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SEO means two things: links and content

Our expert speaker, Simon Schnieders, has decades of experience at the forefront of web and mobile SEO, Content Marketing, PPC and Paid Inclusion.  Simon is the founder of SEO agency Blue Array Ltd, and he has previously headed up SEO for some of the UK’s leading brands and start-ups including; Zoopla, Mail Online and

If you were able to join us at the last DigitalSurrey event, then we hope you enjoyed Simon’s top SEO tips and insights as much as we did. Simon took us through Zoopla’s success story and gave us in-depth SEO tips and tricks that can be applied to your business and make a measurable impact. If you missed it or would like to review the presentation, please click here.

Knowing that 30% of us go to (and trust) the No1 organic search result – SEO is definitely a skill that needs mastering to ensure your businesses is being found by your customer base. These days you don’t see sudden spikes in SEO success, it is all about incremental growth. Here are a few takeaways from Simon’s talk that showed us how a dedicated SEO strategy can achieve that growth and great results.

The Zoopla story

It is important to have a clear USP to take on the big competition and achieve desired goals. Zoopla applied an aggressive acquisition strategy that brought about success and crowded out the competition achieving a zero to one billion pound IPO within seven years.

The Zoopla SEO strategy revolved around market consolidation – acquiring Find a Property, UpMyStreet and Globrix amongst other domains. They then redirected them to one single place using 301 redirects. There was a huge migration task over many months.

Simon talked about a technique called SERPS moating – stopping others from getting Google visibility, as well as using a long tail strategy including location postcodes which resulted in an impressive +30M pages of content being indexed! Efforts were also put into deep links through the sub-header navigation on Zoopla and thought the site, which dynamically updated based on the current pages locality. Zoopla, at the time Schnieders resigned, received over 16M visitors a month from non-branded SEO. It became clear to see that the ROI gained outweighed all other marketing activity (outdoor and TV advertising) combined.

SEO tips for content

  • Despite what Google say, they do have issues with duplicate content (they don’t have any issues with it provided you don’t mind appearing in the supplemental index). Ensure you make your content as unique as possible or add substantial unique value to otherwise duplicated content.
  • Don’t index your dead/old pages of expired products (if they are high churn) 301 redirect them to parent pages.
  • Utilise “badge baiting”– pages can be given a badge for users to cut and paste code linking back to the target page. e.g. ‘See X on X’ don’t use anchor text.
  • Use league tables and top 100 lists to benefit from “ego baiting”.
  • Invite influential people to write guest posts. This creates valuable content that carries weight and is often linked back to from the guest poster. Ensure you nofollow links back to the contributor though, it’s a paid link in Google’s eyes.
  • Leverage third party ‘owned’ assets to rank your content – LinkedIn Pulse, Pinterest and Google My Business.
  • Remember that though comments on blog posts can help with visibility, this shouldn’t be a long-term strategy and can destroy the credibility of the site and SEO if done at scale.


SEO tips for link building

  • Links carry currency depending on the authority of the source. Do not underestimate the power of a few good links to carry a website even for competitive queries.
  • The Guardian is one of the only Tier 1 sources of links that ‘dofollow’ – if you can have a link from the Guardian it carries high levels of currency/credibility. A number of media sources don’t allow backlinks (no-follow functionality).


Recommended resources

  • SEO fundamentals Google: The ‘Google search engine optimisation starter guide pdf’
  • Tools like Buzzsumo or MajesticSEO can help justify your efforts and translate success


We hope you enjoyed this quick summary. Follow #digitalsurrey to catch up on tweets from the event and details of future ones.

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