The BrightonSEO 2023 Round Up

Brighton SEO_1200x1200
By Fiona Brindle, Amy Jones, Lilidh Berry, Alex Hickson, Alice Venard


BrightonSEO is a bi-yearly search marketing conference to discuss all things SEO. The two-day event includes some of the best and most well-known speakers across the SEO industry, who share their knowledge, insights, and top tips for SEO professionals.  

At TrunkBBI, we’re always eager to learn and expand our skills. So, naturally, we headed down to Brighton to get involved. Five members of our SEO and PR team attended the event, and it didn’t disappoint. Although there’s far too much to share in one blog post, we still wanted to give you an insight into the conference. So, we’ve rounded up our top five takeaways from the event. 

Relatable content is key 

 Several talks focused on how audiences consume content, what they want to see, where, and how. In particular, that good content is helpful, human-centric, and easy to digest. Consumers want relatable content that appears authentic and personalised. Here’s our summary of the key points: 

  • Content should be persona-based using topic clusters that allow you to demonstrate expertise and high authority. 
  • Using emotional language is key to generating valuable and engaging content. 
  • Audiences should find your content relatable, which is why storytelling and pathological empathy are so important.  
  • Find ways to make ‘boring’ subjects interesting, whether through case studies, horror stories, or anything that makes topics more relatable. 
  • Put customers at the heart of your content and ask yourself: ‘what are my customers going to thank me for consuming this piece of content?’ 
  • Using your brand tone and voice is key to ensuring your content stands out from the competition. 

Social media search marketing means business 

 Many speakers also talked about the rise of social media for search marketing, with a particular focus on TikTok. The platform offers huge opportunities for content discovery and search.  

Here are our takeaways: 

  • Real stories and representation are what audiences want, which is why TikTok excels. It’s centred around authentic content, and that’s what audiences value and find easiest to consume. 
  • It’s proven a threat to Google in terms of how it offers solutions to people’s queries. For example, people now search for recipes on TikTok instead of Googling a recipe. 
  • TikTok ads have a low barrier to entry (you can spend little and get a lot) and can be used to gain followers and generate views, which is especially important when starting out. 
  • Consistency is key — a schedule is important, so people keep watching your content. It also lets your followers know what to expect from your videos and when. 
  • Three targeted hashtags are enough to optimise your video on TikTok rather than spamming hashtags. 
  • Use A/B testing to evaluate success. Take down content that isn’t performing and improve it, for example, using different captions or posting at different times. 

Understanding the science of search is invaluable 

 Another hot topic was the neuroscience of search. Several speakers emphasised how understanding the human brain is essential for delivering content. In particular, recognising how our cognitive load affects our ability to digest and consume content.  

Here are three things you need to know about cognitive load: 

  1. Cognitive load relates to the amount of memory you can hold at one time.  
  2. Cognitive load impacts how people react to stimuli and perform tasks. 
  3. Our cognitive resources are limited and cannot process everything, so we rely on shortcuts to digest content. 

So, how do you optimise content for cognitive load? Speakers shared many tips, mostly focused on delivering well-organised content in chunks and with fewer distractions. Let’s reveal our inside info: 

  • Choose ordered lists over paragraphs — Google also recognises accepted modes on how to process information.  
  • Avoid websites with a lot going on as distractions stop consumers seeing what the site is about. 
  • Display text in a digestible way and write skimmable content. 
  • Use emojis and icons — audiences love them. 
  • Avoid complex product imagery as it makes consumers less likely to purchase.  
  • Focus on the value of a product across the page, so consumers can draw conclusions themselves and see how your product helps them.  
  • Make it clear to your users what you provide and ensure it’s obvious straight away. 

 Optimising technical SEO is critical for website performance 

 When optimising for search, it’s easy to focus on the front-end, like making your content look great, and optimising it with search queries and keywords. In doing so, we often forget about the back-end. However, technical SEO is critical for performance and shouldn’t be ignored.  

When migrating sites or overhauling content, teams can run into many issues. This includes slow site speeds, blocked crawling, site set to no-index, dead internal links, duplicated articles, incomplete redirects, and incorrect URLs, to name a few.  

To avoid these issues, speakers shared top red flags to look out for: 

  1. Content and on-page changes — Replacing optimised content with unoptimised content, de-optimising headers, consolidating pages, etc. Audit your content when starting a migration, looking at top traffic driving and converting pages. 
  2. Structural changes — Navigation changes, URL changes, change to domain name. Your site should be easy to navigate. Make sure you: Audit existing cannibalisation and look at merging pages or removing low-value pages, Redirect any deleted page to 301 or to the most appropriate page, Preserve any existing URL rewrite rules, and Redirect images through to new location.
  3. No index or disallowed rules copied over by error from staging. 
  4. Incorrect canonical tags — All pages should be self-selected to prevent any issues. 
  5. Issues with dynamically loaded content such as infinite scroll. It can be difficult for Google to render, so be careful to check it’s implemented correctly. 
  6. Tracking — Tracking codes missed off completely, or conversion tracking changed if events have changed. Build in tracking checks. 
  7. Launch timing — Publishing at the wrong time can have consequences. Avoid launching at peak times, e.g., e-commerce sites shouldn’t launch around black Friday. 

Overcoming Google algorithm changes strategically

Google algorithm updates can disrupt your search strategy and keyword rankings, but there are ways to minimise impact. Our first speaker in this session highlighted how it’s important to optimise your content so that Google algorithm updates have little effect on your performance. This includes: 

Create quality content — create content for all intents:  

  • Transactional 
  • Informational  
  • Commercial 
  • Navigational 


Create content clusters: 

  • Product  
  • Recipe 
  • Reviews 
  • Video 
  • Guides 

Leverage other channels: 

  • Social 
  • PR 
  • PPC 
  • Display 
  • Affiliate 

However, when the inevitable happens, it’s still important to assess the situation strategically to understand the impact. You should:  

1. Check the metrics  

  • What has been impacted?  
  • Check the clicks 
  • Look at leads and engagement  

2. Check the SERP 

  • Has the intent changed?  

3. Community is key  

  • See if the industry specifically has been hit 
  • Show the bigger picture

Find out what SEO can do for you 

If you’re looking to learn more about SEO or need advice on your business’ approach to organic search, get in touch with the TrunkBBI SEO team using the form below. Alternatively, feel free to call us on 0161 711 1000 to see how we can help scale up your business with engaging, relevant content for your audience that delivers results. 

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