Liberate Media blends online PR with offline PR expertise to form a uniquely positioned social media agency.

Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

SEOs will slaughter careless PRs – some thoughts

August 22nd, 2012

Image of ice cream with PR, SEO and links as a perfect solution

Chris Lee’s eConsultancy post – “SEOs will slaughter careless PRs” is a bit of a shocker. His Biblical reference is powerful and apposite. Old stories always work well.

We feel comfortable with these tales because they reinforce our collective sense of self and are very useful. But behind this agreed unity there is a less coherent argument.

Chris’s argument, as I understand it, centres on the fact that too many PR agencies do not see the point of integrating SEO into their campaigns. I’d take us out of that equation and would also expand Chris’s viewpoint. Believe it or not, there are many PR agencies that still don’t embrace social media, let alone SEO.

We’ve been integrating social media with ‘traditional’ PR and SEO at Liberate Media since 2006, working with partners and client agencies. That’s why colleague Lloyd Gofton founded the agency.

We’ve been doing what Chris suggests for six and more years:

· Link building from diverse and authoritative sites.

· Social media signals.

· Optimisation of on-page content.

· Optimisation of URLs.

· Universal search (pictures, video etc).

· Domain-level brand metrics (affinity towards the brand online).

But we’ve been doing much more than this – delivering integrated campaigns that mesh social with traditional PR so that the SEO element of marketing can maximise returns. We engage with media and influencers at every point, online and offline.

That said, my experience of SEO is that it is, at best, an inexact science. Measurement parameters are imprecise. This lack of detail is partly a function of the continual development of search engine algorithms, and the desire of Google to maximise its revenues.

But there is a certain easy acceptance of SEO data that does not push agencies to move forward. From my personal experience, there is only so far you can go with “secret sauce”.

Sure, we can deliver reports that have a range of good-looking figures but whether these correspond precisely to what is going on is not proven.

My intuition is that the current SEO play is under sustained pressure and is seeking partners who can add significant value, through knowledge, connections and expertise, to the proposition.

Partnership with PR agencies might be a way forward but the measurement tactics would need careful attention on both sides.

We’re neither smug nor careless about our business, which is growing rapidly against the grain. As Chris intimates, the skills and nous involved in successful SEO and PR are a rare commodity, one that we will continue to develop.

You can read Chris Lee’s post here.

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Are we really still talking about PR vs search vs social?

February 17th, 2012

Warning: rant coming…

First of all, this is not meant to be an attack on the recent post, titled ‘PR Agencies: Adapt or Die‘, on the Forrester blog. It made some good points, but it was also the spark that re-ignited my ongoing frustration with the industry that perpetuates this ‘x vs Y approach’, or ‘we’re better at it than you’ nonsense, which in my opinion misses the point entirely.

Yes, the traditional PR agency needs to adapt, and the same has been said for many years. The smart ones already have, and the others, well…they are slowly learning why they should.

In that time the search agency became all powerful, then became a digital agency and is now trying to redefine itself, and it’s a similar tale across the industry.

The reality for PR agencies, social agencies, digital agencies, search agencies and the vast majority of agencies, is that simply offering one element of a much wider remit of brand communications is not enough.

You cannot expect to live by one skill alone any more, and it’s pretty clear that brands are not willing to pay five agencies to do five roles that one should really be able to accomplish. Is it too much to ask that brand communicators should be able to establish emotional connections with customers, without the client needing to worry about where each level of service implementation comes from?

Some may argue that mobile is a specialism and one worth maintaining outside of the brand communications sphere of skills, and although it could be argued that is true for now, it was true of search and social at one time. Therefore, the simple truth is we as consumers absorb media quickly, and expect our services, brands and conversations to be cross-media very quickly, so why shouldn’t we expect the same of our agencies?

Getting back to my point, the issue is not about whether PR lives or dies, in its traditional form it has been struggling for 10 years. Search is losing its slice of the pie as skills go in-house and revenues tumble, and social agencies need to up-skill across the board to remain competitive, or risk being stranded as a specialist. So the issue is not so much who will win, but what will win.

By what, I mean that the agency of the future is not search or social or PR or even advertising. It’s more likely to be earned or paid media, and even earned and paid. This agency, let’s call it simply a brand communications agency (although I realise that has negative connotations traditionally) can do all of the above. This agency will be the winner, and yes that will upset many business models and eat into carefully laid profit plans, but that is the reality I see, and I don’t mean this agency will need to hold all skills in-house.

So yes, PR agencies as a general rule don’t do digital very well, this is not news, but it’s what PR, social, search and digital will become that is much more interesting.

Finally, a note to our regular readers. My apologies if you have seen this same rant in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and now 2012, it seems change takes time.

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SEO site review session by Matt Cutts

June 7th, 2010

If you’re interested in SEO, and you should be if you understand the value of digital, here is a good video from Matt Cutts and his team.

He goes through a series of websites from all genres and gives helpful tips and advice on how each site could be better optimised. It’s over an hour long but well worth the watch. Interesting stuff!

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Social Media Optimization Is The New SEO With Brian Solis

April 15th, 2010

Brian Solis: Social Media Optimisation is the new SEO

Last night, I joined in the Hubspot webinar on “Social Media is the New SEO” with Brian Solis and took away enough ideas to last through the rest of this year at least.

Brian engages with diamond-like clarity and precision; and he doesn’t waste words so, likewise, I’ll keep this short.

You can see Brian’s presentation on Slideshare.

Main takeaways:

  1. Social media conversations currently are “Blah Blah Blah!”
  2. The next level for marketing/brand professionals is to cut through
  3. Do this by accepting that we are all publishers now
  4. Create and curate Social Objects that extend depth and range of your conversations
  5. Social Media Objects, managed correctly, automate your social media work
  6. This is Word of Mouth automated, not just “going viral”
  7. Social Media will have its own budget in companies next year
  8. Maybe every savvy company will have a Chief Editorial Officer
  9. That Officer will direct quality, calibre and frequency of content (Social Objects)
  10. The new “CEOs” will help to connect the dots in Search.
  11. With Social Objects you will be found and be useful, relevant, authoritative.
  12. Social Media Optimisation is more than a conversation, more than manipulation
  13. Empathy is the key.

You know, there was so much more in that hour – The buzz around the webinar and Brian’s book, Engage, is continuing through the #engage hashtag if you want to joiun the conversation.

You can also out more about Social Media Optimisation on Brian’s blogsite

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Weekly Social Media sites, tools and posts round-up (05-03-2010)

March 5th, 2010

Welcome to another instalment of the ‘Weekly Social Media sites, tools and posts round-up’.

1. Stickr will let you post stickers on the Web. You can leave notes all over the Internet that track your activity, or that of your friends.View the video for a further overview.

2. Collecta #trends gives you top real-time trends right off the bat. Each trend gives you the latest photo, story, comment and update.  Collecta can also be used for searching your own trends.

3. Trends is another real-time trending platform, which is more visual than Collecta and offers a good selection of topics to navigate. On clicking a trend you are presented with a wealth of information.

4. Toobla. What they say: “Get Visual. Easily collect, enjoy and share your favourite content, bookmarked websites and everything else. Toobla helps you do it.”

Here is an example.

5. Thumboo - simple to generate thumbnails via a submitted URL

Social Media post of the week: If you missed it, here’s the link to the BIG social media quiz

SEO post of the week: Anatomy of a Hands-on SEO Site Audit – Part 1 Anatomy of a Hands-on SEO Audit – Part 2

More of the same social media sites and tools next week!

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How to SEO your Press Release

May 14th, 2009

Today we have a guest blogger posting on behalf of Liberate Media – his name is Ian Howie, Account Director, at 1upSearch, which was one of the first ever UK companies to become a Google Website Optimizer (GWO) Authorised Consultant, making it one of an elite group of Website Optimizer specialists.

How to SEO your Press Release

An essential part of your PR strategy should be optimising your press release for Google.

Optimising for Google will also help you to build awareness on Yahoo and other smaller search engines.

Instead of just dropping copy in your release and hoping it will be picked up by the Search Engines, simply follow my five tips to make sure that your online press release works harder for you.

1. Optimise for your Audience not the Search Engines…

This may sound counterintuitive – but optimising a Press Release is all about writing copy that is going to appeal to your audience. Simply stuffing your Press Release full of words that are popular will stop your Press Release from making sense to both your audience and to Google.

I’d suggest using Keyword Tools (see my next point) to find the right Keywords – and then using them in your Headline and at least two or three times in the body copy and again in your About section.

2. Use Keyword Research

So, for my example, I have a Press Release about a new service from Pressitt.

You can use these free Keyword Tools from Google and Wordtracker to help you workout which keywords to put in and in which order.

Let’s have a look at the Google Keyword Tool:

You can either enter the Keywords you want to research into the top box or you can enter a URL from your website if you want to research a subject area.

The second half of the screen shows the actual Keywords being searched in Google, the competition on Google Adwords and an indication of Search Volume (how many Searches per month).

Now, rather than peppering the Press Release with all the phrases, I’m going to combine them into one:

Social Media News Release Service

Covering the Keywords:

Social Media News Release

News Release Service

By doing this, the release will optimise better since (a) it includes both phrases, and (b) it describes more of what the service actually is.

Here is the Optimised text applied to the Press Release:

Social Media News Release Service in Public Beta – From Pressitt

Xx April 2009

Social Media News Release ServicePressitt – today launches in public beta, following a successful month of private beta testing.


Wendy McAuliffe, director of Liberate Media and Pressitt, says: “The private beta phase has been incredibly successful, and we’re delighted to be coming out of it after just one month of testing. The Social Media News Release Service has been a hot topic within the global PR industry for a while, and we’re pleased to see that businesses and brands of all sizes are eager to trial this up-to-date press release format. Early user feedback has been constructive and encouraging, and we’re making service updates as quickly as possible to ensure we’re continually innovating and responding to the needs of our users.”


About Pressitt

Pressitt is a Social Media News Release Service, provided by digital PR and social media consultancy Liberate Media and web development company Best Served Cold.

Pressitt allows you to create your own social media news release (SMNR) – also known as a social media press release (SMPR) or social media release (SMR) and publish it to an online community of journalists, the blogosphere and the general public.

The full release is just over 3,500 words – however we repeat the optimised terms only 7 times. The context of where you put your Keywords is very important – in the headline (which carries the most weight) and the first line. And is then repeated again within the body and the about section.

3. Use Wordle

To see how a Search Engine would see the words within your release, you can use a clever little site called: You can cut and paste your copy into it. If I put in my Social Media News Release text, I get this visualisation:


Ideally, the Keywords that you want to be indexed should show up in the largest text in the Visualisation.

4. Embed links

Put links into your copy that link to the relevant parts of your website, you can also link to client/partner websites. These links will help people reading your Press Release to find out more about you and also tell the Search Engines which of your clients’ pages are related to this Press Release, e.g.:

Social Media News Release service Pressitt today launches in public beta, following a successful month of private beta testing.

Developed by digital PR and social media consultancy Liberate Media and web development firm Best Served Cold,  Pressitt has already been trailed by an impressive list of high-profile and challenger brands and organisations. These include Johnson’s online parenting community BabyCentre, the Government’s Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, online music provider Napster, digital creative agency Collective, digital entertainment and internet solutions firm iBAHN, digital engagement agency Kerb and LED lamp producer Greengage Lighting.

5, Clear Online Path Back

Name, email address and phone number are now not only ways you can be found online you can also add links to an online version of your Release, as well as your homepage URL, Twitter address, Linked In Group and your blog.

Press contacts:

Wendy McAuliffe


Liberate Media / Pressitt

Tel: 07900 886791







So here are the results: the press release is third in the Google Results ranking, after being posted on Pressitt’s sister site Liberate Media:

And ranking at number one and two on Yahoo UK:

This post was written by Ian Howie Account Director at 1upSearch

Twitter: ihowie



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Five on Friday – five fabulous Web 2.0 tools and sites of the week (05-12-08)

December 5th, 2008

December is here already, and here is my usual web 2.0 tool and site weekly round-up.

1. As always the obligatory Twitter tool: this week it’s called twitbacks . “Brand yourself on Twitter by creating your very own Twitter background. Simply add your photo, logo and contact information. Then choose a theme and TwitBacks will automatically create a Twitter profile background”  – pretty easy to do this yourself if you know your way around Photoshop!

2. This next Web 2.0 tool is a neat SEO tool. It is called SEO Extractor. You add your keywords to the site, and it generates a report telling you where you are positioned on Google Yahoo and MSN. You will also receive an email when your ranking goes up or down.

3. Zing Sale is up next. Zing Sale lets you know when products you want go on sale, alerting you via email.

This is what LifeHacker had to say about it:

ZingSale Notifies You When Products Go on Sale

“You don’t have to run a manual search every day from now until December 23rd to find the best price on an item you’re hot to purchase but only for so much – ZingSale will monitor item prices for you over time, and email you when they go on sale.”

4. A little bit of nostalgia now. My Tweet 16 gives you your first ever 16 Tweets – my first was on December the 16th.

5. We finish off today’s little jaunt with a nice clean PDF search engine called PDFse. Just enter a keyword and it will find the related keyword ebook.

See ya next week!

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Will SEO drop out of the social media mix in the future?

November 20th, 2008

After reading an excellent post by Learn to Duck, titled SEO is dead, I started to wonder, where does that leave SEO? And, who now owns the majority slice of the social media mix, if not SEO?

To recap, the main points of the ‘SEO Is dead’ post were:

- There was a time when SEO consultants could charge a fortune for services, but now everyone is a so called SEO expert.

- Web designers are designing websites with SEO in mind.

- Platforms such as WordPress have SEO principals in their framework.

- SEO organisations need to re-position themselves within the next three years.

So where does this leave the SEO specialists, if in three years time SEO is dead and buried?

I think there will always be a need for SEO expertise, but not in the traditional stand alone sense. We have to develop a more joined up sense of how online PR, or any other element of the social media mix, links with SEO tactics. The joined up approach is the way Liberate Media likes to operate, meaning in an ideal scenario our client’s online services will be streamlined and focused on the same overall strategy, like a well-oiled machine. So, SEO expertise is still a very valued service but in the wider context of a digital strategy. In the future, I don’t think SEO will be seen as a standalone service.

Therefore, if we remove the channel approach, who will own the future SEO slice of the social media pie if not search agencies? -  Online PR, marketers, digital agencys, freelance consultants, something completely new, or all of the above? Will our skills need to encompass the entire digital range to become truly proficient social media marketeers?

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Liberate Media make it on to the SEO BIGLIST

August 26th, 2008

The guys at Liberate Media always strive to give are community of readers something back in the form of honest and thought provoking commentary, the latest social media news and lots of others features from our writers Wendy McAuliffe, Lloyd Gofton, Tim Greenhalgh and Andy Merchant.

So it was nice to see somebody had recognised are hard work, in the form of the - BIGLIST SEO Blog Reviews 082508

This is what Lee Odden from the online marketing blog had to say:

Liberate Media Blog – This UK based agency blog with Andy Merchant, Tim Greenhalgh and founders Lloyd Gofton and Wendy McAuliffe covers emerging trends, industry observations, social media and digital PR topics.

As part of the list we get a big shiny badge to add to our site:

Big List - Search Marketing Blogs

Thanks for reading the blog so far, we hope you enjoy it.

Watch this space for more exiting posts.

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Dragons Den talks search engine optimisation (SEO)

July 29th, 2008

As a big fan of TV’s Drangons Den I tuned in to last nights weekly episode as usual, half way through the show a guy pitched for a company called Diamond Geezer, an online retailer of Diamonds. What happened next was a first for Dragons Den. Peter Jones wanted to know all about Diamond Geezers Google rankings and key words.

View the video to see how the conversation unfolded:

Dragons Den talk key words

Just goes to show how (SEO) keywords and page ranking are now becoming an important mix of companies online strategy’s.

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