If you know anything about search, then you’ll no doubt be intimately familiar with Brighton SEO. Within the space of a few years, this search conference has firmly established itself as one of the must-attend events in SEO – and last week (April 9th and 10th), search aficionados from all over the UK and beyond descended on the seaside resort for this year’s Brighton SEO. Among the attendees were Lakestar McCann’s own Ross Momtahan and Natalie Mott, there to see just what valuable new insights they could glean.
With Google’s latest mobile algorithm update arriving on April 21st, mobile was an especially hot topic at this year’s Brighton SEO. Vicky Cheung, graphic designer at Distilled, was among those speaking at the event. In her presentation Vicky set her stall out as a champion of mobile-first design, explaining that designing sites for mobile first should help reduce the need for compromise later on. Also central to her argument was simplicity – she stressed the importance of avoiding over-elaboration.
She also noted that not all design conventions should necessarily be rejected, and that some were there for good reason; primarily avoiding confusion and making everything that bit easier to use.
Perhaps the main draw of the conference was the ‘fireside chat’ with Mark Wright, who won the BBC’s TV series The Apprentice last year. With the help of tycoon Lord Sugar, Wright established Climb Online, a digital marketing agency. At Brighton SEO he offered an overview of the business he’s built up (which, incidentally, posted a profit in March after trading for only three months) and even threw in some titbits about his friendship with Lord Sugar to amuse the audience – apparently they’re big WhatsApp buddies.
It’s probably fair to say that there had initially been some scepticism about Wright given the enviable leg-up he was given by his TV exploits, but by the end he seemed to have won over most of his doubters with his charm and undeniable enthusiasm. The fact that his firm’s already in the black probably didn’t hurt his cause, either.
Distilled’s Hannah Smith, meanwhile, gave a presentation on content ideation and pitching containing a whole host of sharp and entertaining insights into the workings of the creative development process. In particular, Hannah pointed to three factors at the heart of Distilled’s content framework – relevance, resonance and difference. In other words: why is the content relevant to the client and its audience, what makes it resonate with that audience so that it gets talked about and how does it stand out from what’s already out there?
While Hannah noted that it’s impossible to be 100 per cent confident no matter how hard you work on content creation, she said that this particular framework had enabled her team to think in more depth about the content they produced and how it worked for clients.
So while there was no shortage of smart new observations on show at this year’s Brighton SEO, the conference seemed to revolve more around sharpening up existing strategies and tactics than trailblazing innovations. One thing’s for sure, though – the overarching importance of attention-grabbing and shareable content now appears to have become the dominant orthodoxy in SEO. As far as rankings are concerned, the stress now seems to be on building trust to keep visitors coming back again and again; it’s up to SEOs themselves to rise to that challenge.
Did you attend this year’s Brighton SEO conference? What were your personal highlights? Join the debate – post a comment below.