Sun, sea and Search Engine Optimisation makes for a perfect day out

Last week I excitedly lost my SEO virginity as I headed down to the Brighton Dome for the twice-yearly SEO and digital marketing conference BrightonSEO.  As it was my first conference, I was both excited and nervous about meeting new people and learning about the latest trends from across the industry. My first time left me with a feeling of being positively overwhelmed by the amount of information, inspired by new ideas begging to be released and desiring more information.

The conference – lead by Kevin Newman from SiteVisibility – is one of the biggest gathering of natural search experts and has become one of the most popular conferences in the UK.

The agenda was full of exciting talks. There were three sessions with three concurrent tracks. Each session comprised three 20 min talks, so there were a lot of topics covered! It was difficult to pick one of the many conferences split across three rooms, and it was certainly difficult to beat the 1,700 people for a good seat. I got my kicks from Social Content, Link Building and Content Marketing conferences.

If you weren’t able to attend the conferences, here are just a few key pointers that I took away from this event, that I would like to share with you all to help you in your digital marketing adventure:

Session 1: Social Content

“Flare and pivot social image sharing” by Erica McGillivray from MOZ

  • Use high contrast, clean, branded, bold images on social medias that have unity (how the objects relates to other elements in the image and the white spaces)
  • How to get images shared: Challenge audiences, take risks, establish credibility and make human connections on your social media business pages
  • If you don’t have a designer to create your content, try using tools like Pablo and Canva

“Designing content for mobile” by Vicke Cheung from Distilled

  • Design for mobile first, or at the same time as desktop. Never after. If you don’t, you end up putting loads of effort into desktop version and it will have to be simplified for mobile version being a watered down version.
  • Test your design on real devices
  • Trying to be unique and innovative isn’t a good idea if you are going to confuse the user. Make sure you don’t mess with icons that users are used to seeing. Make it innovative but user friendly.
  • Performance – doesn’t mater how beautiful the website is. If it doesn’t load quickly, the user wont get to see your work of art
  • Tool tip: for the various exact screen sizes

“Making your competitions fun” by Ian Haywood from the Competition Agency

  • Have a worthy prize available. Question if you were entering the competition, would you be interested in the prize? A good incentive will fundamentally change a user intent
  • the more fun the competition is, less reliance on the incentive
  • never use competitions ‘re-tweet to enter’ or ‘like our page to enter’. These competitions are pointless and bring to real benefit to companies
  • Tool tip to run your competitions: Gleam, Rafflecopter and Antavo

Session 2: SERPs – not my area of expertise. Nevertheless, I tried to keep up with my fellow digital marketers and found it very interesting

Cannibalisation” by Jon Earnshaw from Datametrics

  • Internal conflict – when pages are disconnected ecosystems and clusters of isolated pages mentioning a particular term but not take to the main term page, confusing google and that can’t decide which page should be the main page
  • Subdomain conflict
  • International conflict
  • Semantic flux

Advanced competitive intelligence” by Rob Bucci from Get Stat

  • Should e-commerce websites focus on ranking the search pages over the product pages?
  • For e-Commerce websites, more valuable keywords should consider ranking your search pages. For less valuable keywords, consider ranking product pages.

Future of Search” by Dave Naylor from Bronco

  • He said the funniest thing that had everyone in stiches: “So you launch a subdomain and you wake up with a bit of flux on your pillow”. The laughs went on for ages!
  • People don’t make purchases on their phones outside of apps or on websites that have stored data on them
  • He reckons that thinking as Googlebot as a person living in California is rubbish. If you build a website that is great for your user you won’t rank. So it doesn’t work according to him

Session 3: Link Building

10 way to build a link in 20 minutes flat” by Matthew Barby from Wyatt international

  • Combine great content with great links
  • Don’t shamelessly promote products or services
  • Work on Press requests
  • Work on social advertising

The power of backlink discovery” by Natalie Wright

  • Check new links that your competitors may have (using Majestic for example)
  • Don’t get bad links and make sure your links are relevant to your area

Stop thinking about links. Start thinking about publicity” by Samuel Scott from

  • Digital marketers should be doing real marketing, not just building links
  • Create a buzz and make a story that will get organic links just from the fact it is interesting
  • Creating content that is news worthy
  • Pitch and Press Release creation

Session 4:  Content Marketing

A supercharged approach to PR SEO success” by Rebecca Lee from Dynamo

  • Everyone loves a good top 10 list
  • Create good relationships with people in media to get your work in the media
  • “PR SEO means making the unsexy, sexy”
  • Create a story that people can relate to
  • Create exclusive content

Collaborate with other organisations

“Jaws in Space – How to develop & pitch creative ideas” by Hannah Smith from Distilled (my fav presentation!)

  • People share ideas, not formats
  • Think about content that is going to make people: look smart, look cultured, and make them look like they care about being creative
  • Results don’t just happen – you need to promote your piece tirelessly

Watch this adorable video that rounds up Hannah’s presentation:

Video credits:

Using DIY data visualisation to fuel your content marketing” by Krystian Szastok from RocketMill

  • Brain storm with people outside of your close group of people – is your story potent? Run it past prospects and influences.
  • Create the right information hierarchy – how much detail does the audience need? Create a sketch and send it to someone not involved in the project
  • Produce editorial content, prepare email for outreach, prepare phone scripts

So these were my brief pointers. Can’t wait for my next SEO time!

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Author Nikki Hall

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