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Shaun Anderson – SEO Consultant

Person: Shaun Anderson; Organisation: Hobo Web LTD;

I am Head of SEO at MBSA Marketing LTD and owner of the domain I am a UK SEO consultant (a Google search engine optimisation specialist, based in Greenock, near Glasgow in Scotland).

I practice and learn daily about SEO, user experience, conversion optimisation, web accessibility and link building. I have worked on hundreds of websites and managed hundreds of online marketing campaigns in many industries over almost 20 years.

I started working in an advertising agency in 1999, and thought up a dedicated website design division of the agency, in 2001/2, and, seeing Google as the future of advertising, went on to start this website in March 2006, and then went on to provide professional SEO audits and SEO services to clients.

Table of Contents

My Experience

I have been involved in developing websites and managing search engine marketing projects for;

  • news sites (with millions of pages)
  • universities
  • colleges
  • charities
  • corporates
  • small business
  • medium-sized businesses
  • enterprises
  • finance sites
  • well-known UK brands
  • cathedrals
  • NHS
  • lawyers/solicitors
  • automotive sites (with millions of pages)
  • e-commerce sites (with tens of thousands of pages)
  • dental practices
  • lawyer and solicitor practices
  • and many more…

My blog usually attracts over 100K to 150K visitors a month and has nearly 40K regular subscribers.

In April 2009, I published a ‘Beginners Guide To UK SEO‘ (updated in 2013, 2015 and 2016) which has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

Google has sent this over 5 million users since I started blogging in 2007.

I have nearly 20 years experience online and specialise today in search engine optimisation for Google. Before I was obsessed with Google, SEO and link building, my passion was accessible website design – that is, designing websites that are accessible by all. In 2017, I am a SEO specialist.

I’m interested in web usability, user experience, conversion rate optimisation and landing page SEO.

Things I’ve done:

  • My ‘white hat’ content strategy (for this website) made it to the front page of Reddit (May 2015)
  • Circa 300 endorsements on Linkedin for ‘SEO.’
  • Nominated for Best SEO Blog at 2012 UK Search Awards
  • Voted ‘Most Influential’ UK SEO 2010 in Industry Poll
  • Voted 60th Most Influential Marketer of 2009
  • Guest Presenter – Jim Boykin’s SEO Class 2008
  • Official Guest Speaker IWTC Irish Web Technology Conference 2008 (SEO)
  • Guest Speaker SECC Grow Your Own Business Conference 2008 (SEO)
  • Best Emerging Business – RUNNER-UP – Chamber Of Commerce Bees Knees Awards 2007 (with Hobo)
  • GOLD WINNER – SFEU Scottish Colleges Marketing Awards 2006 (for North Glasgow College) with former agency.
  • Scottish Finalist ‘SHELL LIVEWIRE’ 1998
  • FINALIST – Royal Bank of Scotland Marketing Challenge 1998
  • WINNER – PSYBT Princes Trust Inverclyde New Business Idea Awards 1997
  • REGISTERED MEMBER – RNIB’s Campaign for Good Web Design Supporter

Skill Set

Linkedin Endorsements

My Top ‘Skills’ has been voted thus by 3K+ Linkedin connections:

  1. SEO (circa 300 endorsements)
  2. SEM
  3. Web Marketing
  4. Online Marketing
  5. Website Development
  6. Online Advertising
  7. Organic Search
  8. Link Building
  9. Google Analytics
  10. Blogging

According to Linkedin (and voted by third parties), I also know about…

  • Web Development
  • Web Analytics
  • Marketing
  • PPC
  • Google Adwords
  • Keyword Research
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Conversion Optimization
  • Landing Page…
  • Digital Marketing
  • E-commerce
  • Blog Marketing
  • Search Advertising
  • CMS
  • Lead Generation
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • SMO
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Online Lead Generation
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Website Promotion
  • SEO copywriting
  • Internet Strategy
  • Online Reputation…
  • Local Search
  • Search Engine Submission
  • Social Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Viral Marketing
  • Google Website Optimizer
  • SEO Copywriting

Main Focus

I am involved in a large community of individuals that learn and blog about Google SEO. As a result, I have been listed on about 500 Twitter Lists (although I tweet relatively rarely) and this website ranks for a lot of seo-related keywords:

I develop the organic marketing strategy for this site and at MBSA Marketing LTD, and part of that marketing strategy is based on the technical data I can gather and adherence to Google Webmaster Guidelines, where sensible.

I spend a lot of my time organising to collect that data and breaking down challenges in SEO, identifying markers in processes, and illustrating solutions to SEO problems my clients (and most sites have) so that my in-house coding team manager can turn that into the code for my in-house SEO platform.

The rest of my time is spent stress testing, beta-testing, and analysing data reports so that I can help clients prioritise which area to focus their resources on.

Philosophy About SEO

I am a white hat SEO by necessity. I manage client websites in the same fashion as I manage the Hobo Web site. Essentially, that means following Google Webmaster recommendations to the letter, when the skills to do that are available, and being very specific about when and where to apply specific methods, and deploy chosen methods in the simplest way possible and as exactly as Google recommends it be done.

My philosophy over the last few years is that Google demotes your site when it can detect anything unnatural about it, in any area, rather than promotes it.

As others fall you rise, so avoiding Google’s punishment algorithms is a good first step. I also proceed thinking Google is continually raising the ‘quality’ bar in every area. Low-quality link building is a good example: essential a few years ago, this is now too risky an investment to deploy for real businesses – not with the level of manual quality rating going on.

Google can demote you for user, operational, technical, content or backlink quality issues and that’s the stuff you need you identify and fix.

Outside of this technical exactness, I aim for, the theatre of conflict and opportunity is now ‘user satisfaction’ and ‘conversion optimisation’, for me, anyway, as opposed to ‘manipulation’ using outdated SEO techniques that we have trained an AI to identify.


I manage and write all the content for this Hobo website, performance metrics below:

Graph: Organic Traffic (April) 2015 - 2016 (March)

and here is the performance metrics over the last few years.

Graph: Organic Traffic Levels 2012 to 2016

As a result of blogging and activity in my industry, the Hobo site gets about 100,000 new organic visitors from Google every month.

SEO Toolset

The images regarding the Hobo site, above, are from my own tool set I have developed over the years. The aim is to help my team to help prioritise, manage, deploy and track an SEO campaign based on data analysis. I have taken what I have learned over nearly 20 years, and spent the last 4 years bringing it all together in one toolset, that combines manual work with automation and an aim to focus a site regeneration around building the high-quality website Google is demanding in some niches…. as this, I think the trend would indicate, hints at what is coming to every niche, in time.

I created my platform to help me focus a team on fixing important user satisfaction issues across a website, and what is measured gets actioned, so to speak.

Many aspects of SEO are technical and as such can be machine identified, so I automate everything I can so I can check hundreds, if not thousands of individual elements on a site in minutes, so that I can focus a client project on cleaning up in the right areas and ramping up the quality in other areas. For every problem I have encountered, I code a solution for it, so I can check it automatically next time on any site. I also programmatically check a site against common Google Webmaster Guidelines infractions or under-optimisation.

I have used my platform (which connects to many other API) to manage the Hobo site optimisation process over the last few years.

I write my notes about SEO on my blog, and it serves to promote our SEO services.

Here are some examples:



  1. What is SEO?
  2. ‘User Experience’ Matters
  3. Balancing Conversions With Usability & User Satisfaction
  4. Google Wants To Rank High-Quality Websites
  5. Google Is Not Going To Rank Low-Quality Pages When It Has Better Options
  6. Technical SEO
  7. What Is Domain Authority?
  8. Is Domain Age An Important Google Ranking Factor?
  9. Google Penalties For Unnatural Footprints
  10. Ranking Factors
  11. Keyword Research
  12. Do Keywords In Bold Or Italic Help?
  13. How Many Words & Keywords Do I Use On A Page?
  14. What is The Perfect Keyword Density?
  15. ‘Things, Not Strings’
  16. Can I Just Write Naturally and Rank High in Google?
  17. Do You Need Lots of Text To Rank Pages In Google?
  18. Optimise For User Intent & Satisfaction
  19. Optimising For ‘The Long Click’
  20. Page Title Element
  21. Meta Keywords Tag
  22. Meta Description Tag
  23. Robots Meta Tag
  24. Robots.txt File
  25. H1-H6: Page Headings
  26. Alt Tags
  27. Link Title Attributes, Acronym & ABBR Tags
  28. Search Engine Friendly URLs (SEF)
  29. Absolute Or Relative URLs
  30. Subdirectories or Files For URL Structure
  31. Which Is Better For Google? PHP, HTML or ASP?
  32. Does W3C Valid HTML / CSS Help Rank?
  33. Point Internal Links To Relevant Pages
  34. Link Out To Related Sites
  35. Broken Links Are A Waste Of Link Power
  36. Does Only The First Link Count In Google?
  37. Duplicate Content Penalty
  38. Double or Indented Listings in Google
  39. Redirect Non-WWW To WWW
  40. 301 Redirects Are POWERFUL & WHITE HAT
  41. Canonical Link Element Is Your Best Friend
  42. Do I Need A Google XML Sitemap For My Website?
  43. Rich Snippets
  44. Dynamic PHP Copyright Notice in WordPress
  45. EXAMPLE: Adding Markup to Your Footer
  46. Keep It Simple, Stupid
  47. How Fast Should Your Website Download?
  48. A Non-Technical Google SEO Strategy
  49. What Not To Do In Website Search Engine Optimisation
  50. Don’t Flag Your Site With Poor Website Optimisation
  51. The Continual Evolution of SEO
  52. Beware Pseudoscience 
  53. How Long Does It Take To See Results?
  54. What Makes A Page Spam?
  55. If A Page Exists Only To Make Money, The Page Is Spam, to Google
  56. Doorway Pages
  57. A Real Google Friendly Website
  58. Google Webmaster Guidelines
  59. Free SEO EBOOK (2016) PDF


Making High-Quality Websites


SEO Copywriting


Keyword Research


Duplicate Content

301 Redirects

Link Building


Unnatural Links

Title Tags


Meta Tags


Search Engine Submission



  1. Accessible Website Design
  2. Designing Websites For Blind and Visually Impaired Users
  3. What’s The Best Font & Font Size To Use In Website Design?
  4. Jakob Nielsen’s Readability Guidelines for Website Font Size
  5. Avoid Text Only Websites
  6. What Is The Best Text and Background Colours To Use In Website Design?
  7. Colour Blindness & Website Design
  8. (RNIB) Royal National Institute For The Blind
  9. Designing Websites For Deaf / Hard Of Hearing Visitors
  10. Designing Websites For Mobility or Physically Impaired People
  11. How To Design A Website For People With Learning Disabilities
  12. How to Design A Site For People With Dyslexia
  13. Is Your Website Legal? Does It Comply With UK Laws on Disability?
  14. What is the W3C? How Did The W3C Get Started?
  15. How The W3C Started
  16. W3C Recommendations
  17. What Is The WAI (Website Accessibility Initiative)?
  18. What Is WCAG? (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines)
  19. What is SENDA?
  20. What Does SENDA Mean in Practice?
  21. When Did SENDA 2001 Compliance Take Effect?
  22. Making A Website Comply With SENDA
  23. PAS 78
  24. PAS 78 is not ‘rules’, is not ‘new web design guidelines’ and is not ‘the law’
  25. Basics of PAS 78
  26. Scope of PAS 78
  27. Choosing A Website Designer
  28. BS 8878 2010 Web Accessibility Code Of Practice British Standard
  29. UK Disability Rights Commission (DRC)
  30. Does My Website Have To Be Accessible?
  31. What Are The Consequences If Your Website Design is Not Accessible?
  32. What Is Meant by ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ to A Website?
  33. What Level of Compliance Should Your Website Meet?
  34. Who Can Build You A Website That ‘Complies with UK Law’?
  35. How Do You Choose a Web Site Design Company?
  36. Web Accessibility Opinion
  37. Section 508
  38. 1998 Amendment to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
  39. First Company Prosecuted in the UK Over Web Accessibility (DDA)
  40. Since When Must A Website Be Accessible In The UK?
  41. What Are The October 2004 Changes to the DDA?
  42. Accessible Website Design in the UK
  43. The Grey Area Of Website Design: Web Accessibility
  44. 10 Quick Tips For A More Accessible Site Design from the W3C
  45. Who Enforces UK Website Accessibility Laws?
  46. UK DDA Prosecutions Over Inaccessible Website
  47. Web Accessibility Discrimination Prosecutions Cases in Australia and US
  48. Web Accessibility Checks, Tests, Tools + Resources


HTML Frames Use

Google Ranking Factors

  1. Ranking based on a ‘quality metric‘
  2. Ranking based on a ‘classifier‘
  3. Ranking based on a ‘site quality score‘
  4. Ranking based on a content-based site quality score ‘determining a predicted site quality score for the new site from the aggregate site quality score‘
  5. Ranking based on a ‘duration metric’
  6. Ranking based on a ‘duration performance score‘
  7. Quote: ‘Training models on when someone clicks on a page and stays on that page’
  8. Quote: ‘Quality signals that are site-wide’ applying a ‘current score’ to ‘all web pages’
  9. Quote: ‘there’s not just this one site-wide quality score that we look at’
  10. Link Quality Scores
  11. Rank assigned to ‘a document is calculated from the ranks of documents citing it’ – ‘Google Pagerank’
  12. A ‘measure of quality’ based on ‘the number’ of links:
  13. A ‘measure of quality’ based on ‘traffic received by use of those links’
  14. A ‘measure of quality’ based on link ‘selection quality score’
  15. Ranking based on the ‘extent to which a document is selected’
  16. Ranking based on ‘a decrease in a rate or quantity of new links that point to the document over time‘
  17. Ranking based on ‘on the time-varying behaviour of the links pointing to the document‘
  18. Spam identified by the ‘sudden growth in the number of apparently independent peers (e.g., unrelated websites)’
  19. Ranking based on ‘Unique words, bigrams, phrases in anchor text‘
  20. Ranking based on ‘changes over time in anchor text‘
  21. Ranking based on ‘bookmarks‘ or ‘favorites‘
  22. Other Potential Ranking Considerations
  23. Ranking based on the ‘freshness of a first document’
  24. Ranking based on ‘document inception date‘
  25. Ranking based on ‘a measure of how a content of a document changes over time‘
  26. Ranking based on ‘a significant change over time in the set of topics associated with a document‘ (or website)
  27. Spam identified by ‘a spike in the number of topics‘
  28. Ranking based on ‘history of positions‘ and ‘one or a combination of other time-based factors‘ in ranking in SERPs
  29. Rankings based on ‘the number of queries for which, and the rate at which (increasing/decreasing) a document is generated as a search result over time‘
  30. Rankings based on ‘changes in IR scores over time for a URL-query pair‘
  31. Ranking based on ‘signals that distinguish between… fly-by-night types of domains’
  32. Ranking based on ‘the age of a nameserver‘
  33. Ranking based on ‘ User Behaviour‘
  34. Ranking based on ‘time-varying characteristics of traffic’ (e.g. popularity of pages at different times)
  35. Ranking based on ‘advertising traffic’
  36. Ranking based on revising ‘the original search query to include the candidate synonym of the particular query term‘ – Google Hummingbird?
  37. Rankings based on ‘a system that automatically generates synonyms for words from documents’
  38. Ranking based on ‘term relationships between terms‘
  39. Ranking based ‘on preferences of the user, or a group of users‘ (Personalisation)
  40. Ranking based on being ‘associated with a geographic location within a geographical area‘ (Geolocation)
  41. Ranking based on Link Analysis using Historical Data
  42. Propagation of Relevance between Linked Pages
  43. Link Weights based upon Page Segmentation
  44. Anchor Text Indexing
  45. Google’s Reasonable Surfer
  46. Phrase Based Indexing
  47. Snippets generated by ‘the type of query or the location of the query terms in the document’
  48.  Ratings Based on ‘how well a page achieves its purpose‘
  49. Ratings based on if a page is a ‘YMYL page’ or not
  50. Ratings Based on the ‘quality of the MC (Main Content of a page)’
  51. Ratings based on the ‘Supplementary Content‘ of a page
  52. Ratings based on finding ‘out what real users, as well as experts, think about a website‘ and ‘Clear and Satisfying Website Information‘
  53. Ratings based on (E.A.T.) ‘Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness‘ of ‘Main Content’
  54. Ratings Based on ‘A Satisfying Amount of High-Quality Main Content‘
  55. Ratings based on receiving a ‘Low quality‘ human evaluation
  56. Ratings based on ‘Distracting/Disruptive/Misleading Titles, Ads, and Supplementary Content‘
  57. Ratings based on ‘Misleading Titles, Ads, or SC‘
  58. Ratings based on Deceptive Page ‘Design‘ & ‘purpose’
  59. Ratings based on ‘Keyword Stuffed Main Content’
  60. Rating based on ‘Automatically ­Generated Main Content‘
  61. Rating based on ‘Copied Main Content‘
  62. QUOTE – “No duplicate content penalty” but
  63. Rating based on ‘Hacked, Defaced, or Spammed Pages‘
  64. Rating Based on ‘demonstrably inaccurate content‘
  65. Ratings for ‘Pages with Error Messages or No MC‘
  66. Ratings for ‘Promotion of Hate or Violence‘
  67. Demotions Based on ‘not implementing Google policies’
  68. Google Webmaster Guidelines
  69. What Really Matters if you do SEO in 2017?


SEO Tool Reviews



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    SEO has changed dramatically since I co-founded Hobo in 2006. If you are looking to hire an experienced SEO consultant in the UK, you can hire me today to review your website and tell you exactly how to get more traffic to it from Google organic search.

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