Brighton SEO – April 2022

26 min read by Dafydd 11 Apr 2022

The 22nd Edition of Brighton SEO has come and gone. The StrategiQ team from both Suffolk and the Midlands converged on Brighton Seafront and joined the 4000+ attendees representing over 50 countries; to indulge in the wealth of knowledge and thought leadership on the agenda…


Who you gonna Call To Action

A bit of pop culture and nerdy theming has become a staple of this conference, with no expense spared again. This year included a full size Ecto 1 (from the less critically acclaimed reboot of Ghostbusters) as well as featuring Kelvin donning the iconic Ghostbuster boiler suit to welcome everyone to this edition of Brighton SEO.


Talk Highlights – 

Index –

Poppy Mace
Greg Gifford 
Paola Didone 
Max Hoppy 
Aaron Rudman-Hawkins 
Benu Aggarwal 
Martin McGarry 
Simon Lesser 
Claire Carlile 
Corrie Jones 
Kirsty Hulse 

Paid Social Show – brightonSEO Fringe Event

Before we delve into the full agenda across the two official days of Brighton SEO, it would have been remiss of us to not shout out our colleague Poppy who took to the stage the day before at the Paid Social Show.

This spin off event from brightonSEO, was designed as a fringe track to help you learn more about how to promote your business through advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Poppy had set speaking at Brighton SEO as a goal this year so our team were over the moon when she was asked to present this year.

Our colleague Elliot was in the audience and provided his take…


Speaker: Poppy Mace 

Track: The Paid Social Show – A conference dedicated to paid social media advertising on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube Advertising

Twitter: @PoppyKLM

Talk Title: LinkedIn Advertising – Is It Really Worth It?

Talk overview: Poppy’s presentation covers a very relevant topic that crosses the mind of any social advertising specialist frequently – are LinkedIn Ads worth it? They can be extremely expensive to run and it’s not always clear if the benefits outway the cost.

Seeing Poppy take to the stage at The Paid Social Show this year and deliver such an engaging talk with clear, practical tips and recommendations was seriously impressive. Witnessing first-hand attendees swarming over afterwards to ask for advice is a testament to how confidently Poppy presented to a sizable crowd of other marketers and paid specialists.

Key takeaways: For anyone currently running (or is looking to run) LinkedIn ads, here are some of the key points you need to consider first:

  • A majority of decision-makers on LinkedIn are, surprisingly, millennials.
  • The users can be effectively reached on alternative and under-utilised ad platforms like Pinterest, TikTok and Twitter (along with, of course, Facebook and Google Ads).
  • LinkedIn ads perform best when offering free, locally-hosted content, and should be used alongside other platforms, not as your sole lead generator.

Back to the original question – are LinkedIn ads actually worth it? Well, if you missed this year’s Paid Social Show, fret not; you can get a definitive answer by watching Poppy’s full presentation here.

Brighton SEO DAY 1 – Talk Highlights –

Day 1 of the event featured talks across a variety of themes including on-page SEO, content, reporting, keyword research, ecommerce, crawling & indexing, automation and tech SEO. In usual BrightonSEO fashion, the event started off with a bang, featuring a video cameo from Mr Motivator, t-shirt cannons, and of course, hoodies with John Mu’s face on. Day 1 was rounded off by the Keynote speech by Andi Jarvis around Strategy vs Tactics. 

Here are some of the team’s favourite sessions from day 1 of the event, and some key takeaways from each talk. 

Speaker: Greg Gifford 

Twitter: @GregGifford

Talk Title: Freddy Krueger’s Guide to Scary Good Reporting

Deck Link: SlideShare

Talk overview: In one of Greg’s classic movie-themed talks, he discusses the hot topic of reporting in SEO, why we do it, how to do it better, and what NOT to do when reporting SEO results back to clients or key stakeholders.

Key takeaways:

  • Monitoring your clients’ performance isn’t reporting. 
  • Reports should be the added value – not just the everyday maintenance. 
  • Reports should ALWAYS reflect the problem, and how the work you’re completing is solving it
  • Always tie your reports to the client’s bottom line – what does this activity mean for leads, revenue or sales? 
  • Start with your most important metrics – and keep your first page with key things for anybody who won’t read the whole thing 
  • Don’t just label reports with ‘sessions’ and ‘goals’. Label them with understandable, relatable questions “how many more people visited the site this month?”

Speaker: Paola Didone

Twitter: @LateNiteBird

Talk Title: How to go after the long tail keywords (and why it matters!)

Deck Link: SlideShare

Talk overview: Paola ventured into the world of low volume longtail keywords with her talk about how to choose and target long tail keywords, and why you should. 

Key takeaways:

  • Low search volume keywords are generally higher intent 
  • Long tail keywords are considered anything more than 3 words, and a greater level of specificity. 
  • Intent volume is much more valuable than search volume – lots of keywords with low volume but high intent are more likely to give better results than top of funnel, high search volume keywords

Speaker Name: Benu Aggarwal

Twitter: @BenuAggarwal 

Talk Title: Entity search: your competitive advantage

Deck Link: Online pdf

Talk overview:

Benu Aggarwal discusses the importance of entity-based SEO to improve search rankings and deliver relevant content to the end user. Why is an entity based approach so crucial and how does it deliver a competitive advantage? Google is continuing its quest to improve the searcher experience by serving more relevancy into their results pages. 

82% sitting top of funnel and discovering content, 10% landing page checkout” – Showcases the  importance of discoverability. 

Key takeaways:

  • Search has gone from keywords to conversations (building relevance).
  • It’s not about your content, it’s about content that can be discovered and is topical.
  • Entities are how search engines understand the context of your content.  How to better disseminate, it’s about adding and enhancing based on what the consumer is looking for. 
  • Think about SERP coverage, how much of your search is discoverable? Search console is a great way to see what’s working (is there a relevant GSC  blog we can link to here?).
  • Ultimately, entity SEO gives you a competitive advantage by  increasing visibility.


Speaker Name: Martin McGarry

Twitter: @seomcgarry

Talk Title: SEO strategy care of England manager Gareth Southgate – my football inspired SEO target setting framework

Deck Link: SlideShare

Talk overview: A great talk for football / SEO fans!  Garry Southgate has been England manager since 2016 and was under scrutiny for missing a semi final penalty in 1996, but throughout the questions and criticisms he backed himself to succeed to eventually become England football manager. 

So what does it mean to be successful and what parallels can you make between SEO and football? Firstly, start with a good plan and a timescale. You can’t win the world cup on day one of year one. 

Year 1-2: Where you should be

Year 2-4: Where you could be

Year 4-6: Where you would be

  • Football = SEO
  • Tournament = Serps
  • Team = Website
  • Players = Pages
  • In game = On page

Key takeaways:

  • A specific plan of action to bring about success with a breakdown of steps
  • Despite being a novice in the world of football, this was incredibly engaging with a contextual narrative drawn from real world examples
  • It was simple, easy to follow and engaging (plus Martin was dressed almost as if he was Garry himself, talk about going the extra mile!)

Speaker Name: Simon Lesser

Twitter: @SimonLesser

Talk Title: SEO reporting: slay the time-sucking monster and deliver amazing reports

Deck Link: SlideShare

Talk overview: Simon talks about the trials and tribulations of reporting in SEO, what can we do to effectively communicate performance to clients whilst making our lives easier too? To summarise, reporting can often be time consuming and does nothing to improve a site’s performance.

Key takeaways:

  • What does a great report look like? They have a plan of action and educate.
  • Stop screenshotting SEO tools and start automating reports. 
  • Turn raw data into insights, what context can you draw upon that the client will understand? Remember to know your audience. 
  • Have a plan of action against your reporting. 
  • Let computers extract the data, and redirect efforts towards interpreting the data.
  • Data studio is a highly recommended data visualisation tool, and is customisable. 
  • Add comments and rich media to reports (image, screen shot, video, link for additional context)
  • Only show the right data for the right audience. What happened and why?
  • Add comment to spike in report for conext.
  • Say no to PDFs for reports.

Speaker Name: Claire Carlile

Twitter: @ClaireCarlile

Talk Title: Beyond the Basics – 5 (or 10) Google Business Profile elements you might not know about but REALLY should

Deck Link: SlideShare

Talk overview: If you want to rank higher and convert better, you need to do more than just set up a basic GBP. This is because there are:

  • Changes in the way the SERP looks
  • Changes in the way we search 
  • Changes in GMB features

Key takeaways:

  • The 5 GBP elements we may not know about are:
    • Monitor the SERP landscape
      • Look at how your GBP profile looks and your competitors to compare
    • Measure ROI
      • What is working on your page
      • Which of your features are driving the most traffic
    • Reviews 
      • First impressions count and this is what your customers will first see on your GBP
      • Give customers options to what to review from keywords 
      • Review your snippets as they show keywords that are more frequently mentioned in your reviews. 
    • Images
      • 60% of consumers said local search results with good images pushed them towards a decision 
      • Monitor customer uploads and flag any that are irrelevant or inappropriate to get them taken down
      • Take a look at competitors and research which images you should upload
      • Monitor any changes made by google such as your cover photo
    • Justifications
      • They are snippets that google shows in the local pack to help justify the reason for why the business is there 
      • Website copy, reviews, GBP posts and services provided are used for justifications to help users feel more trusting in a business and therefore influences CTR

Brighton SEO DAY 2 – Talk Highlights –

Day 2 of brightonSEO featured another wide variety of topics for each session, including creativity, user experience, strategy, data, international and paid search, search intent and health and wellbeing in the industry. It’s not a brightonSEO without something special – this time we had special guests, in the form of Kelvin’s kids on stage to meet the crowd and fire off more t-shirts from the traditional t-shirt cannons. The day wrapped up with a brilliant lesson on confidence with Kirsty Hulse as keynote speaker. 

The team rounds up their favourite talks and key takeaways from each session from day 2 below:


Speaker Name: Max Hoppy

Twitter: @MaxHoppy

Talk Title: How they teach you to be creative at Google 

Deck Link: GoogleSlides

Talk overview: Max Hoppy talks about his experience at a Google creativity camp – where you’re sent to a farm to enjoy the cows and sheep, and to learn how to be creative!

Key takeaways:

  • Environment is critical for creativity – it’s impossible to be creative in pressured environments. 
  • Thought stimulus is needed for creative thinking – you can’t just wait for ideas to pop into your head, you need to stimulate them! 
  • There are 3 key ways to encourage creativity:
    • Ask yourself – what’s the essence of the challenge? What am I trying to solve with this idea?
    • List the rules around the challenge and use those rules as a stimulus
    • Take a truly random object, a thing, a palace and find connections between the challenge and the random thing to generate ideas. 
  • The golden rule: Do expansive thought on one day – then reductive thought another day. 
  • Decision by committee is dangerous


Speaker Name: Aaron Rudman-Hawkins

Talk Title: The uncomfortable truth about link building and what you can do about it…

Deck Link: SlideShare 

Talk overview: A large part of the narrative in the SEO community is around Digital PR and how links are the most important part of SEO. In Aaron’s candid talk about link building, we discover that it’s very possible to do well for your clients or your own sites without a heavy focus on link building. Aaron discusses his method of finding out what the ‘link reality’ of his clients is, and how to justify whether they actually need links to rank.

Key takeaways:

  • Do the link reality test – see what links your client’s organic search competitors have, and how often they’re getting them (tools like Majestic and Ahrefs can help with this) – how many of these competitors have high-value, ‘big links’? 
  • The chances are that unless all your competitors have lots of high-value ‘big links’, that naturally occurring links that come from authority building in the space not only come much quicker than actively sought out links, but they’re also more valuable. 
  • It is possible to have a successful SEO strategy without doing huge, expensive and incredibly difficult digital PR campaigns. (Note: this is not the case for everyone – that’s why you need to do the link reality test!)


Speaker Name:  Corrie Jones

Twitter: @CorrieFJones

Talk Title: Segments: How to get juicy insights & avoid the pips!

Deck Link: Untapped

Talk overview: Social Media specialist Corrie Jones joined the SEOs at brightonSEO to talk about how to make your social content genuinely compelling for your customers. 

Key takeaways:

  • Number 1 reason users unfollow is due to too much promotional content being pushed at them
  • Look at who has commented on your posts and find out who they are and more about them. This is so you can see the types of people you are aiming to target.
  • Search for patterns and jumps in your data 
  • Don’t wait for trends to happen, jump on them as soon as possible 
  • We live in a crazy world of clutter, the more creative you are, the more it stands out on social media and makes the user feel something.
  • Social media is the front line way of speaking to your customer everyday. 
  • There are 3  areas to consider when making social media content 
    • Psychology
      • You need to know your customers inside and out, do this by looking at their demographics and psychographics. From this we can class people according to attitudes and aspirations 
      • What problems does the user have and how can we solve them 
    • Data 
      • Look at the social media insights and see what content works well for your brand and what doesn’t 
      • Look at who has commented on your posts 
    • Creative 
      • Does your social media content actually look good?
      • Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, would they actually care about your post? Will it make their day better?


Speaker Name: Kirsty Hulse


Twitter: @Kirsty_Hulse

Talk Title: Compassion, confidence and giving a few less f*cks

Talk overview: Kirsty Hulse came from the world of SEO and fought some tough battles in her life that drove her to a place where she simply wasn’t happy. Her experiences helped her learn how to be confident – something that she now shares with those who join her confidence workshops. Kirsty’s talk was a brilliant, positive and uplifting way to end the conference. 

  • We see it as a fixed trait
  • We think it’s binary 
  • Our language is a mess

Key takeaways:

  • “You know who’s a really nice person? Most people” The majority of people you are talking or presenting to are rooting for you and are inspired by you. 
  • Having a bit more compassion for yourself – It is not YOU that is failing, it is our sh*tty definition. 
  • Why is our confidence such a dumpster fire?
    • We see it as a fixed trait – something that you do or don’t have 
    • We think it’s binary – it’s actually a scale 
    • Our language is a mess – we need to change how we talk about confidence
  • #Wellyeah was her motto. Accept situations and move on. 
  • Those who present themselves as confident, are not always the most confident inside. You will always be scared, but how about ‘Scared and ready’.
  • You can be confident and nervous at the same time. 
  • Neither confidence nor nervousness are bad things. 

Closing thoughts….

As always, there was so much to take away, new perspectives to experience and plenty of thought provoking tips. After a brilliant two days at the conference, some great food in the beautiful city of Brighton and lots and lots of walking, it’s safe to say we all need a sleep! Thanks to the organisers of the event, Kelvin Newman and the team of organisers behind the scenes, all of the speakers and peers we caught up with over the entire event… and of course the sponsors that help it all happen every 6 months. See you there in October! 

That’s all for now but we look forward to seeing you all again at the next Brighton SEO. If you’d like to discuss how StrategiQ can help with your SEO strategy, get in touch today.


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