BrightonSEO 2011 Roundup: who said what and why |

BrightonSEO 2011 Roundup: who said what and why

By Daniel Bianchini / September 9, 2011

It’s that time of the year again when 600 enthusiastic online marketers descend on Brighton for the annual SEO conference organised by Kelvin Newman. With the agenda packed full of interesting presenters and topics, it certainly looks set to be another great event.

SEOptimise will be providing the very best points from each presentation session by session and updating this blog post. If you are unable to make BrightonSEO this year, then follow @SEOptimise on Twitter and get all the latest updates right here.

Below is a list of presentations and speakers coming up.

Jonny Stewart – Google’s Panda: A Case Study

John Stewart discussed the Panda update and how it has hit Review Centre, along with some of the things they did to try and revive their rankings.

  • Focus on quality content to add your website – Panda update was designed to help people find high quality content
  • Johnny estimated that panda released every 5/6 weeks
  • “You’re not a good SEO until you have been hit by a penalty” – Jonny Stewart
  • Data from Review Centre shows that short tail generic keywords were hit the most

What Review Centre did

  • Luckily Review Centre was redesigning their website in the background – This included moving content above the fold and adding prominent social button
  • They decreased ad density from 3 areas above the fold to just 2 smaller areas.
  • Noindexed lots of content that didn’t have good user metrics and blocked Google bot only, as Panda is a Google-based algorithm change.
  • Removed all duplicate content from the site, including boiler plate content

So far Review Centre have not completely recovered, but the fight goes on. The presentation is available to view on YouTube below.

John McElborough – Building a Private Blog Network

John spoke about how building a small blog network is a good way of creating quality links, although the network should be small and private.

Problems with public blogs:

  • Low quality domains
  • Expensive
  • Spam signals sent through poor quality content

Benefits of building a Private a Network of Blogs

  • Lowish risk
  • Value added for clients
  • Focus efforts on higher value link building
  • Useful for targeting lots of keywords
  • Very effective in long to mid tail keywords

Top level Blog Network Setup Checklist

  • Buy relevant domains
  • Use or org.uks
  • Mix registrars – “don’t use”

John went on to talk about how he outsourced content creation to places such as odesk and Textbroker, along with automating link building to these sites to build up authority in the short term.

James Carson – Dr Social Love:  Or how I learned to Stop Worrying about Google Algorithms and Love the People

James Carson Spoke about SEOs looking further at social and people signals rather than waking up in sweats regarding an H2 tag that should really be an H1 tag.

James started off by saying that it is wrong to look at social signals for ranking factors; we ought to look at them as people signals.

Everybody needs to care about Facebook pages and social sharing for brand purposes. Why?

  • 42% get news through social networks
  • 44% of all online sharing takes place through Facebook

Your fans + your fans’ fans = sharing success.

  • Use Klout to find influencers to help engage in conversation + improve sharers.
  • Getting likes, tweets and shares from relevant pages will drive traffic.
  • Social media affects all traffic sources + content.
  • SEO/Social nutshell:  fix your site – love your people.

Erika Ungar – Choosing and Implementing Friendly URLs for Ecommerce

Erika from Boux Avenue spoke about how she had overcome platform issues to implement friendly URLs.

Coming up with a URL structure for ecommerce:

  • Top level categories
  • Sub categories
  • Filtered sub categories
  • Product pages
  • Static pages

Before you start changing your URL structure you need to look at and think about the follow four points.

  • understand the issue you have
  • justify the change
  • seek solutions
  • compromise with developers

Malcolm Coles – How to win at SEO with Duplicate Content:  Featuring Pippa Middleton’s Arse

Malcolm spoke about how in the short term you can use duplicate content to help improve traffic, but in the long term the content will be filtered out.

In the medium term, Google filters out duplicate content; in the short term you can increase traffic by displaying duplicate content. You can also get lots of traffic via Twitter search and generate plenty of natural links.

NOTE:  Google doesn’t give a penalty for duplicate content – it’s a filter.

How to increase traffic using duplicate content for short term gain:

  • Use Google auto on a daily basis to look at suggested terms
  • Look at Google trends to find target phrases
  • Occasionally ask for tweets – to help increase crawl speed

Other ways to get content into Google:

  • Publish comments on separate page
  • Publish on subdomain
  • Include a parameter

Malcolm ended by saying that these techniques require a lot of effort but can help improve traffic in the short term, for the right website.

Neil Walker – Links – SEO Value vs Client Expectations vs Cost

Neil presented results from a number of surveys that he carried out asking both the SEO industry and clients about what people want from a link.


  • be transparent
  • explain why you choose certain links
  • explain the strategy
  • manage expectations
  • don’t worry about getting poor links
  • sales and direct traffic

Dom Hodgson – My Hack Day Addiction

Dom’s presentation was all about Hack days and building applications in 24 hours. Dom explained what Hack Days were and how we should all have a hack day within our companies.

For those that are not aware what a hack day is, they are meetings of developers, designers and computer geeks that are challenged to create applications within 24hours.

Samuel Crocker – How to Pitch SEO

  • You can’t go after every piece of business
  • Decide if you really want the business
  • Get to know the client during the pitch process to ensure it will be a good relationship
  • Ask questions about the brief no matter how challenging
  • Put a lot of energy in the strategy
  • Put forecasts in it’s all abut the forecast be optimistic and pessimistic
  • Be prepared to give information away
  • Do homework on your competition
  • Earn trust by being open with all the information – Give information on the team that will work on the account
  • Put something at risk – performance related fees
  • Do not alienate internal teams
  • Bring the best possible people to the pitch

Graeme Benstead-Hume – Stormy Weather:  The Accuracy of Search Volume Estimation and Forecasting

Graeme presented results of a study that he carried out around the accuracy of the keyword research tools SEOs use on a daily basis.

Some of the figures were quite alarming.

  • Google Keyword tool average accuracy was +13,403%
  • Wordtracker tool average accuracy was +1,099%
  • SEOBook average accuracy was +4,232%

See Graeme’s BrightonSEO presentation below.

Search engine keyword traffic estimate correlation study

Dara Fitzgerald – Beyond the last click:  Finding Hidden SEO value with Multi-Channel Funnels

Dara’s talk was all about multi-channel funnels in Google Analytics and how we it helps improve tracking beyond the last click.

Kane Bartlett – Driving SEO with PPC

  • Use PPC for SEO keywords
  • Understand multiple channel interaction
  • Understand user interaction
  • Test PPC headlines to see which improves CTR

Rosie Freshwater – Market Research:  Informing SEO and Link Development

Rosie spoke about the how by doing some market research, can help improve the content that is created for link building purposes. By conducting some market research before starting a link building campaign, you will be able to create more targeted content.

Some of the areas you should be looking at include:

  • Customer insight helps provide ideas to create content
  • Targeted Content will provide better li building
  • Look at media habbits,
  • Find out about there lifestyle choices
  • Find out what they do in there spare time
  • Find out family and social activites,
  • Customers consume media that matches there lifeestyle

To conduct the market research you need to create focus groups that meet regularly focusing on understanding your clients target audience.

Once you have all the data from the focus group begin creating customer profiles with the information gathered. From here you will be able to create a large amount of targeted content that your clients audience will be associated with.


  • Plan properly
  • Use professionals
  • Doesn’t have to be expensive
  • Creates very targeted content

Rae Lovejoy – Delight in the Digital World:  Why Settle for Customer Satisfaction

Rae talked about client retention and relationships, discussing the many difficulties in strategies, services and results.

BrightonSEO was another great day with lots of great speakers providing actionable information. To end the day Kelvin played a video from a special guest. VIDEO COMING SOON.

Daniel Bianchini


Daniel Bianchini is the Director of Services at Having been in digital marketing since leaving University, Daniel has worked both agency side and in-house, working with many leading UK brands.

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