Red Fox SEO


Red Fox SEO is the blog and primary web presence of Ben Fox. If you find yourself wondering "who is Ben Fox?" then I've got a rather handy page about that.

One Good, Free Idea

The aim of this post is to give away at least one good idea for shareable content for free.

Maybe you’ll like one of my ideas or maybe, and more likely, they’ll spark off something creative in your own head.

Either way feel free to take the idea and make something of it.

3 through 7 are all best executed using Facebook data. Either embedded on a host site or an app.

1 – A widget that tells you “your income as a % of GDP”.

2 – A widget that expresses “your mass as a % of the Earth” and “% of the Earth that you reach through social media”.

3 - An easy app that allows users to see Facebook analytics data so that they can explore their true reach just like business users can. If you’re a business user of Facebook you know how interesting this can be.

4 –A way for a political party to both fight apathy and get users turned on about their party. The campaign is called “You can change everything”.

Splash page - “Think your vote doesn’t count? Log in through Facebook”

User logs in and accepts data access.

Results page - “Thank you. Your voice reaches X people [friends and friends of friends maybe]. Last general election we lost in your area by only Y votes. Ask your friends to vote Rainbow Party. You can change everything.”

User clicks next.

Status update automatically shares - “I’m voting Rainbow Party on May the 5th”.

5 – A cancer awareness campaign that calculates how many of your friends (as an absolute number) will contract cancer. It can then further break it down by types of cancer and automatically produce an infographic which is shareable and pinnable.

6 - An anti-suicide campaign - which can calculate how many people within two steps of you are thinking about committing suicide right now. “3 people you know are thinking about suicide. How can you help?

7 – A facebook app that answers the question “how many of your friends are you richer than?” The app places your salary on a bell curve and figures out (with some assumptions) how many of your friends you earn more than. Or how many of your class mates at high school (that would be interesting). Maybe LinkedIn would be more appropriate than Facebook for this one.

8 - A sexual fetish generator (bear with it). The generator asks a series of relatively innocuous questions before recommending a sexual act for you to try. If you have 10 questions with 2 answers per question that 1024 possible sexual acts which gives you enough scope to be as creative as you like. Hell, I reckon I even know the process I’d go through to make it - start off by generating as many “ideas” as possible. Then do a card sorting exercise to split them into categories. I’d probably do an open card sort to begin with (establish the categories) and then follow it up by doing a closed card sort but specify gender or use single gender groups.

9 - A bucket list generator - as above but with bucket list items.

That’s 9 free ideas. Enjoy.

Bonus Idea - I had this while looking at Facebook before I pressed publish. Get in touch with job boards and offer role specific advice for jobs you are currently advertising. If the info is detailed enough then they’re going to want to share it because it’s great content/link bait for them and of course a nice link for yourself.

Do I need to hire a linkbuilding agency?

TL;DR – you’re just as good as 90% of agencies out there. Build the skills in house.


Dear in house SEOs,

You don’t need to hire an agency to do your linkbuilding.

No, really.

Does your boss send you to conferences? Do you watch webinars? Have you read a lot of blog posts about linkbuilding?

Then you really don’t need to hire an agency.

Recently one of my linkbuilders handed in his notice but rather than try and replace I thought I’d hire an agency on a six month contract.

It made sense. It gave the rest of my (very new) team time to pick up skills, it got work started right away and we’d be able to pick up on the tactics that the agency used - maybe even figure out the recipe for their secret sauce.

What became abundantly clear after 8 pitches and 3 face-to-faces was that there is no secret sauce.

Almost without exception the pitches broke down into three tiers.

Tier 1 - article syndication. Largely with article spinning or lost cost labour to produce unique content.

Tier 2 - guest posts. A mix of paid and free posts but again nothing challenging.

Tier 3 - the good stuff. And by good stuff I mean the stuff that they were planning on getting their high quality links with so it varied from advertorials (paid content placement just on old media properties) to linkbait.

And that was it.

With the exclusion of the linkbait which is more skill than science I was about to pay other people to throw money at a problem on my behalf.

So I didn’t.

I backed out of the pitches, sent the agencies some popping candy by way of a thanks for their time and hired a content writer instead.

The logic behind the move was pretty simple. For tiers 1 and 2 the only advantage the agencies had was that they had built their lists of contacts and could do things right away.

But why not build that list of contacts in house? It gives the company a digital asset that puts them on the same footing as a small agency and if I ever move jobs I can take it with me; it is after all the SEOs equivalent of a PRs little black book.

Which only leaves tier 3

Now tier 3 is what I approached agencies for. It’s what I wanted to learn about and it’s really where, for me, the secret sauce is.

Now for paid advertorials there is no secret sauce - just economies of scale. So I don’t need an agency for that.

And for link bait it’s not the implementation that we need help with. I mean come on, if you can find source guest blogs then you can find people to seed your content.

So you don’t need help to seed viral content.

And do you need help designing an infographic/building a survey? Probably not - unless your resources are a pain in the arse to acquisition. But in that case what you really need is a design/dev agency.

So you don’t need an SEO agency to build your content.

Well maybe you’re out of ideas.

Are you out of ideas?

Seriously, you’re out of ideas? There are loads of way to rip-off other people’s ideas and re-purpose them as your own. If you can’t at least have a stab at shameless mimicry of someone else’s successful tactics then delegate it to someone who will - I bet you can find a content writer who will have a go. And when you do, you hire that mofo.