Takeaways from BrightonSEO September 2016

This was my fifth or sixth BrightonSEO so obviously I am quite a fan, and it’s not just that I like collecting the tee shirts (though they are rather good too).

I am not going to give a lot of technical SEO stuff I learnt but hopefully provide a review for anyone thinking of going to the next one and answer the question – is it worth attending.

New venue

This BrightonSEO was different, it was the first in the new venue of the Brighton Centre. Being bigger it was much better, I could go to whichever talk I wanted to. At the previous venue at the Pavilion, nice though it is, I often found after queuing there still wasn’t room so I missed talks I really wanted to go to.

Also, the Brighton Centre is much more designed for this sort of event and there was no problem with noise from the exhibition being heard in the talks.

The audience

I have been involved with SEO since 2000 and find it fascinating to watch how it has changed, and is still changing. We all know about how the technology has changed but as industry it has changed out of all recognition. When I first started going to ‘above the pub’ events, almost everyone was young, male, nerdy and certainly not employed by an agency. In fact I can remember talking to agencies at exhibitions who couldn’t see any way of offering SEO commercially, they were only doing PPC then.

Then the audience got really young, the agencies moved in, and there were a lot of women. This time, the agencies certainly dominated, but perhaps the age demographic had increased slightly suggesting perhaps the industry has grown up a bit.

The talks

All the talks I went to were good, having been in the industry so long my main interest is in where SEO is going conceptually and any really interesting new developments. But although SEO is changing fast the fundamentals stay remarkably similar. It is still just marketing albeit on a very technical platform.

Most of the developments are in how website and the internet has developed technically and how this can be used for the benefit of online visibility not how that visibility works fundamentally. That said, I picked up lots of ideas and tips that were very specifically SEO.

The money in the SEO industry is very much with the large corporate sites and the ecommerce sector. Numbers alone are going to dictate that B2C predominates, which it did. I am a freelancer working for B2B SMBs, mainly in very niche markets, so although the same principles apply, the examples generally didn’t.

My only slight gripe was that occasionally one of the (younger) speakers came out with a revelation that showed his years rather than his experience. The example that springs to mind was that the old way of doing SEO with black hat trickery has had its day and now the only way is white hat. I thought the only way was only ever white hat if you wanted long term results but it sounded as though white hat was a new thing which no one had really thought of trying before. But I am being picky.

Should I go to the next BrightonSEO?

Yes if you want to keep abreast of the spirit of SEO. The workshops on the previous day are probably the better way to learn SEO and its associated skills but this is an excellent event for keeping a feel for where SEO is going, what’s important and what is going to become more important. And the new venue makes it much easier to enjoy.

See you there!

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