BrightonSEO is the largest conference in the UK dedicated purely to Search Engine Optimisation. Originating in a tiny room above a pub a handful of years ago with 30 people in tow, the event has grown bigger and better year after year, and 2016 saw over 3,500 attendees.
Industry events such as this are always good from a networking aspect of course, but BrightonSEO also offers something different from the typical SEO 101 approach. Lots of real-life case studies with methodology and results, news on what’s happening next, and some real insights as to how the industry is moving. I was there this year with Sinead, Webfactory’s Head of Content; read her thoughts here.
First up for me was an introduction to Google Analytics 360, the latest version of what was Google Analytics Premium. Dara Fitzgerald highlighted the benefits of this enterprise level package, and whether it was worth its €100,000+ starting price. The main take out here is that yes, it’s worth it - but really only if you have literally hundreds of thousands of lines of data you want to deep dive into (we’re talking global multinational level here). A big plus is the availability of unsampled Google data of up to 25 million lines. As a bonus, Dara also pointed out a few areas of the standard Google Analytics offering that are largely untapped by the majority of users. Some great tips there!
Next was Jess Spate giving everyone a timely reminder on Google Tag Manager custom variables. One for the nerds (me) but interesting nonetheless! And the talk on analytics horror stories from @annatlewis was a humorous take on some common mishaps in the SEO world (hint: NEVER delete your entire Google Analytics profile!).
Site migration is so often overlooked, despite all of the warnings we make to clients, and the presentation from Jon Earnshaw outlined just what the challenges with this can be from a practical and logistical aspect. In short, if you plan ahead, you’ll be fine, to the point that no website should see even the slightest drop in rankings if executed correctly. Fail to have a migration plan in place though, and the impact will be severe. We always implement full site migration plans at Webfactory, with great success (and no panicked clients).
Driving a client’s growth from a comprehensive SEO audit is something we’re always involved in here at Webfactory, and Aleyda Solis’ talk covered many familiar areas, with a few bonus tips along the way. My own audits typically cover SEO, technical SEO, web traffic data and market analysis, much more than solely keywords and rankings. All of these are necessary too; how can we make decisions on maximising customer satisfaction through content if we don’t know how they behave?! Makes sense really doesn’t it?
The best talk of the day for me was from Berian Reed, discussing what makes for perfect SEO. We’re essentially talking about a professional model encompassing content, a working toolkit, comprehensive research, effective tracking, and a little bit of common sense thrown in for good measure. We’ve long subscribed to the thought that having just one data set (e.g. Google Analytics) or one task (e.g. on-page SEO) will never be enough to be truly effective when it comes to driving organic visibility of a website. Good to know we’re not the only ones thinking that!
I could go on about the many other talks I attended but I don’t really want to turn this into a novel. If you want to hear more about our thoughts on SEO and what you should be doing to maximise your organic growth (and revenues), don’t hesitate to get in touch.