1024 682 Sophie Howarth

Digital PR vs. Traditional PR — old school, old friends, or old news?

Digital PR vs. traditional PR: both are highly effective ways to access your audience and boost your brand throughout the media landscape — but for the layperson, it can often be difficult to distinguish between the two. As a digital PR agency that started out as a balancing-every-single-PR-plate agency, we thought we’d break it down for you.

What are the ways in which digital PR and traditional PR differ, borrow from one another, and work together? All valid questions, and all ones we have the answers to! We looked at the origins of each discipline, and how they both operate today.

Digital PR vs. Traditional PR: an ever-evolving landscape

Back in the days of old school PR, a career in public relations automatically indicated you were well-connected — think Ab Fab’s PR party animal, Edina Monsoon, and her transatlantic sister, Samantha Jones.

Traditional PRs turned partygoers into patrons, and press releases into purchases. Today, technological innovations and the advent of new media have simultaneously widened our circles and bridged the gap between the public and the press. Now, anyone with a smartphone can witness the news as it’s unfolding — and even contribute their own perspective. 

This increase in connectivity means staying ahead of the game is more crucial than ever — cue digital PRs bolstering traditional PR techniques with link-building strategies, and clients requesting that traditional agencies tackle their PR from an SEO perspective.

What is digital PR?

We discuss this in detail over on our ‘What is Digital PR?’ page, but it never hurts to drive things home! A technique born out of Google’s SEO requirements, digital PR appears in many forms — backlinks (first and foremost), guest posts, press releases, influencer marketing, and more. Even with its range of manifestations, the aim of digital PR is simple: to build those all-important backlinks.

But what comes after backlinks? With the right digital PR campaign, the possibilities are endless. Along with being a great way to improve online visibility, generate leads, develop business-consumer relationships, launch products — and, on occasion, even make direct sales — backlinks built from digital PR can help strengthen a client’s reputation and increase brand awareness. 

For further insight into a digital PR campaign in action — with tangible results — we recommend taking a look at the Inclusive Index campaign we did for WeThrift, a popular shopping savings service. The client’s goals were to generate inbound links and increase inbound traffic to their website, so we put our heads together to come up with a digital PR campaign that simultaneously appealed to WeThrift’s customer base while addressing a topical industry issue — leading to a wealth of relevant coverage and referral traffic from an already-invested audience. 

The results speak for themselves! With 96 pieces of coverage and 76 links in total — a whopping 284% increase on KPIs — this campaign is an excellent example of the immense reach generated by a well-crafted piece of content that marries data and creativity. Even more significant is the fact that the referral traffic was made up of WeThrift’s existing market, as it meant that conversion was much more likely.

Another great example of when digital PR works is our exploration of ‘Iconic TV moments we miss the most’ — a campaign we did for UK-based price comparison platform, Uswitch, that sustained truly exponential growth. Using IMDb ratings to determine the popularity of some of society’s favourite shows, we successfully translated data into a highly relatable piece of content that could be consistently built on and reframed. In fact, due to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s exclusive interview with Oprah — and Piers Morgan’s subsequent explosion on Good Morning Britain — it’s now been dubbed ‘The Most Complained About TV Moments’ campaign by the JBH team. Digital PR campaigns like these demonstrate not just the incredible reach potential of digital PR, but also its malleability. One thing we always make clear here at JBH is that it’s never too late to revisit, reshape, or relaunch an idea.

What is traditional PR?

“Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd” — spoken by P.T. Barnum, American entrepreneur and politician. For pop culture pundits among us, Barnum inspired The Greatest Showman — a Zac Efron-Hugh Jackman musical masterpiece that took the world by storm in 2017. But here in the JBH office, these eight words resound more than any of the soundtrack’s hits. The soul of PR lies in making people look — and that’s exactly where traditional PR began. 

More than just media coverage like print newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV, traditional PR is brand positioning, brand launches, and crisis communications — none of which digital PRs tend to be involved in. This form of PR is much more visibility centric — with a key focus on raising brand awareness and sentiment, and how the awareness portrays the client. For instance, how many times is the brand mentioned throughout? How is the company messaging conveyed?

Essentially, traditional PR is the more direct approach — sometimes, traditional PRs are even able to cut out the middleman. For instance, whereas both disciplines tend to rely on the cooperation of journalists to guarantee coverage, traditional PR has the power of the publicity stunt — when your brand pulls off something surprising, outlandish, or silly enough to capture public attention, the press will cover it anyway. 

With this in mind, one of the biggest contrasts between traditional and digital PR is their primary objectives. Traditional PR techniques have always been intended to build brand awareness, whereas digital PR is designed to build links. However, it’s worth noting that these two objectives go hand-in-hand — when people know about your brand, they’ll be more likely to link to it. In the same way, strategically placed links help to position your brand as an industry leader. 

In terms of how traditional PR fares independently, as society becomes more and more digitised — with the rise of smartphones, tablets, and the like — it would be easy to assume that people are leaving traditional outlets behind. The reality is that traditional PR continues to generate valuable publicity by targeting audiences who regularly listen to the radio, watch television, and purchase print media.

Some popular examples of traditional PR at its best include Irish bookkeeper, Paddy Power’s famous outrageous marketing stunts:

  • Designing ‘We won’t shit in your coffee’ posters following reports of faecal bacteria in iced coffees in Starbucks, Costa, and Caffè Nero
  • Sending three giant baby-gros emblazoned with odds on royal baby, Prince George’s name, to St. Mary’s Hospital in anticipation of his birth
  • Sending ‘Juan Direction’ — a Mexican Mariachi band — to welcome Donald Trump to the UK following his comments about building a wall between the US and Mexico 


A Paddy Power betting shop (and next-door neighbour of Costa Coffee) displays daring posters.

When Digital PR Met Traditional PR

‘When Digital PR met Traditional PR’ — a less popular rom-com for sure, but no doubt just as culture-shaping as Nora Ephron’s classic. The overlap of traditional PR methods with the modern digital approach was inevitable — but how exactly do the two complement one another?

Outreach and media relations:
Something that hasn’t changed with the development of digital PR is the necessity of outreach, and the need to build relationships with journalists and media. A traditional PR agency’s arsenal has always included a list of reliable journalist contacts who can be called upon to write about their client’s niche or area of expertise — and digital PR is no different.

When planning your digital PR outreach, an essential part of the process is drawing up a media list. A PR media list stores all your key contacts in one place, and proves to be an invaluable resource for contacting the media quickly and efficiently. Though your approach may vary depending on the nature of your content, a strong, segmented media list allows you to outreach to your contacts en masse — ultimately cutting out wasted time and costs. While previously, the ring-round and mailing addresses were once the key to coverage, now digital PR professionals care more about a journalist’s social media profile. This allows us to tailor our pitches to suit their immediate interests.

Similarly to the benefit of having a media list, the lifespan of your campaign depends on the publications that you pitch it to. That’s why it helps to research publications based on readership — before pitching your idea to the publications most likely to take you up on it, all the while considering how it will generate engagement. Just like traditional PRs stay 10 steps ahead by prioritising publications based on readership, digital PR follows the same rules.

Press releases:
Next on the list are press releases – an age old PR tool. The first ever press release is credited to Ivy Lee — an American publicity expert, and the founder of modern public relations. In 1906, a trainwreck in New Jersey claimed the lives of over 50 people. At the time, the train was owned by Pennsylvania Railroad — a client of Ivy Lee’s PR agency. A public relations trailblazer, Lee took charge of the story by writing up a press release and then distributing it to journalists. Lee’s digest detailed the story from the railroad’s perspective, and thus the press release was born! Over 100 years later, in both traditional and digital PR, press releases continue to be a handy tool for attracting news media to a story in a way that benefits your client.

The first ever press release, in its original format.

Working in harmony:
Often, digital PR campaigns are picked up in the mainstream media — bridging the gap between digital and traditional, and resulting in all-encompassing coverage. Likewise, traditional PR campaigns may be picked up online. Some examples of traditional and digital PR campaigns interchanging in this way include JBH’s work for, which made the pages of both the iNews and The Sunday People. In addition, our ‘Shop Now, Stress Later’ angle for made it into The Daily Mail.

The iNewspaper ran a full page spread featuring vet, Sean McCormack, discussing a campaign that JBH ran.

The Sunday People ran a half page spread featuring a campaign that JBH ran for

The Money Mail section of the Daily Mail ran newsjacking commentary from, tied to a larger campaign JBH ran for the brand.

What can we learn from both approaches?

It goes without saying that digital PR wouldn’t be where it is today without its predecessor — and arguably, in some cases, partner — and a traditional approach to public relations holds many positives. 

First and foremost, digital media may be gaining popularity — but that doesn’t mean print media and other traditional channels are going anywhere any time soon. In fact, a recent survey from Ofcom showed that people continued to refer to traditional media for the majority of news regarding COVID-19 — with 82% stating it as their most used source, and of these people, 63% valuing it as their most important source. 

Another great advantage of traditional PR is its ability to target specific demographics and gain increased visibility for brands — sometimes independently. For example, the aforementioned Paddy Power campaigns are perfect representations of traditional PR’s standalone, stunt-pulling power — having earned them the title of ‘The Kings of PR’. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that the reach of traditional PR campaigns in 2021 is often boosted by social media shares and backlinks — which is arguably digital PR.

As a renowned digital PR agency, one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned from traditional PR is remembering the core of public relations itself — drawing that crowd! From there, you can establish brand identity and achieve positive coverage that adds value to your clients’ business objectives. In link-building, it’s important to apply this to every step. Think quality over quantity! Are the links gained relevant to the brand? What’s the domain authority of the publication? Is it a trusted publication? All these factors work together to highlight your client as an industry leader. 

The above-mentioned approach to backlinks is one endorsed by John Mueller — a search advocate at O Mighty Google. As you can see below, Mueller explained that when it comes to backlinks, less is most certainly not more.

“We try to understand what is relevant for a website, how much should we weigh these individual links, and the total number of links doesn’t matter at all. Because you could go off and create millions of links across millions of websites if you wanted to, and we could just ignore them all.”

View the full recording of Google SEO office-hours hangout with John Mueller from February 19, 2021

To summarise, the reality of the ‘Digital PR vs. Traditional PR’ debate is that there is no debate — it’s never a case of choosing one over the other (forgive us for the clickbait title, we work in links after all). Instead, look at how traditional and digital PR work together — after all, no one ever said you can have too much PR!

The JBH team first found our feet straddling the two PR disciplines — before making the decision to channel our expertise and resources into purely digital PR. Before this shift, we’d crafted many successful traditional PR campaigns — and we continue to apply this knowledge in many of our digital PR campaigns today. 

In the beginning, traditional PR set the stage for even the most sophisticated digital PR campaigns — today, digital PR gives you access to optimum reach in just a few clicks. What’s most important to remember is that there’s no cookie-cutter approach to PR, and what works for one client won’t necessarily work for another. The trick is to always consider individual company goals and campaign objectives — then watch public relations work for you.

1000 666 JBH - The Digital PR Agency

Good link/bad link: The KPIs you should really care about to get a return on investment

Why are we doing digital PR and outreach? What is the purpose of link building? Some in the industry would say that they do it for SEO, for link juice or to achieve a higher DA figure or increase the number of referring domains. Whilst metrics such as DA, DR or TF and the number of referring domains are a good indication, they are not all that matters. The big misunderstanding often lies in a confusion over what the goal really is. The end goal of any digital PR campaign are not the links, it is an increase in sales for your business.

What KPIs should you set for outreach and how do you measure ROI?

Rankings and organic traffic

When you do SEO for your website, what you want is an increase in rankings in the search engines and more visitors. You want your business to be seen on the internet. When doing digital PR for SEO, the goal should be the same. You want to improve ranking positions for highly relevant keywords and as a result an increased number of visitors, hence organic traffic.

The caveat though is that better rankings and higher numbers of visitors are difficult to attribute to digital PR only. Any other SEO related activity on your website could have contributed to the improvements too. What can be said with certainty is that your number should be going up over time. If they are not, you might not be doing the right things for SEO and digital PR and should dig a bit deeper into what is working for your business and what is not.

This is how steady growth looks like (screenshot taken from

Graph in Ahrefs that shows rankings improvements over time.

Referral traffic

There is another traffic figure that you should be looking at and this one can directly by attributed to your digital PR efforts: Referral traffic. Those are the visitors that come to your site by clicking on a backlink. You can get those numbers in Google Analytics:

Screenshot of the different acquisition channels in Google Analytics

The second row in the above table shows the referral traffic your website got within the specified time period. You could drill down further and see the traffic from each backlink individually. This will help you identify which links bring visitors to your site.

The above screenshot shows some more metrics that you should be looking at when evaluating the value of a backlink: bounce rate and session duration. Those figures are a strong indicator of the relevance of a link. If a user clicks on a link, gets to your site but immediately clicks back, the content was not relevant to them. Relevance also matters to Google and has an impact on the value of a backlink for SEO. When researching websites to outreach to, keep the topic and the target audience in mind to determine how relevant a link from that site would be.

When reporting on digital PR results you probably already include the domain name and the respective DA, DR or TF. Maybe add the following KPIs: referral traffic for each link, time referral visitors spent on your site, how many pages they visit and the bounce rate. With correct goal setups in Google Analytics according to your attribution model, you could also add conversion figures.


This brings us back to the original question: What are you doing it for? SEO and digital PR should not only result in better rankings and more traffic to your site. For a lasting impact, you want to increase sales. This means you should track conversions and attribute those accordingly to each of your marketing efforts.

What counts as a conversion depends on your business model and business goals. It can be a newsletter signup, a price enquiry, or a purchase amongst many others. If you can, include those numbers in your link building reports – for each link individually and for your overall organic traffic.

Brand awareness

There is one other KPI that often is forgotten because all we seem to care about are links, links, links. If we look back at what traditional PR aims to achieve, it seems almost obvious that we should also account for it in digital PR. That is brand awareness.

It is another goal that is difficult to measure in numbers, but there are a few indicators for increased brand awareness that you can measure: unlinked mentions of your brand, social media signs and branded searches in Google.

How to measure ROI

We have now seen a mix of link building KPIs. Some of them are easily measurable, others are harder to put into numbers. What you can put into numbers though is the cost of your digital PR efforts – no matter if you are doing it in-house or with the help an agency like JBH. You always can tell exactly how much time the team has spent on a campaign from ideation through creation and outreach to the final reporting. Those hours come with a price and the day will come where the main stakeholders in your business ask for the ROI.

The formula seems straightforward: (PR Revenue – Cost of digital PR)/Cost of digital PR.

Formula to calculate digital PR ROI

The cost of digital PR only depends on a quick look into your books. The PR Revenue however requires some thought. You should include the conversions from organic traffic and the referral traffic, but also a certain percentage of social and direct traffic could be attributed to digital PR. All you have to do is decide on an attribution model for your overall business reporting.



1000 666 Rebecca Moss

How E-A-T impacts your link building efforts

For the past two years there has been an acronym that kept SEOs around the world on their toes; SEO and Digital PR agencies are no exception: E-A-T. It has been around since 2014 but it only was towards the end of 2018 that it became more obvious that those three aspects have a direct impact on a websites’ rankings in Google Search. It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. But what does that mean?

Book with words "From the real experts". Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash

Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash


If we take this whole discussion offline: Would you trust the medical advice your neighbour gives, or would you rather ask somebody with a medical degree? If you have a question on your tax return, would you ask your taxi driver for advice or rather see an accountant? Would you let your roommate take photos of your products or would you rather hire an experienced and skilled photographer? Well, the same applies online. If your business or your website is about a topic that can directly impact somebody’s life (e.g. financial trading, medical or legal advice), contribute to public opinion (journalism for example) or provide a service that requires knowledge, you should inform your readers and clients why you are qualified to do so. It builds trust and shows that you know what you are talking about.

How to show expertise on your website

A clear About Us page and author profiles are the first and foremost thing to do. Tell readers who you are, why you offer the service you offer and what qualifies you to write the things you write. If you have a legal website, tell them where you got your law degree. If you have a medical website, tell them where your authors got their knowledge from and what scientific evidence they can provide. If it is financial trading, list the experience your authors have in trading, financial markets and technical analysis.

Ideally, there is more than an author bio for each person publishing for your business. Social media profiles, activity in specialised forums, an own expert blog or publications (e.g. books, whitepapers), are just a few of those things that can increase credibility. It goes without saying that the information must be correct! If you are lying about education and experience, you will never be able to be trusted as an expert.

Equally beneficial are case studies of previous work where you state what you have done, why you have done it in that particular way and why it was successful.

Expertise in your link building campaigns

The same applies to link building campaigns. Add the information as to who created the content asset, where the information comes from and how you came to your conclusion/the statement you make. If your campaign contains quotes or information from an expert in the field, it can also increase your reach. A true expert usually has quite some following on social media or own platforms. Your campaign could reach that audience too.

Apart from that, it is much more likely to get a link if a respected expert stands behind a campaign.

"Product Review" in scrabble letters.Photo by Shotkit from Pexels.

Photo by Shotkit from Pexels


Authority refers directly to reputation and is built over time. If your website is the go-to resource for a certain topic, you are the authority in the field. It is almost impossible to measure authority. However, there are some clear indications. The most important one are links to your websites. All link metrics, DR in Moz, DA in Ahrefs or TF in Majestic refer directly to backlinks coming from authoritative websites.

If you want to get an understanding of your authority, mentions and branding are equally important. How do others talk about your brand? In which context are you mentioned? Who mentions you? Those references do not have to be from another authority in the field, but also your customers or business partners can contribute to your reputation. Positive customer reviews on external resources (e.g. Trustpilot) help building authority.

How to show authoritativeness on your website

Authority is mostly measured externally through links and mentions on third party sites. What you can do is replicate what is being said about your brand on your own website. The positive reviews you get on websites like Trustpilot or Google Reviews can be mentioned on your website with a link to the original source. If you have worked with other reputable companies or brands, you can mention them on a partners page.

Authoritativeness in your link building campaigns

Authority is directly related to link building. If your website has backlinks from other reputable sites in your niche and if your brand is mentioned in a positive way on external websites, it increases authoritativeness. Building authority, just as link building, takes time. It does not come overnight.

What you should not do is try to manipulate it by building PBNs or buying links. At JBH, we strongly advise against these tactics. It might seem as if they can speed up the process, but sooner or later you might lose all credibility. If you are being caught for paid links, also the organic links will lose their impact and you can never become an authority in the field. The same is true for selling links on your website. It might bring you some short-term cash but will hurt your reputation in the long-term.

Two pairs of hands holding each other. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels


Let us perform the same test as for expertise and take the question offline: Would you buy a property that you cannot find on a map because the address is incorrect? Do you buy from a shop on the high street that shows different prices in the shop window than the prices on the shelf? The same is true for your website. If visitors do not trust you, they are not going to buy from you either. If Google does not perceive your website as being trust-worthy, it will not rank your website in search.

Trustworthiness is a very subjective measure and if you are unsure about it, just ask yourself: would you trust your website if you looked at it for the first time?

How to show trustworthiness on your website

As with any human interaction, trust is built as the result of a multitude of things and is destroyed quickly. The most important aspect is truthfulness. Be transparent about who you are and what you do. All information provided on your website must be true. If they catch you with a lie, you will never be trusted.

This refers mostly to your About Us page and the contact information. Provide true information and as much about yourself and your business as you can. Any address or contact information should be correct and if a customer contacts you, make sure you reply. Nothing could hurt your trustworthiness more than a disconnected telephone line or bad customer service.

In the same way that customer reviews can help with authority, user-generated content can help building trust. Make sure you monitor any comments left on your website and respond in due time.

Other important aspects of trust building are brand consistency, professional layout/design and of course proper grammar and language use. Readers will not trust your website if your content is a bad machine translation with obvious spelling mistakes.

We spoke about case studies to show expertise. Part of transparency is to also mention the failures and the things that did not work. Nobody is getting things right all the time. If your success seems to be too perfect, you might also lose trust.

Not to forget are commercial links, pop ups and ads. Use them wisely and only where appropriate. Would you trust a website that is cluttered with ads that distract from the content?

Trustworthiness in your link building campaigns

This aspect can be summarized in a very simple way: If people don’t trust you, they won’t link to you. Simple as that!

It becomes especially important for data-led campaigns for link building. Place a methodology and sources below the content or the infographic where you state clearly where your data came from and how you came to the conclusion you made. If you ran a survey to collect the data, provide the details about where, when, who and how. List the steps you went through when you analysed the data. If you took statistics from third party websites, ensure that those are trustworthy and list every single source you used.

When you contact journalists and distribute your content, mention who you are and how you can be contacted.

E-A-T for link building

If we look at all those recommendations once again, it becomes obvious that those should be part of a good editorial standard. Unfortunately, bad practices on the internet have caused for those to be forgotten over time and many publishers need to be reminded again. If you get your E-A-T right and remember it in everything you do for your business online, it will not only improve your organic rankings. It will also facilitate any link building campaign. The moment you are a trusted expert that is perceived as an authority, others will happily refer to your website with a backlink.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Top 5 Free SEO tools

We frequently speak about backlinks and how to measure the quality of a link with the right metrics, how to detect a PBN and SEO audits, but in order to find all the related information we have to rely on tools.

Those that any digital PR and SEO agency extensively uses are MOZ, Ahrefs, SEMrush and Majestic; for website audits there are crawlers like Sistrix, DeepCrawl, Searchmetrics and Botify. Keywords can be tracked in tools like Linkdex or Accuranker. If you are doing digital PR, you need a media database to store all your contacts and to track emails and communication. If you are using only one of those tools, you are aware of the price that comes with such names and you probably have an idea of how expensive your SEO venture can become. What we often forget though is that we have free tools at our hands that provide a wealth of useful information.

1.    Google Search Console

It almost seems too obvious, but it is often overlooked. If you have Google Analytics installed for tracking, it only takes a few clicks to get access to search data in Google Search Console. It is important though to understand that it will only start data collection after it has been set up, but once it does, the data is extremely valuable. There are two types of information we would like to point out here (there is of course more but this is not meant to be a post about Search Console only).

Ranking data

Search Console provides information on search queries, how your website ranks for those queries, how many impressions it triggered in Google and how many clicks. You can trace your rankings back in time and compare certain periods to each other. Export that data and knock yourself out in a rank analysis. What is your best performing keyword?

Screenshot from Search Console ranking data

Technical errors

In the section “Coverage” Google conveniently tells you about those things that are wrong on your website. If the Googlebot has encountered a 404, it will inform you about it. If a URL has a noindex tag or is blocked by robots.txt, it will inform you; redirect issues, duplicate content, indexation issues – that and more will be reported in Search Console.

Screenshot of technical errors in Google Search Console

2.    Bing Webmaster Tools

This next tool might seem less obvious at first – who is using Bing anyways? But all jokes aside, Bing Webmaster Tools is the equivalent of Search Console for Bing and it also provides useful insights. It almost looks like a fancy paid crawling tool and it is even easier to download different types of technical reports about your website than it is in Google Search Console. You can auto-verify a website if you have Search Console set up and you will see that it looks all very similar.

SEO audit data

You can manually start crawls, or scans how Bing calls it, for up to 10.000 URLs per day. It then provides similar insights as an audit crawler, e.g. it flags title tags and meta descriptions that are too long, missing alt text on your images and assigns a priority to those.

Screenshot from Bing Webmaster tools that shows errors

In the Site Explorer, you can easily see the whole website architecture and it even suggests keywords for you. What more could you possibly want?

3.    Google Trends

Yes, we know what you want: keyword data and trends. If the year 2020 has taught us one thing, it is how quickly things can change. A year ago, nobody would have searched for “online networking”, “covid free hotels”, “travel with social distancing”, “how often should you wash your face mask” etc. This makes it ever more important to watch trends. Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush, do not even have enough data on those new types of search queries to provide good search volumes, but we have Google Trends and it is free!

Without even feeding any information, we get a suggestion of what the world is interested in:

Screenshot of suggestions in Google Trends

You can use this as inspiration for your next blogpost. All of a sudden you know what the world is talking about that week.

If you are interested in a specific topic or keyword, you can see how interest evolved over time:

Screenshot of the graph in Google Trends for the term "lockdown"

It is no surprise that there was no search interest in the term “lockdown” before February 2020. This graph helps you discover spikes in interest or seasonality.

Google Trends also suggests additional keywords:

Screenshots of Google trends related queries for the term "lockdown"

That is already a wealth of ideas for your next pieces of content.


If you want to add some spice to your new content, approach some popular questions people ask. You might end up appearing in the “People also ask” section in Google. Which better tool to use than AlsoAsked? All you have to do is enter a search query, choose a location and let the magic work:

Image of for the term "travel destination"

All we did was enter the search term “travel destination” and we end up with at least 10 content ideas for pages and blog posts we could create. It is fascinating which connections this tool is able to make: The question “Where can I avoid crowds?” leads to the busiest cities and the least travelled countries. The question for the most beautiful country in the worlds brings us to the cleanest and dirtiest places to visit. It is a treasure chest of content ideas. Why haven’t you tried it yet?

5.    Screaming Frog

We have already touched on the crawling tools to audit your website. Bing Webmaster Tools does this job and there are crawlers like DeepCrawl or Botify that you can use. But there is one that every SEO uses and no matter how fancy and shiny other tools are, we always fall back onto this one: the beloved Screaming Frog. It is the stethoscope of the SEO analyst and you can use it for free for up to 500 URLs. Isn’t that amazing?

The little frog provides similar insights like Bing Webmaster Tools and tells you if your title tags and meta descriptions are too long or too short or missing. Apart from that, you can analyse all your internal and external links, get information on response codes and redirect chains, noindex and canonicals tags and it even informs you about pages on your website having the same or very little content. API integrations such as the one with Google Page Speed Insights, analyses performance data of every single URL on your website and there is so much more. It always amazes what such a small, green animal can do.

Screenshot of a screaming frog crawl

With Screaming Frog, you can export all data and all types of issues into Excel, rearrange the data the way you want it and create your own reports. This is very useful if you encounter issues that you cannot fix on your own and that a web developer should look into.

And if your website is bigger than 500 URLs and you only have budget for one SEO tool, Screaming Frog is the one to go with!

Bonus: Yoast SEO plugin

We have a little bonus tool for the WordPress users in the room: Yoast SEO plugin. It lets you handle the most important SEO specifications for your website, e.g. the robots.txt file, the XML-sitemap, title tags and meta descriptions, noindex tags – all of those things that you would otherwise ask a developer for help, you can now handle on your own.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Why links aren’t all that matters for SEO

Links are our bread and butter: We create backlink campaigns, reach out to journalists to get coverage and more visibility for your brand. But as a digital PR and SEO agency, we are also aware of the other bits that matter to get your website where you want it to be. It is no secret that your SEO needs backlinks, but your backlinks need some decent SEO too because if Google’s crawlers cannot read the content on your website, even the best links will not get it ranking. These are some important things to look out for on your website.


This happens often when a new website is launched. During the development phase of the site, there are usually many flaws. At that stage it is a good idea to “hide” the website from Google until it is ready to be shared with the world. You could compare it to the “closed for refurbishment” sign in a shop window. There are two common ways to put up that sign on your website: you can either protect the website with a password or alternatively add a disallow directive in robots.txt for search engine crawlers. This is what it looks like:

Robots.txt file showing disallow

That is not a lot of code, but it can do a lot of damage. The above robots.txt file will indicate to any crawler, not just Google’s, that this whole website should not be crawled. The crawler is not allowed to go there. In the above case, that is intended because that website is under development, it is a staging site.

A few weeks might pass, the website takes shape and everybody who is involved in the process is getting excited. Launch day! The website is pushed live and the whole world can see it – the whole world but Google. With all that excitement, you forgot to remove the disallow line in the robots.txt file and your beautiful new website is still hidden. It is as if you opened the doors to your shop, but the window still shows “closed for refurbishment”.

If that has happened, you should remove the disallow line in your robots.txt file as soon as possible and we would also recommend submitting your homepage URL and XML-sitemap in Google Search Console. Google can now see your website and your backlinks!

No-index tags

This is a different technical setup and circumstance, but the impact can be the same as the disallow directive in the robots.txt file. The difference though is that this piece of code is added to individual pages rather than the whole website and Google is still able to crawl the content but is told to not index it. The result is the same: This content will not appear in Google search.

This is how it looks in the html code:

Piece of website code showing a no index tag

We imagine the following scenario:

Mary wants to publish content about travelling to cities in Italy. There are already similar pages for Spain on the website with URLs like that: /spain/madrid/, /spain/seville/ etc. For Italy, Mary has ordered and received content for pages about Rome and Florence. She wants to publish it with the following URLs /italy/rome/ and /italy/florence/. That is when she notices that she does not have content to fill the page about Italy with. She asks her manager John for additional budget to order content about Italy. John tells her that there is no content budget left for this month, but that she would be able to order it next month. Mary though does not want to delay the publication of the content about Rome and Florence. She decides to publish a placeholder page /italy/ in order to get the URL structure she wants. That placeholder page will be empty until she receives the content – next month. Because she does not want Google to waste any crawl budget on an empty page, she adds a no-index tag to the page.

A month later, Mary finally receives the content for the general page about Italy. She adds it to the page which is now no longer empty. She is proud of that content with beautiful images from all corners of Italy. Because she knows about SEO and wants Google to index that content, she removes the no-index tag and submits the page in Google Search Console. Mary has done a good job, but you can see how easily she could have forgotten that seemingly small technicality, especially when she dreams of a trip to Italy.

Lake Como in Italy

Lake Como. Photo by Mariya Georgieva on Unsplash

Crawl budget

Mary has taken crawl budget into account and that is important, especially if you have quite a big website. Even Google has a budget when it comes to crawling resources, it is a big effort to keep its index up to date. The budget that Google allocates to your website should be used for the pages that matter, instead of crawling empty pages. Another way to waste crawl budget is to redirect crawlers many times. If a URL redirects once, that is not an issue, but if it redirects multiple times or if every single internal link on your site redirects, that could become a problem. At some point, the crawlers will stop following your links. That is something to keep an eye on. (Besides, redirects also have a negative impact on your page load times – another SEO ranking factor.)

If you want to use your crawl budget wisely, you can do that by ensuring a good internal linking strategy and site architecture. Every page on your website should be linked to internally and the pages that hold most value should receive the highest number of internal links.

Getting your technical SEO right

This was just a glimpse of the things that could go wrong when it comes to technical SEO, but it should have given you a good overview of its impact. If you reach out to an agency like JBH for link building, it is important to look at the overall health of your website. And if you are already engaged in digital PR, you get media coverage, but your rankings are not improving, it is time to audit your whole website. It could be a small technical detail that prevents Google from seeing all the work you do.

1024 682 Jane Hunt

How to spot a PBN

The moment you get involved in link building, you hear about a thing called PBN. For quite some time, it was a buzzword in SEO and a common and popular strategy. But what is a PBN?

PBN is the acronym for Private Blog Network. There is already a lot of information: It is a network of blogs or websites that are owned by the same person or organisation, hence private because they are in one hand.

The purpose of such a network was to build links to one website. Creators of PBNs would often buy expired domains that have an existing backlink profile and some authority in their niche. They then added content and links to a commercial website to pass on authority and boost rankings. That technique used to work until Google became aware of this way to manipulate rankings. Not only is it no longer valuable to use PBNs for link building, it also is a risk as most PBNs get quickly penalised by Google.

Why does it still matter?

If Google already has penalised most PBNs a few years ago, why would we still care about this as an SEO agency?

The answer is easy: Even if a website has been penalised, the site is still on the web and especially people that get involved in paid link building are still using those sites to try and sell you “valuable” links. It might also be the case that Google’s algorithm hasn’t spotted the PBN yet, but you never know what could trigger it.

There also used to be so-called SEO agencies that were specialised in building PBNs and sold that as a valid link building strategy. Some of them are still around and they are still selling those services to those who don’t know better.

That is why it is important for you to recognise the red flags.

Multiple websites, one owner

Nowadays, also PBNs have evolved and some of them are done in a professional way that would not easily give it away. But there are still old PBNs around and you will always find lazy link builders taking a short cut.

Those PBNs are easy to spot because they might not have hidden their WHOIS domain information, they host all domains on the same server or IP and even use the same design or themes. If that is the case, it is worth checking their content. You can copy and paste paragraphs into Google and see if more than one result shows up. If those websites are hosted on the same servers, use the same design and even publish the same content, you can be sure that you have encountered a PBN. But it isn’t always that easy and creators of PBNs know how easy it is to recognise such patterns. They take precautions.

Another good indicator are keyword rankings and traffic. Tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs can provide estimates for those figures. The lower those numbers are, the more likely it is that the website does not have much value.

There is one thing they cannot hide: their backlink profile. After all, it is the one thing they want Google to see. That means that you can see it too.

What to look out for in a backlink profile

A PBN is meant to be a network of websites linking to each other, those websites are often not topically related. Those are two hints what to look out for. For this analysis we can use Majestic to check the topical TrustFlow and the referring domains. The ratio of follow and nofollow links can also be a good indicator.

We will look at three different websites, two in German and one in Italian:
Topic: News about crypocurrencies Topic: Game rules Topic: Running
Majestic screenshot for topical Trustflow Majestic screenshot for topical Trustflow Majestic screenshot for topical Trustflow
Nofollow and follow link ratio in Majestic Nofollow and follow link ratio in Majestic Nofollow and follow link ratio in Majestic

If we look at those figures, the first thing we notice is that none of those domains has a particulary high topical TrustFlow within the actual topic. For the cryptocurrency domain, to be about computers and security still seems acceptable, but game rules associated with arts and literature already becomes questionable and the domain about running doesn’t seem to have many backlinks that are related to that sport. The domain is in Italian, but it is not about the Italian language, nor is it about pets.

In a recent post about nofollow links, we could establish that the biggest news sites have between 10 and 20% nofollow links in the backlink profile. That seems to be a natural ratio of an authoritative website. In the above examples, we see a domain with only 1% nofollow links – it does not take an algorithm and machine learning to get the idea that something might be manipulated there. The 67% of nofollow links too should certainly make suspicious and make you investigate further.

One other thing that is noticeable for the Italian domain is the ratio between English and Italian that Majestic flags as well:

Ratio of site language and incoming links language in Majestic

In the next step, we look at the referring domains. The first thing we notice is that there are a few domains that link to the domain in question multiple, up to thousands of times:

Number of backlinks from one referring domain in Majestic

That in itself doesn’t mean that we have a PBN, but it makes suspicious, especially if two of them are very similar domains for the same market and the third one suddenly targets a completely different market, in that case Peru.

In the next step, we look at the referring domains of each of those domains that link to the one in question.

An obvious example is the cryptocurrency domain:

Referring domains in Majestic

We then take that first domain in the list and check the referring domains:

Referring domains in Majestic

There are in total only 7 referring domains. That in itself is a red flag (not a sure sign though as it could just be a young website). We go a bit further down the list and we see this:

Referring domains in Majestic

That domain that links to the original domain 1500 times only has 4 referring domains. Still, it is not a proof for a PBN, but the red flags keep on piling up as we repeat this check.

The backlink profile of the Italian domain is even more interesting:

Referring domains in Majestic

The first domain claims to be a medical website that has a topical TrustFlow in the business niche. It is followed by an English website about animal pictures and another Italian website about funny pictures. We also see here domains related to art and paintings and there’s also the firefighters linking to the website about running. It is a field of red flags.

If we now put those domains one by one into majestic, we will see some of them linking to each other, domains that only have one referring domain and a very colourful mix of topical TrustFlow.

PBNs vs. digital PR

All these are indicators for a PBN and as an SEO agency we would advise to not reach out to them for a link. If you have been hit by a Google penalty, those are the types of links to watch out for in your backlink profile.

Recognise the red flags. In any case, even if you are doing link building through relationship building and digital PR, every once in a while, you will be asked to pay for the link placement. That might be tempting in certain cases, but it is always worth digging a bit deeper.

You also might have noticed how we only mentioned the domain name once in this post and did not link to it. Even without a link a mention can send a positive signal and as an agency that believes in digital PR as a link building strategy, we would not want to point too much to websites that follow black hat techniques but we want you to know about red flags.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Don’t follow this link…or maybe do!

Links are at the core of digital PR; they are the reason we do what we do. Digital PR campaigns are meant to promote a brand, create visibility, and attract backlinks from authoritative websites. But there is the much dreaded nofollow: But is it necessarily bad?

A healthy backlink profile

Every website has nofollow links in their backlink profile. If there is one without this type of backlink, it screams manipulation. If we look at some UK and US publications, we see that it is perfectly normal to have a certain ratio of nofollow links in the backlink profile (screenshots taken from on 03/09/2020): nofollow follow ratio follow nofollow ratio follow nofollow ratio follow nofollow ratio

This is what we would call “natural”. Any healthy backlink profile that has naturally grown over time without paid link building, will have both, follow and nofollow links.

The purpose of the nofollow attribute

A link in content can always be seen as a reference or a vote. If a writer links to another website without being asked for it, he or she does so because the other website provides value to the reader. The link becomes a trust-worthy reference to a useful resource. Google’s algorithm is based on these trust signals. Crawlers follow these links and discover more and more pages on the web through links. If that link comes from an authoritative website (e.g. an established news site), it has positive impact on the ranking.

Google introduced the rel=”nofollow” as an attribute for HTML links in 2005 to add to comment spam and user-generated content (UGC). It was meant to prevent the abuse of this type of content for unnatural link building.  It was an indication to Google’s crawlers to neither use those links for crawling (the crawler does not follow the link) nor as a ranking signal.

Paid and sponsored links too were from then on required to add a nofollow attribute.

But the internet is changing. A few years later, websites like Forbes and Wikipedia made all outbound links on their website by default nofollow. That might have been a preventive measure to ensure accordance with Google’s guidelines or was meant to discourage digital PRs and link builders to reach out to their journalists and contributors requesting a link.

That was not what Google’s engineers had in mind when they introduced the nofollow attribute and it had an impact on the link graph. Google had to make a change again.

UGC and sponsored links

About a year ago, in September 2019, Google introduced two new link attributes to make a further distinction. User-generated content should be marked as rel=”ugc”, paid links as rel=”sponsored”. Links that contained these attributes. The nofollow attribute was from then on, a catch all for all other kinds of not-trusted links. All three attributes would be ignored for crawling but might be seen by Google’s algorithm as a “hint” for ranking.

Already at that time, Google announced a further update for March 2020. From that point onwards, this type of link would also be treated as a “hint” for crawling. This is from the Google webmaster guidelines:

screenshot of googles guidelines for nofollow, ugc and sponsored attributes.

The fact that the nofollow attribute is still acceptable for paid links and that Google did not require any changes to previously published content, places some question marks to these changes. It brings us back to the question how Google recognizes a paid link in the first place. So far, it has not had an impact on websites like Forbes to change their policy around outbound links, they are still nofollow by default.

How much impact a nofollow attribute really has on the ranking impact of a link is still unanswered, maybe there was never really a difference in the first place. What matters though is that a backlink profile looks natural and that includes all types of links.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Tapping into a new market: The pitfalls of international SEO & content creation

Your brand is established in the UK, you are looking to expand, and you might have already discovered a new, lucrative market. You have the business relationships it needs, shipment sorted and everything else to start selling in that market. The only thing that is missing is your digital marketing. Your content specialist says: “We’ll hire a translator on UpWork.” Your SEO specialist adds: “We need to implement hreflang tags.” That’s it, you’re done! Not so fast… three months in and you are wondering why your marketing and digital PR aren’t working…

Can we just translate this?

Translation fail at a shop window, Source: only things were that easy. There is no such thing as “just translate”. Translating is a skill to learn. Being a native speaker of a language is a good start, but it doesn’t make a good translator. Whoever you get to do the job, check their background and experience and always check their translation, ideally by a proof-reader. If you have anybody in-house who speaks the language in question, ask them to take a look at the translated text to see if it reads natural to them and makes sense. If it doesn’t, you have a clear sign of a bad translation. In the best case, this will only cause for your brand not appearing in search, in the worst case you will embarrass yourself and damage your brand. The best translation fails have been collected by, a comedian couldn’t entertain you better.

Translating keywords

Apart from incorrect translations or bad quality, there is another potential issue with a translation when it comes to SEO: keywords. Language is always tied to mentality and culture and there are certain concepts that cannot be expressed in the same way in different languages. Sometimes there is no word for it, sometimes you have more than one word in the other language. You can start with a translation of the keywords in question and use those as a starting point for your keyword research in that market.

Let’s take an example we are all familiar with: coffee. In the UK, a “Café Latte” is a common drink to order. You enter a coffee shop in Germany, and you order a “Latte Macchiato”. It seems to be a close match and you get a coffee with milk. You enter another coffee shop and you order a “Milchkaffee”. It is slightly different, but still you get the type of drink you want. You then go to a restaurant and in your best German, you ask for the price of a “Milchkaffee” because you cannot find it in the menu. The waitress nods and points to a drink called “Café au lait”. Are you already confused? Let’s back this up with some search volumes (taken from

Screenshot of coffee related keywords from

Screenshot taken from on 17/08/2020

Search intent

Looking at the above search data, you clearly would optimise your page about a coffee with milk for “Latte Macchiato” in Germany, but are you sure they all mean the same?

Let’s take a look at the local SERPs for those keywords in Germany:

Latte Macchiato:

Screenshot: SERPs for Latte Macchiato in Germany


Screenshot: SERPs for Milchkaffee in Germany

Café au lait:

Screenshot: SERPs for Cafe au Lait in Germany

Already at this point, we can say that Latte Macchiato is a different type of drink than a Milchkaffee whereas Milchkaffee and Café au lait seem to be the same thing. One of them is simply a French word that makes it sounds a bit posher.

Café Latte:

Screenshot: SERPs for Cafe Latte in Germany

This is where it gets interesting. The images suggest this to be a slightly different presentation of coffee, but the knowledge graph suggests a “Milchkaffee”. Whereas the Café au lait though was described as being French, the Café Latte lists Italy as the country of origin. The description also mentions Espresso with steamed milk which would place it closer to a Cappuccino whereas the Milchkaffee is described as filter coffee with milk. Can this get any more complicated?

Kaffee mit Milch:

Screenshot: SERPs in Germany for Kaffee mit Milch

The literal translation would be “coffee with milk”. Traditionally, this would be a filter coffee or Americano with a tiny sip of milk and is the way most Germans drink their coffee. The SERPs though do not mention this. The intent behind that search query insinuates a health concern about coffee and explains the positive effect that milk in your coffee can have on your stomach.

By translating one simple coffee drink, we have tapped deep into the German coffee landscape and have already identified at least three different search intents and target audiences.

Title tags and meta descriptions

Keywords aren’t the only thing that can quickly turn into a minefield when it comes to translations and new markets: Title tags and meta descriptions. The first thing that comes to mind are the character limits, but those are not even an issue if you do it right. Let’s get straight to the point: Title tags and meta descriptions require transcreation, not translation. They are like your advertising line that needs to resonate with your audience and create an emotional reaction. In some cases, and for certain language pairs, a translation can work, but in most cases, you will end up with a boring sentence that won’t engage a native speaker. Good examples for this are movie and book titles that are often transcreated across markets. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular movies of all time and their literal translations:

Original English title German title Literal translation of German title French title Literal translation of French title
The parent trap Ein Zwilling kommt selten allein A twin rarely comes alone À nous quatre The four of us
Miracle on 34th Street Das Wunder von Manhattan Miracle of Manhattan Le Miracle sur la 34e rue Miracle on 34th Street
Saving Private Ryan Der Soldat James Ryan The soldier James Ryan Il faut sauver le soldat Ryan We must save the soldier Ryan
The Holiday Liebe braucht keine Ferien Love doesn’t need a vacation The Holiday The Holiday
Frozen Die Eiskönigin – Völlig unverfroren The Ice Queen – Completely Insolent La Reine des neiges The Snow Queen
The Notebook Wie ein einziger Tag Like a single day N’oublie jamais Never forget


Local requirements

Before you go off and translate your content that you have on your English website, there is one more question to ask yourself: Is that topic relevant to the new market? Local customs and culture should be taken into account.

Which products the market is interested in

Shyam Dattani of Searchmetrics held a talk recently at the BrightonSEO Advanced Search Summit about the use of data. Within his data set was a perfect example as to how different markets show different interest for similar products. The product in question is fireplaces and he analysed the data for the US, the UK and Germany.

All three countries see an increase in search volume towards the end of the year when it starts getting colder outside.  The increase though is highest in the US related to the Thanksgiving celebrations.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

When looking at the overall developments in search volume over a few years, Shyam discovered surprisingly that the levels are equally high in Germany and the US, although the US is a much bigger market in terms of population than Germany.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.


By looking at this data, the UK would not be the main market to target, the opportunity is much bigger in the other two markets. Shyam went a step further to look at the different products and it is again a surprising result:

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

This data makes it obvious which of your content you would localize for the US and which content you would translate into German first.

Local customs and traditions

We already mentioned the US celebration of Thanksgiving as an important clue to find out which products are of interest in each country at a given time. Cultural awareness can help with business decisions, additional products and inform your marketing and content ideas. At this time of the year, there is one product booming for example in Germany that cannot be translated into English: the “Schultüte”, also known as “Zuckertüte”.

Screenshot of a dictionary for the term Schultuete

Screenshot taken from the online dictionary on 17/08/2020

The first day of school is an important celebration in Germany as a rite of passage. There is a formal ceremony before the whole family gathers for a big garden party. Gifts are usually presented in this colourful cardboard cone knows as “Schultüte”.

Key take-aways

To sum this up with some practical tips, we can bring it down to four main points that matter when taking a website global:

  • Work with experienced translators and proof-readers
  • Transcreate over translate (this includes keyword research)
  • Use data and research the market
  • Get somebody with native knowledge on your team

Next week, we will talk more about digital PR for international markets and what to be aware of.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Going Virtual: MozCon 2020

The year 2020 has been an interesting one so far, to say at least. Being in lockdown under the constant threat of a virus has certainly changed our lives. Although we were not able to travel and spend our time with the things we usually do, it is not all bad.

Many things have been taken online: zoom calls are the new meeting format, sports classes are delivered to your living room, quizzes and online games are the new Friday socials and SEO conferences that usually come with a high entry barrier are suddenly easily accessible. Ticket prices have been reduced to a tenth of their usual price (if it was $1000 before, it is now $100), big budget items such as flights and accommodation have been removed from the equation and you can access the talks and virtual networking rooms from the comfort of your sofa.

Mozcon Virtual poster

MozCon Virtual 2020

In that context MozCon, one of the most popular SEO conferences and almost a must for everybody who is serious about SEO, has been taken to the virtual world and took place over two days on 14th and 15th July. The tickets were affordable, we did not have to book a flight to Seattle and the time difference between London and the USA worked in our favour so that we didn’t even have to take a day off. We could sit down on the sofa and attend the talks from 5 p.m. onwards.

There was a little downside to it though: The technical set up did not quite work out on the first day and many people around the world had a hard time accessing the conference platform. The Facebook group was very busy at that time. Fortunately, those issues were resolved within the first hour of MozCon and we were all able to listen to the wisdom of industry leaders such as Dr. Pete Meyers, Rob Ousbey, Britney Muller and Brian Dean.

At JBH, we have a particular interest in all things digital PR and we got our key takeaways in the talks by Shannon McGuirk, Phil Nottingham and Brian Dean.

Shannon McGuirk: Great Expectations: The Truth About Digital PR Campaigns

In her talk, Shannon was looking back at many years of digital PR experience. One thing has become obvious to her over the years: PRs tweet a lot about their successes, about those campaigns that go viral, get massive coverage and links. But what about those campaigns that do not go viral? Those campaigns might just deliver average results or even fail. Nobody likes to talk about these, but they exist.

Shannon has split her campaigns into three performance sectors: huge wins, steady performers and huge fails. In between the two “huge” campaigns, we find steadiness – those campaigns that perform well, bring consistent results and long-term wins. Those should be celebrated too.

Screenshot from the talk by Shannon McGuirk at MozCon 2020

For the audience to learn something, Shannon shared some of the campaigns that failed including the reasons. We could summarize those as follows:

  • If there is a significant political event (such as the US presidential elections), journalists are not interested in other topics.
  • Be very thorough in your Q&A process to avoid spelling mistakes such as “Honk Kong” on a map.
  • Less complex campaigns have higher chances of success.
  • A campaign does not need to go viral to be considered a success.
  • Campaigns with multiple angles work well. (Refer to our steps to a successful backlink campaign to find out more!)
  • Consistency and steady performance are more important than one huge success.

Phil Nottingham: How to Build a Global Brand Without a Global Budget

The talk presented by Phil Nottingham focused on brand building and we understand if at first, the connection to digital PR might be a bit blurry. Whereas traditional PR aimed at brand building and visibility, digital PR focuses more on coverage and links – but why should these two be mutually exclusive if they can go well together? And having a strong brand will certainly make it easier to get that coverage rolling in for your digital PR campaigns.

What this talk though really was about are the metrics you look at and the audience you target. The example Phil used was taken from the area of video marketing. The links we care about in digital PR, are the views of the video marketing strategist. But what constitutes a view? Does this user really watch the whole video? Where do they jump off? And more importantly: Do they turn into customers and buy your product? As digital PRs, we could ask similar questions about the coverage we get, and we should start thinking about that. Phil has put it in different words: You got an impression (maybe even a click), but are they impressed?

Screenshot of the talk by Phil Nottingham at MozCon 2020

Brian Dean: How to Promote Your Content Like a Boss

He almost is a god in the world of SEO: Brian Dean of Backlinko and after following his blogs for years and watching his talk at MozCon 2020, we know why.

Content creation, blogs and websites in general are nowadays a lot more tangible for many people. 20 years ago, you must have had some serious skills if you had your own website. Now, it only is a matter of seconds and you get it up and running without any technical knowledge. This makes content creation a lot more competitive and even if you are creating something outstanding, it could easily happen, that nobody ever sees it. Brian’s golden ratio is equivalent to the old 80/20 rule: 20% of your time is creating content, 80% is promoting it.

Screenshot of the talk by Brian Dean at MozCon 2020

These are his tips to get the promotion right:

  • Find out which type of content attracts links in your industry, reverse engineer the process and take those learnings into your own campaigns.
  • Use social media appropriately, i.e. find out which channel works for you and your industry and how these channels work.
  • Do not send generic outreach emails.
  • Contact journalists and build relationships before you publish the content to assess their interest.
  • Use retargeting on social media.
  • Try Reddit for distribution.
  • Add a “Click to tweet” link.
  • The old-style newsletter still works!

Virtual or in real life?

MozCon 2020 was a unique experience and we are glad we attended this online conference when we had the chance. We learned a lot and it was an affordable experience. (We even got some ironing done whilst learning more about SEO and digital PR.)

Taking one of the biggest conferences in the industry has certainly made knowledge more accessible for SEOs around the world. The only part that could not replace the real-life experience was the networking and the discussions. But we cannot have it all. MozCon 2020 was a success and we are already looking forward to more virtual conferences.

Striking a Balance onpage and offpage content
1024 682 Rebecca Moss

How to Make your On-page Content as Good as your Off-page

To make a success of any content marketing campaign, link building is imperative. Not only do search engines use links to discover new web pages, they also help determine how well a page should rank in their results. 

But in spite of its importance, link building is just one piece of the larger SEO puzzle which includes a quality on-page content strategy. 

Seeing as there is so much to consider, it’s easy to become obsessed with the off-page aspects and completely neglect the on-page elements. 

So, why does on-page content matter so much? 

Well, if the content your hard-earned backlinks point towards doesn’t hit the mark with users, their attention and engagement levels will drop. In turn, this could reduce session duration and increase bounce rates, signalling to Google that your content isn’t the best answer to the question that the searcher is asking.

Soon, you could start slipping down the SERPs and the power from those fantastic links could be lost.

Thankfully, you can avoid this worst-case scenario by incorporating some of the following into your ongoing content plan 

Internal linking

Given the significance of back links, it should come as no surprise that internal linking is key to on-page SEO. Along with encouraging visitors to consume even more of your content, internal linking also tells search engine spiders about other pages on your website. 

Three internal links above the fold in this recent blog post. 

We managed to fit three internal links above the fold in this recent blog post. 

Best practice for internal linking includes:

  • Using more than just your top-tier keywords for your internal links
  • Only adding internal links when they are useful to your audience
  • Adding links to the main body of your webpage

Well-optimised metadata

Because metadata is used to tell search engines what your page is about in the most concise and accurate way possible, it makes sense to optimise them. According to Moz, meta titles have “long been considered one of the most important on-page SEO elements.”

Here’s a checklist to abide by when writing your meta titles:

  • Length – Between 50-60 characters long including spaces
  • Keyword placement – Your most important keywords need to be first in your titles
  • Relevancy – Meta title must accurately describe the content on the page
  • Avoid duplication – Meta titles must be written differently for every page
  • Avoid keyword stuffing – You may get penalised for it

Alt text for images

Alt-text is another way for search engines to understand your page’s content, and it makes your website more accessible for people using screen readers as well. 

Did you know: Another benefit of alt text is that it can encourage your images to show up in Google Image search – another great way to drive extra organic traffic to your site. 

WordPress plugin Yoast featuring alt tag and title tag optimisation.

Popular WordPress plugin Yoast features alt tag and title tag optimisation. 

Accessibility shouldn’t be an afterthought when it comes to SEO and can actually deliver a number of additional benefits – ensure on-page elements aren’t being forgotten about, increase your site’s popularity, improve session durations and reduce bounce rates.

Keyword mapping

Keyword mapping is where you assign targeted keywords to specific pages of your website based on research. 

The ultimate aim here is to avoid keyword cannibalisation, which can confuse search engines and deter them from ranking your content at all. 

It’s also a great way to discover which landing pages to optimise and what future content to build for better SEO performance. 


Don’t forget that each page of your website represents an opportunity to convert customers.

If you’ve built links on relevant websites where your target audience is ‘hanging out’, you’ll already be driving traffic that is highly likely to convert, therefore, you should have at least one call-to-action (CTA) on every page to make it as easy as possible for users to continue their journey with you. 

Call to Action on the JBH site.

Practising what we preach here at JBH.

HubSpot recommends that your website should have a mix of CTAs for different stages of the ‘flywheel’ – a new way of looking at the traditional sales funnel that attracts, engages and delights everybody passing through your site, from strangers and prospects to customers and promoters.

Retrospective editing

Just because you’ve published an amazing piece of content, which ticks every on-page SEO box imaginable, doesn’t mean to say you can simply leave it be and wait for Google to provide an appropriate ranking reward. 

Facts and figures included in your article could change over time or new pieces of data might reinforce your message. 

Retrospective editing lets Google know that you’re constantly trying to provide your audience with the best answer to their question, which is exactly what its algorithm strives for. 

Landing page content

At the end of the day, the difference between a prominent and poor ranking position will be the actual content on your page.

Three questions to ask when writing or retrospectively editing your content:

  1. Does your content answer the question the searcher is looking for?
  2. Is your landing page content similar to the other pages ranking for this search query?
  3. Can the user easily find the answer within the first couple of paragraphs?

 Therefore, it makes sense to prioritise content creation from the get-go.

This means identifying an idea your audience would find valuable, gathering as many insights as possible, and building a page that combines copy, images and video to great effect. 

And if you ever need assistance creating captivating content that has both on-page and off-page SEO covered, we’re here to help