How to Linkbait the Forex Market

I’m speaking at an affiliate conference, a4uexpo London in October, so I took a closer look at the main sectors that affiliates like to play in. I have it down to seven hot sectors.

Hot affiliate sectors

  • Gaming
  • Forex
  • Travel
  • Mobile comms
  • Dating
  • Retail
  • Financial

Lets look at the most abstract and probably the most difficult sector to get links to. The Forex market. [Read more...]

Who cares that you like Digg – Stumbleupon – Reddit – Delicious, best

It confuses me when people in my industry start talking about their personal preference when it comes to content tagging sites.

Why get so excited about how much you like the colours on digg than reddit and other such nonsense.

In my industry we deal in eyeballs, offering up your personal opinion about your emotional connection about systems like digg may give you pink fluffies. But seriously, who cares?

We are dealers in eyeballs, getting people to go to websites is what we do.

Tony Montana had good advice to say about this.

Tony Montana

Tony Montana

“Don’t get high on your own supply”

If you watched Scarface you will know what happens when you do become a user.

Much better to be a dealer than a user.

There are of course reasons why such expressions of emotional love about a website could be useful. If you are trying to attract the addicts of such systems and try to position yourself as their dealer.

Better to stick to data about how these systems can reach your objective.

James Caan from Dragons Den Casts a Magic Spell on SEO

James Caan

James Caan

James Caan is best known for being one of the investors on the best thing on the telly at the moment, Dragons Den. Each week, knee trembling business people parade their money making ideas in front of a panel of people who make the Spanish Inquisition look like a 4 year olds tea party.

Starting from nothing, James Caan has built a multi million pound empire with incredible business skill.

As you might already know he has entered our world of SEO and online marketing by becoming the Chairman of one of the most successful SEO companies in the UK, Fresh Egg.

On Sept 4th James Caan and the Fresh Egg crew are going to be hosting an online marketing seminar at the Magic Circle in London.

James Caan will be speaking and presenting his thoughts on the current business and economic climate. I would think hearing his thoughts on this issue would be worth the ticket alone. There are a handful of tickets left but these are being snapped up as you read this.

Also covered by the Fresh Egg team will be SEO, social media and website conversion tactics.

PPC will be covered by experts Jellyfish, who will also discuss cost per acquisition and usability.

It’s an incredible line up, in a fantastic venue and I am also told there is going to be some great grub for lunch.

I was at the Fresh Egg HQ this week training their team in the dark and mysterious art of online buzz marketing and I have to say that I am impressed with the people I met. When creativity is allowed to flourish and is backed up with a hard core business sensibility, very interesting things can happen.

I would love to go and hang with a Dragon and the Egg crew, but on that day I will be taking my 4 year old to School for the first time.

What’s your excuse for not going?

Why SEO is Search Engine Scamming

Danny Sulliven has a post on Searchengine land called, Dear Fox News: SEO Is Not Search Engine Scamming (Unless YouÂ’re Scamming Yourself).

It’s the kind of post where I read the first few paragraphs, think yeah yeah yeah and then go back to watching the Cartoon Network.

But lets go back to Fox News, which is an American TV News channel whose slogan is “Fair and Balanced” and tends to get watched by people who thought George Bush was a socialist.

If you search for the story headline that Danny refers to, “top online jobs to leave you friendless”, Fox comes up number one on Google so it must be true. I realise that not everyone who reads this blog is British and so their default position may not be one of sarcasm and cynicism.

In other words:
If you are reading the Fox News blog for informative, insightful content you’re an idiot
If you want to know what SEO is, you google Danny Sullivan.

But I doubt anyone reading this blog needs to be told that, which means I have just wasted valuable time when I could have been watching the Cartoon Network.

Where is Evan Carmichael?

So I got my monthly email from evancarmichael.com telling me I had posted no articles which had no ranking and was a big fat loser.

evancarmichael.com is a online business site where invited people can write guest posts, I don’t know much about it as I am rarely in the mood to read it or write for it. I don’t much like writing guest posts as my style tends to be a bit more honest than the usual gumpf you read and makes the owners of those blogs I guest post on a little nervous.

evancharmicheal

Today I thought, lets get in the writing mood and crack one off, an article I mean. Headed over the evancarmichael.com and found this:

domaingone

It’s gone, but how could it. Just when I was in the mood to write some stuff for Evan. But maybe it’s just one of those web gremlins. Surely someone has not pinched the domain and about to point it to massivejugsformiddleagedmen.com Imagine thinking you are going to be sent to a Donald Trump article and ending up looking at ……

I’m sure the site will be up once more, but it highlights the fact that if you are a “only when I’m in the mood”, kinda blogger, you have to go with the flow. Writers who are a little more tightly wrapped can pump it out like a sausage factory on crack (would this mean the sausages have a bit more sizzle?)

Nothing mentioned in his twitter account, where I note he is following more people than he is being followed. Follow and drop method is so 2008.

But that raises an interesting point, can you be bad at marketing a twitter account and yet be good at marketing on twitter?

Disclaimer: This blog does not condone the ingestion of crack infused meat products or the denigration of middle aged men consuming content of females in a reduced clothing situation.

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.

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.

NO FT.com, That's Not how You Game Digg

I submitted a story to digg about global banking which went hot, which I didn’t expect as there were no pictures of Megan Fox or explosions. But it got a front page no problem, which raises the question, do certain sites on digg get an artificial bump to the front page?

But lets leave aside the fact that digg loves the multi million dollar publishing companies whilst it loves to dump on little Jonny’s blog about the new AJAX/PHP trick. We might come back to that later.

So when I submitted the FT.com you could read the story, when you go to it now it gives a snippet and asks you to register for free.

Here is the url btw,

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/72bf1538-5c35-11de-aea3-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2F72bf1538-5c35-11de-aea3-00144feabdc0.html%3Fnclick_check%3D1&_i_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fdigg.com%2Fd1uGtS&nclick_check=1

Oh look, it’s throwing up digg.com as the referer. My ADD kicked in before I could decode the url, if anyone wants to show off in the comments, go for it.

So, why is this bad?

It makes me think twice about submitting the FT to any social bookmarking site and I don’t think it motivated other diggers to submit in future.

What would I say to the FT.com if they hired me as a consultant?

If you know the traffic is coming from digg, set it up so that they do not have to register. Why? Diggers are probably not going to register anyway and make link to that page. Hit all other traffic with the subscription page.

Publishers should not be giving stuff away for free unless they get something from it, so FT is doing the right thing with the sub page, but in the wrong way. It would benefit more by letting diggers access it’s content than it would get from what I presume is a teeny tiny amount of subscribers it gets from a digg front page.

Just a teeny tiny tweak would increase their bottom line, c’mon guys it’s not like this is rocket science.

What I would do to rank for "london safes"

Previously we identified an odd way to rank in google for london safes, and amused ourselves over a hot Fair Trade, Columbian, Arabica.

It’s easy to say how not to do it. And where would most SEO blogs be without snarky criticism? But, how would you rank a web page or site for the keyword london safes?

Looking at the first page of the results – we are using google.co.uk and searching in the UK – we can see that the term is pretty weak and easily dominated.

There probably isn’t a big affiliate push for London Safes and so the professionals are few and far between. So you wouldn’t have to do that much to rank. But unless you were selling safes in London you are probably not going to get an adequate return on your investment.

Steps to ranking for London safes.

Generate content around the keyword, make it useful and to the point.

Commission a report to be written on the new developments of modern safes and publish it as a pdf. Contact all the London security firms giving them access to the pdf and helping them link back to it.

Employ an seo professional to make sure your site is structured correctly, it should be a small job so wouldn’t cost too much. Or you could spend 3 years studying seo and do it yourself. But, by that time your safe business would have gone bust as you wouldn’t have had time to look after it ;)

Forget twitter, Facebook, digg, stumbleupon etc. You don’t need them, the keyword is weak so you are not going to need much to rank for it. Sounds crazy as I sell social media marketing to clients but it’s true.

You really only need to employ social media marketing if you are going after a competitive term, or where there are large, established websites squatting over the results page like a giant Sumo wrestler.

Not everyone needs social media marketing.

Others things you can do are…. Oh come on, do you really need to do more, it’s not like this is hard, and anyway, I’m taking the missus to the Gardens of Heligan today and need to shave.

Maybe next time I will pick a more competitive term.