How to Find SEO Success in Your Content Marketing

Paul Boag

This week on the Boagworld Show we explore how to develop content in a way that will improve your search engine rankings.

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This weeks show is sponsored by Videoblocks and Gather Content.

This week on the Boagworld Show Andy Kinsey talks about the role of SEO in content marketing

Paul: Hello and welcome to the Boagworld show. A podcast about all aspects of digital design, development and strategy. My name is Paul Boag and joining me as always on this week’s show is Marcus. Hello Marcus.

Marcus: Hello Paul, how are you today?

Paul: I am gorgeous… Well actually I am slightly hysterical but we will come back to that in a minute.

Marcus: You are gorgeous?

Paul: (Laughter) Well, I am gorgeous. I am, I have always been gorgeous but I am slightly hysterical as well.

Marcus: Gorgeous and lovely.

Paul: Yes, but before we get into why I am hysterical let’s festival welcome Andy Kinsey to the show. Hello Andy.

Andy: Hello Paul, hello Marcus.

Marcus: How you doing?

Paul: It’s been a little while since we’ve had you on the show isn’t it.

Andy: It has, it’s been well over a year I think.

Paul: Cool. Well…

Marcus: They all just blur together the years now though don’t you find? It’s just like, phew, you could have said five, eight, six months. It’s just this constant…

Andy: It does feel like for ever with the Boagworld podcast. It just goes on and on!

Marcus: …rollercoaster.

Paul: (Laughter) It does.

Andy: I was showing Paul the other day, I’ve got one of your shirts from I think it was the first series.

Marcus: Really, wow!

Paul: Oh dear, that’s just very, very sad.

Marcus: A shirt. I forgot they even existed. So Paul, why are you stressed? You shouldn’t be stressed unless obviously you’ve built up too much work while you are swanning around the Pacific whatever you were doing.

Paul: Well, yes, partly that and partly I am moving house. I have just moved house.

Marcus: Yes, yes that’s true.

Paul: It’s always stressful. I’ve moved house so that we can renovate our existing house so at the moment I’m paying a larger mortgage because we took out more money to do the house and I am also paying rent for six months while we do the building work. So as a result I’ve taken on lots of work which means that I’m really busy. So this week alone I am going to see Comic relief, the UK Government, Shell, Centrica. It’s like it’s just never ending and then of course we are off to Barcelona.

Marcus: That’s lots of showing off there Paul! That’s some big names. Comic relief sounds interesting, what are you doing for them?

Paul: Oh, just a little talk. Nothing too exciting. Actually that once a freebie so I’m not even getting paid for that.

Marcus: Oh, not more work that you not getting… Yes, yes we’ve just, I’m not going to say for whom, but we did some work that we loved for a client last year and then they updated it themselves and we have agreed to fix it for nothing. Because it’s like “Ah, what did you do that for!” But anyway, never mind. These things happen.

Paul: They do indeed.

Andy: We all do work for free that we love. Let’s be honest about that.

Paul: Yeah. We do, this is the trouble, we get too invested in it don’t we.

Andy: A little.

Paul: So, I’m a bit worried about Barcelona there Marcus.

Marcus: Yes, because we are off there next week aren’t we? We are going to a conference. I’m really looking forward to this, this is my second conference this year, I should go to more, I always say that so I’m really looking forward to it but then the Catalonians decided… And also it is in Barcelona one of my favourite places in the world. But then as I just started saying the Catalonia’s decided that they were going to unilaterally leave Spain and they’re not allowed to do that. Their constitution says they can’t and that the Spanish government can force them not to do it and I’m just worried that it’s all going to reach a horrible climax when we are out there and will have to stay in a bunker under the hotel and never be able to leave.

Andy: That’s if you get over…

Paul: Sorry Andy what was that?

Andy: That’s if you manage to get over there.

Paul: Ah yeah.

Marcus: There is that, you might not even be able to get there in the first place.

Paul: Yeah, I mean from what I am hearing, because I was speaking to Pero from T4 who had some friends who’ve just been out there and he was saying that it is perfectly safe, I know that’s boring and you don’t want to hear that. You want to hear that it’s some kind of war zone and that we are really brave for going out there. But actually it is perfectly safe but everything is closed. So we will be…

Marcus: Yes, because they were having a general strike weren’t they?

Paul: Hmmm, hmmm, so there you go.

Marcus: I hope the hotels aren’t closed, that would be rubbish!

Paul: I imagine the conference would probably be cancelled if that was the case.

Marcus: We won’t be to go out to eat anywhere, we won’t…

Andy: Well if they’re having a general strike it might be anyway.

Paul: Sorry, what was that Andy?

Andy: If they’re having a general strike it might be cancelled anyway.

Paul: Exactly, I’m thinking that actually I might go out there and go on strike in sympathy and not give my talk or my workshop. And then see if I can get paid anyway! What you think?

Marcus: Well, as a member of the board of Smashing I think they would really appreciate that Paul! (Laughter)

Paul: Oh yeah! I forgot that.

Marcus: Not! You have obligations now Paul, you are not allowed to do that sort of thing. I’ve got to drive over the border from Catalonia into what ever the next one down is. I don’t know, I’m imagining guns and being searched and all of that kind of thing.

Paul: Well, when I was in India there was some dispute between two different states of India and we had to cross the border and they weren’t allowing traffic across the border so we had to walk about a mile and 1/2 from one side of the border to the other. So we got dropped off on the taxi one side and had to walk across to the other and collect a taxi on the other side. So, it’ll be something like that. Just traipsing with all your luggage, that’s what I imagine.

Marcus: I imagine I will just be driving along the motorway and I won’t know that I moved from one state to another, or county? What they call them out there, departments?

Paul: Yes, but that’s dull.… Departments??!

Marcus: That’s what they call them in France isn’t it? Le Departments.

Paul: Oh, there you go.

Andy: They are regions in Spain.

Paul: Regions, right. So, Andy. We ought to introduce Andy properly because it may well be that people don’t know Andy because he has been on the show before but it has been a little while. Andy, tell us what you are up to these days because last I knew you were some Labour councillor and weren’t having a lot to do with the web. But that’s not your real background is it.

Andy: No. So, well, my brand was SEO Andy. It still technically is. I am a digital marketing consultant. My background is, as you say, I’ve been a Labour councillor for four years. Standing down next year because I have a brain tumour which is now a very public and as this goes out there will be a video on my website explaining all of that. The reality is that I’m going out there, I generally work with charities such as social adventures and the Grafton Centre. I am going out there and doing advocacy work generally at the moment, talking about brain tumours and what not to basically get people more okay with talking about brain tumours and the stuff around them as well as working for charities.

Paul: So are you still doing SEO-type stuff and marketing stuff with charities as well or is it just a voluntary thing.

Andy: No, no. That is the bulk of my work with charities is the SEO side of the work. So the vast majority… Because of the restrictions of my health I have one or two large paying clients and then I work with charities who don’t pay quite as much because obviously charities don’t have so much money but it was all digital marketing work and SEO work.

Paul: Oh, cool. I should have checked with you before the show whether you were actually talking about the brain tumour or not. That was stupid of me because we have been chatting about it for a little while. Do you want to give people an idea, because setting aside obviously the emotion of it and the experience of it and stuff like that it’s having an impact on your work as well. I’m kind of quite interested because, you know, you were an independent SEO specialist and then you discover that you’ve got a brain tumour. How did that affect work and your career and your financial situation and what you were able to do and all that kind of stuff?

Andy: So, like you say, we’ve been talking about it for a while but starting from the ground up, the reality for me was that I have been very lucky in that because I have been a local councillor I have had a second income, as it were, which has really helped. Whereas most people who are an independent freelancer, as it were, don’t have that to fall back on. The reality for me is that my symptoms mean that I am standing down from that. I am going to face what every freelancer is facing, but I have time to plan for that. So, the financial come back from it is basically you have no income and how do you face that. So, if the migraines start I have 24-hour is the day and that spike up would mean that I need time off work every month or for a few days every month. That can just appear at any time is a real issue and I have permanant double vision and things like this that can really impact on the work that I do, or the type of work that I do. Or, how I do work, so for instance I can write things down one day and then I won’t be able to read my own notes the next day but I will be able to read it again the day after. So there are certain things that really have an impact on me. So it’s just little things that I have to educate clients or potential clients towards and that is something that… Although the video itself on my website isn’t going to… Doesn’t say that. There is an FAQ section on the website that says that that when I go into meetings with potential clients I’m very open with them about “This is the scenario and this is how it will affect you.” Then there are a number of clients like Social adventures in Salford that I have been extremely open with as I have gone through this whole process because they have been with me the whole time of turning round and going “This is where things are up to and this is how it’s changed.” As anyone with a long-term health condition will tell you is if you are not open with the people you work with and then you suddenly turn round and drop a bombshell on them that you’ve got an illness you are going to have a problem at the end of the day. Because for example in six months time I might need treatment. The reality is that I hope that really doesn’t happen but it might happen. The reality for me right now is that it looks like for the foreseeable future it might be three or four days a month that I can’t work, which is doable. So, you know. It’s swings and roundabouts the big thing for me and anyone in this situation is the financial pressure it puts on you and not knowing what the future holds.

Paul: I mean that’s the… You are basically living the ultimate fear of most people that are freelancers. That they get some long-term medical condition that actually impacts their health and their ability to do the job. What have you… The is there any advice you could give, any lessons that you have learnt, things that you wish you had done, things that you have done well that would help anybody else facing that kind of situation?

Andy: I think the two big pieces of advice that I would give anyone in this situation is number one, like I said, is don’t shy away from it or hide it away, from your current clients in particular, as soon as you know enough about it and you yourself has come to terms with it, that is a really important part of this. If you are struggling to come to terms with it go and get help and talk to people yourself about it first but you’ve got to be open with your clients and your potential clients. Even if someone emails… I mean, I’m being very open with it about it on the web and in public about this but you don’t have to do that. If someone sends you an email and it’s a big project that’s going to be 12 months long, for instance, send them an email back and just say “Look, this is the situation, is this something you can cope with. Or, take them for a coffee and explain the situation to them in person, that might be even better. Because things get misconstrued in an email anyway but you’ve got to be upfront with them. That is the reality of it. The other bit of advice is find someone in the industry that you can talk to about this that has got huge amounts of industry experience. For instance, I turned round to you and just said ”Can I have a talk to you.“ I mean I’ve known you for years. People probably can’t turn around to someone like you but if they can just send someone an email and just say, ”I’ve got this issue, can I have a quick email conversation with you." They tend to find that most people are receptive to that. Even if it is just a quick week long backwards and forwards most people answer to that. I myself am quite open to those conversations because I have been through most of this process so far, you know, so if people want to email me or send me a message on Facebook I am quite open to that.

Paul: And definitely, take Andy up on that because you know, it is hugely difficult facing these kinds of problems especially when you’re an independent freelancer and you’ve got no one else to talk to, nobody else to bounce ideas around with, you really need somebody out of the situation to talk to. Equally I am here as well, I am quite happy to chat with people in those kinds of situations as I was with Andy. Not that I got any experience, and Andy’s got experience which makes a big difference doesn’t it. So what is your kind of hope in terms of… from a work perspective? That you will just be able to carry on as you are or are you looking to move into certain types of work. What’s the plan?

Andy: So in the, well, over the next few months in particular I am kind of building up my portfolio in terms of what I’m trying to do mainly around charity organisations, mainly because, as you’ll know yourself, they tend to be more understanding and certainly with NGOs in particular because they tend to be more understanding of people with disabilities, to be fair to them. They tend to be, although they are commercially minded, obviously, they tend to be less, shall we say targeted around deadlines! For want of a better phrase. So you turn round and need to take a week off for one reason or another they tend to be really quite understanding on that one. So, I am trying to build up a bit of portfolio around that and also more of a way of doing advocacy work and hopefully finding a way of making that, not necessarily pay for itself but finding a way of ensuring that it can help to, at least help those organisations, not necessarily that I’m doing work for directly but other directions to other organisations get benefit from it as well. It’s kind of become circular in what it is doing rather than a single dimension to it if that makes sense.

Paul: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, I’ve got so much respect for the way that you have dealt with this Andy and it is a incredibly difficult position. It is good to see you… Because of course you stepped back for quite a long time from the SEO kind of stuff because you were doing the council stuff. So to see you building that back up again is really great. Which is good for the SEO community because you have got a huge amount that you have given to it over the years and you have shared your expertise a lot and it is good to see continuing to do that.

Featured Posts

Play Featured Posts at: 19:02

So, on that basis let’s talk a little bit about what we are going to talk about today which is kind of SEO. If I’m honest. The whole season is on content marketing and that content marketing is becoming probably the biggest way of increasing your visibility online and how you are perceived. But a big part of that is obviously is appearing on search engines and ranking well on the content that you are producing et cetera. So I wanted to spend an episode talking about this kind of thing. I wanted to kick off in particular with just some resources that we can point you at, and you can go away and learn a little bit more about this. I want to share a couple with you and then see if Andy has got some stuff that he fancies sharing on this as well in terms of resources. One that I found absolutely invaluable is Yoast. so that’s Y O A S and he is best known for his WordPress plug-in that you can use to improve the SEO on your site. But in actual fact he has got a great blog there as well and a whole section of that blog is dedicated to SEO basics. It is really good sensible best practice there of modern SEO rather than, you know, old school SEO which I was always a bit suspect of. So it is very much about producing quality content, targeting that content well, all of those kinds of things. The other post that… Oh sorry, yes, I did say didn’t I?

Marcus: You did.

Paul: The other post I wanted to point to you at is one of my own posts. Because of a Smashing magazine article I wrote years ago which was quite slamming of the SEO sector I’ve got a bit of a reputation as being someone who is quite anti-SEO which is not at all true. So what I want to share with you is a post that I wrote back in 2013.–seo–isnt–all–bad. So, there will be links to these in the show notes. It’s an article where I kind of share some experimentations that I ran to see whether SEO had value and the results and the things that I learnt from doing that experience. So those are a couple of resources that I wanted to point you at. Andy, where do you turn to… Or where should people start learning about SEO?

Andy: Well, there are lots of blogs out there. Anyone who searches for “SEO blog” on Google will find literally thousands of blogs. The basic… Well, the key blogs to turn to, the number one place that I would turn to is Moz which is now at, it was I think, back in the day. It’s now, as I said, which covers all the basics and also lots of advanced stuff on there. The key things to look out for on there are that each week the experts on there do a video called Whiteboard Friday which tends to be more advanced stuff but is really easy to get into. The other really great one to look at is the Google blog which is, the Google Webmaster blog, even, which again has lots of videos on it but looks at individual topics generally, anything from domains and how websites link to each other to dispelling myths basically. Again there’s lots of videos on there and it looks over to their YouTube channel as well. What I’ll do is I’ll probably send you the links to those. The other ones to look out to, just to name a few of them is up sport????, SEM Rush, Kiss Metricks and Search Engine Land. They are all really good but there are a fair few, I’ll send you a link to basically nine or 10 of them Paul!

Paul: Oh, that would be great.

Andy: You could put all of them on the run down, as it were. Because they are all worth sharing, these ones. Rather than just name them.

Paul: Good. Well that’s great, that’s great. I mean, it’s just really nice to have some resources that we can point people at because I’m very conscious with this season that we are trying to cover quite a broad range of subjects and so, you know, the whole idea is to just kind of maybe inspire people a little bit to dig into this. SEO is one of those areas that a lot of UX people in particular are quite negative about and I think if they start digging into some of these resources they might be surprised that actually it’s very user experience orientated in many ways because ultimately it is about using the terminology and phrases that people use every day.

Okay, before we get into, I’ve got some questions for Andy, but before we get into those I just want to do our first sponsor which is Videoblocks which are supporting us on the show this season which is wonderful. So, Videoblocks is a part of a service that offers a variety of different things. They offer imagery, video and audio. Unsurprisingly Videoblocks bit is the video part of their offering. Imagery and video and audio and multimedia generally are so important a part of the modern web. Whether it is sound effects for your podcast production, video backgrounds for your website or hero images for your website. Often the trouble is in my experience those kinds of elements of a site often get dropped due to cost or they there are… shortcuts are taken with them and they’re not great and they don’t really live up to their potential. That’s where a service like Videoblocks gets really interesting because basically you can get really high quality stock imagery but for a fraction of the normal cost because it is a subscription-based thing. So you can use it with client after client after client and it works out much cheaper than buying individual stock video but you get access to this huge range of different stuff. So you are almost always gonna find what it is that you are after as well. So they have got a huge stock video library including obviously high definition footage but they also got things like after-effects, templates, motion backgrounds et cetera. Not only do they have I think it is 115,000 different videos that you can choose between but on top of that they also have a marketplace with millions of other clips as well that you can use for whatever it is that you are producing. They are heavily discounted because you have signed up to this subscription model. So there is the free stuff that comes as part of the subscription and then there is the heavily reduced stuff in the marketplace as well. All the content, wherever you buy it, whatever you end up with is royalty free so you can use it as you want for commercial purposes or personal projects and they are always adding new stuff so it is a library that is growing all the time. You can get a free seven day trial of it to check out what they have got in the library by going to

Discussion with Andy Kinsey

Play Discussion at: 27:03

Okay, so let’s dive into some questions for Andy in regards to SEO. Andy, the first thing I wanted to talk to you is about how profoundly SEO has changed over recent years. I was wondering, and I think a lot of us have got quite out of date views of what SEO is all about. So I’m interested to hear your perspective on how would you describe SEO today? Give us the elevator pitch.

Andy: Oh, well the elevator pitch. Well, shall we start with what SEO isn’t, and that might help to clarify it. So few seconds ago you were talking about how UX people are often confused about this. If you think about SEO as what Google does and then you clarify that as to what Google as a search engine alone does. So we’re not talking about Google shopping, we’re not talking about Gmail, we are not talking about any of that stuff. We are just talking about the search element and what you see or what it gives you when you land on a search results page and what it takes to get onto that page. So that is search engine optimisation. Anything else outside of that, so Google plus, Gmail, Google shopping and anything else is digital marketing related, it falls outside of search engine optimisation. So stuff like your content, your links, your site optimisation and your site history all fall into SEO. Anything else, or, well, other things are included in that but anything else generally falls into digital marketing, if that makes sense.

Paul: Yeah. So on that basis then… Traditionally a lot of people have got this view of SEO, it’s keyword stuffing, its building the website in a particular way to encourage Google to look at it and all of these kinds of slightly dodgy approaches. I mean what does it basically boil down to today? What is it that you are trying to achieve to get yourself ranked well on Google?c

Andy: Yea. So, the big things that have changed really boil down to 2 big things, or three big things really. So the two big things around keywords, which is what you’ve just really talked about there. So instead of single keyword or two keywords, so instead of the idea of just searching for the likes of “SEO” or the likes of “content” then we are now looking at long tail keywords or key phrases. So, we are looking at things like “SEO consultant in Manchester” or “web designer in Bath” or “web design in London” or “web design for charity organisations”, and things like this. It is much more specific and it is much more… It is considered more of a high quality keyword or high quality key phrase I should say. It is called what is called the long tail keyword, as I say. That’s really what people are targeting and other key phrases are born of that. It’s what is found naturally in a sentence, if that makes sense, and it is why you find that those kinds of terms are found in headlines as well as in your content. The other big change is a much more focused approach to local SEO. So rather than, again, the approach of just searching for “SEO” which could be anywhere in the world, you look for “SEO consultant in Manchester”, it is focused on Manchester as an area but then you might find for example, I lived in Hyde, and now I live in Denton, I live in Teesside????, it might be SEO consultant in Teesside or someone who lives in… It’s that hyper localism. It’s the same for retail shops. For example “craft shop in Hyde” is much more akin to something that people would search for on a mobile phone than anything else. When you considered that 87% of people with a mobile, smart phone make at least one search on their phone every day, you’ve got to consider that local SEO is a huge, huge impact. The other big change and this is something that I remember talking about on our last podcast that was on with you, I can’t remember who it was but I was seriously challenged on whether this was going to ever happen because we had been talking about it for years and it hadn’t happened. But it has happened over the past, what, year or two since I’ve been on.…

Paul: So you are basically going “Ner ner ne ner ner!”

Marcus: It would have been Paul.

Andy: … I would have gone back and beat you with a stick on this one.

Paul: Okay, go on then!

Andy: It is micro-formats are rich snippets of content. Things like recipes and local information that now are appearing in Google on a very regular basis on things like Google’s knowledge graph and star ratings and things like that are really having an impact not only on Google search but when you consider Siri and stuff like this they are having a really huge impact on SEO and how people are absorbing that content. Especially when you then consider that Google AMP way of viewing pages and Facebook’s way of viewing pages within its own browser which I know is isn’t SEO, but it is all built around this AMP browser idea, is a very important way of doing things. So it all makes a huge difference.

Paul: Marcus have you come across this idea of AMP’s, is that something you’re familiar with?

Marcus: Err, yes, totally. Not a lot of love for it in the office I have to say but I think it is just one of those things.

Andy: I don’t think there’s a lot of love around for it at all. And it’s not being… Very well implemented very well.

Paul: It’s… I’m really, naa, I hate it when sites show me AMP thing but anyway, it’s all personal taste isn’t it.

Andy: I feel like one of you should explain it for those newbies that listen.

Paul: Yes, so AMP is essentially a way of formatting the content on your websites in a very, very stripped down format. That is pretty much…

Marcus: It’s a logo usually isn’t it?

Paul: Yeah. I mean it’s almost like Google’s built-in version of instapaper or something like that, it’s kind of one way of looking at it. But the thing is is when someone searches on it, sorry, searches on, I don’t know, say one of my blog posts and if my site offered an AMP version of it then, Andy this is right isn’t it? It is preloading it in the background so that when you click on it it pretty much instantly comes up. So it is incredibly fast but horrible!

Andy: Yeah, AMP stands for accelerated mobile pages. It’s a coming together of Facebook and Google basically to make pages load much faster. Whilst you kind of understand it it’s kind of, yeah, doesn’t make pages look very good. The only people that seem to be benefiting in any way from this of Facebook and Twitter to some extent. I can’t see Google getting any benefit from this at all which is a bit weird. The only benefit from a users point of view is I am yet to see a single advert pop-up over the top of AMP.

Paul: That is true.

Marcus: Yeah.

Paul: Yes, yeah. It does seem to strip out all of that kind of stuff as well. So perhaps it’s not all bad! So, this season we are talking about, you know, content marketing and producing content. So let’s take for example, writing a blog post, right? When I sit down to write a blog post, or when a listener sits down to write a blog post what should they be thinking about from an SEO perspective. What are the big things to consider.

Marcus: In my case it is usually absolutely nothing at all so I have got my ears pricked up about this because I don’t know, help me out.

Andy: Well, you know. From an SEO perspective or from anyone who is creating any kind of content I would usually advise going through, I’d call them… I’ve got six steps and you could strip it down to 5 if you really wanted to or you could expand it if you wanted to but if you go through these steps, I’ll send them across to you as well Paul in a bit of a neater format and scribbled down because we were talking about this earlier. {Transcriber note: Please find the notes below:-

1) Identify specific content idea and audience segment.
– Tools are BuzzSumo ( and YouGov Profiler ( )

2) Speak to Bloggers and Influencers about the idea for content you have / get other ideas from influencers, makes them more likely to share.

3) Build out your content idea using tools like buzzsumo, reddit and mention
– Remember, audience segment & demographics
– Curate other ideas for future content creation

4) Return with your expanded idea and content to bloggers and check your idea is still valid, check your MVP – this is a good stage to get quotes.

5) Write your content / Create your content

6) Publish your content}

I’ll send them across to you, you will see that actually these are the building blocks of any content creation and you could literally build out a massive piece of content from this and I’m sure this is basically what you do when you write a book as well Paul. So the first step is identifying what the core idea of your content is and your audience segmentation. So if you can’t write down what your core idea is in two sentences then your idea for content is a no-go. You literally need to drop it there and then. For a blog post in particular or for a short video just stop it there and then. If it’s a book, obviously you can go for a full paragraph if you really want to. A synopsis if you’d call it one. In terms of your audience theres four categories that you need to consider, your readers or your customers; these are the people that you see it. The people who are going to share your content. You need to remember that these aren’t necessarily the people who are going to read or buy your content but the people who are most likely to share it. So consider when you are on Facebook you don’t always look at a piece of content that someone has shared but you might like it or share it. You’ve got to remember that! About 90% of the things that are shared on Facebook someone hasn’t actually interacted with they are just sharing that piece of content. Bloggers, these are people who have an interest in what you are doing and are most likely to link to that piece of content, so you need their involvement at some point. The influencers in your industry, so that people like you and me Paul who actually have some kind of say over what is going on in the industry and have an ability to get the message out there. Actually you want these people to be involved in, especially if it’s a big piece of content, you want them to be involved in that work. It might be that you want to get a quote from them because you then know that that person is actually going to share that piece of content. We were talking about tools earlier and two great tools to use for this kind of audience segmentation is Buzzsumo where you can look up similar kind of content and the audiences that go with it and how much those pieces of content have been shared on various platforms. You can also go and steal some ideas, to be honest. And the other one, I don’t know, you may have used this Paul but I know many people haven’t, is the YouGov Profiler tool.

Paul: No, I haven’t come across that.

Andy: It’s I’m not sure, I will double check. Basically you put in, for example you put in say the Labour Party and it will give you the breakdown of the average demographics of that group. You can do all sorts with it, it is really powerful. You can break it down in even further than that if you sign in. That’s just a… You can do it for almost anything. So it is a really powerful tool. The second point is that you then need to go and talk to the blogger and bloggers and influencers so that you can get ideas from them mainly. You want their ideas and you want their buy-in into your idea for what you are writing, especially if it is a big piece of content. Because if you get their ideas they will buy-in to your idea and are more likely to share it. Again, that is really important because if you get bloggers with an audience or influencers with an audience that are going to share your content, your content is going to be successful. Number three is you build your content idea out, again using tools like Buzzsumo, reddit and mention. The thing to remember here is now that you have expanded your idea in part two you are expanding it again but you need to remember that from point 1 your audience and your demographics have already been set. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write down every idea that you find to keep for a later post or to use elsewhere. Because as someone who is writing content on a specific thing you can spin it off into something else later and use other ideas in a different post in a different way. Or in a different format. You can use the same idea repeatedly on a different website. So for example if I am writing about local SEO I write it in a certain way on my website for my specific audience. But if I am writing it on your website Paul it’s got to be in much more detail than it is for my own audience, because my own audience is for small business owners and charities where as yours is much more technical. So, any questions there? It sounded like you…

Paul: No! No, no, no. I just…

Marcus: I’m just looking at, sorry I’m looking at the YouGov thing. That’s pretty amazing! Stunning the amount of detail they’ve got on there. It looks like you need to login and register to get more detail but it’s worth a look.

Andy: Well, it’s free to register so… Number four is then once you have got your ideas down and you have a semblance of a blog and how you’re going to lay it out you then once again you then go back to one or two bloggers or to one or two of your audience double check that your content is going to work and you listen in detail to what they are telling you about your ideas because it is no good ignoring them at this point. You need to crowd source that knowledge especially for a big video that you are pushing out or a big blog or especially if it is a book, as Paul will tell you, because if you don’t crowd source that knowledge you are going to have a flop on your hands and no one is going to share your book or your blog. The next bit is write or create your content. Now, the reason I am saying write or create is specifically because I, for example, in recording this pod cast I know Paul does the exact same thing, is I write and create things and then I hand them off to other people to tidy them up. Paul is doing the exact same thing with this podcast. So we are recording this podcast and Paul doesn’t have the skills to edit this postcast so we are handing them off to experts to do that for us. You have the skills to write that blog or that book, fantastic. Then you hand them off to someone who’s got the skills to make it perfect for you. And that is exactly what you should do. If you’ve not got the time or skills to make it perfect at the end of it after you’ve written a piece of content or have filmed something you hand it off to someone who’s got the skills and then you get it back to approve that content and then you proof that content yourself or get someone else to do it for you. It will be the ideal piece of content and yes, you may have to move one or two things around that you didn’t think were in the right place but it means that it takes the legwork out of it for you having recorded a podcast or a video or written that piece of content. All you’ve got to do is go back from an SEO point of view and double check everything, make sure the titles are right, make sure the pictures are in the right place and have all the right tags on them. But you are then ready for point number six which is publishing your content. Publishing your content is probably the more tricky thing to do because literally there are thousands of places that you could do this. You know, do you do it on your own website? Which in 99% of cases is usually where you do it. Or you do it on somewhere like Buzzfeed, Insta feed, Insta feed?! What am I on about. Medium, LinkedIn, or do you ask someone like Paul if they will post it on their websites or myself? Or do you turn round to a magazine and ask them if they will publish your article. The reality is that if you send it to someone like myself or Paul or a magazine if you don’t hear back in a week or two, you can follow it up if you want but usually if you’ve not heard back, move on. Because generally, you can harass us all you want we are not going to answer you if your article isn’t of standard. You know, I can tell you now me and Paul probably get 100 emails a week saying “Can we post on your website?” The reality is is we don’t have time to answer you or we don’t have time to answer you all, I should say. If your article is amazing we will answer you. If your article is slapdash and written in broken English or your email is, we are not answering you.

Paul: To be honest… I’m even worse than that Andy. If someone writes to me out of the blue I just presume it is a mass email that they are sending out to lots of different people and I don’t even look at it. I do have guest posts but they are from people that I know or have contacted me in some very personal way where I know that it is valid. So it’s not always a reflection of whether the post is good or not it is simply that I don’t do it very often. But yes, it is a huge issue to… This idea of getting posts on other places is an important thing to do I think you’ve got to do that more through networking than anything else. But what I find really interesting from what you just ran through there is that what you are describing there is good practice in digital marketing, it is good practice in content creation and content strategy, it is good practice in the UX because it is defining your audience and catering specifically to your audience. So search engine optimisation is really just about good practice in other sectors these days as much as it is anything else.

Andy: It is, the other thing that comes back through it is, as you were just saying about getting your post on other websites, it is also about that network that you build up through it as well. Like we were saying earlier with my health is you reach out to someone and you gain their trust and through doing that you can also ask someone about… With the UX stuff as well, you can ask them “What you think of this element of my website?” Because that can have as much impact on SEO as it can on someone’s user experience.

Paul: Yes, yes. Absolutely.

Andy: Because if someone can’t get through a certain page on the website then it is going to have a detrimental effect on where that page ranks on Google as well because that page never gets seen.

Paul: Yeah. Absolutely.

Featured Apps

Play Featured Apps at: 49:26

Okay, let’s take a break and just quickly talk about our next sponsor and then I want to circle round and talk about a couple of apps and any recommendations that you have as well. You’ve mentioned some apps Andy but there’s a specific area that I want to talk to you about in a minute. But first of all let’s talk about Gathercontent, as we are talking about apps. They are supporting this entire show. The more I look at Gathercontentv and the more I’ve had to do with it over the years the more awesome I think their app is. Getting and managing content that you need for your website, your app or even social media campaigns absolutely sucks, it’s really difficult to do, it’s frustrating, you’ve got multiple stakeholders all of which are supposed to provide content and they never provide it on time, they provided in the wrong format, it’s just frustrating! So with Gathercontent you can write, review and approve content all in one place. Not only can you gather written content but you can also gather and manage assets as well that go alongside the project. Then what you can do is within Gathercontent you can review that content, you can edit it, you can discuss it with stakeholders. You can also set up a whole approval process that is customised to your organisation of, you know, what workflow that content has to go through before it ends up on the site. So you can make sure that the quality is maintained. You can also make sure that people know what they are supposed to deliver and when they are supposed to deliver it because it is all managed within this one app. You can agree on roles and responsibilities and the process it goes through. There is so much more I’d like to tell you about Gathercontent but we’ve got the whole season so I don’t need to rush it. But suffice it to say go and check it out if you are working on any projects that require the management of large amount of content. So you can find out more about them by going to You can get a 30 day free trial no need for a credit card or anything like that you can just have a play with it and I highly recommend that. Okay, Andy. One of the things that I think in my writing process that I spend quite a lot of time thinking about is the way the terminology that people might use when they are thinking about a subject. So let’s say I am writing a… Well, I’ve got an upcoming post that I’m going to write on card sorting, okay? You know, there are lots of things that somebody might search on related to card sorting, we talked about those longtail keywords that you were talking about earlier and so I want to use the phrases and terminology that they use. Now, I’ve got certain ways that I have kind of cobbled together to find out what that terminology will be so that I can reflect back their own mental model, their own thinking in what I write which is obviously going to help my SEO rankings as well. But I’m interested in what kind of key phrase tools you use for researching what phrases people actually use.

Andy: So, it honestly depends how much time you have to put into something. There are basically two levels you can go to with this. There is a very basic level which is if you are rushing out a quick blog post which is you basically just use the tools and nothing else and there’s the very upper end which is that if I am working with a client and they were paying top dollar and you were sat there with them and you had all the time in the world and you could get access to all of their clientele and lots of their customers basically. So if we just start with the basic tools for a second.

Paul: Yes, because that’s going to be more on my level I think, the basic tools. But yes…

Andy: Yeah, but you will have done lots at the top end stuff as well just by default because…

Paul: Oh right. Okay.

Andy: It is just what we do naturally. So in terms of the tools the top five or six tools that I use for instance are the SEM Rush is a really good tool to use. You get a few free goes at it every day but it is a paid tool. There’s Google keyword planner but it is hit and miss as everything seems to be with Google these days because of its restrictions. It’s based around AdWords so it tends to be really quite good but it is based on what is called the normalised set so it’s kind of wishy-washy data. It is based out of a hundred so you’re never go to be deadly accurate with it. The other tool from Google to look at, I find this much more interesting from an SEO point of view. If you have an inkling about data and where things are going and you can match it up with your own Google analytics data you will find it much more interesting. It is the Google trends data which you can compare phrases in it. I think it’s and you can compare it within countries as well. It will give you information within cities within that country as well. So if you search for the likes of say coffee and then you search for coffeemaker and coffee brewer you can compare those three against each other. You could compare brands as well. You can see the peaks and troughs of those and how they have grown or shrunk over time and which periods in the year and the seasonality of them. That allows you to plan across the year or actually if they’re going down whether you need to stop using certain keywords and certain key terms completely on your website. Which for me is fantastic because… so a few years ago for instance SEO was a really dodgy word to ever use in the industry because it was just such a dirty word because everyone was like “It’s black hat, black hat” ??? which is why I started calling myself a digital marketer. And now it’s started going back up again because everyone has cleaned up their act because Google has clamped down that much on all the bad stuff that was going on that everyone that was doing bad stuff has cleaned up basically. You can see on Google that trend is going back up. The other two tools are Ahrefs, again you get a few free goes but it’s a paid tool very similar to SEM Rush but it’s really quite good. And BuzzSumo again seems to be a tool thats popping up quite a lot in my list today but it is a really good tool. It is another one where you can look at the content and that pops up in there and it gives you an ability to go through that and say “Actually these are common terms that pop up in there.” So, those are mine. I don’t know if you’ve got any Paul on your list?

Paul: Yeah, yeah. There’s a couple of tools I use. There’s a Chrome extension {Transcribers note: Keywords Everywhere.} which basically when you do a Google search, just a normal Google search, it adds at the top an idea of the volume of that search, how often it is searched on. So I often use that to identify better performing keywords. Then there is another tool that I signed up for a while ago which is called cognitive SEO. That essentially does a whole load of stuff, a lot of it don’t even understand if I’m entirely honest because it’s probably a bit heavyweight but it’s got…

Andy: Most of these tools are.

Paul: Yeah, I know. It’s like “I don’t know what!!…” There’s so many graphs and stuff. But one of the things it does include is a keyword research tool so you can type in different keywords and see how they perform against each other. Then what you can do, once you have written a blog post you can then, say if I picked a keyword like, I don’t know, card sorting for example and I searched on that and it said “that’s quite a well performing keyword, a lot of people search on it.” But it also says whether it is very competitive or not, you know, whether it’s a hard one to rank for. Then it will go a step further once you’ve written the post for it you can paste that post into the tool and it will tell you your likelihood of ranking on that keyword based on a whole load of criteria. Whether it is accurate or not I am not an expert but I got a good price on it so I’m playing with it and it seems to… At least making me… See, if nothing else these tools make you think about this stuff, doesn’t it.

Andy: As long as it’s making you think about it. And I’m guessing it just makes you feel better that one Paul. If nothing else. (Laughter) I haven’t used it but I guess it makes you feel better.

Marcus: I love the idea.

Paul: It does. Sorry, Marcus?

Marcus: Something that came out of that, I love the idea of being able to test your website on phrases that you shouldn’t really be using any more. There’s a lot of copy on the Headscape site that’s just been hanging around for about five years and it’s probably quite out of date from the sort of terminology that people use point of view. So I need to pull my finger out and get on with it.

Paul: Yeah. Okay, I think we pretty much there, and we’re running out of time and I don’t want to drag on the show too long. Andy it’s always great to have you on the show and it’s great to have you back in the digital marketing community. Drop all that you know, that social, good politics stuff, get back to digital that’s what matters! (Laughter) Although even now you’re kind of working with charities, you’re just too nice, that’s your trouble Andy!

Andy: Well, you know, what can I say, I just like being nice to people Paul.

Paul: Yeah, you see that’s not something that I really understand if I’m honest! Marcus, do you have a joke for us?

Marcus: I do. After the high quality of last week I am going to have to go downhill at a bit here which is “Why is the swordfishs’ nose 11 inches long. If it were 12 inches long it would be a foot.”

Paul: Aha.

Andy: No!!!

Paul: Yes, that’s… Yeah.

Marcus: I did ask for more jokes. More jokes please folks. Jokes please folks? That rhymes.

Andy: Must do better.

Paul: Sorry? Must to better, hmmm. Yeah, I know. So, that’s this week’s show thank you very much for listening I hope you’ve got a little bit of insight into SEO and digital marketing out of that and hopefully it helps inform some of the stuff, especially the blogging that you are doing. Next week on the show we are going to talk about collaborative content, working on the creation of content with other people. So tune in for that one. We’ve got Ellen from clear left joining who’s a content specialist, so it’s going to be really good to have her on the show talking about that kind of thing. But until then thanks for listening and goodbye.