GiG Media hasn’t become one of the biggest players in affiliate marketing, with record numbers after record numbers, by standing still. That’s not how this is done. Operating in an industry that is constantly evolving, to stay at the top, requires a constant and consistent investment in new skills and knowledge. It’s that hunger that makes it a success.
This month, five of our brightest minds, site managers Alexandra Koukidou, Dhalia Borg and Maari Jarvinen joined SEO exec Marija Camilleri and content team lead Marie-Claire Grima, in attending one of the SEO industry’s most prestigious events in Brighton, UK, to learn, network and contribute.
So, how did it go?
Why were you selected to attend, what do you do?
Marie-Claire Grima: I’m a Content Team Lead – my team is focused on capturing players from the North American market, particularly Canada and the USA. I attended brightonSEO with the aim of learning more about SEO, getting ideas for new search strategies and gathering some tips and tricks that will help me in my day-to-day duties, that I can also share with others.
Maari Jarvinen: I’m a Senior Site Manager for Finnish markets. I wanted to attend brightonSEO so that I would learn more about SEO and use that knowledge in my daily work. As a Finnish speaking person I already know the market and language so learning SEO is something which GiG can benefit.
Alexandra Koukidou: I’m a Site Manager for the newly-launched Ontario casino and sportsbook website. A Site Manager’s job is no longer limited to creating and editing content. Taking good care of a site means that every decision you make has been thought-out and has a purpose that will bring measurable results. As GiG encourages us to evolve and discover new things through our roles, I have expressed a strong interest in learning more about the different aspects of SEO, starting with content-led SEO. Of course, there’s a whole learning SEO roadmap, and brightonSEO Conference was the compass I needed to show me where to go next.
Marija Camilleri: I’m Marija, an English SEO Executive for CTO. I attended BrightonSEO to listen and learn from industry leaders, feel inspired and gather ideas for new strategies, etc. and see if we can implement them on CTO.
Dhalia Borg: I’m a Site and Content Manager with a focus on the Irish market. Being a fresh face to the Content and SEO world, I wanted to attend BrightonSEO to try and learn as much as I can from industry leaders.
What did you personally gain from the experience?
MCG: It was my first SEO conference and I found it really inspiring and informative! Everyone was there for one purpose – to learn and share knowledge. There were people from all areas of industry, not just online gaming, so it was fascinating to have some insights on how other industries use SEO to grow their business, and how that can be applied to our own sites at GiG.
I also found it interesting to see how people choose to present information and captivate a crowd. There were speakers from dozens of different nationalities and backgrounds – some of them were really engaging and held their audience to the end, while others…didn’t. In an audience of this size that’s made up of industry professionals and enthusiasts, you can really tell what works and what doesn’t.
MJ: It was my first SEO conference and I was really impressed how many people from different industries are working with SEO.
I found it interesting to listen to lecturers from different backgrounds. There were some who have been doing SEO for a very long time and then those with not so long experience. What they have learned while working on SEO and if something has changed. Also how they see the future of SEO.
AK: My first goal was to gain knowledge that would help me improve my work, learn new practices, and implement new techniques on my website, as it is still in its infancy. So, I chose to attend talks that I felt could offer me new innovative ideas that I could bring back with me and discuss with my peers. Because what’s the point of knowledge if you don’t share it, right? However, I also wanted to challenge myself! And therefore, I decided to follow some topics that were a little advanced for me. I’m glad I did! Now, I know how SEO leaders adopt them and what direction to take. The next step is to find out how and if all the takeaways can be applied to our industry. This is where the fun part starts!
MC: For me it was also my first time attending an SEO conference, which was really exciting as SEO is one of my biggest passions and it was super fun listening to the speakers geek out over SEO. It was super interesting listening to speakers from different industries share their tips, tricks, and strategies that helped them increase traffic/conversions and put the user at the forefront. It really inspired me to think about certain elements of my job from a different perspective, and helped me come up with new ideas to share and perhaps implement with my team.
DB: This was also my first time attending an SEO conference and seeing others who also work in this field from different industries. So it was great to see the diversity and hear their different perspectives when it comes to this line of work.
How can GiG Media benefit from attending?
MCG: I think anyone from GiG Media will gain value from attending brightonSEO because, besides gaining a lot of valuable information and insights, it places SEO in its proper context within a business. SEO is sometimes treated as an afterthought, but the talks at Brighton demonstrated amply that it’s an integral part of our success as GiG Media, and that we can’t do what we do so successfully without it.
MJ: I think attending any conference is useful. It will boost motivation and probably give some new perspective to daily work. For GIG Media people brightonSEO shows that SEO is something that is used in so many industries and all of them are struggling with the same issues. Personally for me it was useful since I want to learn more about SEO and take more responsibility for it in Finnish markets and this conference increased my interest to learn more.
AK: How can anyone from GiG Media not benefit from this conference? It’s no coincidence that brightonSEO is one of the top SEO conferences in the world. By attending conferences like this, we cultivate learning incentives that can make us better in our jobs. We at GiG Media know very well the importance of a consistent and constantly-improved SEO strategy. Almost every day, something new happens in the SEO field, reminding us that we can’t idle away. The more we educate ourselves, the more GiG Media will thrive.
MC: I think my colleagues said it best but, I’ll also try to answer it a bit differently. I think SEO is an integral part of any website that wants to succeed, therefore, being able to attend such a conference will motivate and inspire employees to come up with new ideas that can be implemented and shared with the team. Also, hearing about SEO from different industry leaders makes you think outside the box, and things that work for another industry can be tweaked and also work for yours 🙂
DB: Apart from helping employees gain insights into the SEO world, it benefits GiG as it’s a good way of making sure that we keep up with trends. Mostly, it helps us adapt the speaker’s expertise to our sites.
Has it changed your perspective on the industry?
MCG: I wouldn’t say it’s changed it, more like expanded it. Since almost all of my experience with SEO so far has been related to online gambling, it was valuable to me to break out of the bubble and see how other businesses do SEO, and whether those strategies can work for us too.
MJ: I would say, yes, somehow it changed. It made me realise that so many industries are putting effort and resources into SEO. Of course I knew that but hadn’t really thought about that.
AK: Hmm, not changed, but it made me realise how important SEO is in every industry… and how tricky it is. What struck me the most, in a good way, is that even the people who are perceived as SEO thought leaders still experiment with different techniques and encourage us to do so. Once again, I saw that success is not to be taken for granted. Because one day, you may be number 1 in your industry and the next, you witness your efforts going out the window. However, many of the speakers argued that with the right strategy, consistency, and teamwork, their companies or agencies achieved great results within a short time. And that’s very reassuring for us too!
MC: My perspective still remains that SEO is super interesting and fun. It has, however, helped me think of SEO in different ways, for example: one of the talks was about Accessibility, how we should make sure that our website is accessible to everyone, especially to individuals with disabilities. In the UK alone there are around 14 million people that have a disability, with the spending power of 274 billion. Even though being inclusive to everyone should be incentive enough, another reason why every website should make sure that it’s accessible, is that screen readers, for example, and search engines are similar, meaning SEO best practices are very similar to accessibility.
DB: It has somewhat changed after hearing people’s interpretations of SEO and what they believe is the best way to utilise it. It’s made me a bit more open minded about not being afraid to test, the industry isn’t foolproof so trial and error isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
How do you see the future of SEO evolving?
MCG: The biggest focus in SEO currently should be on making quality content that helps users, is fully aligned with their needs, and that comes from a legitimate expert source. It will be interesting to see what the next steps in that direction will be, and the steps that businesses will take to prove that they have more expertise than others, with the goal of taking the top spot for the most coveted keywords. There’s also the question of AI, which is constantly developing and gaining new capabilities, and whether we will be able to harness that to our own ends successfully. Will humans and machines be able to work together to dominate the SERPs? All things considered, I think the next few years will be very interesting for people working in search, and I am excited to see what’s around the corner.
MJ: I would think and hope that SEO would go more towards thinking about the users, not Google. And I think that’s also what Google tries with all those updates it has been releasing. AI, voice search and using social media as a search engine are interesting topics and how those will affect SEOs work and Google.
AK: The key takeaways and what everyone is talking about in the SEO circles, for now at least, are the importance of quality-helpful-original content; user-centric, not search engine-centric approach; and Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI has permeated the world of iGaming and will do even more in the near future. So far, as a work tool, AI-driven software seems to be very useful for us and automates a lot of tasks. But, there’s always a ‘but.’ We need to use AI for our own benefit; we can not let it take over. It’s not Human Vs Machine… And one last thing, SEO is not dead!
MC: We’re already seeing the rise and importance of technical SEO, website infrastructure, and user-centric content through Google’s latest updates. I believe the focus will continue to be on the user, with the rise of zero-click searches and focus on evergreen content. I also think our focus will also have to shift towards voice-based search, as according to Google, 27% of the global online population is already using voice search on mobile, and I think this percentage will continue to increase year by year. Not to mention, the rise of AI, which will significantly impact every aspect of SEO.
DB: As with anything related to technology, advancements are constantly being made and in order to keep thriving in the digital age we need to be able to keep up. That being said, it’s become easier to try and cheat the system. The route SEO is heading is a great way to combat this, as Google is doubling down on producing quality and helpful content with the user at the centre. So I have a strong belief that we’ll be seeing more updates that are inclined towards this. Aside from this, AI is definitely a hot topic that we’ll be seeing more of.
As always, it’s not prudent to expect more, but when that’s all you are used to getting, expectation becomes the norm. Watch this space for more involvement, more knowledge and more say in the future of SEO from our award winning teams.