SEOno is 5

Birthday cake image
This April, SEOno (this very blog) turned 5-years-old.*

Since my very first post on 1st April 2011 – the innovatively titled “My previous posts for other blogs and sites“, which wasn’t an April Fool (despite the date) – I have published 141 posts totalling 144,481 words (whaaat?!), an average of 990 words per post.**

…I need to get out more.

In all seriousness though, I’ve enjoyed running this blog, which I always only ever considered a hobby (I still do), and yet it’s helped me to learn a more about SEO as I work on it, and has even helped me to win clients for Morgan Online Marketing (my SEO freelancing business).

Here’s to another 5 years! 🙂

* Hilariously (to me anyway), I thought my first post was on 30th April 2011, so I was going to post this on Saturday and say “I posted my first post five years ago today!”… only to realise that it was actually 1st April. Oops. So much for that plan. Numpty.

** Kudos to Dashboard Wordcount for that quick little insight.

[Image credit – Andy Eick]

Improving Your HARO Repurposing Efforts

HARO logoI’m a big fan of HARO (Help A Reporter Out). I wrote a guide on it on here, and since then I’ve written a guide to repurposing HARO requests over on State of Digital. This is a follow-up to the latter – a quick, head-slappingly, can’t-believe-I-didn’t-think-of-it-sooner follow-up tip.

To be fair, the entirety of this blog post can be summed up in the following six words: record your efforts in a spreadsheet. There you go – you can go now. …Although if you want to keep my ‘average time on site’ stats nice n’ healthy in my Google Analytics, then do please feel free to read on.

The problem with HARO is that it’s very much fast-paced. You get three emails a day – which is overwhelming enough as it is – and then when you find a good potential request, you have a deadline, which is sometimes (although rarely) up to a week or so, although more often than not it’s only a day or two. If you’re answering it yourself (e.g. I do SEO and freelancing ones on behalf of this blog and my own business) then you need to think of something good to say within that timeframe, too. If your client has to answer it (e.g. I like the client to respond – s/he is the expert in their industry, after all – rather than ghost-writing it for them) then not only do they also have to think of something good to say, but they have to do it in time, which can sometimes be a real challenge. Finally you get something sendable, send it across, and that’s it. WHEW. And relax.

The problem with this? There’s very much a ‘send it and forget it’ mentality about the whole thing. Once it’s done it’s done. If it gets picked up then that’s great; if it doesn’t then never mind.

…Unless you want to repurpose it.

Click to read more!

Online Influence (Oi) Conference 2016 (#OiConf)

Oi Conference 2016
Yesterday (21st April 2016) I spent the day at Online Influence (Oi) Conference 2016 (@OiConf / #OiConf) in Cardiff, with Oi and Freshwater UK sorting me out with a blogger pass (thanks guys)! While most people call it a social media conference (and social media marketing is a big part of it), it covers a range of digital marketing elements, including video, content and user behaviour. Even SEO got a mention or two. 🙂

I have a confession to make though: I went last year, but had a bad experience. I think it was rotten luck… While the kick-off keynote was fantastic, I went to a few bad talks (speakers arguing, tech problems, sales pitches, etc.), lunch was a disaster (I couldn’t eat what was on offer due to food allergies), and there was of course the infamous #panelgate, when the awesome Miranda Bishop (@Miranda_Bishop) challenged – and subsequently joined(!) – the all-male panel at the end of the day.

This year though? Much, much better. The calibre of talks was high, and I took a lot away from them – I’d say that each talk gave me at least one or two holy-crap-I-didn’t-think-of-that takeaways that are useful to me.

Here are the talks that I went to, along with the main takeaways I took from them:

Leaping out of the feed (or don’t let your content be an octopus)

Simon Low, BuzzFeedSimon Low, BuzzFeed

The opening keynote was from Simon Low of BuzzFeed. Now I’m not a big fan of BuzzFeed, but 6 billion monthly visits?! You can’t argue with that.

Fair play, it was a cracking talk – a great way to start the day. Some standout make-you-think takeaways for me:

  • Traditionally, most content creators pour their heart and soul into creating great content but make little effort to promote it – Simon argued that it’s a 90/10 split. BuzzFeed however spend 50% of their time creating their content and 50% promoting it. They realise that great content doesn’t just get ‘found’, and that you have to put the effort in.
  • They also take the time to translate stories into multiple languages, which helps to spread their reach further.
  • During the Q&A, someone asked about the times when things don’t go well when BuzzFeed work with brands. Simon replied by saying that the more that the brand is courageous (and that they don’t ‘sanetise’ what BuzzFeed are doing), the higher the chance of success.

SxSW ’17: why you need to go and how to validate the cost

Gabby Shaw, ADLIBGabby Shaw, ADLIB Recruitment

I was interested in the Meltwater talk (“Digital influence: 4 steps towards getting it, guiding it and growing it”), which was taking place at the same time, but a little bird told me that all the Track A (main hall) talks were being filmed and uploaded online at a later date, so I decided to be strategic and visit other talks in other rooms. That said, I’ve always had an interest in going to SxSW, as I know a few people who have gone over the years.

Gabby talked about the benefits of going, but also made it clear that it can be a costly affair – not just the ‘hard’ costs (plane ticket, accommodation, etc.) but also the ‘soft’ costs, which people often forget about (time out of the office, less chance to liaise with colleagues and clients, etc.).

Click to read more!

3 Reasons Why I Might Not Share Your Roundup (Even If I’m Included in It)

Over the years I’ve participated in a few roundups (a.k.a. crowdsourced content) – sometimes via HARO, sometimes by being approached directly by email. Whenever the latter happens, I’m always chuffed that someone’s asked me and wants me to get involved with what they’re putting together. However, a few recent roundup experiences have left me a little… unhappy. I know that sounds harsh, perhaps even ungrateful, but there’s been a few bugbears with them that I’d like to share, so that other roundup rounder-uppers can avoid them if they can. I don’t know about you, but if I’m included in a roundup that fits one of these three criteria, it’s unlikely that I’ll promote it on your behalf (sorry)…

1) There’s too many people in it

Crowd imageI get the appeal of roundups, on both sides. The contributor gets a link to their site. The ‘host’ (for lack of a better word) not only gets content written for them, but the contributors are likely to share it and promote it on their behalf. If 5 people are included, that’s 5 potential tweets/RTs. If 50 people are included… well, you get it.

I was recently part of a roundup that included over 100 contributors – so many, in fact, that while there’s a pic of a bunch of the contributors, I’m not even one of them, hah! I’m sorry but that’s just too big a number to even be readable – either people will glance through it and/or read the first few, or they’ll simply look for people that they know and only take their contributions on board.

2) There’s no women in it

Graffiti imageAs a young, white, middle-class male, I feel like a complete jerk for even bringing it up – but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t. Rand Fishkin (@randfish) shares this way of thinking and is a good person to follow on the subject in our industry.

A recent roundup that I was involved in contained about 12 people – a nice, decent number. The only problem? There were 12 men (including me) and 0 women. I didn’t share/tweet/RT it – I was too ashamed to.

The same also applies to ethnic minorities. No one likes an all-white, all-male list. Not even white males.

Click to read more!

I’m Leaving SEO to Start a Career in Modelling

** Sorry, modelling industry! This was an April Fool. See my AF from 2014 here. **

The other day I announced the launch of Cardiff SEO Meet. It’s generated a bit of PR interest (due out next week), and in addition to being asked to pass on info about the meetup, I was asked to provide a photo. Rather than to simply pass on a picture of the logo and call it a day, I decided to get some proper photos done. Joe of Eyes Open Media kindly took some photos of me in Welsh ICE‘s courtyard.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate how I look in photos (this is one of the only photos I’ve ever liked, which is why it was my avatar on Twitter, LinkedIn and almost everything else for 5+ years…). Joe’s done an extraordinary job, but I’m a self-critical git who hates various facial features.

Steve Morgan Cardiff SEO Meet photo 1
Steve Morgan Cardiff SEO Meet photo 2
Steve Morgan Cardiff SEO Meet photo 3

  • Uneven eyes? Check.
  • Crooked teeth? Check.
  • Horrendous bags under my eyes? CHECK.

But then… from out of nowhere… one photo bowled me over:

Steve Morgan Zoolander pose photo
Oh my.

Let me just zoom in on that:

Steve Morgan Zoolander pose (close-up) photo
That look – that Zoolander-style pose – made me realise something. I can do this. I can do this for a living. No more keyword research. No more inbound link building strategising. No more 301s, 404s, canonicals or hreflang. I am a born model.

Just so long as I do that pose. And only that pose. Ever.

…But I’m confident that I can.

So here I am, making this announcement via blog post – just like Jonathan Colman did years ago when he announced his move from SEO to UX. I hope that you will support me in my journey to modelling stardom.