• 01 May
    My First Brighton SEO

    My First Brighton SEO

    If you’re reading this, you’ll probably be aware of the SEO industry’s biggest gig of the year. Held in sunny (most of the time) Brighton in a large conference hall hugging the coastline, Brighton SEO is the UK’s largest free SEO conference.

    With the top names in the industry delivering talks on a broad range of digital marketing topics, it is a no-brainer for any agency or search enthusiast to attend.

    More →

  • 21 Mar
    Where can you meet us?

    Where can you meet us?

    SMX West – San Jose, March 21st-23rd

    If you’re based on the west coast, or just fancy a trip out to San Jose, you can find us speaking at SMX West. With hundreds of updates in how search works each and every year, staying ahead of the curve can be difficult – especially when one of the key changes has been a loss of the data we have access to. With everything from ‘not provided’ keywords to the aggregation of search volumes in keyword planner, these changes make it harder and harder to do our jobs. Hannah will be covering how we can bridge the gap in data by using the metrics we find in social instead. More →

    By Stuart Events Marketing News
  • 02 Sep
    Beyond Link Building – Using PR to Fuel Your Digital Strategy

    Beyond Link Building – Using PR to Fuel Your Digital Strategy

    Today (2nd September 2016) I had the pleasure of presenting at BrightonSEO in their brand, spanking new venue!

    Aisha Kellaway BrightonSEO September 2016

    The response to the talk was amazing, and a huge thanks to everyone who came along.

    You can see the slides from my presentation below:
    [slideshare id=65628292&doc=skippybrightonseoslidessansanimation-pr-160902134520]

    And I’ve also added a (rough) transcript of my talk below to help out anyone that wasn’t there.


    title slide

    This presentation is not about links, but it is about PR.

    I think it’s brilliant that PR has become a lot more prominent in the digital industry in the last few years, and it’s great that, in line with that, our approach to links has shifted – from an approach of building them to one of earning them, through creating truly remarkable content, and conducting effective, and targeted outreach to the right influencers and publications.

    But the issue that I do have is this is really the only context in which we hear about digital PR. And that’s a real shame because PR spans so much more than that, and an understanding of the fundamental principles of PR can really help boost your entire digital strategy, especially when it comes to online communication and reputation online. So we’re going beyond links today.

    skippy slide

    I’m the digital PR specialist at, a full-service digital marketing agency in Oxford and London. Before joining White I worked for a travel PR agency, with a focus on media outreach and relations. And way before that I worked in house for BrightonSEO and the 5 other conferences we were running at the time – working on the community management and all online communications – focusing on the events reputations and relationships with delegates, speakers and sponsors through our online platforms.

    This presentation shares principles and processes that I’ve learnt through these three roles, that I think is relevant and applicable regardless of what industry or sector you’re in.

    Okay – so to get started I thought I’d go back to basics, to what PR actually is.

    And the best person to define this is a chap called Edward Bernays, who was Sigmund Freud’s nephew. Bernays was responsible for using Freud’s psycho-analysis theory in propaganda campaigns of the first and second world wars. Following the second world war, Bernays built upon propaganda theory to develop the practice of PR.

    edward bernays

    In 1950 he actually published a book called “Public Relations” which, despite being published over 60 years ago, is still THE most pertinent book on PR that I’ve ever read. In it, he defines PR as “Information given to the public to persuade and modify attitudes and actions”, but he doesn’t stop there. He adds that PR is also “The efforts to INTEGRATE the attitudes and actions of an institution, with its publics, and of publics with that institution.” And it’s the second part of the definition that I care about, and unfortunately, it’s the second part of the definition that usually gets overlooked. When you look at just the first part of the definition, it’s very reminiscent of propaganda – it’s a one-way communication system – it’s broadcasting and publicity.

    digital pr is...

    In a digital context, it’s where we find media outreach and relations. but when you bring the second part of the definition into it, you see that PR is about two-way communication, about relationships – and beyond that, about reputation – because reputation is not what you say about yourself, it’s what people say about you when you’re not there. When you bring this into a digital context, you see that PR is involved in anything that influences your relationships and reputation, online, through communication. So yes, outreach and influencer relations are important. But so is all other aspects of your online communication with your different target groups.

    reputation precedes you

    And the word I really want you to focus on here, and what PR really boils down to, is reputation. And this is important because your reputation PREcedes you. It comes before a user really enters the marketing or sales funnel. And if you successfully build your reputation, you’ll find that the hard part of your sales and marketing is done for you. And that is due, in part, to something called the confirmation bias.

    confirmation bias

    The confirmation bias is a cognitive bias that explains the human tendency to interpret new information as evidence that supports existing theories and beliefs. Essentially, we look for information that supports what we believe and ignore information that goes against what we believe.

    I want you to think back to any teenage celebrity crushes. Mine was Johnny Depp. I didn’t know Johnny Depp, I never met him, but I fell in love with the idea of him. And this meant that anything good said about him was gospel, and anyone who said anything negative obviously had no idea what they were on about.

    Now think about how this would play out if you got people to fall in love with the idea of your brand, this is before they bought from you, and before they’ve even entered the sales funnel. They’re not going to be trying to catch you out. They’re going to be doing the opposite, and will be actively looking for ways to continue along the user journey – and you then have every successive touch point with that user to reinforce that positive reputation, and lead them towards a conversion.

    And for the rest of the presentation, I’m going to give you a five-step process that will help you do that.

    #1 – Understand your business.

    vision, mission, values

    This seems like common sense, and it is – but how many of you could tell me, on the spot, what the vision for your company was. What is the 3, 5 and ten-year plan? Now, would I get the same answer from you as I would from a colleague?

    What about the company mission? I’m not talking about what you do. I’m talking about what it is in your industry, or society, that you’re trying to fix, change, create, or perhaps eradicate. It’s what is it that gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you on track.

    And lastly, what are your company’s values. These are what help you make your decisions, from the content you create, to the people you hire. Does everyone know them, and use them to make their decisions in the business?

    If you’re agency side, how many of you know the answers to these questions for every single one of the clients you work on?

    Knowing the answers to these questions sets a really strong foundation. It helps you stay on track, and means that everything you do, and create, if in line with those values, will be a step – even if a tiny one – to getting closer to that vision, and achieving that mission.

    #2 – Understand every single one of your target publics.

    general public doesn't exist

    In PR – there is no such thing as the general public, it doesn’t exist. I still meet companies where they think that their product or service is for “everyone” and that everyone is going to respond to the same message or call to action.

    The term Public Relations is also a bit deceptive, as it actually refers to “publics” – the individual groups that are important to communicate with, and build relationships with, to benefit the business. These will, of course, include customers, but it could also include potential employees, stakeholders, partner businesses or organisations, or community groups.

    You need to identify who these groups are that you’re targeting online. Then you have to understand them, what their goals are and how you can help them achieve them. Lastly, you need to craft messages to communicate this to them through your online channels.

    To better understand your audience, whether they’re just browsers or existing users, you can use intelligent user communication tools like Intercom, as well as personalised live chat platforms like Drift or Olark. These tools give you really valuable insights on your users, help you identify the different goals your users have, and enable you to have personalised, two-way communication with individual users directly through your site without them having to pull away from the user journey and potentially disengaging.

    The insights learnt in this part of the process help in stage three.

    #3 – which is to audit your online communication.

    This is something we do at White, before we undertake any creative PR and outreach efforts, and it’s something I think more companies should do.

    We take the information gathered in steps one and two, and make sure that key messages are communicated effectively across their online platforms.

    We then take insights from the user communication tools, analytics, and any other software like HotJar, and we also usually perform UserTesting, to ensure that we’ve properly understood our target groups, and can analyse how easy it is for the different groups of users to get the information they need to achieve their goals as efficiently as possible.

    This process allows us to find content gaps and UX opportunities, with a focus on improving engagement and conversion metrics.


    After analysing the website, we’ll also audit social media platforms as well as branded listings in the SERPs. We’re not looking for the messaging doesn’t have to be the same, but it does need to be consistent in order to help build that brand image. And that brand image, doesn’t necessarily have to be a “positive” one – it just needs to be in line with those three things you identified about your business.

    Take RyanAir as an example. Even if you haven’t flown with them, you’re probably not sitting there thinking “Yeah… Bloody brilliant airline!”. But you probably are sitting there thinking “Yeah… Bloody cheap airline!” – and that’s what they’re going for.

    They’ve understood what their mission is, and they target a customer base who are looking for what they have to offer – which is budget travel without any perks or luxuries that can come along with the travel experience.

    You can see this reinforced in their messaging across all of their online platforms. And it’s this consistency that we’re looking for in these audits.

    In these audits, I also look at social media content, and I’m constantly amazed that some companies still see social media as a one-way channel to flog their products or services, rather than an incredible opportunity to build a sense of community around their brand, or build their authority within their industry through thought leadership.

    Your social strategy should also be founded on what you’ve identified in stage two. Which of your target groups use social media? Which platforms do they use and in what capacity? Add value to that experience, rather than try and distract them with marketing messages.

    I also like to take a look at supplementary blog content, as well as the social media posts, and look at the balance of quantity and quality. I’m often asked what the optimum number of posts is, and the answer is always the same. From a PR perspective, NEVER forego quality for the sake of quantity. By all means, publish 10 times a day, as long as each of those posts is of high quality, and adds value to your users.

    #4 – Keep on top of what’s being said about you.

    What someone else says about you holds a lot more weight than what you say about yourself. It’s something we’ve always leveraged in PR through gaining favourable publicity, but online, most of what’s said about us is out of our control.

    If you’re not already, you might want to consider setting up basic Google Alerts for your brand, a key product or even yourself. This won’t pick up everything, but it will alert you to anything significant published on the web. It can also be handy to set up alerts for topics you specialise in, to find opportunities where you can jump in and add value to the conversation.

    This is free and easy, but it is limited. Beyond Google Alerts, you might want to look into media monitoring tools like, and specialist social media monitoring services like Brandwatch that will do a much more thorough job.

    review sites

    Lastly, on this topic, if you’re in retail, e-commerce, or you’re in the food, travel or leisure industries – review sites are your friend!

    Positive ratings are not just great social proof and good for click through rates, but reviews give you incredible insights from real customers. If you’re getting great feedback, you have access to testimonials and a way to build relationships with potential brand advocates. If you’re getting some not-so-good feedback… it’s better that you know. You have an opportunity to turn that customer’s experience around, and if you can’t achieve that, you still have a platform to show potential customers a lot about the kind of company you are through the way you respond.

    #5 – Actions speak louder than words.

    It’s all well and good to have a great value proposition, a wonderful website, and brilliant messaging – but ultimately, it’s what you do, not what you say you do, that leads to your reputation.

    I’ve referred to this image of Madeline Vogel, which you might recognise as it circulated widely a few years ago. She didn’t stop to help a fallen competitor cross the finish line because she wanted the global publicity that followed – she did it because it was a no brainer. It was in line with her values. Then the publicity followed.

    Walking the walk is what’s going to get you the reputation you dream of. Because outreach alone won’t get you the headlines, but being truly remarkable will.

    And then all the tactics will be so much more fruitful, as you’ll have built your reputation.

    Any questions, leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter.

    By Aisha Kellaway Events Marketing
  • 18 May

    Advanced Technical SEO – SMX London 2016

    How often do you hear about a new trend in SEO? With Google making over 500 algorithm tweaks per year, the methods we use and effectiveness of tactics is constantly evolving. It is important for us to stay one step ahead of the changes and be ready for the new world of SEO.

    At SMX London 2016, I was lucky enough to speak on the Advanced Technical SEO panel with Aleyda Solis and James Finlayson. The Advanced Technical SEO panel is an element of SMX that has happened at many events in the past, frequently requested and always a high turn-out because people are passionate about learning the latest SEO.

    But, what does advanced really mean?

    By Hannah Events SEO
  • 22 Apr

    Hello. My Name is Blogger, Don't Make Me Mad!

    When organiser Kelvin Newman asked me to present at the April 2016 BrightonSEO, I didn’t need much time to think of which topic I wanted to cover.

    I wanted to share some of my insights of how we, as an industry, tend to work with bloggers, and how we can improve our relationships with them. Being both a blogger and a digital marketer, this is something I’m hugely passionate about!

    Hannah Butcher blogger outreach talk at BrightonSEO

    The name of my talk was called Hello My Name is Blogger, Don’t Make me Mad! at BrightonSEO. You can view the video of my talk in the embedded video at the bottom of this post, or view the video of the whole afternoon session in full on YouTube from around 2:55:30.

    I’ve also embedded my slides here for you in case you missed my talk, or want to have another look at what I was sharing on the screen at the time:

    It’s great to be able to provide the visuals for my presentation, but I wanted to give you some more background information about my talk and why the relationship between brand and blogger is a subject so close to my heart.

    Why is the brand/blogger relationship important?

    My own shaky beginnings

    When I started working in the SEO industry in 2009 at another agency I was heavily involved in the creation of content for brands. This was mostly off-page content, and it certainly wasn’t the best content I could’ve possibly written on a topic; a far cry from the content I put my name to these days.

    It existed mostly for the purpose of getting links from sites, and it didn’t really matter whether they were from article syndication sites, websites semi-related to the keywords we were targeting, or from bloggers who wanted to make a quick buck. Once I had written content, my colleagues were responsible for identifying these link “opportunities” and arranged placement (often for a fee).

    I only started questioning this process when I actually started to work with bloggers myself. A couple of the clients I was working with had some products that they wanted to push, and it was at this time that I began to get into outreach.

    By identifying some vaguely relevant bloggers, I could send them products, they could write about them, and then… LINKS! It was great, and it was different (and it meant I had to write less myself), but it was just the beginning of my outreach education.

    Discovering the answers

    After some time, I discovered that it wasn’t just as simple as: find blogger > send product > get link. I was getting inconsistent results; not ideal after carrying out a proof of concept for my clients. I started asking myself questions like:

    • Why are some bloggers linking back to the brand’s website whilst others aren’t?
    • Why are some bloggers not putting their email address on their website when I have something they can have for free?!
    • What is the best way for me to contact bloggers?
    • What on earth do I put in my email if this is how I want to contact them?
    • Do I need to pay bloggers or just give them something?

    My natural inquisitive nature put me in good stead, and by means of learning, testing and refining, I began to see more positive results from my outreach. The two things that have always stuck with me are:

    • Be nice
    • Choose your targets wisely

    Essentially this means that you never know when you’re going to need to work with a blogger on more than one occasion, so make the experience a positive one. Not only that, but you’re also representing a brand, regardless of whether you work in-house or for an agency. Don’t put your brand into disrepute because it can balloon further than a conversation by email; with social media, anything can be inflated to a wider audience.

    Comments, engagement and relevancy

    What I did find is that I wanted to get comments and other forms of engagement from the audiences of the bloggers that I was working with. I found that audience feedback and discussions usually took place when a blogger knew their niche and focused on it, rather than spreading themselves thinly over lots of different topics.

    This makes sense, as an engaged community will likely be just as passionate about a topic as the blogger is, and they will come back to that blog to consume more content on that topic. I found that domain authority and greater numbers of followers on social media didn’t always sway my decision on which blogger to work with, but rather their spirit made them much more appealing to me.

    Real passion is hard to fake, and those who came across with having a thirst for providing the best (read: interesting, different, informative) content on their topic were much more up my street. In return I realised that in order to do outreach, I needed to buy into this commitment, and resolved to start my own blog to realise great passion for myself.

    Becoming a blogger

    When I started my first blog (it was all about food; both eating out and home cooking) I quickly realised the time investment that was needed. Creating new posts was a LOT of work, and it was tough to fit it in alongside my full time job. Not only that but it was the first time that I really had to understand some of the more technical things: buying a domain, getting hosting, not destroying my WordPress theme by tweaking the CSS, etc.

    Soon enough I started to get emails from various digital marketing and PR folks who identified that I was writing on the topic of food, and in some cases, the local area in Oxfordshire. This is when I began to be invited to events and got products to review of my own.

    Along with some excellent opportunities (particularly for reviewing any burger places) there were some equally poor outreach attempts, notably those where my name was misspelled or the pitch was way off what my blog actually offered to readers.

    Even worse, some emails I received were obviously sent out to a huge list of bloggers, and then upon replying, I was invited to provide my stats for further consideration! I soon understood why brands shouldn’t put the onus on bloggers to do extra work just for the chance to promote a product, place or service. This isn’t the way that advertising works!

    Due to my thoughts, it was a natural progression to lead me to where I am today, including talking to a crowd of over 1,500 digital marketing people on the topic. I also really enjoy reading what other bloggers have to say on the topic, which is why I included the opinions of Janet Newenham in my presentation.

    Janet – who blogs at Journalist on the Run – has an awesome post called Exposure Won’t Pay For My Next Flight which I would encourage you to read in full for some more background information on this topic, and so you can get a great insider’s view!

    I think that’s enough of my blogging backstory now; onto the presentation…

    Watch my talk at BrightonSEO

    PS. Laura Hampton from Impression Digital wrote a great post on LinkedIn Pulse on what it’s like to speak at BrightonSEO; you might find this helpful if you’re thinking about speaking at your very first conference!

    By Hannah Butcher Events SEO
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