Tim Grice Joins Branded3!

Thats right, I have joined the SEO team at Branded3, in my mind it is an excellent move for me, for many different reasons.

Now I know this may be shock to some of you who have seen SEOwizz grow nicely over the last 12 months, however I hope after reading through this post you understand my reasoning for the move.

For those of you new to the blog let me give you a little background.

I (Tim Grice) have been involved in the SEO/Internet marketing arena for the last 5 years, starting with affiliate marketing and progressing to more technical SEO activities and research.

I began taking on freelance clients in 2008, this was mainly through forums and other blogs that I actively contributed to, the contracts were small and involved very little in terms of project work.

SEOwizz was born at the beginning of 2009 and was an outlet for me to promote my skills and to share information with those who weren’t in a position to pay for it. SEOwizz grew faster than I thought it would, ranking on the first page of Google for a number of competitive terms and clients were signing up in the first 3 months of launch.

Work has been flowing through for the last 6 months and various contractors were employed to manage the work load.

So where are we now and why the move?

Well SEOwizz has reached the point where, in my opinion there are 2 avenues.

A – Investment to grow in an attempt to compete


B – I move my skill set to a firm who already deals with major clients

In my mind Branded3 is the perfect move for me, not only does it allow me to work with some of the UK’s biggest corporations but also gives the opportunity to learn and grow. On top of this I will be under the wing of Patrick Altoft, author of blogstorm (the biggest Internet marketing blog in the UK) and Director of search at Branded3.

I hope you can see how great and appealing this opportunity is for me.

However let me try and address the obvious responses;

How can you give up the freedom of being your own boss?

Why not be more patient and grow slowly?

The best way I can answer these sort of questions is by being honest.

SEO is not a money making scheme for me, it’s not a way for me to dominate the serps with cheap looking sites (even though I do dabble in that arena), for me SEO is an obsession, the whole Internet marketing landscape is my passion and the opportunity to work with corporate clients, grow my skills and learn from others is just as important as occupational freedom and money.

I am sure there will be those of you who disagree with me and may question my decision and hey, we all have different priorities. My hope is that regardless of personal opinions you will continue to come back and read the blog here.

Also I need to add that I didn’t simply join the first company out there, I have had a number of offers from some of the biggest firms in the UK. I joined Branded3 because of their strong focus on quality, even though they do build rankings and search engine traffic they are more concerned with building and maintaining successful businesses, this is why the opportunity to join them is one that I cannot let pass.

What is the future of SEOwizz?

Nothing has changed in my mind other than the SEO services will be directed through myself and the Search Team at Branded3. All tips, tutorials, research and rants will remain business as usual!!

So even though I am particularly busy over the coming weeks, I hope to throw in a few posts around the new link strategy topic, so please stick around :)

There will obviously be a number of changes on the blog over the coming days, so please be patient, I’ll try and keep things as smooth as possible.



Why Is SEO Always Free?

I guess it is the way of cyber space, everything must be free otherwise it’s not worth bothering with.

It is a fact that there is a lot of information online and more specifically a lot of quality information; however does that mean you can find everything you need to know about SEO free?

Well actually, yes. Everything you need to know about SEO is free, you can read this blog and numerous others all offering good, however slightly different SEO advice.

Implementing SEO? This does cost, in one way or another, whether you’re a blogger, online entrepreneur or internet marketer, you will find yourself in a position where you have to invest in your online interests.

There are those who become involved in blogging and social media for kicks, but I’ll continue with this post with “making money” in mind, whether that be through a business, a blog or any other venture that requires search engine traffic.

Let me run by three different scenarios and if you’re trying to build a successful website you will probably fall into one of these;

All scenarios are based on those trying to make money from their websites

Scenario One – Quality Resource Approach

You have a website and decided to go down the “quality resource wins all” route. You spend money on web design and pretty graphics, you dive into twitter, stumble and digg in order to raise interest in your brand and product. The traffic comes in slowly, if your product is excellent it will eventually pay dividends. If you are a blogger going down this route you may submit pages to social sites regularly, guest blog and maybe even pay for a little advertising. If you are a good writer or have a hot product you will no doubt see a lot of traffic, if your writing skills aren’t up to scratch or your product is outdated then you may as well not exist.

Even those with a great product or excellent writing skills can still find themselves a year or so later with little or no traffic.

Scenario Two – It’s all a matter of time

There are those that believe in the power of search engine optimisation and decide to use it to promote their pages. They find the right keywords and optimise their pages, they slowly build quality unique content, submit to the odd article directory and make multiple blog comments, even on no follow blogs in the hope of a quality backlink.

Now if the niche targeted is not competitive the people in this bucket may see a little success, however if they are targeting competitive phrases they will always be lagging behind those who are willing to invest.

Scenario Three – I will stand on top of Google

Finally there are those who believe driving search engine traffic to their pages is the make or break of their business model and go all out to lead the pack. They believe in the power of SEO so much that they are willing to invest in this belief. They will pay for link analysis software, rank tracking, keyword research, article and press release submissions and link building. All groups are willing to invest time but this group are willing to make a real monetary investment in their belief that they can dominate Google.

In my opinion these are the ones who win in competitive niches, the ones you see dominating Google.

In every scenario nothing is free, unless you class your time and energy as a free commodity.

The difference between those who do and those don’t is simple. Those who do, believe in their venture to such a degree that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

I know there are those who say “all you need is a free wordpress blog and you can make a ton of cash” this is so untrue on many levels;

– You need the right niche
– You need an effective marketing plan
– You need to know SEO (at least the basics)

I remember Darren Rowse at problogger commenting on how he used pay per click in the early days of his blog to drive traffic and many many more have done the same, including the famous John Chow. They are where they are because they have made an investment that goes beyond their time.

I’m Not Selling Anything

I am not leading up to some big sell, don’t worry. I am simply trying to convey the reality of being successful online, there is no one that gets where they want to be without paying for it in one way or another and in my opinion it requires more than your time.

What do I need to carry out successful SEO?

If you are targeting a competitive niche and you really want to sit with the big boys you need to do as they do.

I am not going to recommend any particular products, not yet anyway but am going to try and point you in the right direction.

Link Analysis

In my opinion anyone serious about SEO needs to invest in quality link analysis. Yes I know there are free ones out there but none I have tried have given me what I need to carry out a successful link campaign. I need to know the PageRank of the page the links are coming from, the title tag, whether or not the links are followed, what they are anchored with etc….


Now you can have a successful SEO campaign on a free hosted blog, however I have an issue with this and that is you are creating something that you never actually own. When you register a domain and host it you are building something that you own the rights to, so investing in a domain and hosting is a must.


You need backlinks to rank, plain and simple. Now I am going to be very careful talking about investment and backlinks in the same sentence as I don’t want to stir up any trouble for myself, but the truth is there isn’t a site sitting at the top of Google that has not invested in some sort of link building strategy or software.

I am not talking about spamming here, that is a big NO NO, I am not even talking about buying links (even though many of the top sites do) I am talking about networks that will help you generate natural editorial links.

Article Marketer – This system publishes your articles to thousands of directories that all help to generate backlinks to your site. I use and have used it many times, however I have moved on and found a better way of creating links. Still use it in the early days of your sites to get on the grid, but I now recommend using it for no more than 6 months.

My Article Network – This works in a very similar way to article marketer except the sites are anonymous and the links are in the actual article not the author box. If I were to publish articles anywhere it would be here.

Backlink Solutions – Simple network where you write posts that are distributed throughout a blog network. There are many networks like this, it works similar to articles, content for a link. My only issue with this system is that a lot of the blogs in the network are not 100% indexed and therefore some of the links drop off the grid.

Linkvana – This again is a blog network system, the difference in my opinion to backlink solutions is that the blogs where the content is submitted to are of far greater quality. All content on the blogs is 100% unique and therefore indexed, a lot of the blogs in the network are PR5 and even I noticed a PR6 link just a few weeks ago. If you really want to invest this system is a must have.

Now I didn’t link back to these tools as I didn’t want anyone to think I was simply trying to sell them products, all these work and are not cheap. Obviously like any product the more you pay the better the results, if you decide not to use tools such as the ones mentioned then you will be left behind by those that do.

By all means create a quality site, that is what the internet is all about, but promote your site at the same time. If your blog/website is worth enough for you to invest hours and hours every week then surely a small money investment is not too much to ask.

As I say whether you take my advice or not that is up to you, the ones that do – I’ll see you at the top of Mount Google :)

People SEO advice is FREE, but implementing SEO is not FREE and the results you get will ultimately depend on the price you’ve paid.

The Threefold Mission of Search Engine Optimisation

A question that is often debated is “What is SEO?”, many think it’s about creating keyword optimised pages, others think it’s about creating Google friendly site architecture, you have those who think it’s all about quality content and those who think it’s all about links.

Whilst all of the above are valuable SEO techniques, none of them describe SEO in a broad sense.

So what is it? Is it ranking higher on Google? Is it simply driving organic traffic to your pages? Well in my opinion SEO or search engine optimisation (or even optimization for those of you over the pond) is so much more than this; SEO in my mind is quite simply the most powerful marketing tool you could ever want.

In this post I am going to try and explain what I mean, I am going to go through what I think is the threefold mission of SEO, (by the way that’s just a term I made up :) )

seo explained

As you can see from the above image I believe the 3 main areas of SEO marketing are core market ranking, brand promotion and long tail optimisation, all are needed in a successful SEO campaign but let’s break this down a little.

Brand Promotion

How do we promote our brand through SEO?

Well it’s simple really, as your site grows more people will become aware of your services/product and if your good at what you do your brand may be passed by word of mouth, how valuable do you think it would be for someone to say “simply search [you brand] on Google and they’ll pop up”?

Let me show you something before we go any further;
seo wizz

As you can see last month there were 160 clicks on my site from keywords including my brand, now I know the figure isn’t huge but as the brand grows so will the traffic.

Think about it, it’s not just word of mouth business, say a visitor somehow drops on one of your pages, reads and likes it but forgets to bookmark it or subscribe, they come online the next day and fancy reading your content again, how are they going to find you? Probably by typing your brand into Google.

Ranking for your brand is something you need to implement immediately and it is so easy. If you have a solid link profile the chances are you already rank, however its good practice to try and get your brand name in your title tag.

If your site is new it is best to start by creating some social media profiles using your brand name, these will rank quickly and help channel traffic searching for your brand to your actual site.

Long Tail Optimisation

OK I know I have banged on about this enough so I will keep it short.

Long tail optimisation is optimising your deep content for low competition keyword variations, it’s a slow way of building traffic but one that will pay huge dividends.

Read my post here on long tail optimisation.

Once you have mastered this optimisation technique you will be able to grow your organic traffic with every new bit of content you add to your site.

Long tail traffic will not convert as well as precision targeted traffic but with a little keyword research before each new post or article and over time you will see a profitable return.

Core Market Ranking

At the start of any SEO campaign we do our keyword research and we identify our core market, or the keywords with the most amount of traffic and profitability.

These keywords are going to be the hardest to rank for and it may take you up to a year or even two years before ranking for your most competitive term.

This is very much a long term aspect of your search engine strategy but when you land this one it can take your business from minor profitability to huge profitability.

Your homepage will usually be targeted at these keywords and this is where the majority of your link building will be focused, I’d say as much as 80% of your link building efforts need to be aimed at landing these terms. The long tail and branding is not about links as long as the content is there the rest will take care of itself, the power keywords on the other hand require huge link building efforts and your aim should be the top 5 if not the number 1.


So why is it important to implement a full SEO strategy?

If you only concentrate on your core market it will take you years to see results and you will probably give up, if you only concentrate on branding and long tail optimisation your simply missing out on huge earning potential.

You need to incorporate all these strategies to create a successful campaign and this in my opinion is what SEO is, using Google as a platform for marketing your business on multiple levels.