Friday, November 29, 2013

Think Tank Summary: Predictions for 2014 Digital Marketing

I was lucky enough to be invited to Linkdex's Think Tank for 2014 Digital Marketing Predictions. I had 15 minutes to share my thoughts and decided that was plenty of time to run through; SEO, PPC, Social, Display, Performance/Affiliates and Data.

My title focused on the last talking point I wanted to raise; "Is the future of Search no search?"

I'll embed my presentation below but that's not the interesting bit. The interesting bit is that a host of very clever folks came and shared their predictions too. I'm talking about Paul Doleman of iCrossing, Leah Katz of Edelman, Andrew Smith of Escherman who I finally got to meet, David Harling in his new role at MoneySuperMarket, Stephen Croome of Firstconversion, Andy Miller of BlueGlass, Stefan Hull of Propellernet, Nick Garner of 90 Digital as well as Linkdex's own Matt Roberts and Stephen Lock.

I sat in the front row and ran a tally of common themes. Okay, so these are the themes I decided so a little arbitrary and I had some overlaps; for example I tracked "mobile" as well as "screens" the latter being those predictions that talked about multi-screening, connected TV, wearable tech, etc. I had data and measurement although there's clearly an overlap.

The chart shows that over 63% of speakers brought up mobile and measurement issues. The next most common topics were content, data and integration. Integration being that thorny issue of getting SEO and PR (or their agencies) to work together, getting Search agencies to work together and that sort of thing.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Nice: The Skimlinks Editor

I can't say I'm a "big" user of Skimlinks because that would imply I make any real money off affiliate marketing. I don't. I make pocket monkey as a hobby - but love every minute of it. I use Skimlinks in my little hobby a lot. It makes more sense that joining networks and wrestling with tracking.

One of the tools I wished Skimlinks has was a way to look up products. If I'm going to blog about X then I might as well include an affiliate link to somewhere that sells X. I can't do that yet. The next step would be to tell me which item Y was getting a lot of attention/clicks/sales and suggest it as a possible blog topic.

What Skimlinks can now do via their new Editor is alert to me to when I'm on a site that is in Skimlinks' system. It'll tell me the commission and give me the share URL for easy social media linking.

They've got this from their purchase of Invisible Hand. You can tell because the same tool also offers alternative pricing when that's possible.

For example; see Argos on the left and the Editor on the right. In the alternative pricing I can see that the Nescafe / Krups machine is £20 cheaper at That's a 33% less. Useful. No?

Friday, November 08, 2013

The Cincinnati Hack: newsjacking, cracking and online movies on the rise

You’ll have heard stats like Netflix being responsible for about a 30% of all bandwidth consumption in the States. There are plenty more similar figures. Sandvine’s research notes that YouTUbe accounts for 20% of all mobile downstream traffic in Europe, North America and Latin America. Filesharing (sites like BitTorrent) is on the way down but in regions like Asia-Pacific such sites still account for 30% of traffic from fixed access networks. Meanwhile, accessing legitimate sites is on the rise. Netflix mobile data double in the last 12 months in North America.

If you look at some of the latest movies you’ll see spiky interest. This familiar Google graph shows interest over time for [watch bad grandpa] and [watch thor online]. Not only is there search demand but there’s a short lived perfect window to rank for the phrase.

What’s the best way to rank for a short period of time for a highly competitive keyphrase in Google? Google News.

That’s what The Cincinnati Herald is doing in this screen grab. The Cincinnati Herald as every right to be in Google News. It’s the longest running African American newspaper in Cincinnati, dating back to 1955.

It’s being hacked though. There’s a window.location.replace script messing things up for them. You can see it on pages like their /nov/04/bad-grandpa/ and /nov/01/thor/ pages.

<div class="content_title">
<h2>WATCH ONLINE HERE Watch Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa Online : Watch Bad Grandpa Online Full Movie Free HD</h2>
<div class="content">
<p><img onload="window.location.replace('');" src="" height="110" />

Notice the domain the JavaScript redirect is using. In the Thor and Bad Grandpa examples the two URLs are; is owned by Google. This doesn’t mean Google are part of the hack. Webspace is easy to find these days. In fact, it means Google is better able to thwart the crackers by simply disconnecting their blog.

Sadly, I suspect we’ll see more SEO inspired hacking/cracking in 2014. Fortunately, Google et al are rolling out more tools to help webmasters fight back and defend themselves.

Hat tip to Michael Thomson for the spot and screen grabs.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Ad or not? Bing does search box call outs

Bing has been my default search engine ever since Google announced the end of Google Reader. This doesn't mean I don't use Google (I'm especially fond of Google's search by image abilities) and today I wanted to quickly hop from Bing to Google. I searched Bing for Google.

That's a pretty clever response from Bing. I'd seen their banner like prompt before but this call out feels more effective to me. The question is, especially with Bing calling Google out for less than transparent practises, is this an ad or not?

It smells like an ad in so far as it's promoted content (native ads?) but it certainly doesn't look like a search result.