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Our top takeaways from BrightonSEO

April’s installment of BrightonSEO did not disappoint, bringing together some of the best speakers from the world of SEO, not to mention crowds who love to powwow all things digital! If you didn’t make it there this time, then check out our top takeaways from the mega-conference:

New Ideas

Our workshop of choice this spring was the Digital PR for Link Building course, run by Lauren Crimmons and Bethany Hibbert from Branded3. During the day, we delved into what Google and journalists want, getting to know your audience, and brainstorming. This was also a hot topic, helping instil new and collaborative ways of nurturing ideas for clients.

We picked up some great tricks for kick-starting a brainstorming session, from teleportation to asking, what would Kanye do? Here are some ideas:

  • Think of the worst idea ever – People often feel like they have to come up with the best campaign idea ever, so instead why not start off the session by thinking of a campaign idea that you should never do. This is a great way of breaking the ice and getting people talking.
  • Figure Storming – Choose a famous person that all of your team knows, for example, Kanye West, and think of a campaign idea that he/she would likely bring to the table.
  • Word Association – Get a little active in the session and play word association with a ball. This quick-fire game will get you talking and help to build campaign ideas around some of the words called out.
  • Time Travel – Imagine it is 100 years in the past or 10 years in the future, what campaign ideas would you think of then?
  • Teleportation – This encourages the team to think about how campaign topics would differ in various parts of the world.
  • Brainwriting – This technique is particularly useful for introverts in your team. Grab a piece of paper and each person has to write down three campaign ideas in five minutes. Members of the team then pass on their paper to the next person and run the exercise again. If you have six people in your brainstorming team then it is possible to gather 108 campaign ideas in just 30 minutes – this was our favourite!

And on to the conference! If you’re new to the scene, you’ll love exploring the Brighton centre, making your way through the maze of stalls (not without forming a collection of pens, mugs…and beers!) and meeting other like-minded SEOs. With so many exciting talks going on at once, we can only suggest that you divide and conquer as many areas as possible! With experts sharing a wealth of info across creative and technical, it’s good to get a taste of how the industry is influencing both disciplines.


One talk that stood out to us,  in particular,  was by Hannah Butcher from Content Camino, who delivered an inspiring take on how to win friends and influence influencers.

“Influencers are savvy” – Hannah Butcher

During this talk, Hannah argued that businesses should never underestimate the power that bloggers and influencers wield, and why it’s so important to make friends. Here are some key points:

  • Always make sure that the blogger or influencer is a good fit for your brand and check how they are received online.
  • Bloggers often swap brand details, so if you build and nurture a strong relationship with one blogger, then other influencers from their network will often approach you to collaborate.
  • When approaching influencers by email, make sure your pitch is clear and concise. If you are from an agency, it is important to introduce yourself as well as the brand that you are representing.
  • When payment is involved, always make a contract with detailed of costs, deliverables and expectations. And make sure that you pay the influencer on time!

Find out more from Hannah Butcher here


Over in technical talks, we honed into Google Analytics where Bill Sebald from Greenlane explained how to tighten up SEO on large websites, and how the smallest attributes can make such a big difference.

“There’s a correlation between pages that are frequently crawled and pages that rank well” – Bill Sebald

“Don’t underestimate the ability for the XML Sitemap to screw your SEO efforts up” – Bill Sebald

Find out more from Bill Sebald here

Meanwhile, Jitka Jizerova from Webcertain opened the floor for search engines other than Google. She explained that when it comes to international SEO, Google is not the only search engine we should optimise for. In fact, there are three more big fish around the world that you might not have come across, these are:

  • Baidu (China) – The ‘Chinese Firewall’ puts bands on forbidden words and slows sites down when they are hosted outside of China. When marketing to China online, it’s beneficial to make sure to host your site locally and translate your copy in simplified Chinese.

“Remember to remove social media buttons if optimising for Baidu” Jitka Jizerova

  • Yandex (Russia) – Yandex spans 11 time zones and employs a local linking system which allows you to target locally. Correct grammar is particularly important when it comes to Yandex’s algorithm, as it recognises every detail of a piece of content.  
  • Naver (South Korea) – Seen as a community platform rather than a search engine, SERPs show personalised search results that are put into different categories, which brands are advised to create content for each.


And, finally, the industry reminds us that SEO is nothing without effective reporting. Stephen Kenwright, from Branded3, walked the audience through ‘how to report on SEO in 2018’.

He got us thinking about all of this:

  • You’re never going to give everyone an accurate view of your performance, so instead, predict measures of success, including page speed, link metrics and user metrics.
  • Think about using traffic/conversion-based alerts. You should know what equated to unusual behaviour to catch expected results.
  • Once you have all your information, you can report in advance – if you’re expecting a seasonality drop, make stakeholders aware.

“set up a custom alert in Google Analytics to let you know if there’s been less than 2 visits to your website in a day, then you’ll know if your GA has died” Stephen Kenwright

Find out more from Stephen Kenwright here

To hear more from BrightonSEO’s key speakers and news on upcoming events, keep your eyes on their website.


[The outtakes].

BrightonSEO continues to get bigger, and bigger:

Thoughts on a postcard: