Sunday, April 27, 2014

Brighton SEO - Key Lessons from April 2014 Event

This week I popped along to Brighton SEO, as it was taking place literally 100 metres from my office.

As I stepped out of my office I immediately ran into a queue stretching down Church Road to the Dome, where the event was being held.

Brighton SEO has clearly emerged over the years as one of the leading SEO events in the UK.

Key Lessons from Brighton SEO

I have outlined below some of the key lessons and ideas I took away from the event.

Content has to be Mobile Friendly

Malcolm Coles from Trinity Mirror revealed for how desktop traffic for them is higher on weekdays from 9 to 4 but mobile is much higher at all other times, especially weekends.

This leads to the obvious conclusion that for some markets mobile friendly content is key. However, this doesn't stop people producing infographics even though they don't work on mobiles.

Headlines - About to Change?

Recently the headlines that have worked best have been those which are disrespectful to the reader e.g. 'He told his wife he wanted a divorce, what happened next crushed my heart.'

These 'you won't guess what happened next' headlines force you to read on. They do not allow a reader to skim read by skimming headlines to find what they want. However, they appear to generate more clicks. The Mirror found that the headline 'Santa's sleigh rescued by the AA' generated far less traffic than 'When you find out who rescued Santa's sleigh it will restore your faith in corporate Britain.'

The importance of headlines was revealed when someone reported that Upworthy write 25 headlines per post and test which work best.

There was a feeling that these BuzzFeed and Upworthy headlines are working less well in recent months and there may be a move back towards headlines that help the reader. Personally, I feel that many of these headlines are like those blogs that don't date articles because it is better in terms of SERP results. They are both disrespectful to their readers. I have personally stopped reading blogs like Copyblogger as their approach of not dating articles makes me feel they are writing for SERP results and not their readers.

Quizzes Go Viral

There were many examples of viral quizzes especially on Facebook. Trinity Mirror produced a quiz How Northern are you? which went viral. This was a simple quiz using free open source software.

The general view was that quizzes work well. However, I wonder if people will begin to suffer from quiz fatigue.

Outreach Works

The value of outreach was demonstrated clearly by Matthew Barby. He outlined his three stage approach
  1. Identify major content hubs/aggregators
  2. Drill down to key authors, that consistently produce good content
  3. Find the big influencers
Matthew identified lots of helpful tools that he uses including BuzzBundle, Social Crawlytics, Topsy and our own Buzzsumo.

Streamline Processes

Link prospecting, outreach, curating content and reporting all takes time. Use tools to help you be more efficient,  even 20 minutes here and there makes a big difference said Carolyn Jones, MD of Webdurance in her talk on Link Prospecting.


General agreement they should be fun and allow people to work collaboratively. Also whilst people deliver content for small screens the screens they need to design such content are getting bigger and bigger.


Despite the keynote being 'How I earned loads of links by ignoring SEO' there were also worries about Google summed up on this presentation by FreshEgg's David Sewell on Google as predator.


As I have suspected for some time, one speaker confirmed that Stock photos don't work, people don't believe in them. I also think they smack of laziness. Use relevant images that add value or don't use them at all.


One speaker argued that keywords at the beginning of your title are most effective for SERP clicks, as were numbers in meta titles. They argued that terms such as 'award winning' attract attention and improve SERP clicks though I am less convinced. They also argued that Authorship images are not as effective in gaining SERP clicks as people have suggested.

What Did You Learn?

These were my takeaways. If you attended what did you learn? What would you add to my list?

Congratulations again to Kelvin and the team for organising another successful Brighton SEO event, I look forward to the next one.