Brighton SEO – April 2015

Ian and I (Dan) from the Front Page Advantage team traveled down to Brighton on Friday 10th April for some sun, sea and SEO.

After an early start and a coffee or two we made our way to the Corn Exchange for the ‘Insight’ Session. This session was comprised of three presentations:

Andrew Hood – Creating Clever Clusters – Segmentation for Profit

Daniel Peden – Understanding your Customers with Google Analytics

Ed Brockelebank – Solving the Offline Conundrum in Google Analytics

Andrew Hood made the first presentation of the day and as you might expect from the title, it was focussed around using segmentation and clustering to identify valuable customers and valuable customer traits. A variety of tools and techniques were mentioned from Excel to Google Analytics to some more complicated statistical tools. The key take away from this session for me was that it’s more important to reach the people who count than to count the people you reach.

Following Andrew was Daniel Peden who talked about using Google Analytics to understand your customers. The presentation started with a reminder that site engagement is an important SEO factor and that search algorithms such as Panda and Penguin are looking for signs of a poor user journeys. The rest of the presentation was focussed around features you can use in Google Analytics to further understand your customers and their journeys including assisted conversions, attribution and demographic reporting.

Following on from Andrew was Ed Brocklebank who tackled the problem of tracking offline conversions. The key points to take away from this presentation were that sales funnels that involve an offline aspect can be tracked and it’s important to do so because at the end of the day, business owners care about the big rewards that reside at the end of the sales funnel. Measuring, optimising and reporting on this will highlight your value to the business and ensure that you’re kept in employment.

Following this and a short break we headed to the main hall for the ‘SERPs’ session. This session was comprised of three presentations:

Jon Earnshaw – Cannibalisation: the SEO’s biggest nightmare and how to identify it

Rob Bucci – Advanced Competitive Intelligence: 3 Questions only the SERPs can Answer

Dave Naylor – Dave Predicts the Future of Search


Jon Earnshaw kicked things off with a really interesting presentation on SEO Cannibalisation. Jon began by stating that cannibalisation is on the increase and that it is starting to answer a lot of the questions that we SEOs regularly get asked. In short, you need to watch out for internal cannibalisation, sub-domain conflict, international conflict and semantic flux. If you want to learn more (and trust me, you do) his slideshare can be found below.

Following on from Jon was Rob Bucci (who I’d unwittingly already had a chat with prior to his presentation). Rob’s session was a case study on using the SERPs to reverse engineer the SEO strategies of the major retailers and answer 3 questions: What types of queries are most valuable to them? What user experiences are they optimising for? Are they optimising for Mobile Devices? Find out for yourselves by checking out the slideshare below.

The final presentation of the SERPs session was Dave Naylor predicting the future of search. While I had originally feared that this presentation would be massively presumptuous, it actually turned out to be really interesting. With the impending ‘Mobilegeddon’, his presentation was focussed heavily around mobile search. Some of the main takeaways from this session were:

–          There is an average conversion rate of 5.8% on mobile.

–          Build your website for users not search engines, but use common sense and don’t use Flash etc.

–          Use GWT to check for mobile usability issues as well as checking the SERPs for the mobile friendly tag. Which source should be trusted as they occasionally provide conflicting information.

–          Argues that Google understands sentiment rather than semantics.

–          Don’t ignore App Indexing

Find out more by checking out the slideshare below.

After another break and a nice lunch, we settled back into the main room for ‘Link Building‘. This session was made up of the following three presentations:

Matthew Barby – 10 Ways to Build a Link in 20 Minutes Flat

Natalie Wright – The Power of Backlink Discovery

Samuel Scott – Stop Thinking About Links. Start Thinking About Publicity

Despite link building getting a lot of bad press, it is still one of the primary ranking factors within Google and other search engines. So it was no surprise to see that the main Dome Concert Hall was fairly full when Matthew Barby got started.

Matthew’s presentation delivered what was promised with 10 ways to build decent links without investing too much time. Aside from the link building techniques, the key take away from this session was that the best way to achieve SEO success is to combine great content with good linking. Easy, right?

Following on from Matthew was Natalie Wright. Natalie’s sessions was an explanation of how you can use backlink discovery to identify higher quality link building opportunities (relevant, authoritative and bring traffic), determine link building ROI, develop a link-building strategy while maintaining a healthy backlink profile. Check out her slideshare below.

The final link building presentation was Samuel Scott who talked about thinking about PR rather than Link Building. The main take away from this session was that link building is just Marketing, PR and publicity with a different name and that we should stop focussing on link building and start putting our efforts into real marketing as that’s what will attract the best links.

And with that, the Link Building session was done!


Best Session of the Day: SERPs

Best Presentation of the Day: Jon Earnshaw – Cannibalisation: the SEO’s biggest nightmare and how to identify it

Would You Attend the Conference Again? Yes