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Brighton SEO 2019 key themes

Our 3 key takeaways from Brighton SEO 2019

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3 Key Takeaways from Brighton SEO April 2019


I did well at Brighton SEO last month. I got a lot of free swag, including: 8 pens, 4 t-shirts, 3 webcam covers, 2 tote bags and 1 plant pot (complete with seeds!).

More importantly, however, I got a chance to see the strength of the SEO industry in full force. I mixed and mingled with some of our industry’s finest and listened to several insightful presentations.

With all that content, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at large conferences. There’s so much to see, so much to do, so many ideas to take in.

So, I’ve kept things simple with a round up of the 3 key takeaways from Brighton SEO April 2019.



  • Spend more time on content ideation


Talk: Big budget video advertising on a small business budget – Phil Nottingham


This is a great reminder that SEO outreach and content campaigns need a good idea. Without one, they’re almost certain to fail. Clients often de-emphasize ideation, thinking of it as an easy, quick, one-time service they can get for free at the pitch stage.

In fact, ideation is the foundation of any content work.

At Artefact UK, we do brainstorms for client content on a regular basis, inviting content SEOs, technical SEOs and anyone else who might be interested. We follow a brainstorming process that maximises the quantity and quality of ideas, which we then whittle down, share with the client, and further refine.

So, we wholeheartedly agree with the point that spend should be aligned with impact – which means up to 50% of a campaign’s budget can be spent on ideation and refining ideas.


This also holds true for technical SEO. More budget and time should be spent on strategy, as without careful attention to that, a technical roadmap can become unwieldy or resource can be misdirected.



  • Bring SEO into clients’ decision-making rooms as much as possible


Talk: Search Presence Intelligence – Where Search Meets Business Intelligence – Stephan Bajaio

Traditionally, SEO is siloed in a narrow corner of a client’s digital marketing team. But actually, SEO has the power to benefit a client’s whole business.

Utilising search engine data and behaviour will help businesses better understand their audience, which can impact what products are developed or stocked, how customer service is handled, what branding messaging is used etc.

This brings us to proactive SEO rather than reactive SEO.

Reactive SEO: Here’s the content we’ve created; can you optimise it?

Proactive SEO: What content should we be creating?


Reactive SEO: We’ve decided to migrate to this new CMS in 3 months; can you make sure it goes well?

Proactive SEO: What CMS platforms should we be considering for a site migration next year?


Reactive SEO: These are the products we want to sell; can you drive traffic and revenue?

Proactive SEO: Based on search trends and previous search performance, can you help us finalise our product list?


Reactive SEO: We’re building an app for smart home assistants to capture voice searches; can you help us?

Proactive SEO: We know voice search is on the rise; can you help us understand what that means for our industry and our company?


Organic and paid search data are powerful tools for driving business performance, and an SEO team is uniquely placed to help their clients leverage that.

It’s also much easier to run SEO projects efficiently when there’s buy-in, communication and action from other client teams. So proactive SEO is a win-win for everyone.



  • Google doesn’t have to explain itself


Talk: John Mueller’s keynote Q&A

As a senior webmaster trends analyst at Google, John Mueller is a de-facto spokesperson & liaison between the search giant and the SEO industry. His Q&A, expertly led by Hannah Smith of Verve Search, did not disappoint.

Hannah thoroughly grilled John and, true to form, he deftly evaded clear answers for just about every question!

(He joked about his relationship with Google’s PR team, but I think he’s excellently PR-trained).

Countless blog posts have already been written, trying to mine his vague answers for pearls of wisdom, but the clearest message for me was this: we can’t count on Google to tell us very much.

They will suggest, hint, mention – but definitive answers, especially around the biggest SEO questions of the day, are likely to be few and far between.  How do brands optimise for voice search? What exactly are the algorithm’s ranking factors? Does Google care about featured snippets taking traffic from websites? Google isn’t going to tell us much more than we already know on a lot of these, especially outside of official blog posts.

Essentially, they run the search game in most major markets, so they don’t have to answer to the SEO industry. But it is still great to listen to John talk – and to watch a roomful of SEOs look to him for answers they know they won’t get!