Monthly Archives: July 2010

Types of Link Bait

Do you need bait to get a link?

Do you need bait to get a link?

Obtaining links to your site (still important as of today) is hard work. We all know the obvious methods and some of you may know some other more advanced techniques too. A commonly used term in the “be creative and people will link to you” approach is “link bait”.

Link Bait by its definition is producing something that is either sensational or interesting enough to warrant a mention and a link to it from another site. The overarching goal could be branding, or a PR stunt etc etc. But the SEO’s objective is quality inbound links, ideally in volume.

So, what types of link bait are there? And in my personal favourite order list:

  1. Infographics
  2. – a favourite of mine. This is when you design a pictorial way of showing something exciting.

  3. Videos [Funny, Outside the Box]
  4. – always a winner – hard to achieve true fame, but if you are good they are impressive in how far they can fly.

  5. Top x Lists
  6. – if you are working on content syndication strategies, quick easy, accessible lists are always a favourite. They must just tap into the human psyche

  7. Controversial Topics
  8. “no such thing as bad press”

  9. Complete Guides and Reports
  10. – data is king. If you are the expert in a field, produce an industy report e.g. Hotel Price Index by This has so much mileage

  11. Interesting Polls and Surveys
  12. – more data – everybody loves to know that 64% people love to give opinions in polls! These are easy for bloggers and journos to take and fill up space easily

  13. Topic Specific Recaps and Roundups
  14. – if you attend an event or conference and can do a digest – others who are lazy to take notes or others who couldn’t attend will find it useful

  15. Interviews
  16. – if you are able to access people or companies of interest, others will find it interesting too

  17. Free Tools and Software
  18. – got to love a freebie. Also here can be “how to’s”, if you find a keyboard shortcut or a new feature share it

  19. Awards
  20. – if you are issuing an award, then all nominees will link to the award page, and if they win, more links, plus the industry pundits will pick it up too

  21. Giveaways, Freebies, and Sweepstakes
  22. – mass approach – timeless way of PR, also competitions fit in here

  23. First to Discuss
  24. – Innovation and Expert status mean people cite you as a reference

  25. Widgets
  26. – either gratitude will get you a link or you could embed a link back e.g. wordpress themes

  27. First to Cover Breaking News
  28. – similar to no.12. Being fast means you are the best/most relevant/authority

  29. Inside Look/Previews
  30. – if you represent/gatekeeper to a topic, insider information is of interest to your audience. They are already warmed up and ready to link. Just look at how many links Google blog gets when there is a half-heads-up on, well, anything

That is my list. I thought I would write it down before I forget it. Can you think of any others?

A typing monkey can produce content

The future of content (as of July 2010)

A typing monkey can produce content

A typing monkey can produce content. Thanks for borrowing your monkey

I have read a number of SEO & mainstream publisher articles about the future of content. As someone who has commissioned will known publishers, someone who has paid <£10 a page and written a few bits and pieces myself, I feel I am allowed an opinion on content.

Most people in the traditional publishing believe that Google and friends want quality. And quality will always win. I don’t believe that to be true. I think that they favour Relevancy, more Quality. Quality is an abstract notion anyway. They can be the same thing, but commonly not.

Journalists and professional writers do a great job of writing well constructed arguments. Web content producers do a great job of meeting their brief. So, depending on what you want as a temporary commissioning editor you can brief that way.

Let’s think about online publishing and the internet specifically. So, if English (my preferred language) is used by many, many millions of people. For many it wont be their first language and they also want access to content, access to information and access to answers. Then relevant content is far more important than a abstract notion of Quality.

As a digital marketer and a SEO working in businesses whose objectives are about getting many visitors and conversion, choosing the appropriate level of content is what you need to do.

Maybe journalists could learn from SEO’s and digital marketers as we only produce content that is being demanded. And maybe we could learn from trying to ensure accuracy and minimum standards/consistency etc.

There are more people and with the democratisation of the web there is a progressive demand for all kinds of content.

A few articles have made me aware of the “Internet Content Syndication Council” and their own ambitions for content web standards for the net. They are likely to only read by like minded individuals If you wish to see their site, you’ll understand if I don’t make this a link But, if it does catch on, then if you are commissioning content and you want a minimum standard, someone who can demonstrate the levels of skills demanded is no bad thing.

The future is about companies, journos, writers who embrace the distribution model. Where is your audience? How do they want to read the content? How will you promote it and get it in front of them? As you are a competing with other content publishers. You competed with another daily newspaper, or another publishing house. You have probably been competing with online reading of your content versus the print form.

New services such as Demand Media, Associated Content and many more are satisfying a new demand. For How-to’s, Video and easily accessible volume content. There will be a place for ‘proper’ articles, but it will be in Sunday papers, books (still relevant in 2010, who knows when/if you read this?!).

I think we need them all.
Some related articles that sparked me into life writing these thoughts:

16th June 2010 the Financial Times
6th July 2010 on AdWeek
7th July 2010 on CNet News

How do I find out what is going on in European travel?

Manneken Pis

Are you focusing on the right things or p***ing it away?

I am a search marketer in the travel sector, I have to confess I don’t know as much about travel as I should. I have traveled and I like holidays! I also know how the travel industry infrastructure works and how to make that work on large scale e-commerce sites.

We are all obsessed about improving site conversion. Focusing on qualifying visitors and introducing them to the right landing pages. Then tweaking and MVT’ing those pages to get the conversion/continuance/reduce bounce improvements we seek.

Sometimes, it is easy to forget that the basics of marketing. You need to have the right PROMOTION, the right PLACE (site), but you need the right PRODUCTs at the right PRICE.

In the last couple of years due to the global macro-economic buying and traveling patterns have changed. So, ensuring you are promoting via marketing through to merchandising on-site the right destinations for the country you are selling in is essential. Then with the right essentials/extras/package at a price that the consumer will pay.

If you are running either a SEM or SEO campaign we too should be promoting the destinations that will actually sell. That is the only way that you will be prioritising your resources and getting those incrementally efficient sales. Being no.1 for a destination nobody is searching for it good, but pointless.

So, how do you find out what those trends are:

  • Your colleagues. There will always be experts. Either other marketers with a passion and/or those who are located in the market
  • Trading trends – watch the growers and the falling stars metrics in your internal data
  • Google – you have to have a suspicion – but you then can confirm it with products like Google Insights
  • Attend Briefings / Conferences & Events from industry experts
  • Official tourist boards and EU data sources
  • Blogs of personalities or figure heads

Here are some of my RSS subscriptions favourites this week

There are plenty others, but here are just the sites that I have read today and worth a note.

My pet hate is when you get so obsessed with a small increment you MAY miss the big picture. Always look for the bigger trends in travel.

Google WMC says you have malware!

Its scary and what does it mean?

So, you get an alert inside Google’s own webmaster central. If you are not fully technical what do you do?
Well you need to find out if it is real to start with. If you search around, the information including the G’s own FAQ say to look inside Webmaster Central.

Google WMC malware alert

Google WMC malware alert

It warns you that your server is affected and it will display a warning in the SERPs that will effectively kills your traffic and therefore business!!

Google Warning on your SERPs

They do link to a site called Stop Badware which has some useful tips.

This site has the most common scenarios and suggestions on what to do. It is not fully comprehensive and if you have technical people in your organisation, I suggest you get them involved immediately.

But worth a read as it has tips on identifying, removing and preventing malware.

The 3 most common things to look for:

Malicious scripts
These can either redirect users or force malware into a users browser. These can be in the code or even in images or stored assets e.g. .pdf, jpgs etc etc. They are often set up to look very similar to regular code, maybe with a type-o. And can commonly only have a pointer in the code, that pulls the badware from another location on your server (which is hidden deeper) or from an external source.

.httpaccess redirects
This is a common way of managing redirects and if hacked this could send your site visitors to another location for the badies own ends.

Hidden iFrames
An iframe is a way of pulling in another webpage and loading it on to the page. If a hacker gets an iframe to open inside your site, your user could be infected. They may not even show up, but just load in the background.

The suggestion is to use this URL to find out more information. Just replace your own URL at the end.

You will see a set of screens like these:

Google diagnostic screen

Google diagnostic screen

This is a relatively clean screen. But recently, I have had this twice. Once for a small community site and yesterday at my day job. You can click on the information and it gives you more examples. Through the AS records and even at a site name level. Luckily in both these recent cases, it has actually been another site who uses a shared service. Either shared hosting or a shared CDN. Therefore, just request a review.

But what to do if you are infected?
Well this depends on your skills. In all scenarios you need to remove the malware form your site (if you are actually infected). So, either remove the code and/or if it is a hosting company that are useless, maybe move your site. Then definately work on your security. Do you upgrades, either your CMS, your admin and passwords, or update your server security. And I will leave others who are far better qualified to discuss that. Then request a reinclusion review.

Infographics are the future of diseminating information (and getting links)

Its true…. that any decent and fascinating information is easy to disseminate as an infographic. Especially if they are are interactive. They will get mentions (becoming more SEO important some believe) and inbound links alike and may even get passed around like an old school viral campaign.

I can prove that it will get links, I am linking to one here. I wish I could think of one that we could do to get this type of link for my or my current employers site.

So, what about this one here it is called “1945-1998” by Isao Hashimoto shows all the nuclear explosions around the world between 1945 and 1998. Press play and watch. It shows by country at the top and watch the year and month ticking by (top right).

As an enabler, Microsoft have just launched a potentially very interesting product called PIVOT.   It tries to let you interact with huge amounts of data with front end interaction to make information, interactive, fun and dynamic.  Imagine if you had some propriatory information or a huge public information archive and could mash it up and push it around a webpage into a custom shape. How powerful could that be.  In their demo they manipulate baseball cards with all the performance data behind. I believe you have to buy an expensive licence – but could be a fore-runner for things to come.

Long live the info-and-interactive-infographic.