What we learned at Brighton SEO September 2019| Reflect Digital
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  • 18/09/2019
  • by Sophie

What we learned at Brighton SEO September 2019

Our SEO team headed to BrightonSEO last week for a day of awesome talks and insights from industry leaders, whilst our CEO Becky took to the stage to deliver an exclusive talk and launch some brand new tools. Our team share their highlights from the day...
 


Andy, SEO Account Manager

I’ve been to Brighton SEO since it was at the Brighton Dome with just a single stage, so it’s nice to see the conference grow into its current form of 8 concurrent talks on different stages, and widely agreed as the biggest SEO conference in the UK. I’m into technical SEO, so I started the day watching two technical talks, which also turned out to be my favourites of the day!


Roxana Stingu - How I learned to stop worrying and love the .htaccess file

It has been a while since I’ve had to work on a htaccess file, and it was great to hear Roxana speak in detail about how htaccess is a powerful tool not only for a developer - but for an SEO too! It’s often overlooked, and while it’s more complicated than say a robots.txt file; there are many times when it can be the most efficient way to make site-wide changes so long as you know how.

Roxana’s talk gave actionable tips, giving examples of problematic situations, and how you’d resolve them with the use of amends to a htaccess file. This was the best talk of the day for me!


Serena Pearson - Don’t f*ck up your site migration

Serena’s talk discussed how to go about a site migration, whether it be for a small 20 URL website, or a website with many thousands of URLs. A site migration is never simple, and it was great to hear another SEO’s experience of tackling little and large website migrations.

It would have been nice to have been provided with her site migration checklist as an actionable takeaway, but otherwise the talk was thorough and provided a good link into how a site migration is performed from an SEO point of view.

 


Dhriti, SEO Executive

Being a beginner in the world of SEO, I was excited to learn more about the techniques used by other experienced SEO’s and agencies. I started off my day armed with a cup of tea in Auditorium 1, listening to a set of talks about the future of search. I was a little alarmed to see a dancing Boba Fett and Chewbacca, I have to admit!


Greg Gifford - Beetlejuice’s guide to entities and the future of SEO

This was my favourite talk of the day by far - Having had years of experience in the SEO world, Greg Gifford provided us with some thoughtful insights on Google entities and tips on local SEO. I found the talk incredibly helpful in understanding what exactly an “entity” is and how Google has developed to understand the context of content. He also somehow found a screenshot of old scary movies to go with every slide!


Sal Mohammed - Why AI will be a key part of your team, not a replacement

Although I can’t claim to have experience in anything AI related, I found this talk fascinating. Sal spoke in depth about the role that AI has in our present-day lives and how the technology will gradually take a more significant place in our society. The main takeaway point from his talk was that artificial intelligence is not to be feared, but should be welcomed by the digital marketing community. With the introduction of AI we can expect our jobs to develop, which will mean that we no longer need to spend time on menial tasks and can invest our time in improving our techniques. 

 


Frankie, SEO Account Manager

I started the day off with the Technical stream, which contained talks on the .htaccess file, website migrations and website accessibility. 


Roxana Stingu - How I learned to stop worrying and love the .htaccess file

The .htaccess file is something I haven’t previously used to make direct SEO changes. Roxana’s talk was a great introduction into the capabilities and power of the file, especially with regard to URL and redirect management.

It definitely opened my eyes to the power of the file and the risks involved in changing it, which will become useful when liaising with developers in particular.


Serena Pearson - Don’t f*ck up your site migration

Serena’s talk was focused on ensuring pre and post-launch checks, along with the entire migration process is handled as smoothly as possible. 

While I can’t say I had many practical takeaways, it was great to have my knowledge reaffirmed through the talk and confident in our own SEO migration process.


Ashley Berman Hale - Accessibility for people and bots: compassion-led technical SEO

Ashley’s talk emphasised the importance of not just trying to improve the crawling, indexing and rankability of a website, but ensuring your website is useable and accessible to everyone. 

This included practical tips on catering for users with visual, auditory, speech and motor impairments, and was filled with practical recommendations and takeaways for SEOs to consider.

Accessibility of this kind is often left to the domain of website developers and designers if addressed at all, so it was refreshing to learn as an SEO what we can recommend and advise ourselves.
 

To watch Becky’s talk and download her slides click here

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