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A Guide To Newsjacking In 2023

Newsjacking has been a buzzword in the digital PR space for a while now and I often think of it as akin to E-A-T in the SEO space – it’s something that everyone knows about and if you get it right it can have a significant impact on your client’s results. Knowing where to start with newsjacking can be tricky especially if you’re doing it for the first time so let’s take a look at how we approach newsjacking and what we need to do to ensure that we get the best results for our clients and land those all-important placements. 

So What Is Newsjacking?

Chances are you are probably already familiar with the term newsjacking as it’s a pretty common term that gets used in day-to-day language but for those who aren’t familiar, the concept of newsjacking involves jumping on a trend or something that is topical in the news and adding to the conversation that might be through adding an expert comment or sending over some data that’s relevant to the conversation and can add value to a piece that a journalist might be currently covering.

The reason newsjacking is such an effective digital PR technique is that combines two of the most important elements that go into a great story, that is relevancy for the journalist – you’re jumping on something that’s happening right now, and also adding value to the conversation through data or expert opinion, you’re adding real value to a story that journalists already writing and that’s a surefire way to get coverage for your client.

Newsjacking comes in two formats, that’s proactive and reactive depending on when in the story you add your comment or expertise, both can be really effective from a link acquisition perspective and if you’re prepared, then chances are that it can be quite a quick turnaround project. So let’s take a look at how we can approach newsjacking to ensure that we get the best results for our clients and land some great placements and coverage across the board.


Preparation is absolutely key when it comes to newsjacking as you want to be able to jump on a trend as quickly as you possibly can. This means putting some time in to gather images that they might want to use, look at areas of expertise and understanding who the best person to be the spokesperson is, and also any additional resources that they have available which you might be able to use to supplement their comments.

Stockpiling all of this information beforehand can help to make your newsjacking experience a lot smoother – we recommend having a sit down with your client to run through the newsjacking process and gather this information before you start your outreach – this will help you to improve your turnaround times and make sure that you’re able to jump on that emerging story as quickly as you possibly can.

News Listening

One of the most important elements of an effective newsjacking campaign is understanding what is topical and trending, finding topics that journalists are likely to cover – this means looking at what’s trending in the news and finding something that’s relevant to your client that you can add value to.

There are a number of different ways that you can conduct news listening but we’ve included some of the most popular options to get you started:

  1. Twitter

Twitter is a great place to start when you’re looking for new ideas and the trending hashtags are a great place to get your inspiration from. This can give you a good idea of topical issues that people are talking about, topics that are trending across the UK and also internationally, in addition to topics that people like to talk about and are maybe in the public interest.

Twitter has a “trending” section where you can understand what people are talking about – this can also be broken into areas such as “News”, “Sports” and also for your local area. Additionally, if you are looking to research into a specific area, you can research specific hashtag data to understand how many people are talking about a specific topic.


Twitter is a great way to get a feel for what people are talking about – and also what is topical in the news – so it’s worth keeping this open throughout your day. Additionally, using hashtags like #journorequest and #prrequest can help you keep on top of what journalists are looking for – another great way to get an idea of relevant topics you might want to cover. 

2. TikTok

TikTok is another great way to find out what is topical and trending and you can trendjack really quickly with the user generated content – getting a great idea of topical stories that are in the public interest by also looking through engagement metrics.

If you have a TikTok Business account then you will also have access to some of great hashtag data and trends information that is available and you can find this across two main dashboards to help your news research – the first one is the general trending dashboard which goes through all of the trends from the last seven days:


You can also drill down into further detail around each of these specific hashtags to understand where they are trending and with which audiences (as well as their related interests which is great for helping you to build your media lists!). This information can give you great regional insights as well as tell you more about their age range and demographic information:


You can also just use TikTok generally to research data around a given topic by monitoring hashtag data and getting an idea of how people are approaching the topic / what they find of most interest. This is particularly valuable if you are looking to create content that targets Gen-Z who are usually avid TikTok users.

3. Google Alerts

Google Alerts provides a great way to stay on top of topics that are trending around your client and have them delivered straight to your inbox. By setting up notifications within Google Alerts it will email you every time there is news around a particular topic, your client name or something that is related to. This is a great way to stay on top of breaking issues that are topical to or related to the services or products that your clients sell. 

It’s relatively easy to set Google Alerts up, but we would recommend setting them up in a subfolder of your email inbox to avoid being inundated with alerts as they are coming in throughout the day. Set these up separately and spend some time running through them to see if they are relevant for your client, over time you’ll become accustomed to the types of news that this is pulling out and you can adjust your filtering to make this more relevant as you need to. This is a great way to jump on something that is topically relevant for your client without having to sift through an entire news site to find the information.

4. Upcoming Reports

Upcoming reports can be a great way to get ideas for newsjacking particularly if it’s proactive.  there are a wide range of industry bodies who published reports on a regular basis ranging from weekly through to daily, and jumping on these reports and putting your client into the centre of the conversation, is a great way to newsjack and really add that element of expertise and relevancy to the links you are building through to the website.

If you aren’t sure where to start with reports then try some popular industry bodies – places such as the NHS and the ONS are frequently reporting on a wide range of topics and you can easily find a way to link please through to your clients. In many situations these bodies will also have a calendar that you can access which showcases the types of reports that are coming up, this allows you to plan in advance so that you can support to ensure that you’re able to quickly jump on this trend once the report comes out.

Reports are really effective way to newsjack because they’re topical and they’re data-led – something which journalists love, so if you’re looking for ideas for your newsjacking then have a look at relevant industry bodies that are related to your client and the types of reports that they have coming up to see if there’s somewhere that you can add expert commentary and topical value.

5. Event Calendars

Event calendars are a great way to undertake proactive newsjacking and we often find that many publications publish their upcoming calendars for the year in advance,so this is a great way for us to prepare for upcoming events and to plan ahead some ideas for proactive newsjacking.

Keep up to date with your favourite publications and don’t be afraid to reach out to editors to ask them if they have a publication calendar in advance, this can help to give you an idea of the topics that they are looking to cover and the type of content that they might be more likely to include within their pieces.

As a result it is valuable to use this to guide your newsjacking because it already gives you an idea of what journalists think is relevant and what readers are likely to engage with, therefore making it more likely for your content to be picked up if it is relevant to this topic

6. Colleagues

Often in Digital PR we find ourselves the victims of trying to come up with all of the ideas  ourselves and it’s hard for everyone to always be on top of what’s in the news and what is a trending topic – so why not use your colleagues?  We set up a group chat where we encourage our colleagues to post something that they’ve read that is newsworthy or trending – that could have been something that they’ve read in the newspaper that morning or something they’ve seen on TikTok or read on Twitter. 

By encouraging our colleagues to contribute in this way we are getting a much bigger pool of information that we can use to take ideas from and chances are that many of us are reading different publications or fall into different TikTok algorithms, so this can be a great way to get a wide range of newsjacking options.


Once you have undertaken your news listening it’s important to thoroughly research an idea before you start as you want to make sure that the idea hasn’t been done before and that someone else isn’t currently working on it. You also need to ensure that any information you are  bringing to the table is offering a new opinion or something that hasn’t been published before, after all, that’s what journalists are looking for – a new angle on an existing story.

The research is important to ensure that you’re bringing something fresh to the story – so how do we go about undertaking research to understand topics and areas that journalists have covered before? Here are a couple of ideas for tools that can help you:

  1. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a great way to get an understanding of topics that are covered recently or topics that are popular with the press. You can use this tool to understand the types of content that journalists have covered recently, which journalists have covered which types of content and also in what volume so you can really start to understand how many people are covering a particular topic and therefore a) has it been done before and b) is it likely to be picked up by a particular journalist.

One of the other important metrics that was talking give you if social shares and while this isn’t a direct impact on SEO performance, what it can help to show you is how engaged a particular article is and therefore potentially how many people are likely to read that article and how much it is in the public interest – this is a valuable analysis before you start investing your time into creating content around that topic.

Using tools like Buzzsumo allows you to understand how well your content is likely to land as well as to ensure that hasn’t been covered before and therefore that you’re not wasting your time.

  1. Google News Search

Google News search is another great way to understand how content is landing and this can give you an idea again of topics that have been covered before, the types of journalists that are likely to cover your content and also any angles that you could potentially pursue that haven’t already been done.

We often use Google News to understand what is topically trending when we pitch to new digital PR clients – that helps to give us a overview of the market and understand what types of stories have been covered in recent times, but as a client you can also use this to understand if a topic has been done to death, even a bit or if there is opportunity to add a new angle into a pre-existing trending topic. 

  1. Use External Tools

In addition to Google alerts and external tools that you can also use to help with your research. One example of this is semrush and you can use this tool to understand topics which are trending and also at the types of search volumes around specific keywords or topics that you might be looking to cover. 

You can also use tools like the Topic Research tool to understand popular trending topics and how they are evolving over time. This allows you to type in a particular keyword/topic and evaluate topics around this that are currently being covered/talked about – this is another great way to check that your topic hasn’t already been covered, or to help analyse a new angle or approach.

Source: SEMRush

Research is key to ensure that you don’t waste your time undertaking a campaign which has already been done and that you are able to bring a fresh angle and approach to the story. 

Ideation & Creation

The ideation and creation stage plays an important role in any newsjacking campaign and this is where you pull everything together. So you take the information you found within your research, you take anything that’s topical and trending and relevant to your client and you can bind it all together to create a great story, piece of data or angle that delivers great coverage for your client and also insightful information to a trending topic.

The ideation stage has a number of different parts to it and this includes:

  1. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is when you put your heads together and come up with some great ideas as to how you can get your client coverage in a story. Brainstorming can take a number of different formats but it’s a great idea to get the whole team together. If the client has time this is also a great opportunity to get them involved so that they can lend their expertise and showcase this. 

Try and come up with a number of different ideas and angles and run them past your client to see what they are comfortable with and which best showcases their expertise and their data. Once you have a couple of ideas, start to narrow them down until you’ve selected the options that you want to go for.

  1. Identifying Your Angle

An idea is nothing without an angle that adds value to the article or the story – this is often more important than anything else, you need to bring something fresh to the article, so identifying your angle and making this clear early on is important to getting coverage. 

Look at what has already been done and hone in on the value that your data or expertise can add – do you have something new to bring to the conversation? Do you have data that showcases an additional angle on a regional/international level? Identifying your angle plays a key role in ensuring that journalists feel that your content adds value to their article. 

  1. Tapping In On Expertise

Make sure to tap into the expertise of your clients if possible, this will of course give you a great angle when you’re approaching a story and will help you to identify how you can add value very quickly. 

Feel free to sit down with your clients to really understand the areas of expertise or to conduct an interview with the spokesperson to understand the types of angles that you could look for, tapping in on the expertise will really help you to showcase this through the content that you’re creating and also to add real value to the article.

  1. Creating The Right Content

Creating the right type of contact is also really important whether this comes in quote format, whether it’s a piece of data or whether it’s simply a couple of lines having a new angle to an existing story.

Having a look at the types of content that journalists are covering and the format this is in will help you to identify how to best approach the content that you want to create, to ensure it’s the right type of content that the journalist would like to cover. Having the right content and the right angle will help to get your content placed and is an important part of the newsjacking process.

  1. Creating The Right Format

Creating the right format for your content is also very important, this means how you display the content and the type of content that you’re sending to journalists.Make sure to include any assets that will help support the story this could be high resolution images or associated data tables and always remember to clearly state your methodology for any data analysis pieces that you’re doing this is important to ensure that the journalist is comfortable to cover your content and also that you explain where you’ve got the data from and at what time. 


Once you have the idea and you’ve pulled it together into a press release with the supporting information now comes one of the most important parts – the outreach. Using the right tagline, contacting the right journalists and creating a killer press release are all important parts of this process and to ensure that you get your coverage landed we’d recommend the following steps:

  1. Research Your Journalists

Researching your journalists is super important to ensuring that you are sending your content to people who are likely to cover it and who have a genuine reason to cover it/interest in the topic. There’s a number of different ways that you can research journalists and these include:

  • Using tools like Buzzsumo to understand which journalists are covering similar content or similar topical areas
  • Researching on Twitter – most journalists announce moves on Twitter, make a note of these and start to follow these journalists – they will often do a shoutout if they are looking for a specific type of content to cover
  • Manual research through Google News – looking through Google News and other web indexes to understand journalists who have covered the topic recently and any articles where you could reach out and add a new angle
  • Look at specific topic journalists i.e. journalists who cover soaps, finance, travel etc… add these to your list for the topical coverage

By researching journalists in advance you are more likely to build a list of journalists who are more engaged with your content, therefore leading to better overall results and avoiding sending unrelated content to journalists who may find this annoying. 

  1. Build An Effective Media List

An effective media list plays a key role in ensuring that you’re giving your content the best chance of getting covered, so taking time to build your media list is time well spent. When pulling the list together, call on your journalist research to understand which journalists you want to include on your list, you can then follow this up by using a journalist database tool (we use Vuelio) to source relevant emails and start to build out your list. Remember that relevancy here is key so you need just enough journalists to ensure you get a good reach, while at the same time you don’t want to flood journalists who aren’t interested in your content.

  1. Monitor Opens & Trends

Data plays an important role in an effective newsjacking campaign so make sure that you monitor your opens and trends to understand how journalists are engaging with your content.
Using tools which allow you to track open rate will help you to understand how journalists are engaging with your content, over time this will help you to understand which journalists engage with which type of content and will naturally make your content more effective – using data in this way can help you to streamline your outreach is very effective.

  1. Follow Up

It’s important to follow up your content and press releases – don’t just do one push, always follow up with a couple of different pushes at different times. It might be that you caught a journalist when they were particularly busy, or that they already have a full news roster for the day, by doing follow ups you can ensure that you’re continuing to push your story out and you may find that in many instances it lands on the second or third push.

It’s also valuable to follow up when something particularly relevant has landed in the press – send your press release along with some updated comments or information on something which is trending topically, this can be a great way to get it included in a news round up or timely news story.

  1. Rework Content Where Needed

Don’t be afraid to rework your content where you need to. You might find that you actually need it in a different format, that it’s a little outdated or that you need to use a new angle. You always have the opportunity to update your content, so don’t be afraid to launch it at different times of the year with new, up to date information, or a slightly more relevant/different angle – reworking content can often be a great way to land content which perhaps didn’t place the first time round. 


Once we’ve completed the outreach process, it doesn’t end there and the review stage is perhaps one of the most important stages – this is where we analyse what went well, what type of content was covered and how we could leverage this for future campaigns. Key areas that we review and look into include:

  1. Open Rate

Open rate plays a key role in our reviews as it gives us a great idea of how journalists have engaged with our content – who has engaged with it and at what rate. Over time this becomes a very valuable metric and one that we can use to understand which journalists are likely to engage with which content, to better inform our outreach process

  1. Publications Covered

Reviewing which publications have covered our content also plays an important role in informing our outreach strategy moving forwards. It’s important to review who has covered what type of content and when, which journalist has covered the content and how it has been covered – these are all vital pieces of data to understand how we can best tailor our newsjacking efforts to the right publications.

  1. Journalist Feedback

This is also a good time to review any feedback that you’ve received from journalists, this could include journalists asking you to remove them from your mailing list, or alternatively journalists who have fed back on what they liked about an article, or what could have been improved/what they needed to support the article. All of this information is super valuable and should be noted to improve the outreach process moving forwards.


Newsjacking isn’t just a buzzword, it’s an important facet of any effective Digital PR campaign and it’s a great way to get your clients at the forefront of the conversation, quickly. To find out more about how newsjacking works, check out our Digital PR services or case studies

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What Is YMYL And Why Is Understanding It So Important For SEO?

When it comes to search engines, Google wants to return the most relevant pages for its users so that those users are getting the most relevant and accurate answers to their queries. This is especially apparent when it comes to YMYL and in this blog we are going to be discussing the concept of YMYL and why it is important that webmasters understand it for SEO purposes. 

What is YMYL?

YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life” and it refers to any web pages that cover any topics that have the potential to impact a user’s future happiness, health, financial stability or safety. Google introduced the YMYL category in 2014 and they see YMYL content as more important than other types of content and it is therefore held to a higher quality standard by Google when they are ranking these pages.

Source: Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines

YMYL is extremely important when it comes to SEO because Google holds these websites to a higher standard when reviewing their quality. Optimising your YMYL content and making sure that it is accurate and up to date, in addition to backing it up with external linking, showcasing authoring and generally demonstrating the expertise of the article, will all help to ensure that you’re giving off the right signals to Google. As a result, Google may look more favourably on your website for matching user intent and purpose, therefore helping it to perform better in the search results. 

People are often using Google to research information on a wide range of topics including health queries and financial questions. It is important that the information they are finding on the SERP is accurate and up to date because if it is not then it could have extreme consequences for the user. This is why Google finds it so important to ensure these YMYL pages are of high quality.

Examples of YMYL pages: 

  • ➡️Finance pages – eg. investing or banking pages 
  • ➡️News and current events pages
  • ➡️Health and safety pages 
  • ➡️Legal pages
  • ➡️Shopping pages that allow users to make online purchases 

How to know if your web page is a YMYL topic

Many topics do not come under the YMYL bracket but it is important to know whether the content on your website is a YMYL topic because if it is, Google will hold your website to a higher standard so that it is fully meeting the users needs and not causing any harm to their wellbeing. It is therefore important that you understand what YMYL topics are, to see if you are discussing them on your webpage. 

Google will not explicitly tell you if they are viewing your web page as a YMYL page so it is important that you ascertain whether or not it falls within any of the YMYL categories. 

When determining whether your website covers a YMYL topic, you need to think about whether you are creating content that can directly impact a person’s health, financial stability, or safety or the welfare or well-being of society. 

Source: Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines

If your web page contains YMYL topics, then it is important that your content will help and inform the user and, you need to ensure that there is no content on your web page that could cause the user any harm. 

Within the Quality Rater Guidelines, Google also gives us some clear examples of what does and doesn’t fall into the YMYL category, so if you aren’t sure it’s worth checking out the QRGs as they can give some helpful insight! 

YMYL Guidelines

When it comes to YMYL content, it is ranked differently to content that is not YMYL. Google explained this in their ‘How Google Fights Disinformation’ blog: “For these “YMYL” pages, we assume that users expect us to operate with our strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety. As such, where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a “YMYL” topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response.”

In 2022, the YMYL guidance was updated by Google in order to give clarity on what they are looking for when it comes to quality on YMYL web pages:

  • ➡️Content – the main content of the webpage is extremely important if you fall into the YMYL category, it is important that your webpage has a good amount of high quality content 
  • ➡️E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust) signals – enhancing E-A-T signals for YMYL pages is especially important because the information needs to be completely accurate because any misinformation on these pages could potentially cause harm to the users.  
  • ➡️Keep the user in mind – Google wants to ensure that you are creating a website that has the best intentions for the user, so that they are gaining the best user experience.

Best SEO practices for YMYL content 

Due to the fact that Google ranks YMYL pages differently, it is important that you understand the best SEO practices to take for your YMYL web pages:

  1. Create user-focused content 

As we have seen, content is one of the most important factors for Google when they are ranking YMYL web pages and Google will often look at your content to make sure that it is accurate information and that it is of high quality. 

In order to rank well for YMYL content:

  • ➡️Make sure that your content is always up to date
  • ➡️Ensure the content is useful for the user
  • ➡️Have organised content that is easy for the user to understand 
  • ➡️Make sure there is enough content so that the web page fully covers the topic

Content is extremely important for YMYL pages, you need to make sure that your content is fundamentally benefiting the users and not giving them any information that could have consequences for their future. 

When you are creating content, making sure that it is user-centered is of the utmost importance but this will also benefit you when ranking because Google wants content that is helpful to the user – matching user intent and purpose plays a key role across YMYL websites – and this doesn’t always mean adding large amounts of content either – make sure that you review the way that your website answers the user’s queries. 

  1. Optimise your E-A-T signals 

As we have seen from Google, E-A-T plays an important role when Google is ranking YMYL web pages. 

Expertise, Authority & Trust are key signals for Google, especially when they are examining the quality of YMYL websites. The diagram above shows what each concept of E-A-T means. When optimising your YMYL web page, optimising all three aspects of E-A-T is highly important to prove to Google that your content is valuable to users and that it is providing accurate information that will not have the potential to harm users. 

You can optimise your E-A-T for YMYL pages by:

  • ➡️Including the author’s basic information and credentials 
  • ➡️Add an About Us page on your website including information about the people behind the website, including achievements etc… This also helps to provide “clear and satisfying information” that Google looks for on YMYL websites, mainly focusing on the About Us page and also the information that is available on a Contact Us page
  • ➡️Include a reviews page from real customers 
  • ➡️Try and get links from other credible websites linking to your webpage
  1.  Add external links to your content 

Including external links to your content is very important, a link is a clickable object on your webpage that leads from one page to another, they can appear as text, images or buttons and they will link from your website to a different website. When including external links, ensure that they appear naturally throughout your website and make sure that they are going to another high quality, authoritative web page so that Google knows your resources are trusted and will give users the correct information. 

You should add in external links whenever you are quoting someone, using information from another website or making a big statement. When linking to a credible source, you are showing Google that your information is accurate and it will also back up your level of topical expertise.

  1. Make sure your website is well built with a user-friendly design

It is important to make sure that your YMYL website has a user-friendly design, this includes optimising the page speed, making sure there are no broken links and making sure it is optimised well for both mobile and desktop browsers. This will show Google that you are keeping your website well maintained and making the site easy to use for your users. 

Using Google’s Page Speed Insights and other free online tools can help you to keep an eye on your page speed and see where improvements need to be made, it’s also worth being aware of Core Web Vitals and the impact this can have – so definitely two things to be keeping an eye on from a YMYL perspective.


YMYL refers to any topics on a website that can have real word effects for the user. When it comes to SEO, it is extremely important to understand what YMYL is because if you have content on your website that falls in to a YMYL category, Google will hold your website to a higher standard, therefore meaning that it will be harder to rank on the SERP and that you need to make sure that the quality of your website is extremely high. 

Google holds YMYL web pages to a higher standard because of the potential impact that they can have on a user’s life. 

If you have got YMYL content within your website then it is important that you optimise your content for SEO and hopefully this blog has helped you with ways in which you can optimise your website for YMYL.

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Ecommerce SEO Checklist – New 2023

If you have an ecommerce store, then chances are that SEO will be close to the top of your priority list. After all, getting traffic – and more importantly, high intent traffic to your website plays an important role in driving sales and the success of your store. 

Tackling SEO for ecommerce websites, particularly those with thousands of individual products can be a challenge especially when you add in elements like filters, faceted navigation and infinite scroll – so if you are looking to put your best foot forward and get ahead of your ecommerce SEO, we’ve put together a handy checklist for you below to help you improve your SEO performance and drive those all important sales to your website. 

Here are the top things that you need to review to ensure that your ecommerce website has the best possible chance at SEO performance:

  1. Crawl & Indexation

Effective crawl and indexation is one of the most important elements of an ecommerce SEO strategy as if your website or its content isn’t in Google’s index then it won’t be found by users who are searching. Ensuring that your website is indexed and then checking that Google can effectively crawl your pages is important to ensuring that your content is available to Google and has the best possible chance of returning in the search results. To help with this you can use the following:

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a really effective way to check on the indexation of your website and it has a super easy to use interface which can show you how your website is being indexed in the eyes of Google. 

The “Page indexing” functionality shows how many pages are indexed and any potential indexation issues for the website, this can include pages which are excluded by “noindex” tags, pages which are canonicalised any other potential indexation issues. 

The report can be a great way of understanding any potential indexation issues or evaluating why pages haven’t appeared within Google’s index – in particular, the “Crawled – currently not indexed” column highlights pages which Google has accessed but not indexed as it has chosen to exclude these pages from the index – this is often valuable insight for an ecommerce store as in many cases product variations such as colours, flavours, sizes etc… can be seen as duplication so by reviewing this you can identify the best way to index this content. 

Log File Analysis

Log File Analysis is a great way to evaluate how Google is actually crawling your website and to identify any potential pain points or areas that Google can’t crawl (alternately also looking at which pages Google is crawling too frequently) – it can also help you identify if you have any orphaned content or content which has become unlinked from your main website and could therefore be problematic.

To do a thorough log file analysis we recommend at least 2-4 weeks of log files and to do them over several months to really understand how Google is crawling your website. Spider data is useful, but log files will really allow you to see what’s going on. 

Crawl Analysis

In addition to log file analysis we’d also recommend undertaking a crawl analysis to evaluate how Google is crawling and indexing the website through an external tool such as Screaming Frog. By undertaking crawl analysis you can emulate the Google crawl, understanding how it reaches different pages and also the internal link value and structure of these pages – this approach can also help to identify any dead ends or issues where the Googlebot might not be able to get through. 

Crawl analysis through a tool like Screaming Frog will help you to understand how effectively your website is being crawled and if there are any potential crawl issues which could be hampering your website from being effectively indexed and returned within the search results. It can also give you a good insight into the website’s crawl behaviours and if there’s any updates that you need to make to the internal linking to help improve the crawl path.

2. Page Titles & Headings

Page titles and headings are a hugely important part of your on-site SEO as they play an important role in signposting what content is on your website and what the content is about – think of them as a synopsis of the page. If you are trying to rank for “SEO agency” on Google then having a page title “SEO agency” with the heading “SEO agency” will definitely help to showcase to Google that that page exists on your website.

Page titles and headings should be clear and only focus on 1-2 keywords max – and there’s no harm in creating new pages for products that have reasonable search volume – in fact this is a great approach, especially when it comes to having a super-targeted page for specific categories or products. Undertaking fresh keyword research to identify where there is the opportunity to target new pages, and also undertaking research to evaluate if you are targeting the right keywords (i.e. should it be a cashmere “hat” or “beanie” based on product and search volume) will allow you to maximise the reach of your website and also ensure that you are gaining as much visibility as possible for your brand.

3. Page Copy

Page copy is incredibly important as it tells Google and the user about your products, brands or even your services. Ensure your copy is unique but also make it as helpful as possible – put yourselves in the shoes of the user to understand what it is that the user is looking for – have you answered their questions? Have you given them the chance to compare products? Have you given a guide to help them buy a particular product? These are all questions that the user will likely have so ensure that you are on hand to help them out.

As Google says in section 3.2 of the Page Quality Rater Guidelines, the “quality of the MC (main content) is one of the most important considerations for PQ (page quality) rating. Put simply, content is king and the quality of the content that you are putting onto your website, in addition to the reputation of the writer and the website that it’s published on, all play a key role in ensuring that your website is seen as trustworthy in Google’s eyes.

Google recently updated its Page Quality Rater Guidance to introduce the concept of E-E-A-T and at the centre of it all, was trust. Well-written content which is factually accurate and links out to good sources is a key component of trust on a website, so take the time to invest in creating effective content which is well-researched and factually backed, to ensure that you are giving yourself the best possible chance of adhering to strong on-page E-E-A-T.


4. About Us / Clear & Satisying Website Information

In the Page Quality Rater Guidelines one of the things that Google encourages raters to do is to look at a company’s “About Us” page to find out more about the company and the people who are behind the content on the website. Customer service is also an important aspect – particularly for an ecommerce website – and when it talks about “clear & satisfying website information” that means ensuring that a user can contact you if they need to – do you have a clear way for users to contact you? (either through a clear Contact Us page on the website or through a phone number in the top right hand corner) – are they able to get in touch if they need help or to return a product? Being able to offer effective customer service plays an important element in the trust of an ecommerce store, so ensuring that you offer “clear and satisfying website information” isn’t important only to Google, but also to your users.

5. Returns & Shipping Information

Which brings me onto the next point about returns and shipping information. While this is a staple on many ecommerce websites, ensuring that your returns & shipping information is clear and easily digestible is an important part of giving the user what they need. 

Do you offer international shipping? Let your users know. What is your returns process like? By showcasing the information to Google and users you are not only giving them the “helpful” information that they need, you are also helping to build trust in your brand. Make sure this information is displayed clearly and easily accessible from both the main navigation of your website and also on specific product pages – pop outs can also help to detract users away from their user journey and this can also play an important role in boosting conversion rate.

6. Internal Linking

In our opinion one of the most under-rated SEO optimisation opportunities, internal linking, plays a key role in telling Google about your most important pages and ensuring that the Googlebot can effectively crawl through your pages, in addition to linking your content together semantically so that Google can understand what your pages are about and any supplementary content that you might have around them.

Internal linking is important to creating content clusters and pillar posts which help to group together your content themes – allowing Google to see that you have a depth of knowledge and trust about a particular topic when it comes to ranking you for it. Additionally, given that ecommerce websites often contain such a large amount of pages, internal linking can help to indicate which of these pages are most important, so if you are selling garden benches for example, linking different content such as bench buying guides, product launches and brand information into your key garden benches page, plays an important role in helping you to showcase your expertise around garden benches.

You can utilise Screaming Frog and other tools to help you gather a list of pages where there are internal linking opportunities – often blog content or category pages where you mention particular products, brands or categories but don’t link – and utilise this to pull together a linking strategy to help boost your internal navigation and link signals.

7. Schema Mark-up

Another invaluable SEO technique for ecommerce stores is the use and implementation of Schema and structured data mark-up, particularly product mark-up across products that are for sale in your store. The utilisation of schema helps Google to understand what is on your page and the implementation of key schema such as product mark-up and FAQ mark-up can also help you to pull key information about your products and services through to the search results.

FAQ schema is one of the most popular types of schema implementation and involves marking up questions or FAQ content on your pages. Including FAQs across category and product pages is a great way to give users additional information about your product or category range while also providing effective “helpful content”, by marking these up with FAQs you can also give Google the opportunity to present them within the search results as such:

By allowing you to see the FAQs within the search result you can get an understanding of the level of experience of a particular brand and their expertise. 

Product schema is another great option if you are an ecommerce store or if you are selling a product online and in addition to giving valuable information to the user, this can also help to advise Google around important information pertaining to your products, this can include:

  • Price
  • Availability
  • Offers
  • Reviews

By implementing schema correctly, Google can pull this information through into the SERPs which can allow it to be displayed effectively and help to encourage users through to your website – especially if you are competitively priced and they have a price in mind.

Schema implementation can be relatively straightforward but it plays an important role in helping Google and users to understand more about your website and can be a real value add.

8. JavaScript & Code

Understanding how Google sees the JavaScript and code on your website plays a really important role in ensuring that your website is correctly indexed and that both Google and the user can understand what the page is about

In particular there have been a number of situations with JavaScript that has been incorrectly implemented has caused problems for Google across both crawl and indexation, most specifically this happens when JavaScript is implemented in a way that it blocks Google’s crawlers from effectively accessing the content therefore leading to Google not being able to see the content and therefore not valuing it as part of the page.

If you are unsure how Google is viewing the JavaScript on your website there are a number of ways that you can evaluate this in particular one very effective way is through using a tool to fetch and render your website in the way that Google would so that you can see if there are any render-blocking resources within your JavaScript which might be blocking the Googlebot from accessing your website. JavaScript can play an important role in the function of your website so it’s important to consider the impact that might have on your SEO when utilising it within the code, by using fetch and render it allows you to understand how Google sees this and allows you to ensure that your content can be effectively crawled and indexed.

9. Site Speed

Site speed plays an important role in your user experience and as such it plays a very important role and how effective the SEO on your website is. Google has for many years spoken about how important site speed is and in many cases it used to be true that if a website took over three seconds to load 50% of users would leave, this obviously isn’t ideal if you’re looking to attract and retain users on your website.

If you aren’t sure how your site speed currently performs then you can use the Google page speed insights tool to really understand how your website stacks up and a number of different speed metrics. The pagespeed insights tool also explains how your website performs on the core web vitals test, this is an important metric to Google and they have an algorithm update which specifically looks at how well websites perform against the core web vitals – we’ll talk about this a little bit more in next section.

Ultimately site speed plays a key role in user satisfaction so it’s important that you try and make your website as fast as possible so you’re delivering a good user experience as well as adhering to Google’s guidelines.

10. Core Web Vitals

Core web vitals playing important role in understanding how Google sees your website from a user experience perspective. There are three key considerations – LCP – that is how long it takes the largest element on your website to load CLS – that is looking at any images or areas of content on the website which is subject to shift when the user moves throughout the page and FID – that’s looking at how long it takes for the website to load from the first point of load.

A number of years ago Google introduced an algorithm update which was designed to ensure that websites performed well on the core web vitals test. The main purpose behind this algorithm was to encourage webmasters to create websites that drove a good user experience, had decent page speed and also ensured that when a user moved throughout the website the experience was seamless.

Although initially the majority of websites failed the core web vitals test, we are starting to see more and more websites take this seriously and as such, a higher percentage of websites pass this test than ever before. As a result, if you are building a new e-commerce store or you’re simply looking to upgrade your existing e-commerce store, then looking into core web vitals and how you can optimise to pass this test is an important SEO consideration

11. Image SEO

Image SEO is an important but often overlooked facet of effective SEO performance. This involves looking at the imagery in on your website and understanding how we could optimise this to appear within the Google image search and can be particularly useful if the product that you’re selling is driven by great image or if users are often searching for images on your website subject or topic.

To optimise for image SEO, one of the most important elements is the image alt text, this piece of code that often sits behind the image is the one descriptor that enables you to tell Google what that image is about. remember Google doesn’t always understand what an image is so we need to tell it in plain text form. The image alt text is a great way to tell Google what the image is about so make sure that you make your alt text as keyword rich and clear and concise as possible.

Another way that you can improve your Image SEO is through the naming of the images that you upload to your website. This doesn’t often have a huge impact but it can add to your Image SEO optimisation. As a result, when you’re uploading an image to the website we do recommend that you name the image with a keyword friendly format that again is clearly descriptive in plain text form of what is inside the image.

12. Sitemap

Sitemaps play an important role in helping Google to understand the structure of our website which can be very important when it comes to delivering an effective crawl. By creating an XML sitemap we are able to submit the sitemap to Google Search console and have Google effectively crawl the sitemap that we have created.

Submitting an XML sitemap to Google can also help us to identify where there are pages within the sitemap that haven’t been indexed or even pages in the sitemap which shouldn’t be indexed – this is really valuable in enabling us to give Google a really effective crawl and making sure that we maximise our crawl budget.

A sitemap will usually be created dynamically by the webmaster or the website itself and if you have an e-commerce store where you are frequently changing products or products might be going in and out stock, we would recommend setting up a dynamic type which refreshes at midnight each day, to ensure that the information that you’re sending to Google is relevant and correct.

13. Robots.txt

The robots.txt file on a website is one of the most important files that you can have to give guidance to Google and how you want it to crawl your website. within this file you can give guidance to the Googlebot to understand how it needs to crawl your website, this can include files and folders that you would like it to avoid crawling, or it can include areas of the website that you would like to block from the crawl altogether.

This particular file is very valuable for e-commerce stores who may have a filtering system in place such as faceted navigation – in this instance Google will naturally crawl every link that is created and that could be thousands and thousands of variations of a product such as size, colour, shape etc… and this could lead to a significant waste and crawl budget and it may also mean that Google doesn’t reach the most important pages on your website as frequently as it should. In this instance we would recommend implementing a robots.txt file to ensure that Google is crawling the right areas of your website and to prevent it from wasting crawl budget in areas that you would prefer it to avoid.

14. Product Information

Your product information pages are some of the most important pages that you’ll have on an e-commerce website. these pages give your users the information that they need to understand what type of product you’re selling, what the particular features of that product are and also important elements like what that product is made of and what size it is available in.

It’s important to be clear and concise with your product information and to make sure that you make as much information available as possible to the user to help them to make an informed decision. At the end of the day we want the user to purchase the products when they are on our website, rather than going to a competitor, so it’s important that we are giving them all of the information that they need to make an informed purchase.

Where possible try and make your product descriptions unique as this can help to add value to the user and avoid the duplication of many other retailers who will be selling the same products. Although we do understand that in many instances it’s difficult to do this and in some cases you will need to use the manufacturer’s copy on your website. If this is the case then try to add a unique element to your website in another way, this could be looking at implementing FAQs or pulling in some USPs of using your shop against a competitor.

15. FAQs

We mentioned FAQs in the last point as one of the most important ways to add unique content onto your website, but more than this they have the ability to answer your user’s questions and easily match your user purpose and intent, this is an important element in Google’s quality rater guidelines and something that you should be looking to add to your e-commerce store.

If you aren’t sure where to start with FAQs then looking at the types of questions that people are searching for using keyword research tools to understand conversational queries is a great place to start. In addition, you could look at the people also ask section at the bottom of the Google Search results to get an idea of what other users have been searching for related to your specific product or category group.

Once you have an idea of the questions that people are asking, you can then start to generate great copy that answers those questions directly and put it into faq format to fit into the website. We also recommend implementing FAQ schema which can help Google to understand that your content is in FAQ format and also that it’s answering a user’s question which is always super valuable to the content of the page.

16. Clear Titles & Headings

Clear targeting plays an important role in helping Google to understand what your e-commerce pages are about, this means ensuring that all product and category pages are clearly labeled with clear titles and clear headings telling the user what is on that page. We generally recommend that you only focus each page with one or two maximum keywords to ensure that those pages are seen as super relevant for that term and additionally this helps Google to understand that you are relevant for that term and may help you to perform better in the search results.

If you aren’t sure where to start with titles and headings then undertaking keyword research to understand what uses are searching for and the types of search volumes around those keywords can help you to choose the right keyword for that page. In many instances we see the e-commerce pages are set up to target the wrong keyword and in this instance they could be missing out on a great deal of opportunity. An example of this could be targeting a cashmere sweaters page with the keyword cashmere knitwear – on review we might find the cashmere sweaters has a higher search volume than cashmere knitwear, but as we have chosen to target it with the latter we are missing out on the opportunity to capitalise on that search volume. This is a great example of a situation where looking at how we are targeting the page and page title is important to ensure that we’re maximising the visibility for our website.

17. Product Information

Most e-commerce stores will have a mega nav or a main menu with very clean navigation and this  allows Google to understand what the main pages on that website are and when it usually lands on the homepage, it helps to direct Google through the website to ensure that it lands on some of the most important pages on the site first.

This is one of the main reasons why having a good main navigation is so important – and much time and detail should be put into researching the right pages to go into the navigation, to ensure that you’re really maximising the opportunity here both from the user and an internal link equity perspective.

If you aren’t sure where to start with evaluating your navigation and your crawl, then a great place to start is with a log file analysis. Log file analysis allows you to understand how Google is crawling through your website and to identify which pages are most frequently called and which pages perhaps aren’t getting much of a visit at all. Once you’ve undertaken a log analysis you can have a really good idea of where you might need to improve the internal navigation of your website. If some of the most important pages aren’t being reached very frequently or there are a number of pages which are being repeatedly crawled perhaps indicating that Google is stuck on those pages, then updating your main navigation will help to ensure that Google can continue one it’s way and that the appropriate pages on your website are getting indexed as they should be.

18. Internal Linking

Internal linking plays a very important role in allowing Google to move through your website. Connecting your pages together and allowing the Googlebot to move effectively throughout the website without getting stuck in a particular area or without missing out on key pages plays an important role in ensuring that your website is effectively crawled and indexed giving it the best possible chance to return well within the search results. Internal linking also helps Google to understand what the most important pages on your website are, and building an effective internal linking structure can help to send positive page signals to ensure that Google understands which pages they need to consider as most significant on your website.

19. E-A-T

Last but not least we have the concept of expertise authority and trust, these words are perhaps some of the most mentioned words when we talk about SEO and the three of the most important elements when it comes to Google evaluating how your website performs in the search results. Google has told us time and time again how important it is for websites to showcase expertise, authority and trust through everything that they do both on-site and off-site and it’s no different for e-commerce stores which are often held to a higher standard due to the transactional nature of the website.

E-A-T can come in a number of different formats and there’s a number of things that you can do on your website to really push and exude these key signals, but in general on e-commerce stores there’s two areas that we focus on the most, these are the About Us page and the Contact Us page – as they both showcase important information to the user and to Google regarding who is behind the website and how they can be contacted if an issue arises.

Your About Us page should do what it says on the tin and that is it should tell people about you, it should tell people about your brand, your background, your expertise and why they can trust to make a purchase from you. This is also a place to talk about any achievements, awards, accreditations or other recommendations that you’ve had that can help to add to that trust side of the business. It’s also nice to include a meet the team page so that people can understand the names and faces behind the brand that they are purchasing from.

Your Contact Us page is also important – this provides your customers with the ability to connect with you if there’s a problem with the order or if they need to ask a question and this plays an important role in matching user purpose and intent and allowing the users to make an informed decision before they make their purchase. It gives them peace of mind if they do make the purchase and there’s an issue with it that they are able to resolve it quickly and easily so having a clearly visible contact us page with a number of ways to communicate with you effectively is always a bonus here. From an SEO perspective this is a big tick in both the authority and the trust boxes as it helps to build trust with the user knowing that they can communicate with you if there is an issue.


SEO is hugely important for e-commerce websites but in order to get the most out of your website it’s important to follow the right guidance and to understand what you need to do to get the most out of the search engine results. So if you are working with an e-commerce store or if you’re planning to launch one in the near future, take time to invest in understanding how you can get SEO to work for you and it will pay off in the long run.Iif you’d like to know more about how we can help you with your SEO for an e-commerce store then please get in touch!

search engine blog image

A Guide To How Search Engines Work

Search engines such as Google and Bing crawl billions of pages in order to discover and organise the content that appears on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). They exist to understand content in order to give users on their SERP the most relevant results to answer the questions that users are asking. Understanding how search engines work is crucial for SEO because if your website can not be found then it will not show up on the SERP and users will not be able to find your website. 

Customers are increasingly searching online for products and services and it is now more common for users to access a website through a search engine rather than just searching for a web address. It is therefore important to be ranking highly on the search engine results pages and in order to do this it is important to understand how search engines work so that you can optimise your website for SEO and get ranking on SERPs so that you can increase the amount of visitors to your site. 

What Are Search Engines?

So firstly, let’s look at what a search engine actually is. A search engine is a software program that allows users to find information that they are looking for based on keywords or phrases. They are able to return results extremely quickly by constantly crawling websites and indexing every page that they find. They will then rank these websites based on their algorithms so that when users search for keywords, the most relevant and helpful websites will come up first. 

Webmasters will need to optimise their SEO to help search engines recognise their website as helpful in order for it to rank when users are searching for a particular keyword. 

One of the most popular search engines is Google and it has over 200 ranking factors in its algorithm. The algorithms are an extremely complex system which are used to retrieve data from its search index and deliver the best results for a query instantly. Google uses a combination of algorithms and makes thousands of changes to these algorithms every year. Most of these changes are very small so will go unnoticed, however, Google occasionally rolls out major updates that will significantly impact the SERP, so companies will need to alter their website in order to keep ranking on the SERP. It is important to keep up with all of Google’s algorithm updates so that you can keep your website optimised at all times. Below you will find a list of search ranking updates that Google released in 2022:

Source: Google

How Do Search Engines Work?

Search engines go through three main stages so that the best search results will be shown on the SERP, these three stages are crawling, indexing and ranking. Unfortunately, not all web pages will make it through each stage. 

Search Engine Crawling:

Crawling is the process of finding out what web pages exist on the web. Google will use automated crawlers, known as spiders, to download text, images and videos from web pages that it has found on the internet. There is no registry of all web pages, so Google has to constantly look for new and updated pages and add them to it’s list of already known web pages, when Google finds a new web page, it is called URL discovery. Google will be able to discover new pages by following links from already known pages or they can be discovered if you submit a list of pages, known as a sitemap, for Google to crawl. 

Google will not only just crawl new URLs but they will also crawl pages that are already known by Google to check for any updates that have been made to the page since they last crawled it. If they detect a change on the page then they will update the page on their index so that search results are up to date when users are searching for information. Google will use their algorithms to determine how often they crawl a page and how many pages on the website will be indexed. It is likely that pages that are often updated and changed will be crawled more frequently than pages that are rarely updated. 

Search Engine Indexing:

After Google has crawled a page, it then tries to understand what the web page is actually about so that they are able to answer users’ queries. Google will analyse text, images and video files on the web page and then store that information in the Google index. The Google Index will contain billions of web pages on thousands of machines so that when a user searches for a query, the web pages are already indexed and they will be able to instantly return those web pages on the SERP. 

The index will include all of the URLs that Google has discovered and indexed, and all of the relevant information about the content of the URLs. This will include the keywords of the page, telling Google what the page is about, the type of content that is included on the page, the freshness of the page – when it was last updated, and the previous user engagement of the page. 

Google will not index all of the URLs that it finds and this can be due to a number of reasons:

  • ➡️There could be signs on your web page telling Google not to index a particular page – this is where a noindex tag will be signalled on your web page – this is telling Google not to index this page even if there are links pointing towards it. 
  • ➡️Google could deem the page to be of low quality and they will therefore not index the page.
  • ➡️The URL could return an error page, for example 404 not found. If this occurs then Google will not index the page. 

If you want your web page to gain organic traffic, then it needs to be indexed by Google, so you need to make sure that you optimise your web page for SEO and ensure that none of the above things that we have talked about are happening. We will go into more detail about how to make your web pages more search engine friendly below. 

Search Engine Ranking:

When a user searches for a keyword on Google, Google will look through their index for content that is relevant to that keyword in the hope that they will answer the user’s query. They will rank the content with the content that they think is the most relevant at the top, so, it is likely that the higher a website is ranking, the more relevant Google thinks that website is in relation to the keyword/ query. 

This is where Google’s algorithms come into play. Search algorithms are systems that are used to rank data from the search index and deliver the most relevant web pages for a query. Google uses many ranking factors in its algorithms to ensure the most relevant web pages will be ranking highest on the SERPs:

  • ➡️Backlinks – Backlinks are links from one web page to another and they are a very strong ranking factor. Having quality backlinks will tell Google that your web page is trustworthy and will give users accurate information. When it comes to backlinks it’s important to remember that quality always wins over quantity – one super relevant backlink which really showcases your expertise will be far more beneficial to the authority of your website than a number of backlinks from irrelevant sources
  • ➡️Relevance of content – Google will analyse the content of a web page to assess whether it will contain the information that a user is searching for.  One of the basic ways in which Google does this is by looking whether the content and the search term contain the same keywords. Beyond keywords, Google will analyse the content in other ways such as using aggregated and anonymised interaction data to see whether or not the content is relevant to the search term and whether other users have found it useful. 
  • ➡️Usability of web pages – Google will consider the usability of the web page and how easy it is to navigate. Aspects that they will look at include page speed, whether it is mobile and desktop friendly, and how quickly the content loads. The Core Web Vitals algorithm also plays into this and further reinforces how important on-page user experience is to Google. 

When ranking web pages, Google will also use the user’s location, language, previous search history and what device they are using to personalise the results and make them more relevant to individual users. 

How To Make Your Website Search Engine Friendly

From the above, you can see that Google prioritises certain factors in order to provide users with the best overall experience when they are using their search engine. This is great, as it means that you can optimise your website in order to allow Google to, firstly, crawl your web page, secondly, index your web page and thirdly, rank your web page. So, here are some points to make sure your website is search engine friendly:

  • ➡️Create and submit a sitemap – submitting a sitemap will ensure Google crawls all of your web pages.
  • ➡️Ensure your website is indexable 
  • ➡️Target the relevant keywords – when choosing your keywords, you should make sure that it is what users are searching for, you can find this out by looking at the volume of any keywords on AHrefs.
  • ➡️Include your keywords in your content, headers and URLs – once you have chosen a keyword to target, you need to make sure that you include it in your website, use the keyword as part of your sentences but make sure you avoid keyword stuffing. You can also use semantics – look at keywords that are related to the keywords you are trying to focus on to add value and expertise
  • ➡️Ensure your content is useful  
  • ➡️Ensure your website includes internal and external links
  • ➡️Ensure your site loads fast
  • ➡️Ensure your website is optimised for mobile and desktop browsers


To summarise, search engines exist to give users the most relevant information when they are searching for a query. Search engines will crawl and index your web pages and then rank them based on the key ranking factors.   

By optimising the SEO on your web page, you will ensure that Google and other search engines can easily crawl your website, make sure that your content will be indexed for the right keywords, and finally it will help you to rank higher on search engine results pages and therefore gain more organic visitors to your site.

core web vitals blog

Core Web Vitals – What Is It & How Do I Find Out If I Pass?

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that Google considers important in a website’s overall user experience, it is an extremely important aspect of SEO because it ensures a great user experience, which in turn helps to improve overall page quality. The Core Web Vitals algorithm update was rolled out in 2021 by Google and it is used to measure and evaluate the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of websites. This was then incorporated into a broader Page Experience update which rolled out in 2022.

There are three main metrics of Core Web Vitals: 

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – this is how quickly the main content of your web page loads. 
  2. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – this is a measure of how much your webpage will unexpectedly shift during the loading phase. A layout shift occurs when a visible element shifts position from one rendered frame to another.
  3. First Input Delay (FID) – this will measure the time from when a user first interacts with your website to the time when the browser is able to respond to that interaction.

Source: AHrefs

There are also some non-Core Web Vitals that are included:

  • ➡️First Contentful Paint (FCP)
  • ➡️Interaction to Next Paint (INP)
  • ➡️Time to First Byte (TTFB)

It is important that all of these metrics are optimised for your website in order to improve the user’s experience and increase organic rankings. In particular, optimising TTFB plays a key role in ensuring that you have a good page load speed – if TTFB is slow then it slows down the entire loading process which can cover LCP and FID – causing issues for your Core Web Vitals performance, optimising this from the start can help to put your Core Web Vitals on a strong standing.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is one of the Core Web Vitals metrics and it is a measurement of how long it takes for the main content of a web page to load. The largest image or textblock that is visible to the user is what is measured. 

In order to provide a good user experience, the LCP should have a measurement of under 2.5 seconds. 

Typical elements that are considered for LCP are:

  • ➡️Images
  • ➡️Video poster images
  • ➡️Background images 
  • ➡️Block level text

LCP is one of the key metrics for the Core Web Vitals because it can accurately measure how fast your website can be used by users. The speed of a website is very important to users so Google wants to make sure that web pages are loading fast enough for the users. Google states that 53% of visits are abandoned if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, as such having a good load time across both mobile and desktop is very important. 

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) 

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the visual stability of a website, it is the unexpected shift of webpage elements while the webpage is loading. The metric will measure how often users of a website are experiencing an unexpected layout shift. 

In order to provide a good user experience, the CLS should have a score of 0.1 or under.

Minimising CLS is extremely important because if a user experiences a lot of pages shifting around the page, it will lead to a bad user experience. 

If your website has a poor CLS score, it is likely due to a coding issue that can be solved by your web developer.  

According to Google, the main reasons that your website has a poor CLS will be due to: 

  • ➡️Images that do not have dimensions 
  • ➡️Ads, embeds, and iframes that do not have dimensions
  • ➡️Dynamically injected content
  • ➡️Web Fonts causing FIOT/ FOUT
  • ➡️Actions waiting for a network response before updating DOM

CLS is one of the key metrics for the Core Web Vitals because having poor CLS will mean that your users are having a bad experience on your website which could lead to users leaving your webpage and not returning. It could also lead to frustration among users who might not be able to find what they are looking for.

First Input Delay (FID)

First Input Delay (FID) is the measurement of how long it takes for your browser to respond to your user’s first interaction with the page. An example of an interaction can be clicking on a link in the website’s navigation, choosing an option from a menu or entering your email into a field. FID is important because it is taking into account how real-life users are interacting with your website. 

In order to provide a good user experience for your website, the FID should have a measurement of under 100ms. 

One of the main reasons for having a poor FID score is due to your browser’s main thread being busy parsing and executing JavaScript code. This causes a poor FID score because the main thread is unable to respond to users’ interactions if it is busy.  

FID is one of the key metrics for the Core Web Vitals because speed is one of the main aspects Google considers when they are ranking your website because they know that it is a top priority for their users. So, having a good FID score will improve the overall user experience of your website. 

Why are Core Web Vitals Important for SEO? 

Google has over 200 ranking factors, with page experience and page speed both being in the top eight, so this probably tells you that Core Web Vitals are extremely important when it comes to SEO. The first impression of your website could be the difference between a user becoming loyal or never returning to your website again, it is important that this first impression is a good one so that you are gaining loyal users that will return to your website over and over. This first impression starts with all 3 Core Web Vitals because the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a website will likely be the first things that your users will notice when clicking onto your site. 

Research conducted by Google shows that users prefer to use websites that have a great page experience. So, Google sees the page experience as a priority when they are ranking websites. 

Optimising your Core Web Vitals will inevitably improve the user’s experience of your website and it is likely that you will have fewer users returning to the SERP because they are satisfied and happy with your website. If you improve the user experience, you will likely have happier users and this could lead to more conversions for your website. 

How Do I Measure My Website’s Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals show how your website performs based on a set of real-world, user centered metrics that will quantify key aspects of your user’s experience. 

In order to pass your Core Web Vitals assessment, you need to score ‘Good’ in all three metrics. So, how do you find out if you have passed?

PageSpeed Insights:

In order to find out if you have passed your Core Web Vitals assessment, you need to go to PageSpeed Insights and enter the URL for your web page:

PageSpeed Insights will then show what your real users are experiencing. You will receive an  assessment for your webpage and it will look something like this, showing whether or not your website has passed or failed the assessment:

From this report, you will be able to see if you have passed or failed each metric, in order to pass your Core Web Vitals assessment, LCP, FID and CLS must all score ‘Good’. As you can see in the above example, this webpage has failed the assessment because the only section that is currently good is the FID. 

You will receive an assessment for both mobile and desktop browsers and these will have different results based on the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of each browser.

PageSpeed Insights will also suggest improvements that you can make on your website in order to pass the Core Web Vitals assessment. These improvement suggestions can be found under ‘Opportunities’ and ‘Diagnostics’:

Using PageSpeed Insights will allow you to see if you have passed or failed the Core Web Vitals assessment for your website for both mobile and desktop. This will then allow you to investigate the main factors that could be causing the Core Web Vitals to fail and how they can be improved. PageSpeed Insights will give you recommendations on how to improve all three metrics, even if you pass one or two of the metrics, there will still be suggested improvements to help you improve your score, therefore improving the overall page experience even further. 

Looker Studio:

If you want a more in depth and visual review of your Core Web Vitals, Looker Studio is great. Looker Studio will give you a detailed and visual report of your website’s Core Web Vitals and it makes it very easy to see how your website is performing. You will clearly be able to see if your website is doing well for a particular metric. 

The main overview page will give you a visual report of all three main metrics:

You can also go deeper into each metric to understand how your website is performing for each one, you can do this by going into the dashboard on the left hand side of the page: 

Another great feature of the Looker Studio report is being able to look at your Core Web Vitals for different months, this enables you to see whether or not your vitals are improving or not and whether you need to make any changes. You can do this by clicking on the dropdown in the top right hand corner: 


To summarise, Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that Google considers very important for a webpage’s overall experience. As I’m sure you can see, Core Web Vitals are a very important part of your website and improving them will improve the overall experience for your users. 

Google will determine whether or not you have passed or failed your Core Web Vitals assessment based on real-world data. You will be able to see this data in PageSpeed Insights, and it will provide suggested recommendations on how to improve the three main metrics for your website for both mobile and desktop. 

Understanding the Core Web Vitals for your website will allow you to create a more optimised web page for your users and will lead to happier users and increased organic traffic. 

optimising on site content blog pic

Optimising On-Site Content for SEO

On-site content is a crucial aspect of SEO, without content, users and search engines will not be able to understand what your website is about, meaning that your website will not rank on search engine results pages so it will not be seen organically. If your content is well optimised for your users, you will rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) and your website will get more organic traffic. 

What is On-Site Content for SEO?

On-site content for SEO is any content that is created for your website with the goal of better matching your user’s intent and increasing your ranking on search engine results pages in order to gain traffic to your website and boost your website’s trust and authority. The content on your website needs to be user friendly content so that search engines can easily understand what it is about and so that it satisfies the users intent. 

There can be many different types of content that you include on your website: 

  • ➡️Blog posts – sharing information through blogs 
  • ➡️Guides – longer pieces of content that contain information about a particular topic
  • ➡️Product pages – defines the products that you sell and allows customers to find out everything about that product
  • ➡️Static pages – these pages will stay the same for all users of the website – for example an About Us page
  • ➡️Landing pages – this is the first page that users land on when they go onto your website

The overall goal when optimising your on-site content for SEO is to write user friendly content that will fully answer your reader’s question or solve their problem – it should provide them with a specific answer but also it needs to be easily understandable by both the user and the search engine. 

How to Optimise your On-Site Content for SEO 

Keyword Research 

On-site content starts with carrying out keyword research as it will give you the direction of what content should be on your website – you can read our guide to keyword research to find out more about what this is and how to carry it out. Knowing what keywords your target audience are searching for will allow you to identify the specific things users are looking for relating to your website and you can then generate content for your website based on these keywords. 

Include Keywords in your Content

When you have found your keywords, it is important to include these keywords from your keyword research in your on-site content so that Google knows what your content is about so that they are able to rank you on search engine results pages. You should use your keywords and long-tail keywords in the title, headings and body of your content, it’s also worth using keywords and topics which are closely related to your key page topic, or semantically linked. When using your keywords, it is important for them to occur naturally throughout your content, do not use lots of keywords where they do not occur naturally as Google may peanalise you for this and it will not be optimised for the user. Always remember that Google wants you to create content that matches the user intent. 

Long-Type Content

When writing your content, it’s worth considering writing long-type content. There are many studies that show long-type content performs very well in search engine results pages. 

SerpIQ ran a study charting the top 10 results in a search engine results page by content length. The result in first position contained 2,416 words and the result in 10th position contained 2,032 words:

This study is showing that Google prefers longer content. However, this does not just mean that you should write over 2,000 words and think that you will rank higher. The content itself is a lot more significant than the quantity of the content. If your content completely matches the user’s needs and is not over 2,000 words then it will still rank even if there are other posts that are longer in length.

It’s important to consider user intent here and not just write content for content’s sake – while chances are that longer articles are more likely to answer any questions that a user has, short-form content can be equally as effective if it quickly matches user intent and answers their purpose in short, effective language – something to keep in mind.

Add Internal Links 

Including internal links in your on -site content will help to improve your SEO performance as it helps to identify which are the key focus areas on your website and to cluster topical content together to showcase your expertise on a particular vertical or topic.. An internal link is any link on your website that links to another page on your own website. Internal links are important because they will connect your website and make it a lot easier for users on your site to navigate and find the information that they are looking for. Internal links will also help when Google and other search engines are crawling your site because it will show them new pages that they can rank. They are always looking for new pages that they can rank for users but sometimes they will miss pages that you have on your site, internal linking will make sure that this doesn’t happen, because if Google is crawling one of your existing pages and they find an internal link, they will also crawl the linked page as well. 

When Google is crawling your website, any page that has a high amount of internal linking will be seen as important. So, it is likely that your website will have a main page that will focus on a particular topic and then this will be surrounded with other shorter articles that will go into more detail, these shorter articles should all link back to the main page so that Google knows that is the main page. As this main page starts to improve, it will also improve the ranking of the other pages that are linking to that main page, therefore improving the overall performance of your content. 

Add External Links 

External links are links that are used to direct users to another website. External links can be inbound or outbound. Inbound links are the links that come from other websites and outbound links are the links that are included on your website that direct your users to another website. 

If you are correctly including outbound external links in your content, this can help to back up your expertise as well as linking your website to other credible sources – it will improve the credibility of your website. If you add relevant and trustworthy links to your website, Google will know that your content is trustworthy and credible so they are more likely to rank your site because they know that it will answer users’ queries correctly. 

When you are including external links in your content, it is important that the links are relevant to the topic that you are discussing on your page. If the content is relevant, then you are improving the overall experience for your users as you are allowing them to find out more information about their desired topic. 

Optimise Readability 

When writing content for your website, readability is extremely important, this refers to how easy it is to read and understand your content. If your content is easy to read and understand then you are improving the overall experience for the user and it is more likely that your users will be more engaged and potentially spend a longer amount of time on your website. This is an extremely positive sign for Google and other search engines because they will be tracking the behavior of your users and how long they spend on your website. If users are spending a long time on your website, it is indicating to Google that your website has high-quality content that users are interacting with easily so they are likely to rank your website higher, knowing that it will match the users intent. When considering the readability of your content, there are a few things to consider: 

  • ➡️Use legible fonts 
  • ➡️Ensure your font is big enough 
  • ➡️Use short sentences 
  • ➡️Use headings for your paragraphs 
  • ➡️Use visual content such as images

Why is On-Site Content Important for SEO?

Google and other search engines want to rank websites that are valuable and relevant to what users are searching for. Google often updates their algorithms so that their users are receiving the most relevant and useful information, an example of this is the helpful content update that was designed to help users find high quality content. One of the main aspects that Google will be looking at when ranking websites is the on-site content and whether or not it is useful for the users that are searching for specific information, so it is important that your content is optimised for your users. Optimising your on-site content is extremely important for SEO: 

  • ➡️It will improve your users overall experience – creating high quality content will provide your users with the information that they need and will be easy for those users to navigate your website. 
  • ➡️Targeting keywords – when you are generating content for your website, this is the only way that you will be able to include your keywords onto your website and make sure that your site is found on search engine results pages when users are searching for your products/ services. 
  • ➡️Improve online visibility – if you are creating content that is optimised for your users and it is useful content, it is likely that Google and other search engines will increase your rankings and your website is more likely to be found by potential customers.

Optimising your on-site content is crucial for SEO in order to create user-friendly content for your users and for search engines. By creating content that is providing a better user experience, you are showing Google that your website is optimised for your users and this will in turn allow you to rank higher on search engine results pages.


A Guide To Keyword Research

Keyword research is a vital part of creating an SEO campaign and it is one of the first steps that you should take. In order to rank well on search engine results pages and to attract organic traffic, you need to conduct thorough keyword research. If you do not conduct keyword research and no one is searching for what you’re writing about, you will not get the right type of organic traffic from Google or potentially any at all – and that means you won’t be driving customers who are looking to engage with your product or service, it’s that simple. 

What is Keyword Research? 

So, what actually is keyword research? Keyword research involves researching and selecting key words or phrases that relate to a specific topic that users will be searching for. The process of keyword research is done in order to optimise websites. By having an optimised website, and the correct keywords, Google will be able to understand the content on that website and they will understand that you have pages that focus specifically around the user query and you are therefore able to effectively match user intent, this will mean that the site will have more of an opportunity to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Why is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research has a vital impact to your business, here are some reasons why: 

  • ➡️By doing targeted keyword research, it will enable you to know and understand what types of keywords and phrases people are searching for when trying to find your type of product or service. This will then allow you to create content that matches what the users are searching for. This will mean that your website is more likely to rank higher in search engine results pages and it will also help to attract more users to your site. 
  • ➡️Keyword research can also give you valuable information about which keywords are easy to rank for, which keywords your competitors rank for, search volume of keywords and where your website is ranking for keywords. 
  • ➡️Keyword research will tell you exactly what users are searching for, allowing you to optimise your website accordingly. 

Keyword research is one of the first steps when it comes to an SEO campaign, however, you should not just leave it there. Keyword research should be an ongoing process to see how well your website is ranking for keywords compared to your competitors. This will allow you to see what you need to improve in order to better match the user intent and rank higher on search engine results pages to gain organic search traffic. 

According to AHrefs, 90.63% of websites get no organic search traffic from Google. Keyword research will help to ensure that there will be a search demand for whatever you are writing about in your website. So, if your website ends up ranking well in Google for a keyword, you are more likely to get a stream of targeted users landing on your website and not be part of that 90.63% of websites. 

How to Carry Out Keyword Research 

So now you know how important keyword research is for your website, you need to know how to actually do it. The first step that you need to take is to think about your business and what you are trying to sell, then start writing an initial list of ‘seed keywords’ that are related to your business. This would be a good time to think about what you want to be found for – what are your main products/ services and what is it that you want users to be searching for when they find your website to ensure they are the right kind of user to convert.  

Think about what users you want to be landing on your website and what would they be searching for when looking for your product/service. Your keywords will shape the direction of your content and ensure that the content you are producing is relevant and easily searchable on Google. Strong keyword research will enable you to optimise your website to ensure you are matching user intent and giving users exactly what they are looking for. 

Once you have compiled a list of seed keywords, it is time to use keyword research tools to refine your keywords. Using an online tool, type in one of your keywords from your list of seed keywords, the tool will generate specific keywords and tell you the search volumes for those keywords. This will allow you to see what users looking for your product/ service are searching for which will then allow you to form your content for your website based on these keywords. 

There are many tools you can use when conducting your keyword research but here are some free tools to use: 

  • ➡️Google Trends 
  • ➡️Keyword generator 
  • ➡️Keyword sheeter
  • ➡️Answer the public 

Or if you want to use a paid tool then here are some paid tools to use: 

  • ➡️AHrefs 
  • ➡️SEMrush 
  • ➡️SEO profiler 

The tools above will help you to find high-traffic keywords that relate to your business and that have relatively low competition so that you have more chance ranking for them in search engine results pages. This will also allow you to make a decision over which keywords you want to prioritise first. You won’t be able to target them all in one go, so understanding the levels of competition around each keyword can help you to put priorities in place to ensure that your time is being most effectively spent. 

When you have found a few potential keywords, it is a good idea to do further research on these keywords to see if they will be a good fit for your website. A way of doing this is by searching for those keywords and looking at what type of websites rank on the results pages. This will allow you to see what types of websites are ranking for those keywords and if they would be suitable for your website. 

It is then a good idea to compile a list of keywords that you think will work for your website and that you will be able to rank for on search engine results pages. This will allow you to refer back to this list so you don’t forget those important keywords!

You should now have a useful list of keywords to use for your website in order to get your website ranking. Remember to regularly review these keywords as search patterns and search volumes do change and it is important to stay on top of your users search habits so that you can keep your website up to date and keep ranking. 

How to Use Your Keyword Research 

So, you have now carried out your keyword research, how do you use it in order to rank on search engine results pages? Well, once you have finalised your list of keywords, it is important to use them in your website so that Google knows what your content is about. Ensure that your keywords are in the following: 

  • ➡️Meta title 
  • ➡️Meta descriptions 
  • ➡️Headings (H1) 
  • ➡️The main content of your website 
  • ➡️Images (alt text)

It is important to include your keywords in your website, however, don’t use too many and think that you will automatically rank! This is known as keyword stuffing and Google could penalise you for this. Only include your keywords where they will naturally occur in order to improve your visibility of the website. Remember that Google wants you to create content that is for the user and not for Google – as such it has implemented a number of algorithm updates including the recent Helpful Content Update which are designed to encourage websites to create content that leaves the user satisfied and provides a better overall user experience.  

Summary of Keyword Research

So we have now realised just how important keyword research is, it is an extremely valuable activity for your business. Ranking for the right keywords is imperative for your website, if you don’t rank, it can have a significant impact on your business as you may not get the right type of traffic to have an impact on your sales and leads. By researching your keyword demand and including those keywords strategically on your website, it will help you to firstly, rank on search engine results pages and secondly, bring the right kind of visitors to your website. In order to rank successfully on search engine results pages, keyword research is a must, it is a fundamental aspect of SEO. 

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Digital PR: 10 Free Data Sources To Help You Land Solid SEO Links

We all know that Digital PR plays an important role in any solid SEO strategy. Whether it’s chasing after valuable high-quality links, improving the external reputation of your business, or trying to build credible, expertise-driven connections between your website and other trusted sources, doing it in a sustainable and consistent way is a key pillar of SEO success.

Although there are many ways to do Digital PR effectively (think newsjacking, thought leadership, product placements), data-led campaigns have grown in popularity as journalists look for interesting, data-driven stories to entertain their audience. 

When data-led campaigns started a lot of them were based around surveys. In some cases, these were expensive to commission (upwards of £3,000 per survey) and it took a while to get the data back. Although these are still a popular option among many SEO agencies, the rise of freely available data sources has paved the way for cheaper and quicker turnaround pieces, for example newsjacking with a data-led campaign. Yet they are also equally as effective for targeted news stories, thus creating a great recipe for effective Digital PR. This has led to a big rise in smaller data-led campaigns, which are a favourite among many agencies, including the team here at Cedarwood. 

To help out on your hunt for free data we’ve collated some of the best free data resources available to Digital PR professionals right now. All you need to do is go in and grab your data, find an angle and perfect that pitch. Data-driven Digital PR campaigns are a great way to enhance those all important E-A-T signals, adding real value to your SEO campaigns. So what are you waiting for? Get started by having a read through our list below:

1. Statista

One of the biggest portals of available data, Statista holds data from over 170 industries across 150+ countries so, if you’re looking for data, this is a great place to start. With a super easy to use interface you just input your search query to find relevant results. For example, if I wanted to know more about the 2022 FIFA World Cup I could input that exact query:

Source: Statista

If I wanted more of a summary, I have the option to only select the most important facts, for example, the transfer value of each of the country’s teams in the World Cup. I could then drill down further:

Source: Statista

Utilising data like this is a really valuable way to quickly analyse and pull together a newsworthy story. An example of the above would be looking at how likely a team is to win the World Cup based on their transfer value – a very timely, topical and data-driven piece of content from a very effective free data platform.

2. Google Ads Keyword Planner

Google Ads Keyword Planner is a highly effective way of gathering data around key trending topics and search volumes, to draw an analysis piece. The tool allows you to view current data (up to the previous month), data for related searches and even historical data for a few years, allowing you to analyse year on year comparisons.

Source: Google Ads Keyword Planner

In the above image we can see the variety of information that Google Ads Keyword Planner makes available to us, including search volume per month for that keyword, level of competition, change YOY etc… We’re also able to split that out by device (mobile or desktop), and drill down by a specific country, region or even city, enabling us to make comparisons at a very granular level. With this level of detail freely available, you can probably already imagine the types of angles and stories that can be developed just from accessing this data.

We recently used data in this way to pull together an effective Digital PR campaign for our client, Mist E Liquid, looking at which date users would give up their new year’s resolutions (based on search data). This landed some great coverage including a link from Yahoo!. If you are looking for a great option for data analysis then the Google Ads Keyword Planner is a good place to start.

3. Google Trends

Google Trends is another great tool that Google offers that provides you with the option to undertake free data analysis around trending topics. You can analyse something that is incredibly topical and compare it over time, by location and against other trending topics, to once again draw conclusions for an effective digital PR piece. 

Google Trends allows you to analyse the performance of particular trending topics over time, as well as compared to one another:

Source: Google Trends

In addition, it has a drill down option where you can compare the performance of those trending topics in specific areas; for example, looking at how trends for Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian differ based on US States:

Source: Google Trends

Similar to the Google Ads Keyword Planner, Google Trends can be quite granular with its dataset, so it’s down to you to understand which data you are looking for and how you want to evaluate it. If you are looking for up-to-date data on topics that are currently trending, or even just for ideas on which topics are actually trending, then this is a great place to start.

4. NHS Digital

NHS Digital is an online platform where you can freely access data that the NHS holds, and reports that they frequently publish online. The data they cover ranges from statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services to workforce statistics, maternity services, GP appointments and so on and so forth. It can be used as a data source for news stories closely relevant to the medical and technology sectors.

The reports are easily digestible and come with two main formats. Initially they give an overview of the key findings from the report, highlighting key pieces of analysis and themes that have come out of it; these are usually broken down into three or four boxes similar to this:

Source: NHS Digital

Following on from the headlines you then have a range of datasets which are broken down into both charts and Excel spreadsheets, to easily digest and manipulate/evaluate the data. This is where you can start to draw comparisons and identify angles which may be newsworthy or relevant for your client.

Source: NHS Digital

The data above allows you to draw topical analysis around the report, i.e. in this instance you could look to compare how many people have tried to quit smoking in a specific region vs the population of that region to understand which region of the UK is most likely to quit smoking. It’s a quick and simple piece of analysis that could be seeded to regional media with a local interest. 

NHS data is often very topical and trending. A great example of this is how the recent NHS report into appointments in general practice (October 2022) was picked up and turned into a news story on The Daily Mail. The piece highlighted which of the country’s NHS practices had the least in-person GP appointments as per the report. It was, and still is, a very topical issue that has gained great coverage, and is a good example of how a free data report from NHS Digital can be turned into a successful Digital PR piece. 

5. Office Of National Statistics

The ONS or the Office For National Statistics is another hub of free information. You can access a range of data sources, from employment rates and inflation (very topical at the moment!), to GDP and population/census data. In addition to standard reports it also offers several interactive features, such as interactive maps, graphs and diagrams of the economy, and indexes that cover areas like health.

On diving deeper into the websites you can see an extensive level of reporting on each of the aforementioned areas, with graphs and statistics updated on a regular basis. 

Within each section you will benefit from an initial summary which governs the top level figures of each report and summarises them into a neat table. This is often complemented by a short dot point summary that outlines the key takeaways.

Source: ONS

Some more in-depth graphs usually follow, which evaluate both the three month change and trends over time, so that you can quickly and easily draw data analysis and conclusions.

Source: ONS

The ONS publishes a wide range of reports on a regular basis, so it’s always worth keeping on top of any new reports that are coming up. They also have a huge ‘Time Series’ section, which archives any reports that have previously been created; doing a search here (with over 55,000 reports) is likely to bring up something relevant to your query. 

Additionally, the ONS has a release calendar where they feature already published releases and list any upcoming releases. This allows you to plan ahead and check if there are any reports coming up that are relevant to you. You can therefore set some time in your schedule to evaluate and create a great Digital PR story from said reports. 

Centre For Cities

Centre For Cities is a website dedicated to providing a range of data sources broken down by cities and towns across the UK. It’s great if you are looking for data about a specific region or are going for a local angle for a piece of coverage.

The website is incredibly user friendly and interactive. It features data in a number of different ways, including dashboard information that allows you to see a summary overview of how different towns and cities fare on key topics, such as energy bills and cost of living:

Source: Centre For Cities

There is also the option to break down this information in more detail, giving facts and figures to back up the data and looking at it in a more granular format:

Source: Centre For Cities

The site allows you to draw direct comparisons between different towns and cities so you can see how they are performing alongside each other:

Source: Centre For Cities

This data can be especially valuable if you are looking to evaluate something in a particular town or city, or regionally. The clear visualisation boards can help with data analysis too, so if you are looking to source data on a regional level this is a great place to start.

Google Public Data Sets

Google Public Data Sets are publicly available data boards that contain a broad range of information from around the world. Information included in these datasets can be GDP, Word Development Indicators, Agriculture, Domestic Government, Education, Energy, Health, Infrastructure and so much more… 

The interactive data sets allow you to evaluate growth over time and even helps to predict growth factors into the future. In addition, you are able to add and remove countries as you need which allows you to compare countries against each other – another valuable comparison metric.

Source: Google Public Data Sets

The Google Public Data Sets launched back in 2018 to provide a search engine strictly for data. Keep this in mind and if there’s something specific that you are looking for, you’ll likely have the ability within this dataset to drill down and find it. It’s also very intuitive, with an easy to use interface, clear description of the data, and even a summary in some sections, so you’ll know if you have an angle on your data or not.

If you know the type of data you are looking for then this is a valuable resource to pull that data together before adding it into your Digital PR strategy. is one of the UK’s largest sources of open data, which has been published by either local authorities, public bodies or the central government. Topics that you can find data on include

  • Business And Economy
  • Government
  • Transport
  • Defence
  • Crime And Justice
  • Health and Education

The information available is very in-depth and can offer good granularity into a sector. For example, if we look at the travel sector we can find over 824 relevant publications, including GB Road Traffic Counts, GM Accessibility Levels, Transport Statistics by region, Metrolink data, Speed Camera data and more. With new publications being added every few days, or even multiple times a day, this information archive is kept well up to date with the latest information. 

The database is quite user friendly and allows you to search by publisher, topic or format, as well as allowing you to sort by the most recent or most relevant topic. You can also do a general search if there is a specific data set that you are looking for. The data sets provided are extensive and, in addition to a standard summary, include a mixture of csv, pdf and zip files containing further information for your data analysis.

If you are looking to undertake a data analysis piece specific to one of the general topics listed above then this is a good data hub and place to start your research. The depth of the data lends itself well to regional analysis if you are looking to expand the reach of your content. 


If you’re working with European clients then Eurostat will be one of your go-to data platforms. An official website of the European Union, this website is home to wide ranging data about the EU, including inflation rates, GDP growth, house prices, unemployment rates, population data and much more.

The website offers a vast amount of reports and data visualisations that are handy for data analysis. This covers everything from key facts broken down at country level, through to key figures that cover Europe as a whole. Eurostat also has an API section which lets you draw data directly from the source. This is invaluable when you are working with large datasets and can allow you to use a more enterprise approach to data analysis. 

There are interactive dashboards where you can create your own datasets to analyse specific country’s data against the EU and Euro area as a whole. The below example shows where you can interactively check the information you are interested in and the information you are looking to compare together in a dashboard. This allows you to see the country data side by side and can lend itself quite well to effective data analysis.

Source: Eurostat

Similar to many other data sources, Eurostat has a release calendar which you can use effectively for proactive newsjacking. It comes in a really easily digestible and aesthetically pleasing format:

Source: Eurostat

If you want to create stories that involve data from the EU this is an excellent source of information and a great place to start. You can also use the handy calendar function to plan your campaigns in advance when you know key data is being released.

US Bureau Of Data Statistics

The US Bureau Of Data Statistics is home to a range of data information sources about the US. It includes census data and information about the economy, demographics and population. It’s a central hub for all information relating to the US and is an official website of the United States government.

In addition to publishing relevant data, the US Bureau Of Data Statistics also provides a list of useful links to other Federal Government data, including the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Transportation. This allows you to visit the respective sections if you are looking for more granular information about a specific sector. 

There are links through to sections for specific states and local governments too. So if you are looking to analyse data specific to a certain state or local area then utilising the websites provided here is a valuable place to start.

The website also has a maps section, covering topics such as environment data and water resources, current weather, recreation and agricultural information by commodity. If you are planning to analyse any of these in more detail, the website can give you information as granular as crop and plant yield and livestock/animal information. 

If you’re working on some US Digital PR campaigns, then the US Bureau Of Data Statistics can provide you with the data and insight you need for those juicy data-led campaigns.

Now that you have your free data sources you are well on your way to creating some high quality, data-driven Digital PR content. So, what are you waiting for? Start jumping on those trends, analysing great data and producing juicy angles to get your coverage front and centre in the press, delivering those all valuable links back to your client’s (or your own!) website. 

Want to find out more about how you can use free data-led sources for your Digital PR campaigns? Get in touch with our Digital PR team today!

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5 Key Reasons Why Digital PR Should Play An Important Role In Your SEO Campaign

Digital PR has become a huge buzzword in the digital marketing industry over the last few years. We’ve increasingly seen companies look to leverage an online presence in the PR industry and gain those all important links back to their websites. For the most part, Digital PR has been seen as a more effective alternative to link building but, in actual fact, it is so much more than that. Away from the traditional “link building” title, Digital PR dials right into the key SEO elements of improving reputation, building relevant links and showcasing expertise across a range of external websites. Alongside all of this, it helps to enhance important E-A-T signals too.

If you’re looking to find out more about Digital PR and how it can support your SEO campaigns and, moreover, why it should be a significant factor in doing so, then read below to find out our five key reasons why Digital PR should play an important role in your SEO campaigns:

1. Reputation

No, I’m not talking about the Taylor Swift album (although I did go to her tour), I’m talking about section 3.1 of Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, which talks to us about how important reputation is to a page’s quality rating – for reference you can find it here:

Reputation is important. Google and users want to know what your website’s reputation is and the reputation of the person who is responsible for creating the main content. So, where do they go to source this information? Yes, most likely they will start with your website, but chances are they will also go looking around the web to see if they can find out more information about you; that’s where Digital PR comes in. Demonstrating that your website has a good reputation, or giving information about the reputation of the person responsible for your content, is one of the main benefits of a strong Digital PR campaign.

Digital PR has the ability to really build out your reputation by growing your brand presence and expertise on external websites. A solid Digital PR campaign should use a range of techniques (newsjacking, thought leadership, data analysis) to build you a brand presence online. If done well, then it shouldn’t be hard for users or Google to find out about you and your reputation. 

For many brands PR is seen as more of a personal branding exercise, but in the SEO space it’s about much more than that. Yes, it will help to build those high quality links into the website and, yes, it may lead to referral traffic if you get your product or services in front of the right audience, but more than that, it is your personality out there on the web. In short, it’s the way that you present yourself in front of an external audience.

2. Because It IS Important

Having an online PR presence is a great way to drive your brand in a market that is powered by journalists sourcing data online, and by the rise of social media. Heard of HARO? #prrequest and #journorequest? These are all ways that journalists look online for PRs and brands to help them out with their stories. Having a strong Digital PR function allows you to push your brand to these journalists at the exact time they are looking for information, therefore putting you at the front and centre of the conversation. 

According to Cision’s State Of The Market report press releases are still a trusted source of information for around 54% of journalists in the UK. This means that if you are sending them something that is in the public interest there’s a good chance you’ll get it in front of the right audience. In fact, 73% of journalists go online to find press releases, so being able to connect with journalists who are looking for information that you or your client might possess is a very valuable skill.

It’s not just journalists who value Digital PR either. Even in the realms of SEO it is a highly regarded approach that helps to build on the key elements of a successful SEO campaign; namely expertise, authority and trust. Within Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines these three elements are highlighted within the report numerous times, and an effective Digital PR strategy will naturally weave these throughout.

Also, who could forget what John Mueller said about Digital PR? I feel like I’ve seen this quote so many times now, but it really does reinforce the way that Digital PR is viewed across the SEO spectrum, and the power it can wield in terms of driving solid results for a brand:

Digital PR has worked hard to distance itself from spammy link building tactics, as this method requires you to have a genuine piece of expertise-rich content or an article that is in the public interest (which is essential for it to be covered in the first place). That’s one of the main reasons it works so well for SEO; by its very nature it has to have that level of expertise, relevancy and trust, all of which are key signals for a solid SEO campaign. 

3. Referrals

Great Digital PR isn’t just about building high quality links or getting your super relevant expertise covered. It’s about being able to put your product or service in front of the right audience, in order to drive referral traffic and/or leads or sales through to your website. Referrals help to build momentum, drive more traffic through your content and product pages, and help more people to find out about your brand. In turn, this can lead to an increase in positive signals to your website as well as a lot more people talking about your brand and, of course, the ultimate goal: sales!

Digital PR is a really effective way to drive referral traffic to your website, in fact, every type of Digital PR campaign can drive referral traffic if it’s angled in the right way. Product placements are perhaps one of the best examples of where you can drive traffic. Product placements mean getting your products put in front of your target audience to drive referral sales.

We’ve had a lot of success placing some of our client’s most important products in front of their key target audience, such as this Ulverston Spruce feature in The Sun online:

Or this placement in Heart’s Christmas Gift Guide:

Product placements are an excellent way to get in front of your audience. They also drive high quality links back to your website, thus building valuable E-A-T signals. Which, as we know, can help towards improving your website’s SEO performance. 

Referrals don’t just come from product placements. You can also drive leads by creating really relevant case studies and data-led pieces, which include a clear call to action at the end that encourages users to visit the website or get in touch if they need more information. 

Referral traffic is a great way to supplement your sales and leads too. If you can generate both of these from sources outside of direct SEO, for example through Digital PR, then it gives the campaign a really well-rounded approach. As an added bonus, it can drive extra sales and leads for your client or business too, making it highly valuable as a branding exercise, and for the bottom line.

4. Boosting E-A-T Signals

Perhaps one of the most important reasons for having Digital PR in your campaigns is boosting essential E-A-T signals. These are a major player when it comes to Google’s ranking factors, and your off-site signals can play a key role in helping Google to understand more about your website. In addition, they help to build trust and credibility among your audience, encouraging conversions and customer retention.

E-A-T is perhaps one of the most used acronyms in the digital marketing space. A simple Google search of it will produce the following results…

… indicating how much people in the digital space are talking about E-A-T – and this is just a snapshot of the discussions that are happening. Since the Google Medic Update everyone has been busy trying to improve their overall Expertise, Authority and Trust signals and Digital PR has been one of the most effective ways to do that.

So how does Digital PR boost E-A-T signals? By definition, whatever approach you are taking, whether it’s newsjacking, data analysis or thought leadership you’re going to be showcasing the expertise and relevance of your brand.

Thought leadership: showcasing and utilising your expertise to give valuable information to an audience. 

Newsjacking: adding your expert opinion and commentary to a trending topic which also allows you to showcase your expertise. 

Data: showcasing your expertise (or your brand data) to demonstrate an outcome, or alternately adding an expert comment to your data findings.

Each of these approaches is demonstrating your expertise and knowledge on a relevant topic on external websites, thus enhancing your E-A-T.

High quality links are a good ranking factor for Google but it’s not enough for these links to be good quality, they also need to be relevant. Topical, relevant links from a high domain ranking website (think national publications, regional dailies and publications that are super relevant to your niche) are a great way to help build those key E-A-T signals, while also strengthening your website’s link profile.

In addition to building topical links into your website you can also strengthen the E-A-T of certain sections of your website by building targeted links into key service and product pages. This can be achieved through a more targeted Digital PR campaign which, in turn, can help to build topical authority across these areas. You’ll also be embedding the authority and trust, and boosting external ranking signals to key areas of your website. 

5. To Create Topical Authority

When used correctly, relevant Digital PR has the ability to boost and create topical and semantic authority, which we know is crucial to building a well-structured SEO campaign. Many SEO practitioners work hard to build on-site topical clusters, pillars or semantic posts (depending on what you call it), but they forget to supplement this with strong off-site linking around a specific topic. In doing so you can really showcase your expertise and authority around a particular vertical or topic area, and back up your valuable on-site content pillaring with solid off-site Digital PR links. All of which will give a strong boost to your business reputation in that vertical.

Digital PR campaigns can be structured to drive topical authority by organising the campaign to target specific subsections of the website or specific themes. Thought leadership, data-led analysis and newsjacking techniques can all be adapted to work with certain sectors of the market, and to target relevant audiences and publications on topics that marry closely to your website content. This is a great way to give an extra little boost to an already solid on-site topic cluster and it can help to bolster general external trust signals in the process.

There’s a lot of discussion in the SEO industry around the importance of link relevance and the role that it plays within topical authority. In this article, Paddy Moogan discusses the concept of link relevance vs content relevance for link building. He concludes that the relevance of the content is more important than where you get your link from. This backs up our key message of how link building can further improve your topical authority, and how you can use Digital PR to supplement this. 

Whether you’re looking to build reputation, increase referrals, enhance key E-A-T signals or to improve topical authority, Digital PR plays an important role in building out and supporting your SEO campaigns. To find out more about how we can help you with this view our SEO and Digital PR pages here.

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Five Reasons Why SEO Is Important For Your Business

If you’ve landed on this blog, or on the website, then chances are you are looking at your options for online marketing and, more specifically, SEO. As one of the most hotly debated forms of digital marketing, SEO often gets a bad rap. The lack of regulation in the industry doesn’t help but, when done correctly, SEO can be an incredibly powerful tool to grow your audience, sales and leads. In this article we’re going to look at how effective SEO can really help to grow and develop your business offering.

What Is Search Engine Optimisation?

Before we get started on why it’s important, let’s look at what SEO actually is. In general, SEO is defined as optimising your website with the aim of improving the overall quantity and quality of the traffic. There are a number of different ways that you can do this and, with Google having over 400 ranking factors, different SEOs approach it in different ways. For the most part, the main elements include improving your key expertise, authority and trust signals, answering user intent and purpose, and building a strong reputation.

Why Is SEO Important For My Business?

Often when we meet clients for the first time they aren’t sure which marketing mix is right for their business. They look to us primarily for advice and honesty as not one size fits all. When considering which type of marketing strategy to utilise, a lot of people look straight to PPC for instant returns, overlooking the long-term benefits a solid SEO strategy can provide. That said, if you’re on the fence about whether or not to go with SEO, here are five reasons why SEO is so important to grow your business:

  1. It targets all areas of the funnel

Unlike other marketing channels which tend to focus predominantly on one section of the funnel, the beauty of SEO is that it has the ability to target users at each stage of the funnel. So whether you are looking to be visible for a very specific high volume search term, or you are looking to increase your overall brand awareness by targeting a range of long-tail keywords, SEO has the ability to do all of this and more.

When we take into account a typical marketing funnel it looks something like this. As we can see, at each stage of the funnel there is an opportunity to target users through an effective SEO strategy:

By targeting users in this way you are also helping to ensure that your brand is visible at all target touchpoints. In fact, according to Hubspot it takes around eight touchpoints before you make a sale. So, reaching users at every stage of the funnel will help to get this number up a lot quicker. SEO isn’t always an easy sale because it’s harder to measure the direct ROAS (return on ad spend). However, by putting yourself in front of your audience at each touchpoint you are giving yourself the best possible chance to attract them at the exact time they are searching for your product or service.

2. It’s the gift that keeps on giving

SEO isn’t a one stop shop, and while many people refer to PPC as a tap that you can switch on and off, the beauty of SEO is that it really is the gift that keeps on giving. Once you have a campaign that is working effectively it creates a long-term sustainable method of marketing that will drive traffic to your website at all stages of the funnel.

Take for example one of our long-term clients that has been investing in SEO since 2015:

By creating a sustained and effective SEO strategy with continued investment (even during COVID) we’ve seen great growth across their marketing performance. It has continued to grow YOY and provided a consistent and sustained level of traffic (and leads), which has really underpinned the growth of this brand. 

SEO also generates a buildable income. What I mean by that is you are building incremental leads and sales rather than paying for them on a monthly basis. For example, if you spend £10k per month on PPC for 12 months and each lead costs £1k, you’ll generate a consistent £1k per month unless you either spend more or make substantial efficiencies. By contrast, if you spend £10k per month on SEO and generate 10 leads but then you grow incrementally, the resulting traffic may result in 12 leads the next month and 14 leads the month after for the same monthly cost. So, again, you can scale without necessarily having to increase your overall investment.

3. It puts you in front of your audience when they are searching for you

Search is one of the most effective forms of marketing because it has the unique ability to put your website in front of an audience at the time they are actively searching for you. Imagine you’re a Digital PR agency and someone is searching for a “Digital PR Agency In Manchester.” As a Digital PR agency that’s exactly the type of user that you want to get in front of at the time they are searching. Therefore, appearing in the search results for that term, specifically in the top three positions, puts you front and centre:

SEO is very effective at targeting users with high intent. These users have indicated they are looking for a particular product or service as they are actively searching for it. Therefore, the type of customers you bring to your website through SEO tend to be a little more engaged and go on to convert. Essentially, investing in this channel can bring you users that have a good level of engagement and are likely already in the market for your brand/service.

SEO does work best for brands and services where there is already search volume. If you are a DTC brand selling a very specific product then there’s a high chance you’ll need to generate some awareness before you use SEO as a strategy. That said, it’s still a valuable long-tail proposition, which allows you to get in front of an audience that might be researching and wanting to find out more about your product.

4. Good SEO will naturally build trust and credibility – enhancing your CRO

By their very nature, SEO strategies, when done properly, will help you to build natural trust and credibility for your website. This doesn’t just enhance your external reputation, it can also help to build all important on-site trust signals which can help to naturally grow your conversion rate. The core principles of good SEO relate to E-A-T (expertise, authority and trust). This means looking at the website’s authority and trust as well as the expertise that it conveys. By enhancing each of these signals you will naturally boost the trust of your audience.

Matching user intent and purpose is another key SEO principle. By updating your content, to ensure you match user intent and purpose, you will naturally create better content that is more engaging. It will also give the user more of the information they need to make an informed decision. Implementing faqs and other additions which further boost the expertise of the content will add to this further. Thereby helping to establish a better overall user experience, and giving users an insight into your expertise at the same time.

Finally, one of the biggest elements of SEO is trust and reputation. By nature of building this through SEO campaigns you will enhance the trust signals your users get in the form of better reputation content and reviews. Research shows that users spend a lot of time researching reviews and reputation before choosing a brand to go with – especially with so many options now on the market. Enhancing these signals from an SEO perspective can add a lot of value to your overall user experience and conversion rate.

5. It will be around for a while

Although technology is constantly evolving, SEO, in the main part, is here to stay. People will always search online, and though the search engine they use might change and the way that they search might change (cue the rise of voice search), the basic concept of looking for something online and placing your business in front of the user at this time is here to stay.

PPC, paid social and other advertising platforms are constantly evolving with new products, updates and changes to advertising structure. Although these other methods have been somewhat consistent over the last decade, SEO has remained virtually unchanged. With the exception of some small additions to the search results and some additional ads at the top lowering the organic visibility levels, the way SEO operates remains the same, and will likely continue to do so.

SEO is a long term investment, but with the stability of the search results you know that your investment is unlikely to change or go away. When you’re investing in SEO you are looking for a long term benefit and return, and once you get there it will most definitely be worth it.

Finally – How Do I Measure SEO?

Measurement in SEO is key. A lot of people give up on SEO or don’t consider it because they don’t see an immediate return. Good SEO takes time, but being able to measure it incrementally plays an important role in proving why it’s a solid investment.

According to HubSpots State Of Marketing Report 2021 around 50% of marketers said keyword rankings and organic traffic are the top ways they measure the success of their SEO strategies. However, this is missing a key ingredient: leads. You can bring all the traffic in the world to a website, but if it doesn’t convert then the value is zero. SEO isn’t just about traffic and keywords, it’s about making real world ROI, which is where the value in an effective SEO campaign really kicks in.  

To measure SEO effectively you need to take into account business goals first; what is the business trying to achieve, what generates revenue and what goals do they need to hit? Once you’ve established this, you can turn it into online goals and targets where you can set incremental improvements. These could start with raising overall visibility, acquiring a certain number of high quality, relevant links or simply completing certain pieces of work. By measuring incrementally you are able to effectively measure impact vs return – something that’s important for any marketing strategy.

Before you start work on your SEO campaign, have a clear measurement strategy in place with your agency. This will help to ensure that you’re aligned on what you are trying to achieve and that you have assigned clear values on how you can prove SEO ROI. 

Still unsure about whether SEO is right for your business? Get in touch with our team today to find out more about how it could work for you!

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6 Digital PR Techniques To Turbo Charge Your SEO Campaigns

Digital PR has become a major buzzword in the industry over the last 24 months, and while it’s always played an important role in visibility, traffic and driving brand awareness (and sales!), the value of Digital PR has never been more important than over this time.

As brands start to recognise the value of Digital PR and more companies turn towards using it, the competitive space has become more and more crowded. Journalists have become increasingly inundated with a wide range of press releases, from fake jobs to top 10 lists and huge data-driven campaigns. 

If you’ve wanted to take a leap into Digital PR, chances are you have looked at it for one of two reasons:

a) you want to drive brand awareness in the online space OR

b) you want to use it to help drive great quality links, authority and trust into your website from an SEO perspective. 

If the latter is the main reason that you’re looking at Digital PR activation, then here are 6 great Digital PR techniques which can really help to turbo charge your SEO campaigns and drive your ROI further:

1. Thought Leadership

Thought leadership has been around for years and has long been a staple of PR, both traditional and digital. If you are looking to boost your SEO value from Digital PR then thought leadership is a great place to start. One of the key pillars of SEO performance is E-A-T or Expertise, Authority and Trust, which is created on-site but also off-site through link optimisation and acquisition. It’s a great way to showcase your expertise as you will often put forward an expert from your brand. This can then help those all-important external ranking signals, by allowing them to understand that your brand really holds expertise in this space.

What is Thought Leadership?

Thought leadership is essentially where you tap into the talent within your brand to answer some of the most pressing questions that your users or the external public might have. You take your own expertise, experience or data and put it out into the world to help educate and inform others. Establishing yourself or your company as a thought leader is essentially working to put yourself out there as a well-known resource and expert across a particular vertical which, in turn, can help to educate and inform an audience about you and your brand.

You can do this in a number of ways:

  1. with tools that connect you to journalists who are looking for information, responding to their queries and putting your thought leader forward
  2. on Twitter by responding to hashtag searches which are very popular with journalists 
  3. pro-actively researching a particular topic, perhaps one that’s trending in the news, and outreaching this with a suitable angle to journalists

Each of these approaches is designed to put your expert at the forefront of a particular topic.

Increase reach

Thought leadership doesn’t just have to be linked to one vertical either as you may find that there are a range of verticals your brand can offer expertise in. Founded a business? You can offer business expertise. Got a HR team? They can offer HR expertise. Got a finance department? They can offer financial expertise. You don’t just have to limit your thought leadership to one individual and one vertical; by broadening your reach you can provide more well-rounded expertise signals for your business. 

Increase traffic

Thought leadership is incredibly effective for SEO too. In the latter half of 2022 we worked closely with in-house expert, Angela Slater, at Hayes Garden World to create a range of thought leadership pieces on highly relevant publications. This resulted in a significant increase in traffic and visibility for the brand as well as establishing Angela as a thought leader.

Quick searches of Google demonstrate that she has now contributed to most major publications within the gardening industry as well as some great nationals:

The resulting outcome for Hayes Garden World was a significant jump in visibility, in addition to landing top 5 rankings for major terms including “garden furniture” and “garden furniture sale” – right up there among major nationwide retailers! You can read all about our work with Hayes Garden World in our case study

We know that a lot of Google’s Core Algorithm updates recently have looked at E-A-T signals so, if you’re looking to really enhance those off-site trust signals, a solid thought leadership campaign is a great place to start.

2. Proactive Newsjacking

Jumping on trends is a really great way to utilise Digital PR to build relevant and effective high-quality links back into your website. We approach newsjacking in two ways: proactive and reactive. We will go through both in this blog, starting with the proactive side of things.

What is Proactive Newsjacking?

Proactive Newsjacking is looking to jump on emerging trends before they happen, to offer data, insights or expertise and be early to the conversation. Essentially, you need to read up on the media to understand when something is going to happen that could be relevant to your client or your business. You can then put yourself straight into the conversation by offering some great information, or a new angle on an existing story, to add value to an emerging trend or storyline.

Proactive newsjacking, when done correctly, can help to drive SEO in more ways than one as it has the potential to drive high quality referral traffic to your website. Proactive newsjacking is, therefore, one of the more powerful Digital PR techniques. By getting to the front of the conversation you are also more likely to attract more media interest with the potential for follow up interviews and comments and, as a result, even more coverage! Timing is critical here, so planning in advance to release your content to journalists at just the right time can often make or break this approach. 

If you’re looking to use this method, we’d usually recommend that you build out a calendar that allows you to plan for these events in advance. A calendar will also ensure you have PLENTY of time to allow for any potential issues, i.e. getting sign off on comments or producing data-led reports. By planning in advance you can not only ensure you get all of your content together in time, you’ll also be able to schedule each push of your content/release at the just right time.

Proactive planning

Timing is absolutely crucial across any newsjacking but with proactive newsjacking, given that people have likely known about it for a while, it’s even more important as there could be many other PRs trying to jump on the same trend. In addition to researching the journalists that are likely to cover the topic and the types of content they’ve written, you can work with tools like BuzzSumo to understand the times they are most likely to publish this content and how quickly they turn around a piece after news has broken. This is useful information that will help to  inform your publishing schedule and your email pushes.

Proactive newsjacking is a great way to get your brand in front of an audience in a planned manner, tying together nicely the visibility of Digital PR with the high quality link acquisition and E-A-T signals of SEO, to drive a great ROI from your campaigns.

3. Reactive Newsjacking

On the other side of the coin we have reactive newsjacking. While this still falls under that holistic “newsjacking” umbrella it takes a very different approach to proactive newsjacking and can often have a very different outcome.

What is Reactive Newsjacking?

Reactive Newsjacking is when you jump on something that has just broken in the news, or that is trending in the news and you bring your brand or client into the conversation by offering a new angle, expert opinion or new data that might not have previously been identified. It’s a great way to showcase your expertise on a given topic and it can get great coverage for your brand by putting you front and centre of the conversation. Reactive newsjacking is also popularly syndicated as it generally talks about a very topical issue and so people are more likely to have a need to cover the topic. 

Reactive newsjacking ties in nicely with your SEO because it brings that combination of super high quality links and really strong E-A-T signals, especially on the expertise and authority side. Additionally, it helps to establish your brand as a thought leader and build that all important brand awareness and recognition. It can also help with semantically themed external links; we know how important relevancy is to SEO, both on-page and off-page, so newsjacking something that’s highly relevant to your brand is a great way to tick this box as well. 

Get ahead

Reactive newsjacking doesn’t have to take a lot of time either – rather it’s about being first to the conversation with a great angle. Using tools like Google Trends and setting up Google Alerts are great ways to ensure you’re at the forefront of the news. We also monitor Twitter hashtags and the BBC Breaking News page, to ensure that we can jump on stories quickly as they happen. Another great way to track this is getting your team to run an open channel, such as on Microsoft Teams, where they can pop trending news that the Digital PR team can pick up on.
You can also have some fun with reactive newsjacking. Just after lockdown ended we ran this reactive newsjacking campaign for Hayes Garden World which we labelled “Lonely Plants Club.” It focused on explaining how houseplants could become lonely after lockdown ended and the steps that owners could take to make life a little easier for them. It was a light hearted piece but incredibly relevant at the time, and obviously super relevant to our garden centre client. The piece landed really well, generating over 23 top tier links across national and industry publications including the Daily Star and Country Living.

The great thing about reactive newsjacking is that it can be such a quick turnaround if you have the right processes in place. Focus on honing in on and improving those processes, and add this technique to your Digital PR and SEO tool belt.

4. Industry Report Analysis

Reports are a really effective way of utilising Digital PR because they help to build one of the most important aspects of a Digital PR campaign: relevancy. We can analyse reports which are really relevant to our clients and industries to clearly show how our expertise and analysis ties closely to the brand.

We know that Google loves relevancy. There’s been a lot written about the topic, most notably this content from Cyrus Shephard on MOZ about the concept of link relevance and Google rankings. In the article he talks through a range of scenarios where link relevance has played an important role, and has some great takeaways on how we can improve overall link relevance. This is crucial to ensuring we have great semantically themed content throughout the article, and using an approach like industry report analysis is a great way to showcase this.

Speak to your client

There are a number of ways that you can approach industry report analysis but, most commonly, speaking to your client and being aware of popular reports within their industry is a great place to start. This could be anything from a state of marketing report, to an NHS Digital report, through to a Government report on pedestrians and cycling. With most of these reports being freely available there is usually a mine of great information that you can fill your news story with too.

Find your angle

Finding juicy angles plays a strong role in getting reports covered and often you don’t have to dig deep if there are some standout or alarming statistics that are in the public interest. Building a story around this and analysing data to further back this up can be a great way to pull together a nice data analysis piece. From an SEO perspective the data side of this analysis offers some really strong expertise and trust signals, as well as providing some great supporting data which can back up any on-site content.

If you’re looking to boost your Digital PR through an industry report analysis then the first step is to find any free industry reports that are available and note down the dates they are published. Jumping on and analysing this quickly will allow you to get to the front of the conversation and help to cement the brand’s position. 

5. Google Search Trends Analysis

In addition to looking at industry reports and trends there are other great tools available that provide mounds of free and interesting data to analyse. Google Ads Keyword Planner and Google Trends are two such tools, and both offer tons of information around search habits relating to specific queries. They can help you identify what is trending, and what isn’t, compared to different times of the year or year on year comparisons.

Google Ads Keyword Planner contains a range of data pertaining to individual keyword search trends. It allows you to see how that keyword has performed over time and also breaks it down into mobile and desktop users so you can understand how people are searching differently for specific search terms. Below we can see that the term “seo agency” has grown substantially over the last year, from just under 5k searches per month in November to nearly 8k searches per month this year – a news story in itself! 

If we were to layer that data with countries that have searched specifically for “seo agency,” we would be able to build a narrative around which countries have seen a spike in demand for seo agencies over the last 12 months. For example, in Australia I can see that while there was an initial rise around the middle of the year, demand has really started to tail off in recent months:

And if we add the USA into the mix we see a trend very similar to that in Australia:

In isolation, these three pieces of information might not seem to generate a news story, but when pulled together we can analyse that searches for seo agencies in the UK have continued to rise over the last six months in contrast to searches in Australia and the USA. It’s a simple piece of data analysis but one that you can write a piece of content around.

In addition to Google Keyword Planner you can also use the Google Trends tool to analyse data and draw comparisons between different services and products. Google Trends allows you to compare trending keywords against each other and see how a particular keyword has trended over time. An example of this would be using the tool to evaluate how each of our key services ranks against each other as a trending topic:

From this we can evaluate that SEO is by far the most popular service, followed by PPC and then Digital PR. We could then pull each of these services out individually to analyse their performance over the last 12 months. 

Each of these examples shows very simple and quick data analysis. Yet with the right data and the right angle, you can turn this into a great piece of Digital PR content that is super relevant to your brand and likely to land those all important high quality relevant links.

6. Product Placements & Round-Ups

Rounding off the top 6 we have product placements and round-ups – an absolute stalwart for the ecommerce sector. Although this point is last it is most definitely not least! Product placements can be a really powerful way of getting your product in front of the right audience and driving crucial referral sales through to your website. At the same time they have the opportunity to build some really high quality links from incredibly relevant domains, i.e. domains that your target audience happens to be on.

There are a number of different approaches you can take to product placements, from looking at the Top x lists for specific products (these always tend to rank well) to working closely with journalists who you know are going to be looking to cover a particular product or product range. In most cases they are just looking for a hi-res image of your products, and so having this type of image to hand is incredibly helpful; we often keep them all in a Google Drive so they are ready to pull out at a moment’s notice. It’s also valuable to have visuals over your stock levels to ensure you aren’t promoting a product which is unavailable or low in stock.

If you’re looking for referral traffic then there’s nothing better than a placement like this…

… to really get you in front of your target market. In addition, the product review style of the content is only helping to add to the authority and trust of the overall product. These are key elements of E-A-T which feed heavily into Google’s Page Quality Rater Guidelines. 

Getting your products out there in front of your audience is a great way to gain visibility among the right market and to gain high quality links back to the website, all while enhancing key SEO signals. Driving in referral traffic sales is just the icing on the cake!

Digital PR has continued to play an increasingly important role in the growth of SEO campaigns – after all, who can forget when John Mueller said this?

So, if you are looking to take your SEO strategies to the next level then a solid, relevant, expertise-led Digital PR campaign is bound to put you on the right track!