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Mysterious interest at BrightonSEO

Held at the Brighton Dome, BrightonSEO is one of the UK premiere SEO conferences. The conference is held twice a year in April and September and attracts a wide array of high quality speakers. Over the years the event popularity, has grown significantly and the free tickets are now snapped within minutes of their release. Lucky enough to snag a ticket for the event mso sent Technical Director, Andrew Dixon down to see what all the fuss was about, here’s how he found it.

In this first post in a small series of posts about the BrightonSEO conference I will talk about the keynote address given by Malcolm Cole (Trinity Mirror Group) entitled “How I earned loads of links by ignoring SEO”.

In his keynote Malcolm explained how the Us Vs Th3m website was conceived and how it managed to attract a massive amount of links without ever considering SEO. The basic concept was to create content that people would find interesting and feel compelled to share on social media. Much of this content took the form of very simple games, normally relating to something recently in the news and then encouraging the visitor to share their result via social media. When some of these “games” went viral they spawned mainstream media articles about them which in turn included very valuable inbound links.

Malcolm then moved on to talk about how you can get people to be interested in your content in the first place (clicked) and how to get them to pass it along to others (shared). To grab the users’ attention, particularly on social media, you need to have a headline that is not only interesting but a bit mysterious as well, for example which of the following would you be more likely to click on:

Santa sleigh breakdown rescued by AA in Cambridgeshire


When you find out who rescued Santa’s sleigh when it broke down, it will restore your faith in corporate Britain

The first of these is very clinical, not particularly interesting and certainly not mysterious. The second however sounds like a really interesting story that you want to find out the answer to and are therefore much more likely to click on.

Getting the “click” is hard but getting the “share” is even harder. Most people will only share something if they think it is appropriate for their “friend” group on the social platform. Often this will include parents, e.g. mums on Facebook, so you need to make sure your content is appropriate to most, e.g. no swearing, etc…

Also people are more likely to share something that confirms something about themselves, for example the North-O-Meter that Us Vs Them, created in late 2013 got lots of shares because it confirmed to people in the North that they were very Northern, which they liked so felt compelled to share, to people in the South that they were not very Northern, which they like and therefore shared and for people in the Midlands...well they don’t really matter anyway!!!

Malcolm was also keen to point out the importance of making media you want people to share mobile friendly as the majority of social media interactions are via mobile devices. The Us Vs Th3m site is specifically set up with a mobile first approach with only minor regard given to how it will look on desktop computers. Given that the majority of its traffic is generated from social media it is therefore mainly viewed on mobile devices.

In the next post from BrightonSEO, I will share some of the excellent online tools available to help with various different aspects of SEO.



Andrew Dixon, Technical Director



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