Penguin Sweepstakes! When Will Google Penguin v4 Land?

A harmless tweet from my friend and fellow SEO Andrew Isidoro gave me a great idea…

What if we did a sweepstake for when Penguin is going to land, and the winner can get prizes/freebies from various SEO people?

Google have announced that the very much long-awaited Google Penguin v4.0 algorithm update “will still happen in 2015,” meaning that (unless it’s delayed into 2016) sometime in the next two months, Penguin shall wreck its usual havoc on the SERPs.

The rules

Bling penguin imageWant to play? Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Tweet me your preferred date. Please do not email it to me or leave a comment below – for the sake of fairness and making sure that people can (publicly) see who entered when (just in case there’s any disputes), I’ll only accept one means of entry: via Twitter.
  2. If a date is already taken, you cannot claim it. In other words: only one person per date. This also means that only c. 60 people can enter – as soon as all applicable dates are taken (from now until 31st December) then that’s it I’m afraid…! Please check the calendar below to see what’s taken and what’s still available.
  3. I’ll update the calendar with your entry, then we’ll wait and see when Penguin strikes.

For full terms & conditions, please see the bottom of this post. Yes… I have gone to the effort of providing full-on T&Cs, because knowing my luck, someone will kick up a fuss if things go wrong, so I’m just doing it to cover my behind. Overkill much? Yes. But better to be safe than sorry.

The prizes

Prizes confirmed so far:

  • A free one-year licence (worth £99) for Screaming Frog (thanks Dan!)
  • A free three-month Pro plan for Moz, plus a prize pack that will include the Roger figurine and a few other things (worth c. £200+ – thanks guys!)
  • A free one-year Pro licence (worth c. £200) for URL Profiler (thanks Patrick!)
  • A free one-year Multi Business package (worth £2-300) for BrightLocal (thanks guys!)
  • Two free Whitespark accounts (worth c. £500 combined!): an SEO Specialist account for the Local Citation Finder & an SEO account for the Local Rank Tracker (thanks Darren!)
  • A free six-month Pro plan (worth £2-300) for SEMrush (thanks Olga & co.!)*
  • A free one-year licence (worth c. £230) for AccuRanker (thanks Krystian!)
  • An Übersuggest t-shirt (Large) kindly donated by Chris Dyson of Triple SEO (thanks Chris!)
  • A couple of BrightonSEO t-shirts (thanks Kelvin!)
  • [More prizes announced soon hopefully!]

* Unfortunately the SEMrush prize isn’t applicable to existing customers due to the complications that would arise around their payment system. If a current user wins the prize, they’re happy to offer alternative prizes instead, such as custom reports, additional keyword allowances, an upgrade… that type of thing.

All amounts above that are usually in dollars (e.g. Moz) are rough, based on the current exchange rate.

The calendar

There’s probably better ways to visualise it (answers on a postcard in the comments please!), but I’ve used this plugin (IBS Calendar) to do so. Behold:

 Event List


Click to read more!

5 SEO Tips for Online Sellers – an Online Seller UK Podcast

Online Seller UK logoI recently appeared on a podcast for Online Seller UK – run by my friend Prabhat Shah – where I gave 5 SEO tips for online sellers / Ecommerce websites. I’ve previously spoken at an Online Seller Wales event (where I gave a list of link building tactics suitable for Ecommerce websites), so it was a pleasure to be asked to do a podcast as well.

You can listen to the podcast here, or below:

Here are the 5 tips (in quick bullet-point form):

  1. Get your own website (instead of only relying on a profile on eBay or Amazon),
  2. Look into implementing structured data – such as – so that review/rating stars appear next to your listing in Google’s search results,
  3. Watch out for duplicate content issues (which can be notoriously bad for Ecommerce sites in particular),
  4. Try and write unique content and descriptions for all of your products,
  5. Get links from the websites of the brands that you sell, as many of them have Our Stockists or Where To Buy sections – I wrote about this in more detail for a recent State of Digital post.

MOM Shortlisted for 2 Awards in the UK Search Awards 2015

UK Search Awards 2015 shortlist bannerI’m delighted to announce that I’ve been shortlisted for two awards in the UK Search Awards 2015. The two categories are Best Low Budget Campaign and Best Use of Content Marketing, both of which were for my work with Computer Recruiter on their CR 25 campaign, which I’ve spoken about at BrightonSEO and for SEMrush.

CR 25 was a lot of hard work, so it’s great to get a bit of recognition for it. I’m chuffed simply to be shortlisted, but to win as well would be absolutely amazing. I guess we’ll have to see how it goes in 6 weeks’ time…!

EDIT: Thanks also to Welsh ICE for writing about it on their blog, too!

Have Your Cake & Optimise It Too – My Design Stuff Cardiff Talk

Design Stuff Cardiff logoOn Thursday 23rd July, I spoke at the 14th Design Stuff Cardiff event. My talk gave SEO advice aimed at the design community, covering SEO basics while advising on the SEO tactics that are most suited to designers: e.g. image SEO and link building tactics such as ‘web design by’ links, showcase websites and by finding non-credited images via reverse image search.

Here are the slides…

…And here is the video, which can also be watched on the DSC website:

At the end of the talk, Dan (DSC’s main organiser) asked the crowd if they’d learnt something new from my talk and virtually the whole room put their hand up, which was great to see. (Just don’t ask me how the book giveaway went…!)

I shared the stage that night with friend and fellow ICEr Warren Fauvel (@WarrenOF), who did an incredible talk about why design is doomed as it becomes more automated, and the ways that designers can adapt accordingly. I recommend watching it, whether you’re a designer, an SEO or if you work in another related creative/tech sector – it’s one of the best talks I’ve ever seen.

This has been my fourth speaking gig in as many months (actually, I’ve done five talks in four months, as I haven’t counted one smaller, more informal talk), with nothing else lined up now in the near future. To be completely honest though, I’m quite thankful to be taking a bit of a break from it, which will give me chance to concentrate on my SEO consultancy business as well as a few other side-projects that I’d like to work on. Stay tuned for some exciting news coming soon…

5 Ways That Bloggers Can Get Links Back To Their Blogs

This post is a repurposed HARO request – to find out more about this process, check out my post on State Of Digital all about it.

Linking diagramAs bloggers, we often get very fixated and carried away with our blogs: making sure that the content that we produce, the blog’s design, etc. are all absolutely perfect. SEO often enters the mix as well (in a do-it-yourself capacity), but it’s not simply a case of adding the WordPress SEO plugin – which is, admittedly, great – to your blog and thinking that that’s all you need to do on the SEO front…

On the contrary… On the link building (a.k.a. off-site SEO) side of things, the possibilities are endless and the fun never ends. It’s not a quantity game, but the more high quality, relevant and natural links that you get pointing to your website (or your blog, as is the case here), the better that it’ll perform from an SEO standpoint, resulting in a likely increase in visibility from organic search – i.e. when people are Googling content relevant to your blog, they might stand more of a chance of finding it, resulting in more traffic to it. So while you can tinker and tweak your site’s internal workings to improve its on-site SEO, you can also improve its off-site SEO by acquiring inbound links.

But how do you go about getting links? Where do you start?

As an SEO who’s also a keen blogger, here are a few ways of getting links back to your blog that have worked for me:

1) Guest blogging

StOD guest posting bio screenshot
Although this tactic has lost some of its impact due to people spamming it too much (although it’s not all bad – you can read my views here), there might still be some good opportunities to guest blog on other bloggers’ websites in your niche, so it’s worth looking into. In addition to the link back to your blog, the hosting blogger is likely to promote it via their social media profiles, too.

It’s worked for me. Beyond recently becoming a regular contributor on State Of Digital, I have also written posts for Moz, SEMrush and other industry blogs. In addition to getting some good industry exposure, getting links from such high profile websites to my blog has helped with its SEO.

2) Attending blogger meet-ups

Going to local blogger meet-ups simply to get to know other local bloggers and to offer advice can be a good way to get links. I’ve seen people get links because someone’s published a write-up of the event and they’ve included links to all the bloggers that they met there. I’ve even been added to a few bloggers’ blogrolls simply due to taking the time to get to know them.

Cardiff Blogs used to be the big player a few years back, but they run less events now than they used to. Despite this, there are a few blogging-related events that seem to crop up every now and again in the South Wales area – so it’s worth keeping an eye out.

Click to read more!