Sun, Sea and SEO in Brighton

Every year the search marketing community gets together for one of the biggest events in the SEO calendar, BrightonSEO.

I went to soak up as much as I could. All I can say is; Wow!

Speakers came from far and wide to discuss important SEO topics, everything from keyword tools to virtual reality.

Here’s my top 5 major takeaways from the event.

#1 Keyword Tool data is out of date

This sounds controversial at first, but makes sense when you think about it. Keyword volumes are based on historical data, leading to some SEO decisions being made based on data that's 12 months old or more. It’s like saying the steering wheel is the reason a car moves forward. A better approach is to combine keyword research with other research such as Google trends data, social feedback (tweets, mentions, engagement from social media), reviews from review sites and competitor research.


Add what is *interest* to trend alerts. So if you wanted to know the latest Google updates, you could create a trend alert and receive instant updates to write fresh blog posts.

#2 The Primary use of Siri/Alexa/Assistant/Cortana is Search

This creates a golden opportunity for the marketing community. There are lots of interesting statistics that complement this. 69% of people surveyed say they would convert using their device. Perhaps more surprising, 29% of people surveyed have had a sexual fantasy about their device! There are 7,000 skills/apps that Alexa can use but only 31% are used. The next frontier for search marketers is voice search in products. When your car can recommend a cafe, ads can be run around that. The speaker Saeley Johnson says, “it’s not about the query, it’s what prompted it.” I couldn’t agree more.


When it comes to voice search, design your content around the frequently asked questions that get picked up through social and Google trends.

#3 Digital Marketing needs to return to marketing’s traditional, customer focused roots

This one is obvious. All the amazing innovations and changes, have made a lot of us forget what really matters with digital marketing. We need to go back to the customer perspective, to make customers want you, not what you do. We need to find the problem the customer is facing and solve it.


Use dynamic and interesting to engage your audience. This will ensure they relate to your brand rather than just the product you sell. This should reduce bounce rates and increase sales.

#4 Virtual and interactive marketing is massively on the rise

1 million hours have been logged on VR. Consumers love the experience of virtual reality, and marketing that incorporates it. An A+ example is Merrell hiking shoes. This is successful because it changes brand perceptions. Merrell becomes exciting and fun. They are no longer just about shoes, but about a good experience. This is the kind of association any brand should want and it came at a relatively low cost for Merrell. The VR reality creates an experience beyond the product. Jes Stiles advises, invest in 360 photos because 90% of the time, it gets higher engagement on social than static photos. As always, the content is still more critical than the format.


Use interactive content to educate consumers while they are still considering whether to purchase.

#5 Content isn’t a strategy, it’s a tactic

If you’re only planning for long-term goals, you’ll be behind when you implement the plan. Instead, plan shorter-term tactics so that your ‘strategy’ can evolve and change, as content marketing changes. Chelsea Blacker gave interesting insight on ROI. 89% of shares are made through ‘dark social’ (shares made through closed, non-monitorable apps such as whatsapp and slack). Shanelle Mullin advocated always reporting year-on-year growth to account for seasonality and trends. One of the best ways to demonstrate and report the ROI of a content campaign is to show growth of pageviews, growth of remarketing audiences and revenue generated by blog remarketing audiences.


When search results for your target phrase are brandless, collaborate with the top rankers (e.g financial advisor giving advice on how to save money). Also, a great way to find new content ideas, use People Also Search For in the Serps.

Let’s just say, there were a lot of takeaways from BrightonSEO and they were mostly positive. Most of what I discovered, I can use immediately. Next year, there will be more to learn, but for now we’ve got great tools and knowledge to go forward with.

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