Peter Handley's Blog Organic Search Engine Marketer, Portsmouth, Hampshire
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    November 27th, 2010ismepeteSocial Media

    It’s been ages since I posted a blog here. I’ve still been writing as much as possible for Vertical Leap’s search marketing blog, but spare time has been a cherished occasion over the last few months – there has been a hell of a lot going on lately.

    I’d had ideas of blogs to post here, but not actually started writing anything – there will be more to come in the future.

    But events yesterday have motivated me to get something moving, so I decided to focus on yesterdays events a bit for something to write about.

    Twitter is a place where communities form – I’m sure this applies to other social media sites, quite likely forums and blogs too, but I’ve seen evidence of a really strong community bond over the past 24 hours.

    You form groups on twitter around those with similar interests. I work in search marketing, so probably 3 in every 4 people I follow are based in the same field jobs wise.

    You share ideas on what things are working for you – work out things that have caused you problems to try and help others stop things before they become a problem. Lots of people in this industry, hopefully myself included, reach out to help people on a daily basis when it’s asked for.

    But that makes it sound rather dry and dusty, just about the work. It’s far more than that to be honest.

    I love trying to find out more about people. I’m a social animal. Those that know me in life, know that I talk a lot. Sometimes I don’t know when to shut up and that probably applies to twitter use at times too.

    But there are plenty of other people out there who are just as interested in the people behind the avatars too. So, you talk – about musical likes and dislikes, sports, films and tv, share funny videos and images and comics that you find here and there.

    You make jokes with people and share some fun times. When things frustrate you, there is a platform for you to vent that frustration. There have been times when I’ve needed to talk to someone to get things off my chest and twitter has supplied me the friends necessary to help me out.

    As a result of my twitter use, I’ve gone out and met some of these industry folks that I talk to, and it’s been great – I’ve turned online relationships into real friendships.

    One friend on twitter did more than most to get that ball rolling. I’m sad to have learned that he died on Thursday.

    RIP Jaamit – almost a year ago, with the first Brightonseo event, you convinced me to get in the train from Portsmouth to Brighton on a cold night, not knowing anyone that would be attending.

    You greeted me saying it felt like we’d been friends for years. We barely ha a chance to chat as you were so busy with the organising of the night and DJ’ing, but there were plenty of interesting folks and friends to be made that night.

    You were welcoming again the other times I saw you and for that I am grateful.

    Thank you for convincing me to do that.

    You will clearly be missed, as I am clearly not the only one who you had this influence on.

    Twitter yesterday was unlike anything I’d ever seen. So, so many people were so shocked and saddened by the situation. At times it was the quietest I have known my feed to be – and it has never been as polarised on just the one topic.

    Farewell my friend. And much love to all those that knew him far better than I ever had a chance to in real life. We’re all thinking of you.

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    July 24th, 2010ismepeteInternet Good Deeds, Social Media

    I’m afraid that this blog isn’t really going to answer this question, but I was intrigued whilst at BrightonSEO yesterday when I was asked “how do you get people to like you on Twitter?”

    I don’t consider myself to be a social media expert, although I do like being social – I like to talk to people, find out interesting or fun titbits of information about peoples lives, share useful knowledge between people for the betterment of all of them

    I also don’t think that I am exactly one of the most famous tweeters in the world, or all that widely known/liked just yet – whilst it is a terrible measure, I have only just gone past 700 twitter followers, and growth in that respect has been dwindling a little bit of late.

    What I do think I have that perhaps the person asking does not, is quite an engaged follower/following relationship. I tweet quite a lot, about all sorts of topics ranging from SEO, music, film, I crack jokes and stories with people and probably, most of all, I tweet about Food and Rum :)

    These are all things that make me, me! I love cooking, so I talk about it – quite a lot of people in my Twitterverse also seem to like food, and I think its somewhat expected of me now (I know my co-workers ask about it if I don’t tweet about food for a while).

    I like a lot of types of music too. I listen to some blues and jazz music from time to time, and some of my twitter friends do too – The same goes with some of the rock music I listen to, or the hip hop that I put on from time to time. Over the last year, Twitter has become the main method of me finding new music to listen to – through word of mouth recommendations from people that I have spoken to enough to realise common interests.

    I think that to get the most out of social relationships built up in these spheres you have to take the time to tweet – if you don’t have those conversations with people that draw you closer together, you limit the possibilities of how much influence them and how they can help you increase visibility of anything that you are trying to get visibility for.

    I follow a lot of people in and around the SEO industry, but at the end of the day, many of the relationships I have formed with people have begun in completely unrelated conversations – you can then always talk about more work related issues at another time. Start the conversation somewhere that you have some middle ground to meet at, and build from there.

    Sometimes it’s not going to work out perfectly – I know that some of my flippant tongue in cheek comments have been misinterpreted at times, and no doubt I will have ruffled some feathers along the way, but that was never my intention. I have cringed a couple of times reading back tweets, but thats just a part of the journey.

    Ultimately, I doubt that there are many cut and dried rules about getting people to like you on Twitter, especially if you have to “try” to be liked – but my main 2 rules for my activities on social media platforms are:

    1) Treat people the way you would like to be treated

    And

    2) Be yourself!

    I’ll finish this post with a tweet I received from Nichola Stott after finally meeting her at BrightonSEO yesterday:

    Stay You Pete

    I fully intend to :D

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    July 20th, 2010ismepeteSEO

    Well, its been 5 months since the last one – and we are now just a few days away from the next #BrightonSEO even. Mercifully I am not speaking this time, and the beginning part with the presentations not being in a pub this time, I may well manage to stay a little bit longer this time.

    The full line up of the July BrightonSEO speakers is available now over at SiteVisibility, and there is a cracking line up of people to be listenig to and engaging with.

    There are a few folks that I am particularly looking forward to here – I’m very much looking forward to hearing Nichola Stott talking about “Challenging the Conventional Wisdom of Anchor Text” as well as getting to meet the lady too, after almost a year of talking regularly on Twitter.

    I’m certainly interested in Zachary Colbert’s talk on “Lev Manovich’s theory of Linking & Association”, although I don’t really have a clue what it is about. I got a fleeting chance to talk to Zac at the last event and hope to be able to chat some more again.

    Another interesting topic that I am looking to hear about is “When is an SEO Campaign not an SEO Campaign” from Anabel Hodges.

    There are plenty more of cracking looking presentations no doubt to be seen over the course of the day, with a very interesting, authorative panel of presenters lined up for us – and as well as that I’m sure everyone will be looking forward to getting to the traditinal home of #BrightonSEO (well so far anyway) the Quadrant, where even more serious chatting will no doubt be had over a bevvie or two.

    I’m hoping to take some notes and get them into a post a bit like my previous reflections on brightonseo post after the last one.

    And once again, thanks again to Kelvin Newman of SiteVisibility for putting all the effort in to organising this again :)

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    June 22nd, 2010ismepetePersonal, SEO

    Its now 4 years ago that I graduated from university with a degree in Entertainment Technology from Portsmouth, finishing with a 2:1, although I was agonisingly close to a 1st (69.7 was my final grade).

    I was immensely fortunate, that upon graduating I got the very first job that I applied for, as a trainee SEO at Vertical Leap, and on the 1st August, I will celebrating 4 years working in the industry.

    In the time that I have worked at Vertical Leap, I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of amazing people to learn SEO from (as well as learning many lessons on life) and seen a tremendous amount of growth in the company. In the time I’ve been here we’ve outgrown2 office already and seem to be swiftly filling up our new one too (though there is still plenty of room for us to grow further).

    When we first moved in to these offices, we almost had enough space for a kick about with a football, whereas now we are getting to a stage where we need to think carefully about how to use that space.

    In those 4 years, staff have come and gone, as they do, and I have looked to step up to the plate every time it was necessary for me to take on responsibility.

    From starting as a trainee SEO, with no real knowledge of the subject (although my degree did supply me with a host of related skills), I have worked hard, kept my head down, retained as many of my clients as possible and done what I can to grow as a person into a bigger role in the company.

    Around 18 months to 2 years ago, I was made Team Leader of the growing SEO department at Vertical Leap.

    In my previous post, I alluded to this being a bit rubbish title, which was meant to be a joke, although with the pain I felt inside when writing that post, I don’t think that was particularly clear.

    A title isn’t really very important in my opinion. I think mine at the moment is somewhat wordy “SEO Team Leader – Campaign Delivery Manager”. Suffice to say, I don’t use that in my email signature!

    As I say, a title isn’t very important – what is important is how you fulfil that role.

    As Vertical Leap has grown & we employ more staff in the SEO department, the more my role has grown too.

    When I first started at Vertical Leap, I was entrusted with a small number of clients, and as my confidence and ability grew, I took on more responsibilities, more campaigns and helped the company generate more revenue.

    We launched a blog on the site, and I am one of the more regular writers on the VL search marketing blog (I’m not THE most regular writer, though I do write more than many).

    I now have to spend not inconsiderable amounts of time with new staff – teaching them the “Vertical Leap” way, showing them how we utilise our campaign management tool Apollo and ensuring that we treat our clients consistently well and do everything you can to keep them happy – understanding their goals for a campaign.

    At first, these extra responsibilities did not come easily, but over the last year in particular I have done my best to do right by my team and help the, to help themselves in their own development – just like I was helped by those that came before me.

    Around a year ago, I was also challenged to become better known in the industry – as I’d been doing all this great work for my clients and concentrating on getting things done.

    At first I wasn’t sure how to achieve this – and I was left scratching my head about it for some time.

    I decided first to start talking to the rest of the SEO community on Twitter – a great place to exchange ideas and techniques , whilst also a platform for some fun exchanges with some other interesting people, and believe to a certain extent I have achieved this goal (although I’m not going to rest on my laurels just yet).

    I’ve also looked to put myself about a bit more at industry events – initially with the local Brighton SEO events, but hopefully extending myself a bit further around the country if suitable opportunities present themselves.

    Doing all of these things takes hard work and determination – just working the 9-5 hours aren’t sufficient for me to achieve the goals that have been set for me, and buy me.

    Clearly, as can be seen from my last post – things in life can affect the course you are trying to take – and there are going to be bumps in the road.

    But nothing worth having in life is ever easy – so I will continue to work hard to achieve my goals in life and be more of the person those close to me, need me to be.

  • scissors
    June 12th, 2010ismepetePersonal

    I need a device that pauses time. In my work and personal life, time keeps on slipping away…

    It’s been months since I’ve written a credible blog on here (tho I have started a recipes blog in that time, which has a few posts), and I never find the time to do things in the evening that I want to be doing – mostly because evenings are my work ‘research’ time…

    Life is busy, and as more commitments are added to work and personal life, it adds to that slippage.

    At work I’m the ‘team leader’ of the seo department. I think I’d like a better title than that, although I guess that isn’t for me to decide.

    Essentially, whilst I don’t have to concern myself with the human resources issues of the staff, I am in charge of making sure everyone services their clients properly and fully, and I’m charge of the way that we approach seo.

    Despite this, I also have a full portfolio of clients to manage as well as being responsible for our companies seo, although I don’t always have the control over that, that I would like. I’m not going to gloat about it here, but there are some things that we are doing pretty well for at the moment, although I have targets for improving this further.

    In my personal life at the moment, my partner for the last 7 years (well almost, it’s our anniversary next month) has had to deal with an immense amount of problems with her back, as well as starting a new job, having finally escaped the shop floor at HMV, she is now an artworker at b&q’s head office, finally landing the role with graphics she has been seeking since returning from her round the world travels.

    She does love the job, although the commute can clearly be a drag. Still, she’s learning fast how to drive (I’ve never had a lesson in my almost 28 years of life :s ) and that should make life easier. It might stop the question ‘when are we moving to southampton’ being asked ;) (quite so frequently).

    But it’s her back that really causes her problems. Mich is the same age as me, 27, but for the 8 or 9 years we have known one another, her back has been in a serious decline.

    It is hard seeing the ones you love in pain, and being utterly helpless in the face of it.

    Mich has what seems to be an uncurable condition in her lower back, which 2 years ago when she had her last MRI scan affected 4/5 of her vertebrae – though I suspect that it is likely to be affecting more than that now, something I guess we’ll find out soon, as she has another back specialist to see in just over a week. I think this will be the 5th or 6th specialist she has seen now, and whilst I want to hope that this can offer the attention and treatment she needs, I’ve mostly come round to the fact that this is a permanent condition, that ultimately we are going to have to live with.

    This week has been a particularly bad one for the poor girl, but with lots of commitments at work, I haven’t been able to pay her the attention she not only needs, but thoroughly deserves.

    This is why I need a device that can warp time, as sadly my workload is dictating that I need to work this weekend, when I really need to be paying attention to the woman i love.

    I guess… Who ever said life was going to be easy

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