Posts by kirsty
12 Things about the world that I really should know by now
April 9, 2014

I’m not an idiot. I know a reasonable amount about certain things.

Read more
Why No Make Up Selfies are Making me Sad
March 20, 2014
Read more
Yes I am a feminist. Yes I still think it’s important. No I don’t think women and men are equal.
March 3, 2014
Read more
How to get results without relying on paid links
February 26, 2014
Read more
Cya Later Keyword Data: My Thoughts
September 25, 2013
Read more
Who’s Afraid of the Big Brand Wolf?
August 23, 2013

It is undeniable that Google gives search preference to big brands.

Or, perhaps a more accurate way to phrase that; it can be easier for big brands to generate social mentions, natural back links, have bigger budgets to play with to create interesting and sticky content.

Essentially, large brands have digital assets and a level of natural engagement that can be leveraged for search.

Therefore, big brand SEO is thought of as ‘easier’, that an SEO can simply sit back with a big brand and watch the traffic and revenue increases roll in.

This is simply not the case, and as someone who has had experience on both sides of the spectrum I’d like to set the record straight.

Big Brands = Big Restrictions

In my previous job I spent a lot of time fiddling about in a clients’ CMS – testing title tags, adding semantic mark-up, speaking directly with their developers, just simply going in and changing the things that I wanted changing.

This is a luxury that I very much took for granted before – for those of us fortunate enough to work on big brands will probably understand the frustration of waiting 12 months to get a H1 changed, if it can be changed at all.

Working with a smaller brand you can have a creative idea, ring up the MD and have it underway before your coffee has gone cold. The bigger the brand, however, the bigger the process, the bigger the teams, the bigger the brand guidelines document and the bigger the headache in getting creative concepts pushed through the door.

What really works, however, are the big brands that have the agility and responsiveness of a small brand – like this really cute exchange between Oreo and Kitkat. Where internal teams are given the freedom to act responsively and topically – this is where big brands can really take the lead, unfortunately however, this is more the exception than the rule.

Big Brands don’t rank for generic short tail search queries based on brand presence alone

Yes big brands get lots of links, they get national coverage, they have PR teams working around the clock to get their story told. I recently had a slide in a presentation for a client which included an imagery for some of their top external links. This was the slide:

This backlink profile is from a brand which have previously never done any SEO – these links were all just naturally accrued (and deserved!). In my previous job, I was working mainly for very small companies; one of my key clients being an E-comm start up; achieving a single link like any of the above that my current client has in hoards would have been such a big win, and of course very, very difficult.

However, does this brand currently rank well for any of it’s key category generics?

Nope. They’re nowhere.*

Why? The reasons are threefold:

1. 100% of their anchor text profile is brand or click here etc.

2. They have very strict brand guidelines that control the on site tone of voice, meaning that the way the brand communicates on their site, is very different to how people search within their category.

3. They struggle to compete with the retailers (Amazon, Tesco etc) that are selling their products.

So yes big brands do generate lots and lots of lovely links which, given the opportunity, if coupled with targeted SEO activity allows for better performance. However, as we know, brand links alone will not de facto correlate to good rankings for targeted (long tail or short) keywords.

Big Brands are Still Competing with other Big Brands

There’s lots of big brands out there, and they’re all increasingly investing more and more in SEO, making the competitive sphere incredibly difficult for any brand big or small.

What this does do, of course, is make it even harder for small brands to gain presence for SERPs monopolised by big players.

But it’s easy to forget that most transactional retail brands will be trying desperately to compete with Amazon and other big retailers for their own product terms.

Bigger Brands = Stricter KPIs

This is speaking only from my personal experience and I imagine varies wildly, but bigger brands will have targets signed of at a board level often 1 or 2 years in advance of them filtering through to channel specific activity.

This means that KPIs can be tightly locked down, and difficult to achieve.

How can Small Brands Win?

Small brands benefit from agility – less internal process and structure means that content can be turned around quicker, ideas can perhaps be more creative and day to day contacts may be the bid decisions makers.

Where a small brand can win is through longtail targeted content generation; use regional dialect specific language in copy, find untapped SERPs within your niche which big brands will struggle to harness (for example, a previous client was a toy company and I suggested they introduce same sex families into their doll collections), build a local and engaged audience, use social to drive brand loyalty, be familiar with your audience and adopt a TOV that really suits your brand message.

To conclude:

Despite the undeniable natural acquisition of links and authority, SEO is not automatically easier day to day if you are working on big brand.

Yes small brands struggle to compete with the competition, but all of the big online brand players now (take boohoo and missguided, or the ‘women’s fashion’ SERP for example) started out as small brands adopting clever, agile, digital strategies that created a barrier of entry for it’s big brand, high street counterparts who simply were too slow to the uptake.

*I’d like to point out, this is a brand new client and I’ve not started work on them yet…видеорегистратор texet

Read more
July 31, 2013

Last week search engine land broke that:

Google has quietly updated the link schemes document under their Webmaster guidelines to add large-scale guest posting, advertorials and optimized anchor text in articles or press releases to the list of types of links that violate their guidelines.

And today follows another alteration, that links within press releases should be no follow.

As an SEO, I am happy to say I will not be changing my activity based solely on the above.

Here’s why:

These changes are nothing new. Google has always stated, quite clearly, within the Webmaster guidelines that:

Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site, or outgoing links from your site. Manipulating these links may affect the quality of our search results, and as such is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Read more
June 14, 2013

I am twenty five in five days. I am sat on the floor; with an (two) empty wine bottle(s) at my hip, punching the air enthusiastically to the silence from my headphones.

I catch myself in the mirror and realise…fuck Kirsty, you’ve not changed since you were 15.

That’s ten years (for those paying attention); my surroundings and circumsatances have changed significantly, almost entirely, and my experiences of friendship and love are just brimming due to all the incredible people I’ve met along the way.

But me, at the core, am exactly the same. I’m still the same person who spent her Saturday afternoons snorting Lucozade tablets on Tesco carpark because there was nothing better to do, though now the Lucozade tablets have been swapped for Skinny Lattes and Tesco car park for Brick Lane. Eurgh.

I remeber really enjoying spending an evening alone listening to music, drinking, smoking and singing in entirely my own company because it was something that young people did.

‘Have another gulp of your two bottles for £5 wine and turn the 60s prog rock louder because you’re just so young and free and hurt and you really do emotionally connect with Nick Drake.’  (Knobhead Hulse, circa 2009)

But when does it stop? I don’t want it to. I’m not ready – I still feel 15.

I recall, all too distnctly, going for dinner (I would’ve said tea before) and talking about where I would be when I was 25. I pictured this groomed, collected woman with glossy hair and an organised sock drawer.

I don’t even have a sock drawer.

I think the beauty of getting older (I am not saying for a moment I am getting old) is the realisation that my personality and hobbies were cemeted years and years ago.

I’m not a teenager, or a young professional, or a career woman, or…fuck knows – none of that.

I have realised, however, that I will  at the core always be the same person; air guitaring to Janis Joplin and air banjoing (it’s. a. thing.) to the Dixie Chicks 4evz. The frequency of these instances will likely fade – but it will always be part of who I am.

And that’s bloody lovely duck.

Plus, as my mum once told me –  Age is a privalidge denied to many.продвигать сайт

Read more
June 4, 2013

A few months ago I complied a 25 before 25 list, some have been ticked off, some certainly haven’t.

As I am 25 in just two weeks – here’s my final update:

Read more
May 15, 2013

So I won’t.

In January, along with, I imagine, hundreds of thousands of other people, thought that 2013 was going to be the year I really got into sport. Come summer I would be running around in Lycra, looking good in baseball caps and would own one of those straps that keeps your iPod attached to you when you’re running.

Read more