London Affiliates Conference: Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World - Matthew Jackson

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  • 1. Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World Matthew Jackson, Chief Search Strategist @M4Jackson
  • 2. What are we talking about? Gaming sites have a difficult task in the post-Penguin world Having a website does not make you link-worthy • How it has worked in the past • How it works now • What can we do to make you white-hat link-worthy?
  • 3. Gaming SEO in 2002-2011 Webpage Links Rankings
  • 4. #1 It worked #2 Google is was stupid #3 Everybody was doing it #4 But mainly, it was cheap!
  • 5. As a long-term strategy this categorically does not work anymore
  • 6. “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin Image:
  • 7. Recent Google Algorithm Updates
  • 8. Unnatural Links Bad Strategy Penguin 2.0
  • 9. Churn & Burn
  • 10. What is Penguin? “Using advanced computer science techniques such as machine learning and neural networking, algorithms can create new and improved algorithms based on observed results” Christopher Steiner – Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World
  • 11. Why should we avoid penalties?
  • 12. The current Sentiment Engagement NEWS DESIGN BUILD Quality Structure CITATIONS is listening to… CONTENT CONVERSATIONS Authority BLOG Satisfaction SOCIAL Relevance Freshness
  • 13. Our Interdependent Approach fits this landscape
  • 15. Google is Using User Signals
  • 16. Return to Search You have a few seconds to get the visitor’s attention and persuade them that they have arrived at a site that will answer their query. If they go back to Google, that’s a negative signal.
  • 17. Usability & Conversion If a website is difficult to use… If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and/what users can do on the site… If users get lost on a website… If a website's information is hard to read or doesn't answer users’ key questions… …they leave
  • 18. Mobile affects user experience +100% MOBILE CONVERSION +51% MOBILE CONVERSION +20% CLICK THROUGH RATE +28% TRAFFIC INCREASE
  • 19. • How and where do we acquire new visitors and traffic to the site? • Search engine organic traffic (SEO) Acquisition • Search engine paid traffic (PPC) • Referrals • Affiliates • Once someone is on the site how to we keep them there? Engagement • Content • Social • Ensure that users engaged with the site can quickly and easily buy/signup/convert Conversion • Design • Development • Content • CRO • Once someone has bought how to we encourage them to buy again and promote our site? Retention • Search • Retargeting • Email Google Listens To This To Feed Back To Acquisition • Search – to keep people coming back Return to Search • Social
  • 20. How do we get links then?
  • 21. Image Credit:
  • 22. Put your site at the centre of
  • 23.
  • 24. This gives you two key benefits #1 Gets you in the conversation #2 Makes you worth talking about
  • 25. Old style links Pros Cons Easy Google will devalue 10,000+ per day Google will spot patterns Cheap Google will penalise You may have to outsource (£) Boring?
  • 26. Creative linking Pros Cons Google CAN’T devalue Expensive? Referral Traffic Time consuming Social Shares 1 link per day/week/month Brand Exposure Need buy in from others (PR, Social, All done in house creative, developers) Exciting
  • 27. You have to promote
  • 28. Social activation of content
  • 29. Blogger outreach Social seeding Forum seeding Media databases Seeding Paid media Media relations Response Source Google Alerts
  • 30. Case Study 1
  • 32.
  • 33. Case Study 2
  • 34. Pornhub – “Big Data” • • • • Use easy to get data (Google Analytics) Present in an easy to use format Create eye catching sound bites Rinse and repeat
  • 35.
  • 36. Case Study 3
  • 37. PR & blogger outreach By storing all players’ results in the quiz we were able to release the data to journalists and bloggers to generate links and coverage. Working with fan sites we were able to increase plays for individual teams, by placing a link on one Crystal Palace fan site we were able to drive over 1,200 plays of the game overnight.
  • 38. Social influencers
  • 39. Forum seeding
  • 40. Reddit Using Reddit’s self serve advertising across general football and team related sub-reddits we were able to reach over 20.5K people within just one week with $15.
  • 41. What’s the future?
  • 42. Google is clever If Google can do this in its 20% time, think what it can do in the other 80% time
  • 43. Golden Retriever
  • 44. Create sites & campaigns for the users
  • 45. Negative SEO?
  • 46. Summary
  • 47. Your new link strategy • Create something to talk about • Promote to a relevant audience • Be a part of the conversation
  • 48. Don’t worry about… • Link anchor text • • Keyword relevance • • If the content is related to commercial terms, the anchor text will generate itself Create content to be proud of sharing, not content to boost rankings Target pages (unless it’s based on link worthiness) • Build your brand, build overall site authority, rankings will come
  • 49. A few tips…
  • 50. #1 Create things you and others are passionate about
  • 51. #2 Paid media = Earned links
  • 52. #3 Work with the right people
  • 53. Thank you! Please email any questions to Or get in touch on Twitter: @Branded_3