The Death of…Interview with Nathan Elly, Digital Next

Nathan Elly, Marketing Manager at Digital Next, has a problem. No, it’s not that no one understands SEO outside the SEO industry, it’s that everywhere he looks another part of the industry is ‘dying’. So far these ‘the death of’ pieces have yielded nothing – showing them to be more online news fodder than actual prediction – but what else does it reveal about those of us who work in these supposed ‘dying’ industries? We caught up with him to find out.

Welcome to The Spin Alley, Nathan. So hit us with it, what’s so bad about these ‘death of’ blogs and editorials? 

It’s the constant negative perception of change that annoys me! More and more people have become cynical and skeptical of it, even the little things like changes to Facebook’s layout have people up in arms. A month or two later people accept it because they realise it isn’t as bad as they thought but the initial damage is already done and so the cycle starts again.

We agree! Where do you think it’s come from? 

In my experience it’s a lack of knowledge. In the world of SEO things are constantly changing (and Journalism, and PR, and Marketing AND social media! Ed) and people assume things are dead simply because they change. Adapt or die is true but things only die if you let them. The way you do it might change but the practice itself won’t, not really.

We’re quite fond of PR here at TSA but we heard you SEO lot are killing it off! What do you think?

Nothing to do with us! From what I’ve seen PR is an essential part of the comms mix online with the advantage it works offline too. Everything needs to work together to enhance a brand and PR/SEO offer different approaches to reach that same goal. One isn’t better than the other necessarily but PR is high quality front of house work whilst SEO works quietly over time in the back of the room. You won’t know it’s  there so much but you’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Good to hear – we’ll tell our PR friends to relax a bit. But if you could kill off any practice or industry what would it be and why?

SEO spammers! Google has brought in a lot of changes in the last three years but some companies haven’t adapted the way they work and some are getting caught out on it. People who don’t understand SEO, which is pretty much everyone who doesn’t work in it, assume we’re all the same and it can have a detrimental effect on us winning new business.

Okay, enough business, it’s time to talk news. Where do you get your news from?

It varies depending on what kind of news I want but mostly my Facebook feed, Google+, Mashable, BBC and Al Jazeera. I don’t bother with Sky or the Sun or anything like that. I want to know the news I’m getting is impartial and sourced properly – at least as much as it can be!

Interesting. What stories have caught your eye this week?

Google going down over the weekend is a huge story. It was only four/five minutes but it’s the first time its ever happened and they lost a lot of money. So far they’ve not commented as to why but web traffic dropped 40%.

That is pretty big! But they can afford it, after all they don’t pay tax, right?

It’s a tricky situation because technically they’re not breaking any laws, it’s a result of loopholes in the system. I do think they should pay more tax but they’ve done so much for businesses, big and small, with their services.

Time to get off the tax train we think! What cheesy mantra do you have to get you through the day?

I was going to go with ‘Content is King’ but that seemed too overdone! Instead I’m going to share some wisdom from Sean Bean in LotR:


Nicely done! Nothing like a Boromir meme to motivate you. Last thing from us – what’s the best piece of advice you ever got?

The Director of Digital Next always told us don’t promise what you can’t deliver and I personally believe that. If you over-sell and under-deliver that’s going to reflect badly on you and the company. If you work transparently with your clients you’ll reap the rewards.

Meme Credit

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Written by Angharad

Angharad is a former radio journalist balancing a career in PR with an insatiable writing habit that spans more topics than she can count on her smaller-than-average hands. She's passionate about the media, women's rights and politics with a love of travel, culture, entertainment and all things lifestyle on the side. Interests include prolific online shopping (bit of a reputation in the office), musicals, dinosaurs (be honest, they're awesome) and tweeting anything and everything from @Welsh_PR

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