Key takeaways from Brighton SEO Brighton SEO Sept 2019

Brighton SEO is a twice-yearly search marketing conference that brings 4,000 SEOs from 40 different countries to listen to some of the world’s top search marketers discuss the future of the industry.

I’ve been to four or five Brighton SEO’s now and it’s been interesting to see how overall content of the day has evolved from being very technical in nature to include more content marketing and social media themed talks.

The conference didn’t fail to impress, as always, the speakers were top-notch.

I absolutely loved the first session on Small Budget SEO and thought this was a valuable addition to the Brighton SEO schedule. For me, this was the best set of three speakers of the day, but there was a lot I couldn’t get to and am yet to catch up on via shared slides on Twitter. 

Helen Pollitt’s talk on ‘The Cash-Strapped Marketer’s Guide to SEO’ very much outlined the kind of activities we do as an SEO agency for smaller budgets. 

In summary of Helen’s talk, here’s a checklist for low-budget SEO:

  1. Start small – don’t attempt to SEO all your products or services, start with a few website pages, one service, or just the on-site technical SEO. 
  2. Use video, especially if your competitors aren’t doing it.
  3. Make sure that when someone searches on your brand on, that the first page of results is dominated by your paid, earned, owned & shared media (more about this further on) i.e your website, social media channels, review collectors, links. 
  4. If you’re using your own images, not from stock libraries, make sure you optimise them. More info from Search Engine Journal.
  5. Do competitor research and look for content gaps or content you can do better i.e with longer form content and rich media.
  6. If a few competitors share the same backlinks, then seek to obtain them too.
  7. Monitor online PR opportunities using #journorequest #prrequest.
  8. Understand the various ways that your business can appear in SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).  There was another Brighton SEO talk on this from Paige Hobart of Roast – check out their Features Glossary.
  9. It’s not just about constantly producing new content. Think about ways to improve your existing content too.
  10. Learn from your PPC data (the search term reports are our best friend!).

The survey says…

Next up in the Small Budget SEO themed session, was Stacey Macnaught on Content Marketing for Links. Stacey made a very clear point that yes, surveys are over-used but they work – journalists love them and they’re still a great way to get links. 

Quality rich media on a teeny, weeny budget

Stacey recommended making your surveys more visual by using the Flourish, data visualisation tool to create charts, maps and interactive stories from your data.  Her top tip was to record their data visualisations on the screen with your mobile and then save as a gif – brilliant!


Carrie Rose of agency, Rise at Seven, gave an energetic talk on ‘Creating sexy AF outreach emails to land sexy AF links’

For anyone doing content outreach, this is a presentation not to be missed, so here’s the link to Carrie’s slides.

The 5 golden rules of outreach

  1. Do the journalists job for them and write a news-ready piece complete with image and video
  2. Always embed an image/ video – do not attach, but instead link to Dropbox
  3. Write the subject line how they would write the headline. Tip: The Daily Mail love using ‘reveal’ in their news headlines
  4. Always follow up with a tweet to the Journalist
  5. Use a tool like Buzzstream to send out your outreach emails so you can monitor opens

To create a video on a shoestring budget, like this one that Rise at Seven produced for SpaSeekers video, you can buy HD video clips from Shutterstock and place them together to create a video. Overlay music using a free royalty free music library Bob’s your uncle, you’ve got a high quality video to bring to life your content campaign.

The other session that I found particularly engaging was from Lukasz Zelezny on ‘How to Turn Your SEO From Zero To Hero With GAP’

In this session, Lukasz outlines the process to go through to identify which content you can produce, that you can win with in search.

Identify the leading online competitors 

As an agency, we always start a project with competitor and customer research, and sometimes I do wonder if clients think we’re not very good at what we do and that’s why we look at the competition (or I am just suffering with imposter syndrome as wonderfully described by Amy McManus in her talk!?) 

Anyway, as marketers and SEOers, we’re trained to overlook competitor research at our peril, so let’s crack on with the process.

Find the Gap! 

In the paid version of SEM Rush, enter into the Keyword Gap tool your domain along with a few others. This will give you a lot of results, so Lukasz suggests to refine the results with  ‘How’ to give you the top of funnel search phrases. 

You want the keywords you are not ranking on that other two competitors are ranking on. 

Narrow this down further to keywords with a difficulty of 84 or less and these are the ‘how’ search phrases to build your content around.  

Sam Marsden of Deep Crawl followed on with his talk on Cutting Through The Noise: Delivering Profitable Content Strategies In Competitive Markets to describe how their content strategy is created for each part of the sales funnel.

He outlined how they map out the journey to conversion with content that satisfies each stage of funnel: Sales Funnel

  • Awareness 
  • Interest
  • Consideration 
  • Conversion

Also, more commonly known as AIDA.

Examples of Deep Crawl’s strategies for each part of the funnel 


  • Build a distinctive voice on social 
  • Branding
  • Speak at conferences 
  • Show what you care about


  • Building familiarity
  • Educating people
  • Sharing content which solves main pain point. For Deep Crawl, this is helping to make people’s working lives easier.  
  • White papers  
  • Videos 
  • Webinars. 
  • Event recaps
  • Collaborations with true industry experts  


Clear communication of problem and solution with:

  • Case studies
  • How to section


Sales enablement content: 

  • Landing pages
  • Feature releases

Sam ended his talk with a point well made was for businesses not to have too much reliance on Google and to build a brand that transcends being on Google, which brings us back to a very important point to use all the channels – owned, earned, paid and shared – and not to be reliant on one.  

In case you aren’t aware or need a little reminder:

Earned media 

Earned media is publicity gained from word-of-mouth, online reviews, and blogger, press, and influencer relations. It’s a third-party endorsement of your brand.

Owned media 

Owned media is content that you have created and that you own. Examples of owned media include blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, case studies, e-books, and your website.

Shared media

Shared media, also known as social media, has become one of the most popular and cost effective PR platforms. It includes postings to social sharing sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Paid media

Anything paid, so TV, press ads and online ads are all paid media.

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