Ask an SEO – Jonathan Argile of twentysix

In the first Ask an SEO feature of 2015 I chatted with Jonathan Argile. I asked him about his role as Head of Search Operations at twentysix and the SEO trends we can expect to see in the year ahead.

Jonathan Argile
Jonathan Argile twentysix.

Q) Hi Jonathan, could you start by telling us how you got into SEO?

A) My history is not the typical “agency” SEO background you would expect.  I actually started working across SEO in some form or another during my university placement year which was a client side marketing role and then further developing in additional Digital Marketing roles client side before moving to agency. These roles however also included working across other digital marketing elements such as email marketing, paid search and aspects of development.

I only started working in a pure SEO role once I moved agency side back in 2012 with a role at Stickyeyes, before moving across the City Centre to start at twentysix in the summer of 2014.

Q) Tell us a bit about your agency, twentysix?

A) twentysix is a full service digital marketing agency with offices in Leeds, London, New York and Singapore. Our services within the Search area of the business include SEO, PPC, social media, affiliates and CRO making up over 40 members of Staff with a further 60 plus staff members working within the Development side of the business which includes Mobile & Website Development and our UX team.

twentysix is a fast paced, passionate agency where we have a real hunger to drive the best ROI for our clients.

Q) Leeds has a thriving digital marketing community, what’s it like to be part of it?


A) Leeds is a fantastic hotbed of search agencies with great pool of talented individuals which is ultimately pushing the industry forward, especially in Yorkshire. twentysix itself has some really strong competition from some great rival agencies which means we are pushed regularly to be one of the best and consistently develop and enhance our proposition.

Media City Leeds
Media City Leeds

Q) What is the first thing you do when you start a new SEO campaign for a client?


A) It really depends on what our client’s objectives are and what the scope of work is. This can be anything from technical analysis to data gathering and analytical reporting or even pure outreach and creative campaigns. But what we take real pride in is our complete immersion within a client and their activities; we are ultimately as an agency an extension of their company and so should be fully integrated and up to speed with everything that they are.

Q) As an agency, what are the metrics and KPIs that campaigns are measured against?


A) We focus on real world results. Rankings and search visibility are great, but there are far too many inaccuracies and uncertainties within third party metrics such as Moz’s domain authority, which means as an agency we can use these as comparison metrics but not alone.

We work to bottom line figures; we’re driven by the client’s KPIs and their business needs to drive the best ROI. Reporting, accountability and transparency are the core to our approach.

Q) What has been the most significant change in your time in SEO?


A) There have been so many changes across digital as a whole from the rise of mobile search to the launch of Panda, Penguin and Pigeon algorithm updates, but “not provided” has been a real game changer for not just agencies but clients themselves. There has been a real shift from having SEO KPIs purely based on rankings to incorporating traffic, revenue and overall organic visibility of brands and that ranking for “Golden” high volume terms are not the be all and end all of SEO campaigns. There is so much more that agencies should be focussing on such as the actual monetary return on investment for clients and showing a clear bottom line progression.

Q) What are your SEO predictions for the year ahead?


A)  SEO evolves so fast that most predictions within this industry are blown out of the water with something completely new and unthought-of by the end of the year. What I really see in the year ahead includes:
•    The further development and refinement of the recent Pigeon update within the UK market.
•    A real focus from clients on the closer unity of SEO within the digital marketing mix. How SEO impacts and reacts with the other marketing channels.
•    Further refinement from Google on the Penguin algorithm and the manipulation within a sites backlink profile.
•    A significant change within mobile search from how Google interacts with un-optimised sites.
•    A better understanding from Google on user experience and how this differs between markets and industries, UX is not one size fits all and certainly isn’t determined by Google but remains with the user.
•    The rise of new technology – the game isn’t just desktop, mobile and tablet, welcome to smart watches and many more devices.

Watch out for more Google Pigeon updates
Watch out for more Google Pigeon updates

Q) What are your top SEO tips for sites with little/no budget?


A) As a business clearly define realistic key organic search objectives and make your agency work for you not the other way around. Be realistic in where you are and where you want to be, if you have clear objectives you won’t get led down the wrong path. Be aware that search engine optimisation is not an off the shelf product or one off buy, it is a continual process of implementation and development which should be involved and integrated with all of your marketing activities.

Q) What are your favourite SEO tools and why?


A) As far as I am concerned, SEO is all about variety, there are some fantastic tools in the market from link analysis tools such as Moz, Majestic and Ahrefs to visibility and ranking platforms such as Searchmetrics and Brightedge but never forget Google’s continually developing arsenal of testing and reporting tools within Webmaster tools and analytics. Working in SEO, we should always test and try new tools in the marketplace because we are always pushing the barriers and can never stand still.

Everyone's favourite SEO Rockstar - Rand Fishkin
Everyone’s favourite SEO Rockstar – Rand Fishkin

Q)Who are your favourite SEO ‘rockstars’?
A) The SEO community is such a diverse group of professionals with varying knowledge, expertise and advice. Personally I am open to listening and reading to as many peoples and agencies opinions as possible. I have a tweetdeck specifically set up to follow blogs, agencies, SEO and digital marketers which is constantly updated when I come across interesting new information which I could test and implement across my clients.

For any person wanting to develop their knowledge of SEO the UK has some great events and conferences such as Searchlove and Brighton SEO, which really highlight the quality the UK has in SEO professionals, but I would also highly recommend following guys like Bill Slawski, Rand Fishkin, Barry Schwartz and of course Mr Matt Cutts.

Read up on sites like SearchEngineLand, SearchEngineWatch, SEORoundtable and read the detailed information across Moz’s Blogs and guides. But don’t forget the UK market is a very different animal to US so take some information with a pinch of salt!

 

Are you an SEO with a story to tell? Email help(at)copify.com to be featured.

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Ask an SEO – Matt Beswick on automation with APIs

Matt Beswick
Matt Beswick

Automating some of the tasks that are carried out as part of an SEO campaign can give you a competitive advantage and also help those who are stretched in terms of resource. But with Google seemingly cracking down on any form of scalable, relatively easy form of link building, is it still possible to automate tasks by using APIs?

I put this, along with other questions to an SEO and API fan Matt Beswick.

Q) Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself, how did you get into the weird and wonderful world of SEO?

A) Completely by accident! I started out developing Facebook games in late 2007 and stumbled across a formula that really took off. We went from 0 to 150,000 daily players within a few weeks which enabled me to leave my job and start Hidden Pixel. From there we just had a natural evolution into running marketing campaigns for clients and SEO formed part of that.

Q) Can you tell us a bit about the team at Hidden Pixel?

A) We’re a fairly disparate team based all over the world who, other than our developers, work from home. We have copywriters out in Ireland and the US, a designer in Amsterdam and Romania, a dev team in Ukraine, and outsource any process work via oDesk.

Q) You run an integrated web design and marketing agency – how do you ensure that designers and developers take SEO considerations into account when putting together a site?

A) Unfortunately it comes down to micro-management and, so far, I haven’t worked out a way of getting past that. There’s definitely a process of ongoing education and our developers are pretty much set now (Google haven’t indexed a dev site for at least 6 months!) but everything still gets fully briefed, documented and checked to make sure there aren’t any balls-ups.

Q) With the recent changes Google is making, is it not becoming virtually impossible to automate link building activity?

A) For brands, thankfully, yes. You can still semi-automate a lot if you have the correct processes in place but even well templated outreach is now giving diminishing returns. That’s how it should be though, isn’t it? Old school directory submissions are equivalent to sticking your business card in as many phone boxes as possible and hoping that someone sees it.


The really interesting thing I’ve noticed recently is that some of the most outspoken affiliate marketers are slowly but surely starting to admit that their software isn’t working as well as it used to and there’s no at least an element of manual outreach needed. If they’re saying that then the tide is definitely turning!

Q) What does a typical SEO report look like for you? what data is in it?

A) Reporting is definitely a weakness for us, which is being addressed at the moment. We use a mixture of Raven Tools, Google Analytics, AWR, and Excel… but I wouldn’t honestly be able to say that our reports are anywhere near as good as they should be. Give me a month, though, and they will be!

Q) How do you deal with ‘that’ SEO client – the one who refuses to allow access to their site/action recommendations/do anything in the least bit creative/funny/interesting?

A) We either don’t take them on, or we get rid. Seriously – if the client won’t work with you then it’s not worth keeping them on. As a business owner turning down a monthly retainer is hard to do but it works out better for everyone in the end.

Q) What are the metrics/KPIs you agree on when doing client SEO work?

A) If at all possible, traffic and sales / enquiries. You can send ranking and link reports until the cows come home but at the end of the day, for most, it’s all about the bottom line.

Q) Why are you not using the Copify API?? 😉

A) I knew you’d ask that… and I’ve got nothing but an apology. We’ll rectify that soon 😉

SEMrush
SEMrush

Q) You have written about SEO APIs extensively, but if you had to choose one along to recommend, which would it be?

A) The SEMRush API has saved me hundreds of man hours in competitor and keyword research so that’s the one I’d also go to first. Either that or Majestic, purely for the speed and amount of link data you can get.

Q) SEO reports have historically been focused on tangible elements such as X number of directory submissions, articles etc. Now that it is more about creativity, how do you convey, and most importantly justify that to clients?

A) We’re really, really lucky with our clients. Part of that comes back to pre-sales as we spend a lot of time finding out about the business, making sure the client knows what to expect, and showing them examples of the kinds of content we’ve done in the past and the effect it can have.

We justify it by showing the results we’ve had for other clients, educating our new ones as to what they can expect, and gently moving them away from the thinking that SEO is about the kinds of things you mentioned there.

Q) What standalone SEO tools do you use/recommend?

A) RavenTools, SEMRush, BuzzStream. Between those three you’re pretty much covered.

Q) How do you negate the risk of relying on APIs in terms of the consequences of a service going down?

A) APIs, like any other tool, are just there to make life easier. If you’re automating anything with an API it should be because you’ve got a manual process that you need to speed up so there’s always an alternative.

Q) Is SEO becoming a dirty word?

A) No – I think it’s going the other way. Over the last couple of years I’ve noticed more and more businesses shying away from the low quality, low budget, SEO and starting to understand that it’s a genuine marketing channel that you need to invest in.

Q) Are you still guest blogging?

A) Yep, and this hasn’t really changed for us at all. For smaller clients we do some mid-level guest blogging and for larger ones we go for the big wins. If you’re writing great content that’s going on sites that generate referral traffic then you can’t really lose.

Q) I’ve got a site I want to SEO, but I have literally no budget, what is your number one, free SEO tip?

A) Make great content 😉

I’ll wait a couple of minutes for you to stop headbutting your desk.

In reality if there’s one tactic that you could still do with no budget it would be guest blogging. That isn’t just because of the links but also the other opportunities that are generated, and how much you learn about the importance of building relationships.

McLaren - Matt's dream client
McLaren – Matt’s dream client

Q) Who would be your dream SEO client and why?

A) This is a great question! As a business owner I want to pick a brand with a 6 figure budget but I also love working with smaller companies. Either way they need a great product as that makes life infinitely easier. Either McLaren F1 or Sonos would be cool.

Q) Who are your favourite ‘SEO rockstars’?

A) Haha! I’ve been lucky enough to spend some drinking time over the last few years with a lot of the ‘rockstars’. If I was giving out awards it would be Rand Fishkin for inspiration, Wil Reynolds for making you just want to go out there and get shit done, Hannah Smith for content, Phil Nottingham for video, and Paddy Moogan for links and being the most genuine, solid guy you’ll ever meet.

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Ask an SEO – Stacey Cavanagh on building brand signals

SEO is a rapidly-changing game, with Google seemingly cracking down on every form of easily scalable link building tactic. We are rapidly approaching a time when the only links that will make a difference are those that are earned on their own merit.

Stacey Cavanagh
Stacey Cavanagh

Stacey Cavanagh of Manchester agency Tecmark has long been an advocate of doing it the right way – creating ‘brand signals’ in the form of useful, interesting and insightful content.

I was lucky enough to catch up with her recently and I asked her how you go about building these brand signals.

Q) Could you maybe start by telling us about yourself, how did you get into the weird and wonderful world of SEO?

A) I started out freelance copywriting back in 2007. More and more I was being asked for advice on “optimising content” and started teaching myself the basics of SEO. I realised very quickly that, firstly, this was right up my street! But most importantly, I knew there was way too much happening in the industry to just teach myself. I knew I wanted an agency side trainee role and I took one at Tecmark in 2009. So I was late to the game, for sure. But I learned quickly under the guidance of Kevin Jones, an awesome SEO who’d been working for some massive agencies and on some very campaigns prior to setting up Tecmark. And I’ve been at Tecmark ever since. I’m now Head of Search and I get to lead some great campaigns.

Q) You are a big advocate of using surveys to gain insights, which in turn, gain links. Could you give us some insight into how you come up with the ideas for the questions for these?

A) Absolutely. The thing I both love and loathe most about surveys is the unpredictable nature of them. You’re essentially asking human beings for something often based on their opinion and human beings can always surprise you. For example, a while ago I asked 1,000 Americans (tongue in cheek) to name a British City other than London. The top 10 included ‘Wales’ and ‘Paris,’ so it definitely had the surprise element! But it was light-hearted fun, made people laugh and made people want to share.

On the flip side, the follow up I did (asking Brits to name a US city) was boring. It was too easy a question and us Brits watch films named after US cities all the time etc. So the results were boring and it got no traction.

So wherever you ask humans anything, you can’t be sure you will get a shareworthy or newsworthy result. But the steps we take to try and make sure we do get something interesting are as follows:

Set clear, measurable objectives. What do we want from the survey? A piece of coverage on a certain website? 1,000 social shares? 10 links? We don’t opt for a survey unless we believe a survey can help us meet those goals.

We get a list together of people we think would be interested, develop personas for the type of people we think will share it etc.

The above guide our questions in terms of topic area and tone. But this also guides are decision as to who we are asking the question to.

Only when we have a clear idea on target respondents and target audience do we move on to the questions. We get a few people around the table (preferably a combination of people who are involved in the campaign and those who are not) and we outline the aims of the survey. Then between us we write down as many questions as we possibly can. Later, we whittle them down to a shortlist. From that shortlist, we make a list of potential stories (depending on how the survey goes) that might come out of the data. This is the key part – does each question have the potential (irrespective of the responses) to tell a story and is that story likely to be of interest to our target audience? The questions with the most promising potential stories are the ones we generally go with.

The thing with surveys, though, is that human element. You can minimise risk of a “boring” survey, but you can’t guarantee getting the story you want out of it. You need some good people on hand to turn whatever data you get into the most compelling stories possible.

Q) What is the best platform for attaining survey data?

A) It really depends on your budget. Google Consumer Surveys is a great low budget offering (from around $0.10 cents a response). However, if you want data more quickly and, in my opinion, a better Analytics and reporting dashboard, Quick Surveys is great. Ideally, though, and if you have more budget to play with, it’s great to go a market research company like One Poll. These guys are offering a service rather than a tool and they’re experts in making sure your questions are written so as not to be leading and that the data will be as credible as possible. So if you’re looking at doing a serious study, that’s where you should be looking. For more light hearted, less intense stuff, I’d suggest the other two work just fine!

One Poll
One Poll – Great for surveys

Q) How can you be sure of the integrity of data? How do you know it hasn’t come from click farms or MTurk?

A) Data integrity can be a huge issue. Even if not necessarily manipulative answers, you have the issue with Google Consumer Surveys where people are being asked the question without opting in. They often answer it to get to their content, so you could argue that it’s rushed or they’re just saying any old thing to get rid of the question.

With Quick Surveys, you’re asking a panel of people being paid for their answers and all we can due is due diligence on the company behind it to see what measures they’re taking to ensure the panel is authentic.

With One Poll, similarly, they’re the experts. We trust they take steps to ensure the integrity of our data. But ultimately, I would say you just have to be clear with any survey data you publish just makes it clear where the data has come from and ensure you speak to suppliers about how they source their panels.

Q) So I have my survey data, what do I do with it?

A) You need to turn it into a story. A compelling one that resonates with the audience you’re targeting, or perhaps throws a spanner in the works of a widely accepted theory or maybe rides on the back of something topical.

But the key here is the story. You could deliver this in several different formats – an infographic, a text blog post, a video… the key is turn it into something someone somewhere gives a crap about.

In terms of outreach, it’s going to depend on your audience or goals. If you’ve made a good target list of influencers at the beginning and the final results haven’t changed your plans, then start there. If I have a newsworthy piece, I like to get in touch with journalists  who’ve written about it recently. Use sites like journalisted.com to find people who might care and who might be able to use it.

Paid discovery channels like Outbrain, Zemanta and even Adwords can be effective too.

Outbrain
You might like…

Q) There are lots of platforms for content distribution which are your favourite and why?

A) I’m a fan of paid content discovery platforms. I have tried Outbrain and Zemanta with similar results. I’ve also experiments with Reddit paid entries, paid Stumbleupon discovery, Facebook advertising and Google Adwords. The 2 I always go back to though are Outbrain and Adwords. But I’m always experimenting with others.

Wil Reynolds gave a great talk on this, outlining some figures from an experiment they carried out at SEER.

Q) What is the best platform for getting in touch with journalists?

A) I do rate HARO. I also like Muckrack and Flacklist. Journalisted.com is a good database. But honestly, I think you have a great shout on social media too if you have the names of the journalists you want to talk to. If you have a telephone number, even better. You’re harder to ignore on the phone. And journalists have busy inboxes. If someone is happy to take your call, it’s a better way to go about introducing yourself, I find.

Q) Asides from these signals, what other tips would you give to companies who want to look like a credible ‘brand’ online?

A) Social signals, evidence of real customers talking with you or two you online and things like that. A real business has real customers. And if you’ve left them with the warm and fuzzies, they’ll be talking about you online (unless you’re in a sensitive niche, of course!).

Real Company Shit” as Wil Reynolds refers to it is critical. Ultimately, if you want to look like a credible brand online, then be one.

Q) Are you still guest blogging after Matt Cutts recent announcement? And if so, how are you going about it?

A) Yes, I am. And I’m still running guest editorial on my own blog as well. Particularly with the amendment after his post, Matt Cutts made it clear that what he is calling out is crap guest blogging.  I wrote about how badly this has led to people misinterpreting Matt Cutts. I think if you’ve always had quality at the centre of your guest editorial, then carry on! That’s my view.

300 Seconds
300 Seconds

Q) You have spoken at a few SEO events (Search Love, BrightonSEO) do you have any tips for aspiring conference speakers about how to go about it?

A) I’d suggest starting by attending a few conferences. Get to grips with the topics, the formats and meet some people. Then get involved in some small events just to get some experience under your belt. There are some great opportunities for women in the UK in the form of a series of small conferences by 300 Seconds where women new to the scene can get a 5 minute talk under their belt in a comfortable environment. They can then reference this in future pitches (there will be a version on Youtube for you).

When you feel ready, pitch on of the conferences that has an open pitching policy (SES and SMX both do). My first big conference was SMX London in 2013. That led to invites from BrightonSEO and SearchLove.

Getting the slot is only half the battle though. If your content isn’t right or you miss the brief, the chances of a repeat invite are slim. So really do set out every single time to deliver the absolute best you possibly can.

Q) Lots of SEO agencies and professionals have been rebranding themselves recently, do you think that SEO is becoming a dirty word?

A) I think it has dirty connotations to it, yes. SEO is evolving and in order to compete effectively now, there are more skill sets required than were required, say, 5 or 10 years ago.

But I think the way to overcome any dirty connotations when talking to prospects or clients is an education session on where SEO was and where it’s at now – the role of content marketing and so on.

Q) I’ve got a site I want to SEO, but I have literally no budget, what is your number one, free SEO tip?

A) Start by researching all possible ways in which someone looking for your site might find you. Focus on the long tail – tools like UberSuggest.org are awesome for that. Use this data to populate your site with useful content tailored to the different ways in which people might look at you.

Invest a LOT of time getting the on site content absolutely spot on. And in terms of link building, network, make friends and engage with others online. It’s through contacts you’ll find yourself invited to contribute on others’ websites and being talked about online (which results in links).

A good quick win method for existing businesses with a decent offline offering is to do a search for mentions online that don’t have links. That’s a nice freebie!

Q) What are your favourite SEO tools?

A) I use loads. The ones I use most are Screaming Frog, the Moz suite, Search Metrics, Majestic SEO and Buzzstream.

Q) Who would be your dream SEO client and why?

A) Disney, mostly just because I’m a massive fan. But they have this huge engaged market, so much scope for content marketing and so many avenues where online traffic and sales can be measured (from park bookings to the sale of soft toys, for example).

Q) Who are your favourite ‘SEO rockstars’?

A) Love to hear Wil Reynolds speak at any conference. He’s always informative and engaging. Similarly, Kelvin Newman is incredibly knowledgeable, so too is Aleyda Solis. And one of the most insightful people I’ve ever spoken to about outreach is Gisele Navarro.

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Ask an SEO – Paul Delaney on managing clients and their expectations

Managing expectations is a vital part of any SEO campaign, and a good account manager will be adept at doing this, by balancing realistic targets with the resource available to them. I caught up with Paul Delaney, SEO Account Director at MEC Manchester and asked him how he goes about this.

Paul Delaney
Paul Delaney

Q) Hi Paul, could you maybe start by giving me some insight into what a typical day in the life of an Account Director looks like?

A) A typical day consists of reviewing campaign activity for the clients I’m responsible for. This consists of keeping up to date with communications between internal and external teams, dealing with any queries from clients, operationally as part of the senior team we look at planning and product development to ensure that MEC are continually keeping up with market trends and that our product remains best in class.

Q) Tell us about your firm MEC, what does the team and setup look like there?

A) MEC is an all service media buying agency, we have core groups for each discipline and the structure is generally what you’d expect from any agency, an example for my clients would be myself, a Senior Account Manager, account manager and an Executive with touch points from the content team and the wider areas of the business.

Q) When you’re pitching for a new account – what do you hang your hat on, what are MEC’s USPs?

A) The ambition of MEC is “To be our clients’ most valued business partner – famous for inspiring people & exceptional results.” with this ambition, when pitching SEO/organic performance we pride ourselves as a best in class enterprise service and we are also the highest ranked media agency for the last 3 years in The Sunday Times best 100 Companies to work for.

Q) MEC are a media buying agency, does that mean that you can leverage relationships with publishers for links? If so, do you have any insight into this process and how perhaps those without these relationships could go about this?

A) Being a large media agency we do have the benefit of contacts throughout the business, from a link POV it’s not something we go for in isolation, as part of wider campaign activity we ensure that any SEO value is looked at when campaigns are being planned and executed.

Q) Could you share with us some insight into how your SEO campaigns are set out in terms of targets, are these focused on rankings or traffic? Are there any PRFs involved?

A) Each campaign is very different to the next, a typical campaign is set out to ensure the client KPIs are continually measured against be that rankings, traffic, sales, ROI. We ensure a site is critiqued for top to bottom and all angles covered from a technical viewpoint including audits, research as well as the on and off site activity.

Q) Is it easier or harder to do SEO in a full service agency, as opposed to one that simply focuses on SEO?

A) It’s a bit of both to be honest, when solely focusing on an SEO campaign in isolation it can be easier as the tasks in hand are very specific and managed accordingly, with clients with multiple media disciplines co-ordination with wider teams is key in terms of planning and communications.

Paul is involved in Salford University's Search & Social Media Marketing Course.
Paul is involved in Salford University’s Search & Social Media Marketing Course.

Q) Do you outsource any elements of your SEO campaigns, or is all work carried out internally?

A) We have a very experienced and strong team for our content creation and outreach that means we don’t need to outsource our work, as part of a wider company we can reach out to other parts of the business to co-ordinate anything that doesn’t sit within our team.

Q) My experience of agency-side SEO has been something like this – sales promises the earth to get clients in the door – SEO team then struggles to meet these expectations. How do you prevent this from happening?

A) As an all service media buying agency the process to win new business is a long and thought out one, multiple rounds of pitches take place and all teams involved work together to plan for resource to ensure that new clients are serviced to the full ability.

Q) As an in-house agency copywriter, I was often handed some pretty unrealistic deadlines due to account managers with a lack of understanding of how long things actually take. Does having been at the coal face in terms of actually working on SEO campaigns help you to avoid doing this? How hands-on are you in terms of campaign delivery?

A) Yes indeed, having worked in SEO for 5+ years I fully understand how long things take to produce and part of my role is to ensure that campaign delivery is managed through our content team and ensuring both expectations of the client and internal teams is co-ordinated, so very hands on managing the process.

Q) Prior to joining MEC, you looked after operations for Latitude Express, an SEO service aimed at the SME market – how does that differ to your current role where you are presumably working with much bigger brands? Do you have any tips for SMEs with limited budgets on what to focus on in relation to SEO?

A) Yes the role differs greatly in terms of the size of clients, the pressures are still the same, ROI. With the ever changing face of SEO it’s important that SMEs with limited budgets ensure that their site is in the best shape possible and also ensure the correct agency is chosen if partnering that the advice given is correct.

Q) How do you deal with the issue of getting buy-in and SEO recommendations implemented by your clients?

A) When working with large clients it can be challenging and therefore it’s imperative that any recommendations the team and myself are giving to clients is discussed and the relevant stakeholders are engaged, my role is to ensure that a clear and concise strategy is delivered and maintained, generally a marketing manager is the day-to-day contact and they understand the values of what we are trying to achieve so good communication is important.

LinkRisk
LinkRisk – one of Paul’s favourite SEO tools

Q) Some more general SEO questions now – one of the SEO tactics frequently used in the past is press release syndication, has your approach to this changed recently following Matt Cutts’ recent comments?

A) I still use press releases post Matt Cutts’ comments, a press release can be used to not just gain links but to be used for visibility and get important client information out there, I believe that traffic can be gained as well as any declining link value, a press release generally should be as it’s named and not just created for links.

Q) Who would be your dream client and why?

A) Good question! There are so many brands that would be great to work on it’s hard to say, I suppose brands like Apple and Sony stick out for the range and quality of their products. They would be good to work on from an all-service point of view as the creative options would good.

Q) What are your favourite SEO tools?

A) There are so many out there but my go to tools are Search Metrics, Majestic SEO, Linkdex, LinkRisk, I also develop my own tools for some tasks as well as using proprietary tools we have built.

Q) Who are your favourite SEO rockstars?

A) I don’t really like using the term ‘SEO Rockstar’ but good industry people I follow and trust are Martin MacDonald, Bas van den Beld, Kevin Gibbons, Joost de Valk to name a few. I also engage within the Manchester Search and Social community so the likes of Shane Jones and the 3 Door Digital guys.

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