Its been a while since I’ve had chance to write for the blog, its been a mad month with a lot of training done and problems solved. I think I now know the British rail network off by heart and one of the best photo’s I’ve ever taken on my phone was at around 6.30am at Worcester railway station with the sun just coming through the mist over the lines. Unfortunately I deleted it whilst cleaning up pictures on my phone!! But I digress…..

One of the questions I got ask on a training session a few weeks ago was, how has your training changed over the last few years? The answer is a lot so I thought I’d write a quick post on how my training has evolved.

One thing I pride myself on is keeping my training information bang up to date with best practice techniques and these techniques have changed an awful lot over the last five years. I rewrite, add and delete content from my training manual almost every month and I cringe when I think back to want was in it five years ago. Here’s the big changes.

Links

link19This is the biggest area that has changed and I’ve rewritten this section so many times I’ve lost count, in fact I once deleted it and started again! The goalposts have moved so much on links that what was normal practice five years ago will now get you penalised. I used to have sections on link exchanges and how to write a link exchange request to webmasters and this is now a big no in 2014.

I think the biggest change with relation to links has been attitude and this is something I talk a lot about now. Links are still important but don’t go hunting for them. The best way to generate links is through your normal marketing channels and do things online and offline that will get people talking about you and the links will follow. Make the attitude change from “I need to get links” to “I need to market my site”.

Anchor Text

anchorMany years ago I used to have a section in my manual that told everyone to use keyword rich anchor text in links so that the search engines know what the page is all about.

The Penguin updates from Google have stopped that!

If you generate keyword rich links, for example, HD TV’s, that point to your website you will probably get a mark in the down column from Google! Make sure links are generated naturally and don’t worry too much about what the link says. Don’t go contacting editors and webmasters asking for changes to links they have posted. This doesn’t really work anymore.

Local Search

Five years ago I used to spend around 10 minutes talking about local search, it now takes around half an hour to get through the ways to improve local visibility. Techniques have changed and there are more tools available to help you get noticed.

Guest Blogging

newsThere used to be a section in my manual on how to contact blogs to get your articles listed as guest posts so that you could generate some inbound links. That’s all changed in the last few months!

I managed to preempt the big Google announcement that guest blogging was dead and I took guest posts out of the training manual late last year. I could see how the attitude to links was changing and guest post links just didn’t look right.

Guest blogging is not dead but don’t expect any links from it but you may get traffic to your site so its still worth doing from a marketing perspective.

Social Media

Five years ago using Twitter and Facebook as a marketing tool took up a couple of paragraphs under “other way to market your site”. Social media now has its own entire section and I now talk about Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and discuss tools that can help your social media convert into sales.

The Glossary Has Grown…a lot

Every year there are more and more buzzwords, phrases and acronyms that all need explaining so the glossary section of my training has probably doubled in size over the last few years. Its a really informative section and one that gets used a lot my trainees getting to grips with marketing their site.

Lots of other things has changed as well. I used to print out manuals and bring them with me in paper form but its all downloadable now so it can be viewed on tablets and phones. I’ve also created an online resource section that gets updated for everyone at the same time.

I think the biggest change however has been that SEO has moved from being a small niche geeky industry to being a major part of marketing in general and as it becomes more mature it probably won’t change quite so much in the next five year, we’ll wait to find out.

Let me know what you think has changed the most in comments below.