How to be a better SEO
7 mins read

How to be a better SEO

BrightonSEO September

BrightonSEO September took place last Friday; and was a day packed full of talks, tips and tales.

If you weren’t quite fortunate enough to attend; or were like me at most conferences and forgot to take notes, here is a round-up of my favourite talks of the day.

Richard Baxter, SEO Gadget.

Richard’s talk was focused around his personal experiences in the industry, both as a hands-on SEOer and a manager, and gave advice to those wanting to improve their prospects and expertise. Here are a few key points:

If you’re an SEO, make yourselves indispensable and find a niche in which to specialise; be it snippits, video optimisation or blogs, be the person to talk to on that topic.

If you work in SEO, have your own website. The best way to get to grips with implementing SEO, and to really cement a passion for it, is to do it yourself.

And finally “if you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ve not finished it.”

Dave Trott, CSTTG

Predatory Thinking

Dave’s talk was my favourite from the day. It was genuinely interesting and insightful and was refreshingly different from typical SEO talks.

Was great to hear @davetrott‘s talk at #BrightonSEO, discussing how in marketing you only need to outrun the competition not the tiger.

It centred mainly around the need for SEOs to stop thinking about silos and focusing only on search tactics and instead learn from other aspects of marketing, employing techniques that existed (and worked!) long before search engines. Don’t get hung up on amazing creative work that will only receive industry acclaim and never forget the consumer, use simple language and strong messages.

To go viral, you need ICP (Impact then Communication then Persuasion). 90% of advertising, however, dies at the impact stage, despite most companies focusing on Persuasion.

You can see an excellent in-depth write up of Dave’s talk here.

Rebecca Weeks, OMD

Chasing the Algorithm: Smart SEO or Hopeless Effort?

Rebecca delivered a case study of a situation we all will have been in; a difficult client, with high expectations and lots of restrictions. Chasing the algorithm (chosing quanty over quality in your link profiles and opting for 80% exact match anchor text was an example) will, of course, never work and a smart SEO needs to be adaptable and create great content.

Tony King, Semetrical

SEO Deliverance

Tony took us through how to implement and drive SEO changes to big brand websites.

When carrying out site audits, cover all areas and be sure to present them professionally when suggesting changes.

When pitching SEO, always remember who you are pitching to. For example, if it’s the Finance Director or CEO, have all the numbers ready and talk about ROI or if it’s a marketing director, for example, you might want to make it more creative.

Always keep in mind the costs when planning an SEO strategy, and make room for seasonal trends which may impact organic traffic.

Lynne Murphy – Reader in Linguistics, University of Sussex

Separated by a Common Language

This talk was both my favourite and the most disappointing all at the same time. I thought having a linguist at an SEO conference was a very interesting idea, and could have proved to be incredibly insightful. The opportunity to learn more about academic theory behind language, it’s uses and colloquialisms could prove invaluable knowledge for any marketeer.

However the talk had little/no connection to SEO (or, indeed any marketing discipline) but was instead just an incredibly enjoyable account of why the war against Americanisms in language is often unjust and inaccurate. Which all in all, was excellent fun to watch and I picked up some very interesting knowledge from this seasoned speaker, just unfortunately none of which is applicable to SEO (unless I’ve missed something? Any comments on this would be valued!).

Perhaps next year Lynne Murphy could be invited back to discuss regional spelling differences, commonly used colloquialisms, persuasive language or something similar.

James Little, Top Cashback

A Decade in Affiliate Marketing

As somebody looking to learn a little bit more about Affiliates, I was looking forward to this talk. Though, at his own admission, this talk from James Little was not intended to teach the audience about the specifics of affiliate marketing, but to give an entertaining overview of the growth of affiliate marketing as a discipline and the various activities (read: antics) of affiliates over the past decade. I walked away from this talk knowing more about the controvosy between affiliates and the ASOS CEO calling them ‘grubby’ and how a4uexpo has helped shaped this discipline into a reputable and valuable channel.

Yousaf Sekander, Elevatelocal

Social Media Reverse Engineering

Yousaf’s talk drove home the ever increasing importance of content; and how to reverse engineer competitors social media strategy in order to improve your own content creation. Yousef has developed Social Crawlytics which determines which content of a given site is shared the most across multiple platforms, and from this you can create ‘sticky’ content based on this data.

Danielle Fudge, Forward3D

Pinteresting SEO

Danielle showcased a new tool, Pinalytics, which is designed to track and evaluate content opportunities on this increasingly popular platform. Still in beta, Pinalytics can be used to track your own, or competitor, activity.

Will Critchlow, Distilled


The web is evolving and API’s are becoming increasingly common, with advancements such as Siri and Google glasses where the data is shared through APIs, they look to be the likely future of the web.

Unlike a few years previously, search queries are becoming increasingly contextual, containing both things and attributes (i.e – hotels in London) the best way to prepare yourself for this shift is to make your data accessible through APIs.

Berian Reed – Auto Trader UK

Future proofing SEO on large websites

This talk discussed general SEO tactics such as competitor analysis, using Google analytics data to aid link and social activity and monitor SERP changes.

More notably, however, Berian showcased an interesting tool, Tynt, which adds a link whenever users copy your data, handy given that copying and pasting is the most common way of sharing information.


All in all, Brighton SEO offered some interesting and implementable tips. Although not quite as advanced or in depth as previous agendas, there are a few key pointers to take away:

The unavoidable importance of high quality, fresh and shareable content was discussed throughout.

You can use various tools to track and monitor social activity to aid content creation and monitoring .

Links were much less of a hot topic than at previous conferences I have attended – indicative of the shifting industry best practices overall.

SEO is becoming an increasingly multipfaceted discipline, which is at it’s most effective when blended with other channels.


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