A really nice australian bloke

Every once in a while you meet someone that’s just genuine. And that was my experience with a young Australian man I met while traveling in the great southern continent – a really nice Australian bloke.

I began working with him at a digital marketing agency in Australia. I was quite shy at the time, not having full confidence in my English-speaking abilities, as well as being just a pretty awkward person in general. But Cooper the nice Australian bloke welcomed me, he bought me a beer and introduced me to Big Bug Hunter – an Australian game that involves shooting animals on a big television screen. It was amazing, we don’t have screens that big in Mallorca.

It was not long after that he introduced me to a girl in a bar, a girl I grew to admire and love. It was quite clear that she was interested in Cooper, but Cooper was too nice to become the centre of her affections. He suggested that she talk to me, and after a few drinks and some burgeoning ‘Dutch courage’, my confidence began to grow. And now I see her all the time.

He’s a nice guy, genuine, caring and surprisingly strong too. His Aussie temperament makes him the go-to-guy in any sticky situation and I truly believe that any girl would be incredibly lucky to date him. He supports many charity initiatives, including ‘Kids Without Soccer Balls (KWSB) Sydney’.

His niceness is infectious and I feel that I am becoming a nicer person as a result of being friends with him. If only I could become more Australian! But my accent is quite poor and I am difficult to understand at the best of times.

The final memory that I will share of my very kind friend Cooper is of when we went fishing. I was getting sea sick, and Cooper was too. But while I vomited and rested, Cooper strongly kept fishing, battling his own nausea to catch the night’s dinner. He then cooked the dinner expertly, with lemon and salt slow cooked in alfoil on an Australian barbeque. There was only enough for two people, so he fed me and my girl. While we ate, he cleaned.

He’s just an exceptional person. Truly a really nice Australian bloke.

I’m lucky to know him.

The guy that likes drinking alcohol and wearing a dress

Every now and again there appears the guy who likes drinking and wearing his dress. Some colleagues may call his drinking and dress wearing a distraction, other slightly more strange colleagues may call it titillating, but one thing is for absolute certain: Myke Whittle is as unique as they come.

His love of a good frock and brew began in the English town of Leeds. While other boys and girls were out playing cards or tic tac toe, master Whittle was spending time sewing in the basement of his detached and modern Leeds settlement. A small village, word quickly spread of his interest in David Bowie and Elton John. In honesty, this wasn’t so bad, but very soon things took a sinister turn.

As many budding serial killers begin their sick, twisted ways carving up innocent animals, neighbours were shocked when they started noticing small birds and squirrels in tiny dresses. Some dismissed these as a ‘pranksters jibe’. But for Myke, it was the beginning of a perverse existence, full of dresses, wine, and sexual frustration.

His younger years were lonesome but as he grew, he learned to better integrate with the crowd. He learned how to hide himself in plain sight. He started traveling. To foreigners, animals in dresses were a novelty, perhaps even a cute viral video to be filmed. But they were not aware of the dangers that had befitted them. A demon-child was fledgling in their very midst.

The very final time Myke was spotted was in the town of Bristol. Stunned locals photographed the young man of 18 passed out drunk with 6 bottles of empty wine (apparently from a mobile wine subscription) next to a cross-dressing horse with a cigarette. The picture was published and Myke Whittle was shamed. His reputation in tatters, he fled the continent to the land of the convicts – Australia. Surely he could fit in there.

Leeds Guy Who Likes Drinking And Wearing His Dress Finds Acceptance In Australia

In this is where we’ve found ourselves. Mychal Whittle (pictured) working in a corporate environment in Australia. Now instead of frocking animals, he frocks himself. Locals call him ‘progressive’ and ‘brave’, and not ‘sinister’ and ‘just a bit weird’. The Northerner has found acceptance in a social setting that celebrates his difference.

Nowadays you’ll find Myke drunk in Strawberry Hills, his hairy calves calling both ladies and gents for a brew or two.

And that’s just the way he likes it.

The best professional mentor I ever had

If you close your eyes and try to think of people that have had a positive influence in your character and professional skills, I’m sure a few faces will come to mind. The ones that pushed you out of your confort zone and coached you until that confort zone became larger, on so did your confidence. The ones that offered you a role model to follow and inspired you to try harder and work smarter to become the professional you wanted to be. Or the ones that simply showed you how to enjoy doing what you do for a living, because life’s to short to be doing otherwise.

When I close my eyes and think of the best professional mentor I’ve had in my career, the following image comes to my mind

Admittedly, I could have asked for a professional mentor that would evoke less visually disturbing images (the above is the least disturbing I could find). But in terms of professional mentoring qualities, I couldn’t have asked for more.

I’m sure you didn’t come to this post just to see disturbing images, so here are the 5 main things I learned from fannybaws.

1. Let your team take responsibility and make their own mistakes. Let them grow.

One of the hardest parts of becoming a manager is that you need to give up control of how things are done and allow others do it their way. Many managers – especially those who know have been executing the work for a while- will fail at allowing their team do things their way, make mistakes, learn, grow. If you fail at doing this you might get what you are doing today done faster or better, but you will be jeopardising your team’s future potential.

2. Treat your team member’s work output as the byproduct of their development

One of my favourite Ted Talks is the one from Simon Sinek, called ‘How great leaders inspire action’ (I’m sure that if you are reading this post you have probably watched it by now. If you haven’t, watch it. Now.)

One of the things I have realised recently is that every time I tried to make an important decisions and I would bounce off ideas with fannybaws he would ask me “why?” and let me answer, think, answer again. If it all made sense, we would stop there. If it didn’t feel quite right, he would ask me why again. Always start with the why.

3. Get your priorities right. Put important things first, then the rest, then admin. If you do, it will all fit.

A meteorology professor stood before his Meteorology 101 class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty glass mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a jar of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open spaces between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar and of course the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous yes.

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and then proceeded to pour the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the grains of sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things — your family, your partner, your health, your children, your friends, your favorite passions — things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

“The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. Play another 18.

“There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers.”

Source: http://www.theweatherprediction.com/humor/life/

4. Learn to have a healthy work/life balance . Make sure your team does too.


“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the Air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four Balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.”

Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest.

Value has a value only if its values is valued.


5. Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission  

This one might sound oversimplified but is important to keep in mind when the barriers of the corporate world are frustrating your efforts. If you know that what you are doing is right, sometimes the only way forward is if you bend some rules. That is if you want to make a difference.

Although this article is called “The best professional mentor I ever had” which technically implies I don’t have you as a mentor any more, you are not going far away and I’m hoping I will still be able to learn from you. I don’t think I have learned everything yet. In any case, I will miss having you around but everything you have taught us will live on and I trust it will transcend to generations of SEOs to come.

Farewell fella. You will be missed.

Epic Speeches

Some speeches can leave you absolutely… speechless. I personally feel fascinated by the power of a well structured convincing argument and try to achieve the same results when articulating my persuasive messages. In that sense, I consider’s Anthony Weston‘s Rulebook for Arguments an incredibly helpful book which I recommend to anyone interested in writing persuasive arguments.

I also have a special place in my heart for those speeches that manage to persuade you with the power of emotion or just plain oratory awesomeness. So I decided to put together my favourite speeches.

What about you? Do you have a favourite speech? Let me know in the comments!


William Wallace: Address to Scottish Army at Stirling


Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live — at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!!!

Charlie Chaplin’s final speech in The Great Dictator

I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black men, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say “Do not despair.” The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!


Rocky’s speech to his son about life

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.


Carl Sagan’s famous ‘The Pale Blue Dot’ speech

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”


Garry Marshall’s Speech on Louie Season 3 Episode 10

I love this one. It’s a bit less known, but still very good imho. Starts at 5:14

Quite a handsome man

Saying you are an SEO specialist or an Inbound Marketing Specialist is not as straightforward as saying you are a doctor or a lawyer. Once I was trying to explain my job to my cousin, who has a very refined English humor. This was his conclusion:


So, if I search for ‘asshole’ in Google I will find your picture. Right?



Since then I have been able to explain my job with more or less grace to those outside the field except for… when a cute girl asks me in a bar. I don’t know what it is, but I always end up with a very low satisfaction feeling after I explain ‘what I do for a living’ to a girl in a club. So I decided to do something about it, and here’s where my cousin’s comment comes into play.

Believe it or not, ‘asshole’ is a pretty competitive keyword. Even if I would want to rank my picture for the search term ‘asshole’ it would take me a fair amount of work and time to achieve. But what if instead of ‘asshole’ I would target a less competitive and somewhat more flattering term. Something like ‘considerably good looking man’ or ‘Quite a handsome man’?

If I achieved having my picture showing up when googling ‘quite a handsome man’, I would be able to pull off a significantly cheekier (and hopefully much more charming) answer and, ultimately, raise my levels of satisfaction when explaining my profession. Including the word ‘quite’ not only makes it easier to rank for but also adds a slight touch of humbleness to the equation. Brilliant!


This is the picture I will use to target ‘quite a handsome man’

Obviously I have included the term ‘quite a handsome man’  in the page title and content of this post, as well as in the file name and alt attribute of the image above. Basic SEO, but it should do the trick.


UPDATE:  Bingo! #1 on both Organic and Google images. I can now explain my profession in a way that is both easy to understand and cheeky. Mission accomplished.

Best Mozcon 2013 Quotes

Mozcon 2013 is bringing an amazing amount of knowledge, tips and trips to all of us inbound marketing fans. But what are the best quotes of this edition of Mozcon? Let’s get them all together in one post! Leave your favorite quotes in the comment section and I will be adding them when the Mozcon’s great wifi allows.

[quote author=”Avinash Kaushik” link=”https://twitter.com/avinash”]

Number of FB fans is a shitty fucking stupid metric



[quote author=”Carrie Gouldin” link=”https://twitter.com/thinkgeek”]

With great metrics comes great responsibility


[quote author=”Annie Cushing” link=”https://twitter.com/AnnieCushing”]

Don’t waste my time or I’ll punch you in the throat


[quote author=”Mackenzie Fogelson” link=”https://twitter.com/mackfogelson”]

Create a page and SEO the shit out of it!


[quote author=”Aaron Wheeler” link=”aaron_wheeler “]

Create great content. Great help content


[quote author=”Phil Nottingham” link=”https://twitter.com/philnottingham”]

You don’t have to do everything at once, but do it well


[quote author=”Phil Nottingham” link=”https://twitter.com/philnottingham”]

To find Phil Nottingham on FB Graph Google “SEO in London who looks a bit like any character from Lord of the Rings”


[quote author=”Annie Cushing” link=”https://twitter.com/AnnieCushing”]

When your boss is coming at you saying ‘you suck, you suck’ it’s not the time to say ‘oh wait, oh wait, it’s not provided!’


Search experience optimization is the future of SEO

If you ask anyone what SEO stands for, they’ll usually say, “search engine optimization.” This answer makes absolute sense, since it refers to the original meaning of SEO when it was coined back in the 90’s.

In those days, webmasters kept themselves busy trying to make their websites as flashy and attractive as they could using the technology of the time. (If you are feeling nostalgic for some 90’s retro web design, I recommend visiting the Space Jam official website.)

Search engines hadn’t been around for long, so their ability to crawl, index and make semantic sense of pages was far from sophisticated. And truth is, websites of that time didn’t make things easier for search engines. (I dare you to find one meta tag on the Space Jam official website!) In light of this situation, and with the increased popularity of search engines, Search Engine Optimization was born and webmasters began to optimize their pages for search engines. Technical changes that made your pages more search-engine friendly could give you a significant advantage and make you rank for key phrases that a growing amount of “websurfers” typed into those primitive search boxes.

As one could have expected, many tried to abuse these newly born optimization techniques to get high rankings at any cost. SEO became not about optimizing your site to make it more search engine friendly, but instead, the goal of SEO became to find smart ways to game the system just to get high rankings. And that’s when the quality of search results became poorer and SEO developed some reputation issues that it still needs to overcome. (“Is SEO killing America?” remains my all-time favorite).

Source: Dilbert.com

Things got pretty bad in 2010, to the point that some voices started to actively criticize the quality of Google results:

[quote author=”Rand Fishkin, CEO and Co-founder of SEOmoz” link=”http://moz.com/blog/a-recommendation-for-googles-webspam-team”]

I actually worry that early adopters might stop using Google for commercial queries and start looking for alternatives because of how manipulative the top results feel.


Obviously something had gone wrong. A discipline that was born to help improve search engines was now being vastly used to take advantage of their algorithm flaws, producing search results that Google’s robot considered to be optimal, but that humans were getting sick of.

Google needed to bang their fist on the table and make it clear that their algorithm isn’t there to be tricked with shortcuts and workarounds, but to be understood and followed with one goal in mind: to improve the visitor’s search experience.


Panda, Penguin and other algorithm updates that changed the rules of the game

In 2010, the SEO industry started to hear (and feel!) the impact of Google’s fist on the table.  A series of algorithm updates turned things inside out and left those who had been gaming the rules in clear off-side. Here’s a quick (and simplified) chronology of the main events I believe shaped today’s SEO:

– May 2010: Mayday

This change in Google’s algorithm had a noticeable impact in the long-tail. Sites with large-scale thin content seemed to be hit especially hard, forewarning the Panda update.

February 2011: Panda

A major algorithm update hits sites harder than ever, affecting up to 12% of search. Google’s main focus was to reward sites with quality content over those who are just well optimized for SEO, and penalizing sites with thin or duplicate content.

 – April 2012: Penguin

Update aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using shady SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing or link buying.

September 2012: Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update

Owning an exact match domain used to be a powerful loophole to advance search engine rankings for the keywords contained in the domain name, producing search results topped by sites as horrible as www.2-bedroom-apartments-in-london.co.uk. This update was Google’s attempt to close that loophole.


There have been many more algorithm updates, but these are arguably the ones that have drastically changed the SEO scene. This has left those incapable of assimilating such a big shift in such a short time absolutely out of place, worrying about meta keyword tags and exact match URLs, instead of taking care of the quality of their content and the search experience of their visitors. Here is a friendly tip for all those anchored to 2008’s SEO techniques: stop thinking about search engine optimization. It’s time for search experience optimization.


What is search experience optimization and what is different about it?

I know what you are thinking: “Here we go again… Another attempt to come up with a fancy new name because they got bored of the old one…” Trust me: that’s not my intention. In fact, the name is not even new: Ben Potter from e-consultancy already wrote a very interesting article about search experience optimization and, as he mentions in his text, the first reference to the term points back to an article posted on seoworkers.com (although the term they coined referred to something substantially different).

The name is not new and I am not endorsing it as part of a branding ploy. I just really think that the original meaning of those three letters (the 90’s meaning) doesn’t make sense anymore. For some, like Ben Potter, it was never really there:

[quote author=”Ben Potter” link=”econsultancy.com/blog/authors/ben-potter”]

For me, the term search engine optimisation (SEO) has always been fatally flawed. It suggests that we optimise solely for search engines. However, search engines don’t buy products, people do.


The debate around the need to rebrand SEO has been going on for quite some time already. And there are good reasons for it. Namely

  1. The bad reputation it has outside of the industry by those who associate it with spammy link-building techniques
  2. Its inability to communicate all areas touched by the discipline
  3. And its lack of focus on the people

Many have turned to and put their hopes in “Inbound Marketing”. Numerous SEO’s have scraped the SEO off their job titles and replaced it with this new immaculate term that breathes holisticity. (Yes, it’s a word! I Googled it.) Even one of the most enthusiastic defendants of the SEO brand, Rand Fishkin CEO and Co-founder of SEOmoz , has given up and dropped it from his company name (now just “Moz”) to embrace the goodness of this new term. I like Inbound Marketing and genuinely believe it is the best kind of marketing, but I don’t think it’s here to substitute SEO. SEO is part of Inbound Marketing in the same way that Advertising is part of Marketing. SEO is one of the disciplines within the full scope of Inbound Marketing, so for me, rebranding SEO as Inbound Marketing is not really an option.

Inbound Marketing is great since it lets your customers get in contact with your brand and products in the moment they are actively looking for it, instead of interrupting their activity with an annoying advert or email they don’t want to see. This is something that is one of the shared aspects with SEO that I find so attractive. But Inbound Marketing is much more than Search. It’s Search, but also Social Media, PR, Content Marketing and a long etcetera. And yes, SEO relies on all of these to succeed, but these disciplines have their own space outside Search. So welcome Inbound Marketing, but the acronym SEO is not going anywhere.


So what exactly is search experience optimization?

 Search experience optimization tries to improve the customer experience of users that are searching for something that you can provide in a way that attracts them to your brand or simply to your website.

Search experience optimization is:

–          Creating good content that your visitors like

–          Being relevant and easy to find

–          Looking into your analytics to find that people don’t respond well when they land on your page, and doing something about it

–          Having rich snippets that make it easier to choose which page they click on

–          And so on. You get the message.

What search experience optimization is not, are all those things that might circumstantially improve your rankings, but not the visitor’s search experience. Things such as:

–          Buying links from irrelevant sites

–          Creating keyword stuffed unreadable pages with no content value

–          Adding meta keywords (how do meta keywords improve anyone’s search experience?)

–          And again, a long etcetera.

In essence, search experience optimization is anything that helps making people happy when they are searching. The underlying principle of this discipline should be that searching should be a pleasant, enjoyable experience.

By changing the meaning of SEO and sticking to the underlying principle of this new meaning we align our interests to those of users and, ultimately, the interests of search engines. All signs indicate that Google and other search engines are trying to reward this behavior and will continue to do so in the future – a future in which they will most likely be even more sophisticated than today in recognizing and rewarding those who make search a better place.

From SEO tactics to a SEO strategy in 2013

Some time ago (not so long, just a few years) you could achieve SEO success with some basic tactics. Build a website, throw in some related content, manually build some links and you could achieve some decent rankings. The most successful players were usually the ones that could think of the smarter link building tactics.

But in recent years, the rules of the game have changed turning SEO into something increasingly complex where tactics alone just don’t cut it anymore.

This is why several voices in the SEO industry are underlining the importance of having a defined SEO strategy that supports long term sustainable growth.

Step 1: Define your strategy!

Your first step should be deciding what will be your strategy. There are several types of strategies and making a choice is important to help you set a direction and priorities. Of course, you can choose for a combination, that’s ok. In fact, it is an excellent idea to diversify as it will make your strategy less vulnerable to future changes. What’s important is that you know what your strategy is and you clearly define it. Let’s see some SEO strategy examples:

Content creation strategy

Content Marketing (which is nothing new to the industry) is probably the most extended strategy nowadays. The reason behind this is that most of the recent changes in Google’s algorithm (mainly Panda and Penguin) have been aimed at rewarding sites that produce original, high quality content that becomes popular naturally.

To succeed in this strategy you need to find out what content is your target audience searching for. Once you know what sort of content they are interested in, you need to chop it into smaller sub-topics and create pages that accurately target them. I will use a B2C example to explain this:

The British grocery retailer, Tesco, sells food. So they generate content related to food.

Notice how they are not promoting directly their supermarkets or their products, but just offering useful content related to their field. Also notice how from the topic “food” they have chopped their way through to this very specific sub-topic. See how specifically targeted this page is?

Targeted, original, quality content. That’s it.

Having a content strategy means you need to do some content planning. Otherwise you will find yourself initiating unstructured content tactics. For a more detailed view on how to organize your content strategy, you can refer to Simon Penson’s Guide to Content Planning.

User generated content (UGC) strategy

UCG is content that is generated by people who visit your site. Typical examples are forums, product reviews, blog post comments or questions and answers. The great thing about this strategy is that you get a lot of fresh content (which since Freshness 2011 gets favored by Google) without paying a single penny. Moreover, it’s a great way to increase engagement and build a community around your brand. A good example of this strategy would be allmyrecipes.co.uk:

This recipe was created by a user. Not only that. Its 317 reviews were also created by users. Allmyrecipes.co.uk provides the platform and in return gets the traffic. You can’t always let users create all your content, but it might be worth including UGC in your SEO strategy.

Non content strategy

A strategy not based in content? Yes, it’s still possible. Rand Fishkin explains in this whiteboard Friday how companies that can’t or don’t want to generate content are still able to play the game. And although he focuses on inbound marketing as something that goes farther than search, he makes a good point. Maybe your strength is not creating content, but getting partnerships with very authorities sites. Or maybe you are great at getting linked on the main online newspapers. Either way, if this is what you are good for you need to define what your strategy is going to be and how it’s going to be carried.

 Step 2: Define the roles

Whichever SEO strategy you go for, you will need people to execute it. There are mainly three roles.

 1. Content creation

Have someone writing great content that your audience will be willing to share and other sites will be happy to link to and your path to SEO success will be much easier. It’s very important to have content writers that understand the basics of content targeting. They don’t need to stuff their texts with keywords, they only need to have focused content.

2. Technical SEO

You need someone that will take care of the technical side, someone that will make sure that your pages are crawlable, indexable and in good shape to rank well. Meta-data, canonical tags, 301 redirects, XML sitemaps, Google Plus authorship markup, Facebook’s Open Graph meta data, schema.org implementation… Yeah, all of that.

3. Promotion

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? You know where I’m going. No matter how amazing your content is or how optimized for search engines it is… You need to make it popular. Search engines rank pages that are relevant and popular. And the way to determine popularity is mostly by looking the number and quality of inbound links and social shares. If you are going for a content strategy, you will need someone to create and maintain a network of distribution, someone that gets the word out there and manages to get your pages seen by enough people. Even if you don’t market content, you will need to have someone promoting your site and getting links back from partners, other websites, you name it…

Two or more of the roles I have mentioned can in some cases be played by the same person. But typically, and especially if you work in an enterprise environment, you will have them assigned to different players. It’s very important to have these three roles interacting. They will make each other better.

Once you get everyone doing what they are best at, once you have your content creation team generating great content, your promotion team building networks and finding places where to promote your pages and the SEO technical team chasing developers to make your pages look yummi to Google’s eyes… Then you have it set and running.


Step 3: Analyze, evaluate and repeat

Whatever your strategy is, you will sometimes succeed and you will sometimes fail. But now that you have a strategy in place you won’t turn 180 degrees and start doing something different. You will continue doing whatever you do to succeed in SEO and you will progressively get better at it.