Following an inspiring and insightful day at Brighton SEO, I thought I would share my thoughts on my time there listening to a number of keynotes and speaking to the vast array of characters whom I found lingering around the bar during the intermissions.
For those of you whom have never attended or perhaps never heard of it, Brighton SEO is the creation of Kelvin Newman and it started out, like many a fine idea – a conversation in a pub. Kelvin's vision was to share views and chat about all the interesting stuff that people outside of the industry don't get or understand, namely SEO, search, data, analytics etc...
Over the years, the event has grown at an astronomical rate, meaning that tickets are now snapped up with in minutes of becoming available, with over 4,000 attendees at this year's April event.
"this wasn't an event that just tells you 'content is king' or 'don't translate your site, localise it' – It's hands on"
So what did I think to my first experience of Brighton SEO? Personally, what I loved and why I can't recommend it enough is that this wasn't an event that just tells you 'content is king' or 'don't translate your site, localise it' – It's hands on, it feels completely independent and every step along the way felt authentic. It's detailed, it's very practical and the range of speakers from impressive brands really captured my imagination.
And what a time to be discussing search, SEO, analytics, data and how this impacts brands, marketers and consumers. Never before has change been so constant and happening at such pace. Knowledge, awareness and the ability to flex and adapt have never been so important. The industry is constantly evolving and we need to keep evolving with it.
The growth of voice search, the fragmentation of devices and personal assistants means that brands will need to make sure that they are the answer to those questions we ask Alexa or Siri, and this means understanding what powers these answers. If you don't know, it's the knowledge graph, and to be the answer to these questions, you need to be managing your brand knowledge as demonstrated by Raj Nijjer from Yext.
Then there is structured data consisting of elements such as opening times, locations, reviews, maps, product cards etc... all driving the way in which consumers search and actually consume content. This is where brands need to ask the real question... Where are people discovering information about us? Are we managing this? How can we identify and fill the knowledge gaps?
"It is a real challenging time for brands. Gone are the days of meta tags, keywords, backlinks and Moz score."
It is a real challenging time for brands. Gone are the days of meta tags, keywords, backlinks and Moz score. It's bigger than SEO and it offers huge advantage – why? Because it is more controllable. With a bit of focussed effort and awareness of where your brand needs to be and what information you need to be curating and managing, you can start to influence voice search and offer better performance in text search also.
Then there is data, we are definitely in a period of data overload. Nearly everything is creating data, usable data that can be interrogated to better understand your audiences, products, campaigns and digital assets.
"There is data everywhere and we are bombarded by it. But how can we start to handle this data more efficiently?"
Products talk to the manufacturers giving them a real view on usage of that smart kettle you purchased, or the way you use your TV. Brands' social media channels are providing masses of usable data, videos are producing data, our bodies are often connected and are providing data. Websites, databases, surveys, sales reports, cars etc... DATA IS COMING FROM ALL DIRECTIONS! There is data everywhere and we are bombarded by it. But how can we start to handle this data more efficiently?
We need to ensure we are centralising this data, not only for efficiency but to ensure we are able to find real relationships, trends and insights, instead of a linear, one dimensional view of it. A talk on Google Data Studio made my ears prick up at Brighton SEO, as this seemed a powerful solution that would allow us to collate our data from an array of sources and create meaningful insights through visualisation – and it's free and easy to use. Yet more tools for the modern marketer to make them better at what they do.
So many different topics, so much food for thought and while I have only scratched the surface of what was covered, hopefully this gives you a flavour of some of the bigger talking points that our industry peers were discussing during and after the event.
Finally, if there is one thing that stuck with me from Brighton SEO, it was that when it comes to search, we have entered a phase far far bigger than SEO. Ironic really.
Take a look for yourself: