Today, Google is releasing +1 buttons to the whole web. As a result, you might start seeing +1 appear on sites large and small across the Internet.
Everyone hates blog spam no matter if it’s comment or trackback spam but I thought I would look into it and see if there is any common elements and yes
The 3rd speaker interviewed for Affiliate Management Days London 2014 is UK Managing Director of affilinet Helen Southgate.
Helen is also a well versed marketer who was recently profiled in MarketingWeek on “Just what is affiliate marketing“.
Helen will be speaking on Day 2 during the Keynote session from 9:15am-10:15am on “The Role of the Affiliate Network“.
1) Do you mind telling us a little bit about your background and your current role?
I started in affiliate marketing back in 2002 at a company called Silvertap as an account manager, working on Tesco Finance and Freeserve (which became Wanadoo and then Orange!). So, I’m old school affiliate and have worked through the account management ranks. I moved to London in 2007 to Deal Group Media as Account Director, then progressed to Head of Affiliates.
In 2009 I decided to make the move client side and went to BskyB as Senior Online Marketing Manager, looking after affiliates and search. In my time in that role I also chaired the IAB affiliate marketing council for a year in 2011. I then progressed to a wider role as Online Marketing Controller in Digital Planning & Strategy before moving back network side in May last year to be UK MD of affilinet. I’ve gone full circle!
2) I noticed that affilinet’s website is completely responsive, what positive impact did that have on your business and your credibility to exist in a multi-platform world?
Our view is that if you don’t exist in a multi-platform / multi-device world then you’re not doing it right. We’ve got to practice what we preach! There has been enough research over the last few years to demonstrate that such an approach is a no brainer really.
3) How quickly do you see advertisers and publishers adapting to a multi-screen world? Who is adapting quicker affiliates or agencies?
Advertisers are being the quickest to adapt, I still think publishers are falling behind a little but perhaps that’s because they are not really being given the incentive (some programmes still don’t track mobile sales believe it or not) or being given the right support and advice. There is a lot of data out there in market but very little advice on how to actually make affiliate marketing work in mobile. I think networks need to do a better job here with both our advertisers and our publishers.
4) Do you think people are still avoiding the omni-channel world?
I really dislike the word “omni-channel”, it’s unfortunately another buzz word with little meaning to add to “native advertising” and “performance marketing”. But I don’t think people are avoiding it once they work out what it actually means. I term this as “multi-channel” and from experience being client side it is extremely difficult, as a business, to get to this stage. Very few advertisers have really become multi-channel and if you ask them how long it took them they will all point to several years of structural and cultural changes, something that is not easily done at many large companies. It is of course every company’s objective and as the years pass we’ll see this becoming the norm.
5) Has the complexity of dealing with FTC (USA) or OFT (UK) improved?
No, it is still a challenge often because affiliate marketing is a small part of online and many people still do not fully understand it in the regulation world. However, I think the IAB and the affiliate marketing council have done a great job in tackling these challenges head on and pre-empting them. The recent RMR work has been a good example of that in terms of how the industry came together to lobby for better decisions.
6) Which regions are leading the charge in compliance? UK,USA,Asia,APAC?
I don’t have a lot of insight into the affiliate sector outside of the UK and rest of Europe but I believe from discussions I’ve had, and articles I’ve read, that the UK is leading the way when it comes to compliance. Some networks and publishers have invested a significant amount of resource into spotting, monitoring and improving compliance over the years to create, what I believe, are industry leading standards.
7) How do you think the market adapting to EU Cookie Law (EU e-Privacy Directive)?
8) What do you hope attendees will get out of attending the keynote panel on “The Future of Affiliate Marketing”?
Hopefully an insight into how the different affiliate networks are viewing the future of affiliate marketing. I think as networks we all have slightly different views and strategies but all with the same objective, to grow the channel.
9) What other AM Days speakers or sessions are you most looking forward to attending?
I’m looking forward to our Senior Account Manager Daniel Lancioni speaking on the second day about “affiliate management, the long and short of it”.
10) If people want to follow/engage with you online?
On Twitter @HelenMarie21 but I warn you that I tweet about football, cycling and running much more than affiliate marketing.
Thank you Helen for your time in answering these questions. If you want to catch Helen Southgate speak and save ££££ on tickets for AM Days London you can use our discount code LOSTAGENCY14 and you can register and find out more here.
With less than a week until SMX Munich one of the final speakers to be interviewed was Utrecht based marketer Jan-Willem Bobbink. Jan-Willem is a well known European marketer who focuses on international search campaigns but also a MajesticSEO brand ambassador. I reached out to Jan-Willem via email with some questions about his views on SEO but also some insights into some topics that he will be covering during his two presentations at SMX Munich next Wednesday 26th March 2014.
1. Do you mind giving us a short background on yourself and what your current role is?
In 2004 I got addicted with online marketing since I build my first international webshop. During the years I have developed hundreds of websites and had numerous affiliate concepts running. In 2011 I made the step towards the agency side. After three years working at Internet Advantage I just decided to leave the company and have a look around and search for a new challenge.
2. Your session touches on Microdata, Schema & Rich Snippets but which do you love more?
The first thing I want to make clear is the following: there are websites with data points, there is data markup on your website and there are websites wanting to use that data. Because every website is different, there have been developed standardized formats how to markup your data. You can do this by using Schema, RDFa, Open Graph etc. for example. Rich snippets on the other hand, are a way of presenting the crawled data, in a functional way. By using Open Graph tags in your HTML, will make it more easy for Facebook and Google+ to display the right information about your website. Back to your question, you cannot say there is a favourite markup language, since everyone is making use of different data structures. Google can proces GoodRelations, Microdata, Microformats and RDFa. For Facebook you have to use OpenGraph markup.
The implementations that I like the most, are the situations which create the best results as fast as possible. I would advise every website to add Schema markup of your reviews, which can be picked up by Google fast and this results in an increase of your Click Through Rates from the search engine result pages.
3. What Google Knowledge graph widget do you think will have the biggest impact in 2014?
Google giving direct answers based on common questions! (for a fun example, check this).
Websites that get most of their traffic because the solve problems based on people searching for answers, will definitely lose traffic. Have a look at “Google’s Knowledge Graph Boxes: killing Wikipedia?” which will not only have an impact on Wikipedia type sites, but Google is increasing the number of queries in which they add additional information rapidly.
4. Based on MajesticSEO data what link tactics do you think are being over-used still?
Link exchanges, directory linking and blog networks. With the help of MajesticSEO data is not that difficult to detect networks, let alone Google can’t figure that out. Once Google declared the war on spam, directories are used less and less so the market moved towards setting up private blog networks, just to create content (co-occurrence) around links but that’s not the way you want to do marketing for your company.
5. What EU business do you think is leading the charge in Schema and Rich snippet implementations?
I do not have specific companies, but what you see happening in the market once there are new opportunities to increase results, are affiliate websites that are always the first websites to start testing with the additional possibilities. Besides that, for companies like Google, Yandex et al, it requires flexibility to implement the changes in their systems. Especially with new techniques, there is always a risk that people are going to use it in a way it was not meant to be used. After the launch of rich snippets in Google, lot of people spammed Google with the yellow stars. I actually was one of the first to implement review snippets without having actual reviews on my website.
6. Who are your favourite people to follow on Twitter to stay current with Schema & Rich snippets?
I’m not really following specific people, but some websites you should definitely add to your feeds are:
7. Do you think websites in more competitive industries are more likely to use Schema & Rich snippets?
As I noted above, dedication and understanding for online marketing as a major source of revenue makes it more important to keep up to date with the latest techniques you use. Good example are affiliates, which most of the time are completely depending on search as a source of traffic. Especially in competitive niches, it is always a key question, how can you be noticed between the other nine websites in the SERPs. So yes, the urgency of adopting new techniques is always higher in challenging markets.
8. Have you had any experience working with websites that have implemented Facebook Open Graph? Any advice or insights?
First thing I tell clients is to implement the correct OpenGraph markup and add Twitter cards, because it is not difficult at all but will generate more traffic easily. Nowadays most weblog plugins have built-in functions to add the markup to your pages. On tip, don’t forget to verify and approve your Twitter cards at https://dev.twitter.com/docs/cards/validation/validator
9. What is the most interesting data point that you have found with MajesticSEO?
For me that was finding out which clients made use of a press release distribution system. All links where redirected through their URL, so there link profile consisted of links, redirected to their clients. That was not something they thought of so they had to change their privacy policies. I think a lot of people underestimate the power of having access to the link graph as a whole. You can analyse a lot of things that have nothing to do with SEO or online marketing. Dixon Jones shared some interesting cases last year during SMX Stockholm: https://blog.majesticseo.com/general/big-data-can-predict-future-save-world/
10. What is the main ideas/points that you hope people to get from attending your session?
To get educated on the possibilities of the semantic web, what the quick wins are for their websites or clients and how you can determine which structured data you should use in specific cases. One of the things you should consider is the fact that you are making it really easy for Google to scrape all your data and let them built specific services around it.
11. What are some of the other sessions/speakers at SMX Munich 2014 that you are looking to see?
That would be the sessions “Large Scale SEO” and the Webmasters on the Roof All-Star Panel, which are always inspiring. If your interested in International SEO, you should attend the session by Dave Sottimano and Andy Atkings-Krüger: SEO-Must-Haves for International SEO.
After my session about the semantic web I will go back to the basics: together with Malte Landwehr I will discuss SEO Patents. How do you have to read patents, what can you learn from that content and considering the recent developments (BrightEdge versus SearchMetrics) what is the power of patents.
Thank you Jan-Willem for your time in answering these questions and I hope everyone enjoys your SMX presentations which is on day two in panel 2 from 1:30pm “Microdata & Schema to Rich Snippets” and also in Panel 5 from 2:35pm “The 10 most important SEO patents”.
So if you want to catch Jan-Willem Bobbink speak and save €€€ on tickets for SMX Munich 2014 you can use our discount code LOSTPRESSSMX and you can register and find out more here.
It was great to see an Australian marketer was speaking at SMX Munich 2014 and it was even better to see it was a fellow marketer from Brisbane, Queensland. Dan is the founder of well known Australian Search Agency DejanSEO that has grown to 4 offices and a team of 60+ strategists, consultants, marketers and account managers.
So since it’s been a while since I’ve had a decent chat with Dan I thought it was a good time to reach out to him for an interview on how all is tracking along for Google+ but also about his session he was presenting at SMX Munchen 2014. I have always enjoyed Dan’s sessions as they always interesting and insightful as he is a marketer focused on big data, deep analysis and data led insights so his SMX session should be brilliant.
On Day 1 from 10:30am Dan is running a session during SMX Bootcamp “Keyword Research For Search Success or avoiding the Piñata” and on Day 2 he will be presenting his session “Content Marketing Strategies for Google+” from 2:35pm in Panel 3 that you shouldn’t miss!
Your session focuses on Google+ content marketing strategies, why not Facebook or Twitter?
I tend to have a pretty good hunch about things and I made my choice as soon as Google+ launched. Each year I keep seeing new features and benefits. Now that Google+ acts as a centrepiece of all that is Google I’m absolutely certain I have made the right choice. Bonus for me is that I genuinely enjoy the platform.
How have you found Google+ as a channel for engaging with Googlers?
Googlers have been super helpful on Google+, particularly on hangouts on air.
You have hinted at the conversion and quality rates are different for Google+ traffic how significant is it?
Apart from organic search, the best conversion channels for us are our own tools such as Algoroo, followed by Google+ and Twitter.
How do you track what is successful on Google+ such as CircleCount or Excel?
I use CircleCount, AllMyPlus, Google Webmaster Tools and some of my own tools and hacks. My own engagement score is calculated by assigning 1 point to a +1, 2 points to a comment and 3 points to a reshare. It works really well.
What types of metrics do you examine when evaluating content shared on Google+? Is all content equal?
Images dominate Google+ at this time, but I have seen some glimpses of other type of material doing really well.
Google+ platform analytics are lacking outside of ripples do you think this might eventually improve?
Google+ platform analytics are strange. Places pages get so much more data in comparison to brand pages. It just doesn’t make sense. I’ll make a point of this and a few other bizarre things during my presentation at SMX Munich.
If you are trying to stay on top of new Google search patents who do you recommend following online?
Is this even a question? Bill Slawski of course.
You are also from Brisbane what was the decision to sponsor and present at SMX Munich?
Well to be honest SMX Munich hasn’t been on my radar as I had recently visited Europe with no plans to come back so soon but at a recommendation from a Googler the organisers invited me in to speak.
What is the main ideas/points that you hope people to get from attending your session?
To be perfectly honest, I’m hoping to blow people’s minds with a few unique hacks. Short of that, I’ll provide evidence-based insights into what works on Google+ and I feel marketers will have the opportunity to learn something completely new during my session.
What are some of the other sessions/speakers at SMX Munich 2014 that you are looking to see?
I met Marcus Tober after my keynote at Search Marketing Day in Poland last year and thought he was a really smart guy. I really look forward to his presentation this year.
Thank you Dan for your time in answering these questions and congrats again on the success you have had with Google+ and I hope everyone enjoys your SMX presentation on Content Marketing and your SMX Bootcamp session.
So if you want to catch Dan Petrovic speak and save €€€ on tickets for SMX Munich 2014 you can use our discount code LOSTPRESSSMX and you can register and find out more here.
I reached out to Rand for an email interview when I found out that he was speaking at SMX Munich 2014 under his new role as Wizard of Moz. I was amazed that almost after stepping off the stage at SMX West 2014 I had an email response from Rand with all my interview questions completed. Once again this marketer impressed me that he was able to respond so quickly considering his always crazy busy speaking and blogging schedule but also his willingness to sacrifice time he could have spent relaxing in the hotel or kicking back with industry folks in the hotel bar and answer some questions.
It was great to finally do an official interview with the Wizard of Moz as I’ve met and spoken with Rand and several of the Moz crew since I first attending SMX East 2008 in New York City. But have also been able to catch up with him several times at conferences in Australia and the US but also once or twice at the old SEOmoz office. So enough of my rambling here is some questions about what’s happening in the industry and looking forward to Rand’s Keynote speech at SMX Munich 2014 at the end of this month.
You are the keynote speaker for SMX Munich 2014? What’s 3 thoughts you can’t get out of your mind during your keynote?
#1 – We’ve seen some big shifts in the industry of SEO (not just the strategies and tactics, but who’s practicing SEO and what the expectations are from teams, managers, & clients)
#2 – Critical data (like keyword referral information and how engines connect search phrases and searcher intent) is getting harder to access, forcing many of us to use much more disparate methods to measure and improve
#3 – The number of opportunities is both increasing (as more types of results and more ways of driving traffic become available) and decreasing (as Google takes many searches for themselves, favors established brands, etc).
What’s the most interesting topic you have done as a keynote topic? What is the most interesting keynote topic you have turned down?
One of my favorite keynotes was about why you women should Choose Short Men as dating partners and how that applies to the field of SEO & web marketing.
Is this your first conference since you stepped down as CEO of Moz? What is the biggest upside you’ve found since the change?
I actually just spoke at SMX West in San Jose, but this is one of my first few. The biggest upside has been being able to focus on some of the things I love to do – product & marketing specifically – vs. things I don’t really love – managing people, HR, building process, etc.
So in 2013 SEO got a hell of a lot harder, what do you think 2014 will bring?
Probably even more challenges (though I don’t think we’ll see quite the magnitude of the shifts that we saw in 2013 again). But, anytime the field gets more difficult, there’s more opportunity for those who are creative, driven, and make smart investments.
What is one bad habit that digital marketers seem unable to break?
We’re still often very transactional in our work. We expect that we’ll complete a task and be directly rewarded for it. But in marketing, many of the best rewards come from investing without thought for the benefit. Marketing is often relationship-driven, and direct rewards from relationships are both rare and usually very unwelcome (i.e. imagine if the only reason anyone wanted your time/input is so they could get something in return? That’s what much of what marketers call “outreach” and “relationship building” feels like).
What is one good habit that you have seen marketers start to adapt?
We’ve become much more data-driven and data-aware in the past few years. And the sophistication of our data analyses has improved, too.
What is the biggest curve ball thrown by Google that you thought really threw people off balance?
Keyword (not provided) is the most obvious one, but I think an even bigger challenge could come from Google’s replacing links to sites in some queries with content taken from those sites that answer the users’ query. For example
Google’s data is being taken from sites they crawl, but those sites don’t get the benefit of traffic – their data is simply presented in Google’s own interface.
What is one big curve ball you expected Google to pitch but it never happened? Maybe publisher rank?
Author Rank is definitely one we’re all expecting. Another is a paid API for rankings data – it feels like a very logical extension of Google’s data businesses, and a great way to prevent any unwanted programmatic queries.
I’ve noticed Bing is gaining again what % of market share do you think it needs before people adapt their tactics to include Bing?
Bing would have to both gain market share and also apply a very different set of inputs to their algorithms in order for marketers to significantly adapt tactics. Even if Bing reaches 40% market share in the US (which, sadly, is very unlikely), marketers would only really change their SEO tactics if Bing was substantively different from Google.
You don’t seem to be a Google Glass guy, what are your thoughts on wearable tech?
I can see that for some things (e.g. Fitbit), it will become very useful and ubiquitous. But Google Glass doesn’t solve a huge problem and it has a lot of drawbacks. Taking my phone out of my pocket and paying attention to it when I want information is not a bad user experience. Ignoring people around me who think I might be paying attention because I’m on my Google Glass is a big barrier to overcome.
Do you see wearable tech changing marketing tactics or just consumption/production of content?
Probably the latter more than the former.
What are some cool marketing tools you have been exploring lately that marketers should consider trying out?
We’ve been using and enjoying TrueSocialMetrics at Moz lately. Very impressed with what they’ve built. Also impressive is Customer.io for onboarding and action-based emails.
What are some fun new projects MOZ has coming out that people should be aware of?
Fresh Web Explorer has gotten really good (especially the alerts function), and some upcoming additions will make it even better. Peter Bray (who founded Followerwonk) also recently built Zoomprofiler, which analyzes data about a Twitter account in some very cool ways.
Any thoughts on the BrightEdge vs SearchMetrics legal dispute over newly granted patents?
I hope it’s not the beginning of a trend. I hate to see software patents used offensively.
What is the main ideas/points that you hope people to get from attending your keynote session?
I hope they’ll come away with a better understanding of what’s driving the big changes in our field, as well as some tactical takeaways they can quickly apply.
What are some of the other sessions/speakers at SMX Munich 2014 that you are looking to see?
I’ve seen Dan Petrovic from Dejan SEO present before in Australia and was very impressed. His Google+ content marketing strategies talk is one I definitely want to see. And, of course, I always love Webmasters on the Roof
Where can people find you if people want to follow/engage with you online?
Twitter, Google+, and my blog are great.
So if you want to catch Rand Fishkin speak and save €€€ on tickets for SMX Munich 2014 you can use our discount code LOSTPRESSSMX and you can register and find out more here.
It seemed that Google+ is slowly catching up with Facebook when it comes to improving the visual experience when it comes to sharing great content on Google+. Below is the current and old style post that you see when you share content on Google+ with a small thumbnail image, the page title and a URL. This is really not a great experience if you are trying to capture your fans/followers attention.
But good news, below is two screenshots of the new and improved Google+ posts that include a massive 505×306 pixel image with a larger font for the title along with Google+ page link and short description if available. You can see the difference between the two is quite substantially and likely to vastly improve engagement and click-thru-rates for content with great feature images!
So what do you think about the new style large impact posts, they don’t seem to be retroactive at this point but if you are not sharing posts with great enticing images you will likely now be missing out on making a great impact to your followers.
Feature Image Photo Credit: Alejandro Mallea