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 Mobile App Development Edinburgh
Looking for a mobile app development team in Edinburgh? We’ve got you covered.
 
Mobile App Development for Businesses

We specialize in Mobile app development for businesses and retailers. The apps that we can create for you are designed to market and engage your captured audience. They are to be used to provide information, services and as a call to action. Apps are perfectly suited to almost every customer or business facing company. If you are in need of a Mobile app, we can create one specifically for you. 

Why Do I Need An App?

An app can directly engages, and markets to, your customers with ease. It is simultaneously combining a great way to improve your customers service and improving marketing engagements. Most people may ignore an email marketing campaign, not many people will ignore a ‘push notification’ from a mobile app. Your app can also allow you to put all of the information your customer need in one place. If you’re an estate agency, it would be a great resource for your customers to use if they needed emergency contact information, or for you to include trusted contractors. If you are a restaurant, your regulars can order from you with ease and enjoy discounts for using the app. The ways in which an app can improve your business are numerous.

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SEO Fife by Admin - 11M ago
Website Links 101

SEO is often broken down into two parts: Content & Backlinks. If you are new to SEO, imagine it like this: On page SEO, like a well-designed website & writing good keyword optimised content, compared to building yourself a space shuttle. Pointing links to that content is like putting fuel in the rocket and turning on the ignition. Links are what fuels the rise in rankings in many cases. Constantly, there are debates about the impact links have on your SEO but they never fail if you build your shuttle correctly.

What are Backlinks?

They are a hyperlink from one website to another. It shows Google that your business/brand/website is building real relationships with other webmasters. Google’s endgame is to provide genuine, authoritative and informative content to its users. The more links to your website, in theory, means more trust, respect and authority in your field. If your website is rubbish or looks like it is riddled with viruses, nobody will want to link to it – on the flipside, if the content is relevant and useful, and the website looked amazing, you’re more likely to get a link. Google also looks at the Type & How Relevant your links are too, so you have to be particular about which website you want your website to be associated with

Links for SEO

The links that Google is looking for are authoritative and relevant. So it should be related to the topic of the page you’re trying to rank, and from a website that also has lots of links pointing to it/ has authority within its field. For example, We got several links from influential Edinburgh food blogs for The Black Hoof- A Spanish Restaurant in Edinburgh. This kills two birds because they are locally relevant (being Edinburgh/Scotland based food blogs) and they are also talking about food, and even more specifically, Spanish Restaurants.

Good link opportunities are high quality/regulated business directories (118, Thompson Local etc…). Make sure you choose directories that have a vetting process because websites where you can freely add links, are less effective and may land you a ‘spam score’ if you get a load, and loads of irrelevant and low authority links. Google may not punish you, but it will see your website is hanging about with the ‘wrong crowd’. These days, Google is better at working out bad/toxic links (meaning your SEO isn’t always detrimentally affected) but they should still be avoided. 1 good quality link is better than 10 rubbish ones.

Why are Links so difficult to get?

Imagine somebody emailed you out of the blue and said ‘Can you put a link from your website to mine?’. Most of the time I would imagine that ‘no’ would be the answer. You don’t know what that website is, and what benefit will it give your website? To overcome that reaction, you must demonstrate value to the other website. That is why creative & targeted content is so important. It is about finding an opportunity, create unique content and constructing your email to demonstrate your value.

How to get Good Links?

Always demonstrate what value, your website provides. Once you have seen a good link opportunity/opportunities, create some niche and relevant content to share. A top tip- make it easy for the webmaster to understand what you’re wanting, how it will benefit them and why they should link to you. It is a lot about the way you construct your email. Do it similar to this (you can copy and paste the formula so you don’t have to type each email again, again and again):

For example: ‘Hello there, Ahrefs. Today, I noticed that your page ‘Example’ (amazon.com/example) talks about link building? I am writing today to ask if you would be interested in attributing a link to our blog post; ‘Web Link Building’ (SEOfife.co.uk/web-link-building) which goes into more details on the topic. I think it would be great for your customers because it gives a really great insight into what is behind building great web links. 

Is this something you can do for us?

  1. Tell them what part of their website you are emailing about
  2. Tell them what you want/ask directly
  3. Why is this of value to their website?

This is a weak generic example, but you can see the structure. It is your opportunity to get really creative about how you can demonstrate real value. A little bit of advice I was given many years ago was to ‘write as if you were writing to somebody you respect, but you know they are busy’. Like a boss. If it’s too long they won’t reply so be direct and concise while still remaining polite.

We find that having initiative, being creative and unique draws the best results. Especially if you are spearheading a content-driven outreach strategy (like the example above) it could pay to think way outside the box and write about something nobody else has thought of/ go really long tail. Get right into the topic and create a really interesting piece of work. When you peak the interest of the webmasters and consumers, your content is more likely to draw in links.

Something that it is often overlooked in link building is making real-world connections. It is a really good way to get some links. Use the real world exposure as much as you can. You can tie in your real-world marketing into your link building strategy.

Get yourself onto Reddit or facebook and talk to other people involved in your topic, once again demonstrate your value and use that as an opportunity you work and directly ask if a link can be attributed. Obviously, you have to be genuine. Make friends naturally and network… just like real-world marketing. It is a lot of work, but what is it worth if it was easy?

An example of this working was part of an e-commerce project recently. We contacted niche and relevant publications and asked to feature an interview (you could try to send products for review but that is how Expedia got their penalty so you have to be careful). Some may say this is comparable to buying links, (which is kinda true) but it is a way to demonstrate value and also get some brand awareness. Why not!?

Technical outreach like broken link building, un-linked mentions and advanced content techniques we will keep up our sleeve. Don’t want to be sharing all of our secrets now, do we?!

Cowboy’s and Aliens

Bad practice is rife in website link building services. With anything that takes lots of time & is hard, it is easy to take shortcuts to match client expectations or for quick wins. Unfortunately, if you put bad fuel in your shuttle, you are going to explode at some point. In the ‘good old days’ of 2000’s SEO, webmasters could employ or create networks of websites and domains which had the sole purpose of providing a tone of links to their own, or a client’s website. Google is catching and cracking down on the ‘cheating’ but SEO’s are also getting smarter…or more despite. Take your pick.

PBNs

Funnily enough, I grabbed this picture from ‘blackhatlinks.com’.

Private Blog Networks (PBN’s) are a common strategy for link building with ‘grey hat’ SEOs. PBN’s are a collection of websites that you own (or are owned by somebody else/a collection of people) that only really exist as a tool to provide links for SEO. If I owned ten websites selling SEO services, I would point them at this site, and Google will think I am really authoritative and that my site has lots of friends; in reality, you are linking to yourself. If you are a pro/know what you are doing, a PBN could be very effective at fooling the Google algorithm. Although, it does take a tone of time, can cost a bomb (with your domains, separate hosting systems etc… all designed to avoid Google’s punishing eye) it may help you rank a client website, or make you a tone of money from affiliate or eCommerce websites.

Sounds amazing, right? Up front hard work to get easy links that you can control? You’re right. It is amazing. The big issue is that it is a direct contradiction to the rules of Google’s game & can land you a manual penalty or for your websites to be deindexed. If Google catches you ‘cheating’,  your website/websites could be wiped from Google and ruin all the hard work you have put in. Playing with a PBN with your own website is a pain for white-hat SEOs but long as the risk is worth it, the technique is fair-game. It is, however, unforgivable if an SEO or agency use a PBN for a client because it could extinguish their livelihood. It isn’t really fair to risk somebody else’s business like that.

 A couple of the most visible SEO’s in Scotland have bragging the rights to say they are either top, or first page of the ‘SEO Scotland’, ‘SEO Edinburgh/ Glasgow” terms and it is fairly obvious that they have to use a network of PBNs between them (being top for SEO terms serves as an example of how good you do your work).

There was an article openly endorsing the use of the technique published recently with an associate of SEMrush, and there are some good points made but we would prefer to make solid foundations and a start with a robust long-term approach. You know what happens to castles made on sand.

Paid Links

Webmasters have jumped on a business opportunity because they know how exclusive and beneficial a good link can be. If they have a quality, niche and authoritative website, they could earn a penny or two for some links. We know that a lot of agencies foot the bill because it is more cost/time effective to do so. Personally, I don’t have a huge issue with paid links. My concern would be, if the website is selling links, the website is not operating in a ‘natural’ or authentic way. It could mean that the website is part of a PBN, they are more likely to be low authority and could already be penalised by search engines. These links would just be a waste of money. Basically, paid links are generally riskier and less effective than white-hat links… generally that is. If you know what to look for, a paid link is a fair corner to cut.

If you’re considering it, you also have to be a little bit clever with buying links. You have to think of the timing, pace, quantity and quality of the links. If Google thinks that the links do not look natural it could put you in line for a penalty. If the website is trash, you’ve wasted your money. All that effort could be put into creating quality content and being innovative about how you approach white-hat link building.

Web linking & SEO Outreach Fife & Edinburgh

In case you haven’t guessed. Part of our SEO strategy is to build links to your website to improve your overall visibility on search engines. If you found this informative and wish to ask a few questions, get your self in touch.

Get in touch if you think we can help you with your SEO outreach & Web link building in Fife & Edinburgh.

The post Website Link Building appeared first on .

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The story of Stuart Hugh Cormack

Who Stuart Cormack Was To SEOFife

SEOFife was founded just after University – We had both fallen into the, largely ignored gap, of getting used to a full time, meaningless and not so graduate employment. The years in University are defiantly the best days of your life and we knew it – we knew it was over. The previous year was the best of all too; we stayed up late, drunk beer in the flat or at the Curly Coo, played too many video games, all in the company of our 3 other brothers- Jack, Panashe and Stuart. We had known each other for nearly four years at this point.

‘I met Stuart in my very first Freshers week at a Drama society meeting. From the moment I met him he showed a unique kindness to me and a genuine sense to want to get to know who I was and what my story was about and I will always appreciate him for that. During our time at university, I would get to know him better and beneath each layer would reveal a man with a beautiful soul.

I thank God for the times that we shared’ – Panashe Bopoto, (Longtime friend and Flatmate in 4th year)

From day one, Stuart Hugh Cormack was hard to miss. He was 6ft5, made everybody laugh and fit right into the big, little brother suit. Sam, was instantly the closest to Stuart (apart from both being well over 6ft) and already acquaintances from high school in North Berwick but we all learned to love his gentle soul, absolutely hilarious and sometimes absurd sense of humour. Stuart was the guy who introduced everyone in the flat to their new favourite series, film, album, comedian, author, artist, play, comic… you name it. He knew it and knew something you would like.  (He and Sam made me watch ‘The Room’- it sums up Stu’s sense of humour to a T).

Stuart was a one-off. One of those special edition’s that fit their own box.

‘I mean, Stuart wasn’t just a person- he was an experience. He never did have a great deal of time for the mundanities of life, instead doing things his way…. because tasting pasta to see if it was cooked was just too boring for Stuart, he had to fling it at the wall and basically redecorate the kitchen with spaghetti’ – Conor Healy (Flatmate for 1st, Second and Third Year of University)

Stuart’s Story

Stuart died on Wednesday the 6th of July 2016 after a short battle with predominately Liver cancer. – he had spent 22 years, 364 days on this planet and passed away only 5 weeks after his diagnosis.

He reported to have been feeling unwell around March time this year- there was nothing serious but he knew something wasn’t quite right. He said he didn’t feel like eating something and his stomach was a bit bloated. After a couple of weeks Sam met up with Stuart for a couple of drinks and he was looking rather thin; it was completely normal with him feeling off. His stomach was enlarged but he thought it was to do with drinking gassy fluids- so he avoided beer.

Two weeks later Stuart was admitted to Hospital. He had gone in for a further check up to get to the bottom of his stomach problems as he was feeling significantly more unwell. Fearing an infection (which the medical staff later confirmed) they found his bloods to be off and decided to send him to hospital – what they found was multiple tumours on his Appendix, Liver and Peritoneum.

Teenage Cancer Unit- Western General Hospital Edinburgh

(Click the link above to support the Teenage Cancer Unit)

Stuart was then admitted to the Teenage Cancer Unit in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. He had now been diagnosed with cancer he was set about to fighting the raging infection that had started in his body. The action plan was to fight the infection and then look at Chemo Therapy to deal with the cancer. Although, the ward was full of other very sick people the doctors and nurse’s worked endlessly and tirelessly to help not just Stuart but also his family- they were also incredibly supportive of any visitors, even if they were more than slightly outside the designated hours. Words cannot express how grateful Stuart and his family were for their expertise, support and extra million miles they went every day, for them and for each and every patient under their care. Their calm reassurance, expert advice and genuine level of understanding is a credit to the Hospital and to the NHS itself.

It was here that Stuart and his family were given the news that Stuart was not going to be strong enough for Chemo and that his cancer was terminal.

‘Stuart had nothing but good things to say about [The Teenage Cancer Unit] (even if he did talk about his balls and his bowels more than is considered polite!) and I don’t think I would’ve been able to deal with the news without your wonderful unit’ – Isla MacLean (Stuarts Wife)

Please have a look at the Units donation page and help a little so they can further their support of young, people suffering from cancer of all forms.

The St Columbus Hospice

(Click the link above to support the Teenage Cancer Unit)

Not too long after Stuart’s bad news, he was moved to the St Columbus Hospice in Edinburgh. To tell the truth, the Hospice is beautiful – very calm, tranquil and picturesque. It was a hard transition for Stuart to make however, they made everything so welcoming and so much easier to deal with. The hospice was so, so accommodating and did everything in their power to help Stuart achieve his final wishes; they hosted and orchestrated Stuart’s and Isla’s wedding and helped bring together family and friends to celebrate the occasion. As Isla perfectly sums it up; ‘No one plans to die at 22, but of all places he could have gone, I’m thankful he went there’.

The St Columbus Hospice didn’t simply help Stuart in his final days, but maybe hundreds of people a year. They support, counsel, advise, comfort and accommodate everything the can in their power – with a profound level of thought care and compassion. To die is a strangely abstract, scary and surreal concept, but when you are facing that reality, it is something special to have that guiding hand, with friends surrounded and guided until the end.

The Hospice put Stuarts family up, in beds so that they were closer to him and supplied free tea and coffee to visitors. The St Columbus hospice in Edinburgh has become very close to my heart.

Once again the St Columbus Hospice operates from the kindness of donations– if you can spare a little it would be a fantastic gift to send somebody away in peace and tranquillity of mind.

He ‘left a Stuart shaped hole in our lives’ (Words of His father) and he is somebody who will be so very hard to forget.

Please help us contribute to The Teen Cancer Trust and St Coulombs, two wonderful charities that made Stuart’s treatment the best possible, and help them provide the same care to others!

Stuart had an extraordinary ability to make a room of people buckle in hysterics. It is no coincidence that mine and same last moments with him was spent laughing with friends surrounded.

We later found out, after analysis, that Stuart had a particularly rare form of cancer called ‘Linitis Plastica’ which is more common in the Far East but growing more common amongst Europeans. People Under 40 and those as young as 20-25 are slightly more affected. What is striking about this form of cancer is that it is currently almost always fatal, even before there are any noticeable symptoms, as it invades the deep layers of the stomach lining and quickly spreads to the vital organs. As a diffuse cancer there is no solid mass to see which makes it very hard to detect, almost invisible to an endoscopy. Even if detected early and the stomach is removed, it just keeps coming back. As it was described to us- ‘Its a completely hopeless, aggressive cancer’.

In Memory of Stuco- Stuart Cormack

When Stuart passed away, I think everyone looked inwards. If there is one thing, I certainly learned was that it drew attention to how I was living my life. Stuart managed to fulfil one dream- to ride the Transserbian railway line. It is a trip he had spoken about for the whole time we knew him and he had finally booked it for a little later this year; he sadly didn’t make the trip.

‘I’ve been sitting here for ages thinking – I’m rubbish with words and nothing I can think feels good enough for him. All of his bad traits were completely overshadowed when you laugh. The amount of people that turned up to his funeral shows how many people really love and miss him’ – Tara Copic (Flatmate, first second and third year of University)

It was made abundantly clear at Stuart’s funeral by all speakers that nobody plans to die, never mind at nearly twenty-three years of age. So if there is something that you are waiting to do, go and do it! If you can’t because you have work, or have don’t have the time- make the time and go. Enjoy the life that we have been given and spend it doing the things you want to do – spare no effort in making your dreams come true.

Stuart was a fantastic artist and story writer – he had developed a collection of drawing and storyboards for it but never had the confidence to put his work out there. The final dream that Stuart fulfilled was to see his comic compiled together, completed and published by two of his long-term friends. He is said to have beamed with happiness and he passed away later that evening.

The post In Memory Of Stuart Cormack appeared first on .

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SEO Fife by Admin - 11M ago
Website Links 101

SEO is often broken down into two parts: Content & Backlinks. If you are new to SEO, imagine it like this: On page SEO, like a well-designed website & writing good keyword optimised content, compared to building yourself a space shuttle. Pointing links to that content is like putting fuel in the rocket and turning on the ignition. Links are what fuels the rise in rankings in many cases. Constantly, there are debates about the impact links have on your SEO but they never fail if you build your shuttle correctly.

What are Backlinks?

They are a hyperlink from one website to another. It shows Google that your business/brand/website is building real relationships with other webmasters. Google’s endgame is to provide genuine, authoritative and informative content to its users. The more links to your website, in theory, means more trust, respect and authority in your field. If your website is rubbish or looks like it is riddled with viruses, nobody will want to link to it – on the flipside, if the content is relevant and useful, and the website looked amazing, you’re more likely to get a link. Google also looks at the Type & How Relevant your links are too, so you have to be particular about which website you want your website to be associated with

Links for SEO

The links that Google is looking for are authoritative and relevant. So it should be related to the topic of the page you’re trying to rank, and from a website that also has lots of links pointing to it/ has authority within its field. For example, We got several links from influential Edinburgh food blogs for The Black Hoof- A Spanish Restaurant in Edinburgh. This kills two birds because they are locally relevant (being Edinburgh/Scotland based food blogs) and they are also talking about food, and even more specifically, Spanish Restaurants.

Good link opportunities are high quality/regulated business directories (118, Thompson Local etc…). Make sure you choose directories that have a vetting process because websites where you can freely add links, are less effective and may land you a ‘spam score’ if you get a load, and loads of irrelevant and low authority links. Google may not punish you, but it will see your website is hanging about with the ‘wrong crowd’. These days, Google is better at working out bad/toxic links (meaning your SEO isn’t always detrimentally affected) but they should still be avoided. 1 good quality link is better than 10 rubbish ones.

Why are Links so difficult to get?

Imagine somebody emailed you out of the blue and said ‘Can you put a link from your website to mine?’. Most of the time I would imagine that ‘no’ would be the answer. You don’t know what that website is, and what benefit will it give your website? To overcome that reaction, you must demonstrate value to the other website. That is why creative & targeted content is so important. It is about finding an opportunity, create unique content and constructing your email to demonstrate your value.

How to get Good Links?

Always demonstrate what value, your website provides. Once you have seen a good link opportunity/opportunities, create some niche and relevant content to share. A top tip- make it easy for the webmaster to understand what you’re wanting, how it will benefit them and why they should link to you. It is a lot about the way you construct your email. Do it similar to this (you can copy and paste the formula so you don’t have to type each email again, again and again):

For example: ‘Hello there, Ahrefs. Today, I noticed that your page ‘Example’ (amazon.com/example) talks about link building? I am writing today to ask if you would be interested in attributing a link to our blog post; ‘Web Link Building’ (SEOfife.co.uk/web-link-building) which goes into more details on the topic. I think it would be great for your customers because it gives a really great insight into what is behind building great web links. 

Is this something you can do for us?

  1. Tell them what part of their website you are emailing about
  2. Tell them what you want/ask directly
  3. Why is this of value to their website?

This is a weak generic example, but you can see the structure. It is your opportunity to get really creative about how you can demonstrate real value. A little bit of advice I was given many years ago was to ‘write as if you were writing to somebody you respect, but you know they are busy’. Like a boss. If it’s too long they won’t reply so be direct and concise while still remaining polite.

We find that having initiative, being creative and unique draws the best results. Especially if you are spearheading a content-driven outreach strategy (like the example above) it could pay to think way outside the box and write about something nobody else has thought of/ go really long tail. Get right into the topic and create a really interesting piece of work. When you peak the interest of the webmasters and consumers, your content is more likely to draw in links.

Something that it is often overlooked in link building is making real-world connections. It is a really good way to get some links. Use the real world exposure as much as you can. You can tie in your real-world marketing into your link building strategy. Why not contact a magazine or online publication and offer them a discount to their readers and you will promote them via your own social media/online audience.

Get yourself onto Reddit or facebook and talk to other people involved in your topic, once again demonstrate your value and use that as an opportunity you work and directly ask if a link can be attributed. Obviously, you have to be genuine. Make friends naturally and network… just like real-world marketing. It is a lot of work, but what is it worth if it was easy?

An example of this working was part of an e-commerce project recently. We contacted niche and relevant publications and asked to feature an interview or send samples for them for a review? Some may say this is comparable to buying links, (which is kinda true) but it is a way to demonstrate value and also get some brand awareness. Why not!?

Technical outreach like broken link building, un-linked mentions and advanced content techniques we will keep up our sleeve. Don’t want to be sharing all of our secrets now, do we?!

Cowboy’s and Aliens

Bad practice is rife in website link building services. With anything that takes lots of time & is hard, it is easy to take shortcuts to match client expectations or for quick wins. Unfortunately, if you put bad fuel in your shuttle, you are going to explode at some point. In the ‘good old days’ of 2000’s SEO, webmasters could employ or create networks of websites and domains which had the sole purpose of providing a tone of links to their own, or a client’s website. Google is catching and cracking down on the ‘cheating’ but SEO’s are also getting smarter…or more despite. Take your pick.

PBNs

Funnily enough, I grabbed this picture from ‘blackhatlinks.com’.

Private Blog Networks (PBN’s) are a common strategy for link building with ‘grey hat’ SEOs. PBN’s are a collection of websites that you own (or are owned by somebody else/a collection of people) that only really exist as a tool to provide links for SEO. If I owned ten websites selling SEO services, I would point them at this site, and Google will think I am really authoritative and that my site has lots of friends; in reality, you are linking to yourself. If you are a pro/know what you are doing, a PBN could be very effective at fooling the Google algorithm. Although, it does take a tone of time, can cost a bomb (with your domains, separate hosting systems etc… all designed to avoid Google’s punishing eye) it may help you rank a client website, or make you a tone of money from affiliate or eCommerce websites.

Sounds amazing, right? Up front hard work to get easy links that you can control? You’re right. It is amazing. The big issue is that it is a direct contradiction to the rules of Google’s game & can land you a manual penalty or for your websites to be deindexed. If Google catches you ‘cheating’,  your website/websites could be wiped from Google and ruin all the hard work you have put in. Playing with a PBN with your own website is a pain for white-hat SEOs but long as the risk is worth it, the technique is fair-game. It is, however, unforgivable if an SEO or agency use a PBN for a client because it could extinguish their livelihood. It isn’t really fair to risk somebody else’s business like that.

 A couple of the most visible SEO’s in Scotland have bragging the rights to say they are either top, or first page of the ‘SEO Scotland’, ‘SEO Edinburgh/ Glasgow” terms and it is fairly obvious that they have to use a network of PBNs between them (being top for SEO terms serves as an example of how good you do your work).

There was an article openly endorsing the use of the technique published recently with an associate of SEMrush, and there are some good points made but we would prefer to make solid foundations and a start with a robust long-term approach. You know what happens to castles made on sand.

Paid Links

Webmasters have jumped on a business opportunity because they know how exclusive and beneficial a good link can be. If they have a quality, niche and authoritative website, they could earn a penny or two for some links. We know that a lot of agencies foot the bill because it is more cost/time effective to do so. Personally, I don’t have a huge issue with paid links. My concern would be, if the website is selling links, the website is not operating in a ‘natural’ or authentic way. It could mean that the website is part of a PBN, they are more likely to be low authority and could already be penalised by search engines. These links would just be a waste of money. Basically, paid links are generally riskier and less effective than white-hat links… generally that is. If you know what to look for, a paid link is a fair corner to cut.

If you’re considering it, you also have to be a little bit clever with buying links. You have to think of the timing, pace, quantity and quality of the links. If Google thinks that the links do not look natural it could put you in line for a penalty. If the website is trash, you’ve wasted your money. All that effort could be put into creating quality content and being innovative about how you approach white-hat link building.

Web linking & SEO Outreach Fife & Edinburgh

In case you haven’t guessed. Part of our SEO strategy is to build links to your website to improve your overall visibility on search engines. If you found this informative and wish to ask a few questions, get your self in touch.

Get in touch if you think we can help you with your SEO outreach & Web link building in Fife & Edinbrugh.

The post Website Link Building appeared first on .

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The story of Stuart Hugh Cormack

Who Stuart Cormack Was To SEOFife

SEOFife was founded just after University – We had both fallen into the, largely ignored gap, of getting used to a full time, meaningless and not so graduate employment. The years in University are defiantly the best days of your life and we knew it – we knew it was over. The previous year was the best of all too; we stayed up late, drunk beer in the flat or at the Curly Coo, played too many video games, all in the company of our 3 other brothers- Jack, Panashe and Stuart. We had known each other for nearly four years at this point.

‘I met Stuart in my very first Freshers week at a Drama society meeting. From the moment I met him he showed a unique kindness to me and a genuine sense to want to get to know who I was and what my story was about and I will always appreciate him for that. During our time at university, I would get to know him better and beneath each layer would reveal a man with a beautiful soul.

I thank God for the times that we shared’ – Panashe Bopoto, (Longtime friend and Flatmate in 4th year)

From day one, Stuart Hugh Cormack was hard to miss. He was 6ft5, made everybody laugh and fit right into the big, little brother suit. Sam, was instantly the closest to Stuart (apart from both being well over 6ft) and already acquaintances from high school in North Berwick but we all learned to love his gentle soul, absolutely hilarious and sometimes absurd sense of humour. Stuart was the guy who introduced everyone in the flat to their new favourite series, film, album, comedian, author, artist, play, comic… you name it. He knew it and knew something you would like.  (He and Sam made me watch ‘The Room’- it sums up Stu’s sense of humour to a T).

Stuart was a one-off. One of those special edition’s that fit their own box.

‘I mean, Stuart wasn’t just a person- he was an experience. He never did have a great deal of time for the mundanities of life, instead doing things his way…. because tasting pasta to see if it was cooked was just too boring for Stuart, he had to fling it at the wall and basically redecorate the kitchen with spaghetti’ – Conor Healy (Flatmate for 1st, Second and Third Year of University)

Stuart’s Story

Stuart died on Wednesday the 6th of July 2016 after a short battle with predominately Liver cancer. – he had spent 22 years, 364 days on this planet and passed away only 5 weeks after his diagnosis.

He reported to have been feeling unwell around March time this year- there was nothing serious but he knew something wasn’t quite right. He said he didn’t feel like eating something and his stomach was a bit bloated. After a couple of weeks Sam met up with Stuart for a couple of drinks and he was looking rather thin; it was completely normal with him feeling off. His stomach was enlarged but he thought it was to do with drinking gassy fluids- so he avoided beer.

Two weeks later Stuart was admitted to Hospital. He had gone in for a further check up to get to the bottom of his stomach problems as he was feeling significantly more unwell. Fearing an infection (which the medical staff later confirmed) they found his bloods to be off and decided to send him to hospital – what they found was multiple tumours on his Appendix, Liver and Peritoneum.

Teenage Cancer Unit- Western General Hospital Edinburgh

(Click the link above to support the Teenage Cancer Unit)

Stuart was then admitted to the Teenage Cancer Unit in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. He had now been diagnosed with cancer he was set about to fighting the raging infection that had started in his body. The action plan was to fight the infection and then look at Chemo Therapy to deal with the cancer. Although, the ward was full of other very sick people the doctors and nurse’s worked endlessly and tirelessly to help not just Stuart but also his family- they were also incredibly supportive of any visitors, even if they were more than slightly outside the designated hours. Words cannot express how grateful Stuart and his family were for their expertise, support and extra million miles they went every day, for them and for each and every patient under their care. Their calm reassurance, expert advice and genuine level of understanding is a credit to the Hospital and to the NHS itself.

It was here that Stuart and his family were given the news that Stuart was not going to be strong enough for Chemo and that his cancer was terminal.

‘Stuart had nothing but good things to say about [The Teenage Cancer Unit] (even if he did talk about his balls and his bowels more than is considered polite!) and I don’t think I would’ve been able to deal with the news without your wonderful unit’ – Isla MacLean (Stuarts Wife)

Please have a look at the Units donation page and help a little so they can further their support of young, people suffering from cancer of all forms.

The St Columbus Hospice

(Click the link above to support the Teenage Cancer Unit)

Not too long after Stuart’s bad news, he was moved to the St Columbus Hospice in Edinburgh. To tell the truth, the Hospice is beautiful – very calm, tranquil and picturesque. It was a hard transition for Stuart to make however, they made everything so welcoming and so much easier to deal with. The hospice was so, so accommodating and did everything in their power to help Stuart achieve his final wishes; they hosted and orchestrated Stuart’s and Isla’s wedding and helped bring together family and friends to celebrate the occasion. As Isla perfectly sums it up; ‘No one plans to die at 22, but of all places he could have gone, I’m thankful he went there’.

The St Columbus Hospice didn’t simply help Stuart in his final days, but maybe hundreds of people a year. They support, counsel, advise, comfort and accommodate everything the can in their power – with a profound level of thought care and compassion. To die is a strangely abstract, scary and surreal concept, but when you are facing that reality, it is something special to have that guiding hand, with friends surrounded and guided until the end.

The Hospice put Stuarts family up, in beds so that they were closer to him and supplied free tea and coffee to visitors. The St Columbus hospice in Edinburgh has become very close to my heart.

Once again the St Columbus Hospice operates from the kindness of donations– if you can spare a little it would be a fantastic gift to send somebody away in peace and tranquillity of mind.

He ‘left a Stuart shaped hole in our lives’ (Words of His father) and he is somebody who will be so very hard to forget.

Please help us contribute to The Teen Cancer Trust and St Coulombs, two wonderful charities that made Stuart’s treatment the best possible, and help them provide the same care to others!

Stuart had an extraordinary ability to make a room of people buckle in hysterics. It is no coincidence that mine and same last moments with him was spent laughing with friends surrounded.

We later found out, after analysis, that Stuart had a particularly rare form of cancer called ‘Linitis Plastica’ which is more common in the Far East but growing more common amongst Europeans. People Under 40 and those as young as 20-25 are slightly more affected. What is striking about this form of cancer is that it is currently almost always fatal, even before there are any noticeable symptoms, as it invades the deep layers of the stomach lining and quickly spreads to the vital organs. As a diffuse cancer there is no solid mass to see which makes it very hard to detect, almost invisible to an endoscopy. Even if detected early and the stomach is removed, it just keeps coming back. As it was described to us- ‘Its a completely hopeless, aggressive cancer’.

In Memory of Stuco- Stuart Cormack

When Stuart passed away, I think everyone looked inwards. If there is one thing, I certainly learned was that it drew attention to how I was living my life. Stuart managed to fulfil one dream- to ride the Transserbian railway line. It is a trip he had spoken about for the whole time we knew him and he had finally booked it for a little later this year; he sadly didn’t make the trip.

‘I’ve been sitting here for ages thinking – I’m rubbish with words and nothing I can think feels good enough for him. All of his bad traits were completely overshadowed when you laugh. The amount of people that turned up to his funeral shows how many people really love and miss him’ – Tara Copic (Flatmate, first second and third year of University)

It was made abundantly clear at Stuart’s funeral by all speakers that nobody plans to die, never mind at nearly twenty-three years of age. So if there is something that you are waiting to do, go and do it! If you can’t because you have work, or have don’t have the time- make the time and go. Enjoy the life that we have been given and spend it doing the things you want to do – spare no effort in making your dreams come true.

Stuart was a fantastic artist and story writer – he had developed a collection of drawing and storyboards for it but never had the confidence to put his work out there. The final dream that Stuart fulfilled was to see his comic compiled together, completed and published by two of his long-term friends. He is said to have beamed with happiness and he passed away later that evening.

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