Pete Campbell

SEO Blog with a mix of all things Geek, Web & Tech.

April 11, 2013

What the heck is a SSL Certificate? (Client Work)

‘SSL Certificates Explained’

Just helped finished development of this new interactive starter guide to SSL Certificates for Symantec WSS.

It’s pretty tough to make ‘sexy’ content that is B2B focused, so the idea was born by simply thinking about who Symantec’s typical target audience is – small to medium businesses, and what they’d find useful.

Why is it useful? Pretty much any website with an eCommerce store needs an SSL certificate in order to safely process transactions without the risk a ‘hacker’ (or whatever mum’s call them these days) getting hold of their personal information. The problem is, a lot of businesses aren’t aware of the product name, so it’s not suprising that ‘What is SSL’ is searched 1,300 times a month in the UK alone.

Anyway, it was developed using HTML5, CSS & MooTools, I came up with the original concept & rough design (well, partly inspired by this little number) and now the team are beginning the outreach work, so please share!

P.S. It’s also available in French & German, if you like your content with a european flavour.

Categories: Client Work | Permalink

February 22, 2013

Is it time to ditch Advertorials as an SEO tactic?

For the unfamiliar, ‘Advertorials’ is a buzz-word traditionally associated with newspapers and magazines, in which some allow advertisers to insert a paid-for-article within their print publication or online.

The real magic happens in that, most advertorials allow you to include external links to other sites – whoa there boy, I smell an SEO opportunity!

In the past 5 years, advertorials have exploded as an SEO tactic, for a simple reason -

  • Newspapers & Publications tend to have a decent high page-rank / domain authority
  • They have a TON of editorial content that naturally attracts links and social shares
  • Content could  be seen as a form of advertising, rather than paid links (kinda)
  • Therefore, Google will have a tough time algorithmically recognising my one bit of paid editorial content

Now – I won’t lie, I’ve been a past advocate of advertorials (for good reason, which we’ll get onto) – but we may have a wee little problem.

Over the past day, Google decided to slap the PageRank of 600+ regional newspaper websites in the United Kingdom.

Snapshot of Google PageRank Changes for UK Regional Newspapers

Time to panic? remove links? stop advertorials? Hmm..

Going off-topic a second, despite the drop in Google Toolbar PR, each of these sites still is being regularly indexed by Google (maybe the drop to PR is simply to scare off link-buyers? heck, only SEOs look at Google PR anyway and Google has their own non-public page-rank score for all sites).

This discovery came to a head after a great bit of analysis by , to understand why florist-brand Interflora’s rankings were wiped off the face of the earth. Cutting the story short, and adding my own ‘gossip’ – they have been buying a massive bulk of 150+ advertorials at every key sales period (valentines, xmas etc.). Naughty!

So what does this mean moving forward? In short, despite this change, Advertorials continue to provide SEO value at the moment according to the data, remaining an effective SEO tactic for now (morals aside).

Let’s go on a magical journey as the answer is in the SERPs. Let’s take a look at a highly competitive search term, Car Insurance (450k searches per month) for example, with ranking 1st and 2nd as of writing.

Google UK search results for 'Car Insurance' (22/02/2013)

Google UK search results for ‘Car Insurance’ (22/02/2013)

Digging through each sites backlink profiles at a glance, each has invested in Advertorials at some point, links which continue to be indexed, containing phrase-match anchor text, and contributing to their rankings (I’m not trying to name and shame here in any shape or form, I’m just as so-called ‘guilty’). Advertorial on ThisIsNottingham (a site which has dropped from PR6 to 2)

Now, don’t get me wrong – is this engaging content? nah, does it attract any traffic, social buzz or natural links?  nope, should it be indexed? probably not.

Of course, there is also a huge amount of  other factors contributing to their performance – on-page, technical considerations and awesome content marketing (which I’m a huge champion of).

BUT it’s tough to ignore the fact that sites who tend to rank in competitive SERPs, clearly see SEO value from paid-for link building in some form RIGHT NOW.

I know what your thinking – will Advertorials work forever? are they  future-proof? Of course not, it’s clear given the evidence above this tactic is diminishing, but absolutely nothing is future proof (I hate the phrase).

In conclusion, I would advise that an SEO strategy has to be agile and diverse – considering the current market situation (where content-based paid links such as advertorials arguably still play a role), while also investing in smarter tactics, whether it be content marketing (pitching great content to editorial sites), brand building or something else yet to be determined.


All comments and debate appreciated, please don’t think I’m saying let’s all just buy links and relax in the pub.

Any human can spot a paid-link, Googlebot will eventually also. For example, all advertorials have to state ‘ADVERTORIAL’ on the content by law, and also end up dumped in a archive after 12-months – here’s an example from TalkTalk, it’s a goldmine for the Search Quality Team.


Categories: SEO | Permalink

February 6, 2013

What the Hell is SEO Anyway? (Infographic)

Of course, this was an entirely sarcastic look at the world of SEO (or whatever we’re calling it these days). This was created using Piktochart, found via this great little blog post on 10 Tools for Creating Infographics and Visualizations.

Categories: SEO | Permalink