Striking a Balance onpage and offpage content
1024 682 Carl Eden

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

Syndicated Content & SEO - can they be friends?
1024 682 Jane Hunt

Syndicated Content & SEO – Can They be Friends?

What’s the current state of your content marketing?

For some brands, publishing one blog per week on the company website is enough, while others take a multichannel approach that encompasses infographics, videos and podcasts. 

No matter how much you scale your efforts, one of the biggest challenges associated with content marketing will always remain…getting your message in front of the right people at the right time. 

Common tactics for increasing content exposure such as influencer marketing and digital PR are incredibly effective. However, it can take time to deliver meaningful results. 

Enter syndicated content – a top technique for widening your brand’s reach and making new audiences aware of your offering. 

But here’s the kicker:

Some brands are reluctant to adopt syndicated content because they believe it will negatively impact their SEO. Here’s why you don’t necessarily need to worry about the relationship between syndicated content and SEO. 

In fact, they can be friends…

What is content syndication?

Content syndication is the practice of giving websites permission to republish content that originally appeared elsewhere. 

To give an example, you let one of your vendors or suppliers republish a blog that mentions how you benefited from their product or service.

Your content might be edited down or not published in its entirety, but you should still be credited as the author with a link back to your website or the original article.

The other side of the content syndication coin is republishing the work of others on your own website, which can still provide value depending on your marketing goals.

syndicated content example on Fox News

After featuring on Entrepreneur, a site that receives over 18 million visits per month, this article was published as syndicated content on Fox News, which boasts an audience over 19 times the size of Entrepreneur’s.

Is syndicated content duplicate content

Technically, yes, which is bound to cause a wave of panic among content marketers everywhere. 

However, Google doesn’t actually have a duplicate content penalty – it only penalises websites that scrape content or spam the web using duplicate content. 

If Google does find multiple URLs with the same content, its search bots will decide which one to rank and omit the other results. For some, this is as good as a penalty. 

In order to ensure original pieces of work always rank on Google, many authors and publishers ask that syndicated content comes with a canonical link. This tells search engine bots that all SEO equity relating to the content should be attributed to the original version.

Canonical tag on the Moz homepage

The homepage has a self-referential canonical tag.

What are the pros and cons of content syndication? 

When other websites syndicate your content:


  • Form of promotion and driver of traffic to your website
  • Great way to build authority
  • Possibility of gaining quality backlinks


  • The third-party website might want to get paid for the privilege of republishing your content
  • You won’t make any revenue for advertising
  • You won’t be able to build a list of subscribers

When you syndicate other websites’ content


  • You don’t have to write content yourself
  • You get variety in the content you publish
  • You could establish yourself as a source of excellent information


  • The original author might ask for a canonical link, meaning you won’t drive traffic from Google
  • If you don’t ask for permission from the original author, you could run into copyright issues
  • Google might think you’re scraping content or spamming the web

When should you consider content syndication?

The main reason for choosing content syndication is to get your ideas, messaging and brand in front of a wider, bigger audience. So, content syndication could prove beneficial if your marketing objectives include:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Establishing yourself as a thought leader
  • Boosting social media shares and followers

This is especially true if you don’t have a large user base and want to make more people aware of your offering. 

Can syndicated content and SEO be friends?

If syndicate content and SEO were friends on Facebook, their relationship status would probably be “It’s Complicated.” They won’t exactly be spending eternity together, but are on good terms and understand each other’s role in the relationship. 

To ensure SEO and syndicated content don’t have an ugly breakup, abide by the following best practices:

  • Publish your content first – Always publish your content first to drive traffic and help Google understand you’re the original.
  • Ask for a link – Require any syndicated content published elsewhere on the web to link back to the original article on your site. 
  • Check canonical tags – Double check that the canonical tag in the head section of the code points to the article on your site. 
  • Absolute URLs – Make sure that links in any content being syndicated are absolute (full URL) not relative (partial URL).

If you want your content to be seen and heard by more people, utilise the digital PR and outreach of an award-winning content marketing agency. Get in touch with us today

7 Reasons Why Journalists Could Make The Best SEO's
1024 682 Jane Hunt

7 Reasons Why Journalists Could Make the Best SEOs

Owing to the large number of digital media outlets and the declining profitability of print-based publications, there’s no wonder that many people believe traditional journalism is in its death throes.  

Earlier this year, BuzzFeed revealed it was laying off 200 people globally as efforts to diversify revenue weren’t working, while the Sun newspaper is now facing major job cuts in order to slash costs at the loss-making tabloid.

While this will come as worrying news to any aspiring journalist, several established professionals have described themselves as ‘huddling in a foxhole’ for quite some time now. 

Thankfully, it isn’t all doom and gloom from a creative writing perspective thanks to numerous opportunities in the world of marketing. In fact, you could easily argue that SEO and journalism go hand-in-hand…

Here’s why journalists make the best SEOs

1. They’re willing to put in the hard yards – research, reporting and writing

To answer the questions they’re asking in their stories, journalists will explore almost every avenue to find the most accurate information or best insights possible. They’re natural investigators that will make multiple phone calls, interview difficult subjects, and research offline sources in order to sculpt the best story.  

As opposed to the vast majority of online publications that simply regurgitate what other online publications have already written, this kind of original and unique content will resonate strongly with Google, resulting in higher search engine rankings.

2. They’re inquisitive and formulaic in their approach

Critical thinking is in every good journalist’s DNA. They want to know the answer to every question in life, often regardless of subject matter. While some SEO experts might be too closely tied to their organisation or industry, journalists will be able to give a fresh perspective on things, leading to excellent ideas for content and campaigns. 

Professional journalists are also formally trained to write an opening sentence, an explanatory body, and a conclusion that wraps everything up nicely. This formulaic approach to work is how the very best search marketers manage to achieve success again and again.

3. They know how to write a killer headline that attracts and engages

It’s long been said that headlines sell newspapers. And in the good old days of print, it was the job of journalists to entice passers-by with an outlandish claim or clever turn of phrase to keep the papers in business. 

In many respects, the same can still be said today. Some believe that headlines are the single most important factor when writing great content online or crafting a click-worthy subject line for outreach emails. It needs to build a relationship with the reader, create a sense of urgency, generate a need for knowledge and begin the message. Headline best practice includes:

  • Using specific numbers and data in your headline
  • Using formulas that have proven their efficiency
  • Using keywords to signal to Google what you would like the piece to rank for
  • Using appealing adjectives
  • Thinking of what it will look like on social media

4. They’ve got the creativity to stand out from congested online crowds

An insane amount of information is produced on a daily basis. Here’s a brief rundown:

  • 500 million tweets are sent
  • 294 billion emails are sent
  • 4 petabytes of data are created on Facebook
  • 65 billion messages are sent on WhatsApp
  • 5 billion searches are made

To stand a chance of getting noticed organically online, SEO-focused content needs to strongly resonate with users, generate an emotional response or provide something nobody else has thought of. This is what journalists specialise in – being able to tell engaging and entertaining stories where every sentence counts.

5. They know that distribution is just as important as the content

Any journalist who has been around since the advent of the internet will know that their content is only as good as the channels it is distributed on. After all, no amount of exclusive stories or top quality features can seemingly save print newspapers from their rapid decline. 

Therefore, if a journalist was to trade the newsroom for the SERPs, chances are they’d do everything in their power to optimise for web, mobile, social media, and any other platform you can think of. This kind of attitude and outlook lends itself well to the world of digital PR too.

6. They’re able to influence the right people in the right places

Journalists who write about difficult issues or investigate controversial subjects are often seen as the most respected and influential individuals in society. They provoke us to think about and question our beliefs on a journey for truth and justice. 

And as you may or may not be aware, influencer marketing is one of the industry’s top trends. What’s more, leveraging the reputation of a journalist to generate backlinks to your website from authoritative sources is bound to do wonders for your SEO.

7. They’re good at analysing data and optimising performance

Along with their intuitiveness, creativity, and intrepidness, the very best journalists are also exceptional at utilising data and tracking performance with the help of audience analytics. 

This description is also true of the finest SEO practitioners, who will stop at nothing to achieve their objectives. SEO for journalists might seem like a completely foreign career path, but those with a penchant for facts and figures will find themselves one step ahead of the rest straight away. 

SEO and its impact on journalism

In the early days of the internet, many journalists resented SEO because it forced them to write more robotic sounding pieces that followed a certain keyword-led formula. But since then, Google has developed an increasingly intelligent search algorithm that rewards the kind of work journalists have been known to create for decades. 

As a result, it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to suggest that SEO and quality content are the future of journalism.

With a team comprising journalists and SEO experts, our digital PR campaigns deliver effective and guaranteed results. Contact us to discover more.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

What Should Your Content Really Look Like in 2019

What’s at the centre of your digital and social activity? Chances are its content, which bridges the gap between brand and customer like no other media or medium could do previously.

Content marketing has come a long way since the early days of publishing multiple (and mostly mediocre) blogs each week on your website in the vain hope of getting noticed or ranking for a couple of obscure, long tail search queries.

These days, content marketing is a multi-channel, cross-platform behemoth, consisting of everything from landing pages and infographics to podcasts and videos.

The increasingly competitive space in which content sits has also changed dramatically, with things like featured snippets and voice search making any marketing objective even more difficult to achieve.

But that doesn’t mean to say boosting your brand identity, increasing online awareness and engaging with customers through content marketing is impossible…

Here’s the content that performs best in 2019:

Long-form authoritative content

So, if regular blogging doesn’t cut it anymore, what does?

The answer is long-form authoritative content.

This means going into great detail about a particular theme or topic and updating it regularly with fresh insight, imagery and video.

After analysing 912 million blog posts to better understand the world of content marketing, Brian Dean from Backlinko discovered that long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than shorter articles. It also generates significantly more social shares, especially within the ‘sweet spot’ of 1,000-2,000 words.

Other industry studies have also found a direct correlation between long-form content and first page Google rankings. This is because long-form content stands a better chance of satisfying intent and maintaining engagement by demonstrating in-depth knowledge of a particular subject.

Best practice: Identify topics or themes that strongly correlate with your brand’s products, services, or industry. Think about how you could demonstrate your authority with long-form content that meets your customer’s wants and needs.

Short-form video

Every year, the importance of video content continues to grow – you only have to look at the success and influence of platforms like Instagram to realise that its here to stay for the long haul.

According to a recent study by Altimeter, short-form video (less than two minutes) is the best performing content in terms of engagement across every industry and every geography. By contrast, long-form video (greater than two minutes) was said to be 20% less effective.

In addition to greater engagement, short-form video can also improve your SEO, make content more accessible to a wider audience, generate a strong emotional connection with customers and lead to more conversions.

Best practice: Generate ideas for short-term video content that will resonate with your audience. Remember to optimise for mobile viewing (where most video is watched), create captions, include a CTA and keep it short!

Influencer marketing

Despite the exponential rise of social media influencers in recent years, this marketing trend is nothing new. However, several brands are reluctant to explore the idea of influencer marketing due to misconceptions that you need to spend thousands (or even millions) getting high-profile celebrities on board.

More often than not, brands have the most success with influencer marketing when they choose people directly related to their industry or niche. Better yet, they collaborate with influencers throughout the content ideation and creation process.

The following influencer marketing statistics speak volumes about its effectiveness:

  • Influencer Marketing Campaigns Earn $6.50 for Every Dollar Spent
  • 67% of Marketers Promote Content With the Help of Influencers
  • Influencer Marketing Is the Fastest-Growing Online Customer-Acquisition Method

Best practice: Think of influencers as an ad-hoc extension of your own content team. Take advantage of their creativity and audience, relieve some pressure from in-house efforts and add credibility to your brand in the eyes of followers.

Voice search

Voice search is slowly but surely becoming a daily fixture for many, especially given the increasingly popularity of Google Home, Amazon Alexa and other voice assistants. Estimates suggest there are over one billion voice searches per month, while 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

So with more and more text-based digital tasks moving over to voice thanks to the speed and convenience it affords, every marketer should adjust their content strategy accordingly.

Unfortunately, each device seems to pull data from different sources and offer completely different results. But by creating pieces of content that deliver quick answers to quick questions, you should be able to position yourself ahead of the competition.

Best practice: Think about the words people say, not just what they’re likely to type. Also, most voice-activated searches take place on mobile, so make sure your website is responsive and optimised for smartphones.

Storytelling and Digital PR

There’s a reason why storytelling remains one of the most popular approaches to content marketing – it works, and will continue to work for many years to come. By conveying facts through narrative, you’ll create a connection with your audience and encourage action thanks to the number of decisions people make based on emotion.

One excellent example comes from National Geographic and its content marketing activity that engages with 350 million combined global followers on social media. As Nadine Heggie, VP of Brand Partnership, explains: “Staying true to your brand, being timely with content, using the power of wow and wonder, and embracing new technologies to tell stories.”

Key ingredients to any story include a main character/hero, a conflict/journey, and an ending/resolution. Don’t forget to make it easy-to-follow, relatable and memorable. Support your stories with visuals and data to drive the message home.

Next steps: Try to gain an in-depth understanding of your audience – their needs, pains, hopes and aspirations. Know exactly what you want to say and what you want your audience to do before launching any storytelling campaign.

Take your content marketing to the next level with JBH – let’s create something awesome together.

7 ways to respond to a negative pitch response
1024 682 Rebecca Moss

7 Ways to Respond to a Negative Pitch Response

Turning Objections into Options: 7 tried and tested ways to flip a negative pitch response round.  

Appraisal, constructive criticism or review – however you want to sugarcoat it – no one really likes getting negative feedback on their work, however, it’s not unusual for this to happen during a digital PR campaign.   

With feedback ranging from a single word email saying ‘NO’ to a full-on campaign analysis (we’ve had them all believe me), there are a number of tried-and-tested ways to flip those negative responses into brilliant and long-lasting relationships.

One Foot in their Inbox

Picture the scene. You’ve had a response from someone you pitched your carefully crafted digital PR campaign to. You’ve got a name, you’ve got an email address and you might even be lucky enough to have a direct dial phone number to add to your little black book.

Your heart skips a beat, as you read down the email. The response really wasn’t what you hoped for. You’ve received a negative reply from the one person you were hoping to impress the most.

Remember this: No matter how long you have spent creating your content or how well you have sold-in your campaign there will ALWAYS be objections.

Take a step back. Take a deep breath. Resist the urge to start tapping out an ‘off the cuff’ response. Think about how you can use this to your advantage. Use your words and media relations skills to turn their frown upside down.

7 Tried-and-Tested Techniques to Help Reverse a Negative Pitch

Objection Response
“The wording you used here really turned me off your campaign” Unless you have used an offensive phrase in your content, this is usually down to personal preference and can be tricky to avoid unless you have a relationship already.

In a non-combative way, explain your reasoning for using that wording and ask for more information about why that phrase, in particular, was a ‘turn off’. Thank them for their feedback and explain why it’s useful and offer an alternative way of wording to see if that may be of interest.

“We don’t publish branded content on our site” Offer to switch up the content to include less brand related mentions. For a data-led campaign, you could offer some unique statistics that could be weaved into a feature article, for example.  
“We only work from raw datasets” If you are confident that this will secure coverage, then it may be worth offering them any raw data accompanied by quotes and case studies so that they can embellish anything they are planning to write.
“My editor spiked the idea” Aim to find out why the idea was spiked and how you could have changed your campaign or pitch to make it more agreeable to the commissioning editor.

It can sometimes be as simple as having amazing case studies, imagery or quotes ready to go.

Even if you don’t secure coverage for this campaign, at least you know what to aim for next time when selling into that publication next time.

“How is this relevant to our target audience?” You will have a good reason for contacting them in the first place. Be confident and reiterate those reasons, providing examples based on what other publications with a similar audience profile have featured.

Top tip: Use Facebook audience insights to add some real clout to your response on this one.    

“We only post content that is exclusive to us” It may be that you have missed the mark on this occasion, but make a note for the next round of outreach and offer your campaigns up to them in the first instance.


Putting the Theory into Practise

Below you’ll see an exchange between myself and a freelance journalist, pitching an angle from the Missy Empire ‘Girl Boss Entrepreneurs’ data led campaign.

Negative pitch response

As you can see, the initial negative response was quite short so I wanted to see if I could find out a bit more about why they felt this way and attempt to turn this around. I resisted the urge to shrug my shoulders and move onto the next email in my inbox.

Whilst they might not feature the ‘Girl Boss’ campaign, but I will have (at the very least) preserved the relationship in preparation for future relevant campaigns.

Review, Revise and Regroup

Not every digital PR campaign goes the way you would expect. If you’re receiving a large amount of negative feedback in response to your outreach efforts, then it can be easy to feel like this is a personal attack on you.

You don’t have to feel like it’s all down to you to fix the issue. Speak to your colleagues, chat to as many people as possible about your campaign. Ask for their insight and opinion, it may open up an angle or avenue that you hadn’t even considered previously.

Persistence and flexibility are key traits for any content marketer. Approaching negative responses in a diplomatic way could really help you turn those objections into options.  

7 things I learnt during my first month in digital PR
1024 682 Rebekah Massey

7 Things I Learnt During my First Month in Digital PR

My first month at JBH has taught me valuable lessons in outreach, research among so much more.  

With a background in influencer marketing and content creation at a large brand, my first month at JBH working on a range of digital PR campaigns has been a great transition into SEO, journalists and outreach.

Here are the 7 things I’ve learnt taking the leap into Digital PR:

1. Journalists

They can sometimes be difficult to suss out, but value and nurture your contacts!

The way I see it, any reply is a good reply. Whether that reply contains constructive or just a polite ‘no thank you’, it’s all valuable. Learning and predicting which journalists will be open to media releases, research and new content is key, which definitely saves time for future campaign outreach.

2. Ideation

Inspiration can strike at ANY TIME!

I find myself coming up with the best ideas after a campaign is finished! The key is to keep every idea in your notes tab for a rainy day. You never know when “Celebs that remind you of furniture” will come in handy (probably never).

Glasses on a book to indicate research

3. Research is key

A good foundation of research into clients, articles, or websites you want to get your campaigns to is so important.

Knowing your audience can be make-or-break for campaigns and having solid research helps with that. It’s great to have something to refer back to when you have had to go back to the drawing board with an article. Research is also important for outreach, don’t offend journalists/clients with your lack of knowledge on their company or website.

4. Keeping up to date

Not everyone will like what you’re sending them (and that’s OK!)  

You can’t be constantly worrying about someone taking a dislike to your campaign,  but you also need to be educated on current issues and discussions in the news and social media. Make sure you are arriving to the party on time rather than late or early.

Pile of newspapers showing top tier news research

5. Outreach

Personalise, change, alter, make it original, and speak to your audience, rather than generalise.

Ensure the person you are talking to knows that you actually care about their feedback. Starting every email with the same line is dangerous, especially when you are going out to multiple journalists with a range of angles, headlines, and hooks.

Looking for more information about digital PR? We’ve got a guide for that, here!

6. Tools

Tools such as Mozbar, Ahrefs, and Roxhill can help you squeeze even more out of your campaigns.

Prospecting is so much easier when you have these in your toolkit. I found the Content Explorer function within Ahrefs especially useful, helping me to explore content related to campaign keywords. Perfect for link prospecting and a lifesaver if you feel as though you have exhausted all of your target sites (believe me, you haven’t even scratched the surface).  

7. The snack drawer is both your best friend and your enemy

Getting through a full day of outreach with extra motivation is possible when your snack drawer is full and you have cups of tea on tap. But, you can’t blame outreach when you get your sugar crash.

Fancy working in Digital PR?

Does digital PR sound right up your street? Check out the digital PR careers section on our website to see what digital PR opportunities we have available!

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

SEO Tools Every Team Needs in their Toolkit

Data from Statistia revealed that the majority (54%) of corporations spend less than $300 a month on SEO tools. It’s become clear that agencies and corporations are looking to ‘trim the fat’ away from their SEO toolkit, whilst still maintaining a streamlined and productive workflow.  

Whilst there’s a lot to be said for the free-to-use tools (we’ve written about our favorite free SEO tools here), it’s true that you need to find the right blend of tools that fit in with your workflow.

Whether you’re a digital PR agency looking for a better understanding of your client’s backlink profile or an in-house brand marketer looking for a dashboard-style overview of how things are progressing, there will be a suite of tools that’s right for you.    

With so many of the popular SEO tools having ‘feature overlap’ and a tonne of great new tools coming to the market, is it time to rethink your tool subscriptions and make the switch to some of the emerging tools that are filling the gaps the big 6 have missed?



Kerboo SEO tools


Kerboo is a relatively new tool that shows a lot of promise. It focuses primarily on link building and its link auditing software has even won awards.

The software goes beyond just peeking behind the curtain at your backlinks and lets you zoom into every detail about your links so you can full understand your websites backlink profile. The insights it gives you can be instrumental in improving and protecting your sites SEO and will definitely make your life a lot easier when it comes to link building campaigns.

Why it’s different:

  • Two industry recognised link metrics: create and maintain their own metrics–LinkRisk and LinkValue–backed by some serious maths and an ocean of data.
  • Backlink audit: get a clear picture of your link profile and use Investigate mode, which has an easy to use interface that makes manually reviewing your links simple and allows for collaboration with other team members to speed up your workflows.


From £249/month



New SEO Tool Pulno's Dashboard


Pulno is a brand new addition, allowing users to crawl through their sites to identify a whole range of optimisation and development issues. From broken links through to sitemap issues, these issues can cause problems when it comes to the indexability and ranking potential.

In addition to the usual SEO red flags, Pulno offers a range of unique features such as the ‘Unique Content Analyser’ which evaluates on-site content and helps you see the areas where your content might be thin or even duplicate. For the more technical amongst us, Pulno offers a CSS and Fonts audit, flagging up unused fonts and bloated CSS.

Why it’s different:

  • Website analysis: analyse over 100 website parameters including speed, duplicate content and meta tags.
  • Reporting: comprehensible and easy to read reports that can be exported in a range of formats
  • CSS and fonts: Any unused CSS files and fonts will be detected during a website analysis and will also generate a lighter, optimized CSS file that you can download and install on your website


Free and paid options (starting from $12/month)



SEO tool sistrix that helps Marketers see their websites search visibility


Sistrix is positioned as the premier tool used by SEO professionals and provides a user-friendly interface with an intuitive design that makes it easy for even the newest SEO to understand.

It has a range of modules that can help with all elements of your marketing and its SEO models pull through trustworth data from decent sample sizes to help you make informed SEO decisions. It has its own visibility index which specifically focuses on Google and pulls results by analysing one million keywords twice a week per market.

It also has a great keyword tool that has winning functionality that allows for quick filtering and provides data for ranking distribution, ideas, competition, traffic and cannibalisation.

Why it’s different:

  • A range of modules that cover your marketing strategy from all angles including SEO, links, PPC, social and e-commerce.
  • Visibility Index: that is unique to Sistric and based on continuous and extensive Google search result analysis that is then presented in a simple and user friendly way


6 modules available; 5, including the SEO module are €100/month



SERP Robot is an SEO tool that lets users know their serach engine rankings


SERPRobot is a cheap tool that can give you quick and accurate visibility for your Search Engine Ranking Position.

It has everything you need for a SERP tracker:

  • Accurate results
  • Easy to add new keywords
  • Cheap price

With the economical pricing there comes with some to be expected downsides. The user interface is pretty dated and it doesn’t have some of the fancy bells and whistles that other trackers do – but these often cost a lot more .

Why it’s different:

  • Great value for money: A cheap and handy tool that won’t eat into your budget.
  • Search huge volumes of keywords: Allows for many keyword searches
  • Generous free trial: Get a 30 day free trial


Starting from $4.99/month


Content king is a tool that offers realtime SEO monitoring


ContentKing is an in-depth tool that gives marketers a tonne of great insights into their websites content and performance. You can continuously keep an eye on yours or your clients websites with the real time reporting with can be a big help in creating strategy and is noticeably better than intermittent scans and audits.

The tool also supports an unlimited number of team members which is great for international or remote teams. It gives you a central place to manage your on-page SEO ToDos which can be great for accountability and keeping track of tasks across content specialists, developers, SEOs and managers.

Why it’s different:

  • 24/7 Monitoring: ContentKing is the only SEO auditing tool that monitors 24/7
  • Actionable insights: Using a range of signals their algorithms can give you insights into ways to improve the SEO on your site.
  • Unlimited team members: allow your whole team to keep track of projects.


Starting from £19.00/month




Deepcrawl gives marketers insights through comprehensively scanning their websites


DeepCrawl offers a comprehensive scan of yours or your clients website. With high- level site auditing and domain crawling capabilities that are some of the best offered by any product on the market.

It has a narrow focus, concentrating on site crawling, which it does excellently – they know what they do well and they stick to it. However, this does mean you will need to purchase other tools to for your SEO arsenal to complete other tasks like keyword research and link audits.

Why it’s different:

  • On-page SEO recommendations
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Mobile Vs Desktop: includes a section breaking down desktop and mobile pages for responsive design and mobile configurations


Plans starting from £63/month


After more tools, expert advice and networking opportunities from the SEO community? Check out our roundup of the not-to-missed SEO events to attend in 2019



2019s best content events in the north
1024 682 Jane Hunt

2019’s Best Content & SEO Events in the North

In the past, the South has always been the place where digital marketing has been the most prolific, holding the lion’s share of conferences, events and job opportunities.

However, in the last 12 months, there has been a perceptible shift towards the northern cities of Manchester and Leeds, especially for conferences and events.

So, if you’re in the North and looking to learn from the best, hear about new developments in search and take part in a spot of networking, there’s no need to jump on the Pendolino as there’s some fantastic conferences coming up right here in the North.   


Content Marketing & SEO Events in the North

Planning your 2019 conference calendar? Look no further as we’ve put together THE list of the top content marketing and SEO events and conferences happening in the North throughout 2019:  


Benchmark Search Conference in Manchester

Benchmark Search Conference | Manchester | 11 September 2019

Benchmark Search Conference is the North’s leading search marketing event, packed full of inspiring, engaging and entertaining talks from world-renowned experts.

This years event lineup has recently been released and includes some top industry experts from companies like Google, Bing Ads, Futurist and Ahrefs. This line up of world­-class speakers will be covering every need­-to­-know search marketing topic you can think of so it’s not an event to be missed.



CMO Insight Summit | Ayrshire | 3-5 April 2019

The CMO Insight Summit is one of the leading marketing events in Scotland, bringing together senior marketer and business leaders from all across Europe to discuss current industry challenges and emerging opportunities in marketing.

This years summit will focus on topics such as: defining the tribe, not the demographic; data insight and the power of personalisation; and emerging trends – sure to give you some great takeaways you can incorporate into your marketing strategy.



Search Leeds - SEO Event

Search Leeds | Leeds | 20 June 2019

With a tagline of ‘No sales pitches – just actionable advice’ that’s exactly what you can expect when you attend Search Leeds. It is a one-day event that takes place in the biggest venue Leeds has to offer–the first direct arena–and has now become the largest search marketing conference in the North of England. Plus, the tickets are totally free!


Leeds Digital Festival SEO Event

Leeds Digital Festival | Leeds | 23 April-3 May 2019

Leeds Digital Festival takes place over two weeks and hosts a ton of creative and interesting events covering everything digital, from marketing to VR and AI. It’s a great place to go and get inspiration for your business and see what other people in the marketing and tech spaces are currently doing.



MacSEO - SEO Meetups

MancSEO | Manchester | TBA

MancSEO was on hold for a little while but has recently seen a reboot by Kieron Hughes (Wavemaker), James Smith (iProspect), and Will O’Hara (MediaCom), with the first event set to take place in April 2019.

Originally run in 2009/10 it was a series of meetups by the SEO community in Manchester, providing a place for them to talk shop and educate and inspire one another. The reboot of the events will follow the same principals and will hopefully be up and running real soon.

In the meantime you can keep up to date on their goings on by following them on twitter or requesting to join their slack channel


Impact Summit Glasgow

Impact Summit | Glasgow | 15 May 2019

An opportunity to listen to inspiring speakers and meet other enterprising marketers. Their speakers are people who are shaking things up in their industry and all about not maintaining the status quo by using purpose-driven business models and addressing global issues.



Nottingham Digital Summit | Nottingham | 3 July 2019

An event based in Nottingham that focuses on marketing, creative and tech. Free to attend, in return for a donation to the Samaritans of Nottingham making it a bargain and opportunity to help a good cause.

You will come away feeling inspired, having learnt a tonne of industry insights and seen new innovations that will be coming. Whether you’re responsible for SEO or PPC, digital PR or content this is a day you don’t want to miss.



Creative North | Manchester | 7 June 2019

An event created by copywriters for copywriters. this years Creative North will take an in-depth look at the future of copywriting, content creation and the marketing industry. You can meet like minded, enterprising content creators and listen to a range of expert speakers including writers and podcasters who will discuss the future of the industry.


Atomicon 2020

ATOMICON | Newcastle Upon Tyne | 28 April 2020

ATOMICON happened just a few weeks ago in Newcastle Upon Tyne but if you missed it don’t worry it will be happening again next year. The event is run by Andrew and Pete and their content marketing agency and has established itself as one of the best and most fun event for marketers to attend in the UK.


Marketing Show North in Manchester

Marketing Show North | Manchester | 5-6 Feb 2020

Marketing Show North is the biggest digital marketing event outside of London (formerly Prolific North Live). It takes place in Feb every year, unfortunately, that has passed for 2019 but it’s coming back next year and you can pre-register your interest to make sure you don’t miss out on tickets.

The event covers every topic a marketer could possibly be interested in from SEO and digital PR to broader topics of media, branding and marketing and sales.


Did we miss any search or content events in Manchester / Leeds / Sheffield / Newcastle?

If we’ve missed you off the list, then please get in touch and we can add your event to our list for 2019!  


The Evolution of Google’s SERPs
1024 576 Jane Hunt

The Evolution of Google’s SERPs

Google was officially launched in 1998. Over the past 20 years, it has gone through numerous updates and its SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) have undergone some dramatic changes.

The evolution of Google’s search engine completely changed the way businesses do their online marketing. Once, not too long ago, Black Hat SEO tricks would get your site ranking for your keywords, but these days as Google focuses on providing the best answers for its users – high-quality content and user experience have become the key to SEO.  

But just how did Google evolve into the behemoth it is today, and how have its search results changed over the years? Like many modern tech stories, this one starts in a garage with a couple of university students.


Googles SEPRs changed to include paid advertisement


Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two students at Stanford University were working on a project known as “BackRub” where they were developing a search algorithm.



Google was launched and the very first SERPs was displayed.

The first ever Google search was conducted by computer scientist John Hennessy, to whom Page and Brin were demonstrating the accuracy of their algorithm.

Hennessy typed in ‘Gerhard Casper’ into the search bar. Gerhard Casper was the president of Stanford University at that time, and instead of displaying results for Casper the Friendly Ghost – as their rival search engine AltaVista did – Google’s search results showed relevant links to the person, Gerhard Casper.



Google launched Adwords.

Originally only launched for 350 advertisers, 2000 marked the beginning of pay-per-click advertisements in SERPs.   

Paid results generally appear at the top of SERPs and are primarily powered by keywords. They generally look pretty similar to organic search results but have a lower CTR (3.82% vs organics 65.72% as of Feb ‘18).



Google Search Results became available in 10 new languages


Google went international, launching in 10 new languages – French, German, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian and Danish. Allowing users to conduct searches in these languages, and for content creators to have their content in these languages discovered.


The evolution of Googles SERPs now included images


Google Image Search arrived.

Not only could users search for links to content, but they could also search through over 250 million images in its database.

Images could be displayed at the top of some SERPs (where relevant), giving content creators more incentive to add images to their sites and add appropriate HTML attributes so Google could display them for users.


Google SERPs started displaying local listings

Source: Google


Local search results were launched and provided relevant neighbourhood business listings, maps and directions.

Prior to Google Local, users were searching more for information, but with the launch of Local, Google understood that its users would want to use its search engine to find local products and services online.


2005 was the year Google Maps was launched



Google Maps was launched. A feature that has changed lives and made it easy for everyone to navigate new areas and find places without getting lost.


The Google Plus Box came to SERPs

Source: Matt Cuts blog


The Google Plus box was added to search results.

If someone searched for a business and Google had further information, such as the business address, they would add a small plus box, that when clicked, it would expand to show this information.


Google introduced Place Search in 2010

Source: CNN


Google introduced Place Search.

From Google Local to Google Maps and Plus Box, the search engine was making it much easier for customers and stores in the same vicinity to connect.  

At the time that it launched, everyone was taking notice because of the dramatic change it had on the look for Googles SERPs.

Place added 7 local listings to the traditional Google organic search listings. It included a Google map window of the listings locations and the address, phone number, and the number of Google reviews.

This was great for local businesses as users aren’t always looking for a website. By filling out their Google Local+ business page, they could have more information listed in their results allowing users to connect with them offline.


SERPs displaying contnet that has used schema markup


Schema markup was introduced by Google, Bing and Yahoo as an initiative to create a unified set of schemas for structured markup.

Rich snippets had been introduced prior to this (in 2009) but were not widely adopted and not displayed in most SERPs. The introduction of Schemas markup and a more structured way to annotate data meant that rich snippets have become ever more popular in the SEPRs.

Rich snippets are especially helpful for e-commerce stores as they can display information such as ratings, price, and availability of products as a way to entice a user to click on their listing.


On top of Schema Markup, 2011 was the year Google+ authors were added to listings.

It was implemented as a way for users to discover content written by experts in their field and let them know they could trust the link they were clicking on.

For authoritative authors, this was great. Having their name on their listing was easy to implement through Google’s own Google+ platform and often increase CTR and return visits.


SERPs now displayed the knowledge graph


Google launched the Knowledge Graph in May of 2012, creating a huge change to the structure of their SERPs.

The Knowledge Graph displays a panel on the right-hand side of search results that pulls information from the web to give quick snippets and summaries of information the user is searching for.

For example, in the listing above it displays; release date, directors, a quick summary of the plot, cast members and other movies people have searched for.

Each piece of information links to the site where the information was pulled and you can get more detail. While the Knowledge Graph is great for users wanting to find information quickly, it hurts sites and creators that provide information by generating fewer clicks for them.

evolution of Google search engine


When Google’s Carousel launched in 2013 it was originally for Local, displaying listings for things like hotels, nightlife and restaurants. However, this dropped just a year later and replaced with panels like the one shown below.

google SERP changes

This did not mean the end of the carousel, and it has been implemented into a number of search results such as ‘US Presidents’ and ‘Movies 2019’


Quick answers displayed in google serps


The introduction of ‘Quick Answers’ (which later became Featured Snippets). Much like the Knowledge Panel, quick answers gave users information right on the SERP, but unlike the Knowledge Graph, the majority of them came from Google’s own knowledge base meaning they had no links to sources.

the evolution of Googles results pages


The ‘In the News’ box started to be displayed in SERPs and was later renamed ‘Top Stories’ and became a carousel.  

The change in name came in 2016 due to some issues Google was having with displaying fake news in this box. Google News vets all the publications that it displays, but the Google News box just displays ‘newsy’ stories from across the web. The similar names were causing confusion and Google was receiving backlash for some of its results.

Featured snippets became a common occurrence in Googles SERPs 2016

Quick answers officially became ‘Featured Snippets’

The Featured Snippets showed a quick summary answer to the search query, displayed at the top of search results and could take a number of forms including paragraphs, lists, and tables.

There are a number of advantages to gaining the featured snippet:


  • Authority: Google chose your page or site to deliver the answer.
  • Ranking ahead of your competitors: You might not rank top for a search term but if you get the featured snippet you will be displayed at the top of the results, effectively outranking your competition.


With that being said, the concern content creators have with Featured Snippets is as they provide answers right there on the SERPs (or even as voice answers if the questions come through Google Home), that there is no need for the user to visit their site.

Google Jobs was launched in 2017


When Google launched Jobs in 2017, it caused massive disruption to the recruitment industry.

Have you ever searched for a job online before? Of course you have, and it is a nightmare. From different companies using different terminology to poorly written or out of date job descriptions the process can often leave you wanting to bang your head against a wall.

Enter Google.

With the aim to improve the job search process for both employees and employers Google has continued to improve its search capabilities so that users can find jobs that are well matched to them and filter results by things like date posted, commute time, etc.

Googles SERPs Video Carousel


Google began including videos in a carousel. Previous video results had been displayed with a thumbnail in organic results. At the same time this change was implemented, the number of SERPs that displaying video results increased.

What does the future hold for SERPs?

In March of 2018, Google started conducting Zero SERP tests. On a selected number of  Knowledge Cards, with simple queries such as time and date, Google displayed results to the searcher with no organic results, just the knowledge card.

A “show all results” button was displayed underneath, that the user had to click on for organic results. While Google only conducted these tests for around a week, it could be an ominous sign of what is to come.

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7 free SEO tools you need for your 2019 Online PR Strategy

In search of the best free SEO tools for 2019? Look no further, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite SEO tools that every digital marketer needs to know about.

We work smartest and fastest when we have the right tools at our disposal. This is particularly true when it comes to SEO and digital PR, as the right tools can help us automate and scale some of the more time consuming, but completely necessary parts of the job.

Whether you’re a digital PR pro, an entrepreneur, or a online marketer simply looking for a toolkit update, you’ll be sure to find everything you could need within our list.

Here are 7 free SEO tools that can help you with site audits, reporting, keyword research and more, just to make your job that little bit easier:


1. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a suite of helpful tools straight from Google. You can see if you have duplicate metadata, how many pages you have indexed, security issues and more.

These insights can be invaluable, bringing to your attention errors and bugs you may not have been aware of that are negatively impacting your site’s visibility in search. Once you become aware of them and get them fixed you could see some noticeable changes in your rankings and traffic.

Top Tip: Use the performance report within Google Search Console to identify any landing pages on your site with a particularly low click through rates (CTR). This is a great starting point to help decrease those all important impression:click ratios!


2. Bing Webmaster Tool

As you may expect, Bing Webmaster tool doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by Google’s Search Console but it’s still worth including on our list as your visibility in Bing may still be important to your overall marketing mix.

Did you know that Bing and Yahoo combined search traffic makes up 33% of the search market share? This is a THIRD of all search traffic, so it’s important to remember to there are other engines out there that may index and rank your site very differently to Google.

Top tip: Both Bing Webmaster Tool and Google Search Console require the installation of a bit of code on your site. If you’re using WordPress as your CMS there are some handy (also free) plugins such as Yoast and Jetpack that can make these installations quick and easy for even least tech-savvy marketers.


Keywords Everywhere: A great free SEO chrome extension

3. Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is an amazing free Chrome Extension (also available on Firefox if that’s your thing) that literally does what it say on the tin – gives you keywords, everywhere!

It dynamically adds keyword volume and suggestions into almost every search bar you can think of. From eBay and Amazon to Google and YouTube, wherever your audience is searching for your products, services or content, you can get accurate insights into search volumes, competition and a list of suggested relevant keywords as well.  


Free SEO tools for 2019: Google PageSpeed Insights

4. Google PageSpeed Insights

If you weren’t already aware, page load times are a significant ranking factor for search engines.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights lets you check the speed and usability of your site not just on desktop but on mobile as well.

Simply enter your URL and it will measure your lead time and give you recommendations on how to improve it.


5. Google Analytics

If you want to get serious about your SEO you need to be using Google Analytics.

It tracks every piece of data imaginable relating to your website traffic. It’s completely free and can give you info such as how visitors located your site, what pages they are clicking on most and loads more helpful insights. It’s basically the only SEO analytics tool you need to see how well your SEO strategies are performing.


6. Microdata Generator

If you’re not a coder using schema markup for your site can seem a bit scary. Well, Microdata Generator makes it easy. If you are a local business you can simply put in your business info and the free tool will generate the code you need.

Schema markup helps tell search engines what your data means so can be a great way to push your site up the rankings by adding context to your indexable content.


Free seo tool: Website Penalty Indicator

7. Website Penalty Indicator

Ever wondered if your site has been with a Google Penalty? Well, Website Penalty Indicator can help you figure that out. The free tool shows you a graph of your website traffic and lines it up with Google algorithm updates. By seeing noticeable drops in traffic line up with dates of algorithm updates you can see where your site has been penalised.


These are just 7 of the best free SEO tools that marketers need to use in 2019. If you think we have missed any vital tools off our list let us know in the comments.