Archives for March 2017 | Aqueous Digital

Archive for “March, 2017”

John White Boots

The astonishing endurance of John White Boots and a Marketing lesson for all

I can’t remember the exact date when I bought my first pair of John White boots but I do remember how I felt.

You see, these boots were over £100 and I had never paid that much for a pair of boots before.


So, it sticks in my memory for the simple reason that this was a major expense as far as I was concerned and one that would, in hindsight, mark a change in my buying behaviour.

At the time, back in 2008 or 2009 (I really can’t remember the date), I thought I was just buying a good pair of boots but it turned out to be a whole lot more than that.

As with all new footwear, they felt strange at first but that didn’t last long.

Within a day, I was starting to feel that they were part of me and within a week you couldn’t get them off my feet.

These were, without a doubt, the most comfortable pair of boots I had ever bought.

John White Boots

Up to that point, most of the footwear I had previously bought had become tired and worn and eventually were simply sent for recycling, usually after less than a year.

These boots, however, bucked the trend. They kept going year in year out and with a little bit of TLC they still looked decent.


When they needed a resole and reheel and they ended up at my local cobblers who did a decent job with them. It took almost two years before they needed work and this was the first of four occasions which they went back to him and each time came back they seemed to have a new lease of life.

After a while I began to think of them like Trigger’s broom in Only Fools and Horses; the broom had 17 new heads and 14 new handles but it was still his original broom.

But in 2011 I hit another crisis point. The laces finally gave out and I could not find a suitable replacement. After trawling round my local shops, I decided to contact John White themselves and in February 2011 they sent me two pairs of replacement laces. I only know this as I have the original email acknowledging my contact from the website!

This was quite simply great customer service.

And so, the boots kept going. And going. And going.

Fast forward to 2017 and they are still going.

John White Boots

John White no longer make this exact boot but they never forget their customers.

About a month ago, the laces finally gave out but a quick call to them and the lovely Christine in Customer Services sent me out some more replacement laces which should keep them going for many more years.

It turns out that I wasn’t just spending £100 on a pair of boots all those years ago, I was buying an ongoing relationship with the boots and this business.

And it works. I own four pairs of John White boots and shoes and now they offer a repair service I don’t have to rely on my local cobbler, I can send them back to the manufacturer to get the love and attention they need.

I learned from this that firstly, paying good money for good shoes is an investment and secondly, that if you buy them from a decent company then they look after you. The customer care I have received over the years, as well as the quality of the product, has led me to write this piece.

And all it has cost them in almost ten years is a couple of pairs of laces.John White Boots

I should probably say at this point that I have absolutely no relationship to John White shoes nor have they given me anything to write this piece. It’s from the heart and thank you to them for the product and service over the years.

It’s a classic Marketing tale of how to create and build a brand and in so doing create a customer for life.

Linkbuilding with Aqueous Digital

The Ever-Changing World of Link Building

Building links with Aqueous DigitalLink building is dynamic and ever-changing, but it is still an integral part of any form of digital marketing, and should be one of your SEO priorities.

What started as a simple ‘who shouts the loudest wins’ with very few rules has slowly been becoming a super-strict game – with the rules strictly enforced by the mighty Google.

It may be all well and good finding ‘quick wins’, but the ugly truth is most of the time these are short-lived, short-term and ineffective solutions, and although Google is just a machine, it’s unlikely you’re going to ‘fool the system’ for too long.

We’ve said it time and time again and we stick by it, the best practice for SEO should always be do it right the first time.

That being said, what exactly is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when it comes to link building? This is something that seems to change on a regular basis, and we spend a fair bit of time keeping up with the rules as Google churns them out.

But for now, there are a few rules you should always abide by when it comes to link building, as dictated by Moz.



One of the first rules they touch on is something we’ve been preaching for a while now – which is beware your anchor text.

When it comes to websites being penalised for their backlinks the common factor often seems to be the anchor teLinkbuilding with Aqueous Digitalxt, and you should be particularly aware when you control the anchor text. Google knows when you control the anchor text and that is exactly what they are looking for, and self-controlled links with over-optimised anchor text are subject to devaluation and penalisation.


With regards to this, you should be even more cautious with links that scale, such as widget links, author bio boxes, etc. Combining these two elements leads to a bulk amount of poor links that are even more prone to devaluation and penalisation.


You should never ask for anchor text, whenever you do this, regardless if you try to diversify the way you do it, you create over-optimisation and a predictable pattern, which more often than not will lead to a lot of red flags being raised.


Letting people link to your site however they choose, whether it’s how you want it or not creates a much more natural link profile, which is ultimately what you are looking for.

And one of the final “avoid” rules from Moz is avoid site-wide links, which again is something we have been preaching to our clients for years. The only obvious exception would be site navigation, but besides this site-wide links of any kind, particularly site-wide anchor text footer links should be avoided at all costs.


The key point out of all this, despite the ever-changing rules and dynamics behind it all, is to keep link building.


Google is continually changing its algorithm and rolling out new updates and rules, but this doesn’t mean you should ever give up on link building. Link building has always and we suspect will always be an integral part of search engine optimisation.

Read more about the dos and don’ts of link building or watch the video over at Moz: http://moz.com/blog/the-rules-of-link-building-whiteboard-friday

Google 2017 algorithm changes - Aqueous Digital Services

What do we know about Google’s algorithm updates so far this year?

Google’s updates in 2017

With Google keeping the details of any changes to their algorithm firmly up their sleeve, we’ve rounded up some information on what we know or suspect has happened so far this year.

Here at Aqueous the last couple of months have been a mix bag when it comes to SEO ranking.  Google refused to comment on whether or not there had been any changes made to their algorithm earlier this month, but evidence suggests that there has been some upheaval, with some websites noticing significant fluctuations in traffic whilst others remained unaffected.

Let’s take a look at the three potential dates so far this year when the SEO community suspect Google may have made changes to or tweaked their algorithm.

Google's algorithm changes in 2017 - Aqueous digital marketing services UK


January Update

After Google made a very rare announcement about a future update to their algorithm back in August 2016 the SEO community prepared themselves for the worst and waited with baited breath to see what the effect would be.

Said update was the January 10th Mobile pop-ups update which it was said would penalise websites making it difficult for those browsing to access the content on the page due to intrusive pop-ups.

The SEO community looked on with interest on this date and then during the days and weeks that followed but saw very little (if any) change to rankings as a result of this update.


Potential Update in Early February

It wasn’t until early February when we really started to notice some unusual fluctuations in rankings, but there hadn’t been a peep from Google, so as usual we were left to investigate possible causes ourselves.

Minor changes to website rankings began to get picked up around February 1st and these fluctuations became even more apparent around February 7th.  Google have kept their lips sealed and refused to either confirm or deny if they have made any changes but we suspect that there has either been a new update or a tweak to an existing one.


Who has been affected?

The cause and effect of any algorithm change is still unclear, but research and talk amongst the SEO community suggests that the changes may be related to backlinks and so could have been caused by a tweak to the Penguin update.

Amongst a number of huge changes that aimed to improve the quality of search results, the Penguin update cracked down on websites that had gathered ‘spammy’ backlinks (eg. paid for links or links to their website from unrelated websites that weren’t seen to be genuine).

Although most SEO companies have now moved away from this kind of activity, some websites may still have some remaining ‘spammy’ backlinks out there pointing to them.  It has been reported that some websites that have backlinks from PBNs (Personal Blog Networks) seem to have been negatively affected so there is speculation about whether Google may have implemented a tweak to stamp out the effectiveness of backlinks from these kinds of websites.


Have you seen any changes to your website’s ranking over the last couple of months? If so tweet us @AqueousDigital.

Need some help recovering your rankings? Get in touch with our SEO team by giving us a call on 0800 285 1424.

Ewan & Ryan

Aqueous grows again with the addition of two new superstars

Due to a number of significant customer wins at the start of 2017 Aqueous have grown again!

We stepped into the January transfer window looking for exciting talent and are very fortunate to have found two future superstars.

Ryan Jackson

First to join was Ryan Jackson, who is a specialist in social media and PPC campaigns. Ryan has already demonstrated his abilities by not only passing his Google Adwords exam in his first week but also impressing us with the speed at which he has taken on the social media side of things.

Next to join us was our new Business Development Manager, Ewan Drake.

Ewan Drake

Ewan joins us with a background in media sales, particularly digital media over the past five years. Never one to be left out Ewan too sat and passed his Google Adwords exam in his first week and is now itching to get out on the road seeing customers.

We are excited to welcome these two to the Aqueous team and please feel free to wish them a warm welcome in the comments below.