From bread and butter to big and engaging: content counts at BrightonSEO 2013

Content was king last week at BrightonSEO 2013, a massive one-day conference for the search industry, featuring 40 speakers in three different venues.

Never before has so much up-to-date technology been seen together with so many, er, retro hairstyles.

From the panel of ex-Google staffers, who urged delegates to “solve someone’s problem”, to Hannah Smith from Distilled, who said it was a case of “Go big or go home”, everyone was hammering home the importance of good quality content.

One of the best presentations was from Sharon Flaherty, Head of Content and PR at Confused.com. Starting with a newsletter which she launched when she joined Confused.com from the FT in 2009, she has steadily increased the amount and variety of content on the site.

Articles and videos include practical guides, pure entertainment, and some thought-provoking stuff too. This anti-drink-driving video, produced in December 2012, was effectively sombre.

Some interesting ideas surfaced in other areas too, when the speakers weren’t getting hopelessly over-technical for a classic technophobe like me.

I got quite excited by the theory of visit siloes offered by Fresh Egg’s Dara Fitzgerald; and particularly by the idea that it should be possible to link visitors’ multiple visits to a website, even if they were from different platforms.

So it was rather disappointing when he revealed that the only way you could actually do that was if each visitor logged in to the website. However, the idea that the journey to conversion includes multiple channels and (often) multiple website visits is an important one.

I’m sorry I didn’t get to hear Matt Roberts (Linkdex) and Kevin Gibbons (BlueGrass) talk about integrating search, social, content and PR. It was in the tiny Brighton Dome studio theatre and the house was full long before we got there.

But they’ve put their headline ideas on the Linkdex blog.

I was dressed all wrong, most of the jokes went over my head, and I learnt that SEOs absolutely cannot dance. But overall BrightonSEO 2013 was a great experience, giving me loads of new ideas and plenty of food for thought.

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