BrightonSEO Conference March 2012 – A Round Up

Having never been to a conference before I was (sadly) somewhat nervous about the day. I even managed to get lost on the way to the Brighton Dome, only finding my way after overhearing a passing conversation about rich snippets. I managed to find my workmates, Ceri and Steve who had managed to get tickets from AnalyticsSEO.

As we funneled in, it was obvious that this was going to be awesome. Hell, even Bing even updated their home page with a picture of Brighton Pier for the day:

Brighton SEO

Ask the Engineers Panel

The first item on the agenda was the Ask the Engineers Panel Session featuring Microsoft’s Dave Coplin and Pierre Far from Google on one sofa, top SEO’s Martin McDonald and Rishi Lakhani on another with Tony Goldstone of Fresh Egg in between.

The discussion was exceptionally interesting and it was great to have a forum where we could ask the search engines face to face about our issues and have them answered there and then. Some of the interesting points made were:

  • Rishi recognised that the industry has an image problem and put it down to the lack of any standards body or specific qualifications.
  • Rishi also suggested keeping a log of all the emails you send requesting link removals. Even if a site owner doesn’t respond, or refuses, you can screenshot those emails and include them as attachments in your re-inclusion requests to show you’ve tried.
  • Google acknowledged that there’s a huge amount of spam in the PPC industries and explained that if everyone in an industry’s buying links then your not running as high a risk buying them yourself then you would in a ‘clean’ industry.
  • Pierre refused to say whether rich snippets were, within themselves, a ranking factor, but it was certain that everyone’s really in favour of adding them.
  • Dave Coplin suggested you be “bloody good” at Facebook and Twitter. The number of fans or followers is a factor, but not as important, its more about how quickly content is being shared


Future SEO Vistas – the Semantic Web and the Internet of Things

Philip Sheldrake’s talk set out his idea of the future of SEO in the form of semantic search or as Philip put it “Web 3.0″. His talk was gear towards how it’s really important that we move beyond content for content’s sake and make use of the relationships the web is now able to comprehend. Philip linked to Rel Finder, which looked like a great way of exploring the semantically connected web.


How to launch or re-launch a brand or product online effectively

Sam from Koozai, though not particularly SEO based, was very insightful as she ran through the story of how Koozai re-branded. Despite being attacked by a moth for most of her presentation Sam gave me a few great takeaways:

  • Check social profile availability with Knowem
  • Never go live on a project on Friday
  • Use reverse image searches to find your old logo, and contact to replace
  • Don’t keep checking your domain as they have a habit of miraculously getting registered
  • Register all the domains even if you aren’t going to use them and redirect
  • Keep up with negative press via Twitter search and Google Alerts


Searchbots: Lost Children or Hungry Psychopaths? What Do Searchbots Actually Do?

Roland talked about how little most SEOs know as to what searchbots are doing on their site. He went through an interesting method of analysing server-log files to see which pages are being crawled most frequently.

To help craft the journey of searchbots and increase your crawlability Roland suggested looking at:

  • altering your internal navigation
  • robots.txt out pages (in extreme cases); and
  • rethinking your URL construction to put the most important pages near the top


It’s only words? Working with Content Strategy

Charlie’s main beef seemed to be that SEOs see great content as just another box to check on our to-do lists. Going that extra step to come up with great ideas is what we should be looking to do at every opportunity. Content strategies need to be more than just writing articles broaden content creation into pictures, video, audio and other types of media based content.

He suggested ‘Content Strategy’ by Christina Halverson. I’ve recently bought a copy and it really is a great read. I highly recommend it myself.


How you can get BIG links from BIG media sites

Distilled’s Lexi Mills gave a great presentation on PR for SEO benefit and how to get links in more traditional publications and large media outlets. Lexi wanted SEO’s to get on the phone and pitch stories like a PR. This was a firm favourite with the crowd and despite being quite a generalised talk, there were plenty of little tips to be had:

  • If you get one article published by a media outlet, but they don’t link to you don’t burn the contact. Go back to them next time, but don’t give them full details until they promise the link.
  • Refer to a link as a credit or further substantiation of an article to improve acceptance rate.
  • For BusinessWire, don’t fill out the URL and blog URL boxes when filling in your press release to ensure you get dofollow links.
  • Track #prfail #prwin and #journorequest on twitter for potential news


I Believe Authors are the Future

In James Carson’s talk “I Believe Authors are the Future“, he explained what author rank is and how it may affect search. I’ve been interested in AuthorRank and it’s potential of effecting the SERPs, so to hear James’s talk was very interesting. James mentioned that he had seen no uplift in traffic on any of his websites.

James continued to note that AuthorRank is vertical based so it’s important not to mix personas when content marketing. He also mentioned that a personas author rank would be difficult to build up but fairly easy to lose if their relevance dropped.


We left the conference and moved down on to the pier for a drink and though I was unable to stay for the karaoke, I was later told by Ceri that @steviephil36 rocked the microphone with a Foo Fighters classic (representing!).

There were a few people who I’d of liked to of met and bought a pint but didn’t get around to it. I’ve mentioned a few in this post somehow or another so here’s to hoping some link juice makes up for the lack of beer.

My thanks go out to the guys at Koozai and AnalyticsSEO for our tickets, to Mila at the front desk for helping Ceri get in and to Kelvin and all the speakers for a great event that I’ll definitely be at next time.


Speakers and Slides

Brighton SEO Infographic – April 2012

Click to see the full infographic…

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