Posted by on Apr 14, 2013

Written by John King, SEOEvents.

Brighton SEO – 12.04.12

Brighton Dome – Cost: Free

Brighton was my first SEO event and being a complete stranger to this world it was quite a learning curve.

When I arrived I was greeted be several smiling members of staff and directed toward a set of tables to collect my ID tag. My first impression was that this was a well organised and friendly event, a good start for my introduction to SEO. In the foyer there were stands from the sponsors and enough tea and coffee to keep any body going that had ventured out around Brighton’s bars the previous night.

When it came time we were ushered in to the main room to take our seats. The event kicked off with a quick introduction from Kelvin Newman, the event organiser, around 10am followed by a discussion panel comprising of Pierre Far from Google, Dave Coplin Bing, Martin McDonald Expedia and Rishi Lakhani an SEO practitioner and chaired by Tony Goldstone from Fresh Egg.

Taking questions from the audience it was quite a lively discussion, mainly aimed at Google, on the ranking system, black hat techniques, link building and what contributes good content. Other issues such as privacy, Google Panda and Google’s plan of action against black hat SEO was also discussed.


Future SEO Vistas – the Semantic Web and the Internet of Things

Philip Sheldrake – Consultant, Author and Prime Number Fan, Meanwhile

Phillip discussed the semantic web, or 3.0 as it was referred to. Being an SEO novice this presentation was partly lost on me, however Phillip’s casual fluent but in depth style was easy to listen to without being over bearing. Focused on the future of the internet he expanded on the idea that all data and content will eventually be liked and this highlighted the importance of the ever evolving role of SEO.


How to launch or re-launch a brand or product online effectively

Samantha Noble – Digital Marketing Director, Koozai

Samantha talked about the rebranding and relaunch of Koozai from its previous incarnation. This was much more aimed at the marketing type aspect of SEO as Sam simply but competently walked the audience through the processes leading to the eventual launch, with many tips along the way.

Sam highlighted the need to keep the process to a minimum of staff until toward the end of the process and the importance of raising brand awareness. Even down to the simplest things, such as informing your clients about the change and tidying any loose ends, it was a thorough case study of relaunching a brand.


Killer Market Research for Peanuts

Adam Lee – Managing Director, No Pork Pies

Adam gave a presentation on the importance and relevance of market research to you as a business owner. Adam used three scenarios to show how market research needs to be tailored to your needs depending on what you are aiming to achieve with your business.

The first was a new scenario was a small business looking to future their exposure online, the second featured an expanding, mid-sized business and the last a large, well established business. This presentation was well thought out and helpful as the application of market research is important for the expansion of every business. Adam also provided an exhaustive list of companies and tools to help provide reliable market research.


Microformats and SEO

Glenn Jones – Founder/Director, Madgex

Glenn presentation explained micro formats and microdata/RDFs. Very knowledgeable and straight forward, Glenn made the technicality of the code used for rich snippets seem easily accessible. Based on an example of a recipe for Yorkshire puddings Glenn explained each stage of creating a rich snippet and the benefits of doing so. He also suggested that Google was only going to expand on the rich snippet idea to include even more information, giving the searcher more of a comprehensive search experience. This linked some what to Phillip Sheldrake’s talk showing that from one search result an individual can then easily access other content from that author or related articles.


Searchbots: Lost Children or Hungry Psychopaths? What Do Searchbots Actually Do?

Roland Dunn – Partner, Refined Practice, Freelance digital bloke, Cloud Shapes.

Roland analysed how effectively Googlebot searches through your web page. Giving data from Googlebot’s activity on his own site Roland concluded that the Googlebot search is not as efficient as you would expect. From realising that Googlebot was spending most of its time on infrequently visited web pages, Roland suggested that you could rebuild your site differently so that the Googlebot did not get caught up in loops and you could point it in the direction to more relevant content. This presentation would probably benefit those who feel that they have good content but are not finding their rank is increasing. Roland presented well and was quite entertaining, especially when he suggested music to describe the Google and Bing searches.


Now came time for lunch and in conjunction with Brighton SEO several local businesses offered discounts to people attending the event. However before we disappeared off, one of the sponsers had provided a magician to entertain us. More comedy then magic he was a hit and it was well worth taking a few minutes out of the recess to watch. With an hour and a half break we ventured off around sunny Brighton.


It’s only words? Working with Content Strategy

Charlie Peverett – Content Strategist, iCrossing UK

Charlie hosted the first presentation after the break and he focused on increasing visibility through great content. This included a content strategy and using features such as social media to boost content and ranking, as suggested by Google, rather then black hat techniques such as buying links. Charlie presented in a cool and witty style that engaged well with the audience.


How you can get BIG links from BIG media sites

Lexi Mills – Online PR Consultant, Distilled

Lexi Mills demonstrated how to achieve links from large media companies, such as newspapers and other online media. Lexi discussed how to pitch for links and how to approach submitting content to media sites. Mentioning that one of the hardest things is to get a followed link or acknowledgement for the work as journalists are often reluctant . However by building trust through face to face interaction and follow up phone calls this can be achieved. Lexi highlighted the need for PR and SEO to work closely together.


Maximizing your SEO Agencies

James Owen – SEO Manager,

James discussed the importance of SEO in furthering a brand online and how several agencies can be utilised to make this process efficient. This process comprised of using agencies with strengths in different areas, such as analytics, social media and link building to work specifically on these areas. This can further be optimised by working to a planned time line and using regular reports to analyse which agencies were working best to help promote the brand and where it can be improved. A useful presentation on the role of SE in marketing and advertising.


Search marketing – from Panda to Black Swan

Gary Preston – Strategy Director & Stefan Hull – Insight Director, Propellernet

Gary discussed black swan events, which is a surprise event that has a profound impact but is then rationalised and seen to have been an obvious event.

This focused on the importance of doing your job well and providing to the consumer what they want, rather then trying to second guess what Google are looking for in their 200 signals for rankings. That way through providing quality content your rank will naturally increase. In this case the black swan event was the release of Google Panda which targeted sites with poor content or black hat techniques and demoted their ranking.

On reflection it was only a matter of time before Google attempted to tackle the bad practice in SEO, therefore SEO should be more proactive in developing the practice and focus on providing content.

It was a fluent presentation and rounded the conference off well.

The next five presentations were what was referred to as 20/20 presentations, 20 slides in just over six minutes. These came courtesy of;


Sell the Sizzle, Not The Search: Tactics for Appeasing Marketing Directors*

Chelsea Blacker – Search Manager, SEOptimise

Chelsea Blacker who discussed how to gain funding for SEO and working with the business.


Enterprise SEO Titties*

Tony King – Head of Search Marketing,

Tony King who gave tools and tips to help make SEO more efficient and effective.


SEO & PPC Working Together in Harmony*

Craig Lister – Client Services Director, Jellyfish

Craig Lister from JellyFish who gave a very slick presentation on how SEO and PPC can be used together to achieve objectives by using them for different purposes.


I Believe Authors Are the Future*

James Carson – Bauer Media

James Carson Discussed the importance of authorship on content.


Mobile Serendipity: How Google Plans to Send Search Results to Users, Before You’ve Even Thought to Look*

Nichola Stott – Founder & Director, theMediaFlow

Nicola Scott expressed her vision of a serendipitous search, which knows what you are looking for before you do, based on the artificial intelligence that will be available in web 3.0.


I appear to have started a sweetshop (and advertising company)

Dom Hodgson – CEO, EmberAds

Finishing of the talks, Dom Hodgson who runs the Leeds based Think Visibility Conference, discussed his online pick ‘n’ mix venture with a squirrel. Highly entertaining and well presented it concluded a my very first expedition in to the world of SEO.

However it wasn’t over yet.

All during the day Kelvin set up challenges for volunteers from the audience and the final comprised of a best-of -three game on Street Fighter 2, the winner receiving an arcade machine.

From there it was off to Horatio’s bar at the end of the peer for a few drinks, courtesy of the event, and a chance for the days presentation to be discussed, to network and have a laugh.


Brighton SEO is a great event, whether just starting in SEO or an experience practitioner, it is accessible, friendly and casual. However it has plenty to offer and covers several aspects of SEO, from code and marking up, to good practice, marketing and advertising, starting or developing a brand. I would recommend Brighton as it was well run, informative and didn’t take its self too seriously through out with several great speakers. If this can be maintained then Brighton SEO will surely go from strength to strength.

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