Seemingly without a single hint of irony, BrightonSEOâs founder Kelvin Newman takes to the stage in front of a packed auditorium donning a pair of Nike retro self-lace shoes and holding a shocking-pink hoverboard (both made famous by Back to the Future Part II) â all the while a DeLorean sits triumphantly at the foot of the stage. At this point, itâs easy to forgive oneself for thinking youâve arrived at the wrong sort of conference.
To regulars at BrightonSEO, Newmanâs penchant for all things flamboyantly retro has now become a staple talking point at each conference â but even by his usual high standards, he had clearly pushed the boat further.
The conference founder might not have changed over the years, but the event itself certainly has. No longer just a place where data boffins converge to learn about the complex minutia of the search world, BrightonSEO is now a familiar marching ground for professionals from all backgrounds in digital marketing. Blink and youâll miss an Instagram influencer live blogging about one of the numerous talks on social media, and donât forget to tweet out the slides, it might just boost your follower count.
Our top 10 takeaways from BrightonSEO:
- Always remember that âcontent finds the audienceâ â the audience shouldnât dictate the content.
- PWA (progressive web apps) are a great alternative to mobile apps that are often expensive to build and maintain. The key benefits include: instant loads, offline loading and a reduction in the number of apps required on mobile devices.
- 78 per cent of online audiences watch Facebook live video content.
- Graphic design is important when it comes to SEO. Strong graphic design creates user trust, which in turn can lead to more regular traffic for your site.
- Direct competitors are often one of the highest âreferrersâ for major online retailers
- Men will apply for a job in digital marketing if they feel they match 60 per cent of the criteria; women will only apply if they feel they are 100 per cent suited.
- Google Data Studio is a solution to those who hate working with spreadsheets but love extracting insights from data. Most of its features are free and it can help identify potential keyword cannibalisation issues with integrated platforms such as Deepcrawl.
- For every 10 organic clicks there are on SERPs, there will be 8.8 searches ending in no clicks.
- 28 per cent of consumers call a business after carrying out a voice search.
Who were the standout speakers?
The headliner of the event was surely keynote speaker Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz and undoubtedly the best dressed man in SEO. His talk, although littered with a few amusing technical hitches, was the standout. He spoke of the future of SEO, with a particular focus on the SERP. His honest and often cynical approach resonates with an audience looking for an answer to where SEO is going in the future. There were criticisms of Google, and interesting insights into how it monopolises its advertising space. It was a talk worth the wait, as SEOs queued up â some slightly worse for wear from the free beers on offer â at 5pm to see SEOâs answer to Elon Musk.
Other highlights included the expletive-rich talk on voice search in local SEO by the dangerously funny Greg Gifford; a deep dive into data journalism by Ross Tavendale; a lively comic presentation of The Batman SEO toolbelt by Grant Simmons; Byron Marrâs cat meme-laden insights into Facebook funnels; and finally Miracle Inameti-Archibongâs fascinating look at progressive web apps.
Itâs a true testament not only to Newmanâs vision but to the industry as a whole that there can be so many memorable and truly erudite presentations from people from every corner of the globe taking place under one large roof in Brighton.
Itâs not just the talks that make BrightonSEO so wonderful to be a part of, as the buzz generated in the Brighton Centre is something to behold with branded stalls handing out freebies ranging from freshly popped popcorn to sinfully delicious alcoholic ice-lollies. There is a real sense of community spirit, with near-endless opportunities to network with people from companies big and small.
By the end of the day, the Telegraphâs Commercial SEO team were exhausted, but also invigorated in the knowledge that the industry is in a good place, being held up by great people. If this is a sign of things to come from BrightonSEO, weâll surely be seeing you there again for many more years. Long live SEO, and the curious geeks that make it so brilliant.
If BrightonSEO inspired you this year, then check out the Telegraphâs SEO poem by acclaimed poet Tim Cumming written especially for Septemberâs BrightonSEO event and read our interview and preview with BrightonSEO founder Kelvin Newman. Follow @TelegraphSEO for more news, features and thoughts relevant to search marketing.