Author: Sophie Roberts, Managing Director of Koozai.
Couldn’t make it to BrightonSEO this Spring? Then you’ve come to the right place! If you’re working in digital marketing, or were just too busy spinning plates to make it to all of the talks this time around, then you’re probably here looking for the biggest or most relevant takeaways for your digital marketing strategy.
Luckily for you, we sent an army of SEO, PPC, PR and Content specialists from the Koozai team down to the UK’s largest search marketing event on Thursday and Friday this week. In between a spot of lunch and a lovely walk on Brighton’s famous beach, we’ve covered all of the main talks and conferences in SEO, Content Strategy, Link Building/PR, PPC and Paid Search so you don’t have to.
As usual, BrightonSEO didn’t disappoint and this time around many of the talks were more focused on technical SEO, content, and the impact of AI than in previous years. While there were some really interesting new learnings and insights to take away from nearly all of the conferences we attended, there are a few headline takeaways that particularly stood out to us as being worth a mention for those of you that weren’t able to attend.
So, if you’re looking for the top line on what the latest developments are in search marketing, as well as some of the expert insight on the forecasted impact of new technology such as ChatGPT and what it means for your digital marketing, then read on!
The top 8 takeaways from BrightonSEO (April 2023):
First up is our senior technical SEO and data guru, Gary Hainsworth. A passionate SEO with over a decade of experience in the industry, Gary was all over the major conferences at BrightonSEO this week and was impressed with many of them, particularly those on the Friday, including:
- Claudia Higgins – “Breaking down silos: how integrated data sets enhance SEO strategies”
- Claudia O’Shea and Sergey Lesnikov – “How to create a culture of search”
- Will Critchlow – “How to generate 8 million SEO test ideas”
- Michael Boosalis – “Winning Google’s heart with CMS”
- Chris Spann & Anna Uss – “Succeeding at scale: How Snyk doubled their traffic using Lumar & programmatic SEO”
- Jon Earnshaw – “Optimising for the SERP multiverse: a 4-step process for success”
- Anna Moragli – “Taking your business to the next level with the power of ecommerce SEO”
- Emanuel Hoch – “How PPC opened up the most efficient Content Monetization Approach for SEO”
Here are Gary’s biggest takeaways from BrightonSEO this April…
1) The biggest takeaway for Gary was AI and the future of digital marketing.
There is a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of AI for digital marketing. The truth is we don’t know how Google and other search engines will deal with this, or if the content generated will be “known” to them.
Generated content has been seen as bad for a long time for search engines, but users are much more accepting. The majority of users are fine with it being used, but there is also a big push on users wanting to know what is AI content. How this will be used in terms of authorship and EEAT is yet to be fully determined.
Layoffs from big tech companies and the increased use of AI have happened at the same time, so there are worries in the industry. This will leave some agencies behind, but generally we see a further push into online marketing. How this levels out will remain to be seen, but embracing AI to streamline your work is important to stay ahead.
Our talented Head of Operations, Kelly-Anne Crean, also took a little time out from her desk to join the Koozai team in checking out BrightonSEO, and attended a plethora of conferences, including:
- Nick Vines – “Why page speed matters, WITHOUT mentioning conversions once”
- Aymen Loukil – “What your Google Lighthouse score hides from you”
- Amir Glatt – “Optimizing 1 million websites for Google core web vitals”
- Sam Oh – “Fully automated link building – is it really possible?”
- Tom Pool – “Basic automation hacks for SEO”
- Robin Allenson – “Automation recipes for SEO success”
- Genie Jones – “Entity SEO: how to use the SameAs tag in schema to completely revolutionise the game”
- Ian Helms – “How to convince even the pickiest editors to take SEO more seriously”
- Anthony Barone – “How to future-proof SEO strategy for SME businesses”
Here is Kelly-Anne’s biggest takeaways from the event:
3) The biggest takeaway for Kelly-Anne was from Nick Vines and why page speed matters. The internet would be the 5th biggest polluting country if it was a country. This statistic just blew my mind and made me really think about the importance of making sites faster and not just from a users point of view. By making sites faster reduces the carbon footprint.
How can SEOs help?
- Use a green hosting provider
- Offset your carbon cost
- Make your website faster
Use this carbon calculator where you can estimate your website’s carbon footprint.
4) The second biggest takeaway for Kelly-Anne came from the talk on automation from Tom Pool. Automation is not there to take your job, we should use it to do the ‘boring’ stuff. You can provide Chat GPT with prompts to help you write code to use in Google Apps Script. This can help with tasks you have to do all the time like formatting sheets or slides and making them uniform such as the same font colour, font, size etc. By doing this it can really improve the efficiency of your work.
A Sussex local, our Head of PR & Content, David Wilson, took the short trip to BrightonSEO this week, and visited a number of the conferences on the Friday too, including:
- Niki Mosier – “The value of feature snippets Rohan Ayyar- STOP Dissing Rankings!”
- Carrie Rose – “Owning TikTok, Pinterest and YouTube SERPS”
- Andy Timmins – “Using Python with (Chat)GPT to help automate content creation”
- Greta Munari – “The redemption of content automation: how to scale unique content to 4M+ pages”
- Ashley Liddell – “Where should – and shouldn’t – AI & ChatGPT play a role in your SEO strategy?”
- Ashleigh Noon & Sunny Matharu – “Your metrics are my metrics”
- Chloe Smith – “How content design impacts SEO & accessibility”
- Dr Kiran Webster – “Why empathy should be a key player in your marketing strategy”
- Prashant Puri and Lomit Patel – “Data-driven SEO & content strategy to reduce your customer acquisition costs”
- Dirk Schembri – “Creating a future-proof content strategy with Topical Clusters”
- Sante J. Achille – “Methods and tools to plan and create your content”
- Toju Duke – “The new era: embracing AI technologies in marketing”
Here’s his take on the BrightonSEO conferences he attended…
5) The big takeaway from the first morning session on the Friday for David was the impact that social media platforms are having on search results. Carrie Rose’s talk showed how a trend is starting to emerge in that Google is starting to prioritise user generated content over branded content. This is likely to continue to be the case, particularly if companies over use tools like ChatGPT to spam the SERPs. At the same time, more and more people are turning to search engines like TikTok and Pinterest first. All of this points to one thing – the importance of “off page SEO”, influencer marketing, and PR to ensure that your brands and products are being recommended by others and continue to dominate the SERPs.
6) The second big takeaway for David was about featured snippets from Niki Mosier. Featured Snippets are a more useful marketing tool than people first think. It’s not uncommon for people to dismiss them, because the user doesn’t have to enter your site to get the information they need. However, Niki’s presentation highlighted that 17% of SERPs have them, and they cover about 50% of the initial SERPs on most mobile devices, so you can’t really avoid them. We also saw some really interesting examples of how featured snippets can actually drive substantial traffic, brand authority, and awareness.
Our Senior Paid Specialist, Joaquin Lopez (also affectionally known in the Koozai team as ‘Quags’), attended several conferences on the Thursday too, including:
- Rachel Pearson – “TikTok for search marketing”
- Carlos Meza – “Is content the king in modern SEO?”
- Dale Bertrand – “Stop writing SEO articles: templated content that ranks”
- Hinde Lamrani – “Congratulations, you’re going global! What you wish someone told you.”
- Sarah Presch – “The psychology behind inclusive international SEO strategies”
- Natalia Witczyk – “Search engines beyond Google”
Here are his top takeaways from BrightonSEO this April…
7) The biggest takeaway for Joaquin was from Rachel Pearson. TikTok ads don’t require large ad spend to achieve great performance. The platform has a low barrier to entry making it a great place to start advertising and reaping rewards. TikTok doesn’t penalize users for deleting and reuploading content if performance is weak. Where other social media platforms dislike this practice to the point where it can have adverse effects, TikTok incentivizes users to curate their content to put the best version of their message out there. Don’t be afraid to delete posts that haven’t quite landed, just be sure to test different captions or hashtags and optimise where possible to get the most authentic version of your story. Using that information, having optimised captions and subtitles using researched keywords, should give you a better outcome. Combining this organic strategy with the ease of TikTok advertising, you’ll be able to boost your marketing and strategy for quick wins.
8) The second biggest takeaway for Joaquin came from the talk on the psychology behind inclusive international SEO strategies from Sarah Presch. A great takeaway from Sarah Presch was to optimise for the user and not for Google. Just because your website appears first doesn’t mean that the content users are looking for is there. Making sure you have valuable content is a must but it’s also important to have accurate and relevant H1s and descriptions that match the content you are providing. People tend to remember the first and last words from a piece of info so having the right keywords at the start and end of your ad is crucial. Making sure that the most valuable info is in the right place could lead to you winning the click. Using emojis is a great way to attract that click as our eyes divert to obvious differences in a search results. What’s even more interesting is that regardless of quality of product, purchase behaviour is led by who has the most reviews. Our brains are socially wired, and we have a natural intention to imitate others around us. Asking for reviews from your customers and displaying them on your product pages or in your ad might just be the missing piece to help you convert a click into a purchase.
That’s it! For those of you that want to learn more about these topics, our digital marketing resources are also worth checking out as they include hundreds of articles, whitepapers, and digital marketing guides.
As and when we find them, we’re also linking above to the slides from the BrightonSEO conferences we attended, so you can recap if you missed something or were unable to make a particular talk.
Alternatively, if you want to learn more about how SEO, digital PR, PPC or content marketing can leverage your digital marketing, then get in touch with us or check out one of our online digital marketing training courses.