its potential ROI. With Google’s Helpful Content update, there’s even more reason to focus on content that provides genuine value to the reader, rather than focusing on keywords alone.
That’s Brighton SEO for this year. We’re already looking forward to seeing what the conference has to offer in 2023, and what topics will take the spotlight as the industry continues to evolve.
Are you a brand looking to create a strategy and produce meaningful, useful content? Tug Agency is a performance marketing agency that specialises in producing valuable content marketing. Whether you’re looking for content guides, whitepapers, blogs, infographics, or videos, we can help you reach your marketing and business goals. We don’t stop caring for content once it’s live. Our outreach and optimisation specialists will ensure your content finds the right audiences, driving revenue expansion and growth – whatever your business.