The Business Of Web Design Conference 2014 – An SEO’s Perspective

Yesterday I attended The Business Of Web Design 2014 (#tboWD), which was held on my doorstep in Cardiff. Although I am not a web designer, I could see from the conference’s talk topics that a lot of it would relate heavily to SEO freelancing – and I was right.

The question “how much does a website cost?” is so similar to the question “how much does SEO cost?”, when you’ve not even been told the prospect’s industry, their goals (e.g. whether they want to rank for a really tough keyword or a few less competitive keywords) or even the URL of the site. Determining how to price yourself as a consultant – whether it be on a basis of time or the potential value/ROI offered to the client – is applicable across both industries. And getting a client to say “yes” to things can be just as tricky in SEO as it is in web design.

In addition to eight fantastic talks, there was a panel Q&A at the end, and to my terror (but also delight), the wonderful world of SEO was debated. I spent the first few minutes of my recent unified.diff talk tackling the subject of SEO’s terrible reputation – especially in the eyes of the web design/development community – and have previously blogged about how one of the best compliments I’d ever received was from a highly-respected local developer. Fortunately, while there were some stirrings of the typical “SEO is evil” type talk that we’re so used to seeing, I was really surprised and pleased to discover that the debate was handled really well. I’ll go into more detail below.

(Note: for those where it says “[Slides TBA]” for now, I’ll update the post with the slide deck embeds as-and-when they all become available.)

1) How much does a website cost? – Sean Johnson

[Slides TBA]

Sean Johnson photoSean (@seanuk) kicked things off with the question from prospects that often causes the most chagrin: “how much does a website cost?” Why? Because the answer is always: “it depends!”

What’s your industry? What are your goals with the website? Do you need eCommerce functionality? Does it need a blog? This applies to SEO so, so much: What’s your industry? What are your goals? Is the site brand new? Is the site even live yet? Has SEO work been carried out before, and if so, were spammy tactics involved? How can a web designer or SEO quote effectively without knowing that type of info first? The answer is: not very effectively. Not very.

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3 Things I Learnt Muting 50 World Cup Twitter Hashtags

Deflated football imagePeople who know me well know one thing about me: I’m not a fan of football. So much so that one time, when I guy I didn’t know for very long asked me over Facebook if I’d be keen to join him in a game of 5-a-side, an old school friend of mine joined in in the comments in what can only be described as “hysterical laughing”…

With World Cup fever taking over these past couple of months, I got in the habit of muting WC-related hashtags on Twitter. I did the maths following on from the final and found out that I’d muted 50(!) of them altogether (you can see the full list below). Looking back, I learnt 3 things…

1) Football fans love their consistency

It irks me when you go to an event and people on Twitter use 2 or 3 different hashtags for the same thing – e.g. #EventName, #EventName2014, #ENAbbreviated, etc. etc. It sucks because it’d be good to have all the event-related tweets all in one place, assigned to one hashtag. Well, with football, that ain’t gonna happen…

The Germany vs Brazil game saw #BRA, #BRAGER, #BRAvGER, #BRAvsGER, #BrazilvsGermany and #GERBRA all in use as once. Football fans: WTF? Seriously, you guys needs to decide on a consistent hashtag and go nuts on that one.

2) Muting some hashtags is a tricky business (if they overlap with other topics)

The mighty #CRO… Conversion Rate Optimisation or Croatia? Suffice to say I left that one unmuted (or thinking about it, I could’ve just muted it for a period of time – e.g. one month, instead of forever – but never mind)…

3) No matter how much you mute…

…You’ll never be able to stop some tweets – especially those where people don’t use a hashtag.

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HARO Hurrah – A HARO Case Study, Guide & Tips

Reporter with "polar bear" image
A few months ago, I finally signed up to HARO (Help A Reporter Out), after hearing good things about it (e.g. it’s listed in Jon Cooper’s mighty Link Building Tactics post) and getting a glimpse into how it worked during my last agency role (the marketing manager was signed up to it and used to pass SEO-themed requests onto me).

HARO logoFor those of you who aren’t already aware of HARO, it works like this: basically reporters sign up to it and submit request for comments and opinions from experts (more info here). For example, someone from an employment blog may be writing an article on the most embarrassing faux pas recruiters have ever seen on a CV, and they’d like half a dozen recruiters to chip in with their comments. Those who are successful get their comment published in the article, getting a mention and (sometimes) a link, resulting in brand exposure, potential social media exposure (if it’s tweeted, etc.) and – of course – a boost in SEO. So if you’re a freelancer or an agency, you can administer the process between the reporters and your clients (a bit like guest blogging – just replace “guest bloggers” with “reporters”)!

HARO may have gotten a bit of bad press (oh the irony!) in the SEO industry a little while back (although it was pretty much dismissed immediately),* but just like with anything, if you abuse it, you may get in trouble with Google (akin to the whole guest blogging debacle), but if you do things properly and legitimately, you’ll be fine.

* EDIT: The author of the “bad press” link above – Bill Hartzer – has left a comment at the bottom of this post elaborating on what happened…

Oh and obvious disclaimer: I’m in no way affiliated with HARO. In fact, I nearly gave up on it (until I finally started to see results for clients). So there we go.

Don’t be put off by the emails…

When you first sign up to HARO, it can be a little overwhelming and even make you think that it’s a little… spammy (even though you yourself signed up to it). You get three emails a day (morning, afternoon and evening in US time) and sometimes they can be looong…

My advice is to login and change your preferences so that instead of being sent the ‘Master HARO’ list (i.e. everything), you tailor it to only receive the stuff that you’d like to receive.

HARO Preferences screenshot
I only get ‘Business & Finance,’ ‘General’, ‘High Tech’ and ‘UK’ – I currently don’t have any clients in the travel industry, so it doesn’t make sense to receive any ‘Travel’ requests. There tends to be overlap (i.e. a request appearing in two or more sections, e.g. if it’s general and also UK-specific), so don’t worry too much that you’re missing out if you restrict it (if in doubt, keep a few boxes ticked rather than just one or two).

Depending on your industry, it can be cracking…

One of my clients is a recruitment agency. The amount of job/recruitment-related requests that come through HARO is almost ridiculous. It. Is. Incredible. I end up sending them a few a week, and sometimes more than one a day.

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SEOno News & GB Posts: Part 9

I’ve not blogged much in recent months, and there’s one main reason…


Rory's 1st Tenso GIF

(The baby – not the man (my dad) holding him, obvs.)

(Why yes, I have turned my newborn son into a Tenso GIF… What of it?)

I always try my best to do at least one post per month here on SEOno, so you’ll have to forgive me if this isn’t achievable in the coming months…


Other than the baby-shaped obvious…

Contributions on other sites

I’ve been interviewed! I talk about SEO, how I got my start in the industry and my approach to consulting.

I also contributed to this article back in April: 11 Productivity Hacks for Your Content Creation – Find My Way Blog

SEOno News

Choose Your Own Adventure – SEO For Web Developers: My unified.diff Talk

unified.diff 1st slide screenshot
Last week I spoke at unified.diff, a monthly software/web development meet-up that’s made its home at the wonderful FoundersHub. It was a good and busy crowd.

I was sandwiched between interesting and entertaining talks about the Robotic Operating System and JSON Schema. Additional photos can be found here.

And here are the slides…

For my talk, I decided to challenge myself. I took on the Choose Your Own Adventure format – they were a bunch of books where you decided the journey of the character. Do you climb the mountain (go to pg. 33) or dive into the cave (pg. 38)? You chose the cave? Oh no! You were eaten by a bear! Go back to before that happened (pg. 29), and so on. I remember having a Sonic The Hedgehog CYOA book (in fact, I think it was this one).

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