SEO Discussion

SEO is not dead, it’s just no longer fashionable which is a good thing



When was the last time you went to an SEO conference and they taught you to, “Make sure your keyword is in the title tag”, or “make sure your keywords are in text and not hidden in a graphic.”

Probably not for a long time, and there are a number of reasons why we no longer see the basics of SEO taught at SEO conferences.

  • Conferences are about new, cutting edge practices
  • We have had over a decade to learn the basics of SEO
  • There are a huge amount of fantastic, free content pieces that teach SEO
  • Many more methods of getting customers to your website can be employed these days.

When I started out performing SEO, it was a massive thing because there wasn’t a Twitter, there wasn’t a Facebook or a Youtube. The implementation of good SEO was crucial, it represented huge amounts of traffic relative to other methods.

But SEO is still crucial to any online marketing strategy. A good SEO is still worth their weight in gold and a bad SEO can take down your business.

There is also the fact that the mob always wants the new, shiny shortcut. The thing that means they can automate their marketing and scale it to the Moon, whilst they sit next to a swimming pool and drink a cool beverage.

Because there is this rabid crowd that are seeking new stuff there is a temptation to dress up old techniques as new and give it a new jargon term. Yes Inbound marketers I am looking at you 😉

We can safely ignore mentions that SEO is dead, it clearly is not. Search engines do have more competition, but an optimised website is essential and will deliver a brilliant ROI


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Content Creation

How to create content for a credit card blog

Building a blog around the credit card niche can be highly lucrative when it comes to affiliate income. It may seem like a no brainer niche to make money in, but the problem is anyone who can stop playing Minecraft or Candycrush for 5 mins can knock up a blog, grab a bunch of keywords, look at where other sites are getting links from and build another credit card blog.

The biggest problem in such niches is standing out from the crowd. If 100 blogs write the same article and publish at the same time, people are still going to read only one and they will chose the one that stands out, that engages.

The deficit is in the ability of the creator to devise a narrative that attracts and engages.

Sure you can use some numpty content creation tool to throw up random ideas, or you can use your own creative skill to make something more powerful.

Take this story for example, from the Telegraph about a Russian man and a credit card company.

Credit card scam

The story was also reported in numerous news outlets including:

Huffington Post
Business Insider
and many more.

The point isn’t to create story like this (although I know many who do), the goal is to ride on the wave of interest that this story creates.

Desire information

The point is to tap into the desire for people to know more information. Some journalists who missed the boat on the first story will be on the look out for juicy research to create a follow story. Want to know how to influence journalists? Do part of their job for them, help them write their articles by digging up some tasty info.

There are a number of ways to create content around this news story, or rather around the desire for more information around the news story. Most make the mistake that they are creating content, you are not. You are fulfilling the need for people to get more information, and it is that desire that you need to focus on, remember this is about people, not about content.

The first thing that people will do after reading a story like this is to Google the details, so make sure you focus on those story keywords, the original news story may not even be focussing on the right keywords.

If you are able to soak up the second wave of traffic from a story like this, you will be able to give more depth or take a different quirk on the story. Even just by collecting similar stories from the past few years you are creating useful information.

In conclusion, the benefits from following up a tasty story like this are many:

  • Traffic
  • Links
  • Connecting with journalists
  • Fresh content
  • Demonstrating that you are on the ball.

And the story is pretty much created for you, you simply do more research and curation.

If you find any of this tricky, you can sign up to my training and coaching program or hire me to advise on content creation (digital agencies love this)


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Link building

Why you should not be working to get links from websites

Websites do not link to websites

People link

People share interesting stuff from other people.

Real people exist behind the website you want a link from. Think of the person you are going to outreach to and not the website when you do your link building.

It’s sounds crazy to say it, but the people who can give you a link are just like you and me, well maybe not me, I wouldn’t want to inflict that on them. But they have real needs and desires, most want to communicate and want to share, which is why you should communicate and share with them as fellow human beings.

If you are looking for ten top tips to optimise outreach, you are already thinking wrong. Change your mindset and stop thinking of people as a process and communicate with them as you would like to be communicated with.

You will be amazed at the success you will get.


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Content Creation

How to learn to create content by reading about Tinder and Almonds

Tinder and almonds

Companies hire me to help them create content that is different and stands out from the crowd. Most realise creating one piece of great content is achievable, as you are tapping a lifetime of experience and ideas. But once that creative reservoir is drained, you realise it’s quite hard to crank out kick ass content day after day.

Which brings me to sex and almonds. hardly ever do I read blogs about Tinder during my daily surf of the web (although I mostly read industry websites), this may be because the English are too embarrassed about it, the Americans are too puritanical about it, whilst the French are too busy having sex to write a blog post about it.

And yet it’s probably the one of the single biggest drivers of web traffic, so whilst we wait for Rand Fishkin to write a blog called, “How getting jiggy with it gets you web traffic”, let’s consider two articles I came across this week.

First adjust your frame of mind.

When we are looking for content ideas, we are looking to create them rather than consume them.
This is an important point as you need to be a dealer, not an addict.

If you are the person in your organisation responsible for cranking out content, you need to be in a frame of mind which is constantly looking for ideas. Coming across a well written article should trigger at least twenty solid content ideas. This frame of mind of being the dealer is something worth adopting if your desire is to maximise the creative process.

As someone who has always written, my mind is constantly in search mode for new content ideas from the media I consume. And so when I read the Vanity Fair article of the month about dating apps and the effect they are having on users moist brains, it triggered a huge amount of ideas and not just for the dating niche. Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse”

I encourage you to read the Vanity Fair article to see if you come up with a bagful of content ideas, if you do not and your job is to come up with content ideas, ping me and let me help you.

You don’t even need to try hard to come up with ideas for so called “hard to blog niches”.

I came up with a bunch of ideas for the insurance niche:

  • How a Tinder user can insure themselves against a bad date.
  • Can a bar owner insure themselves against a lawsuit from Tinder users who hook up with the wrong person in their bar
  • 10 ways to insure your Smartphone whilst on a Tinder date
  • Quick and easy ways to find out if the guy you met 30 mins ago is an axe murderer.


Once you get in the right frame of mind ideas will flow, albeit as long as you are consuming excellent content.

Almond content

You may have noticed that almonds have become the fashion food of the month, although as far as I understand the science almonds have a proven health benefit.

As someone who intends to eat healthy (most of us intend to eat healthy, creating a large hungry crowd, ahem, for such information) I am always on the look out for a way to hack my diet (to “hack” is of course the buzzword of the year, probably a few months left before it’s considered old and knackered) as are large numbers of other web users. And so this article about almonds not only caught my eye, it drew me in and allowed itself to be consumed. Read it here, What America’s nutty demand for almonds is doing to California.

The article takes a counterintuitive stance regarding the almond craze, which can be very powerful, as our brains naturally look for danger after learning good news.

Thus an “Almonds are bad” story will get more attention after a reader has read an “Almonds are hood” story. You may think, “no duh”, as the reader may be in a frame of mind to learn more. But, that’s the point, as a content creator you find out where the interests and needs of the mob are and then provide the content which satisfies their lust.

Which is why I always tell people to be a dealer and not an addict. You’re aim is not to promote your own thoughts and opinions but to provide the content which will allow the reader to get their fix.

So if everyone is talking, tweeting and thinking about almonds you need to be creating content which fulfils that need. You don’t have to write specifically about almonds, but you need to be able to tap the hunger of the brain that is currently starving for more data about almonds.

For example, this article has almonds in the title, I did this for the specific reason that some people may be attracted to blog posts that touch on the subject, sex of course needs no explanation for why it is used, although I hope it needs no explanation. These keywords also trigger curiosity and whenever “sex” is mentioned the primal brain gets pinged.

Your content does not need to be about the thing that attracts, although it does need to be contextual else people feel cheated. As this blog is about how to create great context, the idea that it produces an article about how to use the subject of almonds is within context and I doubt that people came expecting information that cleansed their arteries.

I hope this article has shown you that you never need to be stuck for content ideas, you simply need to find out what people want, give it a twist and creates something that atracts and engages.

If you require help with your content strategy or help with coming up with content ideas, I have created a number of ways I can help you:
Creative Content Boost for Digital Agencies
Content Marketing Training
Content Marketing Consulting for Digital Agencies

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Content Creation

60 Second Website Review of The Raw Chocolate Company

This is a 60 second website review for the Raw Chocolate Company

I’m taking quick, video snapshots of website design, usability and brand building of websites I think are worthy of sharing. This is intended to be a series that will help to give an overview of numerous great websites and highlight the good stuff they do. I can give your website a video review and add it to the review section of for a low introductory offer. Click here for more information.

The website is the, it sells snacks based on the raw food concept and follows an ethical path, sourcing foods from Fairtrade suppliers.

The main things that struck me about was:

* Clarity of purpose
* Fresh design
* Strong brand image and ethos
* Aspirational tribe, strong lifestyle image

Raw chocolate

Products – Raw chocolate bar
The design of this website is clear, fresh and tells me exactly what it wants me to do. It wants me to buy one of it’s products and love the brand.

How it all started
The founder gives insight into lifestyle and ethos, and the desire to create an ethical and aspirational brand, which builds emotional attachment to the brand as we respond to personal information in a positive way.

The design is vibrant and reflects the products in its design without being cliched, cynical or too obvious.

Our story Brand ambassador – Kjersti Buaas
The “our story”, section, allows us to experience the journey the founder has taken and a look at the lifestyle of evangelist, Kjersti Buaas, as we are taken on a journey of snowboarding and wild Icelandic fjords.

Malawi orphanage
The website supports charities and causes, listing them on the site, and you get the feeling this is not just marketing, but they actually mean it, giving you a further reason to love the brand.

How could the site improve:

The blog could do with some work. For example a 12 minute interview with the founder was linked to, this should have been embedded into the site with further thoughts from the founder given.

Most sites fail to give clarity of purpose and instead present you with a confusing amount of options, which leads to cognitive confusion. This can induce a negative emotional response, which is then associated to the brand.

This connection with life style re-enforces the themes of the tribe of health, living life to the full and having great experiences. This is the emotional image that the target tribe aspires to. Without concentrating on the fact that the food may well be eaten in an office cubicle under fluorescent lighting, whilst thinking of the hellish commute which awaits.

The biggest asset to the brand is the founder, Linus Gorpe and the website reveals enough of him to want you wanting more. I expect a book and possibly a TV show to follow. But I would like to see “A day in the life of….” stories on the blog. I would also like to see some of the rabid fans (which I am sure exists) interviewed on the blog.

Businesses such as this have the tendency to stop when they get to the objective of giving the founders a specific lifestyle. But you get the feeling that the people behind this business and website are evangelists and such will build a strong brand and tribe.

In conclusion:

This site achieves its objectives very well. It is more about building a tribe and brand, rather than worrying too much about Google and in this social media world that can only be a good thing.

No Raw chocolate Goji berries were exchanged for this review. Although if I am sent some I will be very happy.

This Tribal Website review was given as an example of the content reviews offers, learn how to give your website a 60 Second Video Review right now.

Content Creation

An Alternative way of looking at the content creation process


When creating a piece of content repeat the concept in as many flavours as possible. This will sharpen the parts that work and reveal fresh and unique aspects of the idea.

In the video we have Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan playing with the idea of the announcement of a television drama with Trevor Eve. What is interesting is how many times it is repeated just a little be differently to find that sweet spot. We should approach web content the same way.

Content Creation

Why you need to stop building “Quality Content” and start solving problems

Quality content

A huge amount is written about content, which is all fine and dandy.

But your job is not to produce content.

“Hold on, yes it is. I am a content creator.” You may say.

That may be technically correct and it may be what it says on your Linkedin Page.

But what you really are is a communicator, an influencer, a persuader.

The content is merely a container to carry your thoughts into the mind of the reader and get them to think a certain way or to perform a specific action.

This is very important to understand because it underpins how you create your content and also how you promote it. Before the initial idea you need to think about the person that you want to influence and understand what drives them.

This is why “Everyone”, should not be who you are creating content for and that the more you narrow down your focus the easier it will be to create content that will influence.

For example, lets say we wanted Stephen Fry to tweet our content or even link to it.
Well, Mr Fry has a thing for gadgets and he has a thing for Apple.
But that is not nearly enough, as there are huge amounts of content about gadgets and Apple.
Content needs to be unique to get noticed.
But Mr. Fry has also played Oscar Wilde and has a thirst for interesting literary characters.
So we combine the two.

  • 10 Gadgets Oscar Wilde would love
  • Why Oscar Wilde would be a Mac Man
  • What Oscar Wilde would do with Twitter

Having trouble creating content? Just think of one person you know, and if you don’t know anyone invent a character who represents people in the space you operate in and create content that excites them, that fulfils a need. And that need can simply be a list of cool things to buy that solves a specific problem. You don’t need so called “quality content” or even amazing content, you simply need to solve a specific problem that an individual is having at that moment in time.

To influence and persuade, that is the purpose.

Link building

Link to me and see how much I will like you

Links makes likes

I really like it when people link to my websites, it’s different to a retweet or being told your cool by a stranger over email just before they ask you to publish their guest post about a new device that removes hard skin from feet.

A link is the most genuine of recommendations.
A link is powerful stamp of approval, even more so in these times, as fewer people seem to be linking out.

The Google hack, the sticking plaster that is “Penguin” which attempts to fix a failing system has turned a lot of SEO agencies into “penalty removal” agencies, rather than what they should be which is, “cool content” publishing agencies, building brand over multiple platforms.

Blegh, that last sentence was spiky, but sometimes you need to get a bit jargony to communicate effectively to the tribe.

However, (FU Gove*) people in the niche of online marketing tend to go overboard with jargon, terms like “content marketing” miss the target putting the focus on the content rather than the reader. And wanky terms like “inbound marketing”, which I still don’t quite understand seem to permeate like a rank fart in a bean and chile, festival tent, where the extractor fan has broken and someone left a dead meerkat under a chair for a few days.

The first thing I look at when someone is asking a favour for me is, “Do they link to me?”.
I love linking to people I like, like Taylor Swift, although I wouldn’t recognise here music if I heard it she faced down the greedy gits at Apple who wanted to give her album away for free for three months to build THEIR platform.

We don’t have a “Link to your friends day”. But maybe we should.
Maybe everyday should be “Link to your friends day.”
I do bit by linking to people and business on my SEO Services UK page. Make sure you link to those who do good things for you.

Feed your allies, starve your enemies.

* Michael Gave, aka "Twat", has told us we should never start a sentence with a preposition such as "However,". I am not of the "these are the rules for writing English and you shall keep to them on pain of death", group of writers. You will find those who do chastise usually break the rules themselves and the rest have rather arid sex lives.

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SEO Creativity

Is User Interface Design the New SEO?



If the user interface on your website smells, do you think it will get links?

SEO is never about links, except when it is.

Design is even more important now, which is hard work for me as I am mediocre to terrible at design.

But it can be learned, and designing for a human being is a learned skill.

The SEO as always must adapt.


Courtesy of:

Content Creation

The most useful thing about the phrase “Content is King”

I love it when people spout off, “Content is King”.

It allows me to know how much brain power they have devoted to the problem of producing content that works to get people to your website and persuade them to feel good about you and your brand.

Anyone with half a brain can see that content is not King, and yet people still use the phrase.

I doubt that Millennials use it much, they know too well the value of content.

The truth is, people are king, not content.

As proved by this chart which I just made.


Joking aside, it’s clear that it’s people you need to focus on, simply churning out stuff does not work. Whenever people lay out their case for “Content is King”, they always pick out the best content as an example, but most content being produced right now is going to have viewing figures in the single digits.

It’s only the content that is crafted for people, rather than it’s own existence is ever going to have a positive effect.

Think about the people you want to consume your content and then create the content

Content Marketing

What can Don Draper teach us about Creating Content

Yes, I was a Mad Men fan. Everything that needs to be said about the show has already been said, by people with larger expense accounts than mine.

Seeing a distilled wisdom presented in the infographic below, I realise how much it told us about the creative process and you can easily apply this to modern content creation. Not only that but I like how it takes apart the process.

The thing that resonates with me, is “get in the frame of mind”. Storytelling is a natural, innate skill that most humans have buried just beneath the surface. It’s not so much mechanical as it is printed in our DNA, we simply need to feel it.

Of course, language is mechanical and rule based, but too many rules stifle the creativity. If Don Draper taught us anything it was that if you never break the rules, you will never fulfil your creativity.

Content Creation

Is your SEO Cheeky Nandos?

Let me make one thing clear, I probably only understand about 20% of what the term “cheeky Nandos”, actually means. And that is exactly how it should be as I only need to know enough to be able know if it fits my publishing strategy.

It’s a brand new term that is tearing up the UK social media pipes.

This chart depicts searches for KFC vs cheeky Nandos over 30 days in the UK.

Cheeky Nandos Stats
Cheeky Nandos Stats

As you can see from the data it briefly overtook searched for the US Corporation, although now we see it dropping as the mainstream get in on the act and the tabs cover it.


But what does a “Cheeky Nandos” mean?

Lincolnshire Echo

The main point of slang is to create an us and them. You are not supposed to get it if you are not in the tribe. And it’s probably something to tut at as you buy your Moroccan Houmous from Waitrose, (another phrase that you may not fully understand the cultural implications of.

But that’s OK, we don’t need to fully understand some terms to make hay with it. We are publishers not readers, we are dealers not junkies. When stuff like this happens we need to be on it and see if it fits in with our publishing strategy.

Those people who tweet, “WTF is cheeky nandos”. They are not in our tribe and will distract you from your goal of content marketing Nirvana. But those who plug the term in Google Trends, search on Twitter for it, measure and asses the cultural capital of the term and question if it reaches our demographic. Now there is someone you need to pay attention to.

Content Creation

How to create new Content ideas for Blog articles, SEO Viral content…

I’ve never found coming up with content ideas a problem.

But I know others do, and this is not because I am more intelligent than them, it’s because these people have their skill set focused on another areas, such as web design, programming, seo… etc.

It’s also because their heads are full of the successful stuff they have just seen, but you can’t just copy and get away with it. You have to add another element, you have to take nothing, and create something.

A lot is talked about creating content, but very little on the process of coming up with new, fresh, vibrant ideas. This is probably because very few can do it, very few can teach it and most of those who can do it cannot explain it.

These are the simple steps you need to take to create content ideas


Ingest means first creating a state of mind that allows you to suck in as much content as possible and then deconstruct it to its constituent components. Figuring out exactly why it works.

Daydream, means to allow the mind to wander amongst its vast library of memories, create “what if’s”, or “what would they think if I did that?”. all the while underpinned by the knowledge about what excites people and why.

Go wild, means to have no barriers. Freedom of thinking and criticism. To know where the line is you first need to cross it. You wont be able to cross it if you are sitting in an office, at a desk, under fluorescent light, wondering how come the boss can afford a Porsche and not buy decent coffee for the office. You need the ability and permission to roam the desert, searching for the shamen who will give you the answers.

Write, means you have to do the work. You have to stare at the blank page of nothingness and engage. If you have a problem with this, start to write whatever is in your head. If you can’t do that you need to either train in the craft or change careers or take up something easy like SEO 😉

You need the knowledge and you need the process. This creates the state of mine, the 1,000 yard stare any content idea creator develops after a while in the trenches.

Some people think coming up with ideas is easy, but unless you are actually pushing the ideas out into the world, then they will only ever stay an idea in your head.

SEO Creativity

Brand vs Product

It’s hardly definitive but take a look at this data for a brand search and a product search.

Brand vs product

I often have a discussion with SEO types about branding and usually it goes, “people buy things because of the thing the thing does”, when the reality is it’s more often than not about the way it makes people feel.

Brand is all about how the consumer feels, it is an emotional thing.
And it’s not even just about purchases, it’s about social media too. People share content because of how it makes it feel. People are more likely to share content from people they have met and liked that people they do not, not because the content changes, but the way the person feels about the other person changes.

You can see this if you analyse the various tribes of SEO, they tend to rewteet each other. Not because of the content, but because the concept of the tribe is being invoked.

The trick is not to get your product to connect with the customer, but to build an emotional relationship between the consumer and the brand.

This is how you rank in 2015

Social Media

Most Socially Shared Pages for the Office of National Statistics

This screenshot is from the cognitiveSEO, Social Visibility analysis page of the website,, the Office of National Statistics.

If you are an infographics creator or heavily into stats to create content with, you will be well familiar with it. And if you have never heard of it then you probably have a life and should just head back to instagram.

What I want to do here is simply present something that most will never see. I doubt anyone has used their analysis credits and time to look at such a site as it’s hardly commercial. But what is interesting is the fact that journalists are heavy users of the site, which means that it may possibly reveal what journalists are interested in.

And we like journalists because they may write about our clients and give them a bit of publicity.

What’s interesting is you could go deeper and see which people Tweeted each page and see what else they are focused on. As the data reveals a lot about the motivation and goals of the people who bother to share this. As this is not a commercial site we assume that people are not doing this because they are paid to, but because it is useful to them.

I could spend a few hours giving my take on what this data can tell you, but I will just let you enjoy it and see if you can spot the obvious possibilities.

Office of national stats

If you enjoy this kind of short, off the wall, data reveal. Let me know and I could do more. I like to dig into the areas that we never usually see as these can be the most revealing.