Eat Sleep Search

Creative Link Building and Marketing, Explained by Eperts

Finding Link Building Opportunities with Competitive Link Research


Finding Link Building Opportunities with Competitive Link Research

Link build­ing can be tough at the best of times, so if there are any ways to shorten this process and find some quick wins then I’m always happy to try them out. I thought I would share some meth­ods that can be used to find rel­e­vant link tar­gets for your web­site. This involves some­thing that any link builder should be aware of: com­pet­i­tive link research.

Com­pet­i­tive link research essen­tially involves look­ing at the link pro­files of your com­peti­tors in order to find oppor­tu­ni­ties for you to build links. In a nut­shell, you’re look­ing at where your com­peti­tors have built links and then tar­get­ing these sites your­self whilst avoid­ing all the hard work that went into acquir­ing them. This could be through find­ing blogs  rel­e­vant to your niche that are tak­ing on guest posts, iden­ti­fy­ing higher qual­ity, rel­e­vant direc­to­ries to sub­mit your site to or by dis­cov­er­ing some really orig­i­nal, unique link build­ing ideas.

Analysing Your Com­peti­tors’ Back Links

There are a num­ber of tools that you can use to scout out the links that are point­ing to your com­peti­tors’ web­sites, but I am going to focus on Majes­tic SEO’s, Site Explorer tool and SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer tool. Both of these tools need to be paid for in order to get the best out of them but they will def­i­nitely prove their worth over time.

Majes­tic SEO

Majes­tic SEO has to be my favourite link analy­sis tool and it has helped me to both iden­tify new oppor­tu­ni­ties for links as well as find­ing poten­tial issues with links com­ing into my sites. I have taken a snap­shot of the links to the Web Design Galway web­site that I have been work­ing on through Majes­tic SEO’s Site Explorer, which we can look at in a bit more detail.

Majestic SEO Links

The first thing I always do is down­load this list to a .csv file so that I can fil­ter through the list of URLs that are link­ing back to the Wow Inter­net web­site. What I’m look­ing for is some sites that are bring­ing in par­tic­u­larly pow­er­ful links and ways in which I could pos­si­bly take advan­tage of this.

Remove NoFollows

Once the .csv file has been down­loaded I will need to fil­ter through a few parts of the results. Firstly, I’ll hide all of the links that have been flagged as deleted and then also hide the nofol­low links so that I am only focus­ing on links that are pass­ing PageR­ank through to the web­site. If I then fil­ter the SourceCita­tion­Flow (this is a met­ric used show the qual­ity of the link­ing URL) col­umn in descend­ing order, I can see the higher qual­ity links at the top of the list.

Top Links for Wow Internet

Instantly I can see some poten­tial link­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties that com­peti­tors of Wow Inter­net could take advan­tage of. The top link is from a blog arti­cle on the SEO­moz web­site and then the next is from the pro­file link on my SEO­moz account that points back to the Wow Inter­net website.

A guest post on the SEO­moz blog can pro­vide a web­site within my indus­try with one of the most valu­able links pos­si­ble. Now this is old news to many of you within the online mar­ket­ing indus­try but when you look at the sec­ond link (the pro­file link on my SEO­moz account) you will see that the ‘nofol­low’ has been removed from the link. The rea­son for this is that I have over 200 ‘Moz­Points’ on my account, which I gained by sim­ply answer­ing ques­tions on the forum and com­ment­ing on the blogs, etc. This could be a quick win toward your link build­ing if you are already pay­ing for your SEO­moz sub­scrip­tion. You will find that there are many instances of this in other niches among high pro­file com­mu­nity sites.

The third link is from a tes­ti­mo­nial that I wrote on the Word­Stream web­site after using their prod­uct. This rep­re­sents one of the best links going back to the Wow Inter­net web­site and can be a great strat­egy toward devel­op­ing links to any web­site. At the end of the day, every­one wants to good PR for their busi­ness. Just from a quick cou­ple of min­utes of scan­ning through the link­ing pro­file of the site it is clear to see that there are many oppor­tu­ni­ties that can arise from car­ry­ing this research out.

Open Site Explorer

For those of you who pre­fer SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer then you are able to do a sim­i­lar task. If I take a look at a com­peti­tor of the Wow Inter­net web­site then I can see this same type of analy­sis from a dif­fer­ent point of view.

Open Site Explorer Filters

Open Site Explorer has some handy fil­ter­ing options that mean you don’t always need to down­load to a .csv to get the best from the results; how­ever, I would rec­om­mend doing so. Through the fil­ter­ing options within OSE I’m able to drill down on only fol­lowed links from exter­nal sites and it’s also pos­si­ble to group the links by domain, which is a par­tic­u­larly handy option. We can then sort the results by domain/page author­ity to see the high­est qual­ity links going to the site.

Open Site Explorer

Tak­ing an instant look at some of the links that this web­site has, I have noticed that the top result goes to an open source SEO tool project where you can donate money toward the project and receive a list­ing on the ‘dona­tions’ page. This page has a page author­ity of 63 and a domain author­ity of 62 so it could be a quick and valu­able link prospect that would only need me to donate a bit of cash toward a good project. Win!

Another link that I have noticed is an SEO/web design-specific online direc­tory that I could add the Wow Inter­net web­site to in order to get an extra back link from a related web­site. Online direc­to­ries shouldn’t be relied on for links, but if they are niche rel­e­vant then they can cer­tainly be quite helpful.

What You Should Be Look­ing For

Hav­ing access to all of this data is invalu­able toward build­ing an effec­tive link build­ing cam­paign, like if we are try to build links for Web Designers Ireland. It allows you to under­stand what your com­peti­tors are doing and gain some quick insights into how to build some extra links. Hav­ing said this, just because your com­peti­tors are flood­ing blogs with spammy com­ments, doesn’t mean you should be doing it as well. Try to look for guest blog­ging oppor­tu­ni­ties by find­ing links that your com­peti­tors have gained by doing all the ini­tial out­reach ground­work and you’re sure to reap the rewards. Also, try and look for some of the more orig­i­nal ideas for back links, such as the Word­Stream review that the Wow Inter­net site had and the dona­tion page link that one of the com­peti­tors had. This is where you will find some real gold.

Also, keep in mind that your com­peti­tors may well be doing the same as you so keep ahead of the game and always be on the look­out for orig­i­nal link build­ing ideas. On top of this, try to focus on build­ing links that are hard to repli­cate by build­ing social com­mu­ni­ties or tak­ing advan­tage of offline rela­tion­ships. Either way, always keep an eye on your competition!

Types of ERP

Business Process Mapping or BPM in short is very much an integral part of planning and strategizing for a modern business environment. As a whole, this refers to the transformation of one’s company information system from being primarily manual to being mostly digitalized and/or automated.

This can be done by way of processes like ERP Software Installation, Data Migration, customization and configuration of company data structures, migration of data from legacy systems to modern ERP systems. Planning, process evaluation, analysis, and integration are all involved in the process of modernizing business process mapping or BPM.

Pillars of an ERP System

There are basically four pillars of an enterprise structure. Strategic Planning, Executing, and Monitoring are done on a daily basis. Modern Business Process Mapping is concerned with the strategic planning aspect of any enterprise. Digital transformation and planning for the modern era. learn more about Digital transformation at

Planning and executing modern ERP software systems with proper strategy and planning is what is involved here.

Enterprise Resource Planning Software

Enterprise Resource Planning Software, more popularly known as ERP, is an integral part of many companies’ success. ERP Software is a complete business process management system that integrates all facets of an enterprise and provides complete control over the activities of the company.

ERP software systems are either web-based or command-line interfaces. Web-based ERP applications can have various add-on modules. Command-line ERP applications are usually monolithic and have a limited capacity. Click here to learn essential elements of ERP

Types of ERP

There are different types of ERP applications, which include business process modeling (BPM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and enterprise resource planning software (ERP). The term ‘Business Process Model’ represents all the four stages of BPM – Customer requirements, Investment, Delivery, and Recurring Revenue.

ERP is used to integrate the customer needs with those of the organization. ERP helps in decision making and also enables the sharing of data and information across the enterprise.

Business Process Model

The business Process Model is designed to analyze the flow of data and is a logical structure that describes the processes involved in business activity. This type of diagram portrays a sequence of events that usually include Purchase Order, Production, Delivery, Marketing, and Business Process Management.

ERP is the most important for large organizations. It helps in data analysis, planning, and resource allocation leading to better utilization of resources.

Business Process Mapping

Business Process Mapping uses both a mathematically and analytically approach. This approach involves the integration of maps within an ERP software so that it can effectively represent data in an easy-to-understand way.

Business Process Mapping divides the analysis process into several steps. These steps include data extraction, data cleansing, data maintenance, and lastly analysis. Data cleansing involves removing invalid, out-of-date, and unnecessary data so that the final map can be made.

ERP suite

Another type of ERP software is Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP suite. This suite provides various modules which include Business Process Management, Customer Relationship Management, and Enterprise Resource Planning.

ERP is used to manage manufacturing, retail, and services sectors. This type of mapping involves the integration of three or more modules to give a holistic view of the business. ERP mapping provides the following benefits to organizations

  • Cost reduction
  • Increased productivity
  • Better customer services.

Business Process Mapping is a great tool that can improve the quality of the decision made by any organization. Business Process Mapping allows the flow of data to be easily determined. This in turn helps in reducing the costs associated with data entry. Hence, Business Process Mapping proves to be of great help to every organization irrespective of its size.

Types of ERP

Financial Business Process Mapping

Another type of ERP is Financial Business Process Mapping. This type of Mapping deals with the movement of cash within an organization. This helps in making financial decisions quickly. Such decisions include investment decisions, discount rates, purchase orders, and employee movements.

The main aim of Financial Business Process Mapping is to give users a quick view of the cash flows within an organization. This helps in avoiding delays caused by data analysis.

Business Process Mapping may appear like a complex task. However, a proper process map can actually help in reducing the costs associated with data entry, analyzing the data, and subsequently making informed decisions regarding the allocation of resources.

Business Process Mapping helps in improving the productivity of the organization. It is due to this reason that many organizations are turning to the service of Business Process Mapping.

All the top companies have a dedicated team for Business Process Mapping. Connected IT Consulting is one such company in Ireland that provides ERP services to organizations.

A team of professionals from Connected IT Consulting works together with the organization to analyze data and arrive at a conclusion regarding the business process that should be implemented.

The experts from Connected IT Consulting Ireland then help in designing the process map along with ensuring that it meets the requirement of the organization. The process map thus ensures that the data provided is accurate and is able to provide a comprehensive insight into the organization.

ERP Software – An Essential element of Enterprise Resource Planning

ERP stands for enterprise resource planning. ERP helps in improving efficiency and reducing costs by enabling all employees of an organization to communicate, collaborate and share all information about the business. Enterprise resource planning software allows an organization to make better use of the available resources and to efficiently manage its daily activities.

ERP also helps in improving the decision-making process. ERP software package includes various applications like ERP software project management, ERP solution analysis, ERP configuration management, etc.

An Essential element of Enterprise Resource Planning

Before implementing any ERP software it is always advisable to carry out a thorough analysis of the organizational requirements and to identify the flaws in the current system.

Independent ERP consultant

An independent ERP consultant can provide the necessary advice and help in analyzing and selecting the right ERP software package. A thorough assessment of the organizational needs and the future goals and objectives should be carried out before selecting the ERP software.

Choosing an ERP software without any real-life need or objective constraint can cost the organization a lot of money and time. The consultant can help the company to plan the ERP budget and identify the roles and responsibilities of every employee in the organization.


The analysis of present business processes will enable a company to determine the present system functioning, identify the flaws in the process and suggest necessary ERP software solutions for smooth functioning.ERP software is designed to integrate the major functional units of any organization in a comprehensive manner.

ERP software project management

ERP software project management helps in planning and organizing the ERP software installation and provides complete guidance to the developers. This enables the organization to reap maximum benefits from ERP implementation.

ERP vendors offer packages according to the size of the organization and the scope of its future growth. The size of the company dictates the software license required by the ERP consultant.

ERP Software Packages

Large organizations require more advanced ERP packages with more advanced features. However, small organizations can also opt for simple ERP software packages with a simple user interface and basic functionality. A complete ERP package including all the supporting applications and processes should be selected so that the whole organization can make better utilization of ERP.

An ERP software solution supports five key areas of ERP implementation: enterprise resource planning (ERPS), human resources, supply chain, and shipping operations, and accounting. check out some more benefits of ERP at

Enterprise resource planning (ERPS) coordinates all the activities of the enterprise and coordinates the flow of resources within and across the organization.

It facilitates cooperation among the different departments and functions of the organization through a single framework.

ERP Integration

ERP Software packages supported by an ERP Software Excuetive Sponsor can integrate all the important modules of ERP: SCM, CRM, ERP applications, and Business Process Management (BPM). The ERP package should be customized to meet the organizational requirements.

ERP Software Executive Sponsors evaluate an enterprise’s present functioning and identify areas for improvement. They then develop an ERP software system that will integrate all the aspects of the enterprise and facilitate the present-day working of the organization.

The ERP software must be robust, flexible, and expandable.

The ERP software supports the strategic objectives of the enterprise in terms of business change management, operational restructuring, and continual improvement, which are necessary for sustainable enterprise growth and success.

Before an ERP system can be implemented, on-premise software applications must be modified to suit the organizational needs. When modifications are made to the software, the ERP software provider supports data migration, application integration, data cleansing, and testing. The process is known as ERP migration.

Implementing an ERP system

Implementing an ERP system requires considerable upfront investment by the ERP vendor or ERP consultant. Most ERP consultants provide a free consultation to small, medium, and large organizations. When choosing an ERP consultant, it is advisable to choose one with a proven track record of successful ERP implementation.

ERP consultants should be specialized in software packages who understand the complexities involved in ERP software implementation. It is also important to ensure that the consultant has a strong IT support system and proficient staff.

Examples of Google Penalties and How to Get Around Them

About Google Penalties

Google is out to ensure that all referencing rules are implemented and respected by assessing the quality of the contents. It helps unravel low-quality contents and CEOs that tend to be unreasonable and deceptive.

To achieve this, Google has developed certain tools to ensure that all rules are followed. This article contains different types of penalties and what you can do to avoid them.

1.  The Automatic Penalties

Automatic penalties are the ones that happen algorithmically, the system itself detects the mistake made. This google technique is designed to rank websites with high-quality content higher as compared to the ones with weak contents. Automatic penalties are further categorized into three. They include;

  • The penguin penalties
  • The hummingbird penalties
  • The panda penalties

These three categories concentrated on sites that have text which is overstaffed with keywords, uncertainty in terms of incoming links and restricted loading time plus traced content.

Even though these types of penalties are not as tough as the manual ones, still they’ll hurt you, your site will be ranked poorly.

2.  Manual Penalties

These types of penalties are the ones that are issued because you had in one way or the other violated the rules set by Google. learn more about Google Penalties by clicking here

These penalties are often made by Google employees. They include;

  • Buying links
  • Virus infections
  • Cloaking
  • Redirects among others

Once the penalty is issued and received you’ll be required to appeal to Google to ask them to bring back your websites to search engines

Examples of Google Penalties and How to Get Around Them

How Can You Avoid Such Penalties?

1.  Avoid Buying Links

Buying links will undoubtedly induce penalties. The companies that sell these links can be very ascertaining and assuring. They even say that the links that they sell are undetectable, this marketing strategy can be very tempting but the truth of the matter is that they can never go unnoticed by Google, you will someday end up uncovered. So never fall for their sweet and convincing words because they only lead to penalties.

2.  Avoid the Use of Shallow Contents

Do not let shallow contents be the reason behind your business downfall. Instead have a perpetual flow of traffic-related blog with acceptable high quality is written contents with profoundness.

3.  Avoid Duplicating Contents

Also known as un unique texts are the most serious oversights that Google can’t consider as water under the bridge. The content is vetted in two different ways. One, the pages that contain indistinguishable content are kept on substantial pages from being listed or recorded completely. In other words, this means that such content will never come out to light.

Two, Google will penalize you if you decide to post your content in different places. For example, copy content from your website and paste it elsewhere.

4.  Avoid Over Staffing Keywords

Google has over the past decade prohibited the over-staffing of the keywords on websites. With its improvements (BERT) Google is now capable of interpreting content effortlessly the same way man can. This system enables google to tell whether the content is written reasonably or not. In addition to that, Google is also to detect if a content passes the smell test too.

Avoid being penalized, always make sure that content is written naturally, let it sound as if they were spoken words. Googles standard rule for keyword usage is 2% to 3%

5.  No Hidden Content

Normally, this is usually done to achieve higher Google rankings in a tricky manner. For example, people achieve this by matching the colour of their content to that of the page’s background.

To avoid penalties that come as a result of hiding content,  just maintain honesty and transparency by uploading high-quality content.

6.  Link Spamming

This is the act of including a link to a site manually or with the help of a computerized program to improve or in any way, to bestow to SEO. This on the other hand results in the penalization of the spammed website.

How Can You Recover from Google Penalties?

Once a violation of any rule is made it is not that easy to get rid of it. However, the best way you can recover is by first identifying the root of the penalty then everything else will fall in place.

Final Word

Receiving a Google penalty doesn’t signify that your business has come to an end. You can always have the penalties uplifted and get your website back. However, prevention is better than cure. Find a well-experienced SEO service, hire them and turn your back to Google penalties

Choosing Your Digital Marketing Agency

As online marketing grows, so too does the number of so-called specialist digital marketing agencies. Some of these are stand-alone specialists, while others are off-shoots of existing advertising agencies.

Many existing ad agencies have expanded to include digital marketing services. When choosing, you must question whether they really do have the necessary skills and expertise.

Your brand may best be served by appointing an outside specialist, whose sole focus is on achieving growth, though tailor-made digital marketing.

Digital Marketing Agency

So, what are some of the main issues that you need to consider when looking to appoint a digital marketing agency?


Talk to your peers in the marketing industry, review websites, read up on industry media news, check out the online campaigns that you like, see who’s on the up and who’s hungry and committed, check their link building strategies, how they acquire good link from top rated sites, if you want read more about link building for your off-page SEO, you can read it at

Once you’re done, then make a shortlist and start making contact.


“The proof is in the pudding”.

And what better way to sample any digital marketing agency’s abilities, than a visit to their own website?

Consider how fast it loads, how easy it is to maneuver, if information is easy to find, if the interface is cluttered and if the design is clean and sophisticated?

In five minutes, you will have a sense of whether or not the agency knows their oats.


It’s a people-business, just like any other and your cultures must match.

Get to know key staff during your initial meetings and see how you interact. Web Designers Galway always try to focus on finding out how they think and how they view issues relevant to your business. Be sure that you will be able to form long-term relationships with them. Be able to differ without conflict.


The ability of your digital marketing agency to think strategically is vital. Creative short-term tactics may impress, but it is the ability to take a long-term view that determines the success of any digital marketing strategy.


Find out who will service your business on a daily basis. Be assured that a senior person will always be available to oversee or manage your account. Budget should not be the determinant here.


The current client list is an important consideration, because it points to the culture and abilities of the agency. You also do not want to end up being a small fish in a big sea.


It is easy to get a basic feel of any market like Web Design Ireland market, with a bit of research and an agency can make themselves look impressive on the surface.

Talk in-depth about your market and products and you will soon find out if the digital marketing agency truly has an understanding of the issues and challenges.

Of course, if the potential agency demonstrates that they have the skills and intent, then one can always work closely with them as they learn your market along the way.

Why most link building campaigns fail

Why most link building campaigns fail

One widely accepted and unquestioned ‘truth’ in SEO seems to be that being passionate about the subject of link building makes you a good link builder.

Knowing a lot about link building doesn’t make you an effective link builder. It helps, but it only takes you so far. In fact, I’d say that, ironically, being passionate about link building really only makes you great at link building in the SEO industry.

What it really takes

Surely, the essence of link building is knowing  a lot about ‘link building’?

I guess, but, it takes a certain type of arrogance to claiming to be an expert in link building, given what a subjective task it is.

It’s impossible to be ‘good’ at link building for 5, 10, 20 different clients, trying to hit vanity targets at the end of each month. How can you understand each of them top-to-bottom, inside-out?

Being well knowledged and passionate about your subject is what allows you to truly build valuable links effectively. To actually provide a valuable service to a client, you need to become a mouthpiece for their product, their company, their culture.

You need to be able to hold an intelligent conversation with someone in their industry, about its past, its present, its future.

A question I’d pose is that out of these two people, who would you rather employ:

  • Someone with an expert knowledge of your industry, but with very basic link building skills
  • An ‘expert’ link builder, with a very basic knowledge of the industry they’re building links in
The answer, I think, I hope, is obvious.

Get out of the building

I know this post might be perceived as quite pessimistic, but that’s really not its intention. The sooner we wake up to the subjectivity of link building the sooner we can make real strides in improving the link building product offered by agencies.

David Ogilivy’s advice to young account executives was for them to set themselves on becoming the best-informed man in the agency on the account to which they are assigned.

If it is a gasoline account, read text books on the chemistry, geology and distribution of petroleum products. Read all the trade journals in the field. Read all the research reports and marketing plans that your agency has ever written on the product.

He goes further:

Spend Saturday mornings in service stations, pumping gasoline and talking to motorists. Visit your client’s refineries and research laboratories. Most young men in agencies are too lazy to do this kind of homework. They remain permanently superficial.

I appreciate this falls well out of the pragmatics of how most agencies operate today and absurd given the budgets companies allocate to link building and internet marketing in general.

But surely the way forward is to fuse advanced link building and marketing techniques with the expertise of the client’s industry.

The only way of doing this is to get inside the belly of the industry you’re working in.

John Doherty’s wrote a post recently about the benefits of working on-site for his client, which is part of what inspired this post and, I’d recommend heading there now.

Link Building, Self-Control and Marshmallows

As part of a series on self-improvement on the 99 Per­cent, Joce­lyn K. Glei recounted Wal­ter Mischel’s now iconic Marsh­mal­low Test, which analysed the abil­ity of four year olds to exhibit delayed gratification.

Each child was sat in a room with a marsh­mal­low or donut on the table. They were told by the sci­en­tists that they could eat the treat now or, if they waited 15 min­utes, have two treats.

All the chil­dren wanted to wait, but many sim­ply didn’t have the dis­ci­pline to and crum­bled. Some, how­ever, held out and received the extra treat.

Most inter­est­ingly, when sci­en­tist checked back on the chil­dren years later, those who had the self con­trol to hold out were bet­ter behaved, less prone to addic­tion and scored bet­ter in exams. read more about self controlling at

Self Improve­ment in Every­day Life

Glei dis­cusses how our day-to-day pro­duc­tiv­ity is often depen­dent on mak­ing the right trade-off decisions.

We are faced with hun­dreds of these ‘trade-off’ deci­sions every day.

In the office, these come in the form of e-mails, tweets and noti­fi­ca­tions. Stay­ing focused and pro­duc­tive requires real self con­trol and dis­ci­pline; it is so easy to veer off-course.

James Shel­ley con­tends that pro­duc­tiv­ity actu­ally boils down to being the dis­ci­plined abil­ity to choose to do one thing at the cost of not doing another (often more tempt­ing thing).

Link Build­ing

You can­not help but relate this to the process of build­ing links, where again, we’re often faced with daily trade-off decisions.

Should you develop a com­plex, long-term link build­ing strat­egy, or should you buy that blogroll link?

We know one will be more ben­e­fi­cial long-term, but it’s so, so tempt­ing to buy that direc­tory link and see it right there in front of you today (espe­cially when it’s not your own site you’re charged with get­ting results for).

See­ing instan­ta­neous links make you feel bet­ter about your­self; it jus­ti­fies why you got up and went to work that morning.

In the future, self-control and patience may well become major fac­tors in sep­a­rat­ing the more effec­tive SEO campaigns.

We’re told to resist the temp­ta­tion of con­ve­nient low-hanging link-fruit; that the rewards are greater if we have the dis­ci­pline, strat­egy and self-control to look at the big­ger picture.

At the moment, you can achieve the same or sim­i­lar ends with the quick-wins as you will with a cam­paign that requires more sweat and blood.

Every­body wants to imple­ment a com­plex, mulit-level cam­paign that’ll yield pre­mium links; but not every­one has the patience required to see through its execution.

The ques­tion is then, how and can you bal­ance the trade-off of short-term link grat­i­fi­ca­tion with your long term mar­ket­ing goals?

The chil­dren who resisted the temp­ta­tion of the marsh­mal­low used ‘strate­gic allo­ca­tion of attention’.

If you want to change the way you build links, you need to stop obsess­ing over sites that have employed this tech­nique and had suc­cess; oth­er­wise, you won’t be able to resist the temptation.

How to Land a Graduate Job in SEO

As the scram­ble for grad­u­ate jobs con­tin­ues, leavers with­out degrees spe­cific to a par­tic­u­lar indus­try are des­per­ately look­ing for a start­ing role that allows their career to flourish.

The dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and SEO indus­try has exploded over the past decade. Sub­se­quently, there are a host of entry-level jobs up for grabs for those will­ing to show a bit of gumption.

This guide should serve as sound advice to any grad­u­ate inter­ested in land­ing a role within search engine opti­mi­sa­tion (you’ve made the first step by find­ing this post).

Note: I’ve tried to tai­lor this more towards grad­u­ates using my expe­ri­ence. I’ve listed other resources I found use­ful at the bot­tom of the page.

Read this Book

As you’d expect, there are a host of good online and offline resources for those look­ing to form their understanding.

Before you can start mak­ing enquiries any­where you need to form a solid under­stand­ing of the prin­ci­ples of SEO and a broader under­stand­ing of dig­i­tal marketing.

Read­ing The Art of SEO cover-to-cover will firmly estab­lish these core prin­ci­ples inside of you.Ini­tially, it can be tempt­ing to cut costs and assume you can just use the end­less free resources avail­able online (you are apply­ing for a dig­i­tal role, right??) Not so.

You take in knowl­edge dif­fer­ently when it is medi­ated through a screen, as opposed to in book-form. You’re never more than a click away from being dis­tracted online and you’re never more than a click away from your favorite social network.

Most grads will already be well aware of this; try­ing to read a jour­nal on-screen is infi­nitely harder than print­ing it out and find­ing a quiet cor­ner where you can concentrate.

As well as this, you’ll be invest­ing some of own (prob­a­bly quite sparse) finances into the book.

Hav­ing an invested stake in the book can be a huge moti­vat­ing fac­tor. The money you’ve spent will be wasted if you don’t make the effort read and under­stand it.

Yes, this book is towards the higher end of the price-scale of what’s avail­able. But, it is writ­ten by real indus­try author­i­ties; names it’ll be good to drop at the interview.

Graduate Job in SEO

Regard­less of whether you’re cap­ti­vated by the sub­ject mat­ter, you should have enough aca­d­e­mic dis­ci­pline to read a book cover-to-cover. If not, you might as well stop read­ing here…

Immerse Your­self

What­ever degree pro­gram you have grad­u­ated in, you should be more than equipped with the skills to con­tinue your research and acqui­si­tion of knowledge.

SEO, more than most jobs, requires you to be on the absolute cusp of the indus­try. It is imper­a­tive you keep abreast of indus­try devel­op­ments, a tricky task when you’re not in and around it day-in day-out.

High­light a few indus­try blogs or web­sites and incor­po­rate them into your nor­mal net-surfing rou­tine. Add SEO­moz or Search Engine Watch to your ‘check e-mails, check BBC, check Face­book’ rou­tine and you’ll soon be up to speed.

If you have only just grad­u­ated and you are unem­ployed, there should be a gap­ing void in your life that was pre­vi­ously filled with your studies.

Those who find gain­ful employ­ment imme­di­ately fill this void with their new indus­try. The key here is to fill this gap with­out hav­ing already landed a job.

Work Expe­ri­ence

Read­ing books and blogs is great but, as with any-line of work, there is no sub­sti­tute for real-world experience.

There are two routes you can go down here; both involve offer­ing your time and new-found knowl­edge for free.

The eas­ier of the two paths is to get work expe­ri­ence in an exist­ing dig­i­tal agency. There are sev­eral advan­tages to this:

      • You’ll be around peo­ple who live and breathe SEO
      • You will be at the front of the queue for any roles that become avail­able at that organisation
      • They can point you in the right direc­tion as to your next move

The sec­ond, slightly trick­ier option is to iden­tify a local busi­ness who could use SEO but, are unaware of it or do not have the bud­get. The kind of tar­gets you might want to iden­tify are dri­ving instruc­tors, restau­rants or small trade businesses.

It can be dif­fi­cult to moti­vate your­self to work for free; how­ever, you will have to bite the bul­let. If you don’t, then you can guar­an­tee some­body else will.

Make enquiries

By this stage, you should have acquired enough knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence to demon­strate you are seri­ous about a career in SEO. Your degree, enthu­si­asm and work expe­ri­ence should make you an attrac­tive propo­si­tion to poten­tial employers.

Make a list of all com­pa­nies you could pos­si­bly work for, your rel­e­vant point of con­tact at that organ­i­sa­tion and their e-mail/phone num­ber. It’s impor­tant you get a name so you can con­tact the per­son directly.

The best way to organ­ise this is to put together a basic Excel sheet, for example:

Ide­ally, this would be the SEO Man­ager or Head of Dig­i­tal. For smaller com­pa­nies, you may be best placed to con­tact the Man­ag­ing Direc­tor.

If you can’t find a con­crete e-mail for the per­son you want to con­tact, they gen­er­ally fol­low this rule:

(first name initial).(last name)@(business’ website)

Dig up as much dirt as you can on the com­pany before you apply. Even the most arbitary of knowl­edge can prove use­ful. As a rule, try to find out:

      • When they were established
      • Their cur­rent client roster
      • Areas they spe­cialise in
      • Hob­bies and inter­ests of employees

Find­ing this infor­ma­tion may mean hav­ing to go beyond the company’s web­site. LinkedIn and other social media chan­nels are par­tic­uarly use­ful here.

If there is already a role adver­tised, great, you are in the per­fect posi­tion to apply. If not, it does no harm to make an enquiry and put your­self on their radar.

The Inter­view

Con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, you don’t ‘blag’ interviews.

If you lie on your CV you’ll  get found out in the inter­view (you’ll be grilled by peo­ple who know their onions, remember).

If for what­ever rea­son you don’t (highly unlikely), you will be found want­ing in the first week of the job and politely shown the door.

Fol­low each of these steps (or some­thing sim­i­lar) and you won’t need to ‘blag’ any inter­view. You can relax and talk freely about your expe­ri­ence and your knowledge.

Your enthu­si­asm for the role will shine through naturally.

Use­ful resources:

SEO­moz — How to get an SEO job

SEO Gad­get — How to get an SEO job

Tamar — How to Inter­view for an SEO job

3 Habits to Make Your Link Building More Productive

One of the hard­est things about link build­ing is man­ag­ing sev­eral spin­ning plates at the same time.

With so much going on, it’s easy to let oppor­tu­ni­ties slip off the radar. It might just be from not fol­low­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties up, not get­ting feed­back or spread­ing your­self too thinly.

The fact is, get­ting links live requires per­sis­tence. It needs the per­fect blend of being both proac­tive and reactive.

Here are three tech­niques I have found have helped me have a more pro­duc­tive day’s link building.

Tomorrow’s to-do list, today

This is actu­ally a sales tech­nique I stole from Cold Call­ing for Chick­ens, which is effec­tive for any­one who needs to get things done on a daily basis, not just sales­men and link builders.

It is impos­si­ble to get every­thing done you need to do everyday.Often, just by proxy of com­plet­ing one task, you imme­di­ately cre­ate at least one other.

Some peo­ple write their to-do lists first thing in the morn­ing; I guess it serves as a nice, gen­tle intro­duc­tion to the day.

I’ve found there is a prob­lem with this though: tomorrow’s most press­ing tasks look dif­fer­ent in the morning.

I hate start­ing each day with a blank can­vas. It’s eas­ier to get in, know what needs doing and get on with it.For good link building you need to understand search operators, they will make your life easier.

Writ­ing down tomorrow’s most impor­tant tasks serves as a com­mit­ment to putting them into action.

Each day then, I work off two to-do lists. The first one:

  • fea­tures the tasks I have iden­ti­fied as pri­or­i­ties from the pre­vi­ous day
  • is allo­cated to parts of my sched­ule to my sched­ule and worked through systematically

The sec­ond list is for the next day and:

  • is dynamic; I’m con­stantly adding to it as the day as a con­se­quence of my work that day
  • fea­tures tasks num­bered by their pri­or­ity and whether or not it has to be achieved the fol­low­ing day

Obvi­ously, it requires a bit a dis­ci­pline, but when you sit at your desk each morn­ing know­ing the bare min­i­mum of what you want to achieve, it makes it a lot harder to pro­cras­ti­nate daunt­ing phone calls, or what­ever else you’d rather put-off.

Work out value and do more of it

Most peo­ple will be aware of the Pareto prin­ci­ple; that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Under­stand­ing this can help you be more effec­tive and work at the things that really make a dif­fer­ence to your results.

In the words of Bob Etherington:

There is a huge dif­fer­ence between being pro­duc­tive and being busy”

With link build­ing, the value comes in the con­tact; the back and forth of e-mails, phone calls, and the work that needs doing off the back of this.

As soon as you start to over­com­pli­cate things, you lose sight of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Per­son­ally, I’ve found the idea of link build­ing being a num­bers game as a bit of a myth. It’s a qual­ity game. What mat­ters is the num­ber with which you have success.

Don’t delude your­self into think­ing you’re engag­ing in pro­duc­tive behav­iour, just because you are keep­ing your­self busy.

When you spend pre­cious time putting together clever Excel tables, or sat in meet­ings, or com­plet­ing other admin­is­tra­tive busy­work, then you are avoid­ing your most impor­tant func­tion: talk­ing to people.

Think about the work you do that actu­ally pro­vides value and moves the nee­dle. Focus on this.

Sep­a­rate proac­tive and reactive

I’ve already men­tioned the impor­tance of bal­anc­ing time spent being proac­tive and time being reactive.

If you under­stand the dif­fer­ence here, you can actu­ally sep­a­rate the two when plan­ning your daily or weekly schedule.

Proac­tiv­ity is defined as:

As opposed to reac­tiv­ity, which is defined as:

They’re both impor­tant. On one hand, you need to be con­stantly drumming

The dif­fer­ence between the two is that being reac­tive is the time spent deal­ing with the con­se­quences of being proactive.

The bet­ter you get at being proac­tive, the more time you will have to spend being reactive.

You can define time spent being proac­tive as:

  • Drum­ming up lists of poten­tial leads
  • Mak­ing fresh, cold con­tact with people
  • Work­ing old or inac­tive leads
Com­pare this to reac­tive activities:
  • Respond­ing to the con­se­quences of proactivity
  • Push­ing it through to the next stage — con­tent writer, design­ers, etc.
  • Deal­ing with required byt non-value adding tasks

The rea­son you need to sep­a­rate the two is that if you don’t there’s no focus to your approach; you’re not work­ing as effec­tively or as efficiently.

You’ll end up sat wait­ing for e-mails to come in, des­per­ately hit­ting F9, paus­ing what­ever you were doing to respond to every­thing as and when it happens.

Per­son­ally, I don’t like to slog it out for hours and hours.  I like to work in spurts; short, sharp, force­ful streams of energy.

An Ode to My Favourite Advanced Search Operator

For a short, Sunday morning blog post to keep things ticking over, I thought I’d write a brief tribute to my favourite (and often overlooked) search operation, related sites.

I use this search operation all the time. All Google does is throw up sites it thinks are similar to whatever you’re using as your base.

It’s perfect for:

  • Finding overlooked competitors
  • Looking for similar, relevant sites when link prospecting
  • Identifying quick-wins from places similar to where you’ve already had success
  • Throwing up new ideas when your efforts reach an impasse

What’s amazing is how often good quality prospects come up in related searches that haven’t shown up in your previous research (well, for me anyway).

Whenever pitching content at a website, I’ll always make sure I run a related search on the website like if you want to search Web Design Ireland, you need to have search operators to search that site.

The first few sites that show up are usually also good targets for the content, so I can increase the chance of it being taken by pitching it at them too.

I sometimes think the best sites to target are the ones that don’t rank well. As Paddy Moogan says here, they’ve not been already been hounded by other SEOs and tend to be more receptive to your approaches:

This is why Twitter and particularly Followwonk are so useful. (See John Doherty’s post on link prospecting with Twitter for more on this.)

Anyway, that’s my relatively inane tribute to related searches. I’m also looking forward to Think Visibility next week and hoping to get a few more substantial posts on here over March.

Is William Hill Dumbing Down Sports Gambling Advertising?

Anyone who watches live football will have noticed the advertising campaign William Hill have been running for past six months.

Essentially, William Hill have created the televisual equivelent of a fruit machine, using the most basic psychological techniques to encourage prospective punters to think about betting.

This is a far cry away from the previous advertising campaigns by bookmakers such as Ladbrokes and SkyBet, which we’ll detail later in this post.

William Hill have taken a no holds barred approach to advertising sports betting, playing on the primitive pleasure buttons that gambling pushes.

Breaking Down the Advert

The series of William Hill advertisements in this campaign check all the psychology boxes that keep fruit machine enthusiasts coming back for more:

  • Light and Colours

Initially, this could’ve been a problem for Billy Hill. Its famous Royal blue hues are at odds with the warm reds psychologists find stimulate the gambler and encourage him to bet more.

The firm therefore had to get the balance right between keeping the brand’s signature Royal blue punters associate with the William Hill brand the warms hues that encourage the action to bet.

Scientists have found that gamblers will bet more and bet bigger under red lights – hence the proliferation of reds and oranges in casinos and on fruities. William Hill have found a way around this by subliminally fusing the brands trademark blues with recommended reds, yellows and oranges.

Is William Hill Dumbing Down Sports Gambling Advertising

The pace of the advert allows them to snap quickly between the reds that encouraging betting and the Royal blues that are essential in the branding of William Hill.

  • Music and Sound

Researchers found that gamblers part with their money faster if the music is upbeat and energetic – which explains the ultra high-tempo music on the adverts.

Not only this, but William Hill’s tune is beyond catchy, helping it quickly forge an association to gambling with the viewer. The short, sharp hook penetrates the entire home, ensuring you can’t escape it when you go to boil the kettle for your half-time cup of tea.

Just like Pavlov’s dog, the viewer is quickly conditioned to understand the music as a stimulus to bet. William Hill have already been primed to become their bookmaker of choice.

  • Language

What is glaringly obvious is that the adverts make absolutely no reference to ‘the skill factor’ that has previously been the cornerstone of other sports betting adverts, particuarly Hill’s arch rival Ladbrokes.

William Hill are ploughing more money than ever into advertising and marketing in a bit to establish itself as the UK’s leading betting firm. The explosion of online betting has widened the playing field, with more firms than ever vying for a slice of betting pie.

The Past & the Future

Traditionally, the marketing strategies of major betting firms have tried to cultivate the idea that sports betting rewards intelligence or, that it is harmless fun.

They encourage the punter to perceive their bet to be an informed and rational decision, drawing upon their own personal expertise to predict what’s going to happen.

An idea is sold that betting on sport is something that can be figured out. This is logical and effective because everyone either is, or knows someone who is, an aficionado on sport.

The wall-to-wall ubiquity of the Premier League coverage cements people’s perceived notion they know what’s happening: it gives them two cents.

It also means that football always appears to follow a narrative. It therefore makes sense to ask the punter to predict the next chapter.

These campaigns are then seasoned by playing upon masculine insecurities. Betting becomes a matter of pride; not backing down when your opinion is challenged.

Until recently this has been par for the course in the marketing of sports betting. It is the natural approach a marketer would take: persuade people they can predict the unpredictable.

It will be interesting to see how Ladbrokes respond and what the future holds with regards to the branding of these two firms.

One might think there will be two sets of consumers, both engaging with the same product but with a completely different set of perceived values.

One thing I’d be interested to find out more of is whether the demographic of punters changes in different firms in the same way they differ between Waitrose and Iceland.

Previously, I’d always assumed a bookies was a bookies and that the punters inside were generally the same.

William Hill are pushing sports gambling as a primitive hedonism. Some might argue they’re not giving their potential consumers enough credit; others might argue it’s working.