BrightonSEO: Tips for first timers

If you’ve been following my journey with Optimisey you’ll know all about my love for BrightonSEO.

As far as I’m concerned it’s the gold standard of SEO events.

There are still a few tickets left – albeit none of the free ones – but still a great investment. Or Authoritas are once again providing a BrightonSEO livestream of the main stage – so sign-up for that sharpish.

BrightonSEO – Tips for First-Timers

1. Get there early

There will over 3,000 other eager digital types all keen to learn it can be a bit of a scrum at times – especially all the people who have to collect their attendee badge on the day (if they’ve come from overseas or… just as likely, lost/forgot their badge before they even started!).

You cannot ‘book’ a place in a session so if there is someone or something you really want to see it’s worth getting there early to bag a seat; especially if it’s one of the smaller rooms (e.g. anything not in Auditorium 1 or 2).

‘Friends’ ticket holders (if you booked a training session, you automatically get a ‘Friend’ ticket too) have a VIP pass to the 2-3 rows of seats in each room reserved for ‘Friends’. Again, no guarantees – being a Friend makes it much more likely you’ll get a seat but not nailed on.

If you really, really want to see a session – don’t linger in the coffee queue.

If you cannot get a seat (and sitting on the floor has been known, although not recommended for an hour plus!) don’t sulk – check the other rooms too, you may surprise yourself by stumbling on something new.

Or head to the main conference area and talk to the many stall holders. Yes, they’re all there to sell something but they’re usually pretty interesting folk and… see point #3 below.

2. Skip the coffee queues

Something which baffles me each time I go to BrightonSEO is the queues for coffee – and not just because I’m not a coffee drinker myself.

It’s more that there are lots of places to get coffee in the venue but people tend to flock to wherever there’s a queue. Maybe it’s a British thing? We do love a queue.

Save yourself some time, explore a bit further than the very front of the venue and find a coffee outlet with a shorter queue… or, often on the first floor the venue’s own concession stands are often entirely untroubled by queues as, seemingly, 90% of attendees don’t notice they exist.

3. Grab some swag

As mentioned in #1, there are a lot of sponsors on stands in the main exhibition area. There are also a few more on the upper floors too.

Many of them bring swag, from the usual pens and stickers to t-shirts, teddies, USB sticks and more. Lots often have discount vouchers for their products too, so worth an explore.

A photo of a small tub of icecream and an SEMrush fox teddy
A lovely tub of ice-cream and a cuddly SEMrush fox teddy – amongst the swag I’ve collected at previous BrightonSEO events

The BrightonSEO team also invite lots of awesome local crafty folks, from foodie types to some charming ladies who, one year, helped me (and many others!) tie-dye my own BrightonSEO t-shirt. For free. Truly unique swag.

4. Get on Twitter

Subject to #7 (below) get yourself on Twitter.

The hashtag (#BrightonSEO) goes pretty nuts on the day. Good luck if you can keep up with it but it’s worth the effort. Folk like @GregGifford live-Tweet sessions they attend so you can almost literally be in two places at once.

You can certainly get rapid access to slides if speakers share links to them too.

And all the best swag-hounds will share tips on who’s giving away good stuff and/or when the DeepCrawl bar has free beer etc. All the important stuff.

And give me a follow too: @Optimisey. I’m not quite as prolific as Greg but I do spend a lot of time on Twitter and will share the gems I pick up from the talks I attend.

5. Make new friends

You’ll likely never find yourself in a place full of more people with such similar interests to you. Talk to them.

Lots of people travel from far and wide, not all of them with a gaggle of intimidatingly cool-seeming friends – but even them, talk to them.

[tweetshare tweet=”Chat about the sessions you want to see; ask where the best swag is; or use the ‘Sub-domain or sub-folder?’ discussion as an ice-breaker.” username=”Optimisey”]

However you do it, talk to people. The people are one of the best things about the conference. You’ll meet great people and almost certainly learn something new.

6. Enjoy the pre/post parties

There are lots of pre-parties. Some you need an invite to others you can secure one for yourself (like the always-awesome DeepCrawl party) some are more impromptu and made-up by groups of attendees as they go.

They’re a great way to meet new people (or old friends) before the conference.

My only warning would be, listening to some of the mind-mashing technical SEO talks is tricky at the best of times – never-mind with a hangover. Save it for the OnCrawl post-party (no ticket required – just your BrightonSEO attendee pass).

7. Pay for extra data on your phone

There is free wifi. But again, there are also 3,000+ digitally savvy folks in the building who also think their Tweet is the funniest thing ever written too.

Be prepared for the wifi to go wonky. It’s free. For many of us your ticket was too, so don’t get too tetchy about it. You could always spring for a ‘Friends’ ticket and access to the VIP wifi.

Or, be prepared to batter your 3G/4G data allowance for the day and use your phone as a hot-spot for your laptop or whatever. And don’t use ‘password123’ as your wifi password, or expect a few nearby SEO-folk to jump on your connection too!

Kelvin Newman and the team do a stellar job with videos, podcasts and quick turn-around shares of the slides for all the talks you might have missed – but it’s a bit like listening to the recording of the live stadium performance of your favourite band.

Sure, it’s OKbetter than nothing… but it’s not the same as being there.

[tweetshare tweet=”As is often the case at #BrightonSEO, prepare to have your eyelids peeled back, a few pounds of TNT planted in your brain and your mind blown by the brilliance of some of the speakers.” username=”Optimisey”]


All in all it’s going to be a knowledge-packed day of learning. I’m looking forward to catching up with some old friends but also making new ones.

In classic guerilla advertising style I shall be sporting my Optimisey t-shirt so if you see me do say hello, I like to make new friends too!

This is me – looking all ‘poseur’ in said Optimisey tee. My wife took this photo for me to use on my social media profiles as, apparently, my old profile pic made me “look a bit fat face”. She’s a keeper eh?

Andrew Cock-Starkey of Optimisey wearing his Optimisey SEO t-shirt

Which sessions are your “must attend” this time around? Leave a comment.

Posted in: SEO

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