We've just got back from our favourite event of the year and we can't wait to tell you all about it: BrightonSEO April 2024 was a conference to remember!

2 days, 6 stages, over 140 talks and countless marketing professionals altogether in one space? It's only natural that we came away feeling inspired, excited and motivated to share what we learnt and implement it into client strategies.

Our Head of SEO, Andy Mollison said: “This April's BrightonSEO felt like the biggest one yet, with every room packed, and deservedly so - the speakers were quality and with plenty of actionable tips and advice that could be applied to day-to-day work.”

What exactly did we learn? Our team learnt valuable lessons about SEO, Branding, Digital PR, Human Behaviour and so much more. We couldn't possibly write down everything but we've rounded up some of our top tips, key takeaways and favourite moments of BrightonSEO April 2024.

Supporting our colleagues

One of the highlights of BrightonSEO is being able to support our colleagues who are giving talks during the conference. This year, we had not one but two members of the team speaking: Our CEO Becky Simms and SEO Manager Matt Greenwood.

The science of making your brand irresistible in Search
Becky Simms, CEO and Founder

After moderating all morning, Becky took to the stage of Auditorium 2 to deliver a brilliant talk about how brands need to leverage human insight if they want to create a sizzling search strategy.

According to Becky, humans are emotionally driven and 76% of consumers will buy from a brand if they feel connected to them. This means we need to be meeting our customers where they are looking, and we also need to be matching their intent.

How do we do this? Becky believes research is crucial. You need to understand your customers’ movements through the sales funnel by conducting audience surveys, social listening, desk research, and client persona workshops (among other types of research). Support this with in-depth channel research, including but not limited to keyword research, audience insights, competitor research, current performance audits, and social media trends.

You can then knit all your audience research together to create motivation-led personas, not demographic-based personas. All of this then forms the basis of a user journey map which will help to inform your new strategy!


Filter magic: a beginner’s guide to using Regex
Matt Greenwood, SEO Manager

Our very own spreadsheet guru gave us a breakdown of one of the most useful SEO tools in existence: Regex. While it’s a fantastic tool, it can be a nightmare to learn if you’re not familiar with coding or data so Matt gave everyone the lowdown on how to unlock its amazing filtering potential.

Andy Mollison, Head of SEO said: “Matt's talk was brilliantly actionable, the kind of talk that always goes down really well at BrightonSEO - with tips and tricks that can be taken away and applied to your day-to-day work straight away.

“I loved the real-world examples of being able to use Regex, which initially sounds like a scary topic - but Matt managed to make it easy to understand and gave some simple ways to use it - for example quickly being able to report on multiple URLs in Google Search Console using a simple bit of Regex to 'join' URLs together.”




Incredible Talks 

There was no shortage of fantastic talks at BrightonSEO, covering topics such as how to use TikTok for Reactive PR, why sustainable content matters and what community-based marketing (CBM) actually is!

What is community-based marketing (CBM)?
Michelle Goodall

Laura Harvey, our Head of Client Services loved Michelle’s talk, all about CBM! Michelle believes creating a community is a great alternative to traditional digital channels. It can be hugely impactful within new biz, customer retention, and creating a reputational 'moat' around your business. In fact, communities are the big idea in marketing of the decade!

10 Top tips for creating a community:

  • You need organisational alignment, clear objectives, measures/KPIs (customer lifetime value etc.)
  • Community market fit is critical
  • Your community needs a clear 'why?' - what's in it for them?
  • Big isn't always better
  • Focus on building a trusted, inclusive space - psychological safety, set guidelines, rules etc.
  • Resource it properly - good community management is critical
  • Your community is not a broadcast channel (build it with your members so they start the conversations)
  • Focus on consistency and rituals
  • Choose the right community platforms
  • Like a brand, a community takes time to build but has an economic value


Confirmation bias: what people are REALLY searching for
Sarah Presch

One of our SEO Copywriter Ella Wilson’s favourite talks came from Sarah Presch.

According to Sarah, cognitive biases are errors in thinking that affect our judgments. Decision making is emotional, not rational, and we use mental shortcuts and categorisation to make things easier. As a result of our cognitive biases, we search for, interpret and remember information that confirms our existing beliefs:

  • Searchers look for information that confirms their beliefs
  • They aren’t too critical about it, and don’t aim to check credibility
  • Tend to share information without checking credibility
  • They go to great lengths to avoid disconfirming experiences
  • Link beliefs to identity (identity signalling)
  • Since information online isn’t controlled, unqualified articles can be shared everywhere

You can enter opposing opinions into the SERPs and results are unlikely to challenge your opinions. For instance, “link between blood pressure and coffee” and “no link between blood pressure and coffee” turn up results that agree with the phrasing of the query. They confirm the bias, and sometimes these contradictory results even come from the same website.

What can we do?

  • Understand limitations - SERPS are not accurate and sensationalism sells, Google will push content that builds revenue
  • Nudge towards authoritative sources 
  • Add tests to ensure people understand articles before commenting or sharing
  • Support laws coming to prevent misinformation
  • Improve media literacy to find good sources
  • Be aware of your own biases
  • Think critically about keywords


Yes, you can acquire customers by writing about your competitors
Araminta Robertson
  • The idea that you have to “buy or bury your competition” (quote from Jack Welch) to succeed is outdated. It doesn’t pay to be enemies. Writing about your competitors (without slandering them) can double your conversion rate while helping you do more with less.
  • Utilise comparison posts - this helps you tackle people at the bottom of the funnel, who already know they have a problem and are comparing solutions. In this day and age, they’re going to find your competitors either way, so why not prepare for it?
  • This kind of content allows you to focus on your USPs and what sets you apart from competitors without disparaging them. Whoever remains after reading content like this is part of your ideal audience.
  • Here’s the formula:
    • Our company sells X to Y
    • We know we’re not for everyone
    • Here is an honest comparison of features and benefits so you can decide
    • Let’s start with us (but avoid phrases like “maybe we’re biased”)



How to Use TikTok for Reactive Campaigns
Sarah-Jayne Taylorson

For Morgan Rodway-Wing, our Senior Content & Digital PR Executive, the best talk of the day came from Sarah-Jayne Taylorson who spoke about the benefits of leveraging TikTok for Reactive PR.
Why use TikTok for Reactive PR?

  • It’s cost-effective, quick fire and requires very little time outside of your initial Digital PR strategy
  • It gives you the opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader
  • TikTok is a really good resource for user insights - how do people feel about trends, what’s coming up, and what are people’s reactions to it?
  • 71% of users believe the biggest trends start on the app

Tips for Reactive TikToks:

  • Don’t forget about your strategy - Use target keywords and search via TikTok, considering top videos, hashtags and users
  • Create dedicated accounts - TikTok is great at tailoring For You Page’s so dedicated accounts allow you to manipulate the algorithm to get exactly what you want and find trends before competitors
  • Look at the comments on videos - Comments give you an idea of how people feel about something, and the key to a strong story is emotion
  • Tools - Use tools such as Google Trends, Pinterest and TikTok Creative Centre to identify key trends
  • M.E.N - When creating the hook of your pitch, use the acronym M.E.N which stands for ‘measurable, emotional and niche’


Mastering thought leadership in business marketing
Kineta Kelsall
  • Personal branding can help bridge the gap between how we see ourselves and how the world sees us.
  • We should try to reframe the word ‘thought leadership’ to ‘thought starter’ or ‘thought provoker’. You don’t need to be an expert, simply being ‘interested not interesting’ and having an opinion is enough
  • Collaborate - Don’t just broadcast! Instead, build a network around you, comment on other people’s posts and share opinions
  • You can repurpose content - A presentation could become a podcast episode, a blog post, a comment on someone else’s post etc…
  • Be adaptable to the algorithms - what you should be doing on LinkedIn now is very different to 6 months ago
  • Focus on simplicity - 2 lines are just as powerful as 10. Your content should reflect your expertise and interests


Humanising ChatGPT: Create AI content that actually ranks
Jonjo Rowlands

We couldn’t talk about BrightonSEO without mentioning AI. The focus of many talks this year, we’ve left with plenty of brilliant insights that can help us utilise AI in our own work. Our Senior Growth Marketing Manager, Hannah Welsh, loved Jonjo Rowland’s useful method for crafting better ChatGPT prompts: The self-named JONJO approach!

  • JOB - Give ChatGPT a specific job or role as context for the prompt
  • OUTLINE - Give a quick, one-line overview of what you want to achieve from the prompt
  • NEEDS - Provide as much detail as possible for what you want to see, including word count, tone of voice and subheadings
  • JARGON - Add any jargon or industry-specific terms that ChatGPT may not otherwise know into your prompt
  • OMISSIONS - Tell ChatGPT exactly what you don’t want to see and be as specific as possible


Exploring Brighton

the sea breeze and hearing the waves as we wander along the beach on our way to a local restaurant for lunch. 

On Thursday, we enjoyed the amazing HarBAR + Kitchen and tucked into everything from the classic fish and chips to gnocchi. On Friday, we headed to ASK Italian and discussed our favourite talks so far over delicious pizza and pasta dishes.

We’re already busy planning our next trip to BrightonSEO in October 2024 - will we see you there?


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Wordsmith Morgan joined the Reflect Digital team fresh out of University and is learning about the world of digital marketing while supporting the SEO team with highly engaging content. With a background in website administration and social media, she also brings a broader perspective to her clients. 

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