BrightonSEO 2017 - Round Up

Last week saw me (along with my colleague Sinead) making the annual pilgrimage to the south coast of England to attend the UK’s largest (and, for me, best) SEO conference: BrightonSEO.

We managed to bag a couple of the early bird free tickets (you gotta be quick!) which, while they didn’t get us a cool free t-shirt, did give us full access to the event. Happy days!

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What is BrightonSEO?

BrightonSEO started a few short years ago in a room above a pub, with the idea that a few SEO bods would get together one night after work to chat about what was happening in the world of optimisation. It was also a great way to give those people a chance to meet their peers.

Fast-forward to 2017, and over 4,000 people attending the conference from all corners of the globe, now relocated (after outgrowing a number of places) to the largest venue in town: the Brighton Conference Centre.

My Highlights

Many SEO conferences or talks I attend are, I’m sad to say, pretty repetitive and lacking in inspiration. After working in this industry for well over 15 years, I really think at this stage I’ve got my head around the fact that keywords are good, dodgy links are bad, 404s don’t look great, and high bounce rates suck.

Again, this is where BrightonSEO comes into its own.

I was treated to some excellent insights into what’s coming next for SEO, from some serious SEO gurus in-the-know from (sometimes) their pally relationships with Google or (usually) their tireless analysis of global data. I also picked up some brilliant tips that people had come across or figured out.

714% increase in transactions

Who knew that the smallest of changes to your link analysis approach could boost your eCommerce transactions by over 700%?

No access to a developer?

What about the fact that you can use Google Tag Manager to give some amazing organic ranking big wins? Immediate, live SEO in place on a website in a matter of seconds.

HTTPS = Ranking Win

You may be aware that Google will soon be flagging non-secure pages in browsers, and we know HTTPS carries a small ranking advantage to. But what I DIDN’T know was the rationale behind all that.

See our recent blog post on HTTPS

Rise of the robots…

*NERD ALERT*
Absolutely loved the talk on robots.txt vs. meta robots, and superb advice on when to use each (or both).

…and the chatbots

This is a biggie. Chatbot optimisation is going to be THE big change as we move forward in SEO over the next 12 - 18 months. In other words, optimising the language used by an automated digital assistant to provide relevant, keyword-rich content, yet delivered in a conversational manner. Challenge accepted!

You rank in 1st position? Ah well…

Zero is the new One! Position Zero is officially a thing for SEO. Think about when you search in Google these days. You can often see results above the usual rankings, including images, reviews, maps, the weather, music etc. That’s position 0. Not only that, but a lot of those ‘pages’ don’t actually have a URL. That’s something to think about eh?

These are just a few of the things that really stood out for me from a work aspect. I also think these are worth a mention:

Best Job Title Of The Conference:

"Chief of Sunshine and Happiness" (Google - had to be really)

Best Phrase To Use In Future SEO Presentations:

“Keywords of warning” (LOVE it!)

SEO is NOT just about Search Engines

SEO as a thing has come so far over the last few years, to the point where it concerns so much more than search engines, and web page rankings within those search engines. After all, what if someone isn’t looking for content via a search engine?!

Optimisation is now applied across all content - including offline - as part of a much more long term, content marketing, market share-boosting, usability-enhancing strategical approach. ALL content should be consistent, it should all be highly relevant (SEO 101 right there folks!), and it should be as visible as possible, across as many channels as possible. Almost like a ‘catch-all’ approach.

BrightonSEO reflected that perfectly, with lots of additional coverage aside from SEO best practices, particularly regarding content marketing and optimisation.

And finally...

A big thanks again to Kelvin and his team for organising another hugely successful conference (and such great weather!), and well done to all the speakers. Can’t wait for BrightonSEO 2018!

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Rich Dales

Head of Search & Analytics

The author

Rich has over 14 years’ experience dealing with web marketing, 8 of which almost exclusively with search­ based marketing including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), paid search (PPC), and web analytics.

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