Try to Watch a Bon Jovi video without thinking of Spinal Tap

For me, Living on a Prayer is the, Bon Jovi song.



When creating content you have to be aware of cultural connotation

A connotation is frequently described as either positive or negative, with regards to its pleasing or displeasing emotional connection

Some people will have not watched Spinal tap, and some may not have even heard of it. Which means the headline above will be lost on them. They will also not get the reference from the BBC iPlayer, which goes to 11 on their volume scale.



It’s important to be aware that some will not only have a different emotional connection to the stuff you are putting out, but also will not even know anything about the stuff you are putting out.

Most get away with this by simply running with their own tribe and thus they share the same cultural capital as talked about by the French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu. Note: It is a proven fact if you quote a French Sociologist, you will seem more intelligent than you actually are.

If you are creating content for others, and for tribes that you are not a member of, you need to aware that the reader may not know what you are talking about. This is why most blog content is very shallow and broad in tone.

The headline above will resonate most with those whose formative years were in the 80′s, and by definition represent a distinct target group, ie those with, Mortgage, kids leaving home, divorce, overweight, etc. This of course is a generalised list but represents high probability.

So, think twice about creating content that refers to the second verse in “Love will tear us apart”, by Joy Division, if you are marketing to 18 year olds in Midwest America.



The Joy Division video balances the Bon Jovi video just right.

Massive links or Tribe Building

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Wow, 2013 is finally done and dusted.

No, you wont get a round up of best posts of 2013, this is not what this blog is about and others do it way better.

As I sit at my desk with crystal blue, Cornish skies out of my window, I clear the inbox of client emails and consider what will 2014 will bring.

It used to be, one massive link from a website which Google deems as an authority was all you needed to kill it in the ranking pages. Linkbait, infographics, etc. all did that.

And that was great.

But now, things have changed. To get links these days, it’s better to forget about link building.

Manipulative link building, (if you want to fluff it up by calling it something like Inbound Marketing, content marketing etc. knock yourself out) has been negated. But it’s not dead, and SEO is not dead yet.

But link building has gone from the rabid wolf to the one legged coyote

Lots of people in the industry have hitched their wagon to a specific aspect of website marketing and will defend their territory when challenged, even with only one leg the Coyote is a animal to be weary of. This is why the industry is slow to change, although compared to any other industry it turns on a dime.

Google has changed things, they always do. They are like that.

It’s the animal that can change and adapt which will survive, not the one who can say, “look at my great kills of 2013″

Past performance is not an indicator of future success

The Cheetah is a fantastic killing machine, honed by evolution to perform one method very well, wait for the weakest, go fast and kill. But it’s the Coyote that thrives, who adapts, who looks at what is happening around it and changes tactics.

This is what you have to do to survive in 2014.

I am going to go out on a limb here and state that I don’t think manipulative link building is going to have the same effect as it once had. We are already seeing this happening. You probably don’t consider it “manipulative link building” and may even still believe in Santa. (thankfully my kids don’t yet read this blog, sshhhhh)

Are links still important, yes they are. But you have to respect Google for being the biggest cat in the jungle and if you annoy it, it will eat you turn you into fertilizer for the weeds.

Link acquisition should still be part of the strategic plan, but it certainly should not lead or be your only tactic.

What is becoming more clear is that tribe building is becoming more and more crucial, I have talked about this way back in 2007 and it was clear even then that this is the way to go.

Building a tribe is why you should create great content, of course links are important but people are more importent. They are they who make up your tribe, and it’s wise to consider what it is your tribe wants, do they want Game of Thrones content? Do they want you to help them save time, make money or get laid?

It’s the tribe you are the servant of, not the bot.
And don’t think your interests are more worthy than the tribe, if they want Kim Kardashian’s ass, then I am afraid you have to give it to them.

Yes, there will be outliers who kill it with links and end up on a sun drenched beach drinking a cooled beverage. But it’s not a business that can be replicated by most people.

This year is also going to be about publishing to the tribe. and giving them giving them what they want.

To Get Links you need to Forget about Link Building

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I have been building websites and getting people to go to them since 1998. Doing it for such a long time does not always make you a better link builder, but it does give you a long view. It allows you to note that the current changes in the building of links to increase search engine rankings is just one more change in an constantly changing landscape.

The cost or value of links has changed too, experts would usually quote an average link on an average website, giving an average amount of Google juice would cost around $100 – $150. These would be links that would pass the “natural” test. You would need a few hundred of these links for the average niche to rank and get a decent ROI.

But what has happened is a whole level of the SEO industry has been eviscerated. These are SEOs who would rely on a fixed cost for link getting and could quite easily plan it out with blog network buys, industrial guest posting, web 2.0 articles, plus many more techniques that are available on black hat market sites.

Some of it still goes on of course and still works if you don’t abuse it.

Current link building best practice is more akin to PR than it is to SEO. The ironic thing is that the traditional PR agencies are still quite poor in achieving an effective ROI. This is because power has shifted from those slick smooth talking PR types to the passionate, creative, online digital publisher, or what we would call the Blogger.

Pick a jargon phrase and run with it – conversation marketing – inbound marketing – relationship marketing – content marketing – and so on. These phrases have a high copulation rate and so if you don’t like one another will be along shortly. If you employ a digital agency or find yourself on a self styled “guru’s” website, they will be using these types of terms and explaining how you need to buy their book that will reveal all.

But the reality is, the way you link build is actually quite ancient. It’s called “Publishing”. You create an idea, make it physical (ok digital but lets not distracted by semantics) by using a medium such as a blog post and then you share that idea with other people who react, hopefully in the way you desire.

It’s not about “build it and they will come”, publishing includes marketing, advertising, means of production, delivery etc.

To get links you need to be a publisher, you need to publish. Anything else is mechanics, the way or form in which you publish.

Effective publishing involves knowing the audience, achieving an effective ROI, developing relationships with those who consume the published material.

This is where effective link building resides right now. It could be argued that it has always resided in the concept of publishing (and as we know from Reddit pretty much anything can be argued).

Where does that leave you if you want and need links? You are probably not a publisher but sell something like, plumbing supplies online.

You simply have to build an efficient, effective publishing machine. This can be a one man band or a huge army of workers to build out a magnetic for links.

Your effort will have more effect if it is consistent, rather than a few linkbaits here and there.

Go get published and go get links.

Feed the viewer of your content as if it were a Velociraptor

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When creating content you should always serve the meat first and then let the viewer gnaw on the bones after, if they so desire.

My thinking when it comes to this stuff is to put the meat above the fold and then allow the detail to be revealed to those who wish to scroll. This rewards the hit and run viewer who simply wants the meat and then to share it, and the viewer who likes to spend more time and dig down to rich detail and then share.

When you have made the massive effort of tempting the ravenous viewer to your page, to feast on your tasty content, don’t make them work for it.

Feed them Seymore

Don’t make them have to think. Viewers when asked may like to pretend they like classics like Dostoyevsky, but John Grisham always sells more. Don’t make them have to scroll further to get to the meat because even if the meat is the tastiest in the world, the viewer will probably give up before they get to the end..

The importance of having the meat above the fold is huge, as most people will even give great stuff a cursory glance. Content has to impact fast and smash it in the viewers face. The detail, the complexity and the “take the viewer on a journey”, comes after that and rewards those who stick around and want a deeper narrative.

It is tricky because when we create something we have been taught to take the viewer on a journey, this thinking developed for magazines and books, when the viewer had little distraction or need to quickly move on, as they had bought the book/magazine and intend to read as much as possible.

Same doesn’t apply to web content.

I see the modern web browser as a starving Velociraptor. They are not too concerned with the complex flavours or that hint of truffle oil.

They want meat and they want it now.

My solution is to radically change your layout so that the meat is always served first, and then as the blood drips from the Velociraptor’s teeth, let them gnaw on the bones of the detail.

The aim is to create art that satisfies the hunger on viewing and then allows for further investigation and confirmation that the content is worthy of a social signal or a link.

This thinking underlies my philosophy when I consult with clients on content that gets shared.

I hope my thoughts on this helps.

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