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Joe Joe

November 6th, 2015.

How Infographics Will Change Your Online Marketing Forever

…They’re not new – but they’re incredibly effective…

I’ve long maintained that infographics are the key to any online marketing process. They have benefits for Digital PR, Social Media Marketing, E-mail Marketing, and most importantly, for SEO.

72% of online transactions start with a search – so if Search Engine Optimisation isn’t your top concern, it probably should be.

SEO is about two main things: Relevance (the words on your website) and Reputation (which websites link to yours). Infographics are incredibly effective in making sure high authority, relevant websites link to you.

To explain it, I’m going to show you 3 of the infographics I’ve made to help boost the online presence of The Baltic Travel Company.

21 Travel Hacks for a Better Trip


This infographic is really simple. Obviously life hacks and ‘how tos’ are majorly shareable online, and during the summer months, most people are thinking a lot about their holiday plans.

You can view the whole graphic here.

Overall, this graphic received 27 placements, with backlinks to the client’s site. This included placements on The Daily Mail and The Huffington Post.

40 National Dishes Made from Plasticine


This was one of the most fun infographics I’ve made. Combining the internet’s love of food with something unexpected and creative made a lot of sense.

You can view the whole graphic here.

This graphic received 9 major placements, including The Daily Mail and Design Taxi.

The World’s 37 Most Iconic Breads


Again, focussing on the internet’s love of food, we created something that celebrated one of the staples of diet in any culture: Bread.

You can view the full graphic here.

This graphic received six major placements, including Shortlist, The Huffington Post and Design Taxi.


These infographics were created as part of an ongoing SEO and Digital Marketing campaign. They are only 3 of many infographics we’ve created to help raise the profile of Baltic Travel Company.

For an idea of how the brand mentions and backlinks have impacted on the process, take a look at this graph (taken from Search Metrics).

The blue line represents the company’s visibility in search engines over time. This is across all of their keywords:


An upward trend in visibility is obviously great. But what was it all worth?


t’s always hard to place a value on a ‘placement’ or a ‘backlink’, but a good rule of thumb is to ask how much it would cost for a brand mention or advert in these major publications (Such as The Daily Mail, or The Huffington Post).

It’s not unfair to say that you could hope to pay into the thousands for just one full feature like this. Even smaller blogs will charge a fee to promote a product or service.

If I was pricing up the coverage I’ve outlined above, I would expect it to cost at least £14,000. And that’s not including the hundreds of social shares the content received.

That’s what makes infographics so ingenious. They give bloggers and journalists a reason to talk about your brand in an editorial rather than an advertorial way.

So what?

I’m telling you all of this for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, I want you to know that gaining this level of coverage is achievable, both in terms of skill and cost.

Secondly, I’d like to invite you to join me in Hammersmith on December 2nd. I’m hosting a Masterclass called ‘How to Make Awesome Content and How to Make it Go ‘Viral’, and I’d love to have you along.

We’ll cover everything I’ve mentioned here in a lot more detail, as well as how to come up with ideas, develop content and the principles behind what makes content ‘shareable’.

Find out more:


Joe Joe

October 13th, 2015.

How One Campaign Can Generate You £48,000 in Value

…An in-depth look at a one-year Content Marketing campaign…

I just wrapped up a 1-year Content Marketing campaign for my client, The campaign had an incredibly low cost, but generated about £40,000 in the value of placements – not to mention over 600,000 visitors to the site.

I’ll dig into the main facts and figures of the campaign first, but I’ll also identify some key actionable ideas which worked well. I’ll save them for the end.

The Brief wanted to improve their visibilty online, using content, so they engaged my services.

Their aims were:

  • To gain placements and mentions in high-authority, well-trafficked publications.
  • To improve their search engine rankings.
  • To increase traffic to the Lovereading site.
  • To position Lovereading as an expert-resource for book lovers around the world.

I work almost exclusively with SMEs, so naturally I like to do everything on a conservative budget. This means as well as delivering on all of the above, the campaign had to be financially viable for both the client and for me.

We finally settled on four ideas to be released across the year.

– The Game of Thrones Spoiler Machine
– 15 Words You Never Knew Came from Literature (Infographic)
– The Google Maps Book Mash-Up
– The Game of Thrones Catch-Up Machine

The Game of Thrones Spoiler Machine


This section will make a lot more sense if you take a look at the page (although be warned, there are obviously spoilers for Game of Thrones):

The latest series of Game of Thrones (Season 4) had just ended on HBO, and the internet was buzzing about the series. We decided it would be appropriate to bring everyone’s attention back to the original A Song of Ice and Fire books, which the series is based upon.

As such, I created an interactive page which listed the fate of every character, spoiling it for the show watchers.

The Cost

Research – cost: £50

The research was pretty easy, as the entire content team are ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ experts. We hired a Game of Thrones forum member as a fact-checker.

Design – cost: £250

The design was the most fun part. We made it as testing as possible for users, asking them repeatedly if they were sure they wanted to spoil it. It was a really interesting way to present the information.


When it comes to promotion of content online, it always pays to tap into existing communities.

We knew there would be two main groups of people who would get a kick from this content:

‘Fans of the Game of Thrones TV Show’, and ‘Fans of the Song of Ice and Fire books’.

Submitting to Reddit – cost: Free

Boosting on Facebook – Cost: £100

Tweeting to Influencers – Cost: Free

E-mail Outreach to Influencers – Cost: Free

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery – £50

Total Cost of content: £450


The Game of Thrones Spoiler Machine received an astonishing amount of traffic during its first few days.


This is due to the strategic locations in which the content was seeded.


At one point, the site had 2,000 concurrent users. An excellent boost of traffic from a resource which still continues to gain page views.

The resource also received some major placements. The two most prominent:

Winter is Coming (The web’s biggest Game of Thrones news site)

The Mary Sue


15 Words You Never Knew Came from Literature


View the full graphic here.

It should be no surprise to any Content Marketer that infographics can be an excellent way to gain exposure for a brand online. If you’re not sure why, check out this post from Moz.

Having had some very solid success with infographic promotion the year prior to this campaign, (including a feature on Page 3 of the print version of The Times!), it seemed like a no-brainer to keep up the good work in gaining high authority placements.

The cost

Research – Cost: £25

This is an oft-blogged about idea, so it was more a matter of narrowing down the information to the best ones.

Design – Cost: £400

The design process for this piece was pretty complicated. We work in close partnership with a number of freelance designers (in order to scale our work and keep costs down). The illustration is obviously the major draw of the graphic, but the layout and type is just as important, so we needed specialists from each field.


Submission to Reddit – Cost: Free (/r/todayilearned for anyone wondering)

Facebook Boost – Cost: £50

Email Outreach – Cost: Free

Twitter Outreach – Cost: Free

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery – Cost: £50


The infographic was featured pretty widely in literature blogs. Overall (aside from social shares) it received around 39 placements from websites with a very solid authority.

The most notable examples are:

Electric Literature Shortlist Buzzfeed All Women’s Talk Adweek


The Lovereading/Google Maps Mash-Up


Check out the full resource here:

As infographic marketing specialists, and general web geeks, it seemed like a natural conclusion to take advantage of the customisability of Google’s Maps Engine, allowing users an insight into the settings of the most popular English language books in history.

Research – Cost: £50

It only took a researcher a couple of hours to identify the setting of the most popular English language books.

Design – Cost: £200

The design was fairly straightforward. The books needed to be placed into a Google map, and a header banner and sharing buttons added. This was all relatively inexpensive.

Promotion Cost

Submission to Reddit – Cost: Free

Email Outreach – Cost: Free

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery – Cost: £50

Total Cost of Content: £300


During its first few days, the Google Maps Mashup was seeded to all the places named above. The traffic to the site was fantastic, as can be seen in this snapshots from Google Analytics:



The Google Maps Mash-Up surpassed both the client’s expectations and our own expectations too. We knew it was a great piece of content, but the level of coverage it has received in its first few months make for an excellent case study.

In total: 741 Backlinks were received from 118 Domains!

Most notable are:

WiredFlavor Pill Wired Japan BustleElectric LiteratureABC.NL

In terms of traffic, the resource also performed outstandingly, attracting some 75,000 visitors on its first day (due to careful seeding), but now due to the spread of its promotion, it continues to bring in dozens of visitors per day.


The Game of Thrones Catch-Up Machine


View the full resource here:

We’d had our fun all those months before by spoiling the series for TV watchers, so it seemed fair to give them something useful, and capitalise on the deafening buzz around Season 5 of Game of Thrones which was fast approaching.

This was a masterclass in repurposing content. We used the framework we already had for the above resource, adding new info and promoting it widely, and the results were fantastic.

Research – Cost: £25

This was a really simple one – we just had to find a writer who was well-versed with the show and pay them for a couple of hours work in updating our character list.

Design – Cost: Free

There was no real design cost as this was a pretty straightforward case of updating the existing html.

Promotion – Cost: £150

The promotional activity for this followed a practically identical process to the Spoiler machine (above).

As part of the promotion process for this, a cast member of the Game of Thrones series also tweeted the piece following my tweet to her:



The Game of Thrones Catch Up Machine proved incredibly useful and incredibly popular.

It was widely mentioned by high-authority sources and Game of Thrones blogs – securing many solid placements on well-trafficked sites, and certainly helping to cement Lovereading’s position as Game of Thrones experts.

In total: 26 mentions (with links) of came from 15 domains .

Most notable are:

Techtimes Metafilter Rotten Tomatoes Shortlist Winter is Coming

The traffic to the resource was also of a standard which we had come to expect from previous resources. Over 200,000 visitors visited the site on its first day, with close to 300,000 page views for the whole lifetime of the piece.




Campaign Results Summary

In total, this campaign gained

  • 823 new links to the Lovereading site
  • From individual unique websites
  • Including 20 ‘High Authority’ Websites
  • And over 600,000 new visitors to the site

In terms of measurable impact, this graph shows the effect on the online visibility of Lovereading. The graph is based on the past year.


The site now ranks for major high traffic keywords relevant to Game of Thrones, such as ‘Game of Thrones Spoilers’ and ‘Game of Thrones Catch-Up’ (both in the top 5 results).

Interestingly, the site also now ranks around position 9 for ‘Google Maps’.

So how about Return on Investment?

It’s always hard to give a return on investment for ‘links’ and ‘placements’, but as a crude but fair measure, most high-authority, well-established blogs would charge a minimum of £1,500 for an advertising spot. Smaller blogs might charge around £100, but ultimately nobody will promote your business online for much less than that.

Based on the 20 major placements, and the 181 other placements, paying for advertising in all of these places would have cost around £48,100.

The traffic to the site is hard to price, but it seems fair to say that any sane business owner would consider 600,000+ relevant visitors to their site to be invaluable.

The rankings we have established will help to bolster’s visibility into the future, making them able to compete with their competitors with much higher budgets and infrastructure. Again, this is invaluable.

Why this worked – your takeaway points

When I create content, I follow a few very simple rules. These are rules reached after years of trial and error. (Rules we’re so confident in that I teach them in Masterclasses to business owners and marketing managers).

  • Rule 1 – STEPPS

The content needs to meet as many of Jonah Berger’s STEPPS criteria as possible:

Social Currency (People will want to share it to seem in-the-know)

Triggers (It’s already a hot topic)

Emotion (It puts people in a state of emotional arousal, so they have to act)

Public (It needs to be understood by everyone)

Practical Value (It needs to be useful)

Stories (It should follow a narrative or chronology)

Alongside STEPPS the content should be as easy to share as possible (sharing buttons, calls to action). This is the kind of content that inspires bloggers and journalists to write about it.

  • Rule 2 – Awesome Design

The content needs to be well-designed. In fact so well-designed that it could stand on its own as an example of good design, regardless of the information contained within it.

  • Rule 3 – Extensive Research

The content needs to be so well-researched that it leaves no question that you are an expert in your industry.

  • Rule 4 – Exhaustive Promotion

There needs to be a strategy in place before the content is even finished to ensure as many relevant people see the content as possible. What doesn’t get seen doesn’t get shared, and as such we need to make sure bloggers, journalists and social media influencers see the content and share it.

This means we need to ensure the content gets massive exposure on places where these influencers look for content – places like Reddit, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter and their own e-mail inboxes.

So what?

I’m telling you all of this for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, I want you to know that gaining this level of coverage is achievable, both in terms of skill and cost.

Secondly. You may be interested in learning more.  I host a Masterclass called ‘How to Make Awesome Content and How to Make it Go ‘Viral’, and I’d love to have you along.

Find out more:

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 19.01.08

Joe Joe

September 21st, 2015.

53 Steps to Ultimate PPC Success for Small Business

53 Steps to Ultimate PPC Success for Small Business

Regardless of your industry, the tactics you can employ to make life easier for PPC management remain the same. This infographic (from us to you, with love) breaks down 53 considerations for Pay-Per-Click success.

If you want to share this infographic around with anyone who can use it, please feel free.



Joe Joe

September 21st, 2015.

How One Piece of Content Gained Over £30,000 in Value…

How One Piece of Content Can Change Your Marketing Forever

…Essential reading for marketers looking for ideas…

It’s something I thought I’d never say, but I now believe one solid piece of content can change your marketing efforts forever…

As all good digital marketers know, solid Content Marketing is built around content that provides a solution to a common problem. By giving your unique expert insights into a widely acknowledged issue, you’ll give your content the best chance it has of gaining backlinks, social shares, and press coverage to help your marketing efforts.

After years of trial and error, I now only create content that could be considered ‘Evergreen’. This means it covers issues that won’t go out of fashion or be irrelevant in a few months.

When planning content for my client, The London Speaker Bureau, I listed all the common public speaking issues, and set about forming an infographic which offers a solution.

Enter 9 Steps to Becoming a Public Speaking Expert.


The concept seems really simple, but perhaps that’s why this particular piece of content has been so effective.

The infographic has gained placements, links and brand mentions month-on-month for the past year. Including placements in Business Insider, Alltop, Entrepreneur and Fox News.

This graph shows how the number of placements per month:


As you can see, after the initial launch surge, the pick-up rate lulled heading into Christmas, and then picked up to a much steadier stream throughout 2015. The average is around 6.8 placements per month.

But were the placements worthwhile?

When considering whether a site is worthwhile in terms of providing backlinks for SEO purposes, there are a number of metrics one could use (Page Rank, Domain Authority etc.) but the one I trust the most (as it is most frequently updated) is Majestic’s Trust Flow. (Majestic is a backlink intelligence tool widely used by SEOs).

I ran the placement sites through Majestic and found out that although the average number of placements was fluctuated and had a slight tendency downward, the average Trust Flow of sites featuring the infographic undoubtedly increased over the months:


NB. The vast majority of websites on the internet have a trust flow of under 20. Very few are over 50. The highest placement this content received came from Fox News with a Trust Flow of 85, but the Trust Flow of linking sites steadily increased.

This means that it wasn’t just have-a-go-hero bloggers repurposing the content, but genuinely interested, well-trafficked, high authority websites were using the content in their editorial. 

So who did post it?

There were lots of relevant industry blogs and general business blogs who posted the piece, but I’ve picked out the major placements per month and laid them out here:


Note: Business Insider wrote about the infographic on 4 separate sites, with unique content on each. This means 4 different links from 4 different domains.
In other instances of the same publication appearing twice (Hubspot and Lifehack), the infographic was written about in separate articles.

As you can see, the level of sites publishing this infographics couldn’t have been better. The fact that the level of up-take has been sustained for a full year, with the quality of the sites increasing month-on-month is a testament to the power of evergreen content.

How about the ROI?

This infographic was put together as part of an ongoing SEO contract, so it’s hard to put an exact price on it. However, an infographic of this nature will typically cost around £500 to research and design (minus promotion costs).

If you were to pay to be featured on the upper-end sites (like the ones featured in the graph above), you’d probably be looking at upwards of £1,500 per placement. (This is based on the advertising costs associated with sites of a similar authority). At the lower end, bloggers typically charge no less than £100 for a placement of this nature.

So we’re talking about an ROI of placements and links valued between £30,000 and £50,000. With some, (such as Fox News) being nearly impossible to get without a corporate advertising budget.

Valuable infographics like the one discussed here are an ingenious way to bypass such advertising costs, to give journalists, bloggers and influencers an incredibly good reason to talk about your business – and more than that – to want to talk about your business.

So what?

I’m telling you all of this for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, I want you to know that gaining this level of coverage is achievable, both in terms of skill and cost.

Secondly. You may be interested in learning more.  I host a Masterclass called ‘How to Make Awesome Content and How to Make it Go ‘Viral’, and I’d love to have you along.

Find out more:





February 13th, 2014.

(Another) New EU Directive: Will it Inhibit or Enhance Online UK Retail?

A new EU directive has made its way into UK law.

The purpose of this new legislation is to both increase customer rights when buying online, and make expectations of customers more consistent across the European Union, thereby increasing cross-border trade through online stores.

We all remember the cookie fiasco of 2011, the last major attempt at enhancing the rights of the internet user. The UK government not only failed to enforce it, but even to comply to their own law. Due to strong resistance and powerful arguments against the law, it was revoked in 2013.

Will this new push for user’s rights follow a similar fate?

10 Second Summary

To make customer rights more uniform across Europe via:

  • Increased minimum cancellation period

  • Obligatory refunds within this period

To increase customer rights by:

  • Forbidding auto-ticked checkboxes

  • Using clearer, less attractive language on the ‘Buy’ button

There are many other changes to be made in response to this directive, but the above represent the parts of the legislation most likely to affect online retailers in a big way.

When Will This Affect Us?

The law is set to come into effect in the UK on the 13th of June, 2014.

Some things are likely to need changing before this date rolls around. We’ll need to retrain our staff in regards to dealing with returns, cancellations, refunds, and customer service in general.

Terms and conditions will also be affected, as well as the code responsible for auto-ticked checkboxes, and the text for the ‘Buy Now’ button is going to get a little uglier, I’m afraid. Let’s get into specifics.

Shall I Click “Buy”, or “Order With Obligation To Pay”?

agt-buy-buttonWords like “buy”, “confirm” or “place order” are now apparently too vague and open to interpretation to describe the button that leads to payment.

“Order with obligation to pay” is the phrase our customers now have to read and agree to before buying from us.

One of the biggest arguments against the old cookie law was that it put other countries, particularly the US, at a significant advantage, since their websites didn’t include pop-ups which, to those that don’t know what cookies are, looked like a request to infringe on their privacy.

The buy button thankfully occurs a lot further in the buying process, and is likely to have less of an impact.

Sales may be lost, however, and they are not sales that depended on people not knowing what they were clicking on. It’s a wonder why this was deemed as a necessary change.


Credit: Chris Lake @Lakey

If the cookie law was a reaction against the thought of websites tracking our movements, is the buy button law a reaction against the thought of the 1-Click button?

We can deviate a little from their suggested script, as long as it remains explicitly clear that by clicking the button they are entering into a contractual agreement that ends in payment. Clearly, it’s up to us to interpret this detail to a degree.

Whatever the case, the change to buy buttons is just one part of this legislation.

Say Goodbye to the Presumptuous Tick Box

When a page loads, any checkboxes that relate to a add-on service must be un-ticked.

checkboxFrom July onwards, if you want your customers to sign up to your newsletter or add some extra insurance cover to their purchase, you’ll have to make the prospect compelling enough to have them tick it themselves.

Most customers have now been trained through experience to look for checkboxes they have to opt out of before clicking confirm. No, it doesn’t build goodwill for a brand, but it still goes on. You can see how this is in the same line of thought as the buy button changes, the difference being that these checkbox changes are likely to be a genuine improvement in the buying experience.

Adopt a German Attitude Towards Refunds

The “right to cancel period” will be expanded from a minimum of 7 working days to 14.

This is to align the rights of customers buying from a UK retailer with those of customers buying from other EU countries, such as Germany, who already enforce a 14 day right to cancel period.

Refunds for products will be obligatory within the right to cancel period, on the condition that the product is returned with its value undiminished by carelessness. Even if the customer has cancelled, the retailer can withhold refund payment until the product is properly returned, which most of us will agree is fair enough.

It seems that these changes to refund policies are weighted to be fair to both parties, but they will require some attention be paid to our terms and conditions before enforcement comes into play in July.

The benefit is a consistent customer experience across Europe, which should result in more cross-trade online, and a wider reach for small UK retailers that don’t have the budget to expand operations overseas in a physical capacity.

How Do We Protect Ourselves from Prosecution?

If you’re hoping for a similarly lax enforcement practice as we saw with the cookie law, you’re in good company. Perhaps a revision to the surprising buy button policy will occur in time, but until then, any UK business owner who acquires sales online will be at risk of prosecution without making the necessary changes.

You can read the official document here (PDF), which includes model cancellation forms and detailed descriptions of policies we’ve covered here.

The most visible loose ends we will need to tie up are the buy buttons at the end of our buying sequences, the add-on checkboxes that appear at the same stage, the statements made in our terms and conditions (even if it is only the enforcers who will read them), and the wording of any relevant forms available to our customers.

Be sure to educate yourselves and your staff on all the relevant changes. There are many others included in the document above, including changes to content classification, and to information available through customer support helplines.



Joe Joe

February 6th, 2014.

Our Infographic was featured in The Times

We’ve been making infographics as a linkbuilding method for our clients.

If you don’t know why, see here.

Last week we launched a new piece for our friends at Love Reading. We’d researched the crimes committed by the most popular children’s book villains and worked out the sentences they would have received in a European court.

You can take a look at the piece here.

Long story short, the infographic came to the attention of The Times and they ran the research on page 3 of the Saturday edition. They mentioned the client’s site (and provided a link in the digital edition).

A testament to the power of infographics.

If you want to talk about an infographic for your brand, give us a call.





December 17th, 2013.

Good Guy Google – Nine Awesome Things Google Have Done That You Didn’t Even Know About

Love them or hate them, almost all of us these days use Google as our default search engine, and for increasingly other services beyond that, from email to analytics, document storage to translation. Some strange few even use their social media offerings.

But are Google ‘good’ as a company? There is plenty of deserved criticism surrounding privacy and tax avoidance amongst other things. supposedly Google still work on the simple premise of ‘Don’t be evil’, although many would claim that this ethos went out of the window a long time ago. Even Eric Schmidt has since come out and said that the claim was stupid.

However, Google do do a lot of ‘good’. Here are ten of the best examples of ‘good guy Google’, and of the search engine giant doing things that, while not driving their profits higher, help to benefit – potentially – all of mankind. And no, this isn’t a paid Google post.. is perhaps the best example of Google doing good, as it exists purely to develop technology with a positive social impact.

Google-Flu-2013-France2Projects range from Google’s role in advertising and coordinating crisis response efforts, to heavily subsidised (or free) versions of Google’s commercial products for use by non-profit organisations.

Most impressive of all, however, are the Dengue and Flu Trends services, which detect the earliest indications of an outbreak of flu or dengue fever based on the number of people searching for symptoms and treatments.

These can predict epidemics even before doctors have noticed a significant increase in patients presenting with the relevant symptoms, allowing production of the right medicines and vaccines to be scaled up in preparation.

Googling ‘Suicide’

Search for ‘suicide‘ and you might expect the usual helplines and support services for your country or location to be among the top results anyway.

However, Google go further than that – in the UK, you’ll receive a specific message (which, admittedly, still appears below rather than above the sponsored links) telling you to call the Samaritans for help.

In the US, you’ll be presented with an equivalent message for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, while in either country, the organic and sponsored results alike are packed with organisations who can offer advice and support to those going through troubled times.

Breaking Boundaries

Perhaps more than any other big brand, Google work to open doors – figuratively speaking – in developing countries, in order to give people there access to information on as much a free a basis as possible.

The company itself is physically present in over 60 countries worldwide, and the majority of its search results are served to non-US customers.

Google Search itself is available in over 130 different languages, while Google Translate translations can be manually improved by international readers to give a better version of the text than is possible through automated translation.

This is helping to make every web page – regardless of its original language – accessible to web users worldwide, putting all countries and nationalities on a level footing in terms of their access to knowledge and information.

Google Doodles

google-steve-jobs-link-1317903191When Google’s homepage logo changed to a ‘Doodle’ – originally a stylised version of the logo that paid homage to a famous person born on that date, or some other such achievement – it used to be big news.

These days, Google Doodles appear much more often, and are much more complex, often involving some kind of game or other interaction.

However, they also serve to raise awareness of scientific achievements, independence days and cultural celebrations, helping to unite people all over the world every time they make a search.

In rare instances, Google will also add a text message below the main search box on their homepage – they did this, for example, as a mark of respect to Apple innovator Steve Jobs upon his death – and this is a further means by which they can raise awareness, as well as showing a little of their human side on what is otherwise a sleek corporate homepage.

The Return of Authorship

It’s worth taking a moment to look at some of the more recent ‘good things’ Google have done specifically for the way the web works.

For instance, since introducing their own Google+ social network, Google have made it possible for authors to effectively connect their work directly with their Google+ profile.

This in turn allows seasoned professionals to be given added significance in the search results by placing their author image alongside their work.

Supporting Journalism

The web has often been portrayed as the enemy of traditional journalism, with print news publications finding it difficult to compete with real-time ‘news’ via social networks, and to maintain editorial standards in the face of bloggers who are often not subjected to the same levels of scrutiny on grammar and spelling.

In February 2013 though, Google took the first plainly visible steps towards overcoming that (outside of simply carefully selecting the sources of content that are included in the Google News search index).

A total of eight students from 2,300 applicants were selected for fellowships at seven different organisations with links to journalism, from research centres and training facilities, to action groups that aim to protect investigative journalists while they carry out real-world research.

The response to the scheme was so great, Google had to extend the application review period by a full week, and received an application every two minutes on the last day of the deadline; the chosen students will also spend a week working at Google, and learn about how the worlds of journalism and technology can overlap in the years to come.

Safer Internet Day

Each year, on Safer Internet Day, Google make efforts to raise public awareness of online security – particularly among those users who might not be so experienced at using computers or searching from smartphone handsets.

The brand’s commitment to security is built into its products – Google Chrome automatically updates to apply any new security patches, while both Google Search and Gmail transmit data only via encrypted connections.

But its public awareness efforts go beyond automation, encouraging best practices among human users of its services, and of the kinds of technology on which those services are delivered.

In 2013, for instance, the Safer Internet Day campaign from Google focused on issues like locking and password-protecting PCs, laptops and mobile phones, to prevent unauthorised access.

Scrolls and Santa

In December 2012, Google made two announcements with close links to Christmas – one of which was a frivolous bit of fun, while the other was a major archaeological advance.

Google-Santa-Tracker-4-600x358Once again, the search engine ran its annual ‘Santa Tracker’ service, giving people worldwide the ability to “see where Santa’s headed next” on services like Google Earth, and on devices ranging from PCs and laptops with the Chrome browser installed, to Android-powered mobile devices.

Around the same time, Google unveiled the further digitisation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, putting 5,000 images of the scrolls online, and with detailed information for 900 individual manuscripts.

Google provided the storage for the data – which includes colour images at 1,215 dpi resolution, along with infrared scans – and added supporting information through Google Maps, their own imaging technologies, and even YouTube integration.

Whatever your religious beliefs (and that extends to non-religious beliefs like atheism too), Google strive to cater for cultures and communities of all kinds through these kinds of projects, whether they are academic in nature, or simply a fun way to celebrate an important date on the calendar.

Google Goats

goats2In 2009, Google stopped using noisy, air-polluting lawnmowers to clear the grass and brush from the hills around their Mountain View headquarters (a necessary task to reduce the risk of a grass fire close to the building).

They instead hired a herd of goats to come and eat their way across the hillside, clearing vegetation as they went.

‘Mowing’ using goats takes the company about a week each summer, and has the dual benefits of reducing carbon emissions while also naturally fertilising the land – and for approximately the same cost as using petrol-powered industrial mowers.



December 11th, 2013.

Coming Summer 2014: .UK’s Biggest Domain change


Summer 2014  will see one of the biggest domain modifications in the UK ever. The roll-out of .uk domains will allow companies who currently use ‘’ or ‘’ domains to also register for  ‘.uk’  e.g. will be able to register

Nominet will offer the current holders of the or up to 5 years to register the domain before it is released to the general public.

In the event that one company holds and another holds, the shorter domain will be offered to the holders of the domain.

If a domain is not currently registered to or, the domain will be available on a first-come, first-served basis on launch day.

So in essence, if you have a or a, you will be able to simplify it to .uk next year.




November 19th, 2013.

To Re-skin or to Re-build? That is a question

 To Reskin or Rebuild?  That is a question.

We receive so many enquiries from clients asking for a “new website”.  Most of the time they don’t need one they just need a new front end.  The back end is usually fine. These are my thoughts on whether clients should rebuild or reskin.

By now most companies are on to their  5th, 6th, 7th generation website.

The natural process was usually “We don’t like our site anymore – let’s get a new one”.  This usually involved going to a new web agency.

There were often good reasons for this in that technology had moved on and there were usually better ways of doing things. But it was a complete fag for the client as they would have to re-input all their product data, migrate their customer data, learn a new e-commerce or CMS package, go through the whole pitch process and get to know a new agency.

And then there was the expense of rebuilding from scratch eact time.

Nowadays (2013) now that technology is reasonably stable and that most clients have stabilised their data requirements I find that there is really  often no need to change the underlying platform on which a site has been built.  Unless you’ve been unfortunate enough to end up with a real stinker of a CMS or E-commerce platform then I would suggest that re-skinning of a website is often the way to go rather than rebuilding from scratch.

Even if you are fed up with your development agency you can still get a separate agency to do the designs for you.  The two processes do not necessarily need to be done by the same agency, though it’s better to get a web designer rather than a print designer to generate any new designs for your website..

You may be thinking that you need a lot of extra functionality in your new website.  Well again, unless your current development team are hopeless then it should be easily possible to add any required functionality to an existing platform.

The same goes for getting a responsive website.  You do not need to rebuild your underlying platform just to develop a responsive website.

In fact the platform is becoming less and less of an importance as they are all pretty good and have their pros and cons. Magento is great for some types of e-commerce site.  Wordpress is pretty fantastic for any sort of simple CMS and there are loads more.  At Datadial we have developed our own e-commerce and CMS software and they are more than capable of doing whatever is required.

What about search engines?

What remains more important than ever is the site architecture and content structure in terms of ensuring usability and search engine friendliness.  This can sometimes require a rethink of the underlying data structure and in the event that the current data architecture is so poorly thought out then this would be the point at which you may want to redesign rather than reskin. However, pretty your website is, if it’s poorly architected then it is unlikely to perform in search engines.





Joe Joe

October 10th, 2013.

Google’s Biggest Update in Years has Already Happened: Hummingbird

Those of us interested in how search engines work have been talking this week about ‘Hummingbird’. Not the hollow-boned, nectar-loving tweetie-pies; rather Google’s newest and most revolutionary search engine algorithm in quite some time.

You’ll likely have heard of ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’. They were algorithmic updates which supposedly made the search results better. Unlike their counter-parts in the animal kingdom, they weren’t cute and they didn’t make for good YouTube videos; but they did improve the quality of websites and the practices of SEOs.

‘Hummingbird’ is a different beast entirely. Far from being an update to an existing algorithm, it’s an entirely new feature which shows Google’s desire to move searching away from ‘Keywords’ and towards ‘Semantic Searches’. They’re approaching what they call “conversational search”

In 2001, you may have searched for:

And you may have been presented with an article from The Times about a new movement of filmgoers in London who are avenging the demise of arthouse productions.

But search isn’t like that anymore. People search more or less how they talk, so searches are more like:
‘Cinema times in London for The Avengers’.

And the rise of voice search on mobile devices means people will try to search:

‘What time is The Avengers playing in London?’

Words like ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘when’ etc. now have a value in Google’s searches. They want to give the most accurate response to your request.

What does that mean for website owners?

As a website owner you’ll need to be improving the information content of your site. Undoubtedly keywords will still matter, but since Google is now holding keyword data to ransom, the best thing you can do is improve the quality of your on-site content. This also means you can stand out in your industry – if you’re the world’s authority on Playstation Game Artwork then make sure you can answer questions like ‘Who designed the GTA 5 artwork?’.

‘Hummingbird pays more attention to each word in the query, ensuring the whole query is taken into account – so if a resulting page is a bit less strong in general, but it’s the most relevant to your search terms, that’s the result you’ll get.’ – Google, as told to The Register.

People are asking questions. If you’re equipped to answer them then your site should reflect that.

Personally I think this is a step in the right direction. The internet is becoming more personal, so responding to the intricacies of language is more essential now than ever before. It makes far more sense to work out what people mean rather than just responding literally to the words they use.


Martina Martina

September 12th, 2013.

Things I learned at ad:tech London…


Today is the day that ad:tech came to town!

Behind the glass doors at National Hall, Olympia lay a  smorgasbord of digital know-how; from online marketing guru’s to customer relationship management specialists and experts on mobile marketing.

With seminars to the left, conferences above and pop-up stands everywhere else, people from far & wide scattered about the building, shuffling papers and clutching iPad’s on a journey to learn how to be better at their job.

After circling the perimeter to check out some of the businesses on show, I found my way to Oban Multilingual‘s free seminar, where Jonathan Murphy covered tips on how to successfully run multilingual PPC campaigns.

Helpful tips on multilingual PPC campaigns:

  • Some PPC campaigns are generally easier to rank in non-English speaking countries, because competition isn’t always as fierce.
  • When setting up domains in foreign languages, Google translate should not be an option.
  • Whilst Google is king of the search engine in the UK, this doesn’t always apply abroad; Asia favors Baidu and Yandex is popular in Europe – this should be taken into account.
  • Webpages should be translated (by a qualified copywriter) after research has been carried out on things like colloquialisms or Americanisms  such as “free delivery” that  changes to, “free shipping” for websites in the USA.
  • Call-to actions and the colour used to display them is important; red is popular in Asia whereas orange is something that would be used in the UK (where red is usually a no-go for a call-to action).

Other useful marketing tips:

After the above I milled about, popping in and out of other talks, to see what other gems I could pick up – Here are a few I particularly liked:

  • New international website with no inbound links and no indexed pages? – Try PPC!
    Instead of waiting for Google to trawl through the pages on your website and index them, think about how Google uses it’s robot: adsbot-Google.
    Pages will be read if you are buying traffic to them, which can eventually lead to rankings, even when the website is relatively unknown.
  • Using video marketing in Google’s display network? – Include a transcript!
    YouTube allows you upload transcripts for your videos to determine the video’s keyword relevancy for a user searching for that topic. However, it has been tested and proven that Google also uses these transcripts outside of YouTube to index these videos too! So transcripts could help your video turn up in a Google search…
  • Are your YouTube videos getting enough attention? – Stop other ‘related videos’ videos showing up after yours yours (when embedded on a website)
    Suggested videos are great and all, but not when they could potentially drive business away from you. Simply disable related-video suggestions on YouTube before embedding them. Problem solved!

I hope you find this information useful, I did! ;-)


Martina Martina

August 23rd, 2013.

Putting an end to creepy emails!


Spend enough time wading through spam emails and you’ll be amazed at what you find. From dodgy salutations to cringe-worthy formatting, on a very slow day this makes for a good few minutes of entertainment.

Here are some of the most ‘creepy’ elements of bad email-ship:

Over personalisation

Why it’s done & why it sucks:

This is usually an attempt at making a company look uber-friendly, since the emails they send you are formatted like a buddy would send them.

The downside is that sometimes we sign up with nick-names, tags or misspellings which can quickly turn a harmless greeting into a spammy annoyance. Seeing “Happy Birthday JaneDoe101!” or “JaneDoe101 we miss you!” littering up your mailbox is usually the first step on the way to an unsubscribe!

Archaic greetings

Why it’s done & why it sucks:

Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom this may concern” are clear-cut indicators of cold calling (or cold mailing) – sure they’re gender neutral but boy are they impersonal. They scream “Someone, anyone – please read me!” rather than seeming relevant to the recipient. 

Too many imperatives

Why it’s done & why it sucks:

It’s true that the call-to action is a huge part of the science behind a smooth conversion, so putting in punchy phrases like “click here!” and “buy now!” seem standard procedure, but there is such a thing of over-doing it.

Ultimately, I don’t want bossy emails, and legally anything being sold is an ‘invitation to treat’ so in your next sales email, try the passive approach with an A/B test to see what gains a better reaction.

Too long

Why it’s done & why it sucks:

It’s been a while and there’s a lot to say, but how long do you think I’ve got? People are time conscious, say less!

If you need to explain something a nifty way of doing so is by linking back to a blog post published on your website. Not only is this considerate of your customers, it’s also potential for indirect conversions; they may just browse other parts of your website…

And in taking my own advice, I’ll keep this short and sweet – but feel free to add any other examples you can think of in our vowel to make electronic mail, sustainable! ;-)

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