Brighton SEO – a tale of two urinals

Yesterday I spent most of the day at the Brighton Dome attending BrightonSEO. Most of the people who know me raised at least one eyebrow when I announced I was going – I don’t have a lot of love for the SEO industry.

Trapping myself in an auditorium with a few hundred SEOs obviously isn’t my idea of a fun day out, but this year a hefty Content track was included in the agenda featuring some people I have a lot of respect for, so along I went.

I’m pleased to report the content stream was, by and large, very interesting. Lauren Pope from Brilliant Noise was particularly useful. The toilets, though, were a perpetual problem.

Although I came away with the impression that the SEO industry has cleaned up its act somewhat, there were still some very obvious problems.

Tradebit’s Ralf Schwoebel, for example, didn’t even blush when recommending to a packed theatre that they post fake positive reviews to bury bad ones, something Google themselves warned against recently.

Similarly, there was plenty of casual talk about buying links in one form or another. BlueClaw’s Sean Walsh delivered a presentation featuring advice on how to identify up-and-coming website so you can buy your links on the cheap in the hope they’ll increase in authority later on (although I should say despite that, his presentation was one of the best of the day).

Not a huge shock, then, that things like this were said –

Also not a huge shock was the petulant reaction to that admission –

Propellernet’s Stefan Hull rightly highlighted the “swagger” of SEOs and how it’s been curtailed in the last 18 months since Google started fighting back.

Despite Google’s attempts to push them in the right direction, SEOs still seems to be chasing after, and trying to find ways around, search algorithms rather than figuring out how to do content properly and investing appropriately. The dedicated Content track this year was a step in the right direction, although its venue (a small studio away from the main auditorium) seems to be indicative of its importance to the majority of attendees.

Hull pointed out he’s used a slide featuring this quote from Google’s Matt Cutts every year at BrightonSEO –

“One piece of advice I give to SEOs is don’t chase after Google’s algorithm, chase after your best interpretation of what users want, because that’s what Google’s chasing after.”

I hope he continues to use it until Cutts’ advice is taken on board.

Overall then a useful conference, although I still came away with a faint bad taste in my mouth.

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