Blog posts about: SEO

Here are all our blog posts on SEO. Contact us to discuss anything that you've read here.

Online Marketing Comes of Age

Online Marketing Comes of Age The unregulated space of online marketing has been dominated by the cost-effective, sometimes technical, sometimes creative world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Ever since search engines became available for general public use in the 90’s the geeks pioneering this industry have easily gamed the algorithm. Last month (September 2013) Google finally hammered the last nail into the SEO coffin by launching a completely new algorithm that tolls the death knell for the era of the search term. Once termed the ‘database of intentions’ (by John Batelle [was this really 10 years ago?!]), despite their seeming complexities, search engines have led a fairly basic existence at the mercy of those who choose to appease the algorithm and charge a pretty premium to their clients for the privilege. Until last month it was not only possible to demonstate that the masses searched using short string queries, but it was also possible to optimise for these searches and their many derivatives by simply creating more optimised copy and securing new exact-match anchor text back links to these pages. But now finally the age of semantic search, or entity search, is here, and the world of online marketing needs to grow up and start to understand the complexities of managing the new web of knowledge and how it is interrelated. Semantic Search Semantics is relatively easy to explain and touches the right hemisphere; entity search is more relational and complex and definitely a left hemisphere twister. Semantic search looks at additional sources of reference than that typically used by algorithms (keyword placement, prominance, frequency & back-links) such as structured mark up and other meta data (, RDFa Lite and microdata). This information helps build the kinds of responses that you get from Siri, Google Glass and the Knowledge Graph results on the right of a standard SERP today. Entity Search Entity search is about how search queries can be broken down and understood in the context of the responses available. Here’s an explanation by Paul Bruemmer over on Search Engine Land: Structured data can be imported and exported from triplestores. Hang in there and bear with me for a minute… A triplestore is a database for the storage and retrieval of triples. Triplestores are optimized for the storage and retrieval of triples; they can store billions of triples. What’s a triple? To simplify, let’s break down a sentence: the combination of three parts of speech which form...

SEO – same as it ever was?

SEO – same as it ever was? Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has changed a lot over the years. To succeed you used to have to try all sorts of different methodology and the results you’d get would be outstanding and very often stand the test of time. It used to be that SEO was the most cost effective route to market. It used to be that SEO was a great branding tool that allowed the underdog to have his day. It used to be that SEO was a geeks wet dream. Oh wait a minute… Despite Google’s best efforts to kill off the industry nothing has changed. Making concerted efforts to remove critical search term data from our view by deploying ‘not provided’ in the organic data reporting in their own Google Analytics tool and terminating contracts and API’s that 3rd parties can use to report on positional rankings doesn’t mean that you can’t do SEO successfully any more these days. Anyone who thinks that the algorithm has changed as a result of these changes is a fool. What Google has succeeded in doing over the last 2 years is winning the propaganda war. I, however, don’t believe this is a bad thing. The industry needed a shake up. As soon as you start hearing radio ads for SEO services you know we’ve come of age and that there’s some snake oil being peddled. This needed to stop, and hopefully there are fewer practitioners thinking that they can get away with it as it ain’t as easy to spam as it used to be. What it didn’t do so well was teeing up most SEO individuals, teams & agencies with additional paid work to bale out either their clients or some other agencies clients after they’d incurred penalties on their clients’ sites as a result of their algorithm updates. This got so out of hand that even one respected agency stated that it would cost upwards of £20k to conduct a thorough enough back-link audit to figure out how to bale the client out. However, if you pay attention to the right people (people like Dave Naylor, Rishi Lakhani, Ammon Johns, Bill Slawski, Wiep Knol, Barry Schwartz, Dave Pieris) you’ll have half the job done. What these guys do differently is what anyone practicing SEO should always be doing – testing, and testing on their own sites, not their clients. SEO is still cause and effect....

Creative Content Marketing & Blog Auditing

Creative Content Marketing & Blog Auditing Content was king. That is until it started to become poorly curated. Whilst marketers realise the importance of content they completely misunderstand the principles of curation. The very nature of relevance and visibility means that there’s a constant need for new content, but this is at the cost of engagement and longevity. ThinkSearch have a slightly different view of the world. While we appreciate the needs of the algorithms we also see a bigger picture – one where the value of content can be extended, and one where the depth of knowledge of content is more greatly appreciated.  The practice of SEO these days can quite heavily be one of content marketing. A good SEO strategy will involve research and auditing to determine the needs of those users that may be more willing to link to you and share your content, but this content, just with any content you publish on your website needs to be seen as part of your network and curated as such. How often do you review what you’ve written over the months and years and refer back to it via citation? Strengthening your offering, as the publisher that brands are having to become, is not the only aspect of this brave new world. Another big consideration is authorship. To layer on top of it’s automated technical link-based algorithm Google is also now starting to look at who has written which articles and bias it’s results based on criteria to do with this association. In the future the more well published you are the more visibility your content will receive over your peers and competitors. In an article today that AOL’s CEO Tim Armstrong backs up this fact with his observation on how their bet on content strategy would save AOL, and it appears to be working. A video-based creative content marketing strategy might not be accessible to all but ThinkSearch would certainly suggest starting with blog auditing. Do you know what content you’ve published has been working better and why? Do you know who it reached and how? Even a simple WordPress plug in can help breath life back into a blog that has become a dumping ground for content on the advice of your SEO agency. Content can be king again, but not until it receives the contextual associations it needs to keep on receiving, both from citations (internal and external) but also...

Google’s First Click Free and the Paywall Dilemma

Google’s First Click Free and the Paywall Dilemma It’s been a good few years since Google first announced that they were working on a solution to the content subscription model that sees paywalls go up shielding content from the access of the search engine, but then in October last year this became a reality – First Click Free. If you are a publisher you have a daunting time ahead. Traditional publishers have had to adapt to other revenue streams to survive. Several high profile cases (notably the New York Times) marked a demise in the typical paid for subscription model of newspapers which resulted from the proliferation of free journalism on the internet. But today there is an approved solution for Google that means you don’t have to leap towards an advertising model that can cause disruption. I say ‘approved’ as there are other solutions that one can deploy for search engine visibility. These solutions would also work for other engines like Yahoo & Bing unlike the Google published solution. Here are the options: 1) Unlock everything There’s a school of thought that says the more you are able to give away the more you will ultimately win over your competition. However this business model is high risk and in many cases still unproven as enough reassurance from alternative revenue streams needs to be proven i.e. on-site advertising, etc. 2) Write twice Write in depth articles for subscribers and write 400 word optimised alternatives for the web. This ticks both boxes, should keep subscribers happy and allows you more chance to pander to SEO from articles that should of course remain originated for your customer-base first rather than for search engines first. It’s additional time and effort however. 3) User detection Use user detection to allow a search engine to crawl all of the content on your sites but then if a user visits you check for the cookie and put up the paywall if it doesn’t exist. This is a lower risk strategy but would allow for the savvy user to read your content for free if they view the cached version of the page or use a browser like Firefox and chance their user agent. 4) Publish expiring content To make the most of the content that you do publish under subscription and to not annoy your subscribers you could publish content after it has run it’s course under subscription i.e. after a month? In this way the search engines get their teeth...

SEO Workshop Training Deck

SEO Workshop Training Deck Whilst in the process of updating my latest training deck for my Fortune Cookie clients I thought I should share a recent version. obviously things change pretty rapidly in the world of search, but in the most part what is outlined in the presentation below is still core to succesful SEO. Drop us a line if you are interested in a workshop. It can be tailored specifically to your requirements, easily. Spanning The Globe With Search View more presentations from Tim...

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