About the author

Joe is the founder of Zen Optimise and Chief SEO trainer. He likes talking about Branding, Kite Flying and SEO.

Joe Williams

The Weekly Optimiser

Each week, we bring you the best digital marketing advice from around the web. By in Uncategorized +

Top picks include HubSpot’s 7 Elements of Modern Web Design, whether link removals are worth it, and the (potential) crisis threatening content marketing.


This week’s top pick:

HubSpot’s Rachel Sprung runs through seven important elements of modern web design, such as unique typography, flat design, and large, responsive images. Many of these aren’t brand new, but instead are techniques gaining new prominence or being used in more sophisticated ways. Does your website need a refresh for 2014?


#1: Branded3: Should you spend time on link removals?

Over the past couple of years, webmasters and SEOs have been hurrying to remove low-quality backlinks that have resulted in (or may result in) Google penalties, believing (often due to Google’s words) that disavowing these links isn’t enough. But should you spend time on link removal at all? Tim Grice explains why he thinks not.

#2: Wired: The Best and Worst Thing to Ever Happen to SEO

Ryan Connors writes about Google’s encryption of searches (which removes keyword data from Google Analytics) and explains why he believes it’s the best thing that’s happened to SEO. He writes, “It’s the long-overdue coup-de-grace for grey-hat and black-hat SEO trickery.”

#3: DejanSEO: First Google Webmaster Tools Update in 2014

And if you are after more keyword data … Dan Petrovic covers, in detail and with screenshots, changes to Google Webmaster Tools which mean that you get to see more data about which search queries led visitors to your website.

Content Marketing

#4: {Grow}: Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy

This post caused quite a storm in the Content Marketing world (with Copyblogger’s Brian Clark weighing in for the defense in the comments). Mark W. Schaefer believes there’s now too high a barrier to entry for small companies and brands, but a glance through the comments show that many disagree. Perhaps Mark’s key message is that content marketing is difficult to execute efficiently.

#5: Chris Winfield: How (and Why) to Generate 10 Ideas Every Day

In this detailed post, Chris writes, “If an idea is in your head, get it out.  Ideas in your brain work like traffic on the highway: you have to create idea-flow for good ideas to come out.” He covers various techniques and tools – I plan to buy the Aqua notes as I always get ideas in the shower!

#6: BoostBlogTraffic: 7 Simple Edits That Make Your Writing 100% More Powerful

Great writing is really just great editing … and in this detailed post, Shane Arthur teaches you exactly how to do it, with straightforward but crucial tips on avoiding filler words,  using powerful verbs, adding commas where you need them, and using noun modifiers. Although some of it’s a little technical, he includes plenty of examples in case you’re a bit shaky on grammar.

Social Media

#7:  TechCrunch: Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone Explains The Surprising Goal Of His New Company, Jelly

Biz Stone’s new app Jelly “enables users to ask short questions of their social network through pictures”. But the site isn’t just a way to get information; instead, it’s designed to build empathy. Biz explains that he wants people to realise “There’s other people who need my help and I can actually help them and they’ll feel good about it and they’ll get trained to thinking about helping other people.”

#8: jeffbullas.com: The 10 Big Social Media Marketing Trends in 2014

Social media is changing, and Jeff Bullas explains how, running through key emerging trends like “pay to play” (paying for sponsored tweets, Facebook reach and so on) and “visual social takes center stage”.

#9: SocialMediaExaminer: Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts: This Year in Social Media

Social Media Examiner puts out a lot of great content. If you’ve missed some, here are their ten of their most popular articles from last year, covering hashtags, lead generation, event promotion, strategy, metrics, and even using social media to launch a podcast.


What have we missed? Let us know in the comments what posts have helped you this week.