Who to see at BrightonSEO September 2017

This is becoming something of a tradition, normally it starts as an internal memo for my colleagues, but more after asking a few friends it has turned into an excellent blog post each time – 

April 2018 version – now live – Who to See at BrightonSEO 2018 

James, Omi, Hannah, Arnout and Jono have contributed so far – but I know a couple of others are sending in tips! 

 for BrightonSEO September 2017 who are your two must see speakers + any tips ? 

(so I’ll start) 

Gerry White 

Picking two is challenging this time (in fact it is every time) but purely from a geeky level I absolutely recommend Emily Grossman, who actually is talking about PWAs and some of the very cool stuff that is happening in the mobile space – it is actually lucky that being in the room at that time will also mean I need to see Bartosz and David Lockie (whose previously contributed to TakeItOffline as a WordPress expert).  In the afternoon I will go to see an ex colleague – Rebecca Brown (no, not the one that sang Friday). Ammon Johns and Dawn Anderson are two of the legendary figures of SEO, who have been in the industry since there was an industry! And finally Aleyda Solis is one of the leaders on mobile SEO, so it is worth listening to what she says about AMP.


James Gurd (the digital Juggler, or half the ecomchat team )

My challenge is to pick new speakers each time, otherwise I end up listening to the same amazing people and don’t broaden my horizons. So all the people Gerry mentioned are super smart and worth listening to but this year, if i can, i’ll be listening to Cindy Krum of MobileMoxie (have long respected what she says and writes) discuss mobile first indexing and a few of the talks about chatbots (Jonathan Seal, Hannah Jane Giles, Emilie Reynaud).

Ed note – James is running a lunch catchup for those who are involved in #ecomchat which is normally an online Twitter chat, 1pm on a Monday. 

Rick, Gerry & Omi

Omi Sido

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced digital marketer with years of experience behind you, BrightonSEO will be enjoyable, thrilling, and full of new tips, tactics, and strategies you can immediately put into practice. I would tell everyone without hiding that if they can only attend one search marketing conference a year, make it BrightonSEO.

In between BrighotnSEO come to the TakeItOffline round table as I find this to be the best way to cement my SEO knowledge and to be up to date with everything that’s happening in Digital Marketing.

  1. The networking opportunities are unparalleled. Brands and agencies send their top people to BrightonSEO.
  2. Every presentation is a keynote material. All speakers at BrightonSEO are carefully picked by Kelvin and he works hard with them to make sure every presentation rocks.

The two people I really want to see this year are Bill Slawski and Aleyda Solis.

Bill Slawski, Bill Slawski. I’ve been reading his blog since the very beginning of my SEO career. Bill Slawski is like an SEO father to a lot of us. Bill’s talk, Understanding Context Vectors for Keyword Research,  propelled me to redouble my focus (and my learning with regard to content and SEO – you know I am more of what people call Technical SEO) on search intent, on-page SEO and knowing the audience’s needs as thoroughly as possible.


When it comes to Aleyda the simple truth is she always talks about the hottest topic in SEO. This time is no exception. Her session ‘Setting AMP for Success‘ is probably the one that everybody should attend. Whatever people’s opinion is to my ears AMP sounds like ‘improved load time and user experience’.

Omi is of course SEO consultant extraordinaire, vlogger and regular TIO attendee. Currently with Canon and previously with  the Daily Mail 

Arnout Hellemans
SEO Arnout HellemansI’ve been to quite a few editions of BrightonSEO, but haven’t been able to make it to a lot of sessions due to bumping into old and new industry friends on my way to some sessions. But this year I’ll make sure to he following sessions:

  • Duane Forrester (past Bing Webmaster spokesperson); great person with some awesome knowledge to share. In this case on structured markup and the future of search and since he used to work for the second largest search engine this should be an interesting session.
  • Ammon Johns on the myth of DA (Domain Authority), In my opinion not only an amazing person but also so willing to share his extensive knowledge (he’s been optimising websites since the beginning of the web). And this is a must goto for anyone who’s relatively  new in SEO.

Javascripts & Frameworks session with Bartosz Goralewitz and Emily Grossman because there is a lot happening with Javascript based sites and Progressive Web Apps (PWA’s)  so interested in what they will have to say about this.


And I’m going to head the the Analytics session by Tim Stewart, a good friend of mine and probably the best actionable Analytics ‘guru’ I know. This will be awesome with so many Google analytics tricks and tweaks. If you are loving what you do in digital; start measuring and attending this session.


In the afternoon I’ll attend the Tech SEO session with Dawn Anderson, Peter Nikolow and Dominic Woodman. If you are into SEO this is a must with subjects like site architecture, speed tweaking and internal near duplication. Awesome knowledge being shared.

Ed note – that is 8 – not two! – Arnout is a digital marketing consultant who specialises in CRO, SEO with huge practical experience & is also a regular speaker at CRO & SEO conferences. 

Hannah Thorpe

My favourite thing about BrightonSEO is the range of topics which are covered; it lets you breakaway a little from your day job and find out about things which might not be your exact specialism. As a result, I’m excited to try catch some of the Paid Search sessions which are going on – for example, Matt Beswick talking about Paid Social and Susan Wenograd from Five Mill. I caught one of Jon Henshaw’s talks a couple of years ago and was really impressed, so I’m also looking forward to his talk ‘Forget AMP- Make sites fast’ as he always has a great take on things.


I think an agenda like BrightonSEO’s can be a little bit daunting at first, especially if it’s your first time going because there’s just SO MUCH choice. You’ll panic if you’re set on a strict agenda as you’re bound to get talking to someone interesting or caught up in another session. As Kelvin’s so rigorous in getting the very best speakers, every session you go to will be awesome and you’re bound to pick up some actionable tips  – so just enjoy the day!

Hannah Thorpe is the commercial director at White.net – and a frequent speaker at some of the best conferences and a regular contributor to TakeItOffline events 


I’m really sad to say that I can’t make it to Brighton this year, which is particularly galling given how good these sessions sound!

I’d definitely recommend seeing Gary Illyes speak. It’s no secret that I disagree with him and what he says (or, at least, how he says it) frequently – but there’s nothing quite as useful as listening to what he doesn’t say, and watching him skirt around the lines of what he’s allowed to say about the inner workings of Google. Don’t go in expecting specifics about ranking factors and algorithms, but definitely go with an eye for catching him avoiding topics, answering with very specific wording, and going off-script!


Speaking of Google employees, it’s always a good idea to catch whatever Fili Wiese is talking about. He usually talks hardcore technical SEO, but this time he’s talking link building – it’ll be really interesting to hear about the mechanics of penalties and quality assessment from a guy who spent his tiem at Google working in the team which managed that part of the ship.\

The other hidden gem I’d draw attention to is Jess Stiles. Jess is consistently ahead of the game when it comes to emerging platforms (think, chat bots, VR and 360 video) and developing markets, and has delivered some of the most engaging and well-crafted talks I’ve attended in the last few years. She’s super-smart, and has challenged my preconceptions and opinions on these kinds of platforms multiple times.

There are so many speakers, sessions and options that you’ll be spoiled for choice. I’m just hoping that you all take plenty of notes, so that I can catch up on what I miss out on!

Jono is Principal Consultant who also runs Days of the Year as well as frequenting the awesome TakeItOffline conferences 

Omi’s Top tips for attending a conference.

I said it last year and I will say it again. BrightonSEO is all about networking. So bring your charm, expertise and confidence.

With that in mind let me give you my top 3 conference tips.

Before the conference.
Start researching, following and interacting with marketers and speakers attending BrightonSEO.

During the conference.
Follow the #BrightonSEO Twitter hashtag and follow the people who are tweeting info from the event. Retweet and engage with the ones that may be of interest to you. DM them asking to get together for lunch or a quick coffee chat.

After the conference.
Continue to follow and engage with BrightonSEO attendees online. Chances are you gonna meet up a lot of those people at future BrightonSEO events. But this time they will be talking to you like a friend.

Thanks Omi, top tips 🙂 

So that is it – I think they all failed to name ‘two’ just ‘two’ but that includes me, if you think we got this list wrong, then drop a comment below, who have we missed out!


2 Thoughts to “Who to see at BrightonSEO September 2017”

  1. Great post covering the recommended sessions to attend at the #BrightonSEO

    The choice is tough as I want to attend all the sessions! Thanks for the above, it will help me decide. See you guys this Friday! Do look out for me. Jass V

  2. […] other day Gerry White asked me to about my two ‘must see’ speakers at the forthcoming BrightonSEO […]

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