Small business: Search engine optimisation

Richard Conway, managing director of PureSEO, an IT company specialising in search engine optimisation. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Richard Conway, managing director of PureSEO, an IT company specialising in search engine optimisation. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Richard Conway, director Pure SEO, search engine optimisation specialist talks to Gill South.

Social media has become an integral part of the digital landscape over the past decade. As digital marketing specialists we keep a keen eye on social media and have seen both spectacular successes and dismal failures.

The Hurtbox experience

A good example of a small, low budget social media campaign that has been successful, is that of the recently launched, high performance clothing brand 'Hurtbox'. The term 'Hurtbox' is regarded in endurance sport as the place you enter when you are pushing beyond your limits - this is a culture woven into triathlon, multisport and long distance racing.

Before the brand had been launched into the market a social media strategy was developed utilising Facebook and Twitter as the main platforms. The Twitter strategy focused on 'following' industry mavens and then directing them towards both Twitter and Facebook interactions.

Soon after embarking on the campaign, well known athletes were commenting on Twitter 'help, I'm being followed by the Hurtbox'. This led to numerous online and 'real world' connections and interactions, such as meeting Samantha Warriner, ITU World Champion, and the naming of a hill in a national running event as 'Hurtbox Hill'. The great thing about this campaign was that in total it only cost 10 hours of time and some strategic planning.

It even resulted in potential customers enquiring about what Hurtbox were selling before any product was available!


The important thing to remember when embarking on any social media strategy is that planning is crucial. Social media is not something to be afraid of, it is just another channel to engage with and communicate with your audience. A mistake that a lot of companies make when embarking on social media is that they fail to look at the business case for social media, they just jump in because it's what they feel the 'should' do. A poorly structured or planned campaign can be detrimental to a business rather that beneficial.

Pure SEO

Pure SEO are search engine optimisation (SEO) specialists, we help clients to improve their search engine rankings for relevant search terms. In recent years, social media has begun to have an impact on search. Part of the Google ranking algorithm looks at 'social signals'; who is interacting with this company, how many people tweet about or 'like' a company.

Part of the Pure SEO offering is to look into client's social media strategy and make recommendations. Often companies do not feel like they have the time, budget or expertise to get involved in social media.

One way to ease clients into this mind-set is to get them to dip their toes into social media by adding a blog to their website. This also benefits their website from a search perspective. Google loves high quality, fresh and interesting content and if you think about it, the more words you actually have on your website, the more potential terms you could rank for on Google.

An analogy we like to use is, imagine that searches are like fish and words are like fishing rods, the more fishing rods you have (words), the more fish (searchers) you are likely to 'catch'.


One of the most under-utilised social media platforms in New Zealand is YouTube. You Tube is the second largest search engine in the world, yet most companies throw budget at Google AdWords but do not even consider YouTube advertising (YouTube is owned by Google and also uses the AdWords platform). The power of YouTube can be seen with the following videos:

The Story of Orabrush and Dollar Shave Club both are examples of how low budget campaigns can generate mass market appeal through the use of 'outside the square' thinking. A step further than this (which only a handful of people in New Zealand know exists), is the ability to actually put your video on national television in the US from the comfort of your own home!

In these examples you can see how social media has levelled the playing field somewhat. A lot of companies believe we are in the most competitive environment the world has ever seen and that it is harder than ever to be heard. With social media and Google we believe the opposite - anything is possible!


The most recent social media platform to experience a meteoric rise is Pinterest, this is a visual social media platform where people or companies 'pin' images they like to virtual pinboards. This is a particularly important tool for visual companies, such as those that sell vector stock images or stock photography.

Next week, we will be looking at some New Zealand entrepreneurs and how they get the word out about their inventions. What are your channels? YouTube? Through company websites, blogs?
Tell us your stories. Email me, Gill South at the link below:

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