Entries Tagged 'seo' ↓

Content Markteing is Killing SEO – or is it?

I’m confused.

There are lots of blog posts out there pronouncing that content marketing is killing off SEO.

Who’s writing them?

Are they content marketing companies trying to convince companies that SEO (search engine optimisation) is no longer the way forward because search is social now?

Or, are they narked SEO companies trying to cling on to their huge retainers?

Want to know what I think?

[Doesn’t really matter because I’m going to tell you anyway.]

As far as I’m concerned you can’t have one without the other.

The only reason I can see for SEO companies to throw their toys out of their prams is that they are practitioners of the dark arts. You know the type of company I mean. They are the ones that buy links and use black-hat techniques to trick the search engines into giving their clients good rankings.

But the only way to get quality links is through great content, so don’t the SEO companies and content companies need to work together?

If you’re scratching your head trying to work out where to put your sizeable marketing budget, my best advice is that you need both – you can’t be successful with only one.

A website with sheds load of content is just a dusty online library that may or may not be found. But a website with loads of content and good SEO is a super-charged knowledge bank that will enlighten the world.

Whichever way you look at it if you have content you need SEO and if you have SEO you must have content.

So, no, content marketing isn’t killing off SEO. They should be working together to create a richer, more rewarding search experience.

That’s what I think anyway – what’s your take on this debate?


Sally Ormond is a copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd

Find her on Google+

Is There a Future For SEO?

In the aftermath of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm ‘tweaks’, the fact that we all get search results that relate to our location (yup, you’re no longer seeing country-wide results*) and the prospect of even more changes on the way, is there the future of SEOa future for search engine optimisation?

Let’s face it, small businesses with a national (and international) reach relied heavily on their SEO to get great rankings in the search results. Now, they have no way of knowing who will see their listing because everyone sees different things.

OK, for local search this isn’t too much of an issue, but how are SEO companies dealing with the fact that they can no longer state, with any certainty, where their clients’ websites are ranking?

The changing face of SEO

Once upon a time, SEO could be divided into 2 categories:

  1. Internal SEO – relating to your website’s structure
  2. External SEO – articles, content, blogs, press releases, links etc.

Of course, the reason for Google’s changes comes down to that small minority who couldn’t be bothered to do things properly and had to find short cuts to make money.

These ‘black hat’ SEOers spoilt the party for all the other legitimate businesses who worked hard to get their rankings playing by the rules.

Now many face an uncertain future, or are being forced to rethink their whole marketing strategy because they can no longer reach out to the wider market place.

Search goes social

The focus behind all these changes is for our search results to become more social and therefore (apparently) more relevant.

The relevancy of your website is now to be dictated by the number of followers, comments, views and shares your content gets.

The problem I can see with this, is that it won’t be long before the cowboys work out a way of faking that too.

Where does that leave us?

For most of the big brands out there these algorithmic changes have little or no effect. But for the smaller businesses they can have a devastating impact.

Google claims that if you have followed their SEO rules your website won’t be affected, but thousands and thousands of sites have seen their rankings plummet because of them.

Online marketing is a fast changing environment. Keeping up with these new techniques is proving to be a major headache for many small businesses out there. They don’t have the budgets needed to get an expert on board to help them and so are left floundering in the wake of the might Google’s whims.

Over to you

Are you an SEO company? How are these changes affecting you and your clients?

Are you a small business struggling to keep pace with it all?

Leave a comment below because, whatever your story, we want to hear from you.

*If you want to return to national results, simply go to your Google home page,  click ‘settings’ (bottom right), click ‘Search Settings’, click ‘Location’ and then enter UK in the ‘Where are you?’ box.


Sally Ormond, copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd – blogger, cyclist and mum.

Is Your Google Search Local or National?

Have you noticed a recent change to your search results?National Google search

OK, daft question considering the onslaught of small birds and animals that have been trundling through Google’s algorithms lately – namely Panda and Penguin.

But joking aside, you may have spotted that your search results are focused on your local area rather than nationally.

If you’re looking for a local company then this has to be a good thing, but if you want to widen your choice of potential service providers because their location isn’t an issue (especially for larger companies looking for quality and value over proximity) it does narrow your options somewhat.

Widening the net

To make sure you’re getting the best choice of service provider possible all you have to do is amend your search location.

Simply go to the Google home page, click ‘settings’ (at the bottom of the screen), go to ‘location’ and enter UK (or whichever country or region you want). Now your search results will return a far more comprehensive list of possibilities.

Businesses and rankings

These changes are really annoying when you’re an online business, especially when you’ve always played by Google’s rules.

All those hours you have spent link building and generating great content can go down the tubes in a flash with changes like these.

For many businesses online, a national presence is need, so with a change to local search results as opposed to countrywide ones can have a real impact on your bottom line.

What can be done about?

Not a lot really other than creating location-specific landing pages. But you can and should be hitting the social world hard. Being active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ will help your visibility and get your name out into the wider world.

The face of search is changing and becoming far more social than ever before.

So our advice is, if you want to continue to be seen in the search results, generate great content and be socially active.


Sally Ormond is MD and copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd. A keen cyclist, she took on and tamed the Welsh Dragon Ride.

Why SEO is Like Riding a Bike

The curse of the Google update

I set up my business, Briar Copywriting in 2007 and have always done my own search engine optimisation.frustration at Google update

Despite a few hiccups along the way, I have managed to maintain great rankings for my chosen keywords. But then Penguin came along, closely followed by Penguin 2.0.

This latest change was meant to weed out those sites with slightly dodgy links. As I have always done my own link building and have been very careful about it, it’s incredibly frustrating when I get hit despite not bending the rules. So I’m now left having to look through all my inbound links to see what’s causing the problem.

But that’s beside the point.

Why is search engine optimisation like riding a bike?

Well, I am currently training for an epic charity endurance bike ride – the RideUK24 Newcastle to London challenge that’s taking place this August (300 miles in 24 hours).

Over the weekend I cycled from Suffolk to Bedfordshire and back (stopping over night), which is total of 160 miles (carrying a rucksack – not advisable when cycling long distances).

Whatever happened I knew I had to keep going. If I didn’t:

  1. My training schedule would go out of the window
  2. I would have fallen off my bike as my shoes clip to the peddles

And search engine optimisation is the same. As soon as you stop promoting and link building, your website will start to plummet.

But as if that wasn’t enough to contend with, Google has the power to make or break a business over night (even those who have always abided by the rules – sorry, I’ll stop ranting and get on with the meat of this post) simply by tweaking its algorithms.

That’s great to get rid of the spammy sites so the results you see are the most relevant, but not so great when you’ve done nothing wrong and you still get hit (sorry, got back on the soap box again briefly).

So how can you make sure your site stays in favour with Google?

Well, up to last week I would have said link build naturally and carefully, never pay for links and if you exchange links, be very careful whom you do it for.

But then, I’ve always built links naturally and never bought or exchange links – so what’s the answer?

Perhaps Google can answer that one?

Over to you Google

I’d love to get a definitive answer to this one.

So if anyone at Google happens to stumble across this post, perhaps you’d be good enough to explain?

What about you reader? How have you coped with the algorithm changes? Have you had to recover from the updates? If so, how did you do it?

Leave a comment below and let’s find out what the effect of these algorithm changes really mean to business.

How to Find the Right Keywords

What is it about the word ‘keywords’ that gets people so wound up?Keywords

Some go into a frenzy, others look blankly at you or there are those who try to devise cunning ways to cram as many of said words into everything they write.

This blog is going to look at what they are, how you work out good ones for you and what you should do with them.

What is a keyword?

The first thing to remember is that a keyword isn’t necessarily a word; it can also be a phrase.

In a nutshell, it is a word or phrase people use to search for a product, service or piece of information.

So if you sold designer leather dog collars, your keywords would be things like:

  • Dog collars
  • Leather dog collars
  • Designer dog collars
  • Leather designer dog collars

The other thing to remember is that every business will have more than one keyword. Which is just as well, because every page of your website should be optimised for a different keyword.

Your keywords can also include your geographical location to give your local search engine optimisation a boost.

The value of a good keyword

Before deciding on the keywords you want to use, it’s important you check out their competitiveness and impression frequency.

It is pointless going after keywords if they are:

  1. Hugely competitive with everyone chasing after them
  2. No competition because no one uses that term to search for things

You can use Google’s keyword tool to find out the number of searches (globally and locally) and whether the competition is high or low.

Long tail keywords (such as ‘leather designer dog collars’) will draw a lower search volume, but because it’s more targeted they are likely to bring in buying customers.

Single keywords, for example ‘copywriter’ are incredibly competitive and will take a very long time to rank well for, but if you opt for something such as ‘email copywriter’ or ‘copywriting services’ you’ll stand a better chance of getting quicker results.

How to decide on keywords

The best way to come up with a list of keywords is to write down everything that relates to your business, including technical and non-technical terms (your customers are more likely to use the latter).

Then use tools such as Google’s keyword tool and Wordtracker to help work our which ones are the best to go for. You can also use Google Trends to see how certain keywords are performing.

Using your keywords

I mentioned earlier that every page of your website should be optimised for a different keyword, but that doesn’t mean cramming every inch of the page with it.

Firstly, work out which words are to be included on which page and create your navigation bar (each page should have its keyword in its title).

Then create a keyword rich title tag (that actually makes sense) to show Google what your page is about.

When it comes to your content, make sure your keyword is in your H1 heading (main heading) and any other subheadings you use and then write naturally. You will find that your keywords will appear without you having to shoe horn them in.

That last point is vital – write naturally. Your website is there to attract people not search engine spiders because it’s the people who’ll be buying from you.

That’s basically all you need to know about keywords. If you have any questions leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


Sally Ormond, copywriter, blogger, tweeter, cyclist and lover of Aspalls cider.