What we learned at BrightonSEO
Anyone who works in SEO knows that if you're only going to one conference that year, BrightonSEO is the obvious choice. The conference has gone from strength to strength over the past few years, with 2016's edition seeing over 2,000 people flocking to Brighton to hear from top digital and search marketing experts.
Brighton may be at the other side of the country for us Glasgow folk, but myself, Fiona, Andrew, Chris, and Stacy all made the 462 mile trip. Between the food, wine, early starts, and grey jackets (more on that later...), there was learning to be done! Here's my personal highlights of the conference.
The morning kicked off with a "big announcement". Yes, this announcement involved a dry ice machine. We don't do things in half measures here. Kelvin announced that BrightonSEO will no longer take place in the Brighton Dome, but don't worry! The next conference will take place at the Brighton Centre, right at the seafront! This is really exciting and means they can accommodate more attendees as it's a much bigger space.
Following the announcement, I attended the "Futureproof" session in the main Concert Hall. I was most interested in the final talk by Rob Bucci, CEO of STAT Search Analytics, who presented a study on featured snippets. The STAT team analysed almost one million keywords and found that featured snippets were present for 9.28% of search queries. This includes three different types of snippets: text paragraphs, numbered/bulleted lists, and tables. Interestingly, they found that there was no overlap between featured snippets and the map pack - good news for local SEO.
What does this mean for SEO, though? Featured snippets show that Google is putting mobile first, tying into what they call "micro moments". With more people using their smartphone to solve problems and research products, Google have responded by presenting them with what they believe to be relevant information within the SERPs. When one site leapfrogs into what is technically position one, this will undoubtedly have an impact on CTRs for the organic results. However, featured snippets are just a continual evolution of Google's search experience, meaning that they need to be taken into account for all SEO strategies. This means structuring pages in a certain way, making use of HTML such as