Category Archives: Digital Media & Marketing

Finding Jobs on LinkedIn – How to Do It Properly

Common sense dictates that finding jobs on LinkedIn should be easy. It’s a professional networking site, after all.

It therefore stands that getting a job through the platform should also be straightforward. Especially if you want to work from home or land your next, full-time remote job.

From personal experience, I can’t say that this is true. Emphasis on personal. Jobseekers get hired through the platform every day. Yet apart from the odd freelance contract or two, it hasn’t happened to me.

Surprisingly (or perhaps not…) I’ve come to realize that telecommute options seem to be even more scarce.

While I still haven’t managed to even land an interview, something clicked with me a while back. I realized that I and every other job seeker is sitting on a potential goldmine for new opportunities. What’s more, this has nothing to do with their job search feature.

linkedin job search engine
On that note, digital nomads and remote workers may appreciate that you can exclusively search for telecommute jobs in place of location. A step in the right direction, at least.

Those who do manage to meet recruiters, land interviews and get hired through the platform are doing it differently. They go beyond simply setting up a profile and connecting with everyone they know.

They’re taking LinkedIn more seriously… as a networking platform.

NOT as a job search engine. If anything, I’ve realized…

…as a “job board”, LinkedIn sucks.

Technically, the job search feature is fine. Like I pointed out, you can actually use it to find remote-friendly, work from home jobs. However, there just aren’t that many advertised. What’s more, most of what you do discover have already been posted elsewhere (Indeed, Stepstone, Monster and on remote job boards).

For the most part, I’ve found the search feature to be somewhat redundant. The job suggestions would be useful if the jobs suggested hadn’t already been posted somewhere else.

So, remember this: LinkedIn is not a job board. It is a social networking site for professionals. A place to gather new connections, expand your network and polish your personal brand.

Finding jobs on LinkedIn starts with your network

The word network cannot be emphasised enough.

Connecting with people you know (or don’t) is certainly part of it, but that’s really just the beginning. It’s just an introduction. Real networking happens by having conversations which further serve to develop relationships with your connections.

Part of networking lies in giving – doing things for other people without expecting something in return. Endorsing skills, suggesting people for jobs you know they’re be suited to, etc.

In turn, this could very well open you up to future possibilities. Someone may return those favors. Pay it forward, or backward… I don’t know, I didn’t watch the movie.

pay it forward movie
Not enough chainsaws

Building your network can start with the basics I previously mentioned: people you know. Friends, acquaintances, people from school, old work colleagues.

You probably already have a handful of connections. What comes next is growing your network.

This could very well mean getting out there and physically meeting people at industry-related events, meetups etc. The good thing about social media, however, is that there are many other ways to grow your network without actually leaving the house.

For the remote workers and digital nomads among us, this is especially important. Just as we can do our jobs from (almost) anywhere, so can we network from (almost) anywhere.

Take a look at the following points if you really want ideas on expanding your network. Bear in mind that these points are also great for increasing your own visibility (to employers and recruiters).

Seriously, get involved in online communities

If you’re a digital nomad, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you’re not involved in at least one thriving digital nomad community. Even if nomading isn’t your thing, joining online forums and discussion groups related to your industry (or to remote working/networking) is a great place to exchange ideas, get inspiration and yes, maybe even land a job.

You can further use these communities to build up your LinkedIn connections. If you get on with someone, don’t be shy. Ask to connect. Offer to endorse a few skills. Remember, people like it when you have something to offer (it doesn’t even have to be big).

Join LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups serve the same purpose as online communities, except they’re all gathered on the site. There are tonnes of communities, too. Really take the time to research them, see how active they are and what content is being shared.

Note: You can of course connect with random strangers in your industry, hiring managers, recruiters etc. But should you? Personally, I don’t. I also don’t respond to random connections, unless they write a message explaining why.

Involve yourself in discussions

On both LinkedIn and elsewhere… but especially LinkedIn. Like, comment and share content that is relevant to your industry/working style and engage with people. This gives your profile more visibility and will show off your expertise and areas of knowledge. Which recruiters and hiring managers may pick up on.

Share your own content (if you have some)

Not just your blog content – but also a few well thought-out posts or even your own articles. You can use LinkedIn Pulse to publish or even repurpose articles from your blog(s). And no, as far as I’m aware there is no duplicate content penalty.

You don’t even have to post that frequently, you just have to be consistent (and yes, I am very much failing at consistency). This isn’t Twitter (which is actually why I prefer it… too noisy for my tastes).

Really give your profile some TLC

Fill it out as much as possible, highlight relevant skills, try and get people in your network to endorse those skills… and make sure you have an interesting profile biography. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should capture the attention of the right people.

You can also let recruiters know that you’re available. Don’t worry, though: the platform keeps this information from your current employer if you’re working.

How this has helped me (so far)

I stated earlier that I still haven’t gotten an interview through LinkedIn, even though I’m currently looking for a new job. I have certainly been getting interviews, but not here. Yet I have noticed that my chances have become higher because…

  • More people are looking at my profile (this is partially because of sending around 8 job applicants a week, I’ll admit).
  • People are liking and commenting on my articles/posts and reshares.
  • I am engaging more. I’ve been using online communities to discuss aspects of remote work and have already connected with quite a few people.
  • Recruiters are approaching me.

Basically, I can see the beginnings of it happening. Just this morning, a recruiter from a company in Berlin expressed interest in my profile. That may lead to an interview if I like the job specs.

If you’re an impatient person (like I am), all of this can seem very long-winded and not really worth the effort. However, times have changed and for the most part, “jobs for life” are no longer a thing. You’re probably going to spend a lot of your career looking for new opportunities.

Building up a good network will not only serve you to land your next position (remote or not) but could very well serve you with an excellent resource for the rest of your career.

So Little to Do, So Much Time – “Good” Stress, Time Management and Goals

We’ve all heard the tired phrase – So much to do, so little time!

Well, having so much time and so little to do is just as draining and unproductive. In recent months, I’ve felt a weird mixture of both and I don’t like it. Having plenty of time but very little to do bores me to no end – I sink into apathy and find it difficult to resurface.

On the flipside, having too many tasks and not enough hours means rushing through tasks. I stop paying proper attention and become sloppy.

That’s what I’ve experienced with most of my projects lately. Sloppiness. I’m pretty sure even this blog post could be better but right now I don’t really care.

My greatest task, however, has been tackling the monster that is JavaScript. I’m not talking about doing a few hours here and there. I’m not talking about “Oh, I’ll give it a try…” I mean that I’ve actually been learning how to program in f***ing JavaScript.

Only now, in the last few weeks, has the penny truly dropped in terms of actually understanding the logic behind it. Before this year, I never really tackled coding proper (though I am a whizz at HTML & CSS). I’ve been following a Web Development course from CareerFoundry. So, I have a curriculum of tasks to follow. Its flexible but structured.

Now, after all those weeks of grinding through JS exercises, I have a backlog of course tasks to complete. Yeah, I’ve progressed in my understanding and fluency of JS. However, I’ve not actually progressed on the course itself.

Why? Because I was learning f***ing JavaScript.

In my limited experience, learning your first programming language means a lot of repetition. A LOT. I couldn’t just fly through the tasks on my course, have them approved and then forget about them. I wanted to be comfortable with everything, from data types to functions to functional programming (which still stumps and confuses me… unfortunately).

And loops.

I hate loops.

javascript for loop code
Oh, for God’s sake just DIE! (Yes, I’m aware I screenshot the cursor…)

Good Stress & Time Management: Keeping your goals in mind

I’ll be frank with you: this blog post, for once, is mainly for my own benefit. However, I’m sure it can still be of use to all of you. That’s what I want to talk about three things: Good Stress, Time Management and Keeping Your Eye on the Goal.

So, first things first: What is good stress?

It’s the kind of stress which motivates you to get things done. It gives you slight anxiety, pushing you to finish a project and do it right at the same time. This was something I experienced often in my last job. I worked on a project but had a deadline. Instead of going down a rabbit hole (as I am wont to do), I cut out the unnecessary or extraneous steps and focused on the points I had to deliver.

Guess what? I didn’t do half a bad job. I wasn’t 100% happy with it but it was good enough.

Good stress ties in with time management. Good stress forces you to implement more effective time management. Focus on priorities. Right now, I have the following priorities:

  • Finish the heap of JavaScript tasks I have left on my actual course.
  • Develop my personal brand.
  • Keep up my job search, get as many interviews as possible.

In many countries, finding a job would be top priority. We all need to eat. I am lucky enough, however, to live in a country with excellent social security.

counting money
That I PAID FOR, might I add. 600 euro a month went from my pay checks toward unemployment insurance.

So, finishing my course is top priority. Of course, in order to keep receiving an income I must be seen to be making an effort to apply for a job. My job search therefore continues to run in the background. It’s something I spend 1-2 hours a day on. That doesn’t just include applying for jobs. It means engaging on social networks, going to networking events etc (which I find difficult, being something of a recluse).
That also ties in with another “background” activity: developing personal brand. Which also ties in with this blog. Of course, this blog isn’t all about me. It’s about helping others develop skills and find remote/flexible jobs particularly within digital media. That’s my own, separate online marketing project which, admittedly, I haven’t really put that much effort into (because of f***ing JavaScript!).

NOTE: I did actually get a link the other month, though. Yay! Yes, I’ve acquired many backlinks in my career, but it’s been a while since my last link-building gig. Glad to see I’ve still got it!

So then, what now?

Well, I’m going for a walk first. I’m in Ireland right now and the house is right by the sea. After, I’ll actually edit this post and post it. After, I’ll apply for jobs (I found a nice bunch of gigs) and then… Well, the rest of the week will involve refreshing myself on JavaScript.
F***ing JavaScript (actually, now that I understand it, I quite enjoy it).

First Forays into Web Development – Tackling the BEAST

Okay, the title of this post is a lie.

I’ve been messing around/working with websites for years. I learned HTML back in the pre-Broadband era on Neopets of all places (I was 11 or 12 – don’t judge me). I learned I could use it to make my messages on the forums “prettier”. It was a lot of fun.

When I started writing for money, I learned about SEO (accidentally first, then on purpose).

I even tried my hand at blogging a few times. I set up basic websites with the likes of WordPress and other tools (good old Weebly… what a heap of shite).

Then, I got my first digital marketing job (online dating comparison – I’ve had a damn weird career). I had to deal with an ancient, outdated CMS (ironically called “CMS Made Simple”). So naturally, you can imagine how happy I was when I set up this blog with WordPress.

Thanks to digital marketing, my knowledge of HTML and CSS grew exponentially.

cms made simple 400x
YUCK. Admittedly, the “made simple” part was probably aimed at developers, not humble content managers.

Beyond markup languages, I learned how to use File Transfer Protocol. In my last job, I was even tasked with building and landing pages (content, code, EVERYTHING) despite being a “Media Analyst” (whatever that title meant…).

In my spare time, I did courses with Codecademy. I tried to learn programming (JavaScript & Python) but got bored (in retrospect, it was the way they did it and not the languages themselves).

It wasn’t until a few months ago (after I became unemployed – again) that I began my real education in web development (thanks, CareerFoundry).

To my surprise, I learned that I already have a huge tonne of frontend knowledge. I’m still doing the course and let me tell you – frontend is the easy part. It’s still a challenge, but there’s something very satisfying about writing code, tweaking it, changing it and then sitting back to see what you’ve created.

PSST! If you want to see my gloriously bad first attempt at my very first website, check out It will definitely improve as time goes on, but for now feel free to laugh at the horror that is the first site I built from scratch.

I’m pretty confident in the basics of frontend now more than I ever was.

Now I’m REALLY digging into JavaScript and moving to the backend.

I won’t lie: programming is fucking HARD. It’s fun, too: but if you’ve never worked with logic before, it’s a massive learning curve. I’ve only just gotten the basics of JS – namely, learned what the data types are and what functions and conditionals are (a piece of piss in comparison to for loops – good Jesus…).

As hard as it is, I plan on sticking with JavaScript until I know it. Do I want to be a developer? The honest answer is – I don’t know. I love tech and I love open source software. I’ve still got a few months left on the course, so I’ve still got time to determine whether this really is a career path I want to follow.

That being said, I’m really glad I chose to put my head down for a few months and learn web dev properly. The thing is, even if you don’t want to be a developer…

…having a strong technical background opens up many, many more doors.

This is something that’s been playing on my mind in recent months.

Being unemployed, I still have to apply for jobs. I’m taking this as a learning experience and have changed up my resume here and there to see what sort of responses I get (I have about 10+ versions of it, depending on the job I’m applying for).

I’m not ready to apply for junior dev/tech jobs yet – so I’m still sticking with digital marketing positions. Since I wax lyrical about my strong frontend knowledge, responses to my applications have been overwhelmingly positive. Even in digital marketing, strong tech skills are a massive plus. Digital marketers are in even more demand if they know their way around websites and understand how developers think.

But what about you? Not sure if web development is right for you? Well, I’ve learned a couple of things that may ease your mind. If becoming a developer is what you always wanted, read on!

Want to be a web developer? Some surprising things I’ve learned (so far)

Web development (and software engineering in general) takes time. You won’t pick up the skills you need in a couple of days (or even weeks, or months). There is a LOT of information to absorb: especially if you’re like me and you come from a more creative/artsy-fartsy background. That being said, it is entirely possible. It just involves a lot of hard work.

I think many of us have a lot of misconceptions about what web dev entails. Time to dispel them!

Web dev isn’t just about building websites

Shockingly, the actual process of building a website is the easy part. Wireframing, design, figuring out site structure, coding in HTML, creating lovely buttons in CSS, adding JavaScript for interactivity. Once you know how to do that, it’s not just easy. It’s a hell of a lot of fun!

The thing is, though…

…a significant portion of a web developer’s job is problem solving.

You may have the design and structure down, but you’ve also got to think about the code. Indent it properly, so that when you return to the project in a few months you can pick up where you left off and not be scratching your head about what something means.

Web developers end up spending a lot of their time on small, annoying problems. You can spend hours trying to figure out why a particular piece of code isn’t working only to realize that the problem was staring you in the face the whole time.

Web developers aren’t just builders. They’re problem solvers. Things shouldn’t be done quickly – they should be done properly. And that takes time.

No web developer (or programmer) knows everything

Crazy, right?

Not really. Obviously, the longer you do it the better you get. The more code you know off the top of your head. Even the most senior developers, however, have to turn to the search engines for their answers. That’s why there are so many communities based around different languages. If you’re experiencing a problem, it’s highly likely someone else has encountered it before.

That’s where you can go onto sites like StackOverflow and see if someone’s come up with a solution. As a developer, you’re also allowed to ask for help.

The two last points really put my mind at ease. You’re not just paid to create sites and apps – you’re paid to solve problems. While it’s early days for me yet, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t mind web dev as a career. We’ll just wait and see.

PS: Well, you can wait. I’ve still got a lot of work to do on my site…

Remote Digital Marketing Jobs and How to Land Them

Remote digital marketing jobs are common, right?

You’d really think so. At the very least, online marketing positions give you the option to work remotely. It’s all about selling things online, after all. We’re not out there putting up billboards, handing out flyers on the street or any other such nonsense. Online marketing has become a highly technical job. Researching, strategizing, conceiving content, creating content, social media monitoring, building websites… It’s the perfect work from home job.

So naturally, you can imagine my massive disappointment when I found out just how scarce remote digital marketing jobs seem to be.

When I started looking for my next full-time remote gig, I was naïve and figured it was easy.

Boy, I was WRONG.

Instead, searching for a remote marketing meant trawling the usual channels (Indeed, LinkedIn, contacts etc.). I got interviews but when push came to shove, quite a few (read: far too many) expected me to up sticks and move to whatever backwater their office was located. And let me repeat: These were jobs that were 100% done online.

Look at any standard job ad in the realm of SEO, social media or paid advertising. There are some exciting roles out there. Until you read…

Benefits: A beautiful office located in the heart of Berlin. Free coffee, tea, soft drinks, fruit snacks, games…

“Games?”. I’m not six years old. And don’t get me started on those who describe their workplaces as a “fun” office. The reason I work is to get paid for my expertise, not spend my days at an adult day care center.

I also don’t care how “beautiful” your office is. My apartment is nicer. I can actually get work done without pointless distractions and petty office wars.

daenarys targaryan 400x
Pretty much sums up how I feel when someone has the gall to distract me from my work over something trivial.

Sure, plenty of the positions I applied for had a “work from home” option. Compared to my current job, that just didn’t cut it. It’s a big leap going from a mostly remote setup to suddenly sitting at the same desk nearly every day.


One thing did give me hope, however. While many companies were still stuck in the 1980s in this regard, a significant portion of employers were very open to a remote setup (startups, more than anyone else).

So, while there aren’t many marketing jobs to be found via remote job boards – there are actually plenty of digital marketing positions you can do remotely. You just need to know how to land them.

Hence this post.

There’s an easier way to find remote digital marketing jobs

Don’t rule out remote-first jobs just because the competition is high. Chances are slim, but you never know. More importantly, remember: working in an office is the default. Most modern companies maintain outdated working methods because that’s what they know. Working remotely is slowly being accepted in many sectors. However, remote workers outside of the tech industry have organized “mobile” setups themselves… By asking for it.

You don’t even have to touch remote job boards (though I’d recommend you throw a few resumes that way, chances are slim but you never know!). The good news is that there are definitely more remote digital marketing jobs out there than are advertised. The first thing you’ve got to remember is that working in an office is the default. Employers expect it because that’s how its been since the Industrial Revolution (on a fun note, people have been working from home for about 1.4 million years).

So how do you get a remote role without using specialized job boards? Well, just ask.

Wait, really? It’s really that simple?

Yes. Your prospective employer may say no… But really, that’s the worst they can say. Asking for a remote work environment is no different to asking about other perks or a bigger salary. Additionally, remote digital marketing jobs are best found in startups rather than big companies. Though if some corporate giant wants you, don’t be afraid to ask.

Successfully securing a remote setup

First things first: know what you want. Know exactly what type of remote setup you’re looking for. Do you want to be entirely remote? Are you happy to travel to their office at least a few times a year? Or… Do you mind going in on a weekly basis, one or two days? Perhaps you simply prefer having the option to work from home.

As with any position, read what they say about the job. Apply for it, sell yourself. Maybe slightly emphasis your remote working skills… But don’t overdo it. In addition:

  • As with any other job, emphasize your skills and how they can be applied to the position. Your employer doesn’t care about your desire to work from home. They care only about how you can contribute to the company.
  • Do not mention remote working straight off the bat. Only talk about it after you’ve discussed the role, your experience and your skills.
  • When you do discuss a remote setup, ask about their “work environment”. If you’ve held a remote position before, don’t be afraid to say it. Explain that it’s the style you’re used to.
  • Should your employer seem open to the idea, proceed.

This advice goes not just for online marketing, but any position that can theoretically be done from home. The main takeaway here is that you have to ask for some things. Remote digital marketing jobs are more plentiful than you think. You just need to be tactful!

Digital Marketing for Beginners: How to (Not) Get Overwhelmed

Even if it isn’t your main field, selling anything online involves at least some digital marketing knowledge. You don’t have to be a SEO expert or even the world’s best copywriter (you can hire people for that).

On the flipside, you may find online marketing interesting and want to break into the field. Additionally, you may want to learn as much as possible.

And that’s when many people find…

…that with the amount of information out there, learning even the basics of online marketing can seem overwhelming.

Most books and articles about digital marketing (especially for beginners) often seem to skip this rather important lesson.

But it’s true – there is a TONNE of info out there. It can seem intimidating for anyone starting out. So, whether you’re a beginner, want to promote your services or sell a product… Take these three points into account.

Endgame & Experience: What digital marketing beginners must consider

1. Remember – It’s all about the goal

Forget about becoming an online marketing wizard. It’s a tool: learn to use that tool effectively in a what that it helps you achieve your goal. If you’re setting up a blog for example, your goal is to get readers.

And in this case, there are two things you can do:

  • Write/create engaging, helpful content that speaks to your target audience.
  • Share it – that’s where you can look into relevant social media sites, and simple strategies to attain more readers.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed about where to begin, sit down with a blank piece of paper. Think about what you want to achieve, then write it down. Now, think of at least two ways you could reach that goal.

If you can’t think of it, search for the information.

For example, if you’d like to expand your blog’s readership, you could search “ways to expand traffic to a blog”. Don’t completely ignore any other information the resources supply to you, but don’t get too bogged down in it. Stay focused!


Wisdom comes with age (aka., experience)

Of course, this advice isn’t just for digital marketing beginners. I’m talking to the more experienced marketers out there, too. Sometimes it is helpful to sit back, reflect on experience and realize that you already have the resources to tackle the current problem. You’ve just got to pull it out of your mental filing cabinet.

The more you promote, the more you research and think of different ways to expand your product’s reach, the better you’ll get. You WILL make mistakes along the way. Don’t fret if you’re not reaching your goals in the early stages.

Using blogs again as an example, don’t worry if your first ten posts only get a couple of views/likes. You can always recycle old blog posts – if the content is still relevant. You can still update them.

If your site isn’t optimized well, you can run an audit and fix the issues. With time, testing and seeing results… You’ll get better and develop a feel for what works and what doesn’t.

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

Simplicity is the key to being focused. Even in digital marketing, where many things seem hopelessly complicated. If you’re settling down to write an engaging post – focus on that post’s topic! Don’t go off on tangents. Don’t suddenly panic and start adding more keywords, shoving them in places where they decrease the quality of the content.

(Tip: You can do that later, in peace and quiet. If you feel it will add something and increase traffic!).

In terms of keeping things simple, I’ll use affiliate marketing as an example.

By design, affiliate marketing is ridiculously simple. You’ve got a link to a product or service. Another person clicks on it, makes a purchase… Voila! Fancy monies.

Your task here is to promote that link as much as possible. To maximise profit. It’s done in countless ways, and that’s where it gets complicated – paid advertising campaigns on various networks (Taboola, Outbrain, Facebook) or through organic search, or through social media… The list goes on.

It’s just important not to lose sight. Digital marketing can be overwhelming to beginners due to the volume of what it encompasses, but in the end the goal is the same – expand reach, promote presence and sell. Focus on these goals, educate yourself and it will come to you.

Affiliate Marketing – A SIMPLE Introduction

The term “affiliate marketing” came about when people started selling things online. These days, you’ll hear it everywhere. It’s the most common model of selling things on the Internet. In spite of this, many people are still confused as to how it works. Which is understandable because there are a lot of factors and components, often depending on industry and product.

The simple explanation of affiliate marketing however is…

Promoting a product or service and receiving commission through it.

Even if you’re not planning on starting your own business, anyone working in the digital marketing realm should at least have a basic understand of affiliate marketing and what it is.

The Basics of Affiliate Marketing

When I was freelancing, I had a vague idea of what affiliate marketing was. When I started working for a company, I learned a good bit more. We promoted online dating sites – through affiliate marketing.

Essentially, the process ran like this:

  • You got a product you wanted to sell. For example, say you wanted to promote
  • You then receive a special, tailored link to that product (called a “tracking link”).
  • You promote that link and persuade others to click on it and buy the service (in this case, a subscription to the dating site).
  • You then receive a commission.

That’s essentially all affiliate marketing is – at it’s most basic level.

Now of course, it’s much more complicated than that. But if you’ve never heard of it and want a basic understanding, that’s pretty much the crux of it.

Wait… There’s more!?

Of course! In the olden days, it was quite easy to just send the tracking link to someone who might be interested in your product. Since the internet has gotten a lot more sophisticated, we have to be a lot cleverer in how we promote our links. Some people put them on website and then do content marketing to drive traffic. Others use Adwords, others used paid advertising.

Promoting tracking links through organic search (SEO), for example, is playing the long game. You’re not going to make money straight away. In fact, you’ve got to build up your site. Build up your authority on Google. That takes time.

On the other hand, you could make money doing paid advertising campaigns. That’s a lot faster and is sometimes known as digital media buying… which of course requires a lot of skill and a good eye for numbers.

Don’t forget about affiliate networks!

Anyone can start off in affiliate marketing. The easiest way to do this is sign up to an affiliate network like Commission Junction and then peruse their products, seeing which one you would like to promote. It’s also possible to get affiliate links and deals straight from the source. However, that’s often where negotiations come into play.

The Mobile First Index: Do We Just Have Plain Old “Websites” Again?

The mobile first index is a ranking factor that was rolled out by the Masters of Google in 2016. To understand what it is, and how it affects your site, you need to understand plain, old-fashioned indexing.

Indexing just means organizing data, and that’s what Google does to rank websites on its search engine. Of course, it is far more complicated than this but then again everything to do with SEO can seem complicated.

crying woman
I don’t think SEO was intended to make people cry…

Indexing: Organizing Mobile and Desktop Versions

At one point, there were just websites. You got them on computers (fancy) instead of having to get them mailed to your door. I think it was Homer Simpson who famously announced that you could now get the Internet on computers. So, that solved a lot of problems. No more mailing pictures of my food!

As devices became more sophisticated, it became obvious that a lot of websites were too much for tiny screens. Even though the screens got better (seriously, though, some smartphones don’t even fit in my pocket…).

So, enter mobile sites: website optimized and fiddled with specially to appear on smartphone and mobile device screens. Nice.

Search engines continued to index desktop sites. They soon realized they also needed to index mobile sites. So, mobile indexing came into being. Now, you had mobile and desktop indexing: you had to pretty much make sure the SEO was up to standard on both sites, or you risked missing out on a lot of juicy traffic. As time went by, mobile became more and more important. These days, mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic.

The Masters of Google therefore decided to roll out mobile-first indexing. This simply means that only the mobile version of a site is indexed. To hell with the desktops. SEOs now have to make sure that sites are optimized for mobile, but must still look nice on desktops devices. Which brings me to this conclusion…

We Just Have ‘Websites’ Again

Seriously. It’s gone full circle: websites must now able to appear on every Internet-faring device imaginable. In my opinion, it has made SEO a little easier. Technology is and has been changing so fast that this is a small mercy to ensure that the ball keeps rolling.

Yes, there was (and still is) a massive hullaballoo about mobile versus/desktop and everyone scrambling to ensure that their sites are in top order. In reality, however, it just means that websites are essentially the same, albeit slicker and more mobile.

What Is Content Localization? Insights on SEO Translation

International SEO calls on marketers to localize their content for a specific country. Independent of language, the process involves tailoring content to a specific culture. UK users, for example, will find ecommerce sites that display currencies in pounds and use terms that they are familiar with to be the most helpful.

Localization, therefore, can be done within a specific language. While you may have two sites in Spanish, one may be focused on Mexico and the other on Spain. Often, this content may be a near-duplicate (to save time, in which case a hreflang tag will help you avoid duplicate content issues).

Localization is, however, a part of the translation process. It goes hand-in-hand with SEO translation when you’re not only localizing content for a specific culture, but also for a specific language.

Translating Cultural Expressions and Terms into Your Target Language

Before we go on, I would like to express the importance of hiring a native-speaking translator. When localizing content, you are doing so for the user. When writing content that is to be localized, the writer should do it in a manner that is most natural to them. This text can then be worked on later (if you’re localizing for the same language).

This localized content can be targeted towards a specific country. For example…

  • If you have an English text that you would like to translate and localize into Dutch, you can change some of the terms. These include things like currency, names of cities/regions, i.e. everything that will ensure it makes sense within a Dutch cultural context. It of course depends on the text (if it is very general, you probably won’t have to do much).
  • The keywords are also important (which I shall detail later). Make sure you do your keyword research in your target language(so, in my case, Dutch).
  • You then simply translate the text. For most people, this means sending it on to a translator.
We paid our Dutch translator in tulips (not really).

SEO Translation: Tips and Things to Keep in Mind

For the most part, translators are not SEOs (some are, though). So, while you have the power of a native speaker who can bring your message across expertly in their own language, you still need to detail the specifics of what you want.

The first thing I would therefore like to address is keyword research. Keyword research, especially in a language you probably aren’t even familiar with, may sound scary. Don’t worry, however: you only need to understand the terms that appear in the search engines, because that’s what people are looking for. You can use a dictionary to get a general gist of the “lingo” that is used. Keyword research in another language is a process that goes beyond the scope of this post, so take a look at this resource.

google translate
Don’t ever use this to translate. EVER.

Once you’ve got the foreign language keywords you want to use in your text, it is important to structure them. If you have some familiarity with the language (or are perhaps fluent in it but don’t trust yourself to write quality content), you can dictate to the translator where the keyword should appear.

But what if you’ve no clue? Well, the best trick I found was to simply put the keyword at the end of the sentence it ought to appear in. Write a note to the translator and tell them to use the keyword where it makes sense grammatically. This is the glorious marriage of optimization for both users and search engines (not a very exciting wedding, I’ll admit).

IMPORTANT: When doing keyword research in a different language, stick to primary keywords. Unless you know the language really, really, really damn well. Secondary keywords will come naturally to the translator. When preparing texts for translation into Dutch, I avoided secondary Dutch keywords like the plague. It was different when doing it in German since I am fluent in the language, but this is an exceptional case.

A lot of people tend to balk at the idea of dealing with another language. Yes, it is a challenge however if you want to your business to go global you need to suck it up and dive right in. You should also consider investing in the services of a translator. Alternatively, of course, you could just hire a SEO who is fluent or (ideally) native in that language.

Canonical and Hreflang Demystified

Previously, I wrote a blog post covering the very basics of technical SEO. I really only covered the bare essentials and naturally left out smaller, more specialized aspects. Today I’d like to take a close look at what are known as canonical tags and URLs and hreflang tags (also known as attributes).

Before we go any further, I would also like to point out:

Canonical and Hreflang tags are for URLs are used to prevent issues with duplicate content.

That’s pretty much it. You will often see them mentioned together, but remember that they are not the same thing and have very different functions.

What Is a Canonical URL/Tag in SEO?

We’ll start with the canonical tag (also known as a canonical link). As you may well know, duplicate content is probably one of the greatest sins of content marketing. Google’s minion spiders certainly won’t be amused if you have multiple pages on your site that have the same content (even if it is relevant or necessary). You’ll still get penalized (not in a fire-and-brimstone sort of way of course, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Google is working on that. Ouch).

For the most part, this makes sense. A website with the same content on multiple pages is just boring. However, as a webmaster you may come across instances where it makes sense to copy the content onto other pages. Product descriptions are a great example.

What to do then?

Essentially, you want this content to be indexed but only on one page. You want to avoid it to appear on other pages (for informative reasons) and will perhaps link to it, however you don’t want Google to consider it and penalize you. This is where the canonical tag comes in. Essentially, it’ll tell you that similar-looking URLs are the same.

The process of canonicalization is as follows:

  • First, pick the page that you actually want to canonicalize. Consider this to be your “one and only” in terms of indexing. Which one is the most important is up to you (maybe it’s the page with the most traffic, the most backlinks, etc.).
  • So if you choose, for example, as your canonical page, you then add the canonical link to the non-canonical page(s) like so:

rel canonical tag example

That’s all you have to do.

What Are Hreflang Tags?

Hreflang tags (or attributes) carry out a function in the same area as canonical tags, in that they avoid duplicate content. However, the attribute itself will tell Google that one page is specifically for one country/language. What’s pretty handy is that you can have two English languages sites with the same content. However, they’ll be directed at different countries. See below:

rel canonical tag example us
rel canonical tag example uk

One hreflang tag is for the States, the other is for the UK. A lot of the advice I originally read about hreflang tags focused on multiple sites in multiple languages, but I cannot stress the importance of using it in on same-language sites in multiple countries.

With regards to hreflang, you can of course simply do away with it and rewrite the content. That’s fine too, but it is a lot of work (and money).

My God, What Is Technical SEO? A Quick Look

Terms like “technical SEO” make some people shake in their boots, especially those new to or just learning the ropes of search engine optimization. I’ll admit I was a bit of a freak when I first found out about it: while it was confusing, it was also exciting. Though apparently it worries some people. That’s why I’ve written this short, simple post which will hopefully work as a basic introduction to the technical aspects of SEO.

Search engine optimization is about making your website easy to rank in the search engines and appear in the top search results. It is done through optimizing relevant keywords in your website copy, getting relevant inbound links from reputable sites and ensuring that content is unique and relevant to users (notice repetition of the word “relevant”?).

So, there’s a lot of focus on content. However…

…technical SEO focuses on the non-content side of your website.

It is the art of helping search engine spiders crawl and index your site as efficiently and easily as possible.

With technical SEO, you basically need to be aware of the major technical ranking factors.

Technical SEO: Basic Aspects to Keep in Mind

As an SEO, you may primarily focus on content and not the technical aspect of search engine optimization. That’s fine, but even being aware of the following points is a good idea. There’s no way around it (stop crying). Or, you may be very interested in learning technical SEO so you can charge thousands to get people’s websites up and running.

island forest
Then, buy and island and start your own raccoon kingdom… Okay, I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Whatever your reason for learning technical SEO, the following points are aspects that will affect your website as a whole from the technical standpoint.

  • Site loading speed: Search engines and users alike love a site that loads fast on all devices. A significant chunk of people will close their browser if it takes more than 3 seconds to load (not me, I do wait a bit… but I’m also a little strange). They’ll click “Back” and that’s it, your bounce rate goes up (and gives Google another reason to punish you). It’s a bad day for everyone (except the Masters of Google). When considering loading speed, don’t forget about images.
  • Good site architecture refers to the structure of your site and how easy it is for Google’s little minion spiders to crawl through and index all that content. So, it would be highly advisable to look into sitemaps (both HTML and XML versions). Make sure to read up on site architecture, and sitemaps so you have a better idea.
  • SEO Siloes: This means stacking all of your content neatly. Effective internal linking is therefore a good strategy to implement here. You will also need to categorize your content by subject so that the website isn’t a horrible, confusing mess (and it gets worse the bigger your site gets). As a general rule, however, try to have all parts of your site at least three or four clicks away from one another.
  • If you have to redirect a page then be mindful of how you do it. Look into 301 and 302 redirects (so you can see how much traffic you preserve). And don’t forget about 404 redirects: customize the page because the standard ones look tacky and will just make the user click away. Instead, making it look pretty gives it a higher chance of the user staying on your site.
  • Content: Basically, try to ensure that you have fat and juicy content for the user to lap up. So, it mustn’t be “thin”. In addition, duplicate content should also be avoided. Again, just a couple of basics to keep in mind (I’ve also just noticed this is the shortest point on the list…).
  • Structured data libraries: Search engines can look at a page and understand what the content is about. However, there’s no reason to make it more difficult for them. Structured data libraries are essentially a tool that describes content to the search engines (the most popular and recommended one is

Like SEO itself, the scope of technical SEO goes far, far beyond a single post. This is, however, a good way of getting to grips with the most technical aspects. I hope to be exploring it a little more in the future, so stay tuned.