Vaso

I do enjoy this music.

I selected it to match a video I made recently and it was a really challenging exercise.

Recently I've become far more tuned to sound in films and acoustics all around me.

I think the impact that sound editing has on mood is huge.

The blog post with it's accompanying video is published on vaso.me.

Interactive Mega-SERP

Keeping up with Search Engine Results Pages is, these days, even for full time SEO professionals, a fraught affair.

Google make hundreds of changes each year to their underlying algorithm.

However, not only are the query processes altered - aka Hummingbird - and the ranking methods adjusted, but their display is also subject to huge flux and continual experimentation.

Here is an interactive, tablet and fat finger friendly version of Dr. Peter Myers', Mega-SERP as featured on Moz.

Want to use it? Grab the embed code from Thinglink.

Whilst strictly speaking this SERP result is a blend of ingredients - just like our humble taco - it's a fascinating illustration of the wider complexity that we now face as marketers, and paradoxically the accuracy, relevance and richness we encounter as users.

In a lot of ways peak keyword has long since passed, even if conversations about keywords in the boardroom may not have.

Peak taco though?

I suspect that's a whole different byte.

El relaxing sound of marketing que es la leche

A veces me mosqueo, aunque suele durar poco.

No me refiero al relaxing cafe con leche. Muy a menudo me preguntan ¿y tú? de donde eres?...

Pues de aquí, ahora vivo en murcia...

Si pero, pero es que con esa pinta, pareces que eres...

¿..un guiri?

...bueno, es que no tienes acento de extranjero. ¿Donde nacistes?

En Londres.

Y aveces doy las explicaciones pertinentes o toreo la pregunta y seguimos por otro camino.

Y es que el mosqueo aunque parezca una tontería, no es porque será la milesima vez que se me hace la misma pregunta, sino porque siempre acabo diciendo Londres en vez de London.

Por mucho que el idioma nos fascina también nos marea

No cabo de entender porque, por ejemplo los españoles, que al menos coinciden, por si fuera poco, con el nombre de Gibraltar tanto en inglés que en español, no puedan llamar la capital de inglaterra de la misma forma. Como London en los dos idiomas.

Vale, que la pronunciación del peñon varie en cada idioma lo entiendo, pero al menos lo escriben igual. Pero si yo hubiera nacido en Boston por ejemplo, no tendría que vivir ese mosqueo inútil tan amenudo.

Y no creo que London tenga tanto variación de pronunciación entre un inglés y un español. Se entiende y eso es lo esencial.

Esa adventura de los extranjerismos hoy en día en españa continua a un ritmo extraordinario y en todas direcciones. En el campo de marketing (¿ ó bien debería decir el mercadeo mercadotécnica? - ¡no  basta!) uno de aquellas contaminaciones lingüísticas que me irita sigue siendo el tuit en vez del tweet por muy oficial que sea la versión que no se suele usar en la red española.

Por mucho que los catedráticos o instituciones intentan fijar un uso correcto del idioma, la calle siempre gana la batalla del argot hasta que el nuevo vocabulario, por muy sacudida de anglosajismos este, sea reconocida con un uso cotidiano por todos.

Otro gran ejemplo:

Tal como explica, Inma Ferragud en su blog con el toque de #marketingposturero, en inglés todo suena mejor.

Aunque ten en cuenta que eso lo dijo antes del éxito del relaxing cup of café con leche.

Como muchos otros más me suelo mover en un entorno social online bilingüe donde disfruto de los idiomas, culturas y marketing tanto en inglés que en español.

Eso si, observo que las actualizaciones en castellano son cada vez más invadidas por el inglés incluso dentro de los tweets de 140 caracteres donde se practica a menudo el splanglish, quizas porque sea más escueto, más hipster, y sinceramente porque al tratar de marketing es inevitable introducir el inglés para tener credibilidad hoy en día.

El post, el feedback, el email, el SEO, el PPC, el API, el target, Et cetera, etc.

Soy consciente de ello además porque acabo de traducir una joya de un post para un amigo escoces titulada la anatomía de la página web perfecta.

Ahora si, no doy por hecho que la traducción sea perfecta - la hice durante varios vuelos low cost este verano y no suele ser el entorno ideal. Si me he equivocado me lo puedes comentar aquí abajo o @paulgailey y en un plis plas lo cambio.

La verdad es que cada vez que traduzco terminología del inglés al castellano la audencia española, al menos la de marketing, demuestra tener suficiente control del idioma y parecen preferir usar la terminología anglo sajón.

Todo suena mejor en inglés

Pero como ya sabemos, con la resaca y espasmo madrileña olímpica que hemos vivido estos dias, no solo vale defenderse y saber leer el inglés, o hasta ponerse los cascos y el listen the ask, sino que la pronunciación correcta del inglés te puede suponer una gran ventaja de credibilidad.

Hay veces que aunque a ti te suena mejor en inglés, a un inglés todo le suene Botella. Y si tratas con un inglés o un estadounidense, os recomiendo practicar ese acento un poco. Atentos ¡vamos a da una clase!

No te fies de lo que dice Google

Lo primero. No te fies de Google. Me refiero al Google Translate y no a Matt Cutts, sino nos podemos enredar algo más de lo previsto.

Muchos son conscientes de que las traducciones automáticas no son adecuadas por muy sofisticadas que sean. De acuerdo. Pero yo me refiero a la pronunciación y no solo a la traducción.

Por ejemplo, no te recomiendo que sigas las pautas de este chavo:
Con Google Translate puedes escuchar la pronunciación de cada palabra que introduzcas. La voz que asignan al inglés sera de un varón de unos cincuenta años. Serio pero aceptable.

Pero la española parece una muñeca de lo más hortera posible igualando el tono de Dora Dora. Es espantosa y no la soporto. Mas adelante la vais a escuchar a la pava. No hace falta abrir otra pestaña por ahora. Tranqui.

A veces Google Translate no da la clave con la traducción a la primera, por ejemplo para community manager ofrece administrador de la comunidad, aunque hay que reconocer que permite seleccionar otras opciones tambien e incluso corregirle.

Vamos a eschuchar a Gibraltar, primero en inglés y luego en español...
Vale. Me parece correcto en ambos idiomas por idiota que parezca la voz femenina española.

El siguiente. Algo más social media ¿vale?

Linkedin.

Primero en español y luego en inglés tal como nos lo dice el tío inglés y la Dora Dora de Google:
y en inglés según Translate.
Aquí ya fallaTranslate. Tanto en español que en inglés. Un gran fail.

Aunque Dora Dora lo dice tal cual muchos lo pronuncian en españa y asi se entiende os aseguro que así no se dice, almenos cuando hables con un inglés.

Ahora si, esa tentación de pronunciarlo lo entiendo cuando alrededor tuyo lo hacen así y hasta grandes del SEO de españa caen en esa tentación al discutir entre ellos, por ejemplo....
Incluso hay veces que yo mismo me encuentro teniendo que pronunciar a lo Botella para que me entiendan. Lo peor es cuando lo hago de forma inconsciente y encima me dicen que no me entienden. Ahí ya me autodenomino de todo.

En cambio un inglés lo pronuncia así, como os he grabado aquí, sin prisa pero sin pausa, haciendo la pregunta ¿tienes perfíl en Linkedin?
Es algo parecido al comfortable (cómodo) tal como lo pronuncio la sra. Botella equivocandose separando el sonido de table y comfort. La forma correcta es pronunciarlo de golpe tal como el Linkedin y no Link-ed-in.

Osea asi:
en vez de 
La siguiente palabra, el Search Engine Optimisation (ya sabes que los estadounidenses lo escriben Optimization con zeta y los ingleses con una ese), el SEO. ¿Como se pronuncia SEO?

Escuchamos a Translate de nuevo, primero en inglés 
y luego en español.
Con sus siglas todas juntas Translate se lía y lo pronuncia mal en inglés aunque de forma correcto en español. Y es que la clave está en que en inglés, se pronuncia cada letra, osea
Pero claro, no te puedes fiar de Translate para la pronunciación ni de su capacidad de diferenciar entre mayúsculas o minúsculas.

Por ejemplo, SERPs tal como se suele escribir (de Search Engine Result Pages) se suele pronunciar entero así:
al igual que en español
pero, si introducimos la palabra en mayusculas en Translate y pinchamos sobre el icono de escuchar, suena así:
Fatal.

El caso de API. Como happy pero en español ¿no?

Pues no. No señor.

No se dice API en inglés como al estilo de pronunciación onomatopéyica de happy. En españa si, se suele decir así al igual que el IBI or el IVA. Es decir, así:
Pero el inglés lo deletrea, así:
Y tampoco digamos que los ingleses deletrean todas las siglas al pronunciarlas. Sería demasiado fácil y el inglés está repleto de excepciones, por eso le puede resultar tan reñido a un extranjero aprenderlo.

El IVA (Impuesto al valor añadido) por ejemplo, a veces escrito como V.A.T or VAT (Value Added Tax) se dice de ambas formas deletreado:
y VAT de golpe:

Translate se la lía parda

Y aunque algunos dirán que no usan Translate para la pronuciación, también Dora Dora de Google es capaz de tirar un wobbly (to throw a wobbly), como dirían los ingleses.

Por ejemplo Google parece entender que el Return on Investment, el ROI si lo introducimos con espacios entre las letras, tendrá algo que ver con el mundial de Brasíl como demuestra aquí:
Por cierto, no os lías con definiciones del ROI en marketing. Siempre ha sido un cálculo financiera que se puede aplicar a la inversión de marketing tal como este formulario en inglés de Christopher Penn lo explica.
Así como Ganado - Gastado / Gastado. Os recomiendo su post sobre ello, o el libro, incluso aún disponible en castellano, de Olivier Blanchard, Social Media ROI.

Otras herramientas para pronunciar el inglés

Menos mal que existen otras herramientas para aprender pronunciar el inglés. Entre ellas destaco Forvo que es curioso (¡ojo! curioso se traduce en ese sentido como funny en vez de curiously) porque aunque suele acertar a menudo, veras que con alguna terminología tampoco es fiable.
Forvo funciona reuniendo pronunciaciones ofrecidas por los usuarios de diferentes partes del mundo de tal forma que puedes elegir e incluso votar las pronunciaciónes preferidas. De un vistazo puedes identificar el origen geográfico ofrecido de un pronunciación y presumen de un vocabulario de más de 2 millones de palabras.

Pero aún asi, no te fies. Aquí vemos como el ROI al menos para el sentido a que nos referimos, está erróneamente pronunciada por una francesa
un gallego
una vietnamita
un chino
Aqui oimos el ROI mal pronunciado de nuevo por la Dora Dora
y de la forma correcto en inglés.
Osea deletreandolo R-O-I en inglés.

En cambio con el SEO, usando Forvo, acierta un italiano,
un estadounidense...
pero se equivoca un escoces
y un irlandes.
Osea que no nos fiemos de esos guiris. No se aclaren ni entre ellos mismos.

La otra herramienta se llama howjsay y suele ser bastante fiable de lo que he visto.

Pero, y hay un gran pero, al ser programado en Flash, no funciona en tantos dispositivos hoy en día y tampoco contiene definiciones como el ROI.

Los glosarios de marketing y el spanglish

Hay varios glosarios por ahí en español que te pueden servir para aprender marketing online como este y este aunque no he visto ninguno que te pueda ayudar pronunciar la terminología correctamente. También hay tecnologías de accesibilidad como Browse Aloud que pueden ayudar.

Cada vez que revise la traducción de aquella página perfecta, perdía esa batalla de limitarme al castellano y poco a poco fui introduciendo más palabras spanglish porque eso de referirme a fragmentos enriquecidos de video me sonaba casí académico comparado con los video rich snippets

¿Quien, hoy en día, se refiere a su bitácora en vez de su blog?
Lo dificil es medir cuando vale la pena descartar del todo la traducción exacta cuando la palabra extranjera ya se ha asimilado del todo en en vocabulario de la audencia. Sería algo cansino estar traduciendo o dando explicaciones de un post cada dos por tres en un artículo cuando ya no sea necesario.

Por lo tanto pido disculpas si he cometido algún error, aunque al igual que el SEO donde hay diversas opiniones, si le preguntas a dos traductores por una traducción de una solá palabra, te contestarán con al menos tres respuestas.

El faulty inglés

No nos limitemos a la Sra. Botella a la hora de celebrar la pronunciación. Uno de los personajes más queridos en inglaterra es Manuel, el camerero de Barcelona, en la series clásica de los 80 llamado Fawlty Towers.


Y para que no nos hundimos, aquí vemos la importancía de pronunciar bién el inglés para un alemán.

Bésame mucho como si fuera el last time

Cabe recordar que la sra. Botella no es única ya que no todos han logrado el éxito esperado ante una cita importante.

Quizas el ejemplo más famoso sea la de los Beatles, cantando el famosisimo bolero mexicana en la audición de Decca Records el día 1 de enero 1962, cuando les dieron las largas argumentado que: 

No nos gusta como suenan, y la música de la guitarra esta pasando de moda.


Menos mal que los chicos de Liverpool no se tomaron las críticas en serio.

Se ve que a la canción le tuvieron bastante cariño durante su carrera con otra versión grabada al mismo tiempo que el grán éxito de Let it Be.

Siempre serán the milk

Pero eso si, tanto como el discurso de la sra. Botella, como mi traducción de la página web perfecta, algo lost in translation, y como el spanglish del marketing y los tweets, los Beatles cambiaron la letra de la canción original, improvisaron un poco y lo pronunciaron a su aire.

Like a boss porque siempre serán the milk.

Por cierto este post no lo ofrezco traducida al inglés. ¿Para que me voy a liar más?

¡Cha cha boom!

Adios Posterous, long live long form

In a few hours time some 59 million URLs will vanish from the web.

Thousands of hours of personal pensive endeavours will disappear as blogs and content go to the digital graveyard.

Posterous is closing on April 30. The Posterous backup tool will continue to be available until May 31 so you can download all your Spaces.

— posterous (@posterous) April 26, 2013

Posterous was acquired by Twitter last year.

I'm feeling a tad nostalgic, as personally I've not only used Posterous a great deal  - it powered this blog for a long time - but it provoked a good many people to express themselves easily online without all the hassle of setting up and maintaining a blog.

At one point Posterous and Tumblr were constantly pitched against each other in the tech press, probably as reluctantly as Blur and Oasis in their day.

They were infact quite different, mechanics apart, because the audience that each platform attracted were different.

Posterous content was perhaps less visually outlandish than Tumblr which continues to part of the temporal web of memes.

Posterous however, I found was home to a great deal of fantastic content from all walks of (online) life.

I read countless blogs from founders of companies, journalists, marketers, writers, that all wrote with real thought and devotion.

It was very easy to whack out a post, it's ease of use was initially just writing an email and clicking send to have it published even under your own domain in an instant.

You just didn't need to really worry about all the ins and out of running a blog. Alas, things have changed now.

There is still real value to be had in writing on your own domain, despite the ease and attractions of participating and writing in social chambers, albeit large ones like Google Plus or niche places like ADN.

5 days until 59 million Posterous URLs disappear from the planet. My only solace is to keep coding. posthaven.com/ourpledge

— Garry Tan (@garrytan) April 26, 2013

Fortunately, there are still alternatives for easy, light blogging. This blog, despite maintaining the personal domain, is currently powered by Posthaven - a phoenix service headed by one of the original founders of Posterous.

And Posthaven allowed a brilliant method to easily import your Posterous data into it without data loss. Alas Twitter decided not to tell anyone about this in their last emails:

@posterous How churlish & mean-spirited of you not to recommend #posthaven as a replacement for #posterous in your last email. Disappointed.

— Stephen Daniels (@sdonline) April 26, 2013
Not only is content likely to be lost in this darwian reality afflicting so many online services these days, but of course so will many a thoughtfully placed or earned link.

If your professional crust depends on it, it's not too late to determine precisely how much you may have invested in a .posterous.com link profile:

The web needs longer and more diverse content.

Blogging is talk and thought and that's not going away.

Long live long form.

Why you should follow the lowest of the low

A beloved raspy throated entertainer, Jimmy Durante, affectionately know as Schnozzola for that trademark nose, once said:

Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.

Jimmy Durante, 1893-1980It's true.

Some of the most grounded marketers, commentators and successful people in all walks of life out there, are at the top of their game because they listen to all people no matter what their rank.

You see you need to be reading content that is relevant, fresh, and unheard.

Unheard?

Why how absurd?

You see when it comes to finding great advocates about inbound marketing, there's little to compete with the thousands of inbound.org members.

Yes, there's nearly some ten thousand members in a little under a year of full activity.

The least active and lowest influential users also have karma and upvotes assigned to them and in some cases they score negatively.

Now you might, for a split second, dismiss low scorers from the depths of any league table, or infact any social network as made up of bots, spammers, charlatans, trolls, chancers, snake oil, MLM, and other assorted bottom feeders.

However while scraping the barrel of karma it occurred to me that such users are possibly misunderstood.

I did a little - actually a lot - of digging into their online presence, and here's what I found.

These people actually are not what you think.

Hear me out.

You see, in this oh so often misguided metric world, we are all too quick to judge a book by it's cover, a person by their score or rank and hey who can blame us right, we're all too busy busy and we all crave our filters right?

Well in a kind of hippie utopian way of looking at things, I think there's a little bit of beautiful magic in everyone and yes, sometimes the numbers do actually lie.

So here's a not so scientific closer look at some of the lowest of the low.

You decide if that adds up.

The lowdown on the Inbound.org low

as of November 5th, 2012

Nº 9065. Paris Childress | 0 Karma | 0 Upvotes | Web: hop-onilne.com | Twitter: @parischildress | Google+

Paris ChildressThe magnificently named and not unlike Seth Godin looking Paris, is a Bulgarian based New Orleans native CEO of an SEO agency in Sofia. Paris' firm is listed as an SEOMoz recommended company and counts the Everywhereist as a trusted client.

I particularly admire how he uses the lesser used but wholly valid LinkedIn technique of embedding Linkedin cards to display the credentials and connectedness of his staff.

Paris uses a live Skype button on his contact form and eschews captcha's to detect spam instead prompting users to multiple choice the definition of SEO with false answer choices such as Silent Elephant Oozing. 

Oh and Paris' first link on his agency homepage is to inbound.org.

Not too shabby.

Nº 9064. Jamie Steven | 1 Karma | 1 Upvotes | Web: seomoz.org | Twitter: @jamies | Google+

Jamie StevenJamie is the VP of marketing at SEOMoz. He has dabbled in some WBF's in 2010 and recently whipped up a deft post about Google Analytics and Google Docs mashing.

He has admitted on Twitter that he inserted an F-bomb into a Moz press release and he is the possessor of a couple of Cameroonian short URLs.

Jamie has an illustrious online career with some nearly four years as a product manager at Microsoft in the halycon days of Encarta.

Nº 9055. Kipp Bodnar | 0 Karma | 0 Upvotes | Web: b2bsocialmedia.com | Twitter: @kippbodnar | Google+

Kipp BodnarKipp was promoted to Director of Marketing at Hubspot six months ago after spearheading the content at their eponymous blog during nearly three years, and we all know that Hubspot is the spiritual other half of the origins of Inbound.org.

Kipp is the co-author of The b2b Social Media Book and one of his last posts on his personal blog a few years ago stated how he wanted to change the world.

From 2008 to 2010 his own blog was a hive of activity and his tenure at Hubspot seems to have put a brake on his non Hubspot output ever since.

You can hardly blame him for that though, in this video he explains how Hubspot publish marketing materials up to three times a day.

And with a $35 million in a fresh funding round of investment for international expansion just announced, Kipp and crew are due some huge congratulations.

The Inbound chunky middle

At this point, I should stress that the selections that continue were on the basis of a random finger in the air of who's next that has the slightly less least amount of karma, whereby if the above hadn't yet neither upvoted or accumulated karma then what would be of the bunch that had been bestowed with a unit of at least 1 karma point.

And it turns out that until I paginated to upper eighteen hundreds, everyone was pretty much on the same score of double zero karma and upvotes.

That's a lot of marketing inertia right there in the middle Inbound dot org managers. People who signed up, had a quick peek and perhaps a vote and were never to be seen again.

I waded in deep and pushed on for something of note, and came across Chris.

Nº 1798. Chris Gilchrist | 1 Karma | 2 Upvotes | Web: hitreach.co.uk | Twitter: @hitreach | Google+

Chris GilchrisChris is the MD of the Scottish outfit Hitreach.

Like many a mid town SEO agency - hey no offence to people of Dundee - Chris has mulled how to attract the attention of fellow SEOs from afar.

So most recently his agency produced a match the SEO tatoo to the person competition, and featured a host of SEO hotshots and their own body ink.

Chris also lobbied recently to uncover the avatar of fellow linker James Agate on Inbound, but alas was not as successful as a bloke called Jon from Florida who managed it this week in between lectures and classic blog posts.

Hitreach are also prolific Wordpress plugin makers and released an allow PHP in Wordpress plugin two years ago.

The blog post about it has recieved over 414 comments to date, including some tireless support from Jamie Fraser of Hitreach, and the plugin itself has been downloaded more than 68,000 times.

Nº 909. Ani Lopez | 5 Karma | 2 Upvotes | Web: dynamical.biz/blog | Twitter: @anilopez | Google+

Ani LopezAni Lopez is a Spanish marketing strategist based in Vancouver, Canada.

Ani is a fine proponent of multilingual SEO and advanced Analytics with a host of SMX speaking gigs to his name and is now the inhouse analytics advocate of the delightfully named 1-800-GOT-JUNK? claiming his role involves mastering "Garbage in, Insights out."

Ani previously translated and published a spanish eye tracking and SERPs study into English on his blog which was warmly received, proving that advanced SEO abounds not just in English.

Nº 734. Chandra Clarke | 7 Karma | 9 Upvotes | Web: chandraclarke.com | Twitter: @chandraclarke | Google+

Chandra Clarke

Chandra Clarke is a founder of scribendi.com, a proof reading company in Canada that can safely boast: "trusted with more than 604 million words."

There are few outfits that can carve a business podcast niche about the proper use of parentheses like Chandra's.

As a seasoned wordsmith and evocative blogger Chandra has a strong distaste for pink, for mompreneurs, and has ardently blogged about styrofoam peanuts.

There is a huge pool of talent within the member pages of Inbound irrespective where you look.

And whilst the pareto rule most probably applies to the karma and upvotes across the board, it doesn't really tell the full story.

Numbers cannot evoke

It doesn't really tell the full story because numbers may indeed indicate but they can't evoke, like words do, like stories do, like story tellers do, like people do.

So next time you're evaluating marketing effectiveness, be it rank, score, grades, DA, PA, Likes, Tweets, the whole shebang of metrics, and the left hemisphere is in full swing, remember to counter balance it with some right brain evaluation.

Marketing and persuasion are inextricably linked and persuasion is a powerful force. Only right now, two men are putting that to the test in a $5.8bn gamble.

Maybe they should just cop an ear to the vaudeville Schnozzola before it's game over.

ps. with thanks to Mark Traphagen of Virante for the inspiration of this post.

Claque SEO is out

History will teach us nothing....so sang a Geordie teacher who long since donned a yellow and black jumper.

Indeed I was equally intrigued as Christian Payne, aka Documentally, of the parallels that Matt Locke - founder of the outfit named StoryThings - spoke about during a lecture about the History of Attention.

Of course attention and applause is an elusive goal that all publishers and companies strive for.

Matt explains that during the 19th Century opera era, aplause was a metric of attention for the business of opera, something that is not too removed from percieved marketing success metrics of today.

Claque Monsieur?

Claque agencies sprang up in Paris some two hundred years ago to serve up large dosages of canned enthusiasm with neatly defined roles for the chef de claque (leader of applause), the commissaires (officers/commissioner), the rieurs (laughers), the pleureurs (criers), the chatouilleurs (ticklers), and the bisseurs (encore-ers) all intent on generating ROI for their clients.

It's tempting to cruelly draw parallels with a SEO agency job positions or indeed any marketing specialists but that would be perhaps a cynical step too far.

Listen below to an excerpt of an interview Christian did with Matt.

In the audio clip below Matt explains:

the economy around content in that era was built around applause, because it was economically important there were ways of cheating it, there were ways of gaming the applause, just as there was payola around radio and TV, around music...

Can hollow content echo?

So technology apart, not much has really changed since then.

Marketers still yearn for big breakthroughs and crave attention as much as the chef de claques and their paymasters did then.

Whilst the lacey bonnets of yesteryear may have been replaced with racey miniskirts of today, in essence the motives and human methods have not really shifted.

During the last World Cup in South Africa a Dutch brewery avoided official sponsorship by deploying a classic guerilla advertising tactic of ardent blonde applause in minimal attire.

However with the advent of the Games this summer, the inexorable proliferation of content, spam, and competition for attention it's getting ever harder to succeed.

If you are a marketer you face stark choices.

Run the Olympic risk of incurring the wrath of the legislation and branding regulation around the Games by going guerilla?

Continue deploying outdated SEO practices that fuel the myths and misunderstandings of SEO and risk the severe penalties that are being handed out?

The fat lady is seoing

Over time the evolving concert etiquette of opera rendered the Claquers obsolete and the art moved on.

And these days, despite protests by the SEO all too often navel gazing community, the search updates by Google, most recently Penguin - attacking thin links, and before that Panda, taking out sites with thin pages, the search results have generally improved for the wider public.

Despite the scaremongering about negative SEO and complaint about effects of business being wiped out because of sudden deindexation, there is little celebration of the counter side of the recent changes that have equally rewarded business who have flourished as a result of dramatically changed rankings.

Marketing is moving on.

It's not all about claque nowadays, the truth is if you plan to succeed your marketing needs more than just a sting.

Google Drive is a lexical anachronism

What's in a name?

Quite a lot I would say.

Thankfully when they decided against Backrub as it was initially called, the Google founders choose well.

Since then, they have flirted with all sorts of naming conventions for Google products, but I do not regard yesterday's choice of Google Drive as the zenith of product naming inspiration.

Take Dropbox for example, it does what it says on the tin. The analogy works for most people.

Even for non english speakers.

And that is where my beef of contention is with Drive.

It reeks of geek. Yes I know we all have a C: Drive and assorted other alphabetical ones but even my non geek english speaking friends cannot relate to a Drive.

When Google launched Wave, some argued it was a peculiar name to give it although the product was so ahead of it's time and regular users that it defied easy definition anyhow.

A soul of silicon and the logo of a british bank

But Drive? I mean even Microsoft have used Sky as in SkyDrive in some way making that, heaven forbid, fashionable association with the Cloud.

Why not Disk Google? Surely even that name is more universal than Drive, or would it infer a too much of a physical item or be a remanant of CD Discs or even floppy disks from yesteryear?

So Folder is not a contender because that way of thinking is the anti-thesis of search and carries far too much MSOffice connotations.

The people at the Plex have done everything to distance themselves from the Folders ways of thinking in the hope users would follow suite. Remember it's dubbed collections in Docs.

So how about Space?

Everyone wants space, more space and space is far more multilingual than Drive.

Was space given the elbow because of fear of association with MySpace?

And while we are on the subject of design, please don't get me started on the logo. For the brits among us, Google Drive has the logo left overs of a famous high street british bank.

What would your mum say?

You see my mum, that acid test of computing, well she is spanish and even Maria Josefa Alburquerque Lorencio, Fifina to you and me, cannot emote with Drive.

I talk with her about stuff, places, spaces, boxes, folders, and hey even computers and stuff I do on the internet to make money for a living.

Mostly in spanish, and not just limited to that simple vocabularly. You get my gist.

Directories I try to avoid and Drive I reserve only when referring to the Renault or the Fiat on the parked on the driveway.

Here's one Google Drive however I do want and could readily emote with.

Lastly, if like me you have tried your level best to emote with Drive and have been greeted by such a cryptic message like so, then there's a Google Group for that - which of course you are welcome to join.

With your Google Account of course.

Vroom, vroom.

Algo Columbo

If you've ever asked two SEO professionals a probing question, you're likely to have recieved at least three different answers.

Search is never truly a precise science, because it's conditions are set, not just by the mighty G force, but also by the behaviour of everyone else using their services.

And because neither Google or its' users are never still, it makes for a compelling adventure, intellectual headscratching and a fair amount of good ole detective work when things don't pan out.

And in some quarters recent Search events have not panned out as expected.

How could it be that a highly respected SEO agency from Philadelphia would succumb to some sort of Google search maelstrom that would result in it being obliterated in search results so suddenly?

Every half decent SEO pro possesses an inate curiosity and of course this statement by Wil set off a whole chain reaction from SEO people as to the cause and remedy for Seer Interactive's plight.

Was it a result of the parked domain slip up recently admitted by Matt Cutts?

Was it the result of nascent Negative SEO?

Heaven forbid, an over optimised title tag or the velocity of link acquisition?

It could be some or none of those, one of the equal joys and frustrations of Search is that it's not straight forward to conclusively prove a theory either way.

Wild goose chases and red herrings are all par for the course.

And often that leads to drastic action being taken.

So what did Seer Interactive do?

They acted fast and reading between Wil's blog lines and comments we can definitely see two actions Seer took to specifically combat the situation.

  • A 301 redirect from the previous company name of Seer Interactive was ruthlessly severed, taking with it years of legacy backlinks, of all sorts.
  • And a link to a client site was also removed from Seer Interactive.

Forgive me if I have a rummage with some SEO tools to delve a little more.

Using Link Detective the classification of links to Seer are itemised for the current domain and their legacy one.

It's revealing to see at a glance, may I stress, the emphasis of link strategies that the company has pursued over time.

Previously, the back links to Seer were very much SEO keyword focused, and what looks like the deliberate departure of that tactic is evident with a very different proportion of anchor text links for seerinteractive.com

Let's be clear though, this is only one of probably a plethora of checks and tools that evidently the Seer lieutenants and close pals would have used to diagnose matters.

After all, three eyes are better than one.

Baggage and ties

In severing that 301 redirect, in one swoop Seer may have disassociated themselves from their baggage and simultanesouly removed the effects of a mixture of probable quality and lesser quality links.

Some of the quality of those legacy links may well have deterioated over time and with the advent of an algorthmic change by Google recently, may have tripped a certain threshold, and possibly an attempt by Google to penalise abnormally low volumes of branded anchor keywords.

Put another way, there may have been insufficient naturally worded links to the Think Seer domain in the past, using the keyword term Think Seer.

Thin links to big sites

The other action Seer did was remove this page from their blog.

This screenshot cache is a quick blog entry with a link to a prominent client of Seer Interactive.

During the intial frenzy of SEO excitement many friends of Wil were looking up if seerinteractive was ranking for it's own name.

Yet often it's worth looking at things from another perspective all together.

That famous supplier of email marketing software has on the face of it, a huge link profile with some of the highest scores possible.

How could it be that such an industry stalwart has a page 2 position whilst a lesser known rich snippet spammer occupies the number º1 spot?

Is the SERPs for email marketing software as obtuse of that for SEO companies?

At that point I've not dug any further. Others will do so.

However I find this particularly fascinating that Seer chose to remove this somewhat thin link.

And yet in some respects, Seer have with immediate effect and by (mis)fortune of circumstance, actioned of much of what SEOMoz's latest white board friday video championed, that is:

  1. Use Authentic Titles
  2. Avoid manipulative internal links
  3. Forget crappy footer link stuffing
  4. Don't cram irrelevant text with links on the page
  5. Avoid links from penalty likely sources
  6. Get links from distinct pages not near clones

To rename or to rebrand, that is the question

One of the most significant wider issues to rise from this SEO event is the implications for marketers with respect of any rebranding exercise.

Too often the term rebrand is substituted for the the word rename, when they are wholly a different order of magnitude.

It's something I have raised with SEO agency colleagues and I do question how effective or risky any such exercise is in future.

A mere name change of your domain with classic 301 redirects in place, may not be enough, indeed it may, subject to your link profile be somewhat risky, compared to a full scale true rebranding exercise where you do amass branded keyword links.

Of course, Seer could revisit and cherry pick modification of the most significant legacy backlinks with a view to preserving some of their weight to the power of their domain, but that is a huge exercise with questionable outcome.

It's an interesting dilemma that far from begs of a formulaic answer.

Negative SEO or The Perfect Storm

Of course speculation, informed or not, never ceases online and even more so when SEO is involved.

Wil refers to Negative SEO as something to be aware of in his blog post, but does not infer this was directly a cause in Seer's case.

I'm less inclined to believe Seer were explicitly a target, but perhaps if anything, an inadvertent victim of the same effects of Negative SEO rather than any malicious intent.

In any case there are other targets, including ones cited on this page openly courting attempts to bowl them.

If SEO navel gazing industry talk about Negative SEO does one thing, it is to disproportionately steal attention of the positive Search successes that have come out of the last few weeks and reassociate marketing minds with shady SEO practices yet again.

That is not to say you should turn a blind eye to it.

Of course if you are convinced of the adverse effects of Negative SEO, you'll speak up and show the evidence, much like Seer did with their heads up sharing of their short lived predicament.

And forget not what Peter Falk did in his pre Columbo days when playing baseball as recounted to Cigar Aficionado magazine.

"I remember once in high school the umpire called me out at third base when I was sure I was safe. I got so mad I took out my glass eye, handed it to him and said, 'Try this.' I got such a laugh you wouldn't believe."

Some people really have to see it for themselves.

So if you have overwhelming evidence about Negative SEO, bring it on.

That's when Search marketers can revel in the detail to test theories and prove/disprove notions.

Oh, just one more thing...

I've detected a Columbo spirit in many SEO characters and a penchant for detail.

Take this last quote from the actor Peter Falk himself:

"I have an obsessive thoroughness. It's not enough to get most of the details, it's necessary to get them all. I've been accused of perfectionism. When Lew Wasserman (head of Universal Studios) said that Falk is a perfectionist, I don't know whether it was out of affection or because he felt I was a monumental pain in the ass."

The Search marketer is an intellectually restless animal.

Don't ya think?

Death, pets, children and renewal

I am melancholy.

My wife and I just took the decision at the veterinary clinic to put down one of our two cats.

Maasai was a fantastic Seal Point Birman.

Like many cats of his breed, at the age of twelve, Maasai had developed a kidney dysfunction which had rapidly reached a chronic stage, and after two days under care it was apparent his condition was irreversible.

Regardless if you are a dog or cat person the loss of a pet companion is a wrench. If you've gone through similar with your pet, you may know how awful it is. 

This pic is when he was only a couple of months playfully old at the start of the millenia.

Stuck for a name at the time we acquired them, we named the pair of Birman cats we bought in London, Maasai & Mara, having recently returned from a trip to Kenya.

That second picture is Mara - the titanium hip plated sister to the 6+kg Maasai - atop a hot router.

Children and the idea of death and renewal

It's not my first time I have experienced this situation, as I unhappily recall the moment as a child, however this time the ordeal was as a parent which was even more testing with a nine and three and half year old accompanying my wife and I at the vets.

My son Alexander (9 years) was old enough to comprehend the situation yet evidently sad about it. I feel it important that the notion of death is not concealed in his upbringing.

He is at the age where curisosity abounds in anything he learns and is immediately pondering and querying aspects of the cat's final moments.

He has developed logic and yet can be abstract in thought and exercise wonderful imagination.

My daughter Olivia, at three and a half years old, was expectant we would return home from the vets with Maasai and naturally was bewlidered, upset and yet equally rapidly distractable.

Guilt about guilt

The relationship between human and animal is a strange one. We develop affections for a pet animals while they depend on us during their lifetime for food, shelter and attention and yet the majority of us, myself included, comfortably remain meat eaters for example.

What has played on my conscious though has been putting this episode into perspective in the midst of far greater difficulties that afflict our life and that of many others in these times.

I know that family health of other relatives is more important and recent news has certainly reminded me of that.

It can seem absurd to mourn yet as the vet explained, you've spent all that time being attentive to an animal who devotes and seemingly adores its' owners and the loss evokes memories of past stages in your life that you cannot easily dissociate.

Today I feel guilty about feeling guilty. I am confused. Is that wrong?

Children are your love

Can you really love an animal?

Language carries a lot of weight and whilst a bond is developed with a pet, it never surpasses a human relationship.

If there was one moment of joy today, it was the indefatigable inadvertent humour that a three and half year old brings to your world.

As I talk spanish with my already bilingual daughter, I explained that Maasai was sadly not coming back home as he was going to heaven.

And heaven in spanish is cielo, meaning sky.

Alas, Olivia nonchantly replied to me:

Maasai is not going to heaven, he doesn't have wings papa.

No papa, Maasai no puede ir al cielo, no tienes alas.

This picture was snapped just moments after she convincingly told me that.

Love family.

SEO Anglo Spanish conference comparison: No contest

Last November I had the pleasure of attending the Congreso SEO - also referred to as the SEO Pro - as an invited speaker at the Olympia Hotel in Valencia, here in Spain.
¿Lo prefieres en español?

The organiser, Miguel Lopez from Marketing Online Valencia, had made a herculean near solo effort to put on a superb SEO event that united a devoted bunch of the finest Spanish SEO minds to knock heads and hearts together for three days.

I won't delve into a detailed round up of presentations. That was already done in the afterglow of the moment by several other speakers from Spain and attendees from around the world.

Suffice to say the excellence of thought and presentations was outstanding. Don't take my word for it, other seasoned SEO speakers who travelled afar can attest to the level on show.

Fortune has it that my job and background means I frequent England and Spain for work and pleasure all the time, and as I am tempted, with so much in life, I often pause to contemplate the pros and cons to each. So this is my take on how Spain and UK stack up at SEO events.

Photo thanks to @carrero

Event choice. Size and shirt matters.

Or does it? In the UK the SEO scene is bigger. I'm not going to start digging up the stats, comparing agency head count, billings or search or PPC metrics, but I will put my neck on the professional line and claim that SEO as an industry is a more an established profession in the UK and accepted discipline within marketing compared to that in Spain.

And so what? Well, in terms of conference size, attendance and frequency of events, the UK has a wealth of events to choose from. Ranging from the free, the spirited raucous to the premium priced and the SEO events that form part of a larger online marketing fairs, there is a wide choice on offer.

In contrast, Spain sports less amount of formal events, however that is not necessarily such a bad thing, as it's what you do with your SEO event that counts, right? During the SEO Pro in Valencia, the seventy or so attendees had ample time over three days to really make solid professional connections and strengthen friendships.

In contrast in the UK, I've often found myself forced to diligently pre-research attendees and companies whom I wanted to network with, before the event, to allow myself time to adequately devirtualise the SEO brains in the room.

Wealth of riches you might say, well there certainly is a camaraderie in Spanish events that has echoes of the earlier days of the British SEO scene in the pre halycon days of Google.

And let's be clear, just because you're first to invent something, that does not confer you the status of the best practitioner at it. The British know that all too well; Football? err Who won the last World Cup for petes sake?

England score from a free kick with a cruel deflection!

Scoreline at 20mins: England 1 Spain 0

Event organisation

It goes hand in hand with size, that a large event demands significant resources to keep everything all tickety-boo and this will invariably be a large contributing factor to the price of the ticket.

During London's recent SearchLove event by Distilled [c], the army of people running the show allowed for professional sound and vision, full recording, and all the ancillary tasks required for a glitch free event.

It's not just the event itself, but all the promotion of it before and after that places great demands on the organisers and tests their promotional skill.

Distilled's SearchLove did a good job of whipping up interest via online buzz prior to the event in October and produced once again a delightful printed booklet for attendees packed with speaker interviews.

Spain's Miguel SEOPro Lopez however, single handedly built buzz several months before hand, deftly blogging and regularly emailing interviews with speakers' SEO stories for months beforehand.

This sustained a hashtag level of interest in the event for weeks in advance. Attendees didn't go home without any goodies though as several attendee and speaker companies dealt out schwag or more vitally, free trial codes for worthy paid SEO services/tools. It wasn't just a Spanish version of any old shitforlinks.

Where SearchLove excelled was the supply and openess of the speaker .ppt decks after the event and the filming of the presentations, in contrast SEOPro restricted the distribution of slides only among the speakers privately and neither audio or video recorded presentations.

As five months have elapsed since my CongresoSEO presentation (Representación de datos para SEO or Infographics for linkbuilding) Miguel has kindly consented for it to become public.

Grab all the links from the presentation or read and comment it in this Google+ photo presentation. View or download the entire deck from my Dropbox although please note unfortunately the embedded YouTube videos will not playback.

In terms of hob nobbing, mingling and entertainment I'm afraid there was little contest between Valencia and London.

Whilst both SEOPro and SearchLove ran single track jam packed days of speakers presenting for 45-60 minutes, the London timetable was brutal on social options for mingling compared to Valencia.

Yes, they're is after-event shoulder rubbing at SearchLove but its attendance is partial relative to conference crowd.

Of course the sandwich lunch culture, or should I say stand up SearchLove noshing is accepted practice in the UK, don't get me wrong the food was very good and people came for the talks not the grub after all, however the food in Valencia throughout the three days was just glorious.

Attendees sat to eat in a restaurant in well mixed up tables during the event and conference talks would restart at five ending at eight o clock in the evening.

That stoppage time during the day allowed for delegates at SEOPro to catch up on business or take a well deserved siesta.

How else are you going to recuperate the mad late hours of partying? Suffice to say Valencia stole the show on the partying aspect.

Superb tica-taca possession by Spain's midfield, then a sublime touch sees Spain equalise.

Half Time Score Line: England 1 Spain 1

Champion & Premier league SEO

So when it comes down to the crunch, how does the quality of SEO compare between the two?

Both events boasted a high quality of presentations.

People had done their homework, generously shared their data and insights and anecdotally it seemed attendees were highly satisfied with both Congreso SEO and SearchLove.

Both events have suffered from external criticism from non attendees who have either misinterpreted comments, that seep out via Twitter or morph into Chinese Whispers.

Sure enough both events were dominated with a plethora of references to Panda, although in Spain the most common element that unified all presentations was a devout homage to scrapers.

Edit: one worthy Panda inclusion, was the bizarre coincidence that I selected an infographic to show during my presentation from a company called AttachMedia, unbeknown to me, the author of it was in the audience and introduced himself to me afterwards. He had come from Peru just for the event!

At London's SearchLove, speakers included big USA names in SEO as well as local Brits. In contrast Spain featured pretty much all local based talent with a few exceptions.

I think there were presentations in Valencia worthy of a wider audience such as the advanced faceted navigation decks from Fernando Macia and Rodney Cullen that would go down well with an audience in London and further afield. I particularly admired the SEOcial media thinking from Jose Llinares.

However there was no shrinking violets in Spain when it came to openly talking exposing the darker techniques of SEO, in contrast when this happens in UK, it's usually preceeded with a stern warning not to try this at home, a plea not to RT and a hand clasped over the microphone.

If anything Spanish SEO's pull no punches when discussing dark SEO in public, possibly in part because their thoughts are not as amplified compared to the UK.

I'm not an advocate of grey/black hat techniques although I can't refute there are short term success eeked out at times by some, although since November of last year, some of the techniques discussed in Valencia have since proved ineffective and infact counterproductive with further algorythmic refinements by Google.

Late last year I felt a little relief to note that Matt Cutts was referred to in a Google Blog as a Distinguished Engineer instead of the Head of WebSpam.

Indeed imagine a Direct Marketer equivalent being continually referred to as the Head of Junkmail. Hardly appropriate.

Anyway, my point here is that as the english speaking SEO market matures, SEO is more mainstream marketing accepted and it's defintion evolves to overlap social and inbound marketing.

There is a collective effort by leading english speaking SEO practioners to drag the SEO discipline more to the marketing mainstream than continue to suffer from a poor reputation and escape the perception of SEO in crisis.

If anything the debate about definition of Inbound maketing has accelerated since November of last year and is unlikely to subside.

In contrast in Spain, my feeling is that the profession is still too far from the centre of online marketing.

There is a telling friction between the SEO community in Spain and it's noisy Community Manager's virtual nascent sister it is awash with.

Unfortunately stereotypes have a grain of truth in them, Community Managers need to get more accountable and SEOs need to get more social.

At one point during the presentations in Valencia, a slide with the average advertised salary levels contrasting Community Managers and SEO's jobs, drew gasps of mild shock and the odd irritation.

This was despite the previous slides demonstrating the disproportionate commercial value SEO had conferred to the organisations.

There was actually a Community Manager centric event in Sevilla at the same time as the Congreso SEO and there was a palable gulf of disdain between the occasional interesecting monolgues on Twitter amongst the two camps during the weekend.

A game of two halves

It's perhaps an unfair call to compare SEO events in both countries like for like. I think SearchLove and Congreso SEO were both successful in their own right and if you have the chance you should attend either of them. Seriously.

And as usual I am quite torn between any comparison between Spain and England and whenever the national teams compete in sport I typically back the underdog for want of more competition.

...Spain are denied a penalty in the dieing minutes of the game and England snatch an injury time winner in a goal mouth scramble.

Final Scoreline:

England 2 Spain 1

Por supuesto este post también está redactado en castellano.

Distilled's LinkLove conference was held last week in London and Boston. Here's their round upIf you missed it, you will be able to buy SEO conference videos

Congreso SEO is being held in Madrid on the 6th & 7th July 2012. Early bird discounts expire pronto.

So what do you think?

Does England pip Spain for SEO conferences or vice versa?

Did I referee that right or would you give me a yellow card?