If you’re completely new to the world of SEO then attending the Brighton SEO conference is a fantastic way to be thrown in at the deep end.
When I attended the April 2018 Brighton SEO conference I had been in the SEO industry for around 2 weeks. As such, I decided to create this guide for newbies to the industry to give some information of what to expect.
What is Brighton SEO?
What started off as an excuse for some friends in the industry to go down the pub to chat about SEO has become one of the largest SEO conferences in Europe. In the 8 years since its first appearance its grown massively, with the latest venue (the Brighton Centre) having capacity for 3,500 people.
The beauty of the conference is its not targeted purely at SEO’s; there are a whole range of talks going on throughout the day, on subjects such as social media, marketing, PR, content and more.
What to expect at Brighton SEO as a newbie
If you’re still learning about SEO then be prepared to be slightly overwhelmed by the whole experience. It is a LOT of information to take on-board, but it is a great learning experience nonetheless.
It’s best to decide in advance which talks you would be interested in attending so you can plan out your day and find the rooms you’ll need to get to. You’ll want to scope out the whole venue – not only are there rooms for the talks, but also stands from various SEO-related companies offering you information and free goodies.
How to prepare for Brighton SEO
I’d say there are three crucial tips to help you prepare for the Brighton SEO experience:
- SLEEP – Get a good night’s sleep! It is a reasonably long day, and if you’re travelling down to Brighton on the day itself, it’s even longer. For me, the day started at 5:30am when I left home in my car, and I arrived back at 9:40pm.
- PUNCTUALITY – Try to arrive early – both for the conference and for the talks you wish to attend. Rooms fill up quickly and you really don’t want to be stuck at the back for the talks you are really interested in. The Brighton Centre’s doors open at 9am, with the first talk starting at 10am. So be ready for an early morning.
- MAKE NOTES – Bring with you a notepad & pen or a laptop – whichever you find easier – and note down some of the key takeaways. Most speakers publish their slide decks afterwards, but you can only get so much information from the slides themselves.
Which talks did I attend?
I was able to attend a variety of different talks throughout the day. There was a lot to choose from based around technical SEO, content marketing, digital marketing and PR. However, these are the talks that I ended up going along to…
My day started off learning about ‘Command line hacks for SEO’ from fellow Blue Array employee Tom Pool. He covered a whole range of topics within his slot, including using command line alongside crawl scheduling, performing keyword gap analysis and analysing server log files. Despite me not being the most tech savvy person at the time, the talk was incredibly informative, and it was inspiring to see a colleague who has only been in the industry himself for two years taking to such a large stage.
You can find Tom’s presentation slides here.
Next up was Tom Anthony with – ‘Diving into HTTP/2 – A Guide for SEOs’. Tailoring his talk to all levels of ability, his used the analogy of a truck to explain how webpages operating over HTTP/HTTPS and HTTP1/2 were delivered to users from a server. Long story short – implementing a CDN is the best way to speed things up.
His slide deck can be found here.
Emily Mace discussed how people can diagnose, understand or implement their hreflang setup. She dived into sitemap errors, coding issues and errors reported within Google Search Console. Hreflang tags help businesses with websites operating in multiple countries serve the correct content to their users. This was a talk that really interested me, and is definitely an area that I want to learn more about in the future.
Emily’s presentation can be found here.
After battling through the crowds to get across the venue I sat down to hear Daiana Damacus give some tips on how to ‘Avoid a traffic jam between your website and social media’. These tips included localising your website to give your users the best experience, to creating a website awareness campaign.
After a quick trip into Brighton city centre for some lunch – we returned to hear a talk by Hannah Butcher about ‘How to Win Friends and Influence… Influencers’. Based off the popular marketing book, Hannah took the twist to explain the correct approach to take with bloggers and vloggers to act as a friendly trustworthy brand. This was a really interesting talk, which showed the effect of a negative experience with an influencer.
Hannah’s slide deck can be viewed here.
Jason Dilworth followed with a talk on ‘Finding Prospects by Scraping The News’. His methods involved an automated method to locate news articles that contained ideal prospects. The concept behind it seemed ideal for making a very time consuming task far easier to manage.
Jason’s presentation slides are accessible here.
Corinne Card used her expertise within journalism to show how to get ahead with PR in digital marketing. She covered a whole range of topics including predicting user behaviour, making the most out of information, and how to properly start a conversation with consumers.
Corrine’s slides can be found here.
One of the last talks to wrap up the day was from Nandini Jammi – ‘The B2B content to sell your products’. This was a talk I found very interesting since I studied a degree in advertising. It went over various points to best present your products/services in order to increase sales. One of her examples was Xerox, who introduced a new lighthearted campaign and changed their sales technique to fit the desired client.
Nandini’s presentation deck can be seen here.
The keynote Q&A with John Mueller from Google and Aleyda Solis closed out the day, with questions about everything SEO, including whether or not Googlebot is a boy or a girl, as well as a topic that’s on everyone’s minds at the moment – Mobile First Indexing.
Despite being in a question and answer format, it still provided some important lessons into the search engine itself, and some of the key upcoming trends in the world of SEO.
How was the overall Brighton SEO experience?
Although being fresh to the industry when attending, the whole conference was incredibly informative and gave me a great introduction to the world of SEO. I’m hoping by the time the next Brighton SEO comes about, I will have learnt a lot more so will understand some of the topics being covered even better.
If you’re a beginner to either just Brighton SEO or the industry itself, the best advice to follow is don’t be afraid to ask questions, be it to the speaker, your friends or colleagues.
SEO can sound like another language when you first start, but like any language, it takes time to learn. If you leave feeling you’re learnt something, get back to the office and give it a try!