I was recently approached by someone who immediately had that demanding vibe that so heavily annoys me and makes me get more frown lines, and that encounter has caused me to rethink how I vet a client, both for my own business and to send out as a referral. You see, I feel like I am wasting someone’s time if I know I have no room to take them on, so I immediately tell them that and try to help them find someone who can help them. Usually it goes well and people are thankful that they don’t have to go trawling for someone with half a brain but sometimes it blows up in my face. There was the guy (a lawyer, naturally) who flipped out on me when I said I had no room but that a friend of mine was very good at working in that niche so I’d be happy to make an introduction. He told me what he was looking for in the initial email so to me, that was enough info that I felt like I could just pass it on if he wanted. I did ask his permission, of course, but still he started insulting me for not spending more of my unpaid time in order to better suss out his exact business requirements. He called me unprofessional and it’s not like I was using smiley faces in my email signature so really, that bastard offended me quite a bit. 🙂 There have been the people who have followed up on my referrals but found them lacking and then emailed me to complain that I hadn’t given them enough info, or enough names, or basically done enough to help them find someone to help them. X company that I referred them to didn’t respond to their email and it had been at least 4 hours so damn it Julie, get on the ball and find someone who is faster at answering emails. coque iphone outlet Is that my job? No. coque iphone xr I don’t charge a referral fee to the SEOs that I send business to, and I’ve never had a referral where the referring SEO asked for one. I’m very, very lucky in that, so I feel like if I do know some good qualified people who have room for some new work, it’s just the right thing to do. What exactly do people expect in terms of being helped to hook up with the right people though? I will say that if someone is nice and appreciative, I will go above and beyond for him. I will personally ask around and see who does have room and I’ll follow up to make sure things are being taken care of, but still, that is unpaid time for me that takes away from everything else. It’s my choice to do it of course but lately it’s been more common for people to almost demand it, to expect it. Can you imagine calling a dentist who said sorry but we don’t have an appointment that day and you’d say well damn you, you silly cow, give me the names of 5 other dentists who DO have an opening for that day? Take my latest encounter with a company who not only demanded that I immediately hop on a phone call in the middle of a weekend afternoon which would have severely impacted my time spent on the couch watching Luther on my iPad, but who then proceeded to ask me the kinds of questions that I answer in an extensive SEO audit, and who then proceeded to get extremely uppity and rude when I said I simply do not have the time to do this unless you want to pay me for my time. coque iphone x I recently had asked the Julia Sugarbaker of SEO, Debra Mastaler, how to handle situations like this as Debra has 1000 times the business sense that I do, and she told me to just give out a fair figure and say if you want me to dig in, this is what it’s going to cost you. Digging in, whether it’s to find the cause of a problem on the site or simply to figure out who might be able to help, all costs time and money. Right after this conversation, I decided to try it out, thinking that the person would bail but lo and behold she didn’t. coque iphone 8 She paid me to dig in and spend some time trying to help her figure out what to do. She didn’t expect me to take a couple of hours of my time and do it for free. coque iphone So why do people keep thinking that we should be happy to work for nothing like this? Maybe because some of us keep doing it. I can’t be the guy below if this keeps on. And how much of your time should you spend vetting and helping a person that you can’t take on as a client? As I’ve said, some people are incredibly nice and gracious but some are 100% users. I’ve had someone try to get me to write up a presentation for him to present as his own in order to get a job and when I said no, he got very nasty. I’ve had someone try to get me to look at how they build links and tell them exactly what I would do differently. I’ve had several people try and get me to diagnose their problems and tell them how to fix everything, and all of this was expected for free, with none of these people being my clients or even prospects. I certainly don’t want to send worthless and time-wasting referrals to anyone and I have, sadly, and that’s something that really pisses me off because I feel like it’s rude on my part.
“Never read the bottom half of the internet, that’s where the bad things live.”
It’s mantra repeated by many. I’m referring of course to the comments, which as ‘bottom half’ indicates are situated a long old scroll down the page at the bottom of a post or article.
Mobile traffic, mobile websites, mobile apps. coque iphone xr These and similar phrases are increasingly being discussed in SEO circles, but sometimes (and I am as guilty of this as anyone) we forget to define what we actually mean by the term ‘mobile’.
The Official Definition
The Mobile Marketing Association recently defined ‘mobile marketing’ as “a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through and with any mobile device or network.” [emphasis mine] But to the average person (at least here in the UK), ‘mobile’ is a synonym for ‘cell phone’. No one says, ‘let me look it up on my mobile’ and then takes out an iPad. Tablets, smartphones and feature phones are all very different devices, and encourage different behaviours, and therefore require different marketing approaches. coque iphone Continue reading “What Is ‘Mobile’?”
Recently we’ve seen several SEOs fussing about not getting paid, resorting to outing the offenders. Everyone’s favorite Dutchman-in-Ireland Barry Adams wrote “How I’ve Been Shafted By Darryl Collins from Banjax and Gingerparts” (which sounds so much like a revenge porn title) and the comment section is completely full of people coming forward to say that they’ve either also been shafted by Mr. Collins (that is so hard to type without giggling) or that it’s been a problem for them with someone else. Suffice it to say, it IS a problem. In my Link Club, we’ve recently discussed how to avoid this and let me tell you, it’s definitely a huge problem and I’m still trying to collect on an account for a client who left us years ago and still owes us a small fortune. When you’re starting out, it’s tough to demand payment upfront because you might not think you have the credentials to back that up. Hell, you might not have them to be honest. However, we’re in an industry where some people feel that if we don’t get them the exact results that they think they deserve, they think they can screw us. coque iphone xs max The client I mention above signed off on buying links, saw the link report each month, and was happier than a pig in shit as long as he was making money but when he gets slapped by Google? He doesn’t want to pay us because we “got him into trouble” doing what he knew was risky, what he asked us to do, and what he was informed about every single month without fail. Funnily enough, this trouble of his happened 2 years after we stopped working with him and was never mentioned as a reason why he couldn’t pay until Google sent him the warning. coque iphone 8 Before, he’d just say something about it being hard to pay but he was working on it, but the second Google gets him? He can’t pay because it’s all our fault. We’ve had other issues with various excuses attached, such as “we didn’t know what you were doing, not REALLY, because we didn’t have time to read all your emails or the actual contract which clearly listed exactly what you’d be doing” and “we were thinking that when we did not say yes please abide by the contract and continue working as we’ve both agreed, you’d know that we didn’t really want you to keep working.” If you went to the dentist and had a tooth filled, would you refuse to pay because you didn’t understand the chemical composition of the filling? Can you get out of a late payment for your mortgage because you didn’t like the color of your roof? Why do SEOs keep getting screwed like this? Here’s another problem: to get a client, you have to lay out enough strategy and tactics that you plan that they can just take you out of the process, do it themselves, and screw you. If you try to be vague enough to hook them but not give too much away, you might not land them as a client. coque iphone 6 Do you have any idea how many proposals I’ve had to clarify where I’ve had to list out actual ideas, because the general ones didn’t make the potential client feel comfortable that I could do a good job? Too freaking many, and guess how many of those came through? I can’t think of a single one, and after the last go-round with it, I just walk away if they don’t want to pay me upfront for the ideas that I want to implement, because I do enough work for free. I don’t make money off writing for any site but there’s always the person who comments that I should have given them more information and more tips. There’s always someone adding me on IM or emailing me, asking so many questions that I finally have to point out that I have a company to run and things to do for my own work and that I cannot continue to dig into THEIR problems, and every time I say this, I don’t get an apology. I get a comment about how they thought I was supposed to be a nice person and then they go into the guilt phase of being sorry they wasted my precious time. I’ve always been against outing sites for doing bad things so logical thinking dictates that I should feel the same way about outing clients that don’t pay, but I’m not. I’ve never personally done it but will I? Who knows. I’d rather spend time brainstorming with my employees than sending the 15th email saying “we still haven’t received a check from you and I’m making a very indignant frowny face due to it.” When I hit my first non-paying-client roadblock, I sought the advice of other people as to how to handle it and the number one response was “threaten to out them somewhere for it.” However, I’m still uneasy with doing what Barry did although I respect him for it, but I’m still uncomfortable with it because with my luck, I’ll out someone who has been in the hospital in an iron lung for 3 months or something. Is it bad karma to do it? It’s certainly bad karma not to pay someone who worked for you in good faith. Some people are crazy though and will do whatever they like whether they’re right or wrong, and since I am Dr. No, all I can imagine is that I’ll pick the true psycho to out and say hey, Mr. Po Pants didn’t pay me for my link audit. Mr. coque iphone 7 Po Pants will end up burning my house down and since all my vinyl is in storage, he won’t even have any problems from toxic fumes. In the end I suppose that the way around getting screwed like that is to demand payment upfront and in full. The first time I did that I was slightly embarrassed (thanks Mom) but I laid out my reasoning to the client and to my great surprise, she said “no problem. It’s happened to me too so I respect you for it.” Wowzers. vente de coque iphone Sometimes when something isn’t going to cost much, I’ll just do it and bill the client later but I’m now chasing payments from two people because I was that stupid. So I’m going to get better about it, and the second someone screws me on my money, I’m shutting them down. If a client felt like I was wasting their money and doing nothing, I’d expect them to shut ME down so I need to do the same right? Right. acheter coque iphone en ligne So get your money upfront if you can. Get a downpayment if you can’t get the full amount, but don’t let it slide when things start to go wrong, not even for a second, because if people think they can avoid paying you, or that they can pay you very late, they’ll do it. If you’ve never worked with the client before, get at least a percentage of the amount before spending time on it and lay out the contract so that you have legal recourse if they don’t pay. Make a plan for how you’ll handle this if it does become a problem for you, and let clients know as soon as they sign on. coque iphone Put details about payment expectations on every invoice, even if it’s just that payment is expected within x number of days. If payment isn’t made by the due date, stop working and tell the client you’ve stopped and will continue when the check arrives. It’s actually starting to work well for me, so no outing for me just yet. However, give me a few more months and if I’m still chasing that one client, it might just happen.
For many of us working in technical SEO for an agency, the first stage of any new client win is to perform a site audit. Whilst many agencies will have their own procedures most experienced professionals will start with crawl-related checks and research. If a site (and pages therein) can’t be crawled, then they won’t appear in any search engine index and if there’s nothing indexed, then there’s nothing to optimise. (So let’s all go home and play CoD.) As part of the checks and diagnostic procedures we make sure to cover at theMediaFlow, we have a look at any reported crawl errors in Google or Bing Webmaster Tools. I want to share with you a recent example of some unusual errors found as part of such a process; what caused these errors and how to fix them. coque iphone pas cher
URLs with Company Phone Number Appearing as 404
In this part of the process I was looking to identify how many types of 404 errors were in play, (rather than instances of 404 error) and noticed that many of the thousands of total reported 404 errors followed a particular format. To refresh our memories Google Webmaster Tools reports the URL path, post domain… For the example site in question many of the errors appeared as follows: —— 0800%20111%201111 normal-directory/0800%20111%201111 nothing-to-see-here/normal-directory/0800%20111%201111 honestly-Im-okay/nothing-to-see-here/normal-directory/0800%20111%201111 —— The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted that there’s a common theme and that: a) all these 404 errors have a number in the path b) stripping out %20 (which means that a space has been encoded) would leave us with a phone number format #### ### #### (i.e. coque iphone 8 four digits, three digits, four digits) and c) that such phone number formatting used with 0800, 0843, 0845 and other non-geographical types are often used as customer service phone numbers. So… you may know where this is going… For every URL on the site, there appeared a second version, with an appended directory – that (directory) being the addition of their own phone number.
What time is why?, taken from Know Your Meme Given that the symptom reported (i.e. a 404 error URL for every genuine URL) logic would suggest there was an error in the mark-up around the phone number in the site header area as opposed to anywhere else it might occur, so this was my first port of call. In Chrome and using Inspect Element to look at the isolated element (mark-up of the phone number) everything looked hunky-dory. coque iphone Schema>Organisation mark-up was in place with the correct itemprop, (itemprop=”telephone”) so nothing of concern; however when I looked elsewhere in the code I found the following well-intentioned use of a href to phone number (for click-to-call) mark-up. Now; referencing the phone number as per above was facilitating click-to-call functionality, so any front-end testing they may have done would show positively that a smart device user could click the phone number to call the company. coque iphone However, due to the omission of the tel: instruction the syntax had the side-effect of creating a relative file path to the phone number as appendage to the existing URL. Hence generating thousands of annoying 404 errors that could easily be avoided, making for a much more effective crawl process.
Correct Click to Call Mark-up
To correctly reference the phone number and effect click-to-call without generating 404 URLs due to relative file path annoyingness do as follows: <a href=”tel:+44#########” itemprop=”telephone”> The important part here is the addition of the tel: instruction, as it is the omission of this that also creates the relative URL and thus generates our 404 errors. soldes coque iphone The addition of +44 (UK dialling code) was an optimisation so that the click-to-call would connect regardless of location. I found this piece on click-to-call links really useful background reading, particularly that there’s a list of additional native app URI schemes too! So, not exactly a ground-breaking error or a revolutionary fix that will rocket this site up the SERPs overnight; however this was one of those weird quirky consequences of a simple code omission that could have hindered crawlers and inhibited the business progress a little. I thought it might be worth sharing as the cause of why these 404s appeared wasn’t immediately obvious.
Crowdsourcing interests me for many reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a great way to get multiple people to promote content (yes, I’m always thinking about that.) Some of my favorite evergreen content pieces have been crowdsourced and I’ve noticed that when I search to see what’s recently been said about specific topics, those pieces still appear at the top of the SERPs. With that in mind, I thought I’d ask a few SEOs to fill out a quick survey, with the questions being listed below: 1. What are your thoughts on crowdsourced pieces? Does it make you think that the author is being slack and taking a shortcut by asking everyone else’s opinions, or do you think that it adds more value to what could be a one-sided post? 2. What factors do you take into consideration when deciding which people you’ll ask to contribute? 3. What causes YOU to contribute to a crowdsourced post request? 4. coque iphone xr What would cause you to immediately reject the chance to contribute? 5. What’s your favorite crowdsourced post and why? For my people of interest, I grabbed a quick list of SEO contacts that I trust and took a small random selection of them to email. Since I love crowdsourced pieces (both contributing to and consuming) I thought I’d get a quick overview of how others feel about them. The results were exactly what I was hoping for. 44.4% of respondents love crowdsourced pieces. No one hates them or thinks the author is just being a slack ass (I was honestly worried about that one.) 55.6% think they add value to what would have been a one-sided piece. What makes a person decide whom to ask: 100% said that they’d ask people who are subject matter experts. Only one person said they’d ask a person just because he or she participated before. What causes you to accept the offer to participate: 76.9% said that they’d do it if the person asking was nice. Only 15.4% said they’d do it just for the link. 46.2% said they’d accept if the subject matter was interesting, 30.8% said they’d do it if the subject matter was controversial, and 46.2% said they’d do it if the topic had not been covered to death. 23.1% also said they’d do it if they had nothing else to do. (I like those guys. Boredom is a great motivator.) What would cause you to say no immediately: 58.3% said they’d decline if the person asking “is an idiot.” Good. That’s my main reason for declining. 25% said they’d decline if they didn’t know the person asking, and the same amount said they’d decline if the subject had been covered to death recently. 16.7% said they’d decline if there were either typos in the email and 33.3% said they’d decline if the person addressed them by the wrong name. I’d add my two cents into those two reasons myself. Favorite crowdsourced posts: http://www.alessiomadeyski.com/now-thats-what-seos-call-music/ got multiple votes http://pointblankseo.com/creative-link-building also got multiple votes (I’d add my vote here as well) http://01100111011001010110010101101011.co.uk/2012/01/the-best-seo-interviews-you-will-read-in-2012/ http://stokedseo.co.uk/2012/12/05/seo-2013/ The interesting bit about the favorites though? Most people didn’t remember one or didn’t have the link to hand. What does that say? Obviously bias will be a factor and all of those three posts mentioned contained responses from my survey respondents. We may pay closer attention when we’re a part of something, no? My absolute favorite crowdsourced piece is Rae Hoffman-Dolan’s annual Link Building With The Experts series. coque iphone 8 As a link builder, it’s awesome to read what everyone has to say each year, as these are serious experts and I am humbled to have been included this past year. As I said, I also added my vote to Jon Cooper’s piece (and I’ve used it in a presentation as well) because it’s massive, it’s fascinating, and it is full of responses from people that I respect the hell out of. Alessio’s music piece was fantastic because it was DIFFERENT, and because I’m obsessed with music. coque iphone The chance to see what everyone else listens to was quite cool even though Bill Sebald did list “Cherry Pie” by Warrant and I find that almost completely unacceptable. Sean’s interview piece was incredibly well done (like all his stuff) and quirky. coque iphone 7 Gaz’s post was mentioned for the reason “because of the sheer scale of it.” As you can see, these posts have something in common: they’re different from all the other stuff out there. They include both industry “names” and people who aren’t as well-known (yet.) So based on this how can you better do crowdsourced posts? 1. Be nice, as people are more likely to respond to you if you’re not an asshole or an idiot. 2. Make your topic interesting/controversial/not-totally-overdone. 3. If you’ve never interacted with someone, don’t expect them to immediately rush to participate. I’m not saying that you should only ask your friends of course, but generally speaking, if your first interaction is “hey can you do something for me?” it’s not going to go well. 4. Make sure you’re addressing the correct recipient or you could do what I did, which is lump them all into “People of Interest” which, thank God, didn’t seem to offend anyone. Check for typos. I might answer some questions for a post about the best rarebit but not about the best rabbit. Well…I might answer that one too actually. It’s Blazer Taco, MY rabbit. 5. Time it so that you’re asking people when there’s not a lot going on. For example, if Google has just unleashed another crippling algorithmic update and people are crying online, don’t send them an email asking if they want to answer 10 questions about their favorite Moz post from last year. Actually don’t ever write a post asking that question. coque iphone xr Thanks to everyone who contributed.
***The views in this blog post are those of the author and do not represent those of any of the other SEO Chicks*** The story of the Interflora penalty is not one of link building gone wrong, nor is it one of a sudden and unexpected penalty. The story of Interflora is something experienced SEOs are going to reference for years as one sterling reason why aggressive link building strategies should be designed and executed by experienced search professionals, and how short-lived high profile brand penalties are. My father is a lawyer and he once told me a great many years ago “pigs get fatter – hogs get slaughtered”. I think it was in relation to something else I’m sure since SEO didn’t exist (ya, I’m that old) but it seemed an excellent life lesson and fits many situations. It also fits the situation with Interflora and why they got penalised. This is *not* a penalty related to the blogger outreach they did which delivered a lot of links of varied anchor text (mostly brand), but advertorials (if one thing is to be blamed). I mean, the link farm, footer links, sidebar links, and other garbage weren’t helping but the blogger links certainly didn’t cause the penalty. In fact removing the only thing that could have helped recovery removed and creating bad blood among bloggers was a terrible decision in my opinion. I’m quite cross with whoever is the SEO at Interflora or whomever is responsible for their digital marketing. I’m thinking papercuts and lemon juice. I’m talking about the individual who thought buying 150+ advertorials using computer-generated text all in the same month was a good idea. coque iphone pas cher Also, who didn’t talk them out of it? Surely this kind of link building doesn’t happen in isolation – you need to buy *from* someone. Who didn’t check the text? Who didn’t care about the timings? Who the heck allowed this insanity to happen? There was a lot more than advertorial links going on – there were low quality links as well. There are a lot of links lost recently as well. There are a lot of reasons, including article sites and directories losing their PR and therefore value. coque iphone xr Jackie Hole suggests what I think many SEOs agree with – low quality links are likely discounted algorithmically and are not passing any value. I’ve experimented with them to differing effect on different sites for different reasons 🙂 Nichola Stott though has a different spin on things. She, like me, believes that Google is relying more on human ‘grasses’. She says “Since Panda, each significant update has relied on human feedback (be it quality raters, or industry professed “grassing up” via webmaster tools) which has informed the machine-learning algorithm. So I’d completely support your theory that the crap is devalued, reason being aspects of Panguin helped identify the hallmarks of that crap.” There have been a lot of conversations on forums, groups and at conferences about Google basically scaring the crap out of webmasters and using FUD to force people into giving up any and all activity they had done for any reason. I think that the scared panic removal of the Interflora blogger links smacks of this panic fear. It also will encourage the “grassing up” Nichola talks about and I think is starting to happen a lot more often. Nichola feels that, based on her experience at Yahoo that Google is likely on its third phase of working on algorithmically penalising or removing value from links. coque iphone 8 I feel that as a core part of the algorithm from its early days, the value of links will never be fully reduced and so link building will continue. The key is strategic approaches to link building and going back to the old reasons for it – traffic driving. As part of my job, I’ve been working on planning and part of planning is stepping back from the scene and understanding the higher level business goals. coque iphone xr Link building is to push up rank. coque iphone 7 Pushing up rank is related to getting more traffic. Getting more traffic is about increasing sales or leads. So stepping back we want more leads or sales so instead of mindlessly building links, build relationships with relevant communities, relevant bloggers and journalists for on-going coverage (with or without a link) and improving the on-site conversions and bringing together all different departments of sales, advertising and marketing and ensuring they are all working together. Link building will never die and SEO will never die but what needs to get stronger is strategy, thoughtfulness and taking a step backwards to see the big picture.
In my years of working in SEO, I’ve seen a lot of weirdness. Some of that weirdness is related to links and link building. There was the time we discovered 50,000 links built overnight or the time a carefully plotted strategy was ruined by spammers and scrapers. coque iphone xs max But what do you do when good link building goes bad? There are a lot of reasons why good links go bad. I’m not talking about link farms harming your rankings (naughty) or anything like buying a link on a specific site known to search engines for selling links. I’m talking about when good links go bad. There are lots of good links from valuable sources that you can get and sometimes acquisition of those links, while in general being helpful, can be harmful. coque iphone en ligne For some time, I have been an advocate of *not* getting blogroll links for rankings. Not only does the value of these links tend towards 0, the blogs they are on are usually valueless. I once worked on a site where for some reason we suddenly gained 50,000 site-wide blogroll links. What it looked like was a spammy site where non-client sites were being used to pretend to be natural. coque iphone Our rankings took a dip across the board for a couple of months. Nothing too dramatic in ranking drop and the effect was only 60 days but still demonstrated to us how bad blog roll links could be. But good links can go bad. coque iphone Good links from news sites or links from sites that have been penalised for some reason – what happens when someone gets caught for selling links (but you weren’t buying) or something else goes wrong? This can and has happened to me and here is what I did. Continue reading “What To Do When Good Links Go Bad”
I was fortunate enough to attend BrightonSEO a couple of weeks ago – big love to Kelvin and the team for organising another fantastic event. For me the stand out presentation of the day came from Dave Trott on Predatory Thinking.
Dave Trott is the Executive Creative Director for CSTTG. He trained on Madison Avenue at the end of the Mad Men era, when the three-martini lunch and golf course advertising was for dinosaurs, and the creative revolution was just starting. After 4 years, to avoid getting drafted for Vietnam, Dave came back to London. Some of the advertising he worked on included: Ernie the Milkman for Unigate; Aristonandonandonandon (quoted in a speech by Margaret Thatcher); Red Rock Cider with Leslie Nielsen; the Holsten Pils campaign featuring Griff Rhys Jones and dead Hollywood film stars; and a controversial multi-media campaign, made entirely for free, that helped get the Third World Debt discussed by the world s governments. There are a whole bunch of round ups you can read for further info on Dave’s talk and the conference in general, but I wanted to focus this post purely on predatory thinking, and what that might look like for SEOs. Continue reading “Predatory Thinking for SEOs”
So, before we kick off it’s probably useful to define what I mean by linkbait – here’s a quick and dirty definition from yours truly:
“Linkbait is content which people *want* to share and link to.”
For the sake of clarity when I’m talking about linkbait, I’m talking about link-worthy content. coque iphone xs max This includes, but is not limited to infographics (not that I’m an infographic-hater; actually it’s a form which I like and have had success with) but it’s not the only type of creative content that you can do. Before you kick off… Before I get stuck right into the process, I’d strongly advise you to be open and honest about creative link building strategies.
- Make sure your boss (or your client) knows that there are risks associated with creative content (i.e. it can be difficult to predict how many links you’ll get).
- Manage their expectations – are they expecting 20,000 links? That could be hard to deliver.
- Set metrics ahead of time (e.g. target social shares, target linking domains etc) so you all know what ‘success’ looks like.