Nick Garner

Search Optimisation : SEO | Online PR | Social Media

The History of Google Dances

March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Google Dance

If you don’t know – a Google Dance is where Google change their ranking algo (the software that controls what websites rank where) because for whatever reason Google feel the need to fix one issue or another. The msot recent fix has been to combat a plague of article sites ranking across the Internet that allegedly provide useful content, but in fact are no more than ‘thin content’ with large amounts of advertising.


Ironically much of this ‘content pollution’ has been perpetuated by Google themselves. They have a programme called AdSense. You may have seen the AdSense adverts in body copy in various websites. These AdSense ads contextualise to the content they are embedded in. Users are reasonably ok with the ads since often they are – sort of – relevant. So the ads get clicked, giving the site owner revenue.

The content has the appearance of usefulness and with  link building, you can get them to rank nicely. Good rankings on decent traffic terms gives enough visitors to probably generate reasonable revenue through AdSense.

But its all got a little out of hand and there has been a clear out of the rankings recently. This update has been called the Farmer/Panda Update.

Below is a history of the major updates so far that have rocked the SEO world.

(Click on the image for a full size readable view.)

The Dance of Dances


Thanks to for the seo inforgraphic

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What affiliates want in an operator!

March 10th, 2011 · No Comments

Great if you know how to grow it!

Recently I was discussing the relationship between affiliates and operators. The question was: what does each party care about.

I then sent them a long-ish email and I thought I’d post and amended version for you.

One important thing to consider when you read this : Affiliates exist because of the deficiencies in the operators marketing ‘machine’
Smart operators are always interested in learning from successful affiliates.

What affiliates care about when they are looking at choosing an operator?

Affiliate point of view:
  • Often the only way they can get traffic is by SE(and some other routes), they want operators who are weak with SEO
  • Better deals i.e. ultimately affiliates care about lifetime value since that translates into income spreading along the marketing ‘foodchain’
    • Rev share
    • Bonuses
  • Strong conversions
    • Operator branding is strong
    • Landing pages and messaging is strong
    • Good payment systems in place users can fund easily
  • Better customer retention on the part of the operator, life time values can increase and the increased ££ share can be passed on the affiliates
  • Exclusivity with an affiliate i.e.
    • a unique deal for a given affiliate
    • better than usual bonus for the user for the affiliate sites
  • Back end affiliate management system
    • Needs to be easy to use
    • Reliable
    • Comprehensive information dashboard that allows affiliates to
      • Understand betting patterns of the users
      • Churn rate of the users
      • Lifetime value
      • In fact any metric is good since the affiliate will dig out the information they need.

What operators care about when picking the right affiliates:

  • They want the right customers in volume!
    • Better converting customers
    • Good lifetime values
    • Less cost of acquisition
    • ‘Low maintenance’ users i.e. not using customer services often
  • What they want in affiliates
    • Low maintenance i.e. affiliate managers don’t need twork with affiliates often
    • Low cost i.e.  the lower the affiliate spend the better, assuming higher numbers of good new users.
  • Affiliate management systems to be flexible, cheap and easy to run
  • Fewer affiliate managers
  • Affiliates to be really flexible when it comes taking new marketing assets i.e. new banners.
  • They want traffic from SEO, the better they are at SEO the less reliant they are on affiliates

Assuming the previous points, the next question is what operators would ask about affiliate marketing practices.

  • Why are affiliates outranking the operators
    • What SEO are they using
    • How they can do it for a fraction of the cost of an operator (assuming affiliate budgets are tiny)
    • What technology affiliates use that operators could take on board.
  • On PPC
    • Why are affiliates out converting operators?
    • How do they do ‘blackhat PPC’
    • How can operators fight this (if they are loosing share against affiliates)
  • What would persuade affiliates join an operator programme?
  • How to find good affiliates and get your offer right 1st time. (varies from operator toperator – a lot! )
    • What is their online profile i.e. what does a great affiliate site look like?
    • What metrics should you use tidentify them?
    • What tools do you need find them
  • Variations on what an operator wants from an affiliate
  • Operator strategies and finding the right affiliates for their requirements.
    • Needs large volumes of users to increase liquidity
    • Needs large volumes of low acquisition cost users to up sell later with CRM
    • Small volumes of high value users
  • How do you recruit affiliates in scale
  • How do you manage the ‘long tail’

There are a lot of questions here, but as you know – good answers come from good questions!

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Marketing Week Conference – SEO and Social

February 5th, 2011 · No Comments

Happily, I was recently asked to do a session on “search in a social world” for a Marketing Week conference here in London

Me in a suit

The programme was:
- Strategy for social, covering all the three states of user of commercial intent – background knowledge, specific questions, decision to buy

- Prerequisites to get on the starting line – corporate culture, brand love, popularity of the subject, site architecture

- Targeting resource for maximum ROI

- KPI’s that actually mean something

- Putting it together as a actionable plan

Instead of getting bogged down in the area of social signals in SEO, I decided to take a different approach to the question of search in a social world and essentially I put out the idea
“social = validation, search = navigation”

I then dug into the idea that users (often) use social exchange points like forums to get information and resolution about things they want to buy. Of course to find these hot spots, they have to use search engines.

So its great to work your Facebook, but so often the real value is helping those important conversations where people evaluate your product and cast a vote. If they are good, then promote them! Social proof/validation is about the most powerful endorsement you can have online.

Here is the powerpoint:

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Genius hacker gets his mac back

January 13th, 2011 · No Comments

This is one of the coolest geek things ive seen in ages.

Cool geek gets laptop stolen.
Eventually remotely tracks down machine .
Hacks in.
LoL’s follow!

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Tech that makes working home work

December 19th, 2010 · No Comments

I had to work form home recently and managed to set up the new Skype video conference calling feature so it would work for a 3 way call. Annoyingly it wouldn’t allow us to also do screen share, so we then used webex for that. So there was:

Lovin it

Me: In London
Guy 1: North Sweden
Guy 2: North England.

and it all worked – so nice :-)

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Social Media Guru

December 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

If you watch this:

Then you can get £5000 for 1 hours work, like this guy ;-)

→ No CommentsTags: Social