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Interview with Helen Southgate about AM Days

Helen-SouthgateThe 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)?

I think most advertisers have reacted well to the cookie law in terms of making their data policies clear and use of cookies. It’s common now that on entering a new website you see a box appear asking you to accept cookies. In fact, it’s fairly irritating so the Directive seems to have done a good job of negatively disrupting the consumer experience!  I think there are likely to be a lot more repercussions over the coming years, but the political situation in the next year or so may well affect that too.

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.

Affiliate Management Days

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.

Interview with Jan-Willem Bobbink on SEO

Jan Willem BobbinkWith 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.

So if people want to follow/engage with you online where can they find you?
On Twitter @Jbobbink and on Google+ and you can read some articles I publish on my personal blog (Not provided)

SMX-MunchenThank 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.

Interview with Dan Petrovic on Google+

Dan PetrovicIt 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.

Google Plus Metrics

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.

So if people want to follow/engage with you online where can they find you?
I’d like as many people to follow Dejan SEO on Google+ as possible but there is also +DanPetrovic and @DejanSEO

SMX-MunchenThank 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.

Interview with Brad Geddes on SEA

Brad GeddesWith SMX Munich just around the corner I reached out to successful and well known AdWords speaker and trainer Brad Geddes.  Brad is the founder of online training and toolset provider Certified Knowledge but also a well published AdWords author and long term Search Engine Land Contributor.

Brad is an international speaker who has presented at more that 35 conferences, trained more than 10,000 businesses on AdWords and one of the most hopeful and supportive blokes in the search industry.

Brad is speaking at SMX Munich but also running a full day training session Advanced AdWords Training on Monday 24th March.  But I suggest that anyone in the AdWords/PPC space should consider both his training session and his two SMX presentation sessions.

Your session is focused on what’s new in AdWords? What’s your favourite new feature people should trial?
There are some new features from last year, such as extensions, that user must use now due to the changes in Ad Rank. In other cases, it really depends on the company and their goals as to what features you must try. For lead generation, the changes to how conversions are tracked is very nice and should be implemented. For ecommerce sites, mobile PLAs are doing much better than expected. For anyone doing display, in-market buyers and affinity categories are must tries. If you are advertising on mobile, you must do ad testing by device and use mobile ads.

So I don’t think there’s necessarily a best feature (outside of extensions), I think the best new features are based upon your account and overall goals.

This week Google Starting rolling out Search Ad Annotations, have you tested them yet and any insights you can share?
I’ve used them a little bit. The major issue seems to be getting consumers to rate the ads. I’m a much bigger fan of the ratings extension which can often be leveraged outside of ecommerce companies as its easier to get 3rd party reviews completed than get someone to complete these surveys. However, they are so new, I just don’t have enough data yet to make a case for how good they might be once they are more broadly used.

What are your views on the aggressive expansion on PLAs? Is PLAs going to replace organic results?
I don’t think Google can ever replace organic results. Users go to Google for the free results, and often find the ads as better places to find their results. If Google ever does away with free results, I think we’ll see a greater adoption of other search engines.

So apparently tag-less remarketing maybe coming to AdWords soon? Any thoughts? Concerns?
The idea is great since there is less work for companies to do to take advantage of remarketing, especially dynamic remarketing ads. However, there are many ways this can be implemented. As long as advertiser’s maintain control over how and when users are placed into lists, then this will be a good idea. However, if this is implemented with little user control, then I don’t think it will be widely adopted. Until we can see how this is going to work, its very hard to make good or bad statements around adoption.

Cross-Device remarketing is coming have you seen/tested it yet?
I’ve tested it with one company and its worked very well. As most people watch TV while using a secondary device, this will help with cross device marketing. I’m more interested in seeing RLSA cross device remarketing as most users are starting their search over again on a second device as opposed to just going to a site a second time.

Have you spent much time in campaigns utilising In App conversion tracking yet?
I have not. I’ve done a little app marketing, but not much; so I really can’t comment on this one.

Sponsored results appear to be coming to Knowledge graph any insights on possible impacts/results?
When the knowledge graph was introduced, competitive bidding and impressions took a huge dive. I think this is a way for Google to reclaim some of those impressions. If I’m a big brand; then I would not be a fan of it as its too easy for competitors to draw attention to their sites on brand queries. If I’m a competitor to a large brand, then I’m going to enjoy trying to siphon off some traffic from my competitors. In the end, I don’t think this is a big game changer; I think its going to be like advertising on large brand queries a year ago when it was much easier to maintain decent CTRs and low first page bids on competitor terms, which has become more difficult in the past year due to knowledge graph.

Bing is aggressively marketing and gaining market share how do you use Bing Ads in your SEA strategies?
As I’m based in the US, I use Bing quite a bit. Now, Bing doesn’t have huge market share in the US; but they have made their system quite compatible with AdWords to the point that they even have import from AdWords functionality. The feature that I like most about Bing is that they still allow you to make mobile only or tablet only ads. In areas where Google has removed control from advertiser’s, Bing has sided with the advertiser’s so its a great system to add some more volume to your search campaigns.

Do you have any plans for Advanced Google AdWords 3rd Edition?
Yes, I’ve been working on the 3rd edition for several months, and I’m happy to say it should hit store shelves in May :)

Advanced Google AdWords

Advanced Google AdWords 3rd Edition

What is the main ideas/points that you hope people to get from attending your session?
I’m speaking on two sessions on Day 1 at SMX Munich. The first at 11:35am on Panel 3 is on new features. For that session, the attendee should look at all the new features (there are a lot) and decide which ones are most important for them to try. In most cases, advertiser’s are not treating mobile correctly, so that is an area that I hope most people start to understand. However, as Google rolled out so many features, some of them will be useful for companies and other’s won’t apply. So everyone should attend to make sure they didn’t miss a new feature, and then adopt the ones that make the most sense to them.

I’m also speaking on automating accounts from 3:30pm on Panel 3. For that session, I’m going to walk through how to take some of the manual work out of your accounts and use automation to reach your goals instead of just taking more of your precious time. For that session, I’m hoping that everyone can find ways to add automation to their accounts so they have more time to spend on new features or testing.

I also see that you are running Advanced AdWords Training what can people expect?
At SMX Munich I’m doing a full day training on AdWords. In that session we’ll start with how keywords and ads fit together, and then go through some organization, ad testing, display network, and more. I just did a session at SMX West, and the average person has been managing AdWords more than 5 years and overall, everyone really liked it. I try to make sure I cover the basics as I layer in more advanced concepts so I don’t lose the beginners and yet have enough advanced concepts so that the more advanced users also enjoy the day and can take away action items to implement in their own accounts.

What is the best testimonial/result you have heard from someone who has attended one of your training sessions?
That’s tough as I’ve received hundreds of testimonials over the years. I think the best testimonials are really action based where I’ve had many people return year after year or have someone attend and then they sent their entire team to another workshop after attending a session. I think someone sending their entire team or returning to watch the content again might be the biggest testimonial you can receive.

What are some of the other sessions/speakers at SMX Munich 2014 that you are looking to see?
I’ll definitely watch The 3 Habits of Highly Effective Online Marketers from Fred. Fred and I are speaking together for 3 straight weeks; and he always has interesting content, so I will catch his presentation. I plan on watching the PLA panel to ensure I know any differences between PLAs by country and how they are being used and measured by country. Justin Cutroni is a great analytics speaker, and I’m always looking to learn new ways of implementing and using analytics, so I’ll catch one or two of his sessions. I’m sure I’ll see more sessions; but I have a tendency to start speaking to speakers and attendees to learn more about their favorite speakers or content and then pick my sessions based upon that feedback.

So if people want to follow/engage with you online where can they find you?
I’m on twitter at @bgtheory or Google+ +BradGeddes I also spend a little bit of time on LinkedIn

SMX-MunchenThank you Brad 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.

So if you want to catch Brad Geddes 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.

Interview with Rand Fishkin

Rand FishkinI 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.

I recently had to turn down an opportunity to present at Dublin Web Summit due to a scheduling conflict. I’m really sad to be missing that event.

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

Remember those sites that provide nutrition facts? Well, they need to start doing something different now. No need to go to the @Moz site, when you can just get the info on Google, eh?! #SMX

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?
TwitterGoogle+, and my blog are great.

SMX-MunchenThank you Rand for your time in answering these questions and congrats again on the success of MOZ and I hope everyone enjoys your SMX keynote presentation.

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.

Interview with Marcus Tandler

Marcus TandlerHaving just seen Marcus Tandler present at Friends of Search Amsterdam 2014 a few weeks ago with SMX Munich at the end of this month I reached out to Marcus for a quick email interview. Marcus is the MD and partner at Tandler.Doerje.Partner with his main focus on SEO.  He is a well known industry figure and known for supporting great campaigns such as #SEOsforCharity which started back in 2008 over some mulled wine with Bob Rains .  #SEOsforCharity is a great idea and has raised more than 100,000 euros in donations for charity since it started and is something worth getting involved in as it’s a bit of fun.  Marcus has been frantically working on some new features to his companies SEO platform OnPage.org and obviously getting ready for his next presentation at SMX Muenchen so here is the interview.

Your SMX Munich session is on the future of Google Search (Hummingbird, Google Now, Knowledge Graph) is there still hope for SEO?
As long as there are some sort of organic results within search results, there´s going to be SEO!

Should marketers be focusing on Google Now or Knowledge graph more?
I don´t know if it makes much sense to focus on either one of these Google services. I wouldn´t try to compete with Google when it comes to informational search queries.

Like Bill Gates once said – “the future of search is verbs” – so people looking for action, wether they´re looking to book a flight, cure a hangover or book a table at a restaurant – these are the kind of queries you want your company to show up in the SERPs for.

Are there any companies/brands you think that are leading the way and riding the Google Now/Knowledge graph wave all the way?

I would say Wikipedia, but Google is rather scraping their stuff then sending more traffic to them via the Knowledge Graph. So the answer is a definite no > Google Now and Knowledge Graph really only help one single company, and that´s Google!

You recently spoke at Friends of Search Amsterdam was there any insights or tips you picked up from other speakers that you thought need to explore that idea?

Bastian Grimm shared some great tips on how to secure your WordPress installation. With automatic WP hacking still on a rise, it´s more important then ever before to make WordPress blogs more secure. You can view his presentation on Hardening WordPress below on Slideshare.

 

Thinking about wearable tech I don’t see you as a Google Glass user? Am I wrong?

I´m not owning a pair of Google Glasses yet. Being a huge geek I will definitely buy me a pair as soon as they are officially released, but I don´t necessarily need to be a paying beta-tester. Although I would have loved to wear them during my wedding.

Do you think marketers need to be using wearable tech to understand the benefits and implications that it might have on the future of search?

It´s definitely an eye opener, since you´re searching a lot differently when you´re searching via a wearable device. Conversational search is the key here, cause people aren´t searching just with keywords anymore, but rather use natural spoken queries, which Google needs to be able to understand and interpret correctly. This is why Google is trying to move from strings to things.

Were you surprised about the attention your TEDxMünchen video generated? When is the next one happening?

Absolutely! I received to much great feedback from all around the world, I´m really humbled that people enjoyed my over 200 slides so much! I don´t know when I will get another chance to wow a TEDx audience, but I would definitely love to!

What is the main ideas/points that you hope people to get from attending your session?

I want to tell my audience the whole story on hummingbird and Googles quest to move from strings to things, so people can understand where Google is coming from and their strategy moving forward. Being a SEO you should never change algorithms and search updates, but rather think a bit further to really provide sustainable SEO.

What are some of the other sessions/speakers at SMX Munich 2014 that you are looking to see?

There´s quite a couple sessions that I´m really looking forward to. Rand Fishkin always does fun and entertaining keynotes, so that´s a no-brainer. But I´m really excited about the Big Data session with Microsoft OSS Evangelist Frank Fuchs and Anirudh Koul, who´s THE Big Data guy at Microsoft and probably one of the smartest guys around. I think this session will definitely be one of the highlights at SMX munich. SMX munich is really one of a few conferences I´m actually sitting in most of the sessions, unlike other conferences where I will just hangout and chat after I´m done with my talk. There´s always something you can learn!

So where can people found you if people want to follow/engage with you online?

If you want to learn more from Marcus you can find him on Twitter @Mediadonis and on Google +MarcusTandler and also find some great posts on his personal blog that cover all sorts of business and personal topics.

SMX-MunchenThank you Marcus for your time in answering these questions and congrats again on the progress of OnPage.org into Zoom and I hope everyone enjoys your SMX presentation which is on Day 1 from 3:30pm in Panel 2.

So if you want to catch Marcus Tandler 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.

Interview with Geno Prussakov on Affiliate Management

Geno_PrussakovJust in time heading into AM Days San Francisco that is happening on the 19th-20th March 2014, I was able to get some of Geno Prussakov‘s time for a interview about his views on affiliate management but also the upcoming AM Days San Francisco event but also AM Days London happening in May 2014.  Geno is a successful and well known affiliate marketer, a well published author and blogger but also founder of outsourced affiliate program agency AM Navigator.  If that’s not enough he is also the organiser behind Affiliate Management Days a successful global conference series focused on affiliate management.  AM Days is run annually in San Francisco, and London and is designed specifically for helping affiliate managers responsible for their companies affiliate marketing operations and strategies become more successful.

1.        What is the biggest change you saw in affiliate management in 2013?
While I could (and should) mention the pleasant tendency for advertisers to invest more time and money into the education of their affiliate program managers, it wasn’t “the biggest change” of the year, in my opinion. The biggest one was the fact that some of the top brands in the market started shifting their focus from network-based affiliate programs to in-house platforms, migrating their program support and management respectively.

First, after Google’s announcement about “retiring Google Affiliate Network effective July 31, 2013″ [source] we  noticed how a number of top brands migrated not to Commission Junction (CJ) or Rakuten LinkShare, but to solutions that bring program the management in-house. In such a manner, Threadless, ForMeToFlowers, Quidsi, OTC, AbeBooks all migrated over to ImpactRadius and are now exclusive to this platform, as far as I understand.

Then in August of 2013 in addition to their CJ-based affiliate program, Groupon announced the launch of Groupon Partner Network, which similarly to eBay “Partner Network” really meant an in-house-based affiliate program for Groupon. Finally, literally a day later, a similar news came from Apple. They chose to part ways with LinkShare and TradeDoubler migrating their affiliate program to Performance Horizon Group. The tendency to shift from networks either to proprietary or to SaaS solutions is clearly there.

We are, actually, going to discuss this tendency with the key affiliate networks and tracking solution providers during the “The Future Affiliate Network” panel at Affiliate Management Days San Francisco in a week.

2.        What do you think the biggest challenge is for the affiliate industry in 2014?
Just as in 2013 it isn’t going to be connected with leveraging any of the emerging trends. I believe that the industry’s biggest channel will be in justifying that the affiliate marketing guy does have a place at the table. Auditing affiliate programs on a regular basis I see advertisers falling in and out of love with affiliate marketing, and the primary reason for this is that we aren’t giving enough attention to proving the value of performance-based marketing. We aren’t focusing on showing advertisers how affiliate programs can indeed create incremental value for their businesses. Multiple affiliate programs are currently dependent on bottom-of-the-funnel affiliates, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Affiliates can be powerful introducers of new customers, and influencers of purchaser’s decisions as well. Affiliate programs can complement advertiser’s other online marketing efforts without cannibalizing any of them.

3.        What affiliate network that you think is doing great things for their merchants/advertisers?
It is hard to single out just one, as networks tend to be geographically focused (and often niche-specific too). In the U.S., for example, I would highlight ShareASale and Avantlink who aren’t only talking attribution, but also providing advertisers with practical ways/tools to analyze the clickstream and set payout rules that work for them. In the United Kingdom Affiliate Window is doing impressive things too — in tracking and research/reporting particularly.

4.        What is the biggest mistake badly run affiliate programs continue to make?
The biggest, and the costliest of all, is not giving the affiliate program the attention is deserves. From vague (or inexistent) policies to lack of compliance policing, and from minimal (or no) affiliate recruitment to lack of activation initiatives… the list could go on an on. In a nutshell, as mentioned in the video below earlier this year, “similarly to any serious marketing campaign your affiliate program must be managed.” Otherwise, it can get you into all sorts of trouble (from channel cannibalization to serious brand damage).

5.        What is one piece of advice you wished all affiliate managers would take on board?
Never assume you can stop learning. In an industry as dynamic as affiliate marketing you cannot afford to rely solely on yesterday’s knowledge, and must keep self-educating continuously. New challenges, as well as new opportunities, come up nearly weekly. Invest your time and effort in ongoing self-education!

6.        What should affiliate managers be focusing on recruitment or retention of affiliates?

When managing clients’ affiliate programs I expect AM Navigator account managers to spend no less than 80% of their time on two areas: affiliate recruitment and affiliate activation; some 50% on the former, and 30% on the latter. It is also important to emphasize that “retaining” an affiliate is, actually, fairly easy, but their retention in the program doesn’t help you a bit unless the affiliate is active with the program. We see how in unmanaged and under-managed programs the affiliate activation index (or the percentage of affiliates active in the program) ranges from 5% to 10%, while in programs where the affiliate manager is devoting time to affiliate activation the index rises up to 20% or higher. Hence, the importance of focusing on both: recruitment first, but then also activation.

7.        Affiliate Management Days have taken you around the world, what’s your favourite city for attendees?
It so happened that after some “trial and error” (with locations) we’ve arrived at what I believe to be the optimal solution: running the U.S. conference in San Francisco (this year’s show is just around the corner – March 19-20), while the European one in London (we are set to be back on May 13-14, 2014). San Francisco is, arguably, the American capital of e-commerce, while London is the place where nearly eighty percent of all things affiliate marketing are headquartered. Therefore, I cannot pick my favourite city between these two. Based on my objectives (to bring AM Days both to the U.S. and to Europe) both of these work equally great.

8.        What is the main ideas/points that you hope people get from attending AM Days?
Every AM Days conference is extremely rich in high-level content as well as laser-focused networking. When opening up the very first AM Days in 2012 I said that every attendee could expect three things from the show:

1. Practical knowledge
2. Professional networking
3. Motivation

While the affiliate marketing landscape has changed since that very first show of ours, the above three remain. Everyone who attends AM Days walks away with all of these covered.

9.        What AM Days speakers or sessions are you most looking forward to attending?
Just as the question about the “favourite city” this one puts me in a difficult position. Just as with those cities, I spent a lot of thought on every one of the speakers and sessions that one will find on the agendas of the upcoming conferences. But let me highlight 3 sessions for each of the 2014 Affiliate Management Days shows:

From the San Francisco agenda:
“Performance Secrets of Amazon’s Success” keynote by Bryan Eisenberg
* “The Future Affiliate Network” referenced above
“Data-Driven Affiliate Marketing Best Practices” keynote by Todd Crawford

From the London agenda:
“The Future of Affiliate Marketing” keynote panel with UK’s major affiliate networks
“Omni-Channel Marketing in the Affiliate Space” by Eleanor Pickering & Richard Lane
“The Birth of Multi-Attribution” by Simon Hofmeister

10.        Are you attending any SMX London sessions?
I wish! However, since I’ll be running AM Days London on exactly the same dates and hours as SMX London will be held (we are fully co-located: same venue, same expo hall, even shared lunches and reception), I am afraid, I will not be able to sneak out. Leaving my ship helmsman-less is just not my style.

11.        So where can people found you if people want to follow/engage with you online?
I am very active on TwitterLinkedIn and Google+. I also blog frequently at AMNavigator.com/blog and speak regularly around the globe. Don’t miss my books and videos too!

Affiliate Management DaysThank you Geno for your time in answering these questions.  If you want to catch Geno Prussakov 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.