BrightonSEO 2012 Interview with Kelvin Newman

Following on from my interview with Danny Sullivan last week – I decided to give our readers some insight into some of the other up-and-coming events, so that they can get an idea about what each has to offer and why they are different etc. We’ll be running a series of similar interviews during the next week, starting today with the host of BrightonSEO Kelvin Newman.

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 The growth of BrightonSEO has been phenomenal over the last couple of years and April’s event promises to the biggest yet. So is it going to be the best? 🙂 It’s been crazy the growth, the first event we had thirty forty people along and now we’ve got a thousand, which I hope is a testament to the quality of the content at the event. Will the next one be the best? I certainly hope so, though as the event gets bigger it does become harder to please everyone but I think more than any other event in the industry it brings the biggest and best selection of SEOs in one room at one time. Being free means more people from smaller agencies or in-house teams can make it along than other more expensive events. The speakers we’ve got this time are simply outstanding and in most cases are delivring the type of session I can’t imagine being scheduled at any other events. We’re avoiding covering the conference cliches like ‘content is king’ and really delving deep into to what I think are the most interesting areas of search.What are the main sessions you’re looking forward to? The Q&A session with Pierre Farr from Google and Dave Coplin from Bing has huge potential, I know there’s loads of probing questions and unusual anomalies people want to ask them about, I’ve got high hopes for that session. I’m also looking forward to hearing from Glenn Jones and Phillip Sheldrake who aren’t part of the SEO world but are experts in areas which have the potential to make a huge difference to the SEO game, the internet of things and semantic mark-up.BrightonSEO has always been a great event for encouraging new speakers in the UK – how do you find the balance between giving opportunities to first-time speakers and growing the event in size? It’s great to have developed a reputation for finding new speakers and introducing them to the circuit, I take huge pride in seeing people who did their first major speaking gig at BrightonSEO now delivering talks all over the country and world. The reason I invite new speakers is twofold, everyone needs a first opportunity to speak at an event, so I think any conference organiser has an obligation to try and find new talent, but the real reason is too many conference organisers are scared to take risks so rely on the ‘old guard’ of speakers who they’ve worked with in the past. That’s not a bad thing, especially as I’m probably part of that old guard. But I want BrightonSEO to have the most interesting talks of any marketing event and to do that I need to find people who have new perspectives or won’t just roll out their ‘greatest hits’ set. As the audience becomes larger it does become tricky. Other than maybe the keynote slots at the big conferences, the audience at BrightonSEO is probably the biggest of any event now. that’s daunting for a first time speaker; but what I’m interested in is do they have something new and compelling to say. If they do – they’ve got nothing to worry about.What do you think have been the biggest game changers in search during the last 6 months and should be the key takeaways from the event? It certainly feels a bit more dramatic than usual, but I don’t think many of the changes are things most of us couldn’t have anticipated. But I think the changes rewarded people taking action; for example we all knew it made sense for Google to better personalise results pages based on the recommendations of someone’s friends. So rather than just anticipating that but doing nothing the early winners in Search Plus Your World will be those who were taking action! I hope what the next event will do is give people a few more things to add to their to do list, the challenge is executing on those items.Can you tell us more about what else you’re doing around the conference this year? One of the downsides to squeezing lots of talks into the conference is you can’t always go into quite as much details as you’d like, so this time we’ve added three workshops the day before covering Advanced Analytics, What SEO can learn from PR and Building your own SEO tools and we’ve also got a bowling competition the day after as well, which I imagine will be closely fought!

The event is on 13th April and already sold out – but if you’re heading down, we’re bringing the team and myself and Chelsea Blacker from SEOptimise are both speaking – so make sure you say hi!

Kevin Gibbons is Founder/Director of Strategy at SEOptimise. Kevin is well known within the search industry as a blogger for sites such as Search Engine Land, Econsultancy and Search Engine Watch. Kevin is also a frequent SEO speaker at a number of conferences including Search Marketing Expo (SMX), Search Engine Strategies (SES), a4uexpo, SAScon and BrightonSEO.

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