Companies still failing to do SEO / search marketing basics

Worklife is busy as a digital consultant so it’s always difficult to choose the next piece of content for the website. This blog is about the sometimes sick state of business (and perhaps other organisations), so it seems appropriate then – after attending two BrightonSEOs this year – to draw attention to event founder Kelvin Newman’s repeated ‘urgent’ flag’…

After two successful conferences at international venue, the Brighton Centre, this autumn he described the current state of digital that web experts frequently face: “There haven’t been that many surprises in the past 10 years, despite the hysteria we hear around the pace of change in the space. The reality is that for lots of businesses, rather than worrying about big, disruptive shifts, they should really make sure they’re getting the basics right.”

With that in mind, let me share the report I prepared for digital consultancy and marketing learning firm, Smart Insights…


Imagine you’re a manic CEO or senior digital manager (and if things are far too stretched, you’ll know this is not funny). To help, here’s a ‘helicopter’ view of key sessions for you from the most recent BrightonSEO:

The key thought to have ‘front-of-mind’ is, as always, there’s no quick fix these days that will miraculously propel any digital venture to overnight success. Time and money are usually key essentials – and not forgetting resources, e.g. People, computing power + related tools.

It takes time to prepare the ground for great projects (e.g. SEO fundamentals), sow and plant on decent soil (e.g. write content + social media posts), nurture each element (e.g. content marketing + paid media) to reap a rich harvest (the millionaire lifestyle + live forever on the Maldives).

Brexit at BrightonSEO

So, let’s examine the top trends at BrightonSEO this time. Firstly, there was the Brexit theme on display (but only very lightly), promoting Brighton as a Great British place to have great creatives work with you.

And then, if you want to know how to spot popular trends, the first place to check is the event schedule. Here’s how I carved up stalls set out by the Rough Agenda organisers:

Important to all those wanting to be successful at search were most of the key topics in the auditoria. But these five probably make the best overview:

  • Advanced keyword research
  • Technical SEO
  • Ranking factors
  • Onsite
  • Linkbuilding

Why these? Without decent keyword research, you’ll be on a back foot and subsequently lose customers, donors, influencers etc. Then, if you get technical, onsite and link elements wrong:

  1. No-one will find you
  2. No-one will read, watch or listen to you.

Diving into the smaller rooms, several important digital disciplines and areas got my pique:

Business strategy, e.g. agile marketing.

Customers – I had to tease ‘the Customer’ out of the agenda but they were there, oh yes – in the social and chatbot sections for instance.

Reputation / Online PR – how’s yours, your company / organisation?

Content strategy + marketing – what is done here will likely make or break a business or organisation, indisputably.

Measurement / analytics – you can’t manage to improve without first measuring – period.

Paid media / affiliates – a crucial area for many… Google, Facebook, Bing, LinkedIn, agencies like Criteo and many other players trying to earn more than a lion’s share of your budget(s).

AMP – be early to market, if you’re not too late already, and you could reap better success than the laggards.

www search experts

Read on and check slides from BrightonSEO’s impressive line-up who shared major trends shaping search and the web…

AMP: For ‘mobile first’, see Cindy Krum (slides), Emily Grossman (slides) and Aleyda Solis (slides) – think better UX and mobile load time. Or just create sites that are served up fast (Jon Henshaw).

Voice search: Saeley Junior Johnson on the near-future, Speak Easy – Rise of voice search.

Keyword research: Stacey MacNaught… tactical, practical keyword research (and voice search again).

Future of Marketing? Implement agile marketing with the right staff by Olga Andrienko

Peter Nikolow on QUIC from Google due to land on computers imminently: “And will smash everything gone before it.”

Peter Nikolow on QUIC

Dominic Woodman on the importance and practice of advanced site architecture: “Match up intents to templates and pages.”

Dawn Anderson is, not least, a server code genius making sense of Google Page Rank and patents as well as knowing how to sort out the “random crap” that’s ended up on our websites and servers after years of ‘generational cruft‘.

And finally, a glimpse into a space-age future: how the digerati will create 3D Star Wars-type holograms maybe… Jess Stiles on emerging platforms.

(Missed the wrap-up talk, Gary Illyes on the inner workings of Google, because I was booked to Dj so had to leave in good time to make sure a train got me home. Will catch-up…)

Full list of BrightonSEO speakers with slides

BrightonSEO founder Kelvin Newman introduces keynote speakers

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