Working in Search – How We Deliver Results at Branded3

This post is aimed at those in the SEO/Online Marketing Industry, if you have no interest in the industry you might find this a little dull, if you do read on 🙂

I have numerous requests now asking for a post along the lines of “a day in the life of an SEO consultant” or “a day in an SEO Agency”, obviously there is an increasing amount of interest in the Search Marketing industry and people want to know more about how it works.

I guess the main issue with writing a post like this is that every agency, every consultant and every in house team will differ in their approach to SEO and Online Marketing in general. The type of clients you service has a massive impact on the techniques you use and the resources available. Some clients literally just want to see a report every month, other clients want to be actively involved in the processes, and neither is wrong, just different.

So in this post I want to give you an honest insight into the processes and departments at Branded3, of course some things I can’t disclose in the interest of the company but I will try and give you the best insight possible into roles, processes and responsibilities.

Link Building

I think the best place to start is link building, the link building team are the back bone of any good SEO outfit, and these aren’t just spammers who get links here, there and everywhere. Our link building team are looking for ‘quality’ links and we have weekly meetings discussing link strategy and creative new ways to get links, if we wanted to just spam everywhere we could outsource it for a few hundred dollars, that’s not our aim and if you’re a serious SEO outfit you need to start producing quality.

When brainstorming link building for a particular client we consider the following sort of questions:-

– What does our client have to attract links?

– Does anything need creating in order to attract links?

– What types of websites are relevant to our clients’ product?

– What other products are relevant to our clients?

– What leverage is needed to acquire the links?

– What is the competition doing?

We try and get the whole SEO department involved in this process in an attempt to be as creative as possible, we have a select time each week to discuss the link building requirements of every client we service and tend to stumble upon new ideas every week.

Just a quick note on leverage……

I know after reading the above points some of you are going to be asking “hmmm, leverage = Paid links???”………. I am not going to turn this into a paid links debate but I will say this, If a link looks like a paid link it is going to be devalued whether money passed hands or not. So if you have a blogroll link that you got from a good friend and they have 20 other blogging friends that pass good anchor text, the chances are these will be classed as paid even though you never spent a dime.

So, with regards to leverage and link acquisition in general, all I will say is ‘be smart’.

Typically our links builders will perform the following tasks;

  • Competition Analysis
  • Viral Marketing Brainstorming and Implementation
  • Create and maintain online relationships
  • Source relevant links agreed upon in client meetings
  • Report to Head of Search on rankings, link acquisitions and quality details

We have a very strict quality process with regards to acquiring links taking into account:

– Pagerank

– Moz Metrics

– Inbound Links

– Outbound Links

– Indexation

– Trust

– Relevance

These are obviously very broad but it gives you a good idea of what we look for in a typical link.

We tend to avoid using our link building team for acquiring directory links, article links or press releases, not because these types of links are worthless but because we can outsource them relatively easy whilst still having a say over the quality. We differentiate between premium links and ‘content/user generated links’ they all have a place but we prefer to use our internal resources to develop quality link acquisitions.

On Page Optimisation, Keyword Research and Site Auditing

I and Patrick are both firm believers in on page optimisation and the effects it can have on the traffic of any website.

We have an ‘on page team’ who constantly work on enhancing the content and general optimisation of our clients. The tasks we complete are varied but the main aim is to better target page keywords and to fill in any gaps with lucrative terms, what Patrick refers to as ‘gap analysis’.

A typical site audit involves the following;

  • Keyword Research
  • Page optimisation – completed on every page of a website
  • Site Architecture
  • URL Structuring
  • Internal Linking
  • Content Brainstorming

Some of these practices merge and every client has different needs with regards to content and on page issues, however when a new client relationship begins we always start with an audit making sure everything is in place ready for the link building to begin.

Our content team work extremely close with the Pay Per Click side of Branded3 ensuring the keywords we are targeting are the most profitable and that traffic potential is as accurate as possible, often even if we don’t take care of the PPC for a particular client we ask for access to their Adwords campaign.

Pay Per Click

At Branded3 we class ourselves as ‘natural search’ experts, however we also get involved in the search marketing side of things, our intention was clear when we launched

Our aim with Search Engine Marketing is probably the same as every other agency, we are constantly looking to reduce costs and increase conversions producing the best possible ROI. We see PPC as an ongoing management task, much like SEO, removing unprofitable keywords, increasing ad copy and landing page relevancy and ensuring our clients ads are seen at the most profitable times in the most profitable locations.

We report and discuss on PPC activities weekly so we can quickly get on top of any account issues.

Our main platform is obviously Google Adwords, however, we do use Facebook and MSN ads with limited effect if I am honest.

The Many Meetings

Yes here at Branded3 Search we are no different to any other agency and have a diary full of meetings including;

– Client Updates and Reports

– Traffic and Conversion Analysis

– New Business Meetings

– Brainstorming and Planning

– One to One Consultant Meetings

– Team Meetings and Feedback

– Training and HR

It can seem like a lot of time spent discussing instead of doing but if carried out efficiently meetings are essential to the success of the business. They help us prioritise, plan and implement, often you will find that someone has a great idea about how we can improve a particular campaign but unless they have a formal procedure in which to put forward their ideas they will never do it. These meetings allow us to stay on top of the major goals for each client and encourage creativity on all levels.

A Typical Day

A typical day for anyone in the online marketing industry will depend on their position, the clients they work with and the type of work they do (agency/in house/consultants). I head the search team at Branded3 Search and will give you a little insight into what a typical day for consists of;

8.15am – I try and hit the office at this time, however some of my colleagues may beg to differ :). I spend the first hour of every morning going through my check list of urgent tasks and emails; this is an attempt to prioritise for the day and to ensure I complete what I’ve set out to do. Often they will be quick fixes such as emailing a client or answering a client query, however sometimes they can be large tasks such as hunting down an indexation issue or dealing with a severe rankings drop, these have to be scheduled in to be completed that day or week depending on urgency.

10.00am – We have a meeting with each member of the team to discuss the clients they are dealing with and how the campaign is doing in general (usually a weekly meeting). We discuss things such as;

  • Links
  • Traffic
  • Viral campaigns
  • Brainstorm new ideas
  • Set action points for the month

We also discuss any potential issues or requests from the clients that are outside the norm….

12.00am – Lunch time!!!! This is usually spend at my desk with Fish and Chips Thursday being the highlight of the week!! 🙂

1.00pm – After lunch I like get my hands dirty with the link building, highlighting those clients that need an extra push that particular month and going out there and trying to create some fruitful relationships. I think it is important for any Head of Search/SEO Manager to get involved in the day to day search work. Not only does this keep them skilled in the practice but also allows them to better understand the issues consultants and analysts may be facing in their roles.

2.30pm – I will now look back to my task list and begin to work down them, the ones in the afternoon are the more time consuming issues and they can vary from sorting out bad press, problem solving on page issues, brainstorming viral ideas, advising on new page set up, diving into Google Analytics, communicating with PR companies and agreeing new terms with link partners. These are just a few of the many tasks I could deal with, I think that’s why I love the industry so much, it gives you the chance to work with a different problem every week, particularly within an agency environment.

4.30pm – I like to spend the last 30 mins to an hour checking in campaign process and seeing what links we have managed to acquire that particular day. We don’t have link targets as such; however what I will say is that I would prefer to see 2 Quality links at the end of any one day rather than 10 low quality links.

5.00-30pm – At the end of every day I spend time making sure I am ready for the following day with tasks clearly defined and important contacts recorded in the diary.

Of course there are a multitude of other things I do and times when office hours extend beyond the norm, however this should give anyone who is thinking about entering the industry a broad enough overview.

I realise not everyone that reads this SEO wizz is in the industry but hope this has been interesting to those that are.

If there are any posts anyone would like to see on here, just let me know, always happy to look at putting any sort of content together.


is the CEO of Branded3 a Search Marketing Agency in the UK. Tim has over a decade of experience in Search and regularly speaks at key events and conferences.

3 thoughts on “Working in Search – How We Deliver Results at Branded3

  1. Hey Tim,
    I wanted to let you know that I have subscribed to your blog and constantly look forward to days when you add new posts.

    One thing I would like to see you write a post about is post tags and how they affect SEO. Do you mainly use them for SEO purposes or user friendliness? Could you discuss how you use them for optimization and also what you do to prevent Google from finding duplicate content with them? I realize that you somehow prevent Google from indexing them but how exactly do you do that? Is it using htaccess? How?

    I have seen a lot of different opinions about this and I am sure other readers would benefit from a post about this also.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for your comments, I appreciate.

    The tags issue is an interesting one actually. Up until a week ago I had always no indexed the tag pages because of duplicate issues, however I recently came across a competitor site that allowed google to crawl both categories and tags with no real issues. So as of last week I removed the no index using the thesis theme, if I didn’t have this theme then yes would use the ht.access.

    I am still testing it to see how it works and will post with my findings, probably 3 week away yet.

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