Answering The Public at BrightonSEO 2017

Sophie Coley

September 15, 2017

Today I did that thing that ‘they’ claim is good for you; leaping way out of my comfort zone and speaking on the main stage at BrightonSEO.


Not a small platform for my first proper foray into public speaking, BrightonSEO (as you’ll likely know) brings search talent from all over the globe to our seaside city for a day of talks and workshops on everything from keyword research to influencer marketing to tech SEO to affiliate marketing to paid and way beyond. It’s ‘one of the most popular and respected natural search conferences in the UK’ – not bad for an event that ‘started in the upstairs room in a pub’.


I was the middle speaker in the advanced keyword research session, sandwiched by the knowledgeable Stacey MacNaught and conference founder, Kelvin Newman, and took the 1,500+ audience through how I use to gather insight; not just as a content planning tool.


A short story for those of you who don’t know: was the brainchild of the team behind; a talented bunch who were formerly Propellernet executives and strategists, but now work on SAAS products day-to-day – still under the Propellernet umbrella, but away from agency client work. While almost 100,000 people make use of the tool every month, it was born out of in-agency frustration around having to type in keywords plus a/b/c/d/e/f/g (and so on) to take insight from Google Suggest. That, combined with a desire to present data in a more beautiful way and one of our developer’s desire to test something out in D3, saw come to life.


The tool’s value is apparent, not only in the huge levels of traffic it attracts, but also in the sheer frequency that it’s referenced online and at conferences as a tool that SEOs should be using. The majority of its recommendation stems from its use as a tool for generating relevant content ideas – and while it’s absolutely fantastic for that, I passionately believe that it should be used for much more because, if you know where to look, it can serve up incredible insight.


For those who missed it at the event, you can find my slides over on Slideshare, but if you don’t have time to browse through, here are the three ‘lessons’ I shared with the BrightonSEO audience:


  • Use to identify and understand audiences – the ‘for’ branch on the preposition wheel is gold dust when trying to uncover audiences, but also think about how your audience labels themselves – are they skiers, bookworms, foodies?
  • Use to understand influence – the ‘like’ branch, also on the preposition wheel, is also gold dust! Make sure you look at it to understand which personalities and brands and influential around your product or service.
  • Use to benchmark your brand – take a look at all of the branches on the question and comparison wheels and get an understanding for what people feel about your brand


I also mentioned – several times – that as marketers, we shouldn’t just be defaulting to content. Stoney DeGayter summed it up perfectly in saying:


“Traditionally, keyword research has been performed to better understand what phrases searchers are using to find the content, products or services you provide.


But using keyword research for that is akin to treating the symptom rather than the problem itself.”


My final plea to the audience stemmed from a Wil Reynolds quote which said that we shouldn’t be trying to be better SEOs, but better marketers and it’s something we really advocate here at Propellernet, because good marketing will generate strong SEO results.


Take a look at our work to see some of the SEO-driving marketing we’ve been working on for our clients and get in touch if you’ve been inspired by my talk!

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