BrightonSEO: the Glastonbury of search

04 May 2018

Posted in: BSEO Content SEO

Glastonbury Festival is the highlight of every music lover’s calendar; every 12 months (except for the fallow years, where the fields are given a chance to breathe), thousands of fans cram through Glastonbury’s gates and leave with enough memories to fill the rest of the year.

BrightonSEO is the Glastonbury of search, and lucky search-heads get to experience it every six months. I was one of those lucky search-heads, and this was how I experienced BrightonSEO in April 2018 with Seeker.

Getting tickets

Like Pilton’s premier pop show, the hard work for BrightonSEO begins by getting your ticket to ride into the event. I bashed buttons, I threw cups, I gnawed my fingernails down to the wrist, and I cursed the lives of the payment processing gods.

After bartering, begging, and bricking it, Seeker was able to get all the tickets needed for our team. Note to all: get as many free tickets as possible – you never know when the extra numbers will come in handy.

Gorging on the line-up

Once your attendance is secured, it’s time to really start getting excited, and that means going through the line-up. BrightonSEO 2018 had a list of search stars as long and impressive as the Great Wall of China, with some of the highlights being:

  • Fili Wiese
  • Tom Pool
  • Barry Adams
  • Stephen Kenwright
  • Liraz Postan

Plus, of course, the Live Google Webmasters Hangout with John Mueller and Aleyda Solis.

BrightonSEO survival kit

Heading to Glastonbury Festival without a survival kit is like holding up a white flag to the fun police – and I couldn’t allow that to happen. So, as April 27th rapidly came into view, I got my BrightonSEO survival kit together. This is what it contained:

  • Mobile charging pack
  • Notebook
  • Pens, pens, PENS
  • Water bottle
  • Plenty of snacks

What was in in your BrightonSEO survival kit? If you think I missed anything, please leave a comment below so I (and the rest of the Seeker team) can bring it to the next one!

Travelling

People travel from across the globe and galaxy to get to Glastonbury, and BrightonSEO is no different. With over 40 countries represented, the interest stretches far beyond the borders of East Sussex.

For Seeker, the journey was by train, and the pain was real. See below for delight at the many delays to our journey:

Damo-Alistair

Queuing

“Don’t get there at 9am if you don’t fancy spending forever queuing,” they said.

“I won’t, I hate queuing,” I said.

What did I do? Arrived at 9am.

What didn’t I do? Spend forever queuing.

While I only spent a few minutes waiting to get in, I wouldn’t advise cutting it to the wire every time you attend – it really does get very busy.

The reason you came: the speakers

After you’re through the door, it’s time to make things real by getting your program and circling the talks you’re going to be seeing. Here’s what I saw:

Content session

  • Out with the Old, in with the Niche: Content for the Moments That Matter – Marcus Tober
  • How to Unleash The Power Of Unique Content – Eleni Cashell
  • How Metrics and Data Drive Advocacy Effectiveness – Steve Rayson & Giles Palmer

Onsite session

  • Optimizing for Search Bots – Fili Wiese
  • Advanced and Practical Structured Data with Schema.org – Alexis K Sanders
  • Cut the Crap: Next Level Content Audits With Crawlers – Sam Marsden

SERPS session

  • Featured Snippets: From Then to Now, Volatility, and Voice Search – Rob Bucci
  • From Black Friday to iPhones – how to rank for big terms on big days – Sam Robson
  • A Universal Strategy for Answer Engine Optimization – Jason Barnard

Content production session

  • The B2B Content to Sell Your Products – Nandini Jammi
  • Producing Link Worthy Content For Under £1k – James Brockbank
  • Power in Your Pocket: Mobile Video and How to Nail It – Kim Slade

Stalls and kitsch corners

Drinking in the lessons from the speakers isn’t the only thing you need to experience at BrightonSEO; one of the qualities that makes the UK’s festival of search so special are the many, many stalls and kitsch corners.

There were many different companies offering insight into their tools, techniques, and services. Among my favourites were:

  • Pitchbox – sponsors of BrightonSEO April 2018, their outreach and link building platform is second to none and the team behind it are absolutely wonderful.
  • SEMRush – a wonderful SEO tool that Seeker uses regularly. I was won over by their willingness to engage with punters.
  • The vintage game corner – I’ll let our team member’s (Lewis Chaffey and I – Damien Girling) faces do the talking here…Brighton-SEO-the-Glastonbury-of-search1

The closing act

Like all great festivals that feel as though they can’t (and won’t) come to an end, there’s a final act to BrightonSEO, and this time it was the Live Google Webmasters Hangout with John Mueller and Aleyda Solis.

As packed as Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage was for Dolly Parton’s performance of Jolene in 2014, the performance was just as electric, and the crowd devoured every nugget of information as greedily as their Glastonbury peers. And with that, it was all over.

Memories

As our rickety train ambled away, leaving BrightonSEO just a fading impression in a rapidly dying horizon, I reflected on my favourite takeaways. These were the ones that stuck in my mind:

  • Rich snippets are on the rise and their ranking is stable – Rob Bucci
  • If you haven’t moved to HTTPS yet, then make sure you run a site audit before you do so. Google will recrawl your website when you do make the move, giving you a unique opportunity to reoptimize – Fili Wiese
  • Don’t focus on the pages you are proud of on your website; it’s the pages you are not looking at which are the problem – Sam Robson
  • Nobody cares about you – Nandini Jammi
  • Forget surveys; use public data – James Brockbank

Suffice to say, I had an absolutely brilliant time at BrightonSEO, April 2018. I began excited, arrived engaged, and left elated. All-in-all, I got exactly what I wanted from the UK’s festival of search.

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