Tag Archives: Search Engines

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


The Power of Online Marketing presentation 5th March 2013

On the 5th March 2013 I was invited over to Ennis in County Clare hosted by My Destination Country Clare and in association with the Ennis Chamber. I was invited over to talk about the power of online marketing and to tailor the presentation to talk to about practical things local businesses can do with SEO and Social media. I also threw in some stats about how powerful Virtual Tours, Videos and other quality content for your users and your rankings alike.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

When we arrived and arranged the conference room there were lots of big foamex mounted pics, mostly for the toddler group, but some strange circus marketing posters. I took the picture below to be an [admittedly arrogant] sign of things to come. How was it going to fail after seeing this?

Say no more....

Say no more….

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?

Sifting for nuggets in tedium – SMX Advanced London 2010

SMX Advanced London 2010

Today was a hard and long day sifting through mediocre, lack-luster, single tracked ?Advanced? SEO at SMX advanced. The overall score was <50% of the speakers I would says were either good/enthusiastic or insightful.  I am afraid that I think the organisers should vet the speakers and their presentations before they charge a lot of money for this event.

I will be putting this on the formal feedback form too, so don’t worry I am not just blogging for my own ego and not prepared to give real feedback.  Today was just tired.  At least one of the presenters had references to the last time they presented the same deck which was quite a while ago ! To be able to speak at a conference and be an expert amongst peers should be a joy and not (by some of the faces & delivery) a chore!  It is easy to whinge – I guess one I day I should volunteer and put myself out there to be ridiculed.

But, to also give credit where credit is due, there were some nuggets.  And half way through SMX Advanced London 2010, I am still confident on what we are doing with the day job and have a few inspired extension ideas and things to do when I get back to office.

So, what was good?

The Day 1 keynote from Barack Berkowitz from Wolfram|Alpha was right-up-there to spark my inner geek.  I had seen and used Wolfram literally on its launch but not since. It is definitely going places. The idea of a fact engine, who has the ambition of “democratising knowledge” and providing answers must be a good thing.  And in the long term, I genuinely believe services like this will be a game changer.  There were some concerns/comments from the audience regarding where they get their data from and how they will monetise its service in the future.  Berkowitz answered the questions fully, which is refreshing from a speaker these days.  That much of the data is “curetted”, which he defined as chosen/verified by a team of scientists, academics or subject matter experts. That much of this is public information, obtained from official sources such as governments and some licensed from ‘expert’ sites e.g. weather services.  The monetisation question was explained as their next challenge and may include paid listings e.g. answers provided by advertisers and/or that the user could buy additional information behind their query.  So effectively micro-data buys rather than whole data set buying that is normally out of reach of the average individual/student. I am going to be looking out for their widgets which are coming soon. The data geek in me loved the way they dynamically charted traditionally non comparable metrics or something simple by charting comparisons e.g. life expectancy in UK versus France.

In the SEO ranking factors in 2010 session, Rand from SEOMoz referred to the patent granted to Google about the “the Random Surfer Versus the Reasonable surfer” as excellently written up last week by Bill Slawski on SEOBook’s blog.

This re-inforced the view that I and many others I know have had that not all links are treated equally. It makes perfect sense, and the equal distribution of “rank” or “link juice” which we have observed and tested is in their thought process too.

The other question posed publicly was whether the audience thought that social media affected the SERPS.  Eventually a conscensus that I can subscribe to was proposed that it does.  That a trending topic may affect the settings, the ones on the search bar where you can choose freshness over established ranking.  So, a trending topic, may play with these filters and you will find that established text based listings may be replaced temportarily by references that have no history or inbound links; but may be from a site that has still has domain rank.

It is always good to Andrew Girdwood go on a rank about “link building” and how this was wrong and how it should be “building links . The whole panel agreed that building relationships with sites was the future of ethical link building, and people who are just doing link building were doing it wrong !

There were a few cheeky little tips on how to automate spam by a few of the speakers.  Who obviously supplemented those comments that it was a bad thing to do.

I hope day 2 is a bit better.

Types of searches – Navigational, Informational and Transactional

Here are some definitions of the 3 main kinds of searches that a user might do. They are important as they hold the intent of the users and if you believe this, might influence the response and what is relevant results from a search engine!.

Navigational Search
A navigational search is a specified search and is successful if your product is a specific brand name. Searches like ‘Tesco’ or ‘Diesel Jeans’ means that that those websites optimising for that brand would appear above all the others so for smaller companies it is not necessarily the best way to optimise your site as it is highly competitive against other more commercial companies.

If you are selling or are the owner of a brand, people are effectively looking for you, but may end up on a site that is optimised for your product. Affiliates and domain squatters can do very well here. This can also apply to events, generics, news items or popular culture.

Informational Search
This is a better way for small businesses to optimise their site. They can aim to rank highly for a simple phrase and make it more plausible. A couple of words creating a generic phrase are far more successful than depending on brand names to get traffic to a site. Phrases such as “tyres Chiswick” can be far more effective for businesses rather than a brand of tyres. The risk of using a brand is that it is likely to be supplied by big chain stores nationwide that already have a good amount of traffic to their site.

This could be a bit of a leveler on the internet.  The internet was meant to allow small businesses to compete with anyone, anywhere.  In practice this is not the case, but especially on local search or map searches smaller players can win and from my hunt for new car tyres yesterday, small businesses who register for local business on Google appeared on a map in the no1 slot and did very well in the map channel.

Transactional Search
These searches are far more specific and contain a lot of words that identify what a consumer wants in finer detail. For example “cheap tyres Hammersmith London (& maybe brand).” All of the sites that contain these words will come up in the search engine results and your company may be there but the amount of people using this method of searching are fewer than the others.

Fewer in quantity, but fairly precise.  The longest keyword phrase I have seen that has come to a site I have worked on was 18 words in length.  Funnily enough, 100% conversion rate to transaction.  Now the quantity of unique long tail terms can be big, but may only happen once or twice per year.  But you might be lucky and if you are in the right business the total volume might be huge!

To conclude
Keywords definitely vary by industry and country.  And depending on your industry, and your type of product, the age/demographics or sophistication levels of your customers and potential customers will depend on your keyword usage.

You will need to understand your customers (marketing 101 don’t forget all that you know from the old world order) and enough you optimise your business and your site to make sure you are found ahead of the competition.

Look at your keyword reports, ask you customers virtually or face-to-face if you can how they found you, how they want to find your service or product.

This is part science, part human skills and a bit of luck.  If you kind of understand your customer you have a chance to satisfy their needs.

Good luck.

Google squared

One of the things I have played with in Google labs today is Google squared.  It has sparked more questions than it has answered.  Just recently with the release of ‘search options’ and the ‘wonder wheel’ this is making me think that Google is thinking of ways of displaying results and allowing every increasing amounts of personalisation.  This is also just after the launch of Wolfram the computational engine.

If you think back there are 3 layers 1) data 2) information and 3) knowledge.

If you consider a regular search is returning teasers from informational pages,  sparked by a user entering just a bit of data.  Then trying to make comparisons, by displaying more relevant information on the results page is trying to turn that raw data/information into knowledge.  And that is where the real value add is.

I have just done a search for New York hotels and this is what I got.

Google squared results

Google squared results

If you click on the image or any cell, it displays the URL of where it got its information from.

Google squared, with source shown

Google squared, with source shown

It is clearly not ready for a full on release.  Mainly because its returning blanks when trying to complete its grid. But I do find this totally fascinating.

The bit that might become annoying, is that in this example, it has returned my website as an image result but it has given a direct contact alongside.  So, they are using my image from my site costing me money to help their results.

I guess that this is for informational searches.  I have tried adding some simple action terms to the search e.g. Book New York hotels etc and it doesnt want to return back buying links.

I suppose that we need to find a way of measuring this result and ensuring we maximise our opportunities!

SMX London conference May 2009

SMX Conf logo

SMX Conf logo

I only went to day 2 of the conference this year.  And I was pleasantly surprised at some of the great discussions.

4 out of the 5 sessions I went to were useful and the ‘Give it up session’ was fun to close the day.

Over the coming days, and after my holiday I iwll try to be inspired from the talks, apply my own opinions and experience and make some more notes for this site.

123people – yet another people stalker

adrianland-123people123People dot com.  Yet another, not quite finish people search engine.  In the old days you had a to hire a private eye, rumage through someones rubbish bins to find out about what they do, where they go and who they hang out with.

I recently took a look at Pilp and commented on how it added little value.  This one does the same. 

I only found it as I was working through my inbound links, which there arent many.  And found this site.


Here is a page stalking me >>



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.