BrightonSEO, held at Brighton Dome is one of the biggest nights for SEO in the UK,  perhaps arguably the biggest. The conference, held twice a year in April and September, attracts search engine optimisers and internet marketers from around the globe to revel in the array of tips, tricks and techniques on offer from high quality speakers.

Time Grice – Director of Search at Branded3 – began his presentation with the inflammatory statement that “links are dead!”, which was sure to get the audience riled up and tweeting their objections along with the hastag #BrightonSEO. Tim then clarified his statement and said that they are certainly much weaker now, with other signals perhaps taking prominence now when trying to secure top ranking positions.

Keynote speaker Malcolm Cole of Trinity Mirror Group gave the opening keynote, entitled “How I earned loads of links by ignoring SEO”. He explained how Us Vs Th3m was conceived and how it gained a huge amount of links, consistently, without really ever taking SEO into consideration. The formulated a basis which would perform so well on social media; creating unique and interesting content which would compel people to share it on Twitter and Facebook. This ranged from very simple Java Script games to satirical pop surveys; the content would invariably be based around something recent in the news, which makes it even the more popular. When some of this content goes viral, they create an article about it which in turns included very valuable links.

There where three ‘rooms’ which housed presentations from 10am to 6pm, each hosting around 8-12 presentations throughout the day. With such a varied agenda spread across each room, it’s difficult to sum up the theme of the day into a few words. However, what can be said is that the impetus was almost always on digital marketing, combined with the motif of always working with the user and audience in mind. This isn’t new though, but it never hurts to stress how important this is nowadays.

Here are some of the key points we took from the conference, which directory and indirectly helps and contributes to SEO

  • Do something offline and real, from which you can create content out of. It also attracts the right kind of people to you and your website
  • SEO moved away from anything it deemed unnatural, and now SEO is always about relevance, uniqueness and all-round awesomeness
  • The top factor for Google to rank pages will always be authority
  • 8/10 of factors which Google uses to rank sites are link-related (links aren’t dead!)
  • Schema is crucial today and should always be implemented
  • Surveys are a great way to create original and interesting articles from.
  • The 6-3-5 way of brainstorming ideas is great to help force ideas where there was difficulty finding
  • Twitter graphics are HUGE nowadays
  • Mobiles are quickly overtaking desktop computers – it’s now important that your website/content (infographics etc.) are mobile-optimised.
  • Click conversion rate is the easiest and most effective way of increasing traffic
  • SERPs can be tested for various key phrases to understand what people click and why. Apply what you’ve learned afterwards.
  • Malcolm Coles, in his keynote speech said that Google isn’t the be all and end all – and touched upon the fact he runs ‘social [media] only’ projects