Tag Archives: Link Bait

Inbound Marketing presentation delivered at eTail Europe conf

Today I delivered this presentation at eTail Europe conference here in London, UK.

The title is “The future of SEO. Moving to a holistic inbound marketing strategy” with an earned media case-study thrown in for good measure.

I genuinely believe that in the future,  earning peoples attention will be the norm, rather than just pushing your way in front of them. By being, innovative, creative and “remarkable” then you will get more attention and loyalty than you could afford to buy.

In this presentation I try to lay out some history and context to the evolution of SEO and the changing search-scape. I introduce the new world of “inbound marketing” aka “earned media” or “content based marketing”.

Delivering this kind of campaign needs a lot of different skills. So, formulating a plan, organising “all of your brains” may need to organisational shift.  This stuff can be so much fun and hit multiple teams traditional objectives. SEO for links and social citations. For Social Media for Likes, RTs, shares, follows, subscribes. For branding, for PR,  to build loyalty and affinity with your brand. And many others.

The case study refers to My Destination’s Biggest Baddest Bucket list. This is a campaign that SeSoMe delivered as an internal agency. Working with so many throughout the wider business and the franchise network. The 2nd half of the campaign starts in July when the winners travel for a full 6 months living like a local and ticking off their bucket list.

If you want to talk about this presentation or SeSoMe, just let me know.

Thanks to Joao for taking this picture from the audience.


Photo credit Joao da Costa

Photo credit Joao da Costa


Infographic – comedy travel controversy

I came across this one infographic today and it caught my attention. Enough for me to post it here and give it a link. Having an angle always help. Especially if it is down the ‘toilet-humour’ or off-on-a-tangent-similes.

Infographics seem to be the SEO link building tactic of the year. Producing a piece that people will write about and give you a link for is an established technique. Its just that we are all getting more creative and prepared to hat-tip for great executions.

Well done TravelMatch.

The Numbers Behind the Travel Industry

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 Hotels.com. 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?

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.

Day 2 of SMX advanced London 2010

SMX Advanced London 2010

After my rant after day 1, day 2 followed as you would expect and on the whole I thought was much better.

I do really think that the word Advanced should not be used and the level of effort in organizing the event was a bit ‘credit crunch’ worthy. Next year will have to decide whether to attend, at least in the UK.

Day 2 was a day of social media and analytics.

The first session was titled “Proving Social Media’s Value”. The panel were from econsultancy, Freshnetworks, MSN adcenter & Bazaarvoice.

Linus from econsultancy cited some statistics, that 64% of companies can’t prove the ROI of social media, and that 65% in their survey were going to be doing more in 2010, than 2009! That is definitely my experience too. The resounding corporate favourite is Twitter, raising from 2008 of 3%, 2009 was 49% and now in 2010’s respondents want 81%. IMHO, mainly as it is easy and straightforward? There were comments on how corporates are trying to measure including just going for sales and clicks as these are standard web metrics that most can understand. But few people cite branding etc, but don’t measure brand recall like they would if they invested in a TV campaign!

The suggestion was not to measure the quantity of followers or FB friends. But you should measure the number of re-tweets, referrals and how influential these people are. You should treat the measurement more like display or offline media in terms of recall and attitude change. But the issue here is that people think SMM is like SEO is free ! Oh, how naive.

Charlie Osmonds analogy was to describe the situation the most corporates treat SMM as “a series of one night stands”, whereas “[you] should focus on long term relationships to existing customer and not new people”.

I then de-fluffed myself and moved over to the analytics track for “Bullseye! Reaching and Closing Your Ultimate Customer”. This was a session. The panel was from Google, Comscore and Facebook. Despite the title, it was not an analytics panel, it was about how to reach your potential customer.

There were some fascinating Comscore stats such as the total searches across Europe were up 27% YoY. But the standout was Spain, that is 56% up YoY. And the average number of searches per month is 122. But the UK is 144, Germany is only 101. And the American are only 108!

They also showed a map showing the volume of searches and western Europe which is so dominated by Google with 75% to 90% of all searches. And the final stat is that 28% of Europeans are already watching online videos.

Staying with the analytic theme I sat and listened to “Top Ten Customised Search Analytics Reports”. It was a pragmatic start highlighting the daily challenge of having too much data and the best thing to do is to “minimise the gap between data to knowledge”.

Things to take back to the office. Add in Pacing lines on progress reports. To check bounce rate by keywords

After recharging on caffeine, and with my attention focused at the front the session was “Social Media, Search & Reputation Management”.
The opening fact was that 98% of modern journalists go online daily. I think this was my favourite session of the day and could the potential for a future elaborated post.

Real time search is potentially a reputation management nightmare. It seems that the QDF and Caffeine updates in Google, seem to allow trending topics to appear in the 1 box and bypass the classic hard SEO work and history of that page/URL combo!

More to come on this topic in separate posts, once I can collect my thoughts and add some value. Plus, somewhere for me to keep these notes if/when I need to use them!

The final session of SMX Advanced London was “Social media: give it up”. This half inspiring and half aimed to keep your feet on the ground. Melissa Campbell on behalf of Distilled reinforced the legal aspects of social media. A similar comment to earlier really about back to basics when we learned to be marketers before we concentrated online. At last being a bit more ‘mature’ works in your favour!

Chris Bennet from 97th Floor shared some of his favourite techniques. The take-away for me is the idea of using infographics. And this could work alone side some other great material we have access to already. It is all about leveraging the assets you already have.

Overall, it was far better than day 1. But it has taken this long til posting as having to catch up with work and actually enjoy the mini-heatwave that swept through London.

April fools and easy link bait

adrianland-dialaphone-aprilfoolThe 1st April 2009, many companies used classic April Fools as an excuse to bait for links and it has worked as I will show a few here.

One thing which was new this year was the large amout of Tweeting and other social media that was used to distribute.  And it allowed a very easy way to share to get the reach you can only hope for.

If you use Twitter you can see trends. Here is the  April fool trend.

Here are some that passed infront of me today

  • The Guardian newspaper is going to give up ink and move to twitter!
  • Amazon launch the amazon floating cloud environment (face) for computer processing in blimps!
  • A big one on social media was Google artifical intelligence stuff! and another about how they turned a VP’s office into a beach with suitable pics.
  • Dialaphone launched a coin operated pay as you go phone.
  • MSN messenger can guess you mood and display it in your profile.
  • Hotels.com has deals on hotel rooms on the moon.
  • Expedia has a sales on flights to Mars. If you see the page, they are sold out! but you can get a discount code.

There are plenty more examples from BBC iplayer in toasters for your breakfast fix, through to android driven cars to companies making their site look identical to their competitors.

Techcrunch has a long list – check it out too >>

Its seems to be very wide spread this year.  Well done to those who participated.  What will we see next year?

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.


Link baiting with inspiring content Holiday-Rentals.co.uk

Holiday Rentals

I am pleased to see an initiative that was kicking around when I was there at Holiday-Rentals.co.uk, (part of the HomeAway group of companies) has finally gone live.  And I have to admit, to a higher standard than I was expecting.  So, I am pleased for the team there and I wish them all the luck they deserve.

The How?
They have asked their user base of holiday home owners to supply unique and inspiring content from their respective geographies.  The owners of the properties are the local experts.  And food is an emotional topic.

The why?
First of all, good for their users.  It is another point of differentiation in a competitive travel industry.  And from an SEO perspective (which is the purpose of my site) for linking benefit.  I have seen a few links going to the site already, here is one TheFoodieList.  And Food is definately relevant for travel!

Take look for yourself on Holiday Rentals’ Travel Cookbook >> 

Link baiting with unique data




This is my first time round with my current employer on using this (as far as I can tell) unique set of data in a easily digestible form.  If you take a look at the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index  there are stacks of stats about the industry.  The travel industry seems to love stats and quotes them daily.  This data has been picked up by big national/international players such as the BBC and on tv wtih CNBC to-date.

By breaking this up into managable pieces this is going to be distributed to special interest groups and targeted sites.

This is a work in progress project. Lets see how much PR and SEO pick up this time round gets.