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Jack: Coming up on this week's episode, I talk with our Content Specialist here at Candour, Emma-Jane Stogdon, all about their highlights at BrightonSEO. And basically we're going to talk about our favorite talks, cool people we met, and all that kind of stuff from last week's event. Stay tuned for that. Welcome to episode 67 of season two of the Search with Candour podcast. I am your host Jack Chambers-Ward, and joining me this week is a fellow Candourlorian, and it's not Mark, believe it or not. It is actually Emma-Jane Stogdon, our Content Specialist here at Candour, and we are going to be basically doing a little debrief all about BrightonSEO, our highlights, and talk about all the talks we saw and all that kind of stuff. Before I get to that, I'd like of course to say a huge thank you to our sponsor, SISTRIX. And SISTRIX, if you didn't know, is the SEO's toolbox, you can go to sistrix.com/swc if you want to check out some of their fantastic free tools, such as their SERP Snippit Generator, hreflang validator, the Google Update Radar, or if you want to check your site's Visibility Index for free.
Speaking of visibility index, we have the Q1 2023 update of IndexWatch from the fantastic Luce Rawlings over at SISTRIX. Shout-out to Luce, she's been on the show before, she's fantastic. And Luce has had a look into basically what has happened with these latest two updates. When it comes to the March Core Update, so the March 2023 Core Update, and the recent Product Reviews Update as well, what have been the biggest winners and losers in UK search. It's an interesting, interesting field of data. We'll start with a couple of streaming services. Prime Video has seen a pretty significant boost, particularly in the detailed directory that they saw. It seems to be mostly basically people covering and synopsis and things like that for TV shows, movies, all that kind of stuff that's hosted on Prime Video. In particular, people seem to be searching for TV shows, and it has created a pretty significant boost in clicks and visibility for the primevideo.com domain. Things like Love Island Australia Season Three, the film Moon from 2009, a personal favorite of mine. Highly, highly recommend that. And even Bananaman, something I remember from my childhood many years ago, have seen pretty significant boosts.
However, Luce's analysis of the data does show some interesting little patterns here because the ratio of rankings in page one compared to rankings in page two to 10 is very, very low. Typically, high-performing content examples of the SISTRIX highlight have around sort of 20% or so, so you get a lot of page one rankings and that is why they're performing so well. It's 4% for Prime Video, which I think says a lot about the kind of spread and the massive amount of things that they cover on Prime Video, the huge amount of stuff that they have on their service. It feels fairly spread thin to me, and that might be why. They seem to have been basically rewarded from the February Product Review Update. Combining that with the March Core Update, they have significantly boosted their visibility by going up up nearly 300%, and by 277.4% from January 2023 to now in April of 2023.
Similarly, very similarly in fact, is the Sky Store, which I didn't think was still a thing. Apparently Sky still has a rental service that they do. Obviously it's all digital and stuff and you can do it that way. I didn't even know this was still a thing. Who knew? I remember this thing being a thing in sort of 15, 20 years ago, when Sky was first a thing here in the UK. But people checking out TV series and movies and searching for all that kind of stuff, they have a product section which is up 223.5%. Very, very similar to Prime Video's detailed directory that we mentioned earlier, which is basically all the collection of synopsis and all that kind of stuff, as well as all the buying and rental prices and all that kind of thing. It did start increasing a little bit before the updates, but has seen a significant boost. As I said, 190% overall improvement over the last quarter, so a pretty significant boost for Sky Store.
Swapping over to the losers. I'll give you a hint of one of the losers, which perhaps is the biggest surprise to me because they were one of the biggest winners of last year's Visibility Leaders, Healthline. You don't often see Healthline in the Losers category, they've pretty consistently been a winner and pretty consistently led the way in terms of E-E-A-T centric content. They have lost 70 visibility points, which is about 17, 18% decline in their UK visibility.
To put that in perspective, 70 points is the entirety of moneysavingexpert.com. That's the difference that they've seen. They've lost an entire pretty significant domains worth of visibility because they are one of the highest ranking, one of the best ranking, we think it's 21st in the top 25 most visible domains in the UK. A little drop for Healthline in terms of visibility means a significant drop in clicks and impressions for that site.
It looks like their health section has dropped by 20%. The beauty and skincare section has dropped by more than 20% as well. And maybe, just maybe, this is them and their standards slipping. Maybe they got a little bit complacent. I'm not sure. I know Steve had spoken to the SEO and digital marketing team over there when they won their Visibility Leader Award last year. I'll put a link to that interview in the show notes if you do want to go and check that out. Steve from SISTRIX giving an interview there with the team from Healthline. But yeah, I kind of got the impression they were industry leaders and we've seen things like NHS inform, the Mayo Clinic, WebMD, start creeping up into those page one rankings and they seem to be kind of pushing Healthline out of the way.
So maybe Google has really focused on Healthline and really criticized them and really, really hyper-focused on all of the negatives and all that kind of thing when it comes to E-E-A-T. Because it's so your money, your life and all that kind of thing, they are hyper-focusing on the negatives and really penalizing any possible problems that Healthline have because they've set such a high standard before. Any slips are now pretty, pretty big changes. So a possibility, I'm not sure, I'm honestly not sure, but I'm very, very surprised to see Healthline drop in such a huge way in terms of visibility.
With other leaders we've also got a couple of female fashion brands, Roman and Oasis. Losers include NHS Wales and a few song sites and lyric sites and things like that. So do go and check out Index Watch for Quarter 1 of 2023. Of course links for that will be in the show notes at search.withcandour.co.uk.
So we're doing something a little bit different this week since it's just been BrightonSEO. I actually want to catch up with a fellow Candourlorian and shine a little spotlight on a fellow Candourlorian, and talk about our experiences at BrightonSEO last week. Welcome to the show, Emma-Jane Stogdon.
Emma-Jane: Hello, how are you?
Jack: I'm good. Thanks, mate. How are you? It's
Emma-Jane: Weird not being in the office.
Jack: I know, right? Yeah, so we are recording this remotely. Despite the fact we both work for Canda. We are both based in Norwich, and the fact that you and I have known each other for years, even outside of Candour. You were literally a bridesmaid to my wedding.
Jack: I'm sure some of the listeners don't know who you are. First of all, shame on them. They should be aware of you already through your-
Emma-Jane: Very kind.
Jack: ... various exploits across the internet. I guess let's start with how long have you been at Candour for, what's your role here and all that sort of stuff?
Emma-Jane: Okay. I've been at Candour since July 2022 as a content specialist. Basically, I jumped between content SEO and digital PR.
Jack: And before you joined Candour, my understanding is you did a lot of writing, to say the least. You are an award-winning filmmaker as well, and a podcaster in your own right. Loads of stuff going on outside of Candour. So give the listeners a little rundown of your extracurricular activities, I suppose, and some previous career experience as well.
Emma-Jane: Cool. Well, I'll start with previous career experience. My previous role was as a content manager. So I live, breathe, and eat, if I can eat it, content.
Jack: Eat, eh? Eh? E-E-A-T.
Emma-Jane: See what I did there? Yeah, you see what I did there? But basically, yeah, I've been obsessed with content forever. I've been a freelance copywriter for the past 15 years, but I've only worked in the digital marketing space since 2019. I just got interested in it due to self-taught SEO stuff and doing keyword research and that sort of stuff. And since being involved in the digital marketing space, I absolutely love it. It's always so varied and exciting. But yes, other than that, my extracurricular activities as you put them, I am an award-winning filmmaker with Cheesemint Productions. I do a lot of audio with them, and I say them like we're so special. It's just-
Emma-Jane: Me and a group of friends and my husband, yeah, we have a film production company. We've won awards for web series, short films, we've even done a feature film. Basically when I'm not at work, I'm still technically at work doing other things. And also, I am a host on a very niche podcast. It's called Sumo Drop and it's about, you guessed it, Sumo wrestling.
Jack: Nice, nice. Not only do you have podcasting experience, you also have SEO, so we've got lots to talk about on this show. And I've been saying this to Mark, even before you officially joined Candour, I was like, "You know Emma-Jane's got podcast experience. We should get EJ on the show and be a part of the podcast here at Candour." So it's nice to finally have you on, and you and I were also at BrightonSEO last week. That was my third BrightonSEO. I'm trying try to remember the number off the top of my head, I always forget. And it was your second, I think, am I right?
Emma-Jane: It was my second. Yeah, I went October last year as well.
Emma-Jane: I was very lucky to go to.
Jack: Yeah, because I did April last year, October last year, and now April this year, so I'm three in a row at this point.
Jack: Yeah, yeah. Already planning stuff for September, so fingers crossed for September, which will literally be two weeks before I go on my honeymoon. So hopefully I'll get everything sorted and done before then before my wife kills me.
Emma-Jane: I'm sure you will. Yes, I know your wife, she will kill you if you're not ready for the holiday.
Jack: She will. She will. I'm doing last-minute packing and just absolutely freaking her out, as I often do.
Emma-Jane: It's all right. Speaking of last-minute packing, I'm due to go to Japan in a couple of days and I still haven't started packing.
Jack: By the time you hear this, listeners, to put that into perspective, we're recording this the week before this goes out. By the time you hear this, Emma-Jane will be in Asia essentially.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, I'll be in either South Korea or Japan, depending on the date. So, yeah.
Jack: Exactly, exactly. Speaking of BrightonSEO, basically I wanted to use this episode as a way to do a little bit of a Candour debrief, for want of a better phrase, and talk about some of our highlights and some of our experiences and all that kind of stuff. And something we did that is less common I guess, is we also did training the day before as well. You and I both did training, a couple of the other guys from Candour also attended fringe events and stuff like that. So I'll pass that over to you. You did some eCommerce training I think, right?
Emma-Jane: I did, yeah. I did eCommerce SEO training. We had a really great trainer for that, Albadr Alhashemi from Builtvisible. It was interesting for me because my experience in SEO isn't very eCommerce based, that until I worked at Candour, I hadn't actually worked on many eCommerce sites at all. So for me this was a real chance to get to grips with eCommerce and get some training that perhaps other members of the team don't need, but I certainly did. I got so much from it. I don't know about you, but I feel like the courses have been really good. And from everyone else I've heard that have been on various courses, they've all been really, really positive about their experiences.
Jack: Yeah. I've had pretty much unanimous positive feedback. And from my side of things I did GA4 training because I've got to learn it at some time, right. You've got to pull the trigger.
Emma-Jane: At some point.
Jack: Yeah. I was just speaking to Brendan, our Head of SEO, and Luca, our Senior Search and Analytics Specialist, and they did the same training this time last year. And they, I now consider to be ... Luca is now leading our GA4 training externally to clients and stuff, so I think I'm in good stead, which is nice.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, definitely. And you're going to have to teach me some of that at some point.
Jack: Yeah, yeah. We're going to have to have that in internal knowledge share of all things GA4 in the not-too-distant future, that's for sure. A shout-out to Dan Perry-Reed, who was my trainer. He is fantastic. Recommend the Measure Lab podcast. He is one of the hosts of that podcast if you want to go and check that out.
Jack: All focused on analytics and stuff. And funnily enough, I was chatting to Dan during lunches and in between sessions and stuff, and he realized, "Oh, you're a podcaster. I'm a podcaster." And he was actually interested in the other podcast I do with your husband, Emma-Jane.
Emma-Jane: Of course, of course.
Jack: He wanted talk about Sequelisers, my movie podcast. Yeah, I was like, "I listen to your podcast." He's like, "I would like to listen to your podcast." So yeah, shout to Dan if you are listening. Thank you for fantastic GA4 training. What was kind of your favorite bit or the thing you found most interesting about eCommerce? Maybe something you didn't realize or didn't know before you did it?
Emma-Jane: Gosh, there was so much to take in. I think I'm still processing it all. I mean, I was looking at writing up my notes earlier today and I realized that I had so many notes that I'd written. I am one of those people that doesn't learn unless I literally write everything down.
Jack: You are a mega note-taker.
Emma-Jane: Which benefits everyone else that gets to see my notes, in hindsight. But yeah, there are a couple of things, more to do with site architecture, filters and facets. That stuff, I kind of knew what they were but I hadn't really taken a deep dive into any of those things so it was really good. Really gave me some overview of the user journey as well. And whether your architecture is good or bad can really affect the user journey super negatively if you're not careful. So yeah, that was super interesting, and certainly lots of things that I know that I'd like to be implementing for some of our clients. Some things we're already doing, we're already working on, but yeah, it was nice to see the knowledge I did have on eCommerce SEO was validated as well, because I always think that's really important as well. I always struggle with my own ... Recognizing my abilities, and so that was nice to have-
Jack: Oh, definitely. Yeah.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, to have some of it being like, "Oh yeah, I knew that already. Oh yeah, I knew that already," which was great. But there was definitely stuff on it that I definitely learned about, really deep site architecture stuff. So it was a really detailed training and I really enjoyed it, so yeah, I think it's ... Yeah. And it was also a little bit about internal linking in there as well, which obviously I work a lot in digital PR as well. And also, I'm working with content all the time, internal linking is always something that I'm always very, very conscious of and always wanting to push. I hate when I see a client that doesn't have a very good internal linking or their internal linking structure makes no sense. But the fact that there was a section in the training on internal linking as well, which gave me a little bit of food for thought for category pages, which was really, really, really helpful. So overall, great training and a shout-out to Albadr because he was also a really, really nice guy. Was happy to answer any questions. And I got chatting to him afterwards at the bar, just genuinely great guy, so yeah.
Jack: Nice, nice. Awesome. I think that's a really common thing when you go to one of these big conferences, you either learn something, and then some of the talks you will find yourself reaffirming your own knowledge in a way of like, "Oh God, I'm not an idiot. Thank God. Oh my god, I thought I was going crazy but that is a thing. Somebody who knows what they're talking about agrees with my theory or my thoughts," or whatever. It's like, "Ah," it's that nice little reassuring moment.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, definitely. I mean, how about your training? I mean, yours obviously GA4. It's something we've all got to learn eventually, but good for you?
Jack: Yeah, it was really interesting picking up ... Because I'd done the tiniest, tiniest little thing, funnily enough, with the Sequalisers website. I had basically used that as a testing bed.
Jack: Because I'd set up a Wix myself, I'd sorted it all out and all that kind of stuff. And had gone through and done the most basic tracking possible of like, turn it on now so you have annual yearly data and all that kind of stuff. We don't get that many clicks, it's not a big deal if it all goes horribly wrong. It's basically my own site, who cares? And I cleared it with the other guys as well before I did it.
Emma-Jane: I was going to say-
Jack: The co-owners of the business before I-
Emma-Jane: ... fast-forward a year later, everything's in turmoil because of that one thing you did.
Jack: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. And yeah, it was interesting. Everything is named slightly different, everything is events in GA4. Page views don't exist, there is now an event called page_view. And that was a real thing that Dan really drilled into us, was like, "Stop thinking about sessions, stop thinking about page views, think of everything as events." And actually, the way you track events in GA4 is really intuitive and really easy. There's loads of auto-tracking that seems to work pretty well from ... Again, mine's a very, very small site, so it's a niche example, but we were working on our literal live sites. He said, "Bring an account you know have admin access to, and we will do live work on the site. We'll do literal, I'll run through an example on the board and then I will give you 10 minutes to replicate that on your actual site. And if you find any weird things ..." That hands-on side of it-
Emma-Jane: That's really good.
Jack: ... was really, really useful to actually like, "Yeah, I know where to click." It's not just, "Oh, where do I click again?" I now have the muscle memory of actually being able to go through the different menus and sort things out and stuff like that, which is really useful. And I think, again, I said this to Luke and Brendan at the time, I was like, "Maybe I like GA4 now?" I'm hesitant, I know I'm about to get crucified for even suggesting that on a SEO podcast. But there were some really cool things and custom reports and stuff that you can create. You can replicate most of the stuff you do in Universal Analytics fairly quickly in GA4, if you want to go through that stuff. But it's also ways of, when you have a table of data, I've always found it difficult to ... You can't have users and new users and sessions all on one table at the same time, because you're looking either at the landing page report or the new or the audience report or whatever it is in Universal. Now you can just have whatever you want on a table and basically customize it to whatever you want. It's like, "Oh my gosh, why wasn't this a thing before? That's so useful."
Emma-Jane: Yeah. It does seem 100-times more useful. And it's kind of amusing to me, because for an industry where we're always pushing the fact that everything's always changing and we have to keep on top of stuff, the fact that everybody is always like, "GA4, oh my God." It's kind of funny. Everyone wants the change, and change is good until they have to look at GA4. But you're right, there's a lot of stuff on it that seems to be really positive. I actually attended a local GA4 talk from Luke at Candour, because he did a little local talk for the Norfolk Women's Marketing Network, which I go to. And his talk, any fears I had about GA4 were put to rest there, because it's not scary and it's not as big a deal as I think some people are making it out to be. I mean, yeah, okay, there's going to be things that are going to need ironing out, a few little issues, but that's with anything whenever you're moving to some kind of new program from one you're used to. But ultimately it sounds like everything about GA4 is potentially better and makes more sense, as you say. You know what I mean? So yeah, I find GA4 not as scary, but it sounds like the training was great. I love the idea of hands-on training, because as well as having to write everything down, having that extra hands-on practical side of things is actually really great. Because I know some people prefer to learn that way and are better learning that way.
Jack: Yeah. And I'm much better at learning that way myself when it comes to ... Like I said, I'm trying to replicate something like flicking through my notebook, because I am the opposite of you, I am a chaotic note-taker. I just scroll and scribble and circle stuff and underline stuff, my notes look like the notes of a serial killer, not of somebody who's sat in GA4 training. But yours are nicely formatted and sorted and organized and stuff.
Emma-Jane: Oh, yeah.
Jack: I do that step later. But when I'm just brain dumping and repeating information that's being thrown at me, I just throw it onto the page. But yeah, having that hands-on experience really helped me actualize it, visualize it, and realize it, and be like, "Oh yeah, that word means this now, it does not mean this thing, and here's where to actually click and find it." And that made a huge difference there I think. Let's talk about some talks, shall we?
Emma-Jane: Oh yeah, of course.
Jack: Let's dive in. I know we've got some shared highlights.
Emma-Jane: We do.
Jack: So I'll kick off with one we both saw, which was the power trio of Azeem, Fabio, and Andi-
Emma-Jane: Oh, yeah.
Jack: ... talking all about equality, and I absolutely love the way ... I was chatting with Azeem the night before, funnily enough, and he was talking about how much those guys had worked together to really build a cohesive session.
So for those of you who don't know, who haven't been to BrightonSEO, each session is split up into three 20-minute talks, essentially. So you get an hour-long slot plus a time for Q&A, and then each slot is 20 minutes per speaker. And sometimes they will feel a bit disjointed or perhaps they'll repeat each other because obviously they're not all working from the same piece of information, but they tend to be grouped by topics so you can get some kind of repeated information and stuff like that. The way Andi, Azeem and Fabio did it was to literally work together. They originally pitched apparently one 50-minute long three-person talk. And the team of BrightonSEO were like, "No, maybe calm down a bit."
Emma-Jane: Why not? It's no different to what we saw anyway, because essentially, as you say, it was so cohesive and all three of them just flowed into one another. Interesting.
Jack: Yeah, that's what Azeem told me. And maybe I'm spilling the beans and spilling the tea here, I don't know.
Jack: I'll get in trouble with Kelvin and the crew of BrightonSEO.
Emma-Jane: Sorry, Kelvin.
Jack: Yeah, I think, to the credit of them, that really made the whole session feel cohesive and relevant and they were referring to each other as, "Oh yeah, as Fabio just said." "Oh, as Andi's going to say in a minute." They're referring back to each other. But I think really helps reemphasize and reiterate so many of the points that they were talking about. And obviously, equality in SEO and equality in general is such an important topic. And as Azeem said at one point, we should probably be on the main stage with this. This should be seen by more people.
Emma-Jane: I think I tweeted about that, saying that-
Jack: Yes, you did.
Emma-Jane: ... this really shouldn't have been in one of the smaller rooms, this absolutely should have been in the main auditorium, for sure. Because as it all started, I believe one of the first slides was like, "Where are my people?" And look around and-
Jack: "Are my people here," is what Azeem said.
Emma-Jane: Yeah. That's it, that's it. And the whole idea of the people that are in the room, attending this equality talk, the majority of people there are not the people that need to hear this talk. Do you know what I mean?
Jack: Yeah. If you actively choose to go and hear about equality, you probably already are on board with a lot of the message you're going to get from that, right.
Jack: You just need to broadcast this to GB News and Fox News presenters and stuff.
Emma-Jane: Oh, God. But yeah, I really enjoyed all three of them. All three of them are really engaging speakers as well, really interesting to listen to, and all made excellent points. And just, it frustrates me that more people weren't watching it and the more people weren't there because yeah, it's frustrating.
Jack: Yeah, for sure.
Emma-Jane: But yes, Kelvin, if you are listening, more equality talks on the main stage, please.
Jack: Yeah. Apparently there were a few people that had spoken to them about that and been like-
Jack: Reiterate how great that talk was. Listeners, if you do want a little sneak preview and behind the scenes and follow up to that, I know Azeem on the Azeem Digital Asks podcast and Andi on the Strategy Sessions podcast. They basically had a crossover and they were on each other's podcasts talking about their experience, talking about equality and digital marketing and all that kind of stuff. So I will leave links for those in the show notes at search.withcandour.co.uk. Go and check out their other podcasts. Love those guys, they are fantastic. And shout-out Fabio as well, who I'd never seen speak before, but I thought he was excellent, excellent. And I think Viaduct Gen are a really interesting company. The fact that they are led and driven by people of color is such a cool thing to have in the SEO space and the digital marketing space as a whole. Credit to those guys for what they managed to do.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, 100%.
Jack: What's another highlight of you?
Emma-Jane: Whoa, okay. Well I've already mentioned the equality dream team, as I nicknamed them there.
Jack: Excellent nickname, by the way.
Emma-Jane: But another thing that I absolutely loved was the talk on crawl budgets that I went to see was by Sally Raymer, who is actually my mentor. A little bit of background here. I signed up to the Women in Tech SEO mentorship scheme earlier this year, just to build my confidence and to hopefully push me into doing some public speaking in future. And I was paired up with Sally. Absolutely love Sally. Shout-out to Sally if she's listening, because she was an incredible mentor.
Jack: Not to speak to you, I think Sally does listen to the show. She's definitely tuned into live streams before, so if you are listening, Sally, thank you very much. Hello, you're awesome.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, she is awesome. And yeah, it was really great to get to know her. And also my confidence since then has literally skyrocketed. And I'm feeling way more confident in my abilities, and feeling more comfortable about the idea of public speaking. Not quite there yet, but I'm hoping to. And yeah, just watching her speak was really inspiring. And I mean, yeah, Kelvin mentioned how crawl budgets aren't very exciting, but she was an engaging speaker, I'll say that at least. But yeah, it was just so inspiring to see her talk and just to actually meet her in person, because I'd only been having conversations with her on Google Meets every week, and it was just really nice. And she's exactly as she is virtually and in person. So yeah, just shout-out to Sally. Amazing, and yeah, so that was an absolute highlight for me, for sure.
Jack: And speaking of Women in Tech SEO, as you mentioned, going through the mentorship program and things like that, huge credit to Women in Tech SEO, that has been an amazing program. I've heard so many people, including yourself, say what a positive experience that has been. And literally every woman I've ever had on this show, and every woman Mark has ever had on this show, has said what an amazing community the Woman in Tech SEO community is. So if you aren't already and you are listening, by the way, go and check it out. It's fantastic. And the founder of that community, the one and only, the keynote herself, Areej AbuAli, closed out Thursday night with a nothing short of inspiring, epic keynote speech.
Emma-Jane: It was great.
Jack: It was amazing to finally see, again, seeing Areej on the main stage. She's done the main stage before, but having her be the keynote of essentially night one of BrightonSEO, that is a pretty big deal, and to see. And she highlighted the fact that she is a person of color, she's Muslim, she's a hijabi, all the,
Emma-Jane: Yeah, and she's Middle Eastern. And I think there was a-
Jack: Middle Eastern. Yeah.
Emma-Jane: ... whole slide about that, wasn't it? A whole thing.
Jack: There was a whole slide of all the different minority groups she comes from and her heritage and all that kind of stuff, to see a woman of her race, religion, all that kind of stuff, on the main stage doing a keynote was so cool, so inspiring. And Areej is just the absolute best. She's the queen.
Emma-Jane: We love Areej. And she said her highlight was meeting me when I said she was one of my highlights, which I'm sure she doesn't actually mean, but it literally had me grinning for ages. I was just like, "Oh, she's so sweet."
It was actually really nice to catch up with her and a few other people actually at the Women in Tech SEO drinks as well on the Thursday night. After her keynote, it was straight into the Women in Tech SEO drinks, which I did attend. And that was also great because I got to speak to some really amazing people and we all had a great little group photo, which was excellent. But yeah, she's just so lovely and she's an absolute queen and yeah, I just ... Yeah, she is wonderful. I'm going to stop gushing now.
Jack: We'll never stop gushing about Areej on this show. I wholeheartedly endorse it. I remember, I think it was ... I can't remember whether it was April, I think it was October last year when I first met Areej, and she went, "Oh, hi, Jack," and just said hello. I'm just like, "Oh my God, Areej AbuAli knows my name. Holy shit." I didn't realize she knew who I was. And yeah, I think her speech was so interesting and so captivating because it tied so many things together, which I think is what a keynote does. Because a keynote, the thing, it's a tricky slot to be in. You don't want to just be like, "Here's my keynote speech on internal linking." Go and talk about internal linking. It's kind of tackling wider subjects, bringing up broader discussions and stuff like that.
Jack: And I thought something she highlighted in her speech, and to her massive credit, she highlighted the voices of other people who are deserving of the spotlight and deserving of being on the main stage at the biggest SEO conference in the world. You use that opportunity to shine the light on other people who maybe haven't got that opportunity yet. And I think Areej did a amazing job of highlighting other people in SEO that should be getting a chance to do this kind of thing, and share their stories and share their experiences as well.
Emma-Jane: Definitely. She uses her platform for good and it's just so nice to see. And I think she gives me hope that there was a lot more people in SEO who are incredibly kind and just really cool. Do you know what I mean? Because sometimes you can go to these big convention-style things and it feels very ... not very personal. And it can be a bit like, oh, how very professional and whatever. But I feel like BrightonSEO doesn't quite have that element to it. And everyone I speak to when I go to these events has been really nice and really kind. And Areej especially, she didn't hesitate to suggest that I should do a talk one day and stuff, and that was really kind of nice to hear. So yeah, I just love that she's always using her platform to try and elevate other people.
Jack: Yeah, I totally agree. And I think huge credit to the BrightonSEO team of how welcoming and warm and inclusive it feels, even though it is the biggest, by attendee number, in the world when it comes to SEO conferences. It still feels fairly personal and fairly kind of small and, oh, you actually have a chance to speak to people and stuff like that. Even with the white noise of the chatter happening-
Emma-Jane: Of course.
Jack: ... on the main floor.
Emma-Jane: I mean, that actually makes me think as well, another thing that I was really happy to see. As you all know, Jack, I was recently diagnosed with autism, and so I'm learning ways to accommodate myself that I hadn't realized that I needed in the past. And it was really a good for me to use the quiet room space that had been allocated for people that needed it. And I did spend quite a lot of time every so often, when I just needed to get away from everyone and just have some time on my own and just decompress in BrightonSEO's quiet room, which was completely away from everything else, away from the noise, the hustle, and the bustle, and it was just really nice.
Yeah, and I believe apparently a lot of the speakers used that room to chill out beforehand, before their talks, and get themselves in the head space. And it was just a really nice thing to have that space that I could also just use if I needed it. And yeah, so credit to BrightonSEO for that as well.
Jack: Yeah, definitely. Thank you for the fantastic segue, by the way, because talking about-
Emma-Jane: Yeah, you're welcome.
Jack: ... neurodivergence and stuff. We are just segueing through. You can tell we're both podcasters.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, I was going to say,
Jack: Can you tell. Talking about neurodivergence, huge shout-out to Myriam Jessier, who I've had on the show before. If you haven't heard maybe the longest, most chaotic episode of this podcast in the history of Search with Candour. It's the Halloween special from last year where Steph, Miriam and I went through clips from BrightonSEO from October, when I ran around interviewing people. Myriam did a talk on ADHD, and it's essentially prose and cons when it comes to your work, your work-life balance, all that kind of stuff. And Myriam presented it in a way that only Myriam could have done.
Emma-Jane: Oh, yeah, of course. We love Myriam.
Jack: Halfway through it turned it into a very sweary guided meditation, with Myriam guiding everyone with an octopus on our hand going like this, and basically conducting us like an orchestra to take deep breaths. "Inhale good, exhale the bullshit," and stuff like this.
Emma-Jane: Oh my gosh, I'm so sad I didn't make that session because that sounds incredible. I think at the time I was off seeing ... I can't remember who I was seeing, it might have been Kristina Azarenko or Bibi the Link Builder. Both excellent talks by the way as well, shout-out to those two.
Jack: We'll talk about them in a second.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, of course. But yeah, going back to Myriam, it sounds like an absolutely incredible talk. And I know other people that were there were saying it was very, very good.
Jack: Yeah, Myriam's such an engaging speaker as well. She has just this inherent energy to her whenever she ... And she says that's part of her ADHD. I think she's had clients say to her, "Wow, yeah, you really are the H in ADHD." Myriam is a whirlwind of energy and positivity and just one of the most chaotic people I've ever met, and I mean that in the highest compliment.
Emma-Jane: Oh yeah, of course. I mean, we both play D&D and we know that chaotic characters are the absolute best.
Jack: Yeah, yeah. Myriam is thoroughly chaotic good.
Emma-Jane: Oh yeah, for sure. I absolutely love her. She's always such a joy to talk to as well.
Jack: Yeah, yeah. I spend quite a bit of time throughout the couple of days of Myriam and yeah, her talking about her ADHD, talking about people she works with who have ADHD, other people who are dealing with other neurodivergent issues as well. Like you talking about yourself recently diagnosed with autism and stuff. I'm going through the ADHD diagnosis process at the moment myself.
Emma-Jane: So am I.
Jack: I know a couple of our fellow Candourlorians, we've recently started an ERG for neurodivergent members here at the company as well. It feels like a lot of people are talking about this, and massive credit to Myriam. It didn't feel like a hot button topic, jumping on the wagon kind of thing. It felt super honest. And funny enough, talking to fellow Candourlorian Floor, who's one of our link builders, one of our digital PR specialists here at Candour, she was like, "Ah, is it going to be super like, 'Yeah, ADHD is a superpower. Lee-da-di-da-di." And I was like, "Trust me. No, it's not because I know what Myriam is like." And I think a few people were thinking, "Oh yeah." Because the actual title was ADHD plus SEO equals heart emoji, which sounds like it's going to be super positive. And, "Yeah, your neurodivergence is a superpower. It's not a hindrance. It's like, "No, it is a hindrance as well."
Emma-Jane: Oh, yeah.
Jack: Myriam's openness and honesty and just total transparency with the audience I think made a huge difference, and you just in instantly felt welcomed. Whether you're neurodivergent or not, I think everybody felt really engaged and welcomed into that talk, and it felt like a safe space, if that makes sense.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, of course. And also, just speaking of safe places, before you move on to talk about another talk that you enjoyed. One thing I didn't write on our little show notes but I've remembered, is that yourself, you did a podcast on-
Jack: I did, yeah.
Emma-Jane: ... the Wednesday evening before the event, about how to deal with anxiety during conferences.
Jack: Yeah. If you haven't heard that, that's last week's episode§ so go and listen to that, listeners. Yeah, that was me co-hosting with Sarah and Tazmin from SEO Mindset. And someone made a guest appearance two weeks in a row, Emma-Jane, you're on that podcast as well.
Emma-Jane: Oh yeah, of course.
Emma-Jane: Yeah. The room went to questions, and I very unhelpfully ask a question, I offered a tip, and then caused chaos when everyone decided to then start giving tips instead of asking questions. So sorry for derailing that, but yeah, that's my autistic need.
Jack: Yeah, exactly. I think you're one of the few people who's done two weeks in a row as a guest.
Jack: So there you go, new record.
Emma-Jane: But yeah, that was just my autistic need to just offer helpful information just coming up there. But that was great, and I really enjoyed that, and that actually put me in good stead for the rest of the conference. So yeah, that was super good.
Jack: Yeah, you mentioned that. And obviously talking about your mentorship program and stuff, the fact that you were talking in front of like 30, 40 people, whatever it was, that's a big deal to just have a conversation. And also going out livestream to YouTube, it's now on both this podcast and the SEO Mindset podcast feed as well. The fact that talking to that many people both virtually and in person is a big deal.
Emma-Jane: It is.
Jack: So yeah, huge credit to you for being able to grab the mic and actually say something.
Emma-Jane: Thanks. I feel like podcasts are not as scary. It's quite different.
Jack: When they're in person they're a bit more scary, mate. Trust me.
Emma-Jane: That's true, that's true. But yeah, I feel like podcasts is like ... I can build up to talking eventually on stage. Just keep doing more podcasts for a bit and then, yeah, I'll get there.
Jack: That is literally my career path. That's my plan. I will keep booking myself in live podcasts until somebody else books me to do a talk or a live podcast.
Emma-Jane: Nice. You hear that everyone? Someone book Jack.
Jack: There you go.
Emma-Jane: He is incredible.
Jack: Let's talk about another talk. What was another highlight for you? You've hinted at a couple already. Should we dive into Bibi the Link Builder?
Emma-Jane: Oh, yeah. Bibi the Link Builder was great.
Jack: Again, someone who has amazing energy just all the time.
Emma-Jane: Oh, yeah. And I think her slides were perhaps the most beautiful things I have ever seen. They were all stunning. They were all in a sort of anime style, which I love anime and Japanese culture, and just seeing the beautifulness. And they were just bright colors, and it was just so nice to look at and just kept me involved, and really cool little ... I know this is not what talks are about, but there were some incredible cat GIFs as well.
Jack: And that is kind of what talks are about, let's be honest.
Emma-Jane: But it was an absolute masterclass in how to create beautiful slides essentially, a beautiful deck. And it just goes to show that you don't have to have just the really standard slides, and that was one of the more engaging ones. And also she had immense energy and it was just really interesting to listen to. And yeah, I learned a few things. I mean, I'll say I've already been doing a lot of link building for quite some time, and I'm quite au fait with a lot of what's going on in that situation. But there are a couple of things I learned from that, which yeah, I've taken away from it. So yeah, that was a really good talk. And I have a feeling that's what I was watching when Myriam's talk was on, in that session.
Jack: Yeah, I think so.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, it just seemed to clash. But in that same session, on link building, I also got to see Kristina Azarenko as well. She was talking about scaling internal links and-
Jack: Former guest on the show. Shout-out to Kristina.
Emma-Jane: Oh, yeah, I was about to say, she's been a former guest, and she is absolutely lovely. Her talk was really good and she had some really good suggestions on hers as well of some sort of techniques to use, which I'm going to have a little look at and look at my notes and pick some of the good ones out. But she's great. And I also appreciated that her slides were full of Spider-Man references and they were incredible. And it was just really nice to chat to her as well afterwards. I happened to chat to her at the Women in Tech SEO drinks because I went up to her to just say how much I really enjoyed her talk and I thought that it was really good and engaging, and just basically chatted to her for a while. And she was just so friendly, so kind, as everyone in the Women in Tech SEO communities is, and was just encouraging me to potentially one day talk as well. And it's so nice to just spend some time around people that do talk and they are comfortable talking, so that I can see that actually, yes, they do still get nervous. Yes, they do worry about their talks, but they do them anyway and they're always great. Yeah, it was really nice and validating for me really. And just also just nice to chat to some awesome people and to nerd out about various SEO things and internal linking, and all those things that you can't really talk about with the normal people in your life. And I say normal people, I realize that's probably the wrong time to use, but you know what I mean. The people-
Jack: The non-digital marketing people, yeah.
Emma-Jane: Yes, yes. Yeah, so that was great and I very much enjoyed her talk. I think you would've really appreciated the Spider-Man theme for that. But yeah, they were some of my other talks that I really enjoyed.
Jack: Awesome. I'll give a shout-out to, not a talk, but a group of people that are awesome, the Wix crew, because the Wix crew are hilarious and brilliant and so welcoming and so friendly.
Emma-Jane: Oh, yeah.
Jack: And the fact that basically the first thing that happened when I walked into BrightonSEO, they have ... Again, for those of you who don't know, the Brighton Center is this huge event center. And bang slap in the middle, as soon as you walk through those front doors is the Wix booth.
Emma-Jane: Oh, yeah.
Jack: And it regularly becomes a landmark for meeting and doing things and gathering beer later on, because they provide free beer at one point.
Emma-Jane: Yeah. There's always so much going on and it is just always fun whenever you walk past.
Jack: Yeah, and it was so cool. I'd met a couple of the guys before. I'd met Crystal last year, shout-out to Crystal. Crystal Carter's amazing, the Beyonce of SEO.
Emma-Jane: Yeah, she's lovely.
Jack: She's amazing. And her co-host on the SERP's Up podcast, again, I'm just recommending other podcasts for you to listen to at this point, but I do, because I listen to a lot of podcasts, the one and only, also a host, of the SEO Rant, Mordy Oberstein. And to finally meet Mordy, who has been one of the people I've spoken to the most in the SEO community and has been my biggest champion and support, alongside our boss here at Candour, Mark obviously, who's coattails I continue to ride. The fact that-
Jack: We all do at Candour, let's be honest. The fact that Mordy has been so welcoming and stuff. And basically the first thing he said to me was, "Holy shit, you're even bigger than Mark." Because Mordy is not a tall man, and a few of us here at Candour are six foot two. So yeah, he was very surprised that not only is Mark tall, I am also tall. And that was the welcoming message from Mordy Oberstein, but yeah.
Emma-Jane: It's funny, isn't it, when you listen to podcasts you can't really measure how tall someone is. And I think, I don't know what it is, why do people think that people that are on podcasts aren't tall?
Jack: I don't know.
Emma-Jane: Because I feel like that's come up as well with the Sequaliser stuff in the podcast as well.
Jack: Because you're always sat down, I guess. I don't know.
Emma-Jane: I guess.
Jack: You don't really get a sense of people's ... Unless they have a really, really particular high voice or low voice, I guess that that will convey some size. But I guess I have a fairly sized neutral voice. And yeah, people have regularly commented like, "Oh wow, you're way taller than I thought you were." Or, "You're way bigger than I thought you were." I was like, "Yeah, yeah, I'm pretty big."
Emma-Jane: Yeah. If any listeners do see you in future, they should come up and say, "Oh my God, you really tall."
Jack: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Emma-Jane: Just make a thing of it.
Jack: Yeah. And it was really emphasized on the live podcast we did last Wednesday where there was Tazmin, who is quite short, then Sarah, who's in the middle, and then me next to Sarah. We were very much in-
Emma-Jane: And you were sitting in hight order.
Jack: We did plan that, to be fair. Yeah. And yeah, it was awesome to just get to know the Wix crew a bit more. Got to meet Sean and Clay, who I'd not met before. It was their first time over at BrightonSEO and yeah, just hang out with those guys. Met George, George Nguyen, who has been the driving force, the editor behind the whole Wix SEO Learning Hub as well. Huge shout-out to George.
Jack: I was having multiple conversations with other people saying, "Oh, the Wix Learning Hub is such a cool idea. What a brilliant way. It's coming together so brilliantly. They've had so many good writers on there," and all that kind of stuff. And I told George that and he was like, "That really means a lot, man." Giving him the feedback and being able to say, "Independently of this conversation, I've had so many conversations with other people saying, 'You're doing an amazing job.'" So huge shout-out to George the Wix crew. And yes, I did defeat Modry 4-0 at Cornhole.
Emma-Jane: Oh, yeah.
Jack: Thanks to the supports from Barry Schwartz himself. The Gods have called, RustyBrick smiled upon me and I smoked Mordy into the ground 4-0.
Emma-Jane: Yeah. I recommend listeners go check out their socials because yeah, the video footage is excellent.
Jack: I'll put a link to that in the show notes if you do want to see me absolutely destroy Mordy at cornhole. And then Crystal named me the Cornhole King, so that is now in my Twitter bio.
Emma-Jane: There you go. In case everyone's seeing it and wondering, "What the hell is that?"
Jack: Right, yeah. "He's English. Why is he talking about cornhole? He doesn't know anything about corn." Any other highlights from you, Emma?
Emma-Jane: Yeah, just speaking of, you just reminded me of the lovely Wix lot with their booth and how awesome they always are. I feel like some of the Candour team were also on a bit of a winning streak for a while-
Emma-Jane: ... because shout-out to the BrightLocal team. They were so nice and they were running a little competition. Basically they were giving-
Jack: They had the best booth.
Emma-Jane: They did.
Jack: They did have the best booth.
Emma-Jane: And it was all beautifully designed. I believe Ken, who works at BrightLocal, he was responsible for a lot of the design and we were chatting for a while. Lovely guy. Gave me some good recommendations for when I'm in Japan, so that's exciting.
Emma-Jane: But also, yeah, they had some beautiful merch they were giving away if you could get high scores on Geoguessr. And myself, Floor, who was mentioned earlier in the podcast, we did it together. And on the first day of BrightonSEO we did it in the morning, really early on, and we got first place and we were like, "Oh yeah, that's not going to last." And then at the end of the day we were still first place, and we were like, "No, we're not going to win this, are we? We can't possibly.". And of course we didn't Friday we got dethroned. But yes, I believe Natalie Slater ended up winning that.
Jack: She did. Former guest on the show.
Emma-Jane: She is incredible.
Jack: Huge credit to Natalie. But also boo, you beat the Candourlorians.
Emma-Jane: Yes, fine. I'll be honest though, she actually donated a lot of hers to the charity Mind and I'm all for that, and I think that was a brilliant choice.
Jack: For sure. Good choice.
Emma-Jane: But yeah, the guys on that booth were incredible, really nice. They're always encouraging us to have another go, see if we can beat the scores and stuff. And we just had a lot of fun with it, to be honest. Yeah, they'd also created some really cool ... What are they called? They're great SEO RankOff cards. I don't know if anyone got those.
Jack: They're SEO Top Trumps basically.
Emma-Jane: Yes,. Basically, yeah. And it features all manner of the best and brightest-
Jack: Pretty much everyone we've just mentioned.
Jack: From Crystal to Mordy to Areej to Kristina, to our very own Mark Williams-Cook, there's plenty of people in there. I even picked up a copy I'm going to send to Daniel Chng, because obviously-
Emma-Jane: Oh, amazing,
Jack: ... he lives in Australia and could not attend BrightonSEO. So I took a photo of his card and I was like, "Would you like me to send a copy to you?" And he is like, "Dude, I would love that."
Jack: Do Dan, if you're listening, they'll be on their way to you probably tomorrow. So yeah.
Emma-Jane: See, this is another thing. See, this is another sign of the SEO community, they're all lovely and kind. There you go.
Jack: Exactly. Yeah.
Emma-Jane: You doing that, great example.
Jack: Yeah. Yeah. The BrightLocal stuff, I love their designs that they had. The cool little ice creams and sunshines and stuff. I've got some really nice holographic shiny stickers that now on my laptop stand here at work, that shine off very nicely and look very cool.
Emma-Jane: I have beautiful hoodie from them as well, which is also really good quality as well. It's lovely.
Jack: Unfortunately, I did not get a hoodie. I was not as good at Geoguessr as you were. But I know Mark did, I know you did, I know Floor did. And everybody just says how incredibly comfortable they, so yeah. Which is a difficult thing because I think a lot of convention and conference swag ends up just being cheap stuff. Like, "Oh yeah, if we can get a few pounds a hoodie and then just chuck a print on there, we'll do that." But credit to the swag, man. Some of the swag was very, very good. Credit to the Wix swag. Like I said, they have beers, they have hats, they have socks.
Jack: Coincidentally, I am wearing Wix socks as we speak, the footer socks.
Jack: I regularly use my body tag for the notebook, and I'll be wearing my header tag on my honeymoon in a few months.
Emma-Jane: Speaking of which, my BrightLocal hoodie. I am very tempted to take that on the flight with me.
Jack: I vote yes.
Emma-Jane: Because it's so comfortable.
Jack: Yeah. Good idea, good idea. It'd give them some free exposure in Japan. Maybe people like, "Oh, what's that?"
Emma-Jane: Yeah, why not.
Jack: And you'll be like, "Aha, well."
Emma-Jane: "Where's Brighton, what?" Yeah.
Jack: Get them some free advertising, exactly. Awesome. I think that pretty much wraps us up for our highlights across BrightonSEO from April 2023. Thank you for joining me, Emma-Jane. You'll be back on the show at some point in the future. I want to pick your brains and dive into some content stuff in the future.
Emma-Jane: Awesome. Yeah.
Jack: In the meantime, have a lovely time in Japan.
Jack: If people would like to follow you on social media and stuff, where is the best place to find you and follow your content knowledge goodness?
Emma-Jane: Content knowledge goodness is not what I put on socials, unfortunately, but you can find me as EmmaJaneMint on Instagram and Twitter, also TikTok but I barely used that. And yeah, if you just search on LinkedIn for Emma-Jane Stogdon, chances are, you send me a request, I'll probably probably respond.
Emma-Jane: So yeah. Yeah.
Jack: Links for all those things will be in the show notes, dear listeners, search.withcandour.co uk. Everything will be listed there for you, so it's nice and easy to find straight away.
That wraps us up for this week. Thank you very much for listening. I hope you've enjoyed mine and Emma-Jane's little debrief from BrightonSEO. And speaking of BrightonSEO, I did a live podcast. If you've listened to last week's episode, you've already heard that, that I recorded with the fantastic Sarah and Tazmin from the SEO Mindset podcast. I will be speaking with Tazmin on this show in a couple of weeks as well, she will be my guest. We'll be diving into basically the mindfulness and confidence and all that kind of stuff. A little bit of a different tone for this show than you are kind of used to. So I'm really, really looking forward to having Tazmin on the show and having a proper in-depth conversation with her about something a little bit different when it comes to career progression and SEO and all that kind of stuff.
Of course, I'll have plenty of other interviews, and Mark and I will be back very soon with another recap of the latest SEO news for the month as well. That'll be live-streamed on SISTRIX's YouTube channel and yeah, that should be happening in the next couple of weeks as well, I believe, early in May essentially. So stay tuned for that as well. Until then, thank you so much for listening and have a lovely week.