Entries from April 2013 ↓

The Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring an SEO Agency

You already know that search engine optimisation is one of the best and most effective long-term marketing strategies for any business that markets itself online.Finding an seo agency

But you also know that one wrong move and Google will be down on you like a tonne of bricks, so if you decide to outsource your SEO work, how can you be sure you find an agency that actually knows what its doing?

A lot of agencies will try to blind you with science and then take short cuts that, although may produce immediate results, could harm you in the long-term. Or you could end up with an agency that has no idea what it’s doing and simply won’t deliver the return you want.

So how can you be sure you find a good agency that actually knows what it’s doing?

Here are a few questions you should be asking when meeting with potential agencies.

1. Algorithm updates

What do you know about the latest Google updates?

Any agency worth its salt will be up to date with all of Google’s latest algorithm updates. You’ve probably heard about Penguin and Panda, but a good agency will not only have heard about them, it should also be able to explain to you what they mean.

2. Penalties

Can you tell me why I have been hit with a Google penalty?

If you fall foul of Google’s rules you will be slapped with a penalty, but in order to make good the situation it’s essential you know why you got the penalty in the first place.

3. Expertise

Now this one covers a lot.

You need to be sure of the agency’s technical experience and knowledge and that of their content writers.

There are loads of companies out there that can produce shed loads of content for not a lot of money, but if it’s not high quality you’re going to do a lot of damage.

On top of that, as social media is a huge part of SEO these days, the agency also needs to demonstrate it has a working and in depth knowledge of how to use social media to build influential relationships, promote your content, encourage sharing and generate customers.

4. Link building

What link building strategies do you use?

Link building, if done incorrectly, will damage your website. Avoid any agency that answers this question with things like, submitting your website to directories, placing articles on article directories, buying links, automated link building etc.

Instead you should be looking for ideas such as guest blogging on influential sites, increasing exposure on social networks and forums and other creative ideas.

5. Tools

What tools do you use?

There are certain tools that the agency should be using and some it shouldn’t. If they say they do everything manually, you’ll end up paying far more than you need to.

However, if you hear things like they use tools for link building, content production, social media etc., run for the hills as fast as you can.

But, you do want to hear they use tools for measuring their effectiveness, potential link opportunities, tracking your ROI and for the discovery of influencers etc.

6. Guaranteed results

Do you guarantee results?

If they say “yes” run away.

The true answer is “no” – no one can guarantee results when it comes to SEO.

Other things to ask

You should also be asking:

  • Who else they work for – can you speak to their clients?
  • How do they measure success?
  • What happens if they fail to provide results within the give time frame?
  • How will they report progress?

There are a lot of elements to your marketing strategy – finding the right professional copywriter to work with, the right design company, the right email marketing software etc.

But finding the right SEO agency is one of the most important aspects of getting your online strategy off the ground.

Why Page Rank Changes Over Time

This is What Matt Cutts Has to Say

How often do you check your rankings?

There are some people who are so obsessed by their rankings that they check them daily.

Personally, I think that’s madness. You’ll run the risk of sending yourself potty over the slightest fluctuations and I’d much rather spend that time generating content, working and networking and keeping myself 100% focused on my business goals.

A lot of people are noticing at the moment that their content is ranking really well to start with, but then takes a nose dive.

This latest video from Matt Cutts explains why this happens to your content.


Hopefully, that video will answer a lot of questions for you.

Sally Ormond – Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd

Why Title Tags Are So Important

Of all the aspects of search engine optimisation, the importance of the title tag has remained constant and yet it is all too often overlooked.

This simple line of code packs a mighty punch because it:

  • Highlights to Google and the other search engines the relevance of your website in relation to a keyword
  • Makes you stand out from everyone else
  • Attracts potential customers to your website

In fact it is one of the single most important ranking factors.

For those who are new to all this stuff, let’s take a step back.

Where is your title tag?

As I mentioned earlier, your title tag is a simple line of code.

It sits near the top of your web page’s source code and looks something like this:

<title>Copywriter | freelance copywriter | copywriting services<title>

(That’s one of mine that I’ve used as an example.)

Every page of your website should have its own unique title tag.


Because every page of your website is indexed by the search engines, not your website as a whole. So by using different title tags for each page you increase your chances of being found in the search results for a range of different keywords.

Now that doesn’t mean to say you’ll instantly appear at the top of Google, the rest of your web page also has to be optimised too, but getting your title tag correct is a step in the right direction.

How do you write it?

Before you allow your creativity to run away with you, Google only allows up to a maximum of 70 characters for your title tag, so you don’t have a lot of room to play with.

It’s important to use your keywords, but make sure your tag is meaningful, especially when selling a product.

For example if you’re selling designer dog collars, make sure that goes in your title tag, if there’s room why not add a price too?

If local search is important to your business adding in your location will also be of benefit. As for your company name, it’s not essential it’s there, but if you’re a well-known brand or your company name is synonymous with the product you’re selling, it would be good to include it.

Your title tag is basically a signpost telling Google what your page is about and the content of your site should back that up with relevant, high quality writing. Working together they will help your website become more visible in the search results.

How to Find People to Follow on Twitter

3 tools to help Twitter work for you

Using Twitter for business is a great way to widen your reach. You can chat and build relationships with people who would previously have been ‘untouchable’. For example, there are loads of CEOs and powerful people on Twitter. If you tried to make contact with them through regular channels you’d probably hit a brick wall in the shape of their impassable PAs.

But with Twitter you can follow anyone and they can follow you.

So what’s the best way to get started once you’ve set up your account?

Firstly, I would suggest not using the auto-follow feature. It’s important your Twitter stream is full of stuff that’s relevant to you and just because someone wants to follow you doesn’t mean you necessarily want to follow him or her. So when you get a new follower take a look at their profile and Twitter feed, if it looks interesting follow them back, if not don’t.

Secondly, you need to target who you follow and that means proactively going out there and finding the people you need in your Twitterverse.

How do you do that?

Tracking down people to follow

1. Know your audience

Think about who it is you want to see your tweets. Who are your customers and key influencers?

For example, if you run a catering company you may be looking for hotels, wedding planners, associations, party planners, clubs etc. So stage one would be to start Googling for potential followers.

Once you have a list of companies and their websites, check to see if they’re on Twitter, if they are, follow them.

Not everyone will follow you back, but some will.

Your Twitterverse is growing.

2. Using search tools

There are several tools out there that can help you find followers, but for this post I shall concentrate on 3.

The first is Twitter itself. Not the most refined way of finding followers, but you can search through suggestions of who to follow and browse categories (based on your current followers):

How to find follower on Twitter








Next is Tweepz, all you have to do is enter a keyword into the search box and you’ll get a list of potential people to follow. Then all you need to do is drill down that list to find the most relevant people and companies and follow them.

Find Twitter followers with tweepz









Finally, the third tool is twtrland. Again, after entering a keyword into the search box a list of search results are returned. Then you can filter these results by type – celebrity, power user, casual and novice, location, gender and estimated age.

using twtrland to find twitter followers

But unlike the other search tools, this one offers much more information. So on top of the usual bio and image, you’ll also get information on the number of tweets they send per day (average), content breakdown, retweets etc.

3. What do you do next?

Once you have your followers it’s time to start interacting with them.

Notice the use of the word ‘interaction’ there? That means no blatant sales pitches, no harping on about how great you are every 5 minutes and no incessant chatter about ‘we did this’ or ‘we did that’.

You have to ‘listen’ to what others are saying and start a conversation with them. If they ask a question, respond and help them if you can. Yes, you can also send out links to your own blogs because they may be useful and it will also help widen your readership, but it’s important to remember that Twitter is a two-way channel.

4. Be responsive

Twitter is a real time social platform that means when people interact with you they expect you to respond reasonably quickly.

Checking your Twitter stream once a week isn’t going to work. If you have a smartphone download the Twitter app so you can be notified of any interactions that come your way.

There’s nothing worse than tweeting someone and not hearing from them for several days, or worse never hearing from them.

If you’re going to use Twitter you have to be committed. Only through chatting, posting and responding will you see results. It is a great business tool if used right, so make sure you take the time to hone your Twitter skills and make it work for you.

Sally Ormond – Copywriter, blogger, tweeter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd


The Reason Why SEO is Expensive

Google is constantly changing the criteria it uses to rank websites – we all know that.

That means SEO companies have a tough time keeping up with the changes whilst still delivering the results their clients want.

To help you understand a bit more about what is driving the cost up, take a look at this inforgraphic from SEObook. The print is fairly small so you can see the full size version here.


Why SEO is Expensive.

Online marketing infographic by SEO Book