Category Archives: Opinion

The modern dilemma – to give, and be ‘needed’: or hold-out and be lonely!

Just looking into a traffic drop that looks like it only affected events-style content and on some very precise informational terms from Google web.  So, with my ‘tinfoil-hat’ on and assuming that we are the victim here of the behemoth that is the omnipotent and omnipresent Google.  I am referring to knowledge graph and structured mark-up. And specifically how much information do we give away.

The modern dilemma

Should we give, and be ‘needed’: or hold-out and be lonely?

If we give too much data to Google we [website owners who monetize them] we will loose visits, impressions and the chance to build brand/loyalty and monetize. So, with no directly obvious return for our time, effort or investment. If you run your site for ad revenues; for clients who expect web analytics to give you the only measure of success then this is important.

Schema mark-up, microformats etcetera present our information in a way that can be used by the engines in a number of different ways. It can be used to provide site links in the SERPs to its own page, or, it can be used to provide site links to other related pages on your site. However, [tinfoil hat moment] it is also giving data/facts and information nuggets to the engines, so they can present the answer via knowledge graph/one-box answers or mash-it-up in another clever way for their own gain.

So we, as media owners/publishers are between a rock and a [very] hard place. We are all moving to separate data from the presentation layer. Moving to html5, modular design, focusing on site speed and mark-up to make quality, scalable sites. We have, as an industry, pushing for the latest standard, code to enable anywhere/anyformat viewing of our brands.  We are progressive SEOs to an extent, have always understood that our presence is not just our own sites but this is making it very real indeed.

But, we can’t not, keep supplying this data as we want to be found/seen to be experts and add value via the entry to the web. And like all imbalanced relationships, if I don’t give, Google what it wants, they will leave us for our competitors. Without even a kiss goodbye!

Google wants to the be the repository of all things in knowledge and [I believe] is starting to display portal like tendencies by keeping users on its own properties. So, what to do?

Right now – embrace it, see how it goes. Maybe in the future, we will have forced to change our thinking and divide our sites into two types. 1) Pages that may get visits, but do give information to users [maybe just not on our site], and 2) Landing pages, entries onto our own web properties as we do right now.


TED video: Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”

Standard search is over. The web knows everything about you. Content is already being prioritized for you based on what you do, where you are and how you access it.

The ‘internet’ is showing us what they think we need, rather than necessarily what we need to see. If everything is prioritized for you, by your own actions or your network/friends. Who has the right to say what you cant see? Censorship or helpfulness? Can we trust algos choose what we should see and more importantly what to leave out.

Check out this video. It should make you think. This is helping form my 2013 strategies. Personalisation is definitely on steroids now and will as a marketer we need to get ourselves included rather than accidently omitted. And personally, not to just accepted and to quote Eli Pariser, not to get stuck in my “filter bubble”.

How to inspire and to lead – a favourite TED video

I have watched this video quite a few times over the last year or so. I think the ideas around people who lead and those are effectively leaders is very poingnant. The ideas from the golden circles can be used in many ways from recruitment, entrepreneurship, company culture to organisations and society at large.

I like this quote in terms of team and culture. This is how you get things done. How you, your organisation can be agile, innovative and cutting-edge. This is something I believe-in, especially in regards to my most recent employment move (more changes coming. Watch that space!!).

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” Simon Sinek

Watch the video and you will see what I mean.

Its all about the defination of those who Lead, and those are Leaders. I think that this definition can be applied to all situations, work and personal. What do you think?

IPv6 turned on today. Happy birthday new bigger Internet

IPv6 will be turned on as of today that will facilitate the new larger version of the internet, especially with the internet of things becoming a reality. There is an every increasing quantity of devices and they all need their own unique address, to ensure that they can talk to each other.

In 1983 the internet was launched. IPv4, which was kind of like allocating 4.3 billion telephone numbers. And last year they were all used up officially. It was actually a few years back but ISPs had been sharing IPs between users and people internally within an org or a provider have local addresses sharing their IP. As far back as 1996 a new form for packet commumications IPv6 was conceived. But was not widely adopted and didn’t really work in parallel.

So, as of today IPv6 will run in parrellel and is supported by many search engines, ISPs and hardware manfacturers. In the new format there will be 128 bits of addresses, making it possible for 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses

If this change did not happen the Internet would not be able to grow, innovation would be stifled and the internet of things would stop.

So, bring on the the new larger Internet.

The Internet of things

This is not a new idea, but always worth a mention every so often as it is clearly a view into the future that I subscribe to. Many of us have cited the differing layers of Data, Information & Knowledge for web through to management information. IBM add the of Wisdom to the top of this theoretical pyramid.

Very soon, maybe even today there are more things on the internet than people. Just think how many devices you have from your computer, tablet, phone, your TV, your NAS, printers, your SLR camera, games console through to burglar alarms. There have been prototypes for fridges and ‘connected houses’ in the house of the future. Just imagine that they could, not only talk to each other. But actually communicate, make collective decisions together, therefore working smarter. Combining systems could work smart, adjust to other data inputs to make a better, smarter world. So, previously isolated systems, would become a system of things.

Anyway, watch the IBM video and see what you think.

Thought for the day – PR

Just my humble thought for the day…

Following up from my thought about Brand the other week I was thinking about PR and how to deliver on what you say.

“Good Public Relations is actually good Relationships with the Public”


+vePR = RP+ve

Inside most organisations we talk about PR as a broadcast mechanism where, we, internally have an angle and then want to push that message through channels to ‘tell’ the end recipient what we stand for. This is especially relevent when we talk about disasters, crisis or reputation management etc etc. My ramblings today centre around the area of, why not be good, wholesome, and actually delivery on what you promise (hence my brand ramble) and then it is more of a “conversation” and sharing, rather than telling.

I am just thinking that PR, Social, Customer Experience and customer service, in the future will blur and if you deliver and have a good relationship with all users, or your early adopters you wont need to PR-them, you will just get good peer-level-PR (social, blog etc). And that will also get you the exposure through current channels by default as journalist, blogs, TV will pick up on the what-consumers-love-trends. But what do I know, just in IMHO.

Thought for the day – Brand

Just my humble thought for the day…

“Delivery on the brand is more important than just broadcasting what the brand is”

As I am getting older and progressively more cynical, I do get very annoyed when many people just talk about Brand and what brand means and I dont necessarily agree with them. Maybe I am old school, and believe that Brand is not just what you broadcast, what the brand means to you. I mean most people assume that Brand is a logo, a song, a colour, a strap line etc etc. But is it?

I think they are all methods of identifying a brand, maybe a folder to append your thoughts, experiences or the wisdom of people you trust to inform your judgement. But a Brand is a subjective concept. Sometimes, a collection of ideas generally shared or it can be very personal. Some marketers have suggested that you cant identify a brand until you have had an emotional connection. I kind of subscribe to this. You generally use ‘feeling’ words to describe your brand perception e.g. “I hate XX, their customer service sucks”, “I love my [insert product name]”.

I think that a Brand is a collection of ideas, values, experiences, thoughts of your own or borrowed ones. And if that is the case, you need to see/feel/experience the Brand in action to form that opinion. You it may be suggested to you in an advert, but if you take that chance and it fails flat, you have a worse time and will tell others.

Some case-studies

  • You go to a coffee shop on the way into work. You have the same order every day, and every day you get a consistent product at a consistent price – you build TRUST in delivery
  • Your friend has used a holiday company, they had a good experience, it sounds ilke that is what you think service is – you buy based on Trusting your friends judgement
  • You find out that the product you love is actually using modern day slavery in China to produce it, you turn your love to hate (unless you are really shallow)

If you open yourself up via a broadcast or a recommendation, unless it actually delivers then you won’t make an emotional connection and become a Brand advocate.

If you concentrate on delivery, being the best you can be at customer service, best at product quality, best at consistency, customers will love you, and you deliver on your brand promise. And if you have a nice jingle – then it will remind people of their love when they hear it. If you are going to do a brand relaunch/push – please check to see what your customers think you should doing and what they expect.

ACTA infographic – the source of SOPA?

As most of the SEO/Blogger/mainstream news communities seemed to instantly want to shout about the draft USA legislation of SOPA/PIPA, it seems that there isn’t much noise about ACTA. Like all of these topics, you generally only get 2 sides. 1) The people proposing the laws, who can hide behind bureaucracy and press statements, and 2) The extreme opposition.

If you read the EU papers, and you can via their site, it suggests it is quite light and doesn’t impact anything (then why do it?). And seems all very believable. However if you read other sources such as La Quadrature it picks up on the punitive measures and the risks to the internet as we know it. So, the officials spell out the objectives and the critique-rs looks at the punishments. This obviously leads to a place where people can get confused and choose to ignore the topic.

The trouble is that investigative journalists who should be without an agenda to review and present in the mainstream media haven’t picked this one up. EU / MEP work doesn’t seem to be a headline grabber unless it is about making us have straight bananas.

In some other against articles it suggests that ACTA was the inspiration for SOPA/PIPA. And that only in the recent edits in the last 6 months it has been toned down.

I am confused, and to be fair a little bit scared.

Well only one side has produced an infographic on the topic, and everyone loves a good old-fashioned picture. I guess we will just watch this space.

SoLoMo might be my catch phrase for 2012

As SEO is truly evolving as a holistic web channel (always treated it like that for >10 years anyway) who progress the web, police our employers efforts, drive internal innovation and do the bulk of testing!

SEO is officially moving beyond just the few things that we did in 1999 to 2009. Just a few of the things we do / did / continually getting better at: usability, analytics, technical best practice, IA, server configs, indexation, project management, data crunching, linguistics, semantics, keywords, sociology, feeds, futurology, marketing, coding, explaining, monitoring, testing, learning and refining. And a million other things that I have temporarily forgotten.

If you think that anything that appears on the first page of Google is in scope. And as more verticals get added into the universal/blended SERPs, people are using phones/tablets/TVs and a growing number of devices that haven’t been invented yet to access the web and the internet. Then, if you blend in the idea of every increasing personalisation, we, the SEO community need to keep evolving ourselves, innovating, learning, changing and keep delighting our audiences.

Therefore in 2012, Social, Local and Mobile are firmly in scope. And we, SEOs, love an acronym or even making up a term or 2.

So, SoLoMo, might be my new catch phrase for 2012.

SOPA/PIPA – is the slippery slope coming?

The slippery slope might be coming. I tweeted about this last week, but I came across some more articles while surfing around tonight, and thought I would share a few things.

I am actually scared that if this PIPA/SOPA law gets passed in the US, then other countries might follow suit. In recent years in the name of terrorism, political dissent, civil unrest and through general fear, governments, even the fairly liberal UK have passed laws that have the potential to really cut down on freedoms and innovations.

Check out this video for an explaination from the Fight for the future site.

You should also take a read of Stop American censorship site as they explain the details. I found this site after seeing an out of character post on the WordPress blog.

If this goes through and if it is then used, a small series of events could actually fundamentally change how our future should be developing, stifle industry, communication and innovation. This is scary and could be the beginning of the end.

Here is their infographic which explains a few of the details as a final thought.