Conference recaps! They’re really for the people who went to the conference, aren’t they? Hopefully this will be a good substitute for those who didn’t make it, and will be a good refresher for people who did!
I attended BrightonSEO for the first time in person this year, and it was fantastic.
Also big shout out to @errioxa on twitter who compiled all the slides into a handy dandy Google sheet. And YellowBlue marketing who put them in a blog post. And Viaduct Generation who put together a massive recap.
The things I learned at BrightonSEO April 2022 in a handy numbered list:
1. If you don’t make your site accessible, you will get sued and also @BillieGeena will punch you (@billiegeena)
Billie’s talk was a must see about accessibility and the place that it has in digital marketing. She broke it down into the dollar signs and what you’re missing out on by making inaccessible websites.
2. The multiple track set up is a blessing and a curse
BrightonSEO has a multi track setup, with five different tracks throughout the day, so there’s always something you want to see. Unfortunately, that also meant there was always something I wanted to see. I occasionally sent a partner or friend to catch a session I couldn’t myself, but there are some sessions that I’m just going to have to wait for the replay on.
3. Use social media to find divisive conversations and popular hashtags (@chimammeje/Zenith Copy)
Chima is the queen of topic clusters (and incredible suits) and her talk on the subject kinda blew my mind. She did a great job talking about how clusters can support the sales funnel– and how SEOs tend to think about the funnel in a way that is counterintuitive. The buy/click isn’t top of funnel– it’s not the goal. You don’t want to force people to skip the whole sales funnel, especially when they’re not ready for it.
Additional speaker tip: English people do not spice their food properly.
4. JohnMu has been in enough selfies that you could train an image generation GAN on them and come up with a thisJohnMuDoesNotExist style website.
5. Brighton has incredible vegan food
I spent my entire time in Brighton eating off Nat’s (@_nca’s) Brighton food guide, and oh my god. Guys. My girlfriend has spent the last week talking about vegan chicken from Really Happy Chicken. The Vibes at the Hope and Ruin were immaculate. And the food at Flower Burger was beautiful. The USA seriously needs to catch up!
6. You don’t actually need monthly search volume (@thetafferboy/alsoasked.com/withcandour.com)
I loved Mark’s talk about zero-volume keyword research. I think it’s easy to get caught up in numbers and lose track of the fact that our tools cannot show us the full breadth of the Google experience. If a question is getting asked online, it is a useful avenue of content to pursue.
Additional speaker tip: AlsoAsked is never getting monthly search volume so stop asking.
Similar talk: I also liked Liraz Postan’s talk about the hidden gems of low search volume
7. SEOs can help (or hurt) cybersecurity (@marqueetag)
I loved Chris’ chat about cybersecurity– SEOs can find a ton of things that other experts might miss. I loved the tip about making sure you’re not telling everyone where to find your sensitive information. He sees a lot of sites disallow sensitive pages in robots.txt– but that just lets hackers know where the junk is! He suggests hiding it in the root and blocking stuff from there.
Additional notes: Chris has one of my favourite twitter handles.
8. Robots.txt has more options than you might think (filiwiese)
My favourite first action on a client site is to check the robots.txt, and I’ve read the specs– I like to think I know it pretty well. But Filli’s talk had some robots.txt information I hadn’t heard before. For example– the clean-param robots.txt directive, which can be used in a similar way to the GSC URL Parameter tool!
9. There’s space for everyone in SEO
Diversity was a watchword for this BrightonSEO. B-DigitalUK had a strong showing with their first table. Sessions were led by a diverse crowd.
Ian Helms’ session about LGBTQ+ inclusive campaigns was obviously near and dear to my heart. He laid it out really clearly for everyone who might be mystified about the response they get for pride month campaigns. And a lot of the tips can extend to other historically marginalized groups.
10. You can use Machine Learning in internal linking audits (@lazarinastoy)
My phone died for Lazarina’s session so I’m super glad she has a write up online where I can reference it. Lazarina really gets the intersection of content and machine learning in a way that makes me trust she’s guiding me to the right decision. She’s great at explaining concepts, and I cannot wait to see the replay in a few weeks.
11. “Menstruation” isn’t a dirty word. Period. (@chloeivyroseseo)
Chloe’s talk was a factual, funny, frank discussion of a topic that almost everyone has some experience with in one way or another. Her plea for honesty, compassion, and understanding was measured against some explicit instructions– provide free period products, introduce menstrual health days, use proper gender neutral language, and get comfortable being uncomfortable.
12. SEO QA is always worth doing (@myriamjessier, @tentaclequing, @aleydasolis)
Myriam and Gianna’s talk about SEO QA (With tentacles!) was a great run down of everything you should be thinking about in QA. A really entertaining talk, with hand puppets, and a great QA list to take home as well!
Aleyda’s talk hit on this too– according to content king studies, 85% of SEOs had a moderate-to-high SEO incident in the last year. She provided a QA framework settled around education.
13. You can get buy in from management (@azeemdigital)
Azeem’s talk was great– another one I’m not sure I’ll personally use in my day to day, but the concepts can be universalized to help with all sorts of things. He put together a formula and blueprint of how to demonstrate the value of content strategies and their metrics– and how to use that to show what investment could bring.
14. It’s worth jumping on indexnow… now(@shwetiprabhu)
Shweti did an in depth dive on Bing’s index now API, which allows webmasters to let search engines know when a change has been made to their site. Despite being just before lunch, she did a great job keeping everyone engaged, and centered the environmental impact of constantly having to crawl web pages to find new changes. It’s being adopted by a lot of search engines, so it’s worth jumping on index now if you haven’t looked into it!
15. Nothing feels better than hearing someone say “I think I can do this now.”
Ending on a personal note here: I talked about building your own crawler, and one of the highlights of the trip for me was people coming up and saying they felt like they could try coding– that I’d taken some of the fear out for them. It was extremely gratifying. If you’re reading this and want to try coding, do it now!
And that’s a wrap for this April’s Brighton SEO– at least until the replays come out!