Key takeaways from BrightonSEO 2022.
Reprise UK ventured down to the south coast in April to attend the bi-annual BrightonSEO conference. This two-day SEO spectacular featured an impressive line-up of search marketing experts from across the globe – including our very own SEO Account Director, Jake Gauntley.
Talks and training courses covered a range of topics, from e-commerce growth and digital PR strategies to PPC optimisation and technical SEO insights. The event’s exciting talks discussed the future of SEO and potential emerging trends in the digital sphere. So, what were our key takeaways?
SEO no longer sits alone
This was a sentiment that was shared throughout the two days of the conference in a variety of different talks and from a variety of different angles. What’s clear is that SEO no longer seen as a “cost centre” of techies sitting in the corner of the office. Instead, it is a critical lever that brands are using, alongside so many others, to engage audiences, enhance brand awareness, improve customer flow and drive business growth.
Reprise’s Jake Gauntley talked about how SEO can play such a vital role for brands that don’t even sell anything online, showing how it’s possible to drive demonstrable and measurable benefit from search for FMCG goods that are almost exclusively bought from the supermarket shelves.
Grecia Garcia Garcia, PhD talked in great detail about the role that user experience plays in enhancing customer flow and helping us to realise the potential of our traffic-driving efforts, showing how SEO has much to learn from heuristics and consumer behaviour. Will Critchlow also tackled the issue of user experience in a slightly different way, discussing how SEO’s can find the balance between doing what is right for consumers, even when that might go against the received wisdom of SEO best practice.
On something of a user experience angle, Emily Hill spoke about how content readability is something that many in the digital industry seems to have neglected – and how improving readability doesn’t mean “dumbing down” content.
And when it comes to establishing SEO within the heart of business operations, Adam Freeman & Sam Pennington spoke about dynamic and predictive SEO strategy, and how SEO can integrate with various planning, commercial and operational teams to predict demand early, scale content and SEO activity to reflect that demand, and optimise both sales volume and margin.
SEO is very much on the agenda across the entire organisation.
There’s a desire to scale-up content – but for the right reasons
Considering how SEO is playing a much bigger role beyond its traditional silo, it’s no surprise that content was also a big talking point.
Rejoice Ojiaku talked about the importance of content mapping and how, if a brand is looking to scale-up its content output, it needs to really understand the role that each piece of content plays not only for each audience, but for the intent and mindset of those audiences. Get the mapping right, and you prevent many of the common pitfalls of increased content (cannibalisation and poor customer flow) and come up with a much more effective content strategy.
Joshua Hardwick also discussed the issue of scaling up content, and how many brands fall into the trap where more ultimately ends up becoming less.
It’s possible to go viral on a budget
“Going viral” has long been, and to some extent, still is a major goal for many brand marketers. But not only is it incredibly difficult to achieve, it’s also something that is fraught with risk.
Alex Hickson tackled this very subject with his discussion on “How to go viral on a budget”, discussing not only what it takes to create content that has virality, but how to give your story the best possible chance of success, from finding the right emotional hooks, through to how you actually tell that story to the world.
But virality is not something that every brand is going to be able to pull off, nor is it something that can be a strategy in its own right. This was a great talk, showing how brands should – and in many cases, shouldn’t, – approach the topic of creative PR, irrespective of their budget.
Search and sustainability
This was a big theme of a talk from Eilish Hughes, who championed the idea that the SEO industry cannot ignore its environmental impact – and discussed how this could be a feather in the cap for any brand that does want to shout proudly about its green credentials.
Eilish discussed the enormous carbon footprint of the internet – more than twice that of the UK’s total carbon emissions – and argued that it was time that the digital industry put green SEO strategies further up the agenda to make online search more sustainable.
Whilst some parts of the industry have moved to be more sustainable, such as the eco-friendly search engine Ecosia, it was revealed that even relatively small and simple changes can have a cumulative environmental benefit, including choosing green servers, thinking about the use of crawlers, selecting smaller image sizes and removing redundant content.
And, Eilish argued, as consumers become much more conscious about the environmental impact of their purchasing, brands that embrace this ‘sustainable SEO’ mindset can have a much stronger green proposition.
Interested in Jake Gauntley’s slides? Download them at www.reprisedigital.co.uk/brighton/