An SEO conference that started out as a ‘conversation in a pub’, has evolved to become an event that draws in over 3000 internet marketing professionals to ‘the city by the sea’.
Although Brighton is known for being one of the happiest cities in the country, it doesn’t feel like it on the day of the conference. Instead of a sunny seaside town filled with tourists, we’re greeted by a grim grey sky and drizzle – and a horde of SEOs.
The ground floor of the conference room is awash with damp attendees, suddenly assaulted with heaps of promotional materials, business cards and glamorous marketing reps. All the big dogs are in effect: SemRush (Will wins a bright orange branded polo-shirt and would later blag a free beer from these enthusiastic Americans), Bing (literally forcing notebooks and pens into the hands of those passing by) and Yext (the most generous of all, with their bags full of peculiar odds and ends).
But it wasn’t the free stationery or pretzels (yes, really) that had brought us to Brighton. It was the promise of discussion on our work as SEOs that would, hopefully, give us some new tips and tricks to up our game back in Liverpool.
As far as the nitty gritty of technical SEO goes, you would have to ask my colleague Will as to how helpful the talks on Site Migration and .htaccess were (although I would like to add that he appeared uncharacteristically energetic throughout the day – although that might have been a side-effect of the free coffee, courtesy of our friends at Majestic).
When you spend a whole day listening to 12 different SEO professionals, the topics and points tend to blur into one another. Inevitably, it’s the last few talks that linger best in the mind.
In the afternoon, jokes were made frequently about the post-lunch dip – Jono Alderson (Head of Digital at Linkdex) did not appear to be suffering from those effects. Attempting to squeeze his hour long presentation into a brief fifteen minutes, the speed at which he was talking had to be heard to be believed.
The content of Jono’s talk, spat out like machine gun fire, often had me thinking of conspiracy theorists or paranoid survivalists. His tips on ‘Surviving the Machine Revolution’ were a little rushed towards the end, due to obvious time restrictions, so instead of feeling prepared for the coming Armageddon – I just felt a little frightened. Uber, Amazon and the future programmers of developing countries were singled out as the harbingers of our technological doom – I may well think twice before booking my next cab ride home.
On the other side of the coin; what Lisa Myers’ presentation lacked in technical details, she more than made up for with relentless enthusiasm for the industry. A disarmingly familiar speaker, Lisa addressed the crowd with ease – opening with an impersonation of Yoda (a calling card of hers on the conference circuit, apparently). Her aim was to empower the listeners with her inspiring success story – the birth of her London-based Marketing company. Although this could have come off as a little pompous, arrogant even, her grounded points rooted her story in an SEO context and proved to be the most memorable presentation of the conference.
What followed the main event could only be described as a few thousand internet marketers making the most of a long weekend in Brighton – perhaps the less said the better.