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BrightonSEO April 2016 Recap

BrightonSEO event recap - seo industry conference

Last Friday myself and many of the DeepCrawl gang headed south to the UK’s biggest SEO event, brightonSEO. Founded only a few years ago (2010) this conference has taken the search world by storm. But don’t take our word for it. With 1,700 tickets sold in less than 60 seconds and 2,500 wait-listed, you can bet the who’s who of search were there. So naturally we were too 🙂

If you’re feeling nostalgic, forgetful, or simply weren’t able to attend the event yourself, check out our breakdown of what’s sure to be one of the most unforgettable events of the year.

How to identify and fix crawl optimisation issues with Barry Adams


In his presentation Barry Adams discussed the topic of crawl optimisation, or the process in which you navigate bots through your domain to crawl your most valuable and recent content.

Well, that sounds pretty crucial. Find yourself wondering how do I optimise my crawl efficiency? Barry’s gotcha covered. Here’s how he broke it down for us with 7 top tips which we’ve listed off for you here:

  1. Check if the correct URLs are highlighted to Google in your Sitemaps
  2. Optimize paginated listings – block sorting parameters in robots.txt
  3. Optimize faceted navigation – block facets that hold no value
  4. Block internal site search pages – block search results in robots.txt
  5. Minimize internal redirects
  6. Use canonicals wisely – trade off between crawl efficiency and authority
  7. Optimize load speed

For more in-depth information on how to get down with your crawl budget download our whitepaper: The Science of Optimizing Crawl Space.

You will find a link to the slides here.

Confessions from former Google Search Quality Team – Ask Anything with Fili Wiese & Kaspar Syzmanskie

We know from experience that titles are often misleading. Not the case with the tech-juicy confessions we overheard from these two ex-Googlers.

Amongst our favourite beans they spilled was demystifying how search is policed by the world’s (search) engine. Fili & Kaspar confirmed that the algorithms they used were cutting-edge to keep up with the constant flux of the web. By hunting the worst offenders, they really know how to answer the age-old Shakespearean enigma, ‘to penalise, or not to penalise, that is the question’.

Contrary to popular belief *drum roll please*……..

Google does not penalise for duplicates, or solely for black hat techniques – unless they’re driving significant traffic! Oh, and manual penalties do expire. But that takes a hell of a lot of time so don’t hold your breath!

We also learned that (submission) timing is everything. Take publishers for example, it’s important for original content to be found quickly.

In terms of structural set-up within the company, the search team operates completely separately to other departments e.g. ads, and is on a ‘holy grail mission of their own’.

Biggest lesson: user signals trump everything- ie. stay easy.

Biggest pro tip: to distinguish your pages, offer something unique to ‘sell’. According to Fili, people don’t really make the most out of the data they have available. Maximising the information you collect on your website and publishing it to make your site more unique is really under-used opportunity to distinguish on the WWW.

Jonesing for more secrets than were shared publicly? We were too…

In a later meeting with Fili, I asked the question will Google ever stop, or limit themselves to what extent they pick up on information. Fili answered, “no, after all their whole value proposition is built on information. The more data, the more knowledge Google has.

How User experience is driving change in search with Nichola Stott

In Nichola Stott’s How Generation Z is Driving Change in Search UX, she stressed the importance of 3 core metrics:

Relevance, Time to Result, and Quality.

She also gave us the downlow on the Millennial v GenZ debacle. We now know GenZ has a 60/40 split for cool products rather than a cool experience. Whereas 23% of Millennials prefer cool products to 77% who’d much rather the cool experience.


We were fascinated to hear that our mini-me’s have out-tech’d us. As Nichola confirmed GenZ us indeed more tech-savvy. That said we’re not losing out to them cognitively, as their technological prowess comes at a cost: a lack of attention span. She likened their powers of attention (or lack thereof) to a goldfish. So, there’s that…

She states that by 2020 GenZ will represent 40% of all consumers. Therefore when facing clients, there are 3 core areas to focus on:

  • Taking people direct to object of desire
  • Ensuring connectivity across devices
  • And last but not least, the need for speed!

To make your SEO future proof, keep in mind that these youngsters will soon dominate almost half of all consumers, and though focusing may not be their strongsuit – you’ll need to get down and techie with it to keep their precious attention engaged 🙂

You will find a link to the slides here.

Discoverable Sharable & Memorable with Mel Carson


In Mel Carson’s Personal Branding Tips and Tactics for Professionals, he schooled us on what a brand really is. A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that when taken together account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product over another.

The key takeaway was when thinking of professional purpose, you need to be able to articulate your value to your target audience.

The key to brand success using SEO? Make your brand: discoverable, shareable, and memorable.

You will find a link to the slides here.

Deep diving into featured snippets: How to earn more and rise to the top with Rob Bucci


Bearing in mind Google’s traditional ranking methods, you’d expect the number one SERP results would, by default, enjoy seeing their brand in featured snippets. However, as statistics show, more than 70% of rich snippets are not sourced from the first ranked result.

“Featured snippets allow you to leapfrog to position 0. It gives you maximum authority too!

Rob Bucci, CEO of getStat most certainly is a man who lets data speak. In his presentation on the research getStat conducted on featured snippets, he ran us through the tactics for small businesses to feature their snippets.Types of Snippets:

  • Paragraph Snippets (82%)
  • List Snippets (11%)
  • Table Snippets (7%)

28% of snippets are with images.

In short, featured snippets’ objective is to provide an answer to a query, and these little snips represent a valuable opportunity to drive organic traffic. Well, for sites that are capable of getting them! Take a look at the presentation below to get more insight on tactics that help you appear in featured snippets.

You will find a link to the slides here.

Under the Hood of Client/ Agency Partnerships with Jamie Peach & Dipesh Pattni

In this session Jamie & Dipesh showed us what was Under the Hood of Client/Agency partnerships. Through entertaining interactive games with the audience, and a bit of role play we got the gist of these partnerships down-pat!

So how does collaboration between agencies and clients work? Put simply, it’s a two way street. Depending on where you’re sitting, you can be looking at the same things and yet see completely different things. They really pinned the tail on the donkey with this one, as the struggle is indeed very real. Luckily, they advised us on how to be better equipped to overcome this. Transparency.

Jamie & Dipesh recommended focusing on communication, and constant re-evaluations. Basically, there’s no room (nor added value) in making assumptions!

Two processes that were strongly recommended to incorporate into your workflow were STEPPS and RACI.

You will find a link to the slides here.

Site Speed for Content Marketers with Tom Bennet

According to Rand Fishkin’s article there are 13 pillars that the presenter needs to address to perform a great presentation. In terms of actionable advice Tom Bennet definitely delivered.

In his presentation on Site Speed, Tom performed a live demo. He gambled, and won! His insightful and interactive presentation showed us how a website is transformed through site speed improvements, which aren’t as tricky or time-consuming as we often assume. His examples provided an ROI on the recommended techniques that can be applied when increasing site speed.


You will find a link to the slides here.

Evaluation of User Experience with Yigit Konur

Yiğit’s Evaluation of User Experience: Inner-view to Google by Published Patents Related with User Experience was all about Google Patents. As part of the UX series of BrightonSEO, he talked about how Google understands users’ experience by using several Google patents.


Yigit set the tone with killer question. Is SEO dead? He dished out some tactical approaches and methods to finding the latest Google patents. Including, using Google’s Patent service, and gave us a real-time demo to find attendees patents! The grande finale was showing us three different patents published on last year. Oh, and he also gave us some insights about the future of search. Watch this space…

You will find a link to the slides here.

How to grow the hell out of your agency with Cosmin Negrescu

Cosmin began his inspirational speech on how he grew his agency from 0-1M in revenue with a bit of background on his road to his success. As founder of SEOmonitor he shared how his business started, before telling us how it progressed (after candidly sharing a few bumps along the way).

Like many small agencies SEOmonitor initially tried to be the ‘jack of all trades’. Whilst noble and ambitious, this left them with a lack of focus, and meant they weren’t equally successful in everything they did. Here, they met their first plateau. So Cosmin said hey, time to switch gears. Let’s pick one thing, and do it well. Really, really well. Queue his cutting of all services except SEO. Insodoing their clients began to fit their business rather than the other way around, and insodoing were able to reduce churn. In Cosmin’s own word’s, “rarely do we have the discipline to choose a client profile that fits our agency and increases the chances to be our customer for years.”

The second plateau that hit SEOmonitor was a bit more mysterious…Though they were really good at selling SEO and hitting their targets, they couldn’t seem to grow more. So they did what so many of us neglect to do, they got down and dirty with their churn analysis.

Their ‘aha’ moment was when they realised that they were taking on customers that did not fit the bill. Hence, there was a need for an honest qualification of leads.

Here’s our closing words the business life-hacks we took from Cosmin’s awesome success story that he frankly shared with the BrightonSEO audience.


Focus. Don’t target any and all customers. Losing out on the ‘masses’ isn’t a negative when you’re gaining right-fit clients who you’ll keep. Lesson=churn loss. Analyse your churn rates even when you’re doing well/hitting your targets, as you can always do better. By doing this, you can better qualify your leads and ultimately increase retention. Outcome=growing the hell out of your own agency!

Clearly, we weren’t the only ones who think so. Check out these appraisals:


You will find a link to the slides here.

I can honestly say that we Deeply enjoyed the first BrightonSEO of the year, and can hardly wait for the next one on the 2nd of September, 2016. We hope you’ll be joining us!

Avatar image for Alyssa Ordu
Alyssa Ordu

Alyssa is a keen traveller, cocktails & dad jokes enthusiast who does Marketing, in that order. A lover of outreach, connect with her for opportunities to collaborate, or exchange a pun or two.


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