I finish my coursework at the end of this month, after which I’ll finally get on with the site redesign. I’m serious. I’m not kidding! I’ve been talking about it for well over a year, so it’s about bloody time I got it sorted. Seriously though, I’m marking it as a priority from September, even at the expense of writing less content until I get it done.
Speaking of content, I have some great posts lined up. I’m in the process of asking for people’s comments for a post relating to online marketing for live music, which will probably end up being one of my next posts. I also have half a dozen or so ideas for content – it’s just having the time write them that’s the issue!
Oh and I have a new job! I started my new role as an SEO Strategist for Box UK in July, as part of their new Digital Marketing division. Exciting stuff!
Guest blog posts
Not really guest posts per se, but 4 new posts on other sites…
Before leaving Liberty, I wrote a two-parter titled ‘What Is Keyword Research?’ The first part covers what it is, why it’s important and how to go about it. The second part covers a few common mistakes people make when conducting keyword research. I was supposed to have another post about PPC appear on a well-known PPC blog on behalf of Liberty, but I don’t think they ever published it unfortunately.
I also have another YouMoz post in the works, which I submitted back in June. I wrote my first one a year ago, which seemed to go down well, so I’m very excited to have another post pending publication. Fingers-crossed this one makes it onto the main SEOmoz blog – I’d be absolutely delighted if that were to happen!
In a few previous posts, I’ve talked SEOno news as well as guest blog posts I’ve written for other sites. Rather than having them as random, standalone posts, like some of thepreviousfew, I thought I’d start a series of them, as-and-when I have anything to share.
SEOno is in dire need of a proper custom design, but with my third and final instalment of my CAM Diploma course coming up over the next few months, it may be a couple of months off just yet. Besides, I prefer writing, so if I have to choose between the two, I’d much rather write a new post than go overboard with the blog’s design. Still, it’s something I have in mind (it’s just a matter of ‘when’)!
Guest Blog Posts
I’ve been quite busy the last few months, mainly writing stuff on behalf of Liberty Marketing:
I’ve had two posts published by the wonderful Ann Smarty (@seosmarty):
Due to other commitments, I have made the difficult decision to postpone blogging on SEOno for at least 6 months.
In September, I was put on the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing for work. With the way things have worked out, a colleague and I have only 9 months to complete all 3 modules, whereas I believe most people have at least 1 year. For my current module, I have 4 weeks to do the 1st drafts of 3 assignments, which has me just a teeny-tiny little bit scared (read: absolutely petrified). Throw in a full-time job and attempts at hobbies and a social life to stay sane and I’m starting to enter ‘juggling-too-much’ territory.
To be honest, since starting this blog about 9 months ago, I feel as though I have not given it 100%. For a start, I’ve hosted it on WordPress.com and not .org, which means I do not even have full control over it for SEO purposes – and someone talking about SEO who doesn’t even have an optimised blog is a little bit… well… bland. (Even though my area of expertise is off-site SEO and not on-site SEO, but regardless…) I’ve also not written as much content as I’d like – I wanted to write a post every week, but at the moment I’m lucky to write one post per month, if that.
Once my course is over, I should have more free time on my hands in order to write for SEOno once again. In the meantime, I still plan to make the move to .org – with the help of the mighty Andrew Isidoro of SEOfosho – plus I will be guest blogging pretty heavily for Liberty Marketing and also writing for their corporate online marketing blog. I also plan to keep attending the wonderful Cardiff Blogs, even though I won’t be blogging in a personal capacity.
So… Thanks to those who’ve read, linked, tweeted and commented my posts so far. Godspeed and happy blogging!
The second is a YOUmoz post, which is the UGC (User-Generated Content) section of SEOmoz, one of the world’s biggest SEO resources and my personal favourite. I’m a massive SEOmoz fan (read: I’m a massive geek), so it’s an absolute pleasure and honour to have had my post accepted. It’s about the word limit affecting the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, which could majorly affect people’s SEO keyword research, especially if they’re looking into short terms and phrases.
In the pipeline, there’ll be more content for the Liberty blog, another YOUmoz post and a guest article for Fresh Business Thinking. I’m also hoping to do a post for Cardiff Blogs (@cdfblogs on Twitter), after having attended their most recent event last month. If any of the above come off then I’ll be sure to link to them in a future post.
News about the blog
The main reason I wanted to update was to say that this’ll probably be the last post on the SEOno blog for a good month or two. The reason for the break in blogging is simply due to the fact that I’m getting married next week!
I won’t lie… I’m a search engine geek. Since discovering SEO 2-3 years ago, I have gradually yet increasingly become more passionate on the subject. And as anyone who’s passionate on a subject will attest to, every subject and/or industry has its experts and its heroes. I have a few, one of them being Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz.
So I was delighted when after liaising with him on Twitter, I eventually discovered something and taught him something that he didn’t already know, leading him to then share the discovery with his 30,000+ Twitter followers. Here’s what happened…
Teaching an expert
A few weeks ago, Rand tweeted saying that he’d seen a weird search result, linking to a screenshot of it and saying that he couldn’t figure out why some of the results were ranking. Looking into it, I responded saying that I thought the anchor text of the in-bound links was helping at least one of the results (a result that didn’t even have the words on the page whatsoever p after all, how else would Google know to show that page for that keyword?)
Although Rand agreed with my theory, he still wasn’t convinced that “it would be enough for such a tough-to-rank SERP.” I replied asking if he thought that perhaps negative/removed keywords could affect the anchor text of in-bound links as well as the on-page text.
At this point, I was tempted to leave it be, but after thinking about it for a while, I decide to look into it some more. Before Rand had the chance to respond, I took a deeper look into it and drew a few conclusions. To my delight, Rand responded positively and enthusiastically.
The next day, I detailed my findings in a post for the Liberty Marketing blog. Although arguably a bit cheeky on any other occasion, I notified Rand of the post’s existence, seeing as we’d discussed it the day before and I thought that he’d be interested.
The result? Rand didn’t retweet my notification, but tweeted about it in its own right, mentioning me in the process, which was probably better than retweeting my tweet (it was certainly more presentable than what I’d written to him).
Compared to other tweets, this one didn’t start with “@steviephil,” meaning that it wasn’t sent solely to me… Instead, it was addressed to his followers. All 30,000+ of them.
For someone who loves SEO, loves learning new things (especially something that no one’s ever documented or picked up on before) and who also looks up to Rand and what he’s achieved in the industry, this was a huge honour. I was ecstatic.
But the purpose of this blog post isn’t to brag about what happened. It’s to talk about the benefits of going to the effort of doing what I did and suggesting that others try and do the same if and when they can. When Rand tweeted the first time, it was Sunday evening (UK time) – I could have ignored it. Hell, I could have missed it altogether, so I was lucky to have caught it and that I wasn’t busy doing something else at the time. I persevered and the end result was certainly worth the effort…
An influx of traffic
Rand’s tweet saw the Liberty blog and the website as a whole get a ton more traffic than usual. Unfortunately I don’t have access to Liberty’s Google Analytics account as I type this, although you can picture the graph: a huge peak on the date of the post, with a drop in the days afterwards.
I may not have Analytics access, but I do have bit.ly account access, and I can tell you that this particular blog post had 30 times the clickthroughs compared to the blog’s other recent posts. We couldn’t believe it!
Okay, so admittedly, although the volume of traffic was great, one can argue that the traffic was probably primarily made up of other SEOs, and although that’s still cool from a relevancy point of view (e.g. they may then go on to browse other news and advice posts we’ve written), they’re hardly our target market. We want business owners to check out the Liberty site – they’re the ones who enquire and hire us for our services, not our industry peers.
However there are still some great benefits attributed to the tweet and the rise in traffic that can benefit Liberty in other ways:
Links: The blog post has acquired more in-bound links than some of Liberty’s other blog posts, probably because more people saw it, offering more of an opportunity that someone would link to it. Also, being mainly industry peers, SEOs – many already owning blogs and knowledgeable about linking – are probably more inclined to link to it than other people. Not only that, but we might also have a legitimate and genuine Wikipedia link opportunity, what with is being an industry discovery and research.
Retweets: Old and new-style tweets combined, Rand’s tweet was retweeted about 20 times. Although the sharers themselves might have mostly been made up of industry peers, their followers may not be. It’s not impossible that one or more of the retweeters was an SEO agency or freelancer in the UK, who has followers that might benefit from Liberty’s services, the retweet along with the link to the blog post now putting Liberty on their radar.
New Followers: Both me and Liberty earned a few more followers as a result of Rand’s sharing, some of whom have hopefully continued to follow us for future tweets and updates, both business and SEO-related.
Pride: In my excitement, rather than retweeting Rand’s tweet, I tweeted about the whole thing separately, giving me a chance to word it how I wanted (a bit like Rand not retweeting my notification but putting it in his own words instead). It gave me the opportunity to call it a “massive honour,” while linking to the Twitter profiles of Liberty, Rand and SEOmoz, all in one tweet. Liberty shared it, as well as Liberty’s PR agency, making it more widely accessible to our more local contacts.
Authority: Linked to the above point (especially in terms of Liberty sharing the tweet), it helped to strengthen Liberty’s authority and standing in the SEO industry. By discovering something like this, we are showing that we know what we’re on about and know what we’re doing. This should give comfort to clients – present and future, current and prospective – to give them confidence in our abilities, skills and knowhow.
Recognition: Now that Rand has seen what I/we can do, it might be easier to do something like this again, with him sharing another discovery. It’s like a foot in the door, with it being not impossible that he might remember and recognise me in the future, especially as I have started to comment on a number of SEOmoz blog posts in my own right (and with the fact that I currently use the same avatar on my SEOmoz profile as I do on Twitter).
Networking: I’m a member (and a big fan) of BNI. It’s given me another thing to talk about and to tell people – in my opinion, saying “we taught an expert in our industry something new” is as impressive as saying “we helped to get a website higher in Google.” Although very few people in my chapter will know who Rand is (and that’s fair enough), they can always look into it afterwards, plus some people in related industries may already know who he is (e.g. web developers and social media specialists – I may not be a dedicated expert in either area but I’ve still heard of some industry experts in both areas).
Things to be careful about
I can’t see this type of thing working for everyone. I do think I was extremely lucky, in noticing and responding to the tweet and in taking the time and initiative to investigate and then write about the issue.
A big risk is the person taking the credit for the discovery themselves. Given Rand’s standing in the industry and his morals and views on sharing with others, I knew Rand wouldn’t do such a thing (“that’s definitely a discovery worth sharing” was almost his way of saying “you should tell people about it”), but that’s not to say that everyone would necessarily follow his example.
Alternatively, they might simply not share it. Rand might have not bothered to pass on the tweet, even with my nudge/notification to him. Or they might not share it properly – I was lucky that Rand @mentioned me in the tweet as well as linking to the blog post, but others might only do the latter.
Which brings me onto a big point – not everyone is familiar with Twitter and not everyone uses it. It may differ from industry to industry, with Rand in SEO being a regular Twitter user, while an expert in another industry simply doesn’t touch it.
However, for those who do, there is no harm keeping an eye on what they say and jumping on an opportunity to help them if they want feedback, advice or someone’s input – it sure worked well for me.