There was never any doubt that BrightonSEO was once again going to justify itself as the ‘must attend’ UK search conference last Friday (September 14th, 2012). The conference itself has grown massively in the last few years and the queue served as a visual testament as 100′s of excited ‘spammers’ gently weaved their way from the Royal Pavillion Gardens, towards the Brighton Dome which was again hosting the main event. Such growth is thanks in no small part to the continued dedication, commitment and unbelievable energy levels displayed by BrightonSEO’s (self-proclaimed) chief cat herder/organiser/host/showman Kelvin Newman.
My Brighton SEO started with a night of fish’n'chips with mushy peas (and beer) on the pier in the company of Richard Baxter, Lynne Murphy(who has the greatest Twitter handle) and the other conference speakers and sponsors. Following a few additional ales at The Cricketers, I decided to head home as I really didn’t want to miss the opening talk from Dave Trott in the morning. Fair play to Dom Hodgson though, he was heading out for more beers as I left, yet he still made it to the Dome early enough the next morning to (I believe) dress up and perform as a dancing Panda alongside his Penguin pal.
At 9.30 on Friday morning I was undoubtedly the most excited SEO in the vicinity, having been eagerly anticipating Dave Trott’s talk on ‘Predatory Thinking’ since Kelvin told me he would be speaking. Dave Trott is an advertising legend, a fountain of marketing knowledge, experience and creativity, a man whose work I had once studied. He didn’t disappoint either – delivering his presentation in his native East Laandin accent; his tales and terminology (punters not customers) help you easily retain the underlying marketing principles. For example the three primary components for delivering a message that get noticed, using an evening conversation with ‘the wife’ as an example:
The afternoon sessions flew by at lightening fast speed, kick-started by Richard Baxter who (I’m pretty sure) was still writing his talk when I saw him rehearsing backstage. Richard took the stage and outlined How to be a Better SEO, offering some really great advice to any SEO worth their weight, including…
I missed his slides, and some of the tips, as I was waiting in the wings to tag team him for the stage, but he left to a monster round of applause, no pressure then.
Why did I have to follow a seasoned pro like Richard!? Thanks a bunch Kelvin.
I was blinded by the lights, nervous to be on stage at such a great venue as the Dome, where artists including Ziggy Stardust, Massive Attack, The Go Team and ABBA had previously performed.
I’d hinted to Pete Handley that my talk would involve music to some degree, but thankfully no Karaoke on this occasion, to the relief of the 1,500 strong audience.
I was here to preach the virtues of SEO Deliverance, or how to secure SEO changes at big brand websites, but to maintain a musical theme I had incorporated a selection of music artist names, song titles, lyrics and albums. Hhhhhmmm, could that be enough ‘Impact’ that Dave Trott had referenced? Maybe, although I forgot to ask the audience to raise a hand if ‘You’re not from Brighton’ (Fat Boy Slim) right from the start, oops. So ‘What’s the story, morning glory?’ (Oasis), get the full low-down on delivering SEO change here.
Lynne Murphy was up next, but by the time I’d figured out how to escape from my lapel mike and navigated my way back to the auditorium through the backstage labyrinth, Lynne was half-way through her slides. From what I could hear it was a real treat for the audience, a breath of fresh air for SEO’s who all too often get caught in the nitty-gritty technicalities of keyword research and digital marketing. Hearing about the form and history of the English language was great – language is interesting, and Lynne an excellent speaker, fact.
James Little followed Lynne and swiftly enticed the crowd with an upper body striptease, risking life and limb as he revealed a Crystal Palace (arch rivals of Brighton & Hove FC) football strip beneath his smart white shirt.
Unfortunately the rest of my afternoon was somewhat fragmented, but I did manage to catch presentations from Aleyda Solis (Mobile SEO), Yousaf Sekander (Competitor analysis through Social Media), Jason Woodford (Changing the industry for the better) and Anna Lewis (Google analytics) – all of which were excellent in their own right. To save me from re-inventing the wheel, take a look at the Silicon Beach summary of the afternoon sessions.So as the day turned into evening the BrightonSEO party kicked-off in the Corn Exchange with a range of entertainment
including table football (on which Michal and @ToastedTeacake remain un-beaten!), roller cycling, a velcro human-fly wall, a selection of old skool games consoles and of course a bar (essential). In additon, following the success of SEO Karaoke on the pier last time around, there was also a live band Karaoke stage ready for the budding singers and swingers, oh dear. Justin Taylor provides an excellent summary of the evening elements on the Graphitas blog.