There’s only a few days to go until the first of the two BrightonSEO conferences kicks off on 26-27th April.
I was lucky enough to catch one of the free tickets, enabling me to attend the Friday conference day in sunny (fingers crossed) Brighton. It genuinely is my favourite event of my calendar year (and that includes non-work things too!).
I’ve been going for several years now, and aside from last April when I had a rare conference-clash, I tend to go every April and September. You might think that’s overkill but actually, BrightonSEO always has something new to learn because SEO, and the ability to understand it, is always evolving. When the conference switched from the Brighton Dome, to the Brighton Centre in 2016, it upped the capacity to around 3,500 people… and that still causes a bit of a waiting list!
In the past, I’ve also been able to take advantage of the training days that take place on the Thursday. These are paid courses, but as the conference has grown, so too has the remit of the courses. They’ve become broader in skill level of SEO, but also in topic.
Optimising for search engines has gone mainstream, and as the likes of Google, Bing, and Baidu etc have attempted to lean towards user experience, it has begun to lean into other areas too.
I remember when I first attended, I was a bit nervous that I was going to be spending 3 hours on a train, only to end up in an utterly technical conference that would melt my tiny little mind. Whilst yes, some talks and training sessions can be tech, these are usually clearly identified in the conference day’s timetable.
Whilst those sessions are going on, there are now a wide range of topics from PR and journalism, social media, analytics, paid, content marketing and more. Occasionally you spot a theme emerging – “content is King”, or a handful of experts talking enthusiastically about voice search.
If 2018 is going to be your first year exploring SEO, or you’re looking for a conference that will actually give you quite a range of digital marketing skills training, then BrightonSEO is actually a pretty damn good ticket to get. You’ll need to be quick though – IIRC, the last lot went in 4 minutes.
When you go to conferences frequently, and talk about them on social media, you inevitably end up in one of those socially awkward real-life meet-up scenarios – you know, one of those where you nervously avoid obvious but simultaneously seek obvious eye-contact and question “is it..? is that… do you thi… umm, hello, are you…?”.
For me BrightonSEO is a social event as well as one that guarantees me some serious nerdgasms. I usually bump into my SEO twitter chums, my SEO-friendly former-colleagues, and my peers. It’s a great moment to catch up and meet new people too, and all the time feast upon lots of nerdy algorithm related talking and crystal-balling (honestly, AMP???).
There’s usually lots of evening drinking sessions, a few parties, and some company sponsored events – i mean, it’s on the seafront in Brighton – just the beach or Brighton is a pretty sure bet that it’s going to be good to go and enjoy yourself.
This year, I think I’m booked into a karaoke party on the pier. Whilst I don’t drink (a ginger beer, please) others may want to, just in case I decide to murder a classic and frighten the evil seagulls.