SEO Events

Brighton SEO September 2018 | Talk roundups and slides

02 Oct 2018|5 MIN READ

Anyone who’s anyone in digital marketing and SEO journeyed to the Brighton Centre this September for the second BrightonSEO conference of the year.

With the weather sunnier than April’s Brighton SEO event, we're not only seeing the best of SEO, but the best of Brighton town!

We at Pi have sponsored or attended Brighton SEO for years, this year we thought we'd write-up the very best talks so we attended the below, snaffled up all the SEO treats they had for us, and then wrote them up just for you! We get treats, we give treats, ya know?

We’ve even added slides and helpful tweets - aren't we good to you ;)


1. Contextual optimisation: Value led content for your SEO ecosystem | John Brasington

With Google Algorithms advancing rapidly everyday, our content has to be connected.

And as Google introduce new features across the Knowledge Graph, we also need to become authority figures on our subject.

Avoid creating tick-box content for Google SERP real estate
There's a need to be constantly in front of our customer, and as marketers we may panic and create content to appear across all of Google’s real estate (answer cards, top stories, video stories), but John urges us to stop and think about:

  • What content type is most valuable to us and our customer?
  • When should our content be present so we can make the most of this value?

John introduces Pi Datametrics’ new feature ‘Rapid tracking’, using the example of Channel 4.

If the Search team at Channel 4 look page one of Google at a certain point throughout the day, they may see their videos ranking well, and think 'Great! We'll invest more in our video content.'

But the reality is...

Google's SERP results and real estate changes multiple times a day
John states that we need to be clever in monitoring how SERP real estate changes over time, and in producing the right type of content for our ecosystem. Don't just create for the sake of it!

How do I organise my content ecosystem on Google?

Contextual optimisation

John tells us to start categorising by asking questions of our content:

  • What on our websites could potentially conflict with our new content?
  • What are the similar sub topics and entity groups?
  • What's complementary?
  • Do we still publish the content if we find conflicting / complementary copy? Or do we retheme, repurpose, update, or build a hubpage strategy?
  • John tells us that “Making a decision is the first step.”

ACTIONABLE TAKEAWAY: Organise your content ecosystem with ‘Contextual optimisation’
John shows us how to conduct ‘Contextual optimisation’ from the perspective of the searcher, and move away from an isolated approach to content creation.

Try out this simple, actionable takeaway for discovering potentially complementary and conflicting content:

  1. Find all existing, owned content linked to the topic of your new piece of content

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 15.35.55

  1. Find all complementary content linked to your new content

How? Google site search with keyword in quotation marks

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 15.36.34

  1. Find all conflicting content linked to your new content

How? Google site search with ‘intitle’ and keyword in quotation marks

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 15.37.09

"Content connections are what’s powering Rankbrain and Google's algorithms. Practising ‘Contextual optimisation’ is going to give you a huge advantage over that."
John Brasington
Head of Search, Pi Datametrics


Contextual optimisation | John Brasington BrightonSEO Video |September 2018


Contextual optimisation | John Brasington's BrightonSEO slides | Sep 2018

John Brasington,,

2. Are you a content creator, or a content documenter? | Matt Siltala BrightonSEO

Matt Siltala takes to the Brighton SEO stage to talk content creation and documentation.

First off, when creating content, Matt tells us we need to have a clear objective.

Know your content's objective
Matt encourages us to ask: What purpose does my content serve? And to start thinking 'Is this piece of content going to solve a problem or answer a question? Is it for reputation purposes and brand awareness.'

Will it...

  • Answer a question?
  • Solve a problem?
  • Generate a lead?
  • Lead to a sale?
  • Generate backlinks?
  • Boost your SEO visibility?
  • Reaffirm your brand message?

Repurpose your content for a longer lifespan
Matt encourages us to repurpose and reuse our content.

Avalaunch, Matt’s company, often focus on infographic content, and have devised many nifty ways of reusing different parts of the same asset, i.e. snip different elements for social media, banners, emails etc.

The reduced information in the snipped infographic assets makes the insight easier to consume, and can be used as a teaser to direct the customer to the full story.

Avalaunch have developed a formula to this type of content repurposing, which they’ve termed the ‘Visual snackpack’.

According to Matt, it helps their clients get the most out of their visual content:

The ‘Visual snackpack’ revealed at BrightonSEO

1. Create an infographic
2. Create an infogram of that asset i.e. supporting / snipped visual assets
3. Share on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social sites
4. Client picks one stat and CTA and create a 15 second mini-motion graphic

Get buy-in from the get go

Matt tells us to get all our teams involved in our social media content from the outset, to avoid the project being shot down after work has been done. Get buy-in from everyone and approval from the outset.

Matt Siltala's BrightonSEO slides | September 2018

Matt Siltala,

3. Using stunning design to leverage your SEO | Meg Fenn

Meg starts off by telling us that graphic design is instrumental in being able to communicate effectively. It inspires people to take action. It can be fun, persuasive, emotive and serious.

It only takes 50 milliseconds to decide whether you like a website
Graphic design is often just referred to as 'The pretty bits’, but it is instrumental in helping people to trust the brand. When they trust, they buy.

Design inspires us to explore further. UX encompasses emotions, attitudes and responses - which create an action.

Design feeds into all departments
Teams prioritise their own roles, and don't work together. There's a disconnect when experts are prioritising their own KPIs.

But design and layout can influence many department KPIs, including SEO, as it affects ranking.

Layout, buttons, icons, menu. They are vital to the UI and website performance. Little details can make a positive impact.

Designers at Facebook spent 280 hours redesigning a small facebook like button.

According to Meg, it's visual CTAs which make customers convert.

Meg Fenn's BrightonSEO slides | September 2018


1. How to Tackle Enterprise Sites: Examples from the BIGGEST Brands | Rachel Costello

Crawling large sites can be daunting, so Rachel had some tips and tactics to help when crawling these large enterprise sites.

She stresses the need to start small, employing targeted crawls, not only to save time but its not actually essential to crawl everything every time.

Smaller crawls mean you’re ready to go with insights to share with the whole team. You can build a picture of your website this way.

She breaks it down into 2 ways to crawl:

Sampling - taking a percentage of your site to crawl. You can see what may be a waste for your crawl budget this way and focus on the most important pages.
Slicing - isolating just the product pages and bypassing the homepages. Crawling a distinct section that serves a separate function.

Breaking up your internal data also helps when looking at your external data, as you can also break this into manageable chunks.

These tactical crawls allows you to get a better understanding of your site. But remember, a full crawl either annually or semi-annually is advisable and can even give you more direction when doing the smaller more focused crawls.

Rachel Costello's BrightonSEO slides | September 2018

Rachel Costello,,

2. SEO in big media agencies | Eloi Casali

When it comes to business, Eloi doesn’t think bigger means better. Bigger business still suffer from all the same issues smaller do, no matter their budget.

Eloi begins by speculating whether big sites should even be trying to optimise for terms, as the SERPS are getting richer and content is being pulled from sites straight onto Google so websites are getting less traffic. Are businesses winning if they optimise for search?

Whilst he believes in the power of SEO, he’s a paid search type a’guy, and he shows us how no click searches impact on paid search - the richer the SERPs the higher the CPC.

Lastly, he has an interesting take on voice search. He emphasises the need to differentiate between voice search in Google and home assistants. He also says home assistants aren’t assistants - they’re smart speakers. So should businesses be focusing on this? Is it really going to become as big as the predictive stats say? The percentage of people who buy on home assistants is still very small, just as we explored in our blog.

A helpful (and pleasing) acronym illustrates his skepticism about the growth of voice search: WYSTOLITHS - Would You Say This Out Loud In The High Street. He makes the point that every potential voice search needs to be put through this acronym.

Eloi Casali's BrightonSEO slides | September 2018

Eloi Casali,,


1. Marketing in the AI-era: Creating exceptional customer experiences | Purna Virji

Voice search. Chatbots. Digital Assistants. Purna assures us that conversational AI is here to stay in its many forms, and it’s bringing with it a massive change.

Customers engage with our brands without a screen or even keywords!

Purna tells us that, as marketers, we need to be prepared for this to stay ahead, by providing relevant, personalised content on a huge scale.

Focusing on customer experience is good for your customers and your bottom line.

Microsoft found that over 70% of people have never used voice search to make a purchase. At Pi, we learnt this when assessing whether Argos' new voice search shopping strategy was a shrewd move.

According to Purna, voice search will only be the next big thing when brands optimise voice search customer experience (CX) to exceed other existing options; a sentiment which she confirms in this Twitter thread on whether voice search is indeed 'Over-hyped':

Purna Virji,,

2. A Voice Assistant Investigation | Stuart Shaw

Stuart starts off by taking us back in time. Back to the days when 'Ask Jeeves' was the next big thing. When we searched in full sentences with sheer glee, only to be more than disappointed when search engines spat out completely irrelevant results.

He tells us of the shift to the 'Keyword game', and shows how we've come full circle, back to the long-tail, semantic search.

According to Stuart, the “50% of searches [predicted to be] done by voice in 2020” will be mostly informational.

Stuart is of the opinion that voice search is overrated. He states that most people use it for research purposes and help with day-to-day activities (i.e. creating to-do lists), but not necessarily for completing a sale.

Nevertheless, he tells us that having some form of presence during these moments is still valuable.

Stuart reveals that Google has a preference for content featured in rich snippet search results.

As Pi, we've certainly found that to be the case, and as John Brasington explored earlier,Google's page one real estate offers many variations of rich snippet content featured (i.e. video cards, top stories) throughout a single day. Get in touch for a demo of new 'Rapid tracking' feature which enables you to test and analyse this.

Stuart Shaw's BrightonSEO slides | September 2018

4. How to use local to rock in mobile and voice search | Greg Gifford

Mobile lends itself to local search quite nicely, thank you very much, and Greg Gifford is here to tell us just that.

Following the mobile-first algorithm update, and tech developments to include digital assistants, we are gradually acclimatising to voice search.

Greg tells us that voice search is changing the way we construct our searches: Questions are becoming longer and more conversational, and as such we need to focus on consumer intent.

58% of consumers have used voice search to find information on local business, and 46% use it daily to find local businesses. 28% of people then call that business. When you consider all of this, optimising for local voice search queries becomes crucial.

Again, as with speakers in talks above, Greg claims voice search won't have the ability to shake up all consumer behaviour; it's unlikely that high margin products, like cars, will be purchased via a voice assistant. But local does support informational intent i.e. consumers researching and locating local businesses, products and services.

Greg stresses the importance of featured snippets to rank in local voice search, as 80% of Google Home answers come from featured snippets. Google is using entity-based search to prioritise local searches; as such Greg tells us we need to prioritise relevance and prominence.

Greg Gifford's BrightonSEO slides | September 2018

Bye Bye for now BrightonSEO!

All in all a fab day - we can't complain! Now we're ready to head back and action some of those insights!

Ta ra!

If you'd like any more info on Pi Datametrics, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Or to find out more about the software behind John Brasington's BrightonSEO talk, book your demo.

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