Pete Campbell

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

November 11, 2012

The Best NEW SEO Tools Discovered at #SearchLove London

Just a couple of weeks ago, I attended #SearchLove London hosted by the folks at Distilled.

In my last post, I shared what I consider to be the UK’s finest SEO conferences, and SearchLove is right at the top of that list. In a sentence, it was the perfect recipe of content ideas, geeky tips and slick powerpoint goodness (nobody ever credits nicely-designed slides, it’s an art for us nerds – seriously).

But, as I’m a charitable man, I saved you from paying the £649 ticket price and decided to list all the new SEO geek tools that were shared at the event. Just imagine all the paid links you can buy now with that saved cash! Just kidding (just promise that you won’t use it to make an infographic, the world is sick of them, there’s even an infographic on it).


Get a sneaky free link whenever someone copy & pastes your content. Just tag up your site and you’ll suddenly find yourself begging for people to steal from you.


Looking after SEO for a massive website? Like me, you may find on occasion that the page you’re link building to suddenly goes dead and of course, you don’t find out until it’s too late. Pingdom will shoot you an email, text or tweet whenever your specified Page URL(s) has a titanic like experience.


Using ResponseSource, you’ll find Journalists looking for help in fleshing out their current story. Chip in, and you might just get a link out of it (obviously, don’t show your hand straight away, play it cool).

Credit: @heatherhealy


At a glance, Cision seems like an absolute bloody goldmine. Blogger & Journalist Outreach is a growing trend in the supposedly post-paid link building world, Cision lets you find a ton of top-notch contacts, relevant to your sector, with ease. Find key people, build up a relationship, involve them in your content creation and, hopefully, you’ll forget dodgy rented links ever existed when they naturally link to it.

Credit: @CreareSEO


If an absolute flipping miracle has occurred, and someone has picked up your infographic on “The History of Toilets”, TinEye will do a quick reverse lookup and find all the placements of it across the web. Google Images can also be used to do this now, but everyone loves multiple data-sets.

Be a Typo Ninja, Fix Broken Links via Mis-spellings
SEOBook Typo Generator &

Use a Typo Generator to figure out all the common mis-spellings of your brand-name, use =concatenate in Excel to add domain extensions (, .com) and then bulk lookup the data via Majestic SEO. You might just find a bunch of great, free links, pointing to misspellings of your domain. I found 300+ broken links for one of my clients, crazy stuff.

Credit: @wilreynolds

Video Sitemap Generator

For about a year, I spent an hour each week making video XML sitemaps to ensure my clients video content got indexed in Google. Use this Google Doc powered Video XML Sitemap wizard to make them in minutes, good times, if only I could time travel.

Credit: @philnottingham

Web Sniffer

Wake up in the morning and feel the need to check a URLs response code? Probably not, but WebSniffer will be there for you when you a 404, 200 or 301 comes to mind. Quickly get a detailed view on that redirect that you don’t quite trust.

Credit: @conversionfac

Twitter App Goodness

Need charts and insight on a Twitter user? Try Tweetarchivist to scrape their tweets, or see their universe via MentionMapp. Or, on the unlucky chance that you’ve yet to discover FollowerWonk, use it build a segmented list of people, who might just enjoy that latest blog post you wrote.

What’s the most recent SEO tool you discovered? Answers on a postcard please (or, the comments box will do just fine).

Just as a footnote, some of these were discovered through the magic of awkward networking and small-talk (“So what do you think of article spinning? It’s awesome!”), so credit is given where possible.

Categories: Conferences | Permalink

September 12, 2012

The UK’s Finest SEO Conferences & Meetups

I’ve put together a list of what I’d consider the best/nerdiest SEO conferences across the UK that are either free, or provide fantastic value for money.

If you’re passionate about SEO and lose sleep over that ranking that your client or boss never shuts up about (like I do!) – this list is for you.

Brighton SEO (FREE! Every September & April)

Brighton SEO has a real sense of ‘by the community for the community’ spirit, not only is it free, but it’s probably the most informative 8 hours you’ll ever spend, put together by the superb Kelvin Newman.

Basically, twice a year, a bunch of down-to-earth SEO folks get up on stage and then in quick succession talk about the highs and lows of their experiences in the industry, giving inspiring case studies and not being afraid to tackle controversial topics – such as winning with duplicate content, unnatural link building and just having a general moan at Google.

It’s no wonder it always ‘sells out’ in less than an hour, that or it’s the free after party that includes a free drink or two.

Search London (FREE! Every 1-2 Months)

Search London is quite a small, intimate affair, usually taking place as evening sessions in which each event will focus on a particular subject relating to the search industry.
As per last events, these can be anything from discussing blogger outreach or the value of SEO and Social.

Each event tends to feature 2 or more known authorities on their topic and yes don’t worry, you also get a free pint (notice a theme running here? black hat keyword density).

ThinkVisibility (From £119 – March & September)

Cleverly disguised as an SEO conference, but actually a giant party complete with pool tournaments, free pick and mix, gambling and occasionally mini-golf – you’ll find yourself forgetting about the 8 hours of awesome content that proceeds it crafted by the one-and-only Dom Hodgson.

In all seriousness, ThinkVis in terms of the quality of sessions alone, provides good value for money.

Got a bit more budget?

If you’re lucky enough to have a boss who will pay the bill for your SEO jollies, I also throughly recommended Distilled’s LinkLove & Search Love, SMX & SES and venturing a few thousand miles off topic – I still feel that MozCon is an awesome conference (my super-nerdy quote calling it ‘Disneyland for SEO’s’ even got me a link off SEOMoz, good times).

Non-SEO Events

Outside of this, there a few more events I’d recommend that although aren’t directly SEO, are worth attending if you’ve got a general interest in digital, web and tech.

Know of any others? Let me know!

I’ll admit it – I’m sure this list could be challenged and is certainly not definitive. If you’ve attended any other SEO conferences that you feel were real winners, let me know and I’ll add them on (What’s SASCon like?). In the meantime, catch you at Brighton SEO folks.

Categories: SEO | Permalink

April 21, 2012

How to deal with the “Unnatural Links” Message in Google Webmaster Tools


August 2012 Update: Folks, this advice mainly relates to the sites who receive the more ‘serious’ Unnatural Links messages (you’ll receive an email notification and a ‘yellow triangle’ in your webmaster tools panel). Before you undertake a huge link removal project, I’d only proceed if you have seen a big impact on your search rankings following the message. I’ll be working on a newer, expanded version of this post soon that works across all situations.

Simple answer, stop buying links and simply, buy better ones (just kidding).

Leaving the ethics of buying links aside, Google over the past few months has sent (apparently) over 700,000 messages to Webmaster Tools accounts notifying that links within their backlink profile maybe breaking the Google Webmaster Guidelines. You’ve got this as there are either links you’ve bought that Google has identified, or you’ve oddly attracted a lot of link spam naturally!

I’ll admit – this message has hit in the inbox of a couple of websites that I work on, and it’s scary stuff. So what’s the best thing to do?

Ignore all of the other blog posts, giving you vague, useless advice – I’m here to actually help.

1) Sense Check

Before you end up getting a refund on those 10,000 directory links you bought for $5 off Fiverr – check your rankings and see if any of your key search terms have took a major nosedive. Afterall, message or no message – that’s what you ultimately care about.

2) Audit Backlinks

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t give you a steer on which links exactly are contravening the guidelines. But, let’s face facts – the second you hit that Pay via PayPal button (Paypal would be NOTHING without SEO) the rule breaking started. Nevermind.

You need to audit your backlink profile and ‘red flag’ those that breach the Google Webmaster Guidelines – I suggest as follows:

  • Export all the available Link Data within Webmaster Tools into Excel
  • Google filters link data by the highest number of links by unique domain, for a spot check you may wish to run-through the top 100 or so.
  • Red flag any links with the following traits (aka obvious paid links)
    • Listings on Directories built for SEO Purposes
    • Article Submission Sites
    • Text Link Ads aka Links on Blog Sidebars
    • Links via poorly built blog networks – a lot of the messages relate to links via these type of sites
  • 21/04/12 Update: As additional check, see if any of the domains which are linking to your site have been de-indexed by Google. This is almost an assured signal of a link that needs removing. You can check this with the SEO Tools Excel plugin – run the  =GoogleIndexCount function and a zero represents a site not in the Google index.

3) Remove the Links of Concern

I won’t lie – easier said than done, but contact the Webmasters who are hosting the links which appear of concern within your link profile and try to get them taken down.

4) To reconsider or to not reconsider

At this stage, you have two options – to submit a reconsideration request or not. Within the message, Google explicitly asks you to do this – but there is a question of whether or not there is a perceived value or benefit in doing so.

Option 1 

If by nature, this message is genuinely surprising to you and after auditing your link data, you unearthed spam links that weren’t purposefully bought by you or via an agency – then absolutely, send a reconsideration request. To help you, I’ve wrote a template just below.


We have reviewed the links pointing to our site and have identified a number of un-natural links that we believe are against the Google Webmaster Guidelines under the following ways:

• Links intended to manipulate PageRank

• Buying or selling links that pass PageRank

We have took every effort to contact each of the webmasters who own these sites and request that the link be taken down immediately. We do not condone or approve of the existence of these links and appreciate the Webmaster Team informing us that a number of backlinks were of a concern

[Please find this list below] OR [link to Google Spreadsheet]:

• (Rented Link)

• (Direct Listing)”

Please advise if there are any further links of concern and we will request them to be taken offline immediately.”

21/04/2012 Update: You should then receive an automated message within 48 hours acknowledging your request. Within a few weeks you may then receive another reply stating if your site does now, or continues not to meet the Webmaster Guidelines (if it doesn’t – you’ve got more work to do). In rare cases, Google may supply you with a sample list of rule-breaking links.

Option 2

But, if you do invest in paid link building and plan to continue too – your best option really could be to strip down the negative links and simply not reply to the message. Google seems to only provide link data in special cases of natural link spam, and likely won’t if it’s very obvious ongoing paid link activity is taking place.

I admittedly, would love a world where paid links don’t work – but they do, amazingly well, just look at the backlink profile of any Travel or Finance related SERP.  Food for thought, could these new developments by Google could potentially mean we’re finally arriving at that point?


It certainly seems that blog networks in particularly are reaching retirement age, now spending there day slowly pacing the hallway with article spinners, link wheels and everyones favourite – directories.  Of course, all these techniques continue to work – but less so as the clock ticks on.


Categories: SEO | Permalink