• This year’s Brighton SEO was the busiest yet.
  • 1500 tickets sold out in less than a minute, that makes it tougher to get tickets for than Glastonbury.
  • Sadly, it is the last event that will be held at the Brighton Dome.

Brighton SEO – The Landmark moment

It must have been an exciting moment for Kelvin Newman, organiser of #BrightonSEO, when he realised that the event he started in a room above a pub a few years ago has now outgrown the Brighton Dome. This event is his baby, and it has now graduated from the Brighton Dome due to its intense popularity. This is a huge moment for SEO and for the event itself. The question that now has to be asked is how long will Brighton SEO stay in Brighton? Will Brighton SEO grow so big that it has to be held outside of Brighton? That would indeed be interesting:

“Hi guys and welcome to this year’s Brighton SEO…. In London.”- Brighton SEO, 2020

Part of the secret sauce that makes Brighton SEO so much fun is the very fact it isn’t in London. For London Agency SEOs it is a chance to escape the big smoke and eat Fish and Chips on the Brighton Pier.


Yes, Brighton SEO is a big deal


Brighton SEO is starting to get some mainstream acknowledgement from London City type papers:

Having been to Brighton SEO a few years in a row now, I have been going long enough to remember when it was just a few people walking around in the lobby hall at break time with the Screaming Frog guys playing Table Football in the corner. This year however, it was more like getting into Canary Wharf tube station at 5.30pm in the break. It was THAT busy. Brighton SEO has, it seems, now increased its Citation Flow (Trust Flow was always high) and has evolved into a big, bustling event. The event was even streamed on the Internet this year, which I managed to accidentally Tweet Bomb.

Goodbye Brighton Dome, thanks for all the good times

The Brighton Dome has served us well, the last few years the venue has hosted some of the best talks on SEO from some of the best SEO speakers in the industry. I hope that this will continue and the spirit of Brighton SEO continues. (With Kelvin in charge, I am sure it will).

Matthew Barby, Kirsty Hulse, Jon Earnshaw are just a handful of the Superstar Speakers (here we go, Philip) that have over the years consistently shared with us some of their top tips for getting to the top of our SEO game. And indeed, we did get to the top of our game. Seeing younger speakers this year showed that the next SEO generation is starting to break through and have a big impact in the SEO world.

Meanwhile, Google is still constantly raising the bar

Penguin and Panda are now part of daily-accepted hurdles of the digital landscape that SEOs are tasked with dealing with.  Far from putting SEO agencies out of business, by introducing Penguin and Panda updates, Google has actually helped SEO agencies bring in more business and create more awareness of the website issues that Google doesn’t like and will penalise.  The SEO industry has, as a result, turned from being something that sneakily tried to beat Google at its own game, to something more akin to medical professionals;  SEOs now diagnose the ‘health’ issues with your website, and suggest a remedy in the form of a long term strategy.

The painful death of low quality agencies, dodgy freelancers, high PR links and ‘guaranteed page 1 results’

SEO Agencies and Freelancers have been forced to become slicker, more analytical, and increasingly focused on returning ROI for the client. SEO is by its nature very hard to put specific numbers to, but Forecasting for SEO is now no longer something that agencies shy away from, it is something that they provide in the pitch stage to illustrate the confidence of their strategy.

The importance of user intent has also been highlighted in Google’s updates this year, and has again caused SEOs to up their game certainly in regard to creating content and understanding the importance of user experience. If you are churning out lots of 500 word articles for your client every month, then quite simply, you are missing the point. The game has changed significantly this year, and Google Bot is becoming increasingly more sophisticated when it comes to recognising the hallmarks of what it perceives as so-called “Great content”.  Yes, you can still trick Google into thinking something is high quality content, when it isn’t, but seriously what is the actual F***ing point, when it would just be quicker to create something decent in the first place!

The people who have been affected the most are the people who tried to ‘Game the SERPs’. Unfortunately clients who were small businesses that hired people in the past who were unscrupulous SEOs may have been hit the hardest.  Yes, this may be considered by some to be fun, but ultimately none of us want to live in a world which is spam filled.  Spam is annoying.

Why as SEOs, we need to thank Brighton SEO

Brighton SEO has done a lot to improve the image of SEO in general. The consistency of the event has allowed SEO to shift its darker image, and people have come to understand SEO as one of the most forward thinking marketing disciplines in the industry.

When you go to £400+ per ticket marketing events, you get fancy food, you get great speakers, you get a nice posh venue, but there is always the feeling in the back of your head that something is missing. That is because the community spirit that exists at Brighton SEO is not present at these other events.

The lessons from Brighton SEO for other conferences

The camaraderie of Brighton SEO is what makes it special, meeting up with old friends and colleagues is always fun, and there is no excuse not to attend seeing as it is free – which is just one of the reasons we keep going back. Again, and again, and again.

In a world where marketing conferences and even award ceremonies costs hundreds of pounds to get tickets for, it would be very easy for Kelvin to monetise Brighton SEO and charge £400 quid per ticket, but he hasn’t done that, and 1500 of the tickets are still free (if you can get one in time!). This means that often whole teams end up going to the event and it becomes a team outing.

SEO is no longer a ‘dark art’

SEO was a mysterious beast a few years ago. Ask any marketing salesmen who was involved in digital sales for over 10 years and they will inevitably smile at you when mentioning SEO, and they will say “Ah yes, the dark art!” Then the inevitable hat colour discussion will ensue. Don’t get me wrong, SEO is still not exactly the most straightforward discipline to understand, but it is one that with help from events such as Brighton SEO has been able to open its doors and show that the techniques that are used in SEO are thoughtful, intelligent and arguably more ROI focused than many other marketing channels.

SEO nowadays has cleaned up its image. It is now more about ideas, creativity, productivity, process and improving your technical ability.  Yes the forums, ‘churn and burn’ sites, high PR links, get rich quick schemes, ‘guaranteed page 1 results’ are all still there, but are being increasingly scorned upon as representing the lower quality aspect of SEO.  Events such as Brighton SEO have done a lot to showcase to the world the best side of SEO.

If you asked someone in the street about SEO, 9 times out of 10 they would probably give you a blank expression, yet it is one of the most relevant and important things that you can learn to help promote your website or business.

So why has Brighton SEO and SEO in general become SO popular, particularly in the last year?

1. SEO has grown up – It is taken very seriously by all types of businesses now, and they can’t invest in SEO quick enough.
2. SEO is becoming more creative than ever before.  Agencies are redefining what is possible in terms of content and getting better results than they ever have done previously.
3. SEO has evolved into a multi-skilled discipline. You can’t learn SEO without learning a little about some of the other channels interact and work.
4. Professionals in SEO are at the top of their game. – SEOs are by their nature fond of making complicated tasks as simple as possible. SEOs are generally among the first people in the industry to talk about new tools that can help improve a process.
5. Companies like to have a presence at Brighton SEO.  It is an event that companies will gladly send their employees to because it is free and it is well known for having great speakers.

Final Word

Thank you Kelvin for another fantastic Brighton SEO.  I think every SEO is looking forward to seeing what is in store for the next event.  Sure it will be amazing!

Published by Chris

Chris is a London SEO Consultant working as an SEO Account Director for Blue 449, part of Publicis Groupe.

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