Brighton SEO 2016: a roundup
28th April, 2016
What I learned at this year's Brighton SEO conference
I first cut my teeth in the world of digital marketing only a couple of years ago and the more I’ve learnt and the deeper I’ve delved, the more I realise that generally speaking I am only scratching the surface of what is a vast and incredibly complex subject. This realisation was more than confirmed by my recent attendance at Brighton SEO. Tickets this year sold out in a matter of minutes and the queue snaking up Church Street on the morning of last Friday, told me that I was rapidly becoming part of a huge community of SEOers and digital marketeers, all keen to learn and find their place in this ever-changing industry.
If you were lucky enough to snag a ticket or spent some time following the hashtag on the day, you’ll know that this year was the biggest event to date, with a packed schedule of speakers, workshops and networking. I learned a lot and to try and summarise the key points without laboriously detailing everything isn’t easy (there are a fair few reviews around the web if it’s a more detailed summary you’re after). Here’s a quick roundup of some things I learnt at Brighton SEO 2016:
1 SEO is kind of a big deal
(Image source: http://quotesgram.com/ron-burgundy-quotes-san-diego/)
We should all know by now that without SEO your business is going to be swimming against a tide of businesses who have optimised their site and are marketing away to strengthen their presence online and cement themselves as a credible (and thus hopefully profitable) company. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few years, that much is becoming universally acknowledged. The scale of the industry is fantastic. Experts exist in every aspect of SEO, from analytics managers to link strategists and there is a seemingly unending wealth of knowledge out there for the taking. If you’re serious about your marketing and want to see results, use the experts.
2 The marketing world likes women ...
...although not in a ‘here’s a pretty girl, now buy our product’ way. Marketing departments are increasingly bursting at the seams with brilliant women and it’s refreshing to see. This industry is young - the internet as we know it isn’t 30 years old yet - and a happy result of this means that digital marketing has been born into a more progressive modern world. Seeing women sailing up through the ranks is exciting.
The keynote speaker at this year’s Brighton SEO, Nathalie Nahai, was seriously impressive - captivating a lively (and slightly tipsy) audience of nearly 2000 is no easy task, yet she delivered over and above with a dynamite session on the psychology behind content. Check out her presentation here.
3 Listen to the data
The data is there to build a cohesive picture of the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Without a data driven approach to marketing there’s no understanding of what your audience responds to or what you can do to improve. Ask any marketeer what they spend their days doing and you’ll find number crunching is high up on their list. Analytics tools throw up oceans of graphs, charts, comparisons, percentiles, ratios and the rest - all tied together these various tools deliver key insights into how your marketing strategy is working for you.
4 Your content is pointless if it’s not useful for something
This seems obvious, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of forgetting to make your content useful. It’s all very well having fresh content circulating day to day, but unless this content is delivering value to your audience and ultimately boosting your business's credibility in some way then it could be a waste of time.
Laura Hampton at Brighton SEO gave a fantastic talk on the importance of creating audience personas to sanity check your company’s marketing and ensure it delivers value to your key audience segments. For example, a university might seek to market to students, parents and professors. To ensure the university’s marketing stays relevant to each type of potential client, fictional personas can be created and fleshed out for the student, the parent and the professor - we could call them Jane, Jake and John. Their individual needs can be explored and documented, and marketing can be tested against these needs - will John be able to access this information? Does this appeal to Jake? etc. Thus, each piece of marketing is tailored to meet the needs of the particular audience segment.
These types of exercises can make the difference between a relevant and helpful stream of content that actively generates interest in your business, or a lot of marketing effort falling short of its audience’s requirements. To learn more about the process of creating audience personas, check out Laura’s talk here.
5 Educating yourself is easy
The fantastic thing about the world of content marketing and SEO is that there is an on-going conversation online happening around the world, 24/7. The industry is constantly talking, writing, videoing, analysing and sharing information all over the web on these subject and this wealth of knowledge is there for the taking. If you didn’t make it to Brighton SEO, here’s some resources to get stuck into in your own time: