“What are your favourite SEO tools?”
There are a variety of monitoring tools that come and go, but nothing really comes close to Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
What continues to plague search marketers is the adherence to old-think issues: ‘Content is too hard to create.’ ‘Links are too hard to build organically.’ This type of focus blinds you to more important things.
The three essential elements of an effective SEO are effective communication, useful information and high quality backlinks.
Having said that, it’s very important for us to take some solid advice from the experts in the field of digital marketing. Simply because they’ve been there and they’ve done that. They can help us understand SEO and internet marketing better and lead us straight ahead.
Our interview today is with an expert SEO – Meet Stuart Brandwood.
Stuart was mainly from a programming and database background but had done a lot of customer service and support. When he first joined digital marketing agency, Hit Search, the company was a lot smaller than it is now, so he just helped out with the campaigns. That became a bigger part of his day-to-day job until he basically became what he did.
Sharing some of his SEO strategies, it’s truly an honor to host Stuart Brandwood in our Agency expert interview series.
1. What do you believe to be the most important task you do on a daily basis? Why?
Just looking after our clients’ websites. A big part of what we do is monitoring and reacting to the signals we get from Google and the health checks we do in order to solve any problems before they lead to a noticeable loss in visibility or conversions.
2. What resources or influencers do you follow for staying ahead in the world of SEO?
There are a good set of resources we keep our eyes on; from forums and podcasts, to press releases from Google’s developers. We also check what people are saying on Twitter, we use a wide variety of resources really.
3. How do you survive with Google’s Love-Hate relation with Backlinks?
I think we have to view Google’s crusade against link builders as a good thing. Our clients have the enthusiasm to do real, genuine marketing. If we are doing targeted PR, then those looking for shortcuts are the ones who will lose out in the long run.
It is tricky, though. We have come in in the wake of some “old school” black-hat link building campaigns, and have really had to work hard to show why our approach, although much more of a slow-burn, is better and more sustainable.
4. What are your favourite SEO tools, and why?
There are a variety of monitoring tools that come and go, but nothing really comes close to Google Analytics and Google Search Console for truly understanding how sites are performing online.
If you add in CRO tools such as VWO, Clicktale and Optimizely, you can open up a whole new world of insights for increasing a client’s return on investment.
5. How do you think SEO will evolve in the coming years?
It is already evolving into pure online marketing. PR, social and onsite content, all go together in increase the overall visibility. The technical SEO side of things will always be a big part of it, though. There is no substitute for that second set of eyes dedicated to looking at the underlying indexing and visibility of the site.
6. What’s your favourite method to build links to your site?
Find out who your target audience are; work out what they’re interested in, identify who they listen to and simply create something they will want to read. Just be an engaged, worthwhile part of the community.
7. Share with us your biggest SEO achievement and how you did it. For what competitive keywords have you ranked high and what techniques you used?
We suggested a major content expansion for a national airport and worked for months to get high-quality travel guides for each of their destinations. On the back of the custom-written content, we outreached to travel bloggers and bloggers at the various destinations to contribute to and promote the content.
Because of the transitory nation of the travel industry we’ve had to be nimble and responsive whenever one of their airlines change their flight plans. This section has ensured they are visible all over the “Flights to…” and “Cheap Flights…” niche, and because it’s so prominent a lot of people I know use the pages.
On the technical side, we have undertaken some major structural changes to some of our busiest sites over the years, and when you achieve that without any loss of visibility, it’s a major achievement. We recently moved one of our biggest sites onto a completely different domain and basically preserved all of its rankings in the Car Repair niche.
8. What do you think is your greatest career accomplishment?
Tricky one really, I think I’d have to single out the charity campaigns I’ve worked on over the years. They have been high-profile and involved a lot of crossover from traditional media but ensuring that the online sphere contributes to their fundraising is sometimes the last thing people think about. We have helped museums, hospitals and healthcare providers get the most out of online by complimenting what they are doing day-to-day.
9. What is the best SEO tip you give for your clients and our audience?
So many times website owners are so familiar with their business and their site, that they see everything from that point of view. They assume everyone has the same in-depth understand and commitment to the site. It is a simple thing but just thinking like a first time visitor who has yet to choose your site is such an eye-opener.
Today we got to know a few important clues and methods which can help improve a website search engine ranking from Stuart Brandwood. Going forward there are many more specialists that we want to chat with. We will resume our discussion with another expert in our next post.
Until then, Happy Marketing!!