Content Marketing

Awesome content is not enough

Awesome content is the baseline, it’s where you start.

But what is “awesome content”?

I was emailed to ask if I wanted to see an “awesome infographic” from a content provider. They looked to be a high-quality outfit and the email was nice and polite if a little dull and with no real benefit to me. So I wrote them a reply and thought I would share it with you.
I get these emails all the time and they are frighteningly similar. The thing is, it wouldn’t take much more effort to get a better response. I am sure their infographic was truly fab, although I tend to reserve awesome for things like the Grand Canyon or Rowes Cornish pasty.

Hi [name redacted].

Appreciate the opportunity to see your “awesome infographic”.

To be honest, I am swamped with requests to see “awesome” infographics all day long.
In fact, I think we are all drowning right now in awesome content.

Thing is, “awesome” is no longer enough, and what I mean by that is that how awesome your content is not relevant.

I need more than awesome.

You may already be familiar with the term, content shock.

What is needed is to add “relationship” to content marketing.

You and I currently have a relationship based on one email.
You see where I am going with this?

I am not aware that you have done anything for me and so feel no need to reciprocate. You have probably read Persuasion by Cialdini and his thesis on reciprocity.

I realise that the email you sent me is probably a cookie cutter email sent to a list of maybe thousands. And that is done because it does return something, but it’s not the best way to do things. And also, the fact that the email says, “we are about to enter 2018”, makes me think either your email responder is slow or you haven’t had the time or inclination to change the copy. It is after all the little things which make the difference.

Forming relationships with people, getting them to like and respect you is a longterm play and I realise that most agencies and most in-house outreach people do not go for the long term. But these types of relationships bring the most rewards.

It is interesting when most requests come in that there is not even a tweet or a retweet of my work, and yet that would be a free and easy way to get my attention, to give me something. At the very least this would help grease the wheels for your email, to enable it to have a more receptive consideration.

I think most are under the impression that creating great content and letting people know about it is enough, it’s not. They get by with the ease of brute force communication signalling, hitting as many contacts as possible.

Thing is, you probably only needed to persuade one person of high influence and let their tribe do the rest.

Hope you appreciate my comments.

Content Creation

Tesla, the Best marketing campaign in the World and Space

Tesla in space

Tesla car in space


Tesla car in space.

The images speak for themselves.




Tesla Space

SEO Cornwall

How do you become an expert SEO?

I was asked to contribute an “expert SEO” quote for one of those “top SEO speak”, type posts.

You know the type of thing.

I get about one of these requests every couple of weeks, sometimes I respond sometimes I do not. I don’t market myself as an “expert SEO”, and so not really bothered about the label one way or another.

Now let’s make clear about these lists, they are not necessarily 100% accurate and people do get on them (including me) who really shouldn’t always be on the list. But they help market your personal brand, help your incoming links and give a quick boost to the ego (not to be taken too seriously) and do help in the wider scheme of things. After all, a link is a link.

Of course, the writer is going for ego-bait, which can be a very powerful marketing tactic when trying to attract influencers. I have written quite a lot about this subject and it led me to study more seriously the neuroscience of web copy and how to influence, but let’s not get distracted from the topic at hand.

I wonder about such lists and whether or not I should even be on such a list, sharing space with people like Rand Fishkin, Barry Schwartz… etc. And that I wasn’t really an “expert SEO”,  or something like that. And I’m fine with that, I don’t think I should be listed next to those people either and wouldn’t ever push myself to be so.

I also don’t regard myself as an SEO, I am more a “get a website customers” type, and use whichever I think to be the best tool. Be it, content, links, social media, content marketing… etc. and of course, SEO.

But then I watched a video where Cal Newport was speaking about “Deep Work” and how for example, Steve Jobs became an expert in Eastern Mysticism on his way to building Apple and that “follow your passion”, is not always the best thing to do. And it got me thinking about what is it which allows you to attach the label of “expert” to yourself.

I first got online in 1996,  and built my first website in 1998.

Back then a domain name was £50.

I remember using a HTML program called Hotdog, later upgrading to a paid version of Dreamweaver, created by Macromedia. I wish I could get my hands on an earlier version of Dreamweaver as the current one is so bloated. I worked at that website for 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for about 6 months. Completely destroying any social time with friends.

At the time the UK charged for a local call and it would have cost me a fortune, at the time I was a penniless, out of work writer, but one of the ISPs offered a free connection from the hours of 6pm to 7am. And this became my work hours. To keep me company I had purchased a £35 used TV from Portobello Road and the new, BBC rolling news and old movies, the World Service on the radio kept me company in those long hours.

It was a time of Infoseek, Excite, and Altavista. plus other flashes in the pan search engines that came and went quite quickly. One upstart was called, “Google”, I wonder what happened to them?

It was crazy fun doing SEO in those days. You could simply spam the meta tags, a lot did and they did it because it worked.

You could create a page similar to the page ranking ahead of you in the SERPS, tweak it, publish, index, and within an hour the SE would be updated with fresh rankings. This allowed you to make multiple attempts to rank and if focused enough you could rank easily, however it wouldn’t last long.

Those early days of SEO were truly the Wild West and looking back on it now I kinda miss it.

I could talk for hours about this period and places like DMOZ, where if you became an editor you had the ability to hand out links from a highly trusted source. This was where I understood that social skills still mattered when it came to getting a website ranked and that no matter how well you optimised your site with your rad SEO skills there was the site which focused more on greasing the wheels and getting people to link to you. I think that is very much the landscape right now and will always be.

After 6 months of being an utter noob at getting traffic to a website, I think I would get about 10-12 unique visits a day. I was using a stat program called, Urchin, which was very good. So good that Google bought it and relabeled in Google Analytics. I preferred the old Urchin as the new system was more about selling the Adwords system. Which made sense from Google’s POV.

After too long in front of a CRT monitor, I took a month long holiday in San Diego, staying with an arty friend who went on to design the funky stuff you see at the entrance of an outfit called Facebook.

Had a blast, visited the Salton Sea, Grand Canyon, Vegas and fell in love with the desert of South Western USA. Particularly an old mining town called Jerome in Arizona. But, let’s not make this a travel blog.

During the holiday I hung out in the SDSU computer lab and noticed my website was now getting 400 uniques a day. Well, that’s nice.

Back in London, I threw myself back into building my website.

I had great link building wins, for example, the movie, Notting Hill was being made in our street. They covered it in fake snow and the production team gave the residents a bottle of champagne for the disruption. I was able to grab video footage of Julia Roberts and use it to get more links from celebrity sites.

I learned that creating a spectacle and earning links created fantastic ROI.

My website was celebrity based and getting early with the news resulted in good traffic (this method is still powerful).

End of 1999 it was making money via an advertising system (pre Adsense) and was making more money than I knew what to do with. So did what you should do in that situation, head off to San Francisco for two years to hang out. Bagged a primo apartment in Russian Hill.

I had a ton of projects on the good, all pretty much failed.

For example, I bought a domain called, The idea being people could upload video and others would vote on it. An idea that was greeted with, “yeah but what if someone throws themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge, and the video gets uploaded?” The site never happened, mostly because I was not the type of person for such a project and bandwidth meant any video was a thumbnail.

Also, SF was a lot of fun and I didn’t do much work. Yosemite was a drive away and having a British accent could get you a long way with native, female population and so I mostly had too much fun.

Although I do remember the day I arrived in SF. It was exactly the same day the first bubble had burst in the year 2000. I had just taken a 4,000-mile transcontinental drive from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. Only driving on minor roads and eating at non-chain eateries.

It was a journey of a lifetime and learned that in a one-horse town in West Texas, if you pull out $50 in cash you will get told, “oh you must be from the city”. And if you go to Furnace Creek in Death Valley in February, don’t expect heat.

Because of the crash, a lot of time was spent going to auction of bankrupt companies. On Market Street (the main tech strip in downtown SF), expensive desks were dumped on the streets.

The online scene contracted.

But I was still doing ok.

I came back from SF to do a Media Coms course at Lincoln Uni.

Fast forward to 2006 and my site was now doing 30,000 uniques a day.

Not bad for someone who is not an expert in SEO 😉

However, disaster loomed.

I had been deliberately breaking the Google TOS to get traffic, it worked for 6 years but not updating the site with the proper enforcement of the Google TOS meant the site was nuked for traffic from Google. Many sites rank whilst in breach of the Google TOS and a lot of times if you followed the rules you simply didn’t rank.

The site was toast and income stream gone.

Time to pivot.

And so I started to sell services, which quickly pivoted to selling content, links, content marketing training… etc. And local SEO services, a lot of local websites had very bad optimisation as they had been created by a web designer, who typically are more into fonts than they are to improving traffic.

Local SEO was quite easy, (and still is)  it usually takes about 15 mins to assess what was needed, and in that time you can give the advice to increase traffic by 300%+. Implementation can take a little longer but it’s really not that hard to do at the local level.. National and International sites in highly competitive areas, however,  need a different approach, but the basics are the same.

So, does 20 years of building web traffic through optimisation by millions, building optimising hundreds of websites and giving others advice on optimisation, speaking at many SEO conferences, writing about SEO for 10 years on this blog, reading thousands of articles over 20 years regarding online marketing,  make me an SEO expert?

I have no idea.

I would never call myself an SEO expert, but I understand when others do.

Does it mean I shouldn’t be asked to offer a quote to be on a top list?

Maybe, but they keep asking, ironically I got another one a few days ago.



Best UK Web Host for WordPress

I chose Siteground, as the server company when I want to host a WordPress install in the UK.

  1. They are competitive on price.
  2. Servers based in the UK
  3. Great support, quick, know their stuff and no fuss.
  4. WordPress moves and fresh installs easy peasy.
  5. Servers are fast enough to offer great SEO.

My current server is US based, Dreamhost. Which I am very happy with as have a long relationship, but for UK clients I recommend Siteground.

Getting the right server for your WordPress host is crucial. I have had many in the past, big and small. I remember back in 2003 hosting with a one-man band who never seemed to sleep and would make live server changes at the keyboard whilst I waited on the phone.

He was great, but eventually got bought out. I have found the small operators are usually the best. Avoid the big corporate types who advertise on TV like the plague. The problem with the small but nifty outfits is they tend to get bought out by bigger, slower moving entities. I won’t name names of where this has happened already in enough trouble.

Yes, of course, these are affiliate links, it would be nuts not to add aff links to places I vouch for, plus I need to buy a new pair of socks, the current ones have holes. So if you do make a purchase through these links, thank you all over.

And of course, if you wish to cut me out and let the business keep its commission by Googling the company and going direct. You can do that, but know this. My toes will still be cold.


3 Essential Elements of a Successful Blog Post

A successful blog post is one that achieves the task it was created for.

It could be to attract the attention and change the mind of just one person or it could be to excite millions of people to come together and perform one act of kindness.

Whatever the goal, I have identified three elements for success every blog post has.

  • One tree in a forest of trees
  • Social glue within the tribe
  • Delights the brain of a minimum, viable amount of readers

One tree in a forest of trees

First blog post in a brand new blog of a non-famous person will fail.

It is the first tree in what will be a forest of trees. Your tree will not be judged alone, it will be judged within the context of other trees. A person with a horde of fans and followers already has the forest built. When that first tree is planted, it is not alone.

This means a blogger must be willing to put the hours into growing her blog before that one blog post will become a blog post.

A blogger does not have a successful blog post in isolation, it is supported by the body of work which has gone before.

Each tree you plant, nurture and grow makes your forest bigger.

Social glue within the tribe

Human beings desire to connect, communicate and cooperate.

We are many tribes belonging to the one tribe of humanity. We go forward together. A blog must belong to a tribe of many. It cannot be successful if it is a tribe of one.

A blog is a communication tool, it communicates and to others in the tribe and hopefully persuades.

It is a transportation device for taking a thought from the blogger to the reader. The tribe the blog wants to be a part of is the recipient of these thoughts.

A blog post gives ideas, creativity, inspiration, and guidance to the tribe. It becomes the glue that helps hold the tribe together, to enable the tribe to achieve its goals.

A successful blog post adds to the library of the tribe, it is another notch on the communal totem.

Delights the brain of a minimum viable amount of readers

A change in the state of mind must occur in the reader, to allow the reader to know the blog post was worthy of her time.

The number of readers a successful blog post needs could be 1 or it could be 1,000,000. It depends on the specific objective of that blog post.

If you need to persuade one person to change their mind and perform a specific task for you and your blog post only existed for that purpose, then if that occurs the blog post is a success.

If your intention is to get 10,000 people to download an app that will change the world, and you do that, then your blog post is a success.

When you are starting out fresh, you have no readers. But you will. You write for those who seek to know you and desire to dig in deep.

It may be a future post attracts but the past blog posts change them from a reader to a fan.

Your forest of blog posts will enable you to create fans, not the one successful post.

Learn what delights, understand the number of people you need to attract. Focus on those who the blog post is for.

Are there other things which make a blog post successful?


But, I can’t think of any that belong to all successful blog posts.

it helps to be mindful of these three elements when creating your blog posts. We do tend to over complicate things, forgetting that simple truths are often what makes something work.

You could argue that “being useful”, is an essential element. But I would say it belongs to the element of “Social glue within the tribe”. Being useful helps the tribe, it improves your standing with the tribe.

There is much detail within these three elements worth exploring.

It is worth remembering though.

You grow your forest one tree at a time.

Content Marketing

An infographic to help your content strategy

Content marketing is not simply about building content. It’s about employing a specific strategy to employ content and social media marketing to improve the emotional response when people come into contact with your brand.

By using a mix of effective, proven content marketing techniques you can increase the way people feel about your brand, enabling positive reactions as they come into contact. Increasing the chances of building links and creating social media shares and mentions.

Content strategy


Emily Jarvis Christoph Sisson Jay Bear Douglas Holt Peter Noel Murray Joe Pulizzi

Social Media

Cool social media data – Infographic

Incredible data dump regarding social media sites and other websites, although some are saying that all sites are social these days.

Data Never Sleeps 4.0


Content Marketing

What is the future of Content Marketing

Content marketing is war


Content marketing is street fighting, no holds barred, open warfare.

Content used to be cool.

But that time is gone

it’s no longer art, it’s no longer elegant. Yes the good stuff still exists but it gets drowned out. No one seems prepared to sift through the bytes of shite that are vomited daily.

It’s a myth that good, “quality content” rises to the top. You don’t do content marketing if you love content. You do it if you love the sound of the screams of your competitor make as you rip their eyeballs out.

One of the problems that people have when talking about this subject is they use the past to try and determine what we should do now. Myself included.

What is going to happen in the next 10 years is going to be completely different to what has happened in the past 10 years.

I don’t know what will happen, but I know it will be different.

Therefore, focus on fundamentals.

  1. Help people.
  2. Care about people, and make bloody sure they know you care.
  3. Know your stuff, stay sharp and frosty.

Do those three things and everything else will fall into place.


Someone pointed out that they were confused about this post and that is mentions war and then “caring about people”. The war is of course metaphorical and directed at the other content your content is fighting against. I realise that using such aggressive terms whilst advising to use empathy may seem contradictory. I do not.

Indeed, when people go to war they care very much for the people they are fighting for. When you create a piece of content it helps to care about the people you are writing for and not such for the content you are compete against.

I think the idea that you are going to war against the competition is a valid one, perhaps I should have made this more clear. It is important to be able to use criticism as fuel to move forward.

I hope this makes things clearer.

Content Creation

What are the beginner mistakes when content marketing?

Creating Content

What are some common beginner mistakes in content marketing?

Not understanding the fundamentals and over complicating the process

  1. Content marketing is only about two things, communication and persuasion.
  2. Your CM should enable the reader to do two things, save time, make money. Everything else is fluff.
    You don’t need a third, the above is enough. Now I have saved you time, go make some money.

You don’t need a third, the above is enough. Now I have saved you time, go make some money.

But let’s look at this in more detail.

1.  Creating content for the wrong person

A specific mistake may be that a beginner looks at all the content that is being produced, notes that certain types of content are more common and think that is the type of content to create.

The flipside of that mistake is when a content type is perceived to be ineffective because it is so common. The listicle is a prime example.

Not creating content that works, because the creator has a personal prejudice against that type of content. An example is our friend, “the listicle”. If you work in creating content with a view to drive traffic, you will learn to loath the listicle. But the hard truth is


The content is not created for the creator, it is created for the reader

It may be that in your experience you think this type of content is not effective, but that is a different process than thinking, “urgh, I hate listicles, they’re grody to the max.”

The best content creator, in my experience is the one who likes getting under the skin of others, the one who likes to get a rise out of people, the one who needs a reaction to validate their existence. Good content creators are troubled people.

2. Thinking it’s all about the tool

Having a tool means you don’t have to work as hard, it has the promise of saving you time. This is why the idea of the “tool” is very attractive. A blog post that details a list of tools will always work as a type pf content, the more comprehensive the list the better, even if most of the list is not read.

This is because each tool highlighted, each description is a little promise that it will save you time and any content that saves you time gets shared, bookmarked and linked to, more than one that doesn’t.

Which is probably why we see so much content detailing the many tools available to us, such as 12 Free SEO Tools. A blog post I did recently and which drove a nice bit of traffic to this blog.

But you don’t need any tools to do good SEO.

You don’t need tools to create great content.

Yes of course a tool is useful as a mechanical aid to perform a specific task, but excitement over tools is similar to when the DIY nut goes to the store and ends up spending hours going through the specs of the drills, when all she needed was a hole.

It’s really about what happens in the brain of the reader at the time they consume the content

We are wired to compare things, to sort things. The SEO mindset puts this on hyperdrive and so when asked to create content will head to the tools. Therefore if you want to attract the SEO to your blog, create plenty of listicles.

The most simple tool and probably the most effective when it comes to creating content is pen and paper.

But that just sounds boring, doesn’t it?

3. Thinking you can’t come up with new ideas

I often come to a point where I have used up all the obvious ideas for content to create.

The solution to the creative process is the one that works for you. It’s about trying a few out before you find one that fits. This is such a common problem with writers and creative artists that there are many ideas out there about how to get to the point there you have a pile of workable ideas.

My personal solution to this problem is this

  1. Change the state of mind. Creating content and coming up with the ideas for content are two different things and you should think about them differently, just as the state of mind for writing a first draft is different than editing.
  2. Go for a walk, change your metabolism. There are studies that prove that walking aids thinking, plus less chance of distraction
  3. Consume fantastic content. No this does not give you permission to buy the DVD Box set of the Walking Dead to watch from the start, just to experience that “Nagen” moment again. It means consuming content that takes you away from the problem and allows your sub conscious to work on it, whilst shovelling tasty food at the other end.
  4. Discussing with other human beings. Even though the actual information that another person can tell you may not help you, the act of shifting your brain to one on one, personal communication mode is enough to help shake the box and allow the ideas to flow.

Whatever works is what works. If the ideas are not flowing, pick a solution you have never used before and see how it works. With a mind to developing your own personal box of solutions.


In conclusion.

There are are many mistakes that will be made when a beginner, and don’t let them slow you down when it comes to creating content. Mistakes are there as aids to learning, if no mistakes are being made you are probably not trying hard enough.

At least as a beginner you wont have a huge amount of people watching what you do and picking it apart.


SEO Cornwall

SEO Audit of UK Conservative and Labour Party websites

uk general election seo audit

Websites are tools of communication and persuasion. And as such should be used correctly by political parties to achieve their aims. Following best practice web design and SEO it is relatively simple to create a website that Google will love, which increases your chances of ranking higher in the search engine results pages.

Performing an SEO audit on a website is required to establish whether or not a website is following best practice and is optimised in the most effective and efficient way.

It does take a lot of time and effort to do a full audit, but I thought I would show a few examples of what an audit can pick up. As the UK general election is in full swing I thought it would be interesting to look at the two main political parties.

Due to the amount of time a full audit would have taken, we have only been able to do a partial audit and focus on a few important things

Disclaimer: I have no allegiance to any political party, am a swing voter and have approached the analysis of both websites with a completely open mind.

H1 Tag

No H1 tag exists.
Not good, Google values a H1 tag, I would suggest an H1 tag which echoed the title tag. As it would seem that is the most important keyword for the site

Although there are H2 and H3 tags

<h2>Share The Facts</h2>
<h3>Why we need a general election</h3>

Missing a H1 tag is not best practice, and is an opportunity missed to highlight a specific keyword to Google that the page finds important.
<title>The Conservative Party</title>
Functional and showing what is important, but missing an opportunity to add a slogan which will be seen by many. Missing an opportunity for further communication as the title tag is listed in the search engine results pages and does get scanned. A slogan is perfect for that context.

Meta Description

<meta name=”Descriptioncontent=”The Conservative Party – Building a country that works for everyone” />

Again, very functional, very conservative. A phrase that is all about getting on with the job with little fuss. I think this works for the Conservative brand.


Although tricky to say, canocilization is a technical issue with the URL structure, it should follow a logical and hierachical structure, allowing Google to easily decide which of your pages you have deemed the most important.

It is crucial you are able to tell Google which is the front page to your website, as that is the one it will want to rank.

You must only have one of the following that will show in your browser, if not Google may index the duplicate URL and it will weaken your ranking potential.


The Conservative website has correct canocilization,  is correct, as only is available.

Duplicate content errors
Pages within the folder, “” are throwing up duplicate content errors. Possibly these pages should be non-indexed if not needed to rank or the con. This allows Google to know the exact pages needed to rank. Whilst not a major issue, optimising this will make the site more easier for Google to index the correct pages.

Oh, and something interesting popped up. The meta keywords tag is now redundant and yet the Conservative website has, <meta name=”Keywordscontent=”conservatives, conservative, conservative party, tories, tory, david cameron, centre-right” />

Did you spot the error?

H1 tag

Very bad situation with regards to the Labour parties H1 tags.

<h1 style=”margin-bottom: 0.6em;“>We will build a better, fairer Britain.</h1>

You only ever have one H1 tag, whilst you can have many H2 and h3 tags.
It is how Google knows to structure what is important on the page.
A website is a communication and persuasion tool, it should be constructed along best practice guidelines. It’s actually very simple and logical to do this and getting the H1 tag this wrong is inexcusable.

To a web designer or SEO this is quite shocking as the error is not a simple mistake as it is repeated a number of times. Leading me to question the methodology of those who put this website together.

My questions to the Labour party if they were a client would be:

  • Who is responsible for the oversight of the website?
  • Did the web designer who put this page together raise the bad practice issues?
  • What processes are in place to catch such simple mistakes?

I wouldn’t lay the blame at the person who was tasked to do the actual coding, but would investigate the management and systems that allowed this to happen. As whomever is in charge is doing a very bad job.

Title tag

<title>We are Labour &ndash; The Labour Party</title>

Not quite sure of the purpose of the duplication. “The Labour party – insert slogan here“, would be better. Seems redundant and a waste of a call to action opportunity.

Meta Description

<meta name=”descriptioncontent=”We are a people-powered movement. Be part of it.“>

This tells me that the “movement”, is a movement and not a party, is powered by people. Not sure what else a “movement” would be powered by. “Be part of it”, not sure if this is telling me what to do or asking me. It certainly does not inspire a click through if seen in the search engine results page, which is the purpose of the meta description.


This is a complete mess.



Are both available to the browser.
Yes that is correct, the Labour party website does not yet have a https certificate, which enables data to be encrypted between the browser and the website. It is best practice to have one and Google is saying you should have one and Google uses it as a ranking signal. This is again a basic error which any beginner web designer or SEO would know.

Also, the front page now redirects to, which means there are now 3 front pages. It is important you only have one front page to present to Google as it has to chose which one it is going to rank.

The request for contact details would have been better as being above the fold on the original front page and still have the same URL structure. Still filling the screen, but without messing with the structure of the website and its optimisation.

A quick fix would be to redirect the https page to the http page, as well as to redirect to and get rid of the splash page.

But the best solution is to get a https certificate and then redirect all front pages to

Other UK political parties are:

More information on what is important best practice:
Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide from Google, this is a great starting guide from the people who you really should be listening to.

Content Marketing

What are the foundations of content marketing?

Content marketing and what it is and what it isn’t.

  • Blogging is not content marketing.
  • Tweeting is not content marketing.
  • Facebook advertising is not content marketing.

Of course the tools above could be what you use to implement content marketing, they are still only tools.

Content marketing has a problem, if everyone follows the same strategy, using the same tools, creating the same content, connecting with the same followers then you will most likely fail.

It’s not that you simply “do” content marketing. But that you must do it better than your competitor.

Not only that, but you must persuade the audience you are communicating with that your content is worthy of their time and therefore their tweet, link, facebook like, brand connection…etc.

Which highlights the two foundations of content marketing.

Communication and persuasion.

  1. You must communicate the message, clearly and effectively. You need to transport your message into the brain of the person you are communicating with. If this does not happen, you have failed.
  2. You must persuade the person you are communicating with to perform a specific form of action which will meet the objectives of the project. If you do not manage to persuade the minimum amount of people. You have failed.

Everything else, blogging, tweeting, networking…etc is an enabler to allow communication and persuasion to work.

This is what the foundational elements of content marketing are, communication and persuasion.

So when you try to improve your content marketing, don’t just focus on the using the tools, focus on the actual things that make up content marketing.

It is by improving your communication and persuasion skills, and then picking the tool for the job, that you get good at content marketing.

SEO Tools

12 Free Tools to help increase your traffic and SEO

12 Free SEO tools

We are in the best of times when it comes to SEO tools. So many tools now exist for any SEO problem which will help build your online traffic to your website.

The great thing about all this competition from makers of SEO tools, is that a lot of tools are offered free as a form of content marketing.

The bad thing about this is that it creates lots of noise, right now there are so many offers it takes a lot of time to figure out which are the best ones for you.

So we are going to show you some of the ones we like and use. Whilst some are not strictly SEO tools they do ultimately help you with your SEO.


Keyword tool

Quick, clean keyword inspiration and data dump.

It’s quick and you can download to CSV with the free tool, which can give you up to 750 keyword ideas. A quick search for “guitars” threw up keywords that are missed by Google.

Keyword tool

I see this as being additional to the Google keyword tool and helps get a wider coverage. Getting your edge over you competitors keywords can really help, so worth trying out something new.

The paid version will give you more keywords, plus search volume etc…

Also: Check out


2. Google Analytics



It may be an obvious one to the seasoned SEO, but newer students of SEO may not realise this is still the best, free package available. The UI is sometimes confusing to new users due to feature bloat. But once mastered there is no better free tool out there for digging into your data.

Also: Another free alternative that has the benefit of being easy to use is Clicky, which is good to use if you don’t want your data gobbled up by Google.


3. Screaming Frog Spider

screaming frog

The free version of the Screaming Frog spider tool does a great job at crawling your website revealing information on webpages, links, images and other useful data.

It does have a paid option to crawl more than 500 links and lots of other features.

Also: Xenu which has been around for a long time and I still use from time to time.


4. Google Websmaster Tools


It is now called Google Search Console, but a lot of those who have years of experience still call it by it’s original name.
New users sometimes don’t realise the fantastic free, web tools that both offer. Both allow crucial analysis to take place on the health of your website, alongside with important, error alert tools. These tools are essential for any SEO toolbag.
Also: Bing Webmaster Tools


5. Open Site Explorer from
Moz seo tollbar
SEO toolbars are great for giving you quick, visual information for the website you currently have in your browser. This one from is particularly efficient and getting you the important data you need quickly and without fuss.
It has some little extras like a link highlighter which you can set to display “dofollow” links in a different colour to “follow links”.
Also: SEOQuake  another free SEO tollbar, helping you build seo audits on the fly.


6. Google trends
Google trends
Knowing what’s hot and cold with regard to specific keywords can really boost your web traffic. Spot a hot new keyword  and you can catch the wave just right. Google trends is an excellent addition to your keyword, toolbox. You should have a trend spotting system in place which allows you to update your content output in real time.
As with all tools in this list it’s free, but it’s also quick, clean and gives you the ability to drill down into the detail of the keyword, with comparisons over time ranges.
Also: I love this tool, it gives you limited functionality for free, but even this can give you an edge. Seriously look at going the paid route if you can afford it and you constantly need to be on top of social and who is promoting what content.


7.  Similar Web
Sneak a peak at a websites statistics without them knowing
Similar web
I enjoy performing competitive analysis, it’s crucial to check how your website is doing compared to its competition.
Similarweb, allows you to access a number of types of data on competitor websites. I find it best use your own website as a control site to give you a fixed, data point. You do need to hand over your mobile number for verification, but it really is worth it. The tool givesyou a ton of info on web traffic, traffic sources, web content etc…
It’s impossible for a tool such as this to be 100% accurate, but this is a very good attempt.
Also: Ahrefs a very user friendly backlink, keyword etc… seo tool. Its free version can give you lots of great data and is worth having.


8. Check your rank for free
Rank chacker
Fast, clean and free tool to quickly check where a keyword ranks. To get serious and track 1000’s of keywords, look at a paid for tool, but as a free one this does the job.
You can compare keyword rankings with another sites, geo-target the results…etc.
It wins in simplicity by having nothing to get in the way of your task. Other tools fail because they add too many features and force you to invest time to think what to do next.
When all you want to do is check where a keyword ranks on a specific website.
Also:, although this is similar to Ahrefs, albeit with a busier user interface. It does have a great keyword ranking tool, which you can access for free. The paid version is also very good.


9. Create an XML Sitemap
Your website absolutely needs a site map, it can be uploaded to Google Webmaster Tools and help get your content ranked.
Does the job well, but also check out SEO wordpress plugin, by Yoast. It automatically creates a sitemap for you, plus a lot of other things for free.
Also: Google XML Sitemaps


10. Google mobile speed test
Google mobile
Make sure your site is fast on mobile with Google PageSpeed Insights.
Google has a free, mobile friendly test to check out your websites speed. Part of a great user experience is a fast website, and Google is spending  a lot of time and money motivating website owners to make their sites faster and mobile friendly. Back in 2010, Google said the speed of a website would be a factor in web ranking.
For a more in-depth study on website speed and Google rankings, check out the article.
Also: not only checks speed, but a lot of other useful metrics.


11. Robots text generator txt
A robot .txt file will allow you to tell search bots which page to go to and which to ignore. Usually I create them by hand but sometimes it’s great to have a tool that will do the boring bits for you. The Internet Ninja Tool, from Jim Boykin’s company also allows you to do A/B testing to see how different Robots handle your site.


12 Optimise your images

As we all know website load speed in vital for user experience and ranking in Google. Optimising your images to load as fast as they can is an easy win and WP-Smushit is an excellent tool to crunch your images is using WordPress.
Also: Ewww Image Optimizer
 I hoped you like my list of free, SEO tools.
If you have any suggestions of other tools, please leave them in the comments below.
Content Marketing

The Secret to ranking a website

Sapiens seo

I am currently reading, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harariand quite early on he gives us his take on how the Homosapien became the dominant species on the Planet Earth.

It struck me that this reason is the same reason people get websites to rank.

Which is.

“The ability of getting vast numbers of humans to cooperate using the power of stories”.

Stories in the context of religion, nations, tribes, companies. All exist because we imagine them and we do it in cooperation with each other.

To rank a website you need other people to hold a story in their head. That story will help in them giving your website a link, a retweet, a Facebook like or whatever reaction you need.

To create a story that sticks, you need people to believe in it, and believe and trust in the messenger.

We may think it’s all about seo, social media, internet and shiny technology. But really the roots of how to rank a websites are buried deep within our human psyche and why about 70,000 years ago we became the dominant species on our planet.

You don’t just “do” content marketing, you use the very technique that makes us Human.

Content Creation

Why Quality Content does not get it

Emotional content

People share content, love content, devour content because of the emotional reaction they get from it. It’s why polished, visually correct fails all the time. The key to content that works is when it crawls right down inside the brain and awakens something primeval.

I’m going to be writing more on this subject and how to use empathic focus when creating content for marketing.

SEO Cornwall

How to reboot your blog after a long break

Blogging works well when done regularly, however it’s not always easy to keep up the momentum.

As a tool in the online marketing tool box, blogging is still very useful. Not as sexy and trendy as other techniques, but it can really help your SEO, social media and content objectives.

How do you keep up the momentum and blog regularly?

It’s a question on my mind currently as I have taken about a ten month break from regular blogging. I simply lost the taste for it and it no longer did what I wanted it to achieve.

I forgot some of the basic rules of blogging and blogged my way over a cliff.

The idea of tapping out another blog on the keyboard filled me with a loathing and I always found something more interesting to spend my time on.

Looking back over what worked and what did not I learned a few things about my own style and about what does and doesn’t work. We all have a style and it’s important you give room for it as it helps to distinguish you from your competitors.

There are a numbers mistakes I have made and I think they are common as I have seen many other bloggers do them. (I’ve made a lot more than these, but we have to start somewhere)

  • When I write I over think, simplicity is the key in blogging. Complex concepts communicated simply and without fuss
  • I expect others to find things interesting just because I do (no one wants to hear about the Second Punic War)
  • Readers of this blog need solutions quickly and are time poor and I sometimes waffle, not getting to the point quick enough
  • I forget that lessons need to be retaught and just because I wrote about a topic once, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be revisited from a different angle
  • Not everyone has my humour, or my politics or my love of etymology
  • Being useful is far more important than being seen as clever

Most of my failings come from a writers arrogance, I word it like that because it sounds better than “my arrogance”. But before I beat myself up too much, I think it’s quite common when you spend a lot of time studying and working hard in one sector to start to reshape your thinking about that sector.

It’s hard to work in a field for a long time and then realise and admit that you have headed off the path and into the wilderness.

it’s important for me to share, because it may have happened to you and it resonates. Or it may be happening to you right now and it can help you rekindle the fire before the dying embers go cold.

Hopefully you realise everyone goes through this and withe a little help you can keep going, so as able to reach your objective.

The golden time is when coming fresh at a subject.

There are no places not to discover, no rock which you think is not turning over and so you discover more and delight more. This fuels the desire to learn even more and to hone your craft as a blogger.

This post may well be over thinking it, although I like to call it, but hopefully I have simplified the process enough for it to engage and empathise with you the reader and blogger.

Empathy is the new black

Empathy is something I keep reading about. It is crucial in getting your message across and convincing people your words are something worth giving time for. It may be my past blog posts did not empathise enough.

I actually took an empathy test and scored quite low, although not as low as some as my other male friends. And so I now make an overt effort to show empathy in my blogging. Not in some wishy washy, overly emotional way. But in a way that shows I care about the problems of the readers of this blog and  that I am prepared to put the sack of grey mush that resides in my cranial cavity to the task.

The reality strikes me that I am hear to help you solve your problem, and not to create a blog that is for me and my own ego.

The aim is to solve problems around online marketing issues, specifically those of an SEO, social media and content nature.

Now we are here, where do we go?

For me it’s about listening to people and finding problems and attempting to solve them.
Think about doing something similar in your own sector, especially giving thought to how empathy can be integrated into your blogging as most blog posts (mine included) lack this important ingredient.
Showing expertise is as simple as showing empathy, sharing knowledge and helping solve problems that your audience want help with.

My next few blog posts will be covering this area. Come back if you find this stuff interesting.