Andrew Girdwood On The Future of ‘SEO For Brands’ In 2014

At our ‘SEO for Brands’ in 2014 Think Tank we con­ducted a short inter­view with Andrew Gird­wood. He is cur­rently Media Inno­va­tions Direc­tor at Dig­i­tasLBi where he is on the bleed­ing edge of tech­nol­ogy for mar­ket­ing, always on the out­look for the next...

Valbona Gjini By Valbona Gjini from Rocket Fuel Inc.. Join the discussion » 0 comments

At our ‘SEO for Brands’ in 2014 Think Tank we con­ducted a short inter­view with Andrew Gird­wood. He is cur­rently Media Inno­va­tions Direc­tor at Dig­i­tasLBi where he is on the bleed­ing edge of tech­nol­ogy for mar­ket­ing, always on the out­look for the next inno­va­tion.

How would you define SEO in 2014?

Mod­ern SEO means the con­ver­gence of con­tent mar­ket­ing, social media, ana­lyt­ics, tech, PR, and events with pub­lish­ers, as well as the actual page rank­ings and results. One day I might be help­ing blog­gers under­stand the dif­fer­ence between online edi­to­rial and adver­to­rial, and another I might be work­ing with a large brand on the devel­op­ment of their web­site. There are loads of dif­fer­ent plates in the SEO world. The most accu­rate def­i­n­i­tion is pub­lisher since it’s our job to use con­tent to engage your audi­ence and make money. In terms of SEO this means gen­er­at­ing links, social sig­nals, aware­ness, traf­fic, which essen­tially is a pub­lish­ing strat­egy.’

What were the big changes in your SEO plans from 2013 to 2014?

The changes were minor because the rules have been set for quiet some time now. I think the main thing is that we need to teach our­selves more as well as hav­ing to be stricter with clients. Brands seem to be aware of this since they are talk­ing ‘con­tent mar­ket­ing’ but it must not be a con­sid­er­a­tion because we have to do it now.’

In a per­fect world how should SEO be bud­geted for? 

Ide­ally the money would come from brands which embrace it and have infinite money. In a slightly less per­fect world it should be seen as a neces­sity because if you don’t do SEO you can be so eas­ily hit by neg­a­tive SEO by get­ting back­links which will have a neg­a­tive impact on your site. You need to worry about ‘can SEO drive incre­men­tal traf­fic’. You now need to do SEO in some shape or form. SEO should have a flex­i­ble bud­get: with a pot of cash right at the start – let­ting the agency or in-house team spend that as they want through­out the year in spits and spurts. If you are con­fi­dent that your SEO strat­egy is struc­tured in the way that you can see the results you can eas­ily work out if it’s prof­itable or not. And if it’s prof­itable – pay.’

What’s the dif­fer­ence between brands that dom­i­nate their sec­tor for organic search and those that don’t dom­i­nate and are catch­ing up? And what brands are cur­rently doing the best work?

It’s the ‘pure play’ dig­i­tal brands’ that are dom­i­nat­ing, they are noth­ing if they don’t get dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing right. Until they became famous they had no brand strength. Whereas the hybrids and big brands are not doing SEO as well. It’s not impor­tant to them. Brands from affil­i­ate origin are only being paid based on suc­cess. So if you want to pick a brand that is doing really well in SEO you’d pick those brands that demon­strate that they are a hero.’

You can watch the high­lights of Andrew’s  Think Tank pre­sen­ta­tion below:


SEO has changed more in 2013 than in any other year. Are you a CMO, Mar­ket­ing Direc­tor, Mar­ket­ing Strate­gist or SEO work­ing with brands and want to learn:

  • What are the brands that are set-up to increase vis­i­bil­ity and ROI doing?
  • What can brands that are off the pace learn from those that are win­ning?

Our speak­ers are from some of the most promi­nent brands and agen­cies in the world. Our videos share great insights from Mark Williams (iCross­ing), Joe Lewis (iProspect), Edward Cow­ell (Medi­a­Com), David Har­vey (Razor­fish) and Matt Roberts (Linkdex).

The exclu­sive Think Tank videos offer expert insights from agen­cies and in-house teams ser­vic­ing the world’s largest brands, as well as from brands them­selves, about what SEO means to them in 2014.

Valbona Gjini

Written by Valbona Gjini

EMEA Marketing Manager, Rocket Fuel Inc.

Valbona was formerly Digital Communications Manager at Linkdex, and now works for Rocket Fuel. She grew up in a beautiful but very rainy region in the north of Italy, so the London weather makes her feel right at home.

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