Stacey MacNaught: Fighting the fear

Stacey MacNaught

In the first of a tri-series of blog interviews, Tecmark’s Director of Search, Stacey MacNaught, discusses the fear in SEO – not just of itself, but of Google, PR and more.

“There seems to be a fear with SEOs about calling themselves SEOs, and that’s why you hear more about inbound and content marketing now, it sounds like something different. Ultimately, it’s producing content to generate leads through search.

“Where does that fear come from? Well a lot of people were burned by the Panda and Penguin updates. The old school method of SEO was optimising keywords and buying links and so many had done that and were burned. There’s this fear of Google now around links and whether your link is going to be seen as a natural link or something that’s being placed for SEO benefit.”

Find out more about the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates here

“You can’t go out and find 10 big keywords anymore. You’ve got to be creative and find hundreds or even thousands of long tail keywords. For that, you need to have an in-depth understanding of the customer. Research how they act online, what they look for. It involves a lot of keyword and social research. We spend more time now speaking to a client’s customer service team, question them on their process and what barriers they have to sale.

“But SEO will always be around. We’ve had to get good at using content to earn links and with that comes a layer of what is effectively digital PR. It is still about link building. 

“A problem we now find is SEOs treading on PR’s toes and vice versa, and not always for the right reason. There seems to be an awkward relationship between SEO and PR. 

“We have a client where there is a great relationship with their PR agency, and that means we produce content for each other, discuss overlaps and feed in to campaigns; but that’s not always the case. PR’s fear that SEOs are going to take their contracts. 

“But we’ve no interest in running social media or offline marketing; for us the motivation is getting digital citations and links for the benefit of the SEO strategy.”

Meet our new Digital Content Promotion apprentice, Sarah Pearce.

“In terms of branding and messaging, the PR agency might recommend we don’t do something. For instance, we got a link for a client in the Metro newspaper for a poll result that said Jeremy Clarkson was a tw*t. That wouldn’t have got through a PR agency!

“To get a link in a national newspaper on a tight budget is no mean feat. We would do what it takes to get that link.”

Cost effective data driven content marketing, including the Jeremy Clarkson data survey.

“We do encounter sites that have a blanket rule of “nofollow” links, mainly because they are scared of what Google might do. Google wants you to link on your site. You should link naturally. If you are receiving a story that comes off the back of a study, it is of course natural to then link to that study. 

“You would always cite your sources in any academic paper, and that’s something that dates back hundreds of years. Furthermore, it adds depth to the article. I think people misinterpret giving a link to being an advertorial.”

Our series with Stacey will continue next week.

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Tecmark Author Richard Bannister

About the Author

Richard Bannister: Senior Account Manager

The chances are if you’ve come across Tecmark, you’ve encountered Rich. He is the key link between clients and the operations team. Formerly with, Rich was also part of Trinity Mirror’s first digital marketing team.

Visit Richard's Page
  • Stacey MacNaught: Finding that special something
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