Last Updated: 15 Sep 2016

BrightonSEO 2016 delivered 50+ high-quality speakers across 7 unique tracks.

Being fortunate enough to visit this year’s event, here are the 5 most important takeaways from BrightonSEO and what they mean for your digital strategy going forward.

1. Think like a human when it comes to digesting content

Hannah Smith of Verve Search kicked-off BrightonSEO with a word on creativity’s role in formulating an effective SEO strategy.

With all the talks at BrightonSEO on data, it was refreshing to hear a human approach to SEO-optimised content!

Hannah preaches that all content should resonate with its viewer, so you need to think as they think to achieve human results (and not just vanity numbers).


Using Banksy’s “No Balls Games” art to support her point, Hannah preaches that SEO requires us to become better at taking ideas apart and putting them back together again.

After all, content isn’t unlike Bankey’s piece in that we can each interpret things in a number of different ways.

But it’s how we, as SEO people, understand this, break this down, and evaluate this process. This is what we’re NOT doing.

Hannah stated that we all need to review our content, our coverage, what people are saying on social media and how they’re sharing what you’ve created.

Stop, think, evaluate and learn from just about everything you’re doing. This is the key to creating a living, breathing, evolving SEO strategy.

2. Make the choice: Optimise for mobile or desktop?

Malcolm Coles of The Telegraph brought data back to the BrightonSEO fold, asking the question:

“How the heck do you do SEO when your new article has NO links pointing to it AND you want to rank on Google?”

With reference to the news sector, in particular, Malcolm explained that The Telegraph uses a minute-by-minute content-planned approach to maximise search peaks at the end of popular TV programmes to tie-in related content.

Use your own site data to evaluate which content has the highest click-through rates in order to optimise your headlines for search, just as The Telegraph is doing.

But be warned:

If you’re hoping to be ranked in Google News, you’re dealing with a very different beast.

Google News messes with timestamps on news stories depending on the query (to the point in which Malcolm admits The Telegraph often has groups of people who would sit and edit timestamps on each piece of content to rank better!)

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 14.09.59

We weren’t a million miles off of The Telegraph’s timestamp-centric approach to content…

But we’re going to the extremes with that one.

At BrightonSEO, Malcolm instead insisted you ask yourself this:

Because searches on different devices will yield dramatically different results, you have to choose: SEO optimise your content for mobile or desktop?

3. SEO auditing is a thing, and you need to be doing it

International SEO superstar Aleyda Solís dove deep in SEO auditing, focusing on how YOU can develop your auditing (if you’re even doing it, that is) by making it actionable and strategic.

Aleyda made it clear at that you’ll need to consider how all factors of the SEO puzzle, such as links and content, ties in with the technical configurations of your site – such as its how crawlable and indexable it is.

Breaking down your metrics, you’ll be able to identify which your best-ranked queries are and their related statistics.

From there, you’ll be able to look at which queries are driving organic search visibility and traffic to your competitors – and map that against yours.

The main focus here is to break down exactly everything you’ve achieved, map that against your competitors and do the entire process again so that you can understand what works best.

Check out Aleyda’s BrightonSEO slides to learn more about SEO auditing here.

4. It’s not social video, it’s [INSERT YOUR PLATFORM HERE] video

Video guru Phil Nottingham of Wistia gave what I believe to be one of the best talks of BrightonSEO – diving deep into the world of optimising video content across different social media platforms.

Why is this so important?

It’s pretty simple:

Tradition dictates our content has to be super-swanky, in mega-high resolution and have ultra-impressive production value.

But Phil makes an obvious point:

Why on earth are you going through that much effort if your content consumers are viewing on mobile?

Think of it like this:

You need to start with your platform and NOT your content.

Then, think about what devices your consumers are using and go from there.

Once you’ve worked backwards (platform>device>content) you’ll need to think about your actual approach.

When looking at the big gun of video platforms – YouTube – their distribution engine favours views over clicks, rendering your keyword stuffing near useless!

Above all, think of the obvious: 

Facebook video content is often consumed without sound.

Why may you ask?

People watch videos in transit – whether that’s a bus or train – often not bothering to grab their headphones from their bag and often with low-quality internet connection.


Ditch the AAA production mentality – those digesting your content are likely to have crap “on the move” internet and they won’t go out of their way to grab their headphones

You need to take all these factors into consideration when creating your content.

Phil also warned us at BrightonSEO to be careful with Instagram.

If your video is too long people WILL stop watching.

Chop your videos into smaller chunks and combine it with ALL other content types for maximum effect:

Videos, images, and .gifs are the Holy Trinity!

For Twitter, use the email capture functionality provided in paid-for campaigns.

Emailgating is a really easy way to reduce the “direct-to-site” step that one needs to take before subscribing to a service or mailing list, so maximise this opportunity!

Now the BrightonSEO golden egg of social media: SNAPCHAT!

Phil advised that we should think of Snapchat as a series that continues, like a TV show. If you can, think of ways to create continued, bite-size stories (storyboard this you have to!)

BrightonSEO also taught us this:

If you’re a good enough storyteller, word of mouth and social buzz will draw natural, organic engagement.

BrightonSEO also taught us:

Paid-for campaigns are NOT an excuse to produce bad content, so don’t get lazy!

This musical metaphor resonated with many in the crowd at BrightonSEO:

Your content is your guitar your campaign is your crowd. You’ve got to be the one who figures out how to make the magic happen.

To learn more, check out Phil’s BrightonSEO slides here

5. Facebook advertising is a MUST

Greg Gifford returned to BrightonSEO, this time telling us via superheroes and lots of fruity language why Facebook ads rule!

We couldn’t agree more, and it’s why we were so hooked on what Greg had to say.

BUT, we were still surprised with some of the results.

Greg made it clear that we’re spending pretty much all our time on Facebook and Instagram. But that doesn’t mean if you throw enough shit against the wall something will eventually stick.

Start with a campaign goal:

Are you looking to raise awareness? Increase post engagement or page likes?

Decide this right from the get-go THEN work your way backwards.

Here’s how:

Use your objective to dictate your imagery, ask yourself what budget you’ll be spending and how long you plan to A/B test your first campaign.

But what’s the best objective you say?

The result may surprise you:

It’s local awareness!

Rather than global targeting (which you NEVER need no matter what campaign you’re running) focus on proximity.

Why you ask?

Results will ONLY be shown on mobile devices to users within a given location (combined with the demographic criteria you specify).

It makes sense because it’s mobile only AND it’s local to your region. You should NOT opt for a scattergun approach.

Greg recommended image dimensions of 1200 x 628 pixels for the very best results BUT, as just importantly, states the images should include less than 20% text.

He also assured us that by combining all of the above with your lookalike audiences, your highly targeted, relevant, SEO driven super content will generate reach and engagement for trackable social media implementation.

Send this to a friend