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Recap of the BrightonSEO conference – september 2012

By admin on

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Recap of BrightonSEO September 2012
Friday the 14th of September was the day of BrightonSEO, a free one-day search marketing conference. Traditionally the conference is not only about linkbuilding or technical SEO but also includes some interesting subjects that are closely connected with SEO or SEA. The day was very varied in all aspects: lots of speakers, lots of different point of views and a overload of information that was shared. Combined with the famous afterparty, it is one of my favorite conferences to attend.

Predatory Thinking – Dave Trott
Dave talked about the differences between pure creativity and applied creativity in relation to predatory thinking. In advertising there are some serious problems. He mentioned an example: from the £18.9 billion spent on advertising last year, 90% wasn’t noticed by consumers. One of the reasons is that we are exposed to 1000 advertising messages per day. It is easy to see that you really have to stand out to be remembered. Predatory thinking is about getting ahead of your competitors trying to achieve the same goal. Dave talked about three stages in the advertising process: Impact, communication and persuasion. Most marketers are focusing on and investing the most hours in persuasion. It would be more useful if you would invest it in impact. That is why only 10% gets noticed. Humans are easy, if you don’t stand out you will be forgotten.

There are two kinds of people: opinion formers and opinion followers. Engage with the formers. To get the formers interested you have to stand out because that is what they are looking for. After this short education on advertising theory, Dave sums up some interesting cases of how to turn problems into solvable problems. This was the most outstanding presentation of the day.


Do you speak brand? – Antony Mayfield
He first deals with the problems that occur when fusing SEO and Branding. Luckily for us as SEOs, there is a big market correction going on. Companies starting to move more budget into online marketing. Coca Cola is a good example for this: they started to move 20% of their budget into inbound marketing. Start focusing on what the CMO wants. Think in terms of the complete customer journey and adapt your SEO strategy accordingly. Integrate all different online marketing channels into one overall strategy.


How to win friends. And influence robots.Martin Belam
There is a big misconception in the news industry about SEO. Most people out of that industry consider SEO as not important. From his experience with BBC he tells about the fact that SEO is important but you should always keep user experience in mind when writing for example headlines. Think about the human needs. Think of the headlines that appear in the search engine result pages. Combine headlines for news and good click through ratios.

“Be aware of the fact that you no longer control the context in which your headline appears.”

Find the right balance between navigation for people and spiderability for search eninges. Make a flow pattern of user throughout your website. He gives an example of PageRank sculpting (having the linkvalue flowing to the most important pages) and ask himself, why would you add pages that don’t need to be found. Get rid of content that doesn’t matter.  Conclusion of his talks is that you should beware of all aspects involving customers, needs to be taken into account when proposing SEO related changes.


Chasing the Algorithm: Smart SEO or Hopeless Effort? – Rebecca Weeks
The presentation is a case study of getting certain ranking achievements for a client that was a little skeptical about SEO investments. They were challenged to achieve increased positions by just doing linkbuilding.  They first started with focusing on quantity. Google came with some tricky updates (Panda and Penguin) and they had to change to localized linkbuilding. They finally achieved 50% of the rankings. Compared to all the other presentations, this was one of the less interesting talks and not really a usefull addition to the conference.


Speaking your user’s language – Stephanie Troeth
Most people think UX is only about good user experience but it is about the whole package. Stephanie shows a website for which it took her three months to figure out how to book a badminton course. She showed some interesting examples of how you can increase customer satisfaction:

–          Personalisation: a website or products that learns from you and your behavior
–          Language: use the right words, use the correct tone of voice
–          Make things more by storytelling

Even before starting with developing wireframes, think about evoking certain emotions or triggering for example rational behavior.  Streamline these processes and continuously test with for example A/B testing.


API? WTF? – Tom Anthony
Instead of Tom, the slidedeck was presented by Will Critchlow. He showed us what the internet was 15 years ago, and what it iss at this moment. We already have Google Glasses, Augmented Reality apps and Apple Siri. All that data is shared through API’s. Tom thinks those API services are the real future of the internet. Today there are more and more contextual searches, booking hotels, local weather. Searches usually contain things and attributes. Answers are provided through APIs. For websites this means they have to open up their database and share it! Make your data accessible through APIs.


How to be a better SEO – Richard Baxter
Because of the fast evolving of search engines, SEO is changing day by day. During his inspirational presentation, Richard is telling about how to become a good SEO from his experiences as a director of SEOGadget. Besides having certain skills and knowledge of tools, you will need to have certain characteristics. Set yourselves some goals, get an idea of what you want to achieve in the industry and find a specialism. Work on that for 100%. Always be happy with the work you deliver to clients: if you’re not happy, don’t send it. Be confident in your work and you will be able to communicate with clients. Work on your personal knowledge. Try new things and you will discover ways of doing things better or more efficient. Be proud of working in SEO, communicate regularly and learn how to be a leader. All of this will help with turning doing great into doing amazing SEO.


SEO Deliverance – Tony King
This was a very interesting talk about how to get SEO things done when working for a large brand or corporation. SEO should work alongside other departments and not as a separate operation.  You need to know how to influence the key decision makers. Tony shows some easy ways of how to deal with certain obstacles during delivering SEO divided into three phases:

  1. Research: you need to get all the information about the market, the competitors and the client’s website.
  2. Development: figure out your objectives, the right strategy and limitations.
  3. Implementation: know your audience, integrate strategy and constantly monitor results


Separated by a Common Language – Lynne Murphy
Concerning English language: there is a certain “snobbery” that Brits have in regards to the American version. By giving 5 lessons, Lynne showed the public that English is a language which borrows a lot from other languages and is constantly changing. Instead of blaming Americans of screwing around the English language, do some research! And if you can’t find the answer, just blame the Australians.


A Decade in Affiliate Marketing – James Little
The most boring and incoherent talk of the day. James talked about some things he had experienced during doing ten years of affiliate marketing. He was proud some of the affiliates started to became a real brand. He highlighted some big changes that improved the reputation of affiliate marketing during the years since 2000. It has evolved into mature industry.


7 things you need to know about Mobile SEOAleyda Solis
As always, Aleyda use special style to present her slides, this time it was Sherlock style! Based on 7 questions, she talked about all the things you have to consider when building a mobile friendly website.

  1. What’s your mobile audience behavior in your site? Use analytics to discover what user are doing and how they are doing that at this moment.
  2. What’s your website behavior in mobile search results? Is your website already appearing? Look to CTR and other interesting data in Google’s Webmaster Tools.
  3. What’s your audience behavior in Google’s mobile search? Filter the data of Google’s Keyword Tool with their filter for mobile devices and identify top searches.
  4. What’s your site behavior with mobile devices? Use “Fetch as Google mobile bot” inside Google’s WMT.
  5. What’s your content and product offer for a mobile audience? Identy what mobile users are looking for a change your content accordingly.
  6. What’s your technical capacity to develop a mobile website?
  7. Based on the previous aspects, what type of mobile website suits the best?

Response website design has is the most ideal solution but you based on what technical possibilities and budget you have, you could also implement dynamical serving or develop a parallel mobile website.

Social Media Reverse EngineeringYousaf Sekander
For most SEOs content is king, but for Yousaf, content is king-maker. Because everything is about content, you should know what your competitors are doing. Because of that, Yousaf developed Social Crawlytics to determine which content of certain website is shared the most across multiple platforms. Personally I really satisfied with the functionality and data I can get out of the tool. After determining the most shared content, you can use Backtweet, Topsy or Datasift Historics to identify the people who shared this content. Once you have the prospects for your outreach campaign you can start working on developing even better content.


Content Planning in a Post Panda and Penguin WorldSimon Penson
Simon talked about how you should take care of content flow. How to plan, strategize and measure content output. He compared the content flow with a piece of music. It sounds good because of the peaks and troughs. You should build your content strategy with “Regulars” and “Big Bangs”. Regulars are daily, weekly or monthly blog posts. Top 10s, regular Q&A’s etc. Big Bangs are the pieces of content that will really have impact on your business.


Future proofing SEO on large websitesBerian Reed
Berian shares some insights of doing SEO for Autotrader. The most common content sharing is copy and pasting. He shares Tynt, a tool that adds a link when people try to copy your content. This is succesfull way of getting links to your website. Use Google Analytics referall traffic to build relationships. Enable a filter to get the full referall url. Learn from your competitors, monitor their websites and rankings closely to see what they are changing and how this affects their results in Google.


Client Checklist for SEOsSion O’Connor
Again an presentation that is different from standard SEO conferences. Sion is presenting how clients view SEO and how we can deal with them most effectively.  Look through his slidedeck for the checklist. The most important points are:

–          Work with clear objectives for both personal and corporate
–          Adapt to the clients view of SEO
–          Research the consumer: the five W’s
–          Reverse engineer their PPC and SEO, show your knowledge and skills
–          Be open about risks and issues


The business of SEO and how it can make our world a better place – Jason Woodford
SEO is really booming business which is in big contrast with the rest of the economical world. We should be happy to work in this industry. Compared to other professions, we earn really well. We should be proud of the way we share secrets, tips and cases. But there is still a problem with the global opinion of SEO. Most marketers still see us a bunch of cowboys. One thing you could do as a SEO company is supporting charities. This is good for your company and good for the industry. Another problem Jason wants to help with, is the unemployment in the UK. He asks agency to help him with setting up system in which people get inhouse training so companies solve their problem of needing skilled employees.

Pinteresting SEO – Danielle Fudge
Danielle presented a new tool: Pinalytics. It is a tool to find and track content on Pinterest. It is an easy ways to see how your own content is shared but could also be use to analyze competitors. With that information you can easily build lists of new audiences or outreach targets. The tools looks really promising and is in beta right now.


Quickfire Analytics – Anna Lewis
Anna presented 7 different dashboards you can use for easy presenting the results of your campaign. Based on certain information needs, she set up some easy to use custom dashboard. Read her blogpost and download the dashboard for your own analytics account.


Summary of BrightonSEO
Based on all the presentations, you could say the buzzword was ‘content marketing’. It is the most important SEO factor at the moment and is heavily integrated with all marketing disciplines. The program was really all-round and the presentations were easy to follow with every level of SEO experience you can have.  I want to thank Kelvin for organizing a perfect conference and I am sure I will not the miss the next BrightonSEO!

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  1. Wilco said on

    Leuke writeup Jan-Willem, thanks!

  2. Yousaf said on

    Great write up and thanks for the mention. Much appreciated.

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