Brighton SEO: The Nine Best Presentations From September 2021

About BrightonSEO:  

BrightonSEO is a digital marketing conference with training courses and talks from industry experts. The conference goal is to help marketers learn and be able to apply the knowledge to their job to make it better! It usually takes place twice a year in April and September.  

This September, the event took place in person but, due to COVID, also took place online. Although we did miss out on a trip to Brighton (because Andi got Covid!), the talks were still very valuable. Below, I have discussed my nine favourite talks and the key takeaways I have taken from them. 

Let’s get started with the talks! 

Aoife Mooney 

What the hell is a content strategy anyway? By Lucy Alice Dodds 

Lucy is the Senior Content Marketing Consultant for Evolved Search, and she truly knows her stuff when it comes to content strategy. This talk provided everything you need to create a successful content strategy for e-commerce and lead generation site.  

Lucy employs a data-driven approach to make tangible changes to a client’s website. She highlighted the importance of using a spreadsheet when dealing with data as it keeps all your research together and is easy to read. Therefore, making it easier for us to understand the data. 

The first step in this data-driven approach she used Google Analytics and Search Console. From Google Analytics, she looked at the top 10-15 ranking pages from the user behaviour metrics. Then, used Search Console, to get the clicks and impressions from the Performance tab. 

All the data was put into Google spreadsheet as seen below (URL, Sessions, Revenue, Conversion Rate, Clicks, Impressions, Priority): 

Table of SEO data

By adding a Priority column, it allows you to see what areas need more attention in the business. 

Next is Keyword Research: 

Search Metrics, Semrush and Stat provide a full list of keywords to help marketers to reach their SEO and Content Marketing goals. You may take these keywords related to the priority and put them into a spreadsheet (but instead add in URL, keyword, position, search volume, cost per click, keyword difficulty, what that keyword means for the website).

SEO  data spreadsheet

Lucy recommended that Keyword Insights AI is a wonderful tool for bringing all the research together and highlighting areas that require more attention.  

The next step is using a holistic approach:  

Using the marketing content funnel to understand the intent of the search and where a potential customer is in their buyer journey (discovery, awareness, consideration and conversion).  

Focusing on the conversion?  

She suggests leaving the Discovery stage and focusing on the awareness and consideration stages to deliver that on-site content. Awareness & Consideration: providing the benefits of the products and showing we are experts e.g. experts on Garden plants. Then add this to the keyword spreadsheet (Search Intent: conversion, consideration, awareness). 

Content marketing analysis will help to make the most of all potential searches and tailor specific content that will drive more conversions and more customers. 

The final step is to be Actionable, without this, your strategy is a bit of paper!  

Her tips for delivering a content strategy are: 

  • Set up a meeting 
  • Present simple slides (what you are going to do and why) 
  • Work in batches (prioritise)  
  • Record everything in the meeting.  

Overall, content marketing is a combination of research, understanding and creating the right content to the right customer on the right platform.  

I really enjoyed this talk because Lucy provided a clear step-by-step guide to content marketing strategy using a brand as an example and I now feel ready to attack it and try these steps myself! I also enjoyed the memes she put in and definitely made me laugh! 

Three takeaways: 

  • Data-Driven 
  • Holistic approach 
  • Actionable 

Follow Lucy on Twitter: (@lucyalicedodds on Twitter

Why your business should be podcasting? By Azeem Ahmad 

The podcasting pro Azeem Ahmad is a Digital Marketer for Azeem Digital and has his  podcast ‘The Azeem Digital Asks Podcast’ which he uses to show the value of podcasting and his experience with starting a podcast. Azeem podcast has listeners in over 60 countries and a 98% retention rate. (Side note: Andi wanted me to say that he thinks it’s the second best podcast by a bald marketer, right behind the Strategy Sessions, but you can make your own mind up!) 

Azeem’s session was very useful for anyone planning to start a podcast and provides actionable recommendations. He then provided insights into the benefits of podcasting for businesses and podcast advertising.  

But first, why should a business be podcasting? 

Here’s the low down … 

Podcasts are growing, as in 2021, there were 10 million more podcast listeners in the USA than Netflix account owners. 74% of people surveyed listened to podcasts to learn new things.  

Azeem carried out a study and found: 

  • consumers spend five + hours per week listening to podcasts.  
  • 70% consider a new product or service based on podcast ads they hear 
  • Consumers consider podcast ads are the best way to reach consumers. 

If you’re thinking about getting started with a podcast, here’s eight things Azeem thinks you need to consider: 

  1. Topic/show name (which you should be able to talk about for 50-100 episodes) 
  2. Show type and frequency (e.g. long? easy?)  
  3. Cover art (really consider imagery as it’s the first impression of the brand – useful to have an image of the host) 
  4. Show music 
  5. Equipment (he personally found spending a bit more meant less time producing) 
  6. Audio recording and production 
  7. Distribution 
  8. Promotion and advertisement  

Key takeaways:  

  • Podcasts are rising in popularity  
  • Podcasts are a great tool to increase engagement and provides value to the customer 
  • Have a minimum of four episodes pre-recorded to ensure consistency 
  • Consider how many ways you can repurpose podcasts to complement your content strategy 

Social links: (@AzeemDigital on Twitter

Five ways to kick the creative rut and come up with ideas that earn hundreds of links By Olivia Smith 

Anna Abraham has a PhD in psychology and neuroscience who states that “creativity reflects our capacity to generate ideas that are original, unusual or novel in some way”. Digital PR ideas are the definition of creativity.

Olivia Smith is the Digital PR Director of Digitaloft. She is very passionate about creative ideas, original datasets and storytelling. This talk was about how to break out of looking at the same digital spaces and discover new ways to earn links and drive traffic for a brand. 

Olivia made a valid point, which was since Coronavirus, creativity and motivation has been lacking. Creativity and digital PR is key to drawing people in, ignite their curiosity and get them talking. 

Olivia carried out a poll online and found out that agencies were using similar concepts to something they had been running. Interestingly, 69% said “yes a brand has launched the same concept as something you’ve been running” and 10.9% said “more than once”.  

So, why is this happening? 

The main issue is marketers are using safe data sets as they are free, easy, safe and provide global stories (from places such as Instagram, TikTok, Google Trends, YouTube).  

Although, they have many benefits but what happens when someone launches a similar campaign? Well, all the time and effort put into that campaign is wasted.  

So, it’s time to break out of the mould! And here’s how it’s done… 

First step is easy: “Switch off, to switch on” by leaving your workspace and pick up your creative mind e.g. go get a coffee or go for a walk. 

Next, revisit old campaigns from one-five months, analyse and ask questions (e.g. what worked? What sources did we use?). Share headlines, campaigns and data from two-three years ago.  

And …  

Create your own favourite personal inspiration hub on Google Docs to keep your favourite data, campaigns and headlines.  

The third step is to explore new places, for example, you could use data from reddit to share with your team. Importantly, communicate by sharing cool findings and discuss and debate. She says, ‘if you can get five people talking about a concept in the room for more than five minutes it’s a good idea’ – this is a gangster takeaway by the way!  

Personally, I felt my creativity had been lacking, and this talk provided ideas for getting out of a rut and ways of brainstorming new and unusual concepts. If you feel the same, this is 100% worthwhile taking a look at! 

Takeaways:  

  • Creativity is crucial in this industry – do everything you can to develop it 
  • Never forget your end goal – create kick-ass stories that make people intrigued, curious and get them talking 
  • Always think bigger – from ideas to stories 

Social links: (@OliviaBeatrice_ on Twitter

Research and where to find data for your outreach campaign – on a budget By Hana Bednarova 

Hana Bednarova is the founder of Shout Bravo. This talk was about where marketers can look and find data for their campaigns. She shares her tips for finding the best data and included some public data sources for each industry. She emphasises the importance of data-driven campaigns and having a strong campaign methodology.  

Statista  and ONS  are useful sources for looking for data in each industry. Something I didn’t realise was that marketers can actually request data from local councils, schools, ambulance/NHS services, police, etc by sending FOIs (known as the Freedom of Information Act). By the way, I enjoyed the photos used for the local councils and schools! 

How to do FOIs and ways to discover new data: 

  1. ‘What Do They Know’ website – is a great website to request data. 
  2. Send FOI email directly (once you get the information it is important to use it as soon as possible as it will be published online) 
  3. Check other FOIs 
  4. Can track published news reports e.g. Statista – check if the report being used and see when next report is being published so you are the first one to see 
  5. Ask the client if they have any data  

Hana then goes on to add that having a strong methodology is important for keeping all of your research together and building a stronger case.  

Having a strong methodology consists of: 

  • Ensuring data is easy to read and interpret  
  • Keep a list of all your data sources 
  • Have a strong methodology by having a range of data sites.  
  • Ensure data is correct even if is from 2019 
  • Writing up headlines – see biggest story of campaign.  
  • Have a media list – using excel spreadsheet 

Key takeaways: 

  • Check out government bodies for public data  
  • Send FOIs  
  • Have a strong methodology 

Social Links: (@Miss_HanaB on Twitter

Brand Mentions vs Links: Making Earned PR Coverage Work Harder for SEO By James Brockbank  

James Brockbank is the Managing Director & Founder of Digitaloft which was first an SEO agency before moving into digital PR. 

Digitaloft surveyed 50+ journalists to ask, “what makes you link out from an article right now, rather than just mentioning the brand?” and, from the talk, James shared the findings from this year’s research. He also revealed some top tips for turning brand mentions into links.   

James starts the talk by saying Links is the number one goal for Digital PR activity as opposed to brand awareness. So, it’s not enough to just have someone cover your story, you need that link too.  

So, why do we want links?  

Links send referral traffic and continue SEO success whereas brand mentions don’t. Links are the main KPI that success is measured, whereas brand mentions only provide greater depth of trust and authority.  

Insights: 

  • 1 in 4 pieces of coverage earned from Digital PR activity doesn’t link 
  • 24% of the coverage Digitaloft earned in the last 18 months didn’t link to clients’ website 

James reached out to 50+ journalists to find out why don’t they link? A staggering 53% said they will link out if there is ‘editorial value’. You must consider whether you are answering what people want to know and if users will find it valuable in order for them to link. 

If there is one takeaway from this talk, it is editorial value for users is key. This talk was excellent for marketers to find new ways to get strong links in order to increase traffic, ranking and, ideally, sales. 

Key takeaways on providing editorial value: 

  • Ask the journalist – Reach out as quick as possible and in the email:  

1. Communicate editorial value that a link would add  

2. Indicate the article you’re referencing and include link  

3. Highlight where you would like to link to and finally say thank you. 

  • Stop relying on press releases 
  • Work multiple stories and angels into campaign content 
  • Publish blogs & guide content that adds expert insights 
  • Journalist and customers want new ideas and be unique. 

Social Links: (@BrockbankJames on Twitter

Instagram SEO Tactics to Be SeenBy Freya Jones 

Freya Jones is the CEO& Founder of the Digital AdDoctor. Freya gave six really insightful tips to boost reach, discovery and engagement on Instagram. Overall, Freya added these tips and saw her account increase to +1,743% in the first month.  

Takeaways: 

  • Make use of badges and milestones on Instagram which Facebook has recently announced  
  • Add SEO keywords that relate to your business (into your name and bio) as it is more likely to come up on the explore page  
  • Use up to 30 hashtags (although 8-15 is better to be niche) 
  • Use ALT Text when you are editing the post to describe the photo and use competitive tags 
  • Don’t use fancy fonts 
  • Get tagged and mentioned from an influencer and recreate into a blog post, Instagram reel or Instagram live 

This was a really actionable talk by Freya and I’ll be working over the coming weeks on implementing these changes on the Eximo Marketing Instagram account. Why not give us a follow right now

Social Links: (@digitaladdoctor on Twitter & @digitaladdoctor on Instagram

Lead Generation on LinkedIn, By Kineta Kelsall

Kineta Kelsall is a Social Media Trainer and Senior Director at Jellyfish. She is passionate about the psychology behind online human interactions. This talk has made me realise how valuable and important LinkedIn is for lead generation.  

Due to data privacy regulations, consumers have more control and businesses need to provide a value exchange for users – this is where we give something in return for collecting information from a user.

Kineta starts off the talk by explaining the importance of lead generation and demand generation. She then moves on to retargeting which is a great way to help with lead generation.  

Lead generation is data driven and goal is action specific. Demand generation, on the other hand, is about emotional marketing, connecting with the community and making people feel. Therefore, build trust, credibility, personality and a high organic reach.  

We need both.  

Kineta had a great example of how to use both with Environmental Defence Fund. They used an educational video as an example of value exchange and then would create an event format. Finally, retarget attendees with a newsletter which is an example of lead generation ads. These examples were great, and I am going to take these on board when trying to increase engagement and interaction with the brand. 

On LinkedIn, the sales cycle can take up to six months to convert a user into a customer, although this can vary depending on the industry sector. 

Lead gen forms are likely to generate 5x more conversions than landing pages because the information can be pre-filled with LinkedIn profile data. 

Four Key takeaways: 

  • Use relevant content 
  • Be consistent on LinkedIn 
  • Be Authentic by sharing events, video content or reports 
  • Be committed 

Social Links: (@Kineets on Twitter

Advanced YouTube SEO Tricks, By Itamar Blauer

Itmar Blauer is the SEO Manager for Cure Media which is an award-winning influencer marketing agency. He is also the author of Keywords for SEO and has been a YouTuber since 2008. The aim of this talk was to share his YouTube SEO tips and tricks to increase organic visibility as he has seen how it has changed over time. 

So, what are these SEO tricks …  

  1. Adding competitors name within video tags as your video can actually rank on suggested section of your competitors’ video.  
  2. Optimising the video and name using keywords 
  3. Commenting on competitors’ video (filter recent uploads using targeted keywords e.g. SEO). The comment should add value to the video and create conversation 
  4. Using cards and end screens corrections 
  5. Set videos location (add business location if you have one) 
  6. Go live on YouTube to get the most engagement (live views and after are combined). OBS & Stream Yard are great tools for YouTube Live. 
  7. Do polls on the community section and start a convo! (Although you need a 1,000 subscribers to access this feature.) 

Overall, I actually found his talk really insightful and never thought of these different tips. It is definitely something I want to test out on the Eximo Marketing YouTube channel (again – head over and follow us). 

Key takeaways: 

  • Relevance (title, tags, descriptions, actual video content) 
  • Engagement (watch time, comments, likes) 
  • Quality (EAT, subscribers gained in a particular video) 

Social Links: (@ItamarBlauer on Twitter

Why local SEO isn’t just for small, local businesses, By Levi Williams-Clucas 

Levi Williams-Clucas, an SEO expert, works at StrategiQ. In this talk, she explained the Local SEO tactics that she believes should be considered in order to deliver a successful SEO strategy.  

She started of the talk stating that Google My Business is vital for any business, and it would be useful to include a large area for the service area to increase the reach and to have product/service consistency (GMB products match website).  

She went on to say that businesses should utilise Trustpilot and Google Reviews to build trust with their customers and Google. Interestingly, she noted that when a verified consumer mentions a review, future buyers are 15% more inclined to buy.  

It’s also free content as testimonials create great user generated content. Being responsive to any negative comments shows that you care about the customers and want them to have a good experience. As a result, Trust Pilot and Google Reviews appear to be a win-win situation! 

Finally, she ended the talk by stating that Google values links, particularly those from reputable trades and business directories.  

Takeaways: 

  • Google My Business is vital 
  • Reviews 
  • Location pages 
  • Citations & links 

Social Links: (@Femkepants on Twitter

Summary: 

I really enjoyed attending this conference and feel that I have gained valuable insights from experts in the digital marketing industry. So many different topics were covered including content strategy, podcasting, SEO tactics, link building and much more. I would definitely recommend for anyone interested to attend the next one. You won’t regret it! 

And hopefully next time, it will be in person and we all can go down to Brighton!  

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