15 top takeaways from BrightonSEO – and our favourite quotes

Last week we had the pleasure of visiting BrightonSEO – the country’s largest SEO conference – once again. A couple of days by the beach and photos of the DeLorean from Back to the Future weren’t all we took away from this trip, here are our highlights and key takeaways from a few of the talks and training seminars we attended.

What is BrightonSEO?

For those unfamiliar with this huge event, BrightonSEO is a twice-yearly search marketing conference, with talks, training and networking to assist everyone in the industry, including agencies like us learning everything we can so that we can work even smarter for our clients, using the latest news, updates and technologies to boost rankings, traffic, and make businesses more money.

BrightonSEO exterior

#1 Ideation is more than just a buzzword among creatives

“Great, another creative buzzword, just what the industry needs” you may think when you see or hear the term ‘ideation’. And I must admit, I thought the same when Ross Tavendale mentioned it in our first talk of the day. But (as he went on to explain, and prove, after the groans had settled down) an effective ideation process and framework can revolutionise your content strategy. It ensures your time is spent more efficiently, and that you can all but guarantee results, which brings us too…


#2 Content should be created with purpose

It seems to be common among any content creator in the industry, the battle between trying to creative content with high conversion rates and ROI and the ‘infographics are popular, let’s make one too’ mentality.

This lesson was reinforced in all content marketing talks at BrightonSEO, and Matt Siltala hit the nail on the head when he said “don’t just create, share, and hope for the best”. If you’re going to create content, make sure it’s relevant to your brand and your audience, offers something unique and is clearly linked towards meeting your business objectives.


#3 Adding a new spin or perspective to existing data can make a great (even viral) read

There’s a wealth of information and data online from various credible sources. The great thing about this sort of public information is that statistics are all about perspective. If you can find existing information and add a new spin that engages your target audience, you could be well on your way to some juicy new backlinks to your website.


#4 It’s all about the here-and-now

Live video is taking over social media, as it becomes clear that social users prefer watching content as it happens, and the raw, organic feel that comes with live streams. As Bobbi Brant stated in her talk ‘using live video in content marketing’, on Facebook alone 78% of online audiences are watching live content. So if it’s not currently a part of your social media strategy, it should be.


#5 The key for brands and organisations is humanisation

It’s common knowledge in the world of SEO, content, social media and marketing that consumers are wising up to the dated style of marketing, and can instantly spot an advert or attempt to part them with their cash. Modern marketing must focus on making brands more human, relatable, and personable. This was echoed in the theme of many of the talks, with the popularity of live video giving customers insights into the people behind organisations and brands, and the rise of bots and efforts from brands to make them more natural and conversational.


#6 If you’re going to create infographics, do it well

In Matt Siltala’s talk ‘Creating the best content in the world’, he covered ‘thinking beyond the infographic’. Infographics are time-consuming, but most who make them don’t spend enough time on them, so they’re just wasting time. If you’re going to make one, make sure it fits into your wider campaign strategies, make sure it’s genuinely of interest to your audience, and consider the wider ‘visual snack pack’ for promoting it. Make sure it can be broken down into bite-size chunks to share on every platform you can, so it doesn’t just sit on your blog waiting for someone to visit.

As Samuel L Jackson more bluntly put it (with a little help from the editing skills of Greg Gifford, in his talk ‘Samuel L Jackson’s badass tips for using local SEO to dominate in mobile and voice search’) – “I have had it with these motherf***ing infographics!”.


#7 One infographic can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars of business

Another takeaway from Matt Siltala, is the example he gave of an infographic they created a few years ago, which apparently led to hundreds of thousands of dollars of new business. Now do you believe that infographics are worth doing well?

Social Meowdia explained



#8 It’s all about the customer

This one is pretty much common sense, but it’s worth noting that customer-centric marketing isn’t going anywhere. Any brand that’s doing it’s marketing right remembers that focusing on making the life of your customers easier is the key to success.


#9 You should always take a step back and consider your entire ecosystem

Your online ecosystem is the entire representation of every instance of your brand on the internet, including your website and how your business appears on SERPs (search engine results pages). John Brasington highlighted the importance of considering the appearance of your brand on Google when creating any content, for example does it conflict or complement content you’ve already published?


#10 Collaboration between graphic design and SEO is crucial for a high-converting website

When discussing ‘using stunning design to leverage your SEO’, Meg Fenn highlighted the importance of the collaboration between graphic/web designers and SEOs, she explained that the key purpose of graphic design is to communicate and inspire people to take action – and as we all know SEO plays a key role in driving users to take action online.


#11 Voice search is the future, but there’s still a lot of work to be done

There were a few talks on voice search at BrightonSEO, but one of the key things we took from these was that it’s only going to grow:

– Stuart Shaw claimed that by 2020 50% of searches will be made with our voices

– Greg Gifford said that 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local businesses

– And according to Purna Virji, the voice shopping market is expected to grow to $40 billion by 2022

But we’re still very much in the early stages of voice search, as many are still wary of the technology, both in usability and it’s security.


#12 Voice search probably won’t change SEO that much

There really is no need to panic when it comes to optimising for voice search. Greg Gifford stressed that as long as you’re doing your standard search optimisation right, you’ll be successful in voice search too, so just carry on working hard to get those rankings.


#13 Soon we’ll all be talking to ourselves in public

Greg Gifford reminded us that “people are becoming more comfortable talking to their phones in public”, and as smartwatches become more popular alongside this, we’re guessing it’s going to be really difficult to spot who’s a spy with everyone talking to their wrists!


#14 Samuel L. Jackson really knows his local SEO…

We really enjoyed Greg’s presentation, all of his points were excellent and we learned loads about local SEO and voice search, and the highlight of course was that each slide featured a different scene from each of Samuel L. Jackson’s movies.


#15 Relevance is king

The key link we found in each of the talks we attended, was that the key to growing your customer base, making more sales, raising brand awareness, and achieving many of your business objectives, is staying relevant. In all of your marketing efforts, whether it’s live video, infographics, your website design, web pages, or anything else, remember to ask yourself – is this relevant to my audience? The answer to that will give you a pretty good indication of whether it will be successful, or whether you need to go back to the drawing board.


10 of our favourite quotes from BrightonSEO

These were some of our favourite quotes from the event, did you catch any you think we missed? Let us know on Twitter.

– “SEO begins in the mind of your customers” – John Brasington

– “Graphic design helps people trust – when people trust, they buy” – Meg Fenn

– “Graphic design is the creative spirit of your website” – Meg Fenn

“There’s so much beauty in the world – find the corners that speak to your brand and share them with your audience” – Matt Siltala

– “Embrace concepts that connect us all as humans and bring awareness to people and stories that are often overlooked. It’s an opportunity to connect your customers to each other and to your brand” Alli Echelman via Matt Siltala

– “Before you create and publish new content, stop and think, how will what I’m creating impact on my ecosystem?” – John Brasington

– “Laziness is entrenched deep in our nature” – Purna Virji

– “For people to want to use conversational interfaces, the customer experience has to be better than any other option out there” – Purna Virji

“Conversation is the most natural way for consumers to engage with products” – Stuart Shaw

– “Voice search tends to be more informational intent than discovery or purchase intent” – Greg Gifford


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