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For many people Brighton is known for its stunning seaside, bustling beaches and iconic Palace Pier but for a couple of days during Spring and Autumn it’s home to the biggest SEO conference in the UK ‘BrightonSEO’.

Brighton SEO is a jam packed couple of days consisting of some of the best speakers in the world of search discussing a range of topics including SEO, PR, Ecommerce and even a sprinkle of PPC – rumour has it that it started out over a conversation in a pub and has evolved over the years to an event which brings in thousands of visitors from all over the world.

Brighton SEO operates on a ticket ballot system so you have the opportunity to get access to this incredible event for FREE! This year I was lucky enough to bag myself a ticket and I wanted to give you a little insight into what the event is all about and my key takeaways.

This was my first time attending BrightonSEO and having heard so much about it (all good of course) it certainly didn’t disappoint. I was expecting there to be a lot of fellow marketers there but I didn’t anticipate just how many there would be!

There were five different auditoriums to choose from in total and l I had the opportunity to plan in advance the talks which I wanted to attend using their handy little app. I would encourage everyone to have a flick through the agenda and to plan your day in advance so you can make the most of your day. This will help your day run smoother and you won’t miss any talks you’re wanting to listen to, if there are some cross overs on the programme you have the opportunity to access them afterwards online.

There’s usually around three different topics covered in each slot by different speakers which last around 20-30 minutes each – in my opinion, just enough to keep you engaged! After the speakers have finished, you then have the opportunity to ask any questions you have.

Between each of the talks you have the chance to have a wander around the variety of different stands where there’s a number of different sponsors and representatives from digital marketing agencies sharing their knowledge and most importantly (of course) giving out lots of freebies! It’s also a great opportunity to network with people from other digital backgrounds.

I listened to 12 speakers over the course of the day and here are my top 3 takeaways from those –

Duane Brown – Google Shopping: How to 2x your ROAS in 2022

With my specialism being Paid Search it was super important for me to attend as many of the talks from those covering a PPC subject and I was certainly glad I attended Duane’s talk.

As a PPC specialist I know that ensuring an advertiser’s shopping feed is the best it possibly can be is so important to ensure we give them the best chance in the auction and Duane just cemented this fact.

The highlight of the session was Duane’s 80/20 rule when it comes to feed optimisation and also to SKU optimisation – I came away with a greater understanding of why SKU optimisation is so important and the most efficient way to scale revenue.

Ultimately, for a lot of advertisers only around 20% of the products bring in 80% of the revenue, so as an advertiser we want to put our focus on those products and also, the quality of a shopping feed holds a lot of weight when it comes to ad rank in the auction, so again it makes sense to put or focus on improving the shopping feeds so that it works for Google in 2022.

As an agency this is something that we do for our client’s already with our feed enhancement service and Duane just clarified why it’s so important and why we should be continuing to improve and test different variations of attributes in our shopping feeds to ensure we maximise our success within our shopping campaigns and ultimately why 80% of our time should be spent working on our shopping feeds and the other 20% on campaign optimisation.

Madison Crawford – What you really ought to know before you hire an apprentice!

Madison led a really interesting talk on how she worked her way up through the ranks from apprentice to PPC Account Manager. She went through the real benefits of hiring an apprentice and how they can help your business.

She spoke about how apprentices can bring fresh ideas to the tables and how if you’re just hiring them for cheap labour then you’re absolutely missing a trick!

Madison spoke about her not great apprenticeship placement where she was on tea making duty and bacon shopping (yes, bacon!) and she also spoke of her placements where she thrived and it made her into the PPC Account Manager she is today.

At Mabo we already invest a lot of time and effort into hiring apprentices as spoken about by our Head of Operations Rob Jackson in a recent blog – so have a little read of that if you haven’t already.

Chima Mmeje – How to do comprehensive research for your topic cluster

In a very insightful talk from Chima, an SEO expert, she discussed the importance of not just focusing on keywords but rather the topic cluster and how creating topic clusters can help your website fill content gaps.

What is a topic cluster?

Chima describes a topic cluster as –

“ a group of content that revolves around a central topic and uses a pillar-cluster approach to link between related content pieces in the cluster’.

How do you go about researching for a topic cluster?
  • Choose the topic you want to build authority on.
  • Decide who you’re targeting by thinking about who is looking for information on that topic.
  • Carry out a content audit and make sure you’re just looking at what directly relates to that topic.
  • Think about what your audience is gaining from you.
  • Do your keyword research – topic researching, keyword gaps, trending topics and question-based keywords using tools like Answer The Public and Semrush.
  • Turn to social media and see what people are saying about your topic.
  • Create the content for all the problems your product solves.
  • Get rid of any irrelevant keywords or anything off brand.
  • Think about the different ways you can match the keywords to the different stages of the buyer’s journey at each stage of the buyer’s journey and post-funnel journey to engage repeat customers.
Which keywords should you prioritise? 
  • The keywords with a high purchase intent
  • The keywords that drive a load of traffic and backlinks for competitors
  • The keywords that allow you to showcase your unique insights

Chima explained how if the research stage isn’t done right then your topic cluster won’t achieve the desired results.

You can take a look at Chima’s slides here.

What are my top tips for attending BrightonSEO?

Finally, I just wanted to share my top tips to prepare you for the conference.

  • Make sure you set a reminder to let you know when the ballot opens so you have the chance to grab yourself a ticket – you can do that here.
  • Download the app and plan your day using the schedule planner on there.
  • Take snacks! There are places to grab a bite to eat and there’s a Costa next door, but because there’s so many people the queues can be pretty lengthy so I suggest taking something to eat and drink with you.
  • Take lots of notes and jot down any questions you have during the talks so you can ask them at the end.
  • Make a note of the speakers names that you found interesting and follow them on their socials.
  • Make sure to visit the stalls and chat to the industry experts.
  • Don’t be afraid to network – even if you’re there on your own I promise you that you’re not the only one so get chatting!



Holly Bellamy
Post by Holly Bellamy
April 21, 2022