Five key things we learnt from September 2019’s Brighton SEO


Digital knowledge, networking, and infectious enthusiasm were on a full swing during this September’s Brighton SEO which happened just last Friday.

A week after and we are planning how to implement the insights learned, in our own SEO strategies. To those who don’t know, Brighton SEO is Europe’s (and probably the world’s) biggest SEO conference. Held twice a year, the conference attracts over 4000 people and is considered the holy grail of SEO and digital marketing knowledge. We’ve picked up the five key things that led us to introspection and some eager internal discussions. 

Brighton SEO September 2029: What we learnt

Simple Is Smart, Complicated Is Stupid

Brighton SEO has had a list of some enviable keynote speakers– the absolute crème de la crème of SEO and marketing industry. Previously, we have seen the likes of Rand Fishkin, the founder of Sparktoro and co-founder of Moz and John Muller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, and the conduit between SEOs around the world and Google, gracing this stage.

This year, we had Dave Trott, creative director at Keynote and author of seminal marketing books like Predatory thinking taking the centerstage. Trott in an unconventional presentation (with live drawing )  explained that in order for any marketing campaign to be a success, “it has to be a great idea, not a new technique”. With great insight, he showed that great stories and messages (or content) are central to any great campaign. Without them, everything else–technology and tactics–would fail. 

Happiness will indeed make you rich

It was heartening to see Brighton SEO give well-being and mental health a serious consideration. What has SEO got to do with that you ask? Here’s a sobering thought: the digital marketing industry only comes in third place after law and medicine, where mental health issues like imposter syndrome, burnout, and stress, is rife. 

As SEOs, we always say how exciting this ever-changing industry is. But this ever-changing nature of the industry usually comes with a great price. Speaker AmyMcManus opened the rather tight lid on this industry’s dark side with her poignant and emotional personal story about how working constantly almost 24/7 for several years led to burnout and a car crash. This led her to realise that she needs to get her life and mental health on track. “In this industry, you sleep as an expert and wake up as a novice.” Amy said and this means many of us never “switch-off” from work. Amy gave some actionable on how agencies and senior managers can help their team to achieve the elusive work-life balance and how that, in fact, can make you happier, productive and enable you to give your 100% to your clients and business. 

How SEO can help SMEs

In a lot of such marketing conferences, it seems like the speakers and trainers solely concentrate on big brands with their bigger budgets. However, in our view, SMEs need more organic growth and thus, SEO services in London both in the national and local level. Why? The big brands have already gentrified space in their niche with their budget and brand awareness, SMEs do not have that luxury hence need a holistic SEO approach that ticks all the boxes–content, technical and link-building. 

It was great to get some actionable tips from this year’s conference on how you can create great content, attract authoritative backlinks and grow your business with SEO even if you do not have the larger budgets of big businesses. At Figment, we strive to give you an incremental and ethical organic growth, no matter what your budget is. 

Put users first

Google (and other search engines’) key mission is to give the users the best experience. It’s recent algorithm updates and changes all reflect that. What does it mean for SEOs and businesses? That it is vital to understand human psychology and how it shapes each step of our buying cycle (Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, and Retention).  Speaker Becky Simms focused on this not-to-be-ignored SEO aspect.  

A key takeaway from this talk for us was that great writing engages users with content that is inspiring, dynamic and motivational, and appeals to all the senses whether visual, kinaesthetic or auditory. Thanks to AI and other technology, Google mimics human behaviour better than ever before. So our content should reflect the language that users use in their daily life. This would help us to attract consumers in each stage of the buying cycle, better rankings and thus more conversions. 

Create engaging stories

Close to the heels of putting users first comes telling engaging, data-backed stories. With Google focusing on businesses as entities–it is imperative to create a strong entity with respect to your business. To do that, you need to create engaging stories (in other words: content). Going back to Trott’s keynote speech, without stories, you cannot engage with users, you cannot get links and you won’t be able to make any kind of growth–organic or otherwise. 

As always, this Brighton SEO gave us a lot to chew on. Good SEO is all about connecting with people and those connected people will help your business to go up in search engine’s eyes (and ranking). If you would like to know more about any of the aspects mentioned above or if you are looking to build your own strong SEO campaign, feel free to contact us

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