Blog Archives

Social data mining for successful copy

There’s rarely any need for guesswork these days. If you’re writing marketing or sales copy and wondering what’s the best phrase to use, you would be well-advised to consult ‘The Internet’. Free search marketing tools like Google Adwords can give you great insights into the relative appeal of different terms, even highlighting how their usage differs by geography. And simple social web analytics can also give you invaluable clues about the words people use most often, allowing you to mirror their behaviour and capture their attention.

world-map-soda-versus-coke-versus-popFor example, if you were writing about fizzy drinks, how does your audience refer to these products? Talking about pop or soda might work, but which is best? This simple study from Edwin Chen sheds some light on the answer. There are vast geographical differences across the globe, as well as within regions in culturally diverse countries like the USA and UK, Interesting stuff.

It’s just one example of how mass market intelligence can be used to improve your results. Read Edwin’s report to learn more and let me know what you’re doing to be just as smart.

Big Brands Always Win, Get Over It

Ma Get My Gun image

SEOMoz has built a well-earned reputation as the source of expert advice for anyone looking to improve their search engine marketing. While its focus has always laid primarily with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), the team has never shied away from offering broader advice about using paid ads in search or exploiting other digital channels.

But I particularly enjoyed reading this article, brought to my attention by Bruce Lynn, in which President of User Effect, Pete Meyers, implores SEOMoz’s members to get over the demise of SEO and to “start acting like a brand.” And, if a high search engine ranking is important to you, the single best way to achieve this is through establishing a credible social presence for your brand online.

It’s not quite time to declare the end of black hat SEO; there will always be people and companies that are prepared to use underhand techniques to gain a slim competitive advantage. But the time has come for every business to recognise the immutable truth that an active social presence online is a far stronger indicator of brand vitality than can be garnered from any amount of behind-the-scenes tweakery.

So go on, get social. Your business could depend on it.

Proof that Search and Display Ads work best together

The major search engines have long argued that paid listings can help boost brand awareness and recall. However, data from iProspect and comScore, Inc. shows that search listings alone may have very little, if any, impact on recall. If you really want to boost your brand recall online, you’ll need a more integrated approach, embracing both organic and paid search, as well as other exposure points like display ads.

(click image to enlarge)
Unaided Brand Recall Infographic by Allister Frost

Crucially, this research underlines the potency of having both paid and organic search listings for your brand. Combining these two exposure types alone boosted unaided brand recall by more than a third, from 17% to 23%. If you cannot afford expensive display ads, getting your SEO and paid search ads working in harmony will give you the biggest recall bang for your bucks.

And, here’s a gentle reminder for us all: even when throwing everything at consumers, fewer than half of the respondents in this research were able to recall all brands. Widespread brand awareness calls for much more than a few simple online ad exposures, and there are no guaranteed shortcuts. Becoming well-known and remembered is usually the ultimate result of a carefully planned and executed online and offline programme of activities delivered over an extended period of time.

Further reading:
eMarketer article: Uniting Search and Display for Stronger Results

View London: clocking up new traffic

I love case studies like this because it shows just what you can achieve with a little lateral thinking. On its site, Hitwise Intelligence tells the story of a clever campaign by View London to capture new site visitors at the time of the recent UK clock change.

Bing Search: clocks go back

Instead of buying paid-for sponsored listings on search engines, View London optimised their site to perform well against search keyphrases related to ‘clocks go back’. So, other than the cost of updating their website, this activity didn’t cost a bean.

Graph: visits to View London website grow 31.1%

The results were stunning: a 31.1% increase in visits to the View London web site capturing over 14% of search clicks relating to the targeted keyphrases. View London even beat ‘clock change’-related traffic to the BBC’s hugely popular site.


The lesson for marketers: think about how your brand site content can help people searching for information about forthcoming events or newsworthy topics. As View London has proved, a little bit of intelligent SEO copywriting can deliver a huge amount of extra free traffic.

SEO for images: good advice

Danny Dover of

Many SEO novices limit their optimisation efforts to the words on their web site, but the images on your pages can be, to coin a phrase, worth a thousand words.

At the most basic level adding Alt Text for every image on your site helps. But there are  host of extra considerations you may wish to bear in mind, as Danny Dover of explains in this video:

Google’s guide to SEO

Google SEO Starter guide

Any attempt to manipulate natural Search Engine (SE) results listings is frowned upon by the major SE’s. But that doesn’t mean that all SEO is bad; most of it is just plain common sense. There’s no point having a great site that a search engine crawler cannot “see”.

Step forward Google, and their “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide”. For anyone who’s new to SEO, this is essential reading. And, for anyone who’s highly experienced, I’ll happily challenge that there’s something in here that you haven’t paid attention to in recent months!

Download the starter guide for free

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