Brighton SEO 2021 – Key Takeaways + Best Talks

Brighton SEO 2021 (the live September edition) was my first time at the iconic conference and at the same time my first in-person event after the pandemic. To be perfectly honest – after the first day, I was a little disappointed. I expected the talks to be more advanced and inspiring, and I expected to meet more people from the B2B SaaS SEO/Content Marketing/ link-building space. I also expected more well-known speakers – SEOs and CMOs from successful startups.  Instead, the majority of both speakers and participants seemed to hail from the agency side. A number of talks seemed biased and auto-promotional.

But still – I managed to:

  • glean some good insights from a few talks – on link building strategy, optimizing blog pages for search intent, and how to find new keyword opportunities.
  • collected a list of tools I’d like to try (also included below!)
  • got some cool Google Data Studio dashboards
  • made some great semi-new* connections (*with people I have talked to online before, and had great chats with them in-real-life this time).

And of course – I summarized the key takeaways from the talks I watched – so you don’t have to.

Brighton SEO 2021 Lesson 1: Backlink Building Strategy – Less is More, Domain Relevance > Number of Unique Linking Domains

Topical Link Relevance Brighton SEO  

A couple of years ago, I would get dozens of emails asking for a backlink from my company blog (a social media marketing SaaS at that time!). Some of the requests came from completely irrelevant sites, even including a funeral parlour!

There was a number of talks on Brighton SEO 2021 devoted to link building, and most of the speakers seemed to agree unanimously: less is more. Quality > Quantity. Building links from sites that have little-to-no topical relevance is pointless, and the sheer number of links from different domains has the weakest correlation with SEO visibility.

What has the strongest?

Domain relevance.

We tend to be too shortsighted when measuring the outcomes of link-building campaigns. 

  • A study on the correlation between link quality and quantity factors and organic search visibility 
  • Factors: 1) Topic Relevance 2) Domain Authority 3) Unique Linking Domains 
  • Topical Link Relevance had the highest correlation with organic visibility 
  • Unique Linking Domains had the weakest correlations with organic performance
  • conclusion : quality > quantity
  • Backlink building = relationship building. 

unique linking domains Brighton SEO 2021

Where to find quality Backlink Building partnerships? HARO alternatives. 

Another interesting takeaway from Brighton SEO 2021 was a list of HARO alternatives. If you’ve done any link building, you’re probably familiar with HARO. 

Here are a few HARO alternatives I learnt about in Brighton: 


Brighton SEO 2021 Lesson 2: Search intent optimization – every page should have a conversion goal!

page type by intent Brighton SEO 2021

Do you know the purpose of every blog you create?

What is the intent of the user attracted by each blog post you create? How are you going to capture their attention and interest? And how are you going to measure if your blogs are doing the job? Do you have a KPI for each of them?

Probably the single most important lesson I took away from Brighton SEO 2021 is that *Every* single page on our blog should have a conversion event. 

  • We should measure it in GA (set a conversion goal for each stage of the user journey)
  • The conversion goals should be adjusted to the user’s search intent and awareness stage 
  • Map keywords by intent 
  • Group all our existing pages (blogs) by intent (e.g. informational/educational, SaaS metrics; tool selection etc.)  and link to a conversion event (e.g. product adoption school/ dictionary/ Product Drive Ebook; State of SaaS Onboarding. sales enablement doc/ book a demo) 

See the full presentation slides here.

Brighton SEO 2021 Lesson 3: How to find new (and easy!) keyword opportunities that may be taking off 

finding new keyword trends Brighton SEO 2021

The 2nd most interesting insight on Brighton SEO 2021 was that 15% of all searches in Google are new searches. This means – there’s a huge opportunity in discovering these new keywords before your competitors do, and banking on the trends while the competition is still low. If you create well-optimized content early enough and rank on #1 in Google, you will reap benefits when the SV grows over time. This may be a lot more efficient than trying to beat heavy competition on those high-SV keywords, with a KD > 50. 

How to find new keyword opportunities in Search Console?

You can find these keywords related to the topics you cover on your blog in the search console:

  • Build a GDS tracker from Search Console 
  • Track searches with impressions that didn’t get impressions before (SC – “compare” date range)
  • Use a regex filter include “kw | kw| kw| “ to track new kws related to your pain points.
  • Use this instead of targeting just “old” established KWs with high SV where the competition is high.

Meeting people in real life = invaluable

Brighton SEO 2021 by night

The other cool thing about Brighton SEO was that I finally got to meet some people in SEO/ Content Marketing that I’ve been following for a while/ chatting on Linkedin with:

  • Kas Szatylowicz
  • Veronika Vebere
  • Konrad Bajsarowicz

They gave me a bunch of ideas to implement in Userpilot, and some positive energy to go. Nothing can replace some good old school real-life interactions.

Would I go to Brighton SEO again?

See me there next year! 🙂




Posted in conferences, SEO and tagged , , .

Emilia is a passionate SaaS marketer specializing in content marketing. She's currently the Head of Marketing at Userpilot, a Product Growth Platform for SaaS.