Hotel Headlines

The following is a short excerpt from a longer post in the members only section of the Magnetic Web Content forums.

Travel is a very competitive area, but it is also a very rich area for content. A lot of the most obvious headlines get used over and over, one reason for this is because they work.

However, we want links and the people we are looking to get links from are a savvy bunch and have pretty much seen everything before, so you need to be innovative and interesting.

To me, a great headline is one that has familiarity but takes you in a completely different direction.

These example headlines – which you can use as you will, are focussed on UK Hotels.

UK Ghost boosts hotel bookings

I’m going to assume you know nothing of headlines, but one example is that a headline, “Dog bites man”, is not interesting, whereas, “Man bites dog” is. “Hotel increases its bookings” as a headline is boring, having a ghost is mildly interesting, but having the bookings go through the roof because of some spectral visitation makes it a little more interesting.

UK Hotel bookings soar on ghost sightings

From an seo perspective it may help if “UK hotel is at the beginning of the headline, it makes it more difficult to make the headline interesting, but should always be attempted as the headline will invariably make up the anchor text and therefore effect the SERPS.

Apple Mac owner haunts UK Hotel

Did I tell you that the ghost is of a previous hotel guest who was killed by his wife when she threw her Apple Mac into his bath? Obviously what I am trying to do here is to attract the digg crowd. Different headlines should be considered for different social bookmarking sites, appealing to the interests of the users of those sites.

If you think I’m making this story up as I go along you would be right, I’m pretty much writing this as it comes into my head. Is it a true story? No, of course not. I find it a very successful technique to come up with a killer headline first and then craft a story around that headline.

………. this article continues in its full form at Magnetic Web Content

Why turn off comments on a blog?

For a while now I have been turning comments on and off on this blog. I feel a blog goes through stages of life and usefuleness as other projects get more attention. This is no longer the blog it used to be, no longer sucking in comments like an industrial vaccum cleaner.

Most of my good stuff goes elsewhere these days, mostly on clients blogs.

The manipulative art of conversation is more important than ever these days, but there are many ways to create a bit of chatter.

I still have comments open on other blogs. It’s not that comments are bad, it’s just something to consider is the situation requires it.

So to that seo company that is trawling my historical comments for a bit of pointless blog spam. sorry guys, the party is over.

Graywolf has also decided to walk down the non hectoring route of no comments.

And of course you can’t comment on this post, which leads me to believe that you agree with absolutely everything I have said.

Where can I hire a writer?

As a writer I get confused when publishers ask me where can they find great writers. “Have you tried the Internet?” Usually gets a blank stare.

Apparently it’s really hard to hire great writers. I have only on few occasions hired writers to do work, which has probably made me a lot poorer as I take way too long over commissions. In fact I think over 95% of the writing I do for others is late. [Read more...]

How Chrysula Can Crush the Competition on Twitter

My old Pal Chrysula ask me how to get ahead in Twitter.

A while back she asked me about twitter, I sent off a long reply which never got to her. I of course forgot to send another. I just noticed she is on Twitter with only 34 followers, at least that was what she had before I shouted her out to my feed.

Instead of sending her another email, I’m going to blog the advice. I don’t have a twitter ebook or product to sell, although I do offer a consultation and training service. [Read more...]

Seasonal SEO

If you want to rank for keyword groups around garden furniture or Christmas gifts, you need to take account of seasonal influences.

But when should you plan to do your seo?

Lets look at Google trends data for the keyword “garden center”. If you spotted the deliberate mistake, give yourself a donut. I will explain the mistake later.

garden

I have used data over a few years to highlight any patterns. As we can clearly see from my elegantly drawn arrows, searches peak in April. Most seo practitioners know that it takes many months for a properly implemented seo plan to work. I would want to implement any changes by at least October, which means you have to be thinking about the plan in September.
You may even want your seo in place by February as this is when the up trend begins.

But look at the question marks highlighting a bump in November each year. Anyone who has gone to a garden centre in November knows they are packed with Christmas stuff. This is a Christmas shopping bump and is an important trading time for the business, therefore the seo for this season should not be ignored.

So the mistake. My link to the Dobbies.co.uk used the anchor text “garden centre”, which is the UK spelling. “Garden center” is the US. I used the US version of the trends simply because the sample size was bigger and was similar to the UK.

Garden centre is probably easier to rank for than garden center, because of the size of the US market. Although, some Brits are going to use “center”, mostly by the kind of people who enjoy watching Britains got Talent ;)

Not all niches have a seasonal element, but when it does it makes sense to factor it into the plan.

Latest MoonFruit Twitter Promo Press

Updated web mentions on the #moonfruit campaign.

Rebirth of a startup Techcrunch
New Media Age, they seem to have forgotten to link
Moonfruit Just Moonwalked All Over Michael Jackson, Ryan Healy
How brands are buying and earning followers on Twitter, Jeremiah Owyang
Twitter Needs a Spam Filter? No, We Need a Marketer Filter, Read Write Web

It occurs to me that most people just don’t get what buzz marketing is about.

The main objective in a buzz campaign is to get people talking about you. The second objective is to get the press talking about you.

If these objectives meet, then success. If everyone on the Planet started talking about your products and services would your profits rise? Not necessarily, your business may not be geared up to take extra orders, it may collapse under the weight of so much attention.

Buzz marketing is not for everyone and you need to plan very carefully, else success can crush you.

A buzz campaign by Moonfruit has got quite a lot of press so far.

Are Twitter Trending Topics The Next You Tube Video Viral?
Moonfruit Tops Twitter Trends with MacBook Give-away
Gearlog
Do giveaways work?
Twitter Promotion Beats Michael Jackson #moonfruit
Moonfruit: Paying for social media prowess

Lets not ignore the Youtube homages to Moonfruit which are popping up.

Moonfruit Twitter Buzz Promo Going Mental

The second day of the Moonfruit Macbook promo is over and today I counted 99 tweets of #moonfruit in 60 secs. I chose one minute and random and counted. That’s insane.

They went from 1,000 odd followers to 30,000 and these are not the numpty followers that so called social media wannabe assholes get by doing the follow-drop-follow shuffle. These are real followers. Followers who do stuff like this.

It’s insane.

When was the last time someone got out their guitar and sang about your company on Youtube?

Buying Google ads aint gonna get you that buzz.

But here’s the thing, and here is why Moonfruit are getting the love, they sent the singer in that youtube vid an 8 GB iPod Touch. Why?

Because they get it.

The thing I like about buzz marketing is you don’t really need that much investment to launch a buzz marketing campaign. Sure, most cannot afford 10 Macbooks, but it’s not the Macbooks that made this buzz, what did it was the imagination behind it. And a good solid pair of cajones helps.

A buzz campaign is simply getting people to talk about your stuff. Linkbait has a lot of crossover with a buzz campaign, which is maybe why I love it. But it’s way, way more powerful.

Moonfruit Bigger than Jacko

Yesterday a free website builder called Moonfruit became the most twittered about company on the Planet.

Bigger even than Michael Jackson.

Here’s how the front page of Twitter looked today.

twitter

They showed how a proper Twitter marketing campaign should be run. Giving a Macbook Pro away each day for 10 days, and all you need to do is to tweet #moonfruit. It still has 9 days to run.

A lot of people don’t understand Twitter, those that do reap the rewards. But it’s not about replicating what has already been done, you have to throw a little imagination at the problem.

Things are moving fast.

As always.

It’s no longer about getting the digg front page, that’s now old school.

Now, right now. Not yesterday, but right now, it’s all about the buzz.

Twitter is merely a tool as is digg. A tool to create buzz, if you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

The real prize these days goes to those who can capture the consciousness of millions of people. The technology enables you to do it, for only a few thousand quid you can…… well. You know the rest.

Watch out for what Moonfruit do in the future, they are a company who have the ability to do grasp the nature of what is happening and take advantage of it.

Those who get it, get it all.
;)

So far they have been mentioned in Brand Republic and Mashable, I am sure that’s just the start.

Rob Kerry Speaks on Internet Liberalisation

I asked Rob for a quote regarding Internet Liberalisation as discussed over at Gandi, the ethical domain name provider. Most of the quotes went here, but I thought Robs’ was worthy of a post of his own.

If you don’t know who Rob Kerry is and you are in SEO, hide your embarrassment and quickly go over to evilgreenmonkey.com to check him out.

Rob Kerry

It is my personal opinion that the plans being discussed by ICANN to open up an endless supply of TLDs (Top Level Domains) is careless and unnecessary. Domain names were created as a more human-friendly alternative to IP addresses and designed much like a phone book. The internet’s root nameservers act as the library, telling us which phone books are available. In the good old days, there was a company phone book (.com), an organisation phone book (.org), a network phone book (.net), US Military (.mil), US Government (.gov) and country specific phone books which are known as ccTLDs (country code Top Level Domains).

Although not everyone played by the rules (e.g. blip.tv is not a video website from the island of Tuvalu), life was simple and sites tended to do exactly what they said on the tin. Trust and security was delivered through convention, with the UK company, BBC, owning bbc.co.uk and the global non-profit/charity organisation Wikipedia owning wikipedia.org. Value was also created in generic domains, where owning doctor.com was seen as a precious asset, just like having a Harley Street address or a Royal Seal of Approval. Even financial institutions and investors recognised the asset value of domains, which often appreciated whilst other more traditional assets such as cars and technology depreciated. Names were traded, auctioned, and you could even get a loan secured against the more expensive and sort-after domains.

The web continued to increase in popularity and ICANN was getting pressured into opening up new domain extensions to meet this demand. The outcries for more TLDs came mostly from businesses that were small or newcomers to the web, disgruntled that they could not register the likes of amazon.com or hotels.com. ICANN caved into this pressure which was back up by many of their members who were keen to have more domain products to sell, creating extensions such as .biz, .info, .coop, .pro, .museum and more.

If you register a company in the UK or US, you cannot choose the same name as an existing company. Being able to register the company Amazon Ltd when Amazon Limited already existed would be misleading and confusing to the public, so would registering amazon.biz when amazon.com existed. If you cannot trade under the same name in the same country, why should a US/Global business be able to trade under a .biz when a .com website already exists?

Does either website really benefit, or does brand dilution negatively effect the trust and value of both sites?

If a first time home buyer cannot afford a 6 bedroom house in London, is the solution to keep building 6 bedroom houses until their value depreciates to a level that the first time home buyer can afford? Or should the first time buyer recognise that they can only afford a 1 bedroom apartment in a surrounding area for now and move-up as they grow? Similarly, what gives a small business the right to own poker.con, just because they cannot afford to buy-out poker.com?

Brands large and small were required to buy more and more domain names with the previous TLD free-for-all, simply to protect their trademarks, names and products on each new TLD. Whilst some TLDs such as .coop and .museum were heavily regulated, .info and .biz were open to brand hijacking and speculative purchases.

Opening up the market wasn’t as successful as some people had hoped, with a low number of domain registrations made for the purpose of hosting new websites and confusion over the new domain extensions by the general public. Special offers started popping up, with registries of the new TLDs desperate for user recognition and future income to cover their outlying costs. At one point, the .info registry even offered domain names to registrars and their customers absolutely free for a year, hoping that income would finally arrive when the domain names came up for renewal the following year. Free is always a popular proposition, although did not do what the registry was hoping. Black Hat SEOs, email spammers and phishing criminals proceeded to register hundreds or thousands of domains each. Google was flooded with auto-generated low-apr-credit-card.info style websites, using “churn and burn” techniques to acquire long tail search traffic and ad revenue. Inboxes were swamped with spam email from a different .info domain each day, trying to avoid domain-based blacklists. Our friends in Nigeria and Russia created their own credit card and bank log-in pages on .info typos, most of which were already protected on .com and local ccTLD extensions. The .info TLD did indeed make itself more widely known, but not in a good way. You would be foolish as a business today to opt for a .info domain for your main website, as it does not exude trust, stability or a professional image.

Who are the biggest recent successes on the web? Digg.com? Facebook.com? Twitter.com? Maybe it will soon be Bing.com? Notice one thing in common? Rather than worrying about owning social.com or search.com, the big successes of the last 12 months have been creative and established their own brand. If Microsoft opted to use an original .com name rather than lobbying ICANN for a .search TLD that they could use, why can’t Joe Bloggs Shoes Inc. do the same?

Does the view of ICANN and its members really represent the views, ideals and opinions of internet users as a whole, or are they blinded by the for-profit domain name registration companies that fund them?

When Google became an ICANN registrar, SEOs quickly started to make assumptions about their plans and reasoning. Some predicted that Google would start registering domain names and hosting DNS to collect further data and power, despite telling shareholders that they would reduce non-search related projects and concentrate on their core product offerings (Android does fit into this aim). Others discussed how Google could use their registrar status to track and monitor domain names operated by SEOs. Maybe they actually wanted to just have more of a say in how the web works, with the multi-billion dollar company fully reliant on it. How much extra work does it cause for search engines when everyone is trying to game their algorithm with “exact match domains”? How can they differentiate NHS.gov.uk from NHS.england, if NHS.england acquired tens of thousands of value passing backlinks?

The question should also be asked about where the line is drawn for new TLD requests and who decides where the line is. You’d hope that ICANN would reject applications for .con, .comm and .couk, but who decides whether .england is allowed? If I sank a few hundred thousand dollars into lobbying ICANN and getting approval for .england, or take-over the dormant .gb ccTLD, how will that dilute and damage the solid reputation of the .uk ccTLD that Nominet has worked so hard for?

I support the use of new TLDs for future non-www technologies such as food-ordering fridges, auto-piloted cars and VoIP phones. It makes sense to use separate TLDs for technologies that are not accessed via a web browser. But I do not think that creating more under-utilised web TLDs will do anything other than create a greater misunderstanding amongst internet novices and a substantial amount of mistrust.