MIX! ATP curated by TV on the Radio

I can't be there this year. SADFACE . God bless you ATP and all who sail in ye, I miss you. Australia needs a Minehead! In the meantime, I'm making do with this mix from over on Soundcloud. Loving the Read more

Flying Scooter Man Gif: Friday Fiend

It's Friday. I don't need a reason to post these Read more

Goodbye Daily Updates..... or IS IT?!

It was good while I lasted. I really REALLy tried to post something everyday but of course work and life got in the way again. I blame house hunting in Sydney. But that's another story, and we'll get to Read more

Animal Latte Art: Daily Updates No. 11

Well today was a pretty good day for coffee I'd say. Popped upstairs in my very own office building to have a meeting over coffee and look what greets us at the little coffee shop upstairs? Who knew such Read more


Link Building – What Is It Good For? Distilled Meetup Presentation

Thanks for all the lovely feedback from last night everyone, it really has made my #girlflu feel a whole lot better!

As promised, here is deck available to download. Any questions on the psychology of link building, where to focus your efforts or just the meaning of life, do feel free to give me a holler via email or on twitter!

Go forth!

Posted on by AnnabelH in Conferences, Link Building, SEO Leave a comment

International SEO Presentation, International Search Summit 2011

Morning sinners.

I’m utterly terrible at remembering to post my presentations online so today I will regale you with not one but two, yes TWO, works of art by yours truly. First up we have the presentation given by myself and Martin Macdonald at the International Search Summit towards the tail end of last year.

It created a lot of discussion and debate over the age-old ccTLD vs subdomains vs subfolders with none of us on stage or in the audience actually agreeing with one another. I figure that’s the sign of a decent presentation right? So on that note, do go forth and download to your heart’s content!

Posted on by AnnabelH in Conferences, International SEO, SEO Leave a comment

Think Visibility 5 – Talking KPIs, Data, Reporting & Communication

So here it is for all those interested parties – my Think Vis presentation. Thanks to everyone who came to see me and for all the kind words. Even if it was just all the pick n mix sugar talking, I’ll take them! Big love.

Posted on by AnnabelH in Conferences, SEO 1 Comment

BrightonSEO – When is an SEO campaign not an SEO campaign?

After my lovely ‘search muggle’ pal Chris randomly googled my name last night from the US of A and decided I must be a ‘professional’ due to its appearing across a range of Google searches (mostly with images of pandas associated with it) – I realised I should really at least try to make sure things like my own presentations are actually on my blog.

Professional? Moi?! Yeah I laughed too. (I’m a great discoverer of panda memes though – you should hire me).  I apologise for not updating post Brighton SEO – I am a professional honest, I just spend all my time on pet projects (and panda research) instead of on this here blog.

Anyway, here is my deck from BrightonSEO – it was a great afternoon and I would definitely recommend attendance to anyone interested in matters of the natural search persuasion. Big props to @rishil, @thetafferboy, @nicholastott, @samuelcrocker, @analyticsgirl@cedricwooding, @kevgibbo and all the other speakers.

When is an SEO Campaign Not an SEO Campaign

There are also some nice roundups to be found here:
Highlights from Brighton SEO on the Distilled blog
and last but not least

Oh and you can also see me on youtube here (thanks to Heather from  SBT Training):

You can see more of me (from about 54 minutes in) and the rest of the speakers here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/8456234

Posted on by AnnabelH in Conferences, SEO, Social Media Leave a comment

BrightonSEO – See you there?

For those that are not yet on the guestlist – you should be. I’m speaking at BrightonSEO on Friday 23 July. There’s a whole bunch of awesome people speaking there in fact and all for the princely sum of £0.

Here’s the running order:

BrightonSEO 23rd July Agenda

Social Media Shenanigans

Kevin Gibbons – Director of Search, SEOptimise

20 WordPress Plugins to Supercharge Your Blog

Cedric Wooding – Digital Producer at Jollywise Media

A Practical Guide to Managing a Facebook Advertising Campaign

Annabel Hodges – Head of Search & Analytics at Zone Content

When is an SEO Campaign not an SEO Campaign

The New Age Of Statistical and Data Driven SEO

Mark Cook – Director of Search Marketing, Further

Making Accurate Traffic Predictions

Rob Green – Senior Natural Search Analyst at iCrossing

Data Analysis for SEO

Nikki Rae – Head of Analytics & Insight at Fresh Egg

Custom Variables in Google Analytics

Giving Link Building the Creativity it Deserves

Sam Crocker - Lead SEO at Distilled

Using Competitions in SEO

Gary Preston – Strategy Director at Propellernet

Interesting & Inventive Link Development Ideas

Simon Dance - SEO Manager (UK) at Cheapflights

Linkbuilding & CRM

Eye Openers

Rishi Lakhani – Search Marketing Consultant

Actually Making SEO Happen

Zachary Colbert - Social Media Manager at Whitehat Media

Lev Manovich’s theory of Linking & Association

Nichola Stott – Owner at theMediaFlow

Challenging the Conventional Wisdom of Anchor Text

Moderated by Kelvin Newman, Creative Director SiteVisibility & Internet Marketing Podcast

For more information, head over to SiteVisibility


Posted on by AnnabelH in Conferences, SEO 2 Comments

I write like…

I’m satisfied with that. My ridiculous discussions of Google Buns and Pandas vs Ulysses. No contest really.

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires. Analyze your writing!

A simple piece of linkbait by the guys at Mémoires, complete with neat anchor text link back to their site.  I’ve been seeing it all over social networks over the last few days – there’s a wannabe famous writer inside all of us.

Let’s be fair – if it’s going to massage my ego with comparisions to James Joyce, well I don’t mind them baiting me a little. Had they called me Marianne Keyes, I may have had some issues with their idea.

Posted on by AnnabelH in Linkbait, SEO Leave a comment

Optimise vs Optimize Part Deux


Google were clearly having their usual playaround, just joshing wit’ ya, haha funny funny joke around yesterday – and the SERPs for “search engine optimisation” are back to their usual selve with no auto-correct from optimisation to optimization.

However Malcolm Coles has done some more research into Google and its desire to change the way we spell and has made some really interesting points. It’s not auto-correct as such but Google is certainly nominating itself as a rather over eager teacher – telling you when you’ve spelt something ‘wrong’ and what it is you most probably really searching for – WHETHER (weather) YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.

Another example I stumbled across is Humour/Humourous. Aside from auto-correct, I’d also be interested to know more about how the algorithm works on ‘did you mean’ suggestions and whether this then relates to search volume, leading to possible auto correction.
So for example e.g. Humour has no “did you mean” suggestion and only shows correct results for the UK-spelt Humour with a u.

humour serps

Meanwhile Humourous does have a “did you mean: humorous” suggestion with the top two results from that serp being shown.

humourous serps

Interestingly Insights for Search shows that like Macolm’s Stationery/Stationary example, there has been a crossover in search volume – with the volume of searches for ‘humour’ dropping while the volume of searches for ‘humor’ has increased.

YET – there is not even a ‘did you mean’ let alone any form of auto-correction for that keyword! (Apologies for the poor quality of my images – few technical issues…)

I’m definitely planning on monitoring a few of these examples more closely going forward – there is obviously a logical reason behind auto-correcting poor spelling to some extent. However Google is taking is to absolute extreme in some cases, and seemingly not touching it in others.

And again for a user’s perspective – is it really preferred to by default auto-correct rather than give us the option of clicking on a ‘did you mean’ button?
Maybe not auto-correcting would actually also help teach us to spell more correctly in the first place if we are erring of the righteous path – AND allow those that spelt it correctly in the first place the option of not shouting irritably at the computer for auto-correcting yet again.

Meanwhile from an SEO perspective, being constantly aware of the possibility of auto correction may take a serious toll in keyword research. If I run a website of ‘humourous photos’ in Britain and I optimise for it – I don’t want to find myself in 3rd position (which is technically 1st) just because Google sees fit to show me the first two results for ‘humorous photos’ above JUST IN CASE.
Similarly – should I then be focusing my efforts on my ‘humorous photos’ just because I know I will be top for both humourous and humorous thanks to “did you mean”? Seems a tad unfair to me.

Posted on by AnnabelH in Analytics, SEO 2 Comments

Search Engine Optimisation or is that Search Engine Optimization?

Bit of an outcry today about Google changing its default results for Search Engine OptimiSation to Search Engine OptimiZation.

Search Engine Optimisation SERPs

I’m fascinated by this subject as I spend a lot of my time looking at multilingual SEO and the localisation that entails as well as the difference that accents etc. can make. The English language is supposedly simpler than that and not subject to so many tiny but impactful tweaks.

Unfortunately my to-do list currently has about 10,000 things on it and a well-resesarched post into the ins out outs of this topic is sadly fairly low down the priority level.

For my entire life at least, I’ve understood the -ISE version of words to be innately British (and usually Australian, Kiwi etc. too) while the -IZE version of words is all-American.

According to Nichola over at SEO-Chicks’ research, this is not entirely true. Roll in the  Greek vs. French war. I still struggle to believe the search results data Nichold found a little – if there’s one thing the Brits are good at, it’s pointing out what the ‘correct’ English is and I can’t think of anyone I know who wouldn’t vote for the  -ISE option, let alone deliberately search for -IZE.

Meanwhile Andrew Girdwood from Bigmouth notes that it is perhaps only the phrase SEO that is really affected by these latest fun times with Google, meanwhile other examples such as Gloablisation or Privatisation still only maintain the old “Did You Mean” option.

I don’t think it’s any real surprise that Google has gone as far as auto-changing the search results. The SEO industry is the USA is far greater than it is here, for the most part the two countries’ worlds cross over massively as do their SEOs and all the optimisation/optimization searching that goes with it.

What does bother me is the extra step it’s taking towards so-called Utlitarianism (ooh hark back to my days of being a Philosphy undergraduate – ack). It’s the constant idea that it’s all for the greater good. With all the changes to the UK SERPs in recent months, and now this auto-change. It seems that Google is ever increasingly only focusing on the bigger picture.

Note definition according to wikipedia: Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its utility in providing happiness or pleasure as summed among all people. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome.

The problem with the Utilitarianism theory put forward by Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and the like is that the criticisms of it can be critiqued to death and so on and so forth. Is there a solution? Should we just accept that -IZE is correctly, supposedly equally if not more popular in usage in Britian and definitely more popular in the US and therefore bow down to the auto-correct?

I like a rant, I can’t help it. Yes optimization is recognised as correct spelling usage, yes us UK-ers understand it and are used to having to suck up auto-correct in MSWord and all the rest of it. But even if the search results, like Nichola’s post shows, are really majority in favour of -IZE (and this only by a margin), does it really really need to be auto-changed?? I don’t mind the old ‘Did You Mean’ feature, we’re used to it, we can choose to click it if we want to and us 49% who still prefer searching for Search Engine OptimiSation, it’s nice to have the option.

Oh and as a final note, look at my Google suggest (UK – not personalised). Isn’t that pretty. :P

search engine optimisation - google suggest

Posted on by AnnabelH in SEO Leave a comment

ProSEO Seminar- These are a few of my favourite things

Oh crap I’ve done it again. Started a blog post with the best of intentions, got too busy (ok and distracted) to finish it and here I am 3 mins from leaving my house and retreating to 17 days in a tiny kampong in the depths of Malaysia with my mum and her 10 brothers and sisters. So I apologise for the incompleteness but I figure – better post now than possibly never. Consider this a ‘Part One’. Enjoy!

To  kick off , my apologies – that blogpost title was not an intentional evil plan to get Sound of Music kittens and schnitzel rhymes into anybody’s heads… although I’ve successfully managed to infect myself. Oh dear. Moving on…

ProSEO Training Seminar logo

ProSEO Training Seminar logo

I think it’s safe to say that all who attended the (official name): “Across the Pond” Distilled/SEOmoz Expert
Seminar came away significantly more educated, and generally excited about working in our beloved industry. Too often talks I’ve been to have sounded great, are really interesting and thought-provoking – but are also difficult to align back with the real world.

For me, the key to its success was the amount of genuinely actionable insights that were shared and helpful tips that can be immediately implemented and taken on board.

So… in no particular order and I apologise for the ramshackle nature of it – here’s my short version favourite key micro instantly applicable gems:

Quick and easy Analytics Customisations (that could change your life?)

Thanks to @WillCritchlow and the very first session of the seminar – Advanced Analytics.  Here’s 3 analytics customisations he gave that I found massively helpful, and have already set about impelementing for some clients.

NOKey – Avoiding that 3rd party shopping cart referral the easy way

Great simple solution to a really common problem for ecommerce sites. If your site uses Paypal or equivalent to take payments, then setCampNOKey can be used to retrieve the campaign no-override value from the URL. By default, this is not set, meaning that in tracking – the most recent impression will be the campaign that is credited with the conversion.

If you can send the visitor back to a page named, for example – www.abc.com?noo=1 and set the variable to setCampNOKey (“noo”) – this will then disable tracking from the referrer (e.g. Paypal) and credit it back to the original source (e.g. Google).

Supersetvar – Removing ‘last-click’ counts issues

We all know that your average product buyer is keen to shop around before making their mind up to actually purchase. The difference between how a visitor initially finds you, and the final source of that last click can be massive. Google Analytics, like most analytics packages in fact, attributes the source of that traffic using the ‘last click’ approach – which can be hugely misleading.
The solution to this is to use the _setVar funtion in GA. Or, as Will suggests for multi-touch tracking -  you can use the  Supersetvar hack created by Lunametrics, which will allow you to track multiple traffic sources rather than the single one which is set as default by GA.

The standard _setVar function would require checking for a previous visit cookie, then if there isn’t one – recording the referring url. By using the Supersetvar function, you can set a variable for each different time the same person visits your site, through different sources.

It also removes the need for you to check for visit cookies. Instead this simply appends information to the user-defined values each time (and doesn’t overwrite it like the standard _setVar function would).

You can then see this data in the user-defined field and use segmented reports to compare conversions where the buyer originally came to the site through an organic keyword.

Organise your SEO

Next on my list of favourites comes from @RichardBaxter‘s presentation on ‘Getting SEO Done Against the Odds’. This was all about structure, planning and organisation and it was hugely enlightening.

Below is the diagram Richard used to demonstrate a basic method to put in plan a complete SEO plan for any given project. This is not only beneficial in getting the work done – including planning for seasonal changes, it also demonstrates accountability to any client/boss and helps to set clear objectives and success criteria.

I will without doubt aim to use a model similar to this for all projects going forward – a simple yet very effective visual aid.


Image credit: SEOGadget

Penalties and Filters

This presentation by @coplandmj created a lot of chat over the next couple days about ‘toxic backlinks’, and the same topic was brought up again by @DaveNaylor later in the seminar.

Premise being  that whilst we all know that good links are great, and serve to help us. Bad links from spammy sites can also harm us. So much so, that in some cases the act alone of removing them could actually boost rankings too.

So the moral of the story is – take them seriously. Investigate your site’s backlinks thoroughly – check ones that all come from the same dodgy looking domain. And bother to make the effort to see if you can get rid of them, it could be as worthwhile as building other good ones.

Posted on by AnnabelH in Analytics, Integrated search marketing, SEO, Social Media, Twitter 1 Comment