A look back at BrightonSEO 2016
Over the years, BrightonSEO has grown at an incredible rate and it is now regarded as one of the finest digital marketing events in the UK. With events twice a year in Brighton it gives marketers like us the perfect opportunity to escape the office and head for the sea side.
There was a lot of hype in the run up to the September 2nd show at The Brighton Centre, a bigger, more impressive venue than ever before and it didn’t disappoint. Kelvin Newman and the team really did pull it out of the bag, with a speaker line up that would rival any such event in the world.
A whopping 3,500 self-confessed geeks, techies and entrepreneurs made for a lively, exciting atmosphere and with half a dozen sessions on at any one time there was ample to choose from. For those of you who haven’t been, the setup is a fairly simple one, each session has three speakers all averaging between 20-30 mins with a half hour break between sessions.
The Evergreen team were really excited to attend this year and soak up the atmosphere, we reviewed the schedule beforehand and had made a note of several talks we wanted to attend, including one or two of those by people we know in the industry.
By lunchtime, we had enjoyed six talks across a mix of SEO subjects from link building in 2016 through to on-page SEO ranking factors and the importance of such things as reviews. All things we knew already but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded about, with case studies demonstrating their effects.
After a quick break at a lovely little restaurant on the Brighton sea front, it was back for two further sessions where we saw Christoph C Cemper present a very interesting case for site migration using 302/307 over 301 for redirects (sorry going a little bit techy – I’ll stop) and several other really interesting talks.
So any half decent event summary like this wouldn’t be complete with a bullet pointed list of the big takeaways we took from the event so here goes.
- Reviews all hugely important and undervalued in the SEO community. Businesses of all types need to realise the importance of reviews whether you’re a small business targeting locally or a Nationwide company selling products. We saw several talks where the speaker presented research showing that 92% of consumers read online reviews which then heavily influences their purchasing decision. If you are thinking of implementing a review strategy, we advise you use a trusted 3rd party review site.
- Amazon is more important for digital marketing than we give it credit for. Businesses selling products or services can and should be utilising this platform in a much more effective way. Amazon have already introduced Home Services for their US customers and it is very likely this will come to the UK in the months ahead.
- User generated content is something more marketers need to be mindful of and try to exploit. What is user generated content you may be asking? Well it is content that your customers or potential customers produce for you that in some way helps establish or promote your brand. At BrightonSEO, we saw several excellent examples of user generated content including one campaign for an African airline that used social media to encourage people’s involvement by submitting videos of themselves enjoying their own African culture. It was clever and got us thinking for our own clients.
- Local SEO is, as we know, one of the most important elements of what we do as digital marketers and it was interesting to hear several of the speakers talk of their experiences at how competition has increased so much that the target areas for Local SEO has become far more specific. So for example a few years ago a local business could optimise for a given town or city and it would appear well in search for surrounding villages and towns. Today, this is a lot more difficult to achieve. As competition increases the search area a business is appearing is decreasing. This is something we have personally seen to so it was reassuring to see we’re not the only ones.
All in all, both Amina and I had a fantastic time at BrightonSEO. It was a rather long day having set off at 6am and not returned home until gone 9pm but absolutely worth it. We will be returning again in 2017. We may even look to speak, who knows.
I encourage any digital marketer, entrepreneur or anyone with an interest in SEO to check out BrightonSEO and book yourself a ticket to the event next year. It is a truly great day out and fingers crossed next year we might have nice weather which would make it even better.