Monthly Archives: March 2009

Charities using affiliations

adrianland-charities-affiliatesI have noticed two businesses  that are using affiliation techniques to make money, and their guise is to share with a charity.  

Now sharing the spoils of war is nothing new.  Years back I am sure I had a greasy palm or too and my friends site give shares aswell as rebates.  But its seems that charities who have a larger emotional pull are using this to entice people to use and re-use.

Check out Breast Cancer and Hospital Gift aid respective sites.  Good luck to them.

Interesting reading 2009-03-26


An expose piece on the Dave Naylor site regarding national newspapers linking for commerical gain. It is implying that the papers and possibly media owners are starting to understand the commerical power of adding links to their articles.

The blog has a couple of articles that I found interesting this week.  The first is there take on global market share of the main search engines. It seems that Google is clawing back its market share.  The 2nd article is about travel companies and how they can target social media. Compete who obviously aggregate data to show relative positions and importance of sites are suggesting that the social media sites is increasing in absolute terms the amount of referrals to Hotel sites.  Of which I am interested in !  You can see the full article on compete’s blog.

Sticking with social media on SEOOptimise is another social media article asking what is it all about? The term that this and many other speakers, articles are writing about “Conversations” and community building.  It is very simpley laid out article that talks about the hows, wheres and whys.  Seth Godin always has an opinion. EConsultancy’s angle this week is about how social media is now main stream and not for kids.

How to build a business case


If you work in a large company you probably are familiar with having to prioritise.  And if, like me, you work with a year long technology roadmap to make any change you need to build a case.

I have found the best way to build this case, is to use these 4 criteria.

• Size of Opportunity
• Risk of doing / risk of NOT doing
• Level of Effort
• Time to Impact

It generally works if there is a big opportunity and quick to impact. Then high levels of effort and risk are normally then just managed.

If there is a long time to impact, and only medium or small possible return, you are unlikely to get your idea squeezed in.

Sometimes, if the level of effort is next to nothing and the size is medium and is quick you might be lucky!

If this is a SEO business case, that is when the risk of not doing really kicks in.  Try to model what the loss is, especially if this is a hygiene change!

I reckon most situations can be modelled on these 4 criteria.

Interesting articles 2009-03-17

Books image on to keep on top of the rss reader is near on impossible.  I have articles bookmarked and I will get to them.  I hope they are not out of date before I get to them !!

A slightly different tack from my normal straight SEO, but believe it or not I know a fair bit about PPC too.  Jennifer Slegg is showing how to stop your competitor from seeing (for competition reasons) or them burning your budget.  See her post called “How to prevent competitors from seeing your Adword ads“.

Once again the MSN Live people have another quality post.  This time they are talking about considerations international sites. The articles lays out some of the issues people have when doing international. They actually very helpfully spell out their criteria for deciding the intended audience of your site.  They list these in this order.  1) ccTLDs 2) Hosting, server location especially for .com .org etc. 3) the language of the body text on the page, 4) the locale of pages that link to the page.  This fits observations made in Google recently.  Thank you MSN.

On SEO theory is an article about duplicate content, causes and the new canonical url tag.  It lays out some things that I haven spouting for a while and is nice to read.  How duplicate content can dilute inbound link benefit, can ruin onsite search and if you are very unlucky a penalty.  But as we know it is more likely to be ignored.

Yahoo have another article about this canonical URL. Ysearch blog.

There were a couple of posts from Matt Cutts that caught my eye this week.  The first is about paid or sponsored links.  And he lays it out quite clearly that they are bad ! And the 2nd is about the number of links on a page.  There is a brief history lesson of why, when processors stopped around 100kb ! And how the rule-of-thumb should be for usability reasons as too many links are hard for users.  It acknowledges that it may follow more than a hundred (which we know from monitoring spiders onsite) but may not! and you will dilute page rank.

There have been in recent weeks many article about how social media is creeping into every day life and can be form an Twitdiction (trying to coin a phrase) and Business Week’s angle is about time management and how sites such as Twitter can actually help productivity.  Today, I posted a tech question and got an answer before I could leave the site !

We all love a classic what not to do to you site.  Here is one one Marketing Pilgram that is fairly good.  Take a look and enjoy.



I still find it exciting when I find a new and innovative new site.  This new one Addict-o-matic who name is pretty accurate is a one-stop-shop for all the different sources of information from blogs, news and the social sphere.  As a rugby fan, the example of keeping up to date with all the 6 nations actions is great.  Take a look for yourself and if you like, let us know what you think.

See my example of six nations rugby on Addict-o-matic >>

The web never forgets!

adrianland-piplSo, you have made a post on a forum when you are a young man (or women),  it may even be slightly embarassing.  You might of got drunk and your friends have put a photo of you in an embarassing position or situation and you go for a job interview.

Your new employer, even though they cant formally use it, will do an internet search for your name.  If you are clever, they will find a nice blog of you and your cat.  Or they can use a people search engine such as Pipl and find all kinds of things.

Remember, dont post anything that you might be embarassed about in the future or have friends connected to you who might become a liability in the future.

Check it out for your own name and be scared.

Here are few searches for famous people: Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister. Sports people, David Beckham through to silly bloggers.

You will notice, if you search for yourself that the information is currently seriously out of date (especially electrol register) and gets confused.  But a worrying new public development.

The web never forgets.

EConsultancy’s Digital Cream March 2009

I have to say, its been a first in a long time that I have actually enjoyed an networking and discussion event.
This is an invitation only event and as you say you can go you specific what topics you are interested in.

The day is broken into 3 x 1 ½ hour round tables of 8 to 10 professionals on a selected topic. The table is sponsored by a company and that is how it is free to all of us. Luckily the tables I was on the sponsor did a few shameless plugs – but had enough humour in that delivery not to be intrusive.

I was on three sessions:
1) Online Copy, Content onsite and ePR
2) Social media and how to monetise it, and
3) SEO

It was a who’s who of digital marketing and on the whole there was a good mix of experience and learners. Each bringing something unique to the table.
The rules are that no comments/case studies or people can be cited directly, in a bid to aid open and frank discussion.
But I thought I would post a few comments which are a mixture of my thoughts and collected observations.

1) Online Copy, Content onsite and ePR

Most people are working on improving onsite content. This is in terms of entry pages, working on conversion and for purely old-school-doorway pages. And the more conversion orientated are using content to aid and remove fall out from action orientated paths on site.

There was general consensus that those who are working in multi-lingual sites were struggling with translation versus localisation. And we having to accept what they were given due to time or resource constraints.
It was clear that there are so many definitions and tactical uses of content throughout every organisation. But on the whole, everyone believed in quality content. But varied in whether they thought they had any or were going to get some!

2) Social media and how to monetise it

You cant monetise social media at the moment was clear from all. And that all people that we spoke to described their activities as ‘dabbling’ rather than a full on deliberate strategy.
The best practice was fairly well agreed that companies need to Listen first before they jump in.

And when trying to spark conversation or form opinions that identifying key influencers is essential.
One company was proactively searching for keywords in Twitter and when they found a potential customer with a problem their company could solve they would intervene, supply the solution and get that satisfied individual to buzz about their company. Which I think is genius.
Measuring of Social media varied by company. Some didn’t measure at all. And other were using existing or classic KPI to judge its success.

There were some interesting discussion how some retailers are allowing their customers to contact them through more informal channels. And this allowed them to work with angry people and fairly often turn them into advocates.
There was a discussion on how employees who use social media ‘could’ damage a reputation or get them or colleagues into trouble. And there was insight into how some companies are putting in social media education programmes!
We all agreed that we would need to learn when a company should ‘Shut up’ in social media before they alienate the crowd.

3) SEO

This was a good and lively table. I enjoyed this discussion a lot. The conversation meandered from how to work with agencies to brainstorming specific concerns/dilemmas some of the participants are having today.
The topics were varied and to write this up would take more patience than I actually have. All in all it was fun.

Overall, I enjoyed this event, picked up a few tips and meet some interesting people. Well done EConsultancy. Can’t wait til next year.


Brand algo changes on Google?

If you listen carefully to the video from Matt Cutts, he says No.   I have seen a few posts about this topic now and thought I better pay attention as I work for a fairly well known brand.

Cutts talks about this being one of 3 to 4 hundred changes they normally make a year to the algo. And the objective is still to provide the best results for users.  And the latest change would only affect a small number of queries.

See the video for yourself here…

What keywords are in the vid?

He talks about the Trust, Authority, Page Rank still being very important in determining the best results.

And its a change and not an update. Its Vince’s change by the way !

Interesting articles 2009-03-05


An article by Steve Johnston’s consultancy on whether Affiliate links are or are not a paid link from Google’s position.  A bit old, from Oct 08, but came across this, this week.  So, lets not worry is the advice and run your affiliate programme and hopefully, maybe in the short term, you are adding links – on top of the normal justification for an affiliate programme.

This article on the new Econsultancy site is a very brave and overly honest casestudy of a domain migration.  You can see the story to-date here.

Going old-skool.  I have been making some robots.txt adjustments this week and have been re-using a classic.  Never forget for all your bot needs.

Another oldy-but-a-goodie on Link Bait.  An article I can across again this week during some research for a forthcoming cunning plan in social media.  Its amazing how simple solid articles stay the course of time.  See the Link Bait article.

A techcrunch article talking about the slow down in domain registrations.  I was actually also suprised by the number of .net registrations.  I maybe stupidly assumed that dot net was spammers.  The large dot cn probably are though.

This article shows a list of search engines and their employees who are using Twitter and giving another (if it needed any more help) push to the main stream for early adoptors.  See the original list on SELand.