I’m Not a Rapper, I just SEO a lot

I’m Not a Rapper, I just SEO a lot

22nd April 2013

The last two weeks I have been at conferences, you may have read my post on “Ask the ex Googlers anything” at BrightonSEO another great conference, but this time I did something a little different, I called it “Live Content Marketing”, with an audience of 2500 people a Brighton Dome I decided to perform a rap!?! Yes I rapped at an SEO conference.

Unnatural Links Warning – Brighton SEO

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VdlIvH3mRQ?rel=0]

Firstly let me make it clear I’M NOT AN SEO RAPPER, this is the SEO rapper.

chuck seo rapper

So what on earth possessed me to rap at a conference?

I have had this question asked so I thought a blog post might put some clarity on the subject, why would I? In order to tell you why I need to give you some of my background.


I’ve always been an avid hip hop listener, in my tape deck would be the likes of Gangstar, Lost Boyz, Wu-Tang Clan among a lot of others, in 1998 I went to University and went to see Dj Kool Herc. (If you have not heard of him, he’s basically dubbed the father of hip hop.) At the end of Kool Herc’s set he offered an Open Mic to any MC’s or rappers to get up, so I did. The crowd was 150-200 strong and I didn’t have anything written so I free-styled my words.

DJ Kool Herc

It went well and so I started getting out to other Hip Hop events, around Leicester and Manchester, free-styling and even getting involved with the battle sessions I even co-hosted two seasons of a Hip Hop Radio show.

Pre SEO Rapping

Yes that’s me 🙂 I had a space account and even a geocities page (You remember that?)


Fast forward to 2002 and I’d finished University and needed work, other than Bar Jobs (Rapping was good but rarely paid.) I found a job as a web designer at a start up internet marketing company selling directory listings for at the time a wannabe Yell. They also sold in the package site touch ups to help you rank in Google, an external consultant came in and told me “Add a Robots.txt file”.

The great thing about about this advice is that although he told me something that technically will not make you rank, it made me go and research and find out how to do it.

This coupled with my late / weekend rapping session spawned a website where I could test my new found knowledge, it was called “figures of speech” and in 2003 I had it ranked no.5 for the term “Hip Hop” it had a forum for some nice user generated content and I’d done some boiler plate content it did well for traffic. (Note the site is no longer live.)

So why did you never get far rapping?

The trouble was I initially learnt SEO and didn’t learn marketing (Plus the fact I didn’t have a producer to make music and very little product to actually put out.) but the main reason was I didn’t know how to do actual marketing!

This changed and I think something which many SEO’s agree with. Martin McDonald said it well in his presentation at IonSearch entitled “Why I Quit SEO”, he had a comment saying SEO’s were super hero’s now because we now understand the different pieces involved with marketing (whether that’s Inbound or Outbound). That might not be true for all SEO’s but the point is after 10 years working in digital I still consider myself an SEO although when I pitch a new client SEO is only one of the things I talk about, I generally talk marketing and customer acquisition.

OK Neil, So why did you rap at BrightonSEO?

Its still not as simple as this, at least you understand that my background was in hip hop but the last 10-12 years has been in search, (having ranked a site the first page for the term SEO in 2003 and then later being part of a company that took this into France, Italy, Sweden) however I didn’t blog a lot but I did start pitching to talk at conference, my first main Conference was SASCON, where I talked on a Link Building panel with, Yoast, Richard Baxter, Kristjan Hauksson and Fantomaster.


How appropriate that My talk was “Ho to Build a link Network”, funny how times change 🙂 Over the next 3 years I had the privilege of talking at around 20+ conferences, from the RIMC to ThinkVisibilty, SES, SMX.

Then in 2011 I was with Pete Young.

Pete Young

We then had some..

Jager Train

If you have never been to SASCON or the Search Awards you should and ask for Richard Gregory (Latitude), the jager trains are not to be missed.

So myself and Pete had a sportsman’s bet that I wouldn’t dare RAP at SASCON, drunkenly I agreed.

What Happened?

Well firstly, once I’d woken up and realised what I agreed to, I thought about how can I do the following:

  1. Not ruin my Speaking Career
  2. Not sound like a cheesy rap

For anyone who’s an avid hip hop listener, integrity is one of the biggest parts, so my firm plan was not to do anything like this.. (Sorry Guys)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z9rP7CBs_Y?rel=0]

Or do anything like this…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5cwr5wDQO4?rel=0]

What I did was rewrote my presentation from think visibility about analytics.

I then did it live at SASCON, bet won!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG3T-ZaNFjI?rel=0]

Anyway I had good feedback, it was all in jest but a small selection of the tweets..


Neil that was 2011, why do it again?

So around 2012 I started my own consultancy Quaero Media, I consult for agencies as well as in house teams, I’ve had a specific specialism on dealing with “Penalties”, you may have read some of my posts:

One thing I do like is promoting content and if you have good content, then you should often market it through a number of channels, so when it came to speaking again at BrightonSEO I though its time to take my last 12 months of research and put this into a presentation, I did you can see it below (Content Method one / Slideshare.)

But as I was writing it I got a tweet, asking if i was going to do a rap, so I produced something sent it to Kelvin Newman who asked if i would do it on the main stage in front of 2500 people, what I produced was..

(Content Method two / Youtube)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFQiHQNfLh4?rel=0]

You can see it done live at the start of this post.

What was the Result?

Well having two routes for my content has meant that my initial presentation (shown above has had 1500 views in a week, I also got asked to speak at another conference (Not rap, speak!).

I had a just a couple of tweets about it 🙂



I’ve not collected all the view data, but for those that like Klout, rap at a conference and you may get this 🙂

Klout score

So NO rapping career, but an example of how you can push content out through a number of channels to get your message heard.

Written By
Neil Walker started working as an SEO in 2002 and rose to become Group CTO for Swedish Marketing Agency “Online Group” in 2010 he moved to consulting with agencies, in-house teams and PR companies. In 2014 he formalised this work and founded Made Notable Ltd a boutique digital consultancy based...
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