Entries from June 2013 ↓

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.

What Happens When Proofreading Goes Wrong (or ignored)

You may recall our last post was about Proofreading Like a Professional. Typos

Well, I had to giggle when I saw a recent post on Hubspot’s blog showing 14 of the worst typos ever seen.

The first thing to remember is that typos do happen. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how often you read and re-read a document, one of the slippery little suckers will still slip through. And it can happen to anyone.

When I read something and I spot a typo, I don’t dance around the room with glee and instantly rattle of an email pointing out their error, but I do smile to myself. We are all human and we all make mistakes, so don’t rub people’s noses in their errors (especially the little ones) because at least it shows the article was written by a real person.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings, you’re probably itching to see the blunders.

Grab a coffee and take a read – here are the 14 worst typos ever seen.

How to Help a Webmaster Truly Appreciate Your Link Building

The SEO writing world is an evolving matrix of content creation and it’s no secret that the practice of link building is deployed with the goal of getting ranked in major search engines. While link building is an effective strategy, like anything else, there are people who abuse the system. While Google does its best to limit manipulative link strategies, at base level it’s up to the writer to produce legitimate content and actually earn their link. It feels good to help a webmaster truly revel in your article’s meaning.

It’s a safe bet that algorithm updates will begin to be increasingly efficient as we push forward into a new internet frontier. The days of submitting spun articles to content farms and achieving first page results are becoming a thing of the past. Illegitimate SEO strategies have been thwarted by Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, the latest on May 22nd of this year, and it’s becoming imperative for guest bloggers to take more pride in their work.

Producing average content for average sites with the goal of achieving one of many average links is bad practice. It’s time for SEO writers to step up, play by the rules and help people. Not only do low quality articles and links pollute the internet, they suffocate the experience of the end user.

Below is a two-step checklist to utilize if you’re link building, whether you’re doing it for business visibility or individual authorship. It’s your obligation not only as an SEO writer, but also as a human being, to produce legitimate content. Not only does it enhance your visibility in the targeted SERPs, it never hurts to provide actionable knowledge to the end users scattered across the globe.

 1. Is the content well researched?


Too often there are articles on the internet that don’t help anyone. With the internet being a multifaceted platform for information creation and transmission, content will always be king. No Google algorithm will ever compromise content with true integrity.  This should be music to the ears of all guest bloggers. If you do your research and write informative articles for the greater good, you control your own fate in the industry.

This first step in your checklist is to determine if your article is well researched and if it has the potential to actually teach someone something. A guest post goes from a boring thread of words to a game changing article when adequate research is done. You should be an expert in whatever industry you are guest blogging about. If you aren’t, you better do some serious research.

Why a webmaster will appreciate you:

Any site owner will feel honored to post a piece of content that they feel is well researched and could provide true benefit to their readership. Guest bloggers often require the approval of a targeted domain; you need to embrace this approach and mentality. Make it worth it and your success rate, and your reward, will be much better.

 2. Is the topic relevant to the site?


A relevant-first mentality when it comes to link building is a top priority when webmaster appreciation is concerned. Site owners want progressive material because it helps their domain authority and keeps their blog fresh.

Someone that operates a blog exclusive to NBA basketball doesn’t want an article on lacrosse. Furthermore, it’s a waste of everyone’s time to even pitch this idea. Even if a site owner accepts an off-topic article, it will end up hurting you more than helping when the next Google algorithm rolls out.

Backlink portfolios littered with irrelevant links are prime targets for penalization. An unrelated article also does nothing for the end user because their intention was to read content associated with the domain they searched.

This second step is meant to test your relevancy. Google has been cracking down on content that is just sprayed blindly over the internet. You need to be calculated and focused when you select a home for any article. Not only does it have to be well researched, the location of it needs to make sense. If you don’t take note of relevancy, someone will.

Why a webmaster will appreciate you:

Fresh, informative content is like a ripe blackberry to a site owner. Of course they want it, and yes, they will appreciate you. It’s important to view this on a human level and try and separate yourself from the SEO world in a certain sense. At the end of the day your goal should not only be to build links, but to teach people something that can enrich their life. The rankings will follow.

Link building, when done with relevancy, makes sense for everyone involved. If you’re promoting a business, it’s being promoted in the right place and in the correct fashion. If you’re trying to gain authorship in the basketball world and you write a stimulating article on LeBron James, your authority in the niche will skyrocket.

Link building, specifically when done through content creation, can be a beautiful system. Everyone in the world has authority and is an expert in some life experience. In life, teachers are obligated to be educated in what they teach. It’s just as important that SEO writers understand the industry they’re explaining and that they strive to gain the respect of both accepting webmasters and the resulting audience. Google does its best to create fair and genuine rankings, but the bottom line is that the integrity of link building is up to those participating.


Peter Buffington is a writer who’s been cage diving with Great Whites. When he’s not anticipating the next NBA playoff series he creates content for Page One Power, a relevancy-first link building firm based in Boise, Idaho.


7 Ways to Generate Content Ideas

One of the biggest barriers to content marketing faced by many businesses is ideas generation.

Many decide it’s not even worth considering because they don’t feel able to come up with the constant stream of information a content marketing strategy demands.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult to generate ideas; you just have to look at things a bit differently.

How do you go about coming up with content topics at the moment?

Do you just sit at your desk and stare into space hoping for a blinding flash of inspiration to strike?

That might happen now and then, but you can’t rely on that to generate the constant stream of ideas you need.

That’s where Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Quora, LinkedIn and your customers come in to their own.

Want to know more?

Google – the ideas machine

Google can help you in a couple of ways: through Google Suggest and its related searches results.

With Google Suggest, all you have to do is enter your keyword in the Google search box and then wait for Google Suggest to do its magic.

Below you can see that I entered ‘How to train a puppy’ as my keyword and then Google provided a list of alternative popular searches, providing me with a range of topics that I can write about.


Google suggest

As an added bonus, when you search for that keyword, at the bottom of the search engine results page Google then provides you with a further list of related search terms .

Google related search

So, from one simple action I now have multiple ideas for content generation.

Yahoo! and Quora

I’ve put these two together as they work in fairly similar ways.

Yahoo! answers and Quora provide content marketers with a plethora of information. They are a great place to start your research. Browsing both sites, using your keywords, will throw up all sorts of ideas based on the questions being asked by users.

After all, if people are asking questions it means they are looking for answers, so they are the topics you want to be writing about.


YouTube isn’t just a video viewing website, it’s also a great source for content ideas.

It works in a similar way to Google Suggest in so far as you enter your keyword into the search box and then YouTube will list other related searches.


YouTube related search


As you can see I’ve used the same keyword as in the Google example, but here YouTube has come up with a different range of suggestions, so now, one keyword has generated several different content ideas.

LinkedIn groups

Are you a member of any LinkedIn groups? If so, you’ve probably seen the emails that are generated when someone poses a question. Again, these questions are a rich source for your content ideas. Use them to write informative articles that you can then post on LinkedIn, your blog and other article sites etc.


Last, but by no means least, are your customers.

What better source could there be? Talking to them directly, or monitoring their questions (via email and social media) will unearth a rich source of content ideas, giving them the information they want.

Generating ideas for your content marketing strategy is easy. All you have to do is decide on the subject area you want to cover and then do one or more of the above to generate a whole raft of ideas that you can write about.

Do you use any other methods to generate ideas? If so leave a comment below and share them with us, it would be really interesting to get your take on this subject.


Sally Ormond is MD and head copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd.

How to Deal With an Unnatural Links Message

Following the aftermath of Penguin, have you received an unnatural link message from Google?

Do you know who to go about finding out which links are causing the problem?

To help you out, here’s a video from Matt Cutts explaining how you can make sure you remove the troublesome links.