SEO

Guest Blogging? Routinely Check Old Posts for Bad Comments

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If you’re doing SEO, you’re probably doing link building, and if you’re doing link building, you might be doing guest blogging as a tactic. Despite Google saying that it’s done as a tactic a while back, I think it’s still a good, viable strategy – if you’re doing it properly, of course.

When it comes to comments sections, the issue with guest blogging is that you’re relying on someone else to manage and administrate the comments for you. On your own blog, you may choose not to have comments on blog posts at all, but if you do, you’ll probably check them and approve/deny them before they go live – and even so, you’d probably get a notification if a new comment is pending. If it’s a guest blog post then you’re leaving that process in the hands of someone else. Some of them actually notify you as the author (e.g. I get notified of comments against my posts on State of Digital), but not always…

I had a heart attack when a client’s guest post had a negative ‘troll’ comment against it. For six months. Neither me, the client nor the blog owner spotted it until I happened to check something on the post and caught it then.

The nightmare moment

Ironically, I discovered the troll comment because I was contacting another blog about a guest posting opportunity and they wanted to see other examples of the writer’s work, so I went onto the site to dig it out. It was only then that I discovered the offending comment (…and obviously I didn’t share it with the person who wanted to see examples – for obvious reasons, heh).

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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.

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Introducing… Cardiff SEO Meet

Cardiff SEO MeetCardiff has a lot of awesome stuff going for it. Meetups and communities for entrepreneurs. Meetups and communities for designers. Meetups and communities for web and software developers. Meetups and communities for digital folk. But there’s nothing specific to SEO. Wait for it… Wait foor ittt… Until now!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Cardiff SEO Meet. A few months ago I asked about a dozen or so SEOs native to South Wales for their thoughts on running an event of this type (a huge, HUGE thank you to everyone who responded – I owe y’all a drink!) and teased on State of Digital that I would put something together in the beginning of the year. Unfortunately I got pretty busy and couldn’t get anything sorted until now, but better late than never eh?

Got questions? Good, ‘cos I’ve got answers!

Topic? Err… SEO. Well, SEO and stuff related to SEO, so I’m happy to introduce elements that aren’t strictly SEO but are closely related to SEO, so other digital marketing topics. BrightonSEO started doing this a few years ago and it went down really well.

Who’s it for? Everyone is welcome. Whether you’re a part-time or full-time SEO working agency-side, in-house or freelance, or a digital marketer with another specialism (e.g. social media, email marketing, etc.) with an interest in SEO, or a small business owner or blogger who wants to learn a bit about how to do it yourself, I’m hoping that there’ll be something for everyone. I’m going to try my best to balance the talks and topics so that nothing’s too beginner and nothing’s too advanced, so that everyone can get the most out of it.

When? Once a quarter, with the first one starting in May. I’m hoping to finalise and confirm the date in the next few days, so keep an eye on the Meetup page for the details. I’m aiming for either a Wednesday or Thursday evening towards the end of the month. Then the same again in August, then November, then February, and so on…

Once a quarter? Why not monthly? Honestly? I don’t know if there’d be the demand for monthly. Plus I don’t want to be a position where I struggle to find speakers for the events (which is what happened to Unified Diff). If I’m wrong though then I’m happy to bring it up to bi-monthly, and then monthly. But let’s see how the first few go first, yeah?

Where? The upstairs of the mighty Urban Tap House in Cardiff city centre, which is fairly close to Cardiff Central Station and various car parks (including St David’s 2). I adore their burgers (they even have tasty gluten-free options!) so it’s a delight to be able to host it there.

How much? It’s free entry.

What’s the format? In addition to talks, I have the idea to run public site reviews, where people volunteer their sites to be audited and we (as the audience) offer advice on what to do. I don’t think anyone’s ever done it before – and I completely realise and admit that that might be because it’s an absolutely horrendous idea…! But we’ll give it a go in May and see how it goes. The survey suggested that a lot of people are interested in the idea, and I think that it’d be a good way to learn a few handy SEO tips as a group.

Who are the sponsors? Well, seeing as I’ve set it up and have been paying for all the costs myself… me (or Morgan Online Marketing to be exact). And Computer Recruiter.

How do I keep updated? A dedicated website* is on its way (when I have time to throw them together), but in the meantime, please join the Meetup page and/or follow @CardiffSEOMeet on Twitter.

* For the time being, cardiffseo.events redirects to www.meetup.com/Cardiff-SEO-Meet/ – yes, with a 301 redirect (I double-checked)…

I have more questions! Tweet me, leave a comment below or start a discussion on the Meetup page, my friend. 🙂

Lastly, I just want to say a big thank you to the event organisers and communities in South Wales for inspiring me to run something myself, especially Cardiff Start, Unified Diff and Cardiff Blogs – you guys rock. I used to put on events at uni and wanted to get into event management when I left uni but accidentally stumbled into SEO as a career path instead, so it’s good to be able to do this again. Feels weirdly full-circle, y’know? Anyway, I should probably end this blog post because I get philosophical or something…

See you in May!

The 1-Star Sucker-punch – Dropping the Ball on Online Reviews

Seeing stars imageAs SEOs we often have our focuses and our biases: our remit is to help improve clients’ visibility in search engines, after all.

However when working with SMEs in particular, you might be their go-to guy/girl for all their online marketing questions – not just SEO. I always try to offer help and advice on other areas if I can – such as social media and UX – but ultimately some things slip through the cracks. This post is an example where giving the client too much a focus can actually be a bad thing… They may perform one task really well, but then struggle to adjust strategy when it matters…

One of my clients has a big focus is on Local SEO: boosting the Map listing. If you Google “[keyword] [location]” keywords then oftentimes a Google Map shows up. And a big factor of that is getting positive Google reviews against the listing. We do pretty well all things considered, especially given that they’re not based in Cardiff city centre and instead operate on the edge of the city.

I did all the right stuff: I told them who was best to contact (happy clients) as well as the optimum time to contact them (just after a project had finished). I gave them an adaptable email template to use, containing info for the clients on how to leave a review and the appropriate links to the listing, etc. Over time, they hit the (ideal) minimum of five reviews and just kept going and going, eventually hitting more than ten 5-star reviews.

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It’s Taking 34 Weeks (& Counting) To Edit A Yahoo! Local Listing

Yahoo! thumbs-down imageIf you want to edit your Google My Business listing, you login (or claim access), make a change, submit it, and then it could take up to 3 days for the change to happen – but usually it’s almost instantaneous, if not within an hour or so.

If you want to edit your Yahoo! Local listing, …haha. Haha. Hahaha. HaHaHaHa. HAHAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Yeah, good luck with that.

In the UK it has to be done via Infoserve, and the official response is that it takes 8 weeks for a change to go through (which you find out after you’ve applied to edit a listing). That in itself is an embarrassment, so it’s pretty humiliating that – despite multiple attempts and 8-week waits – I’m still waiting for a change to go through for Computer Recruiter, my parents’ business.

14th May 2015 – I put in a request for an amendment of the listing as the postcode was incorrect, it was showing the company’s old web address, and the phone number was showing up as the fax number. An Infoserve employee (who shall remain nameless) dutifully replied informing me that it’d take 8 weeks and that it’d therefore be ready by 9th July 2015. I asked why it took so long (“8 weeks?!”) and got some nonsense reply about it being their standard process or whatnot.

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