Developing White-hat Strategies
in a Black-hat World
Matthew Jackson, Chief Search Strategist
@M4Jackson
What are we talking about?
Gaming sites have a difficult task in the post-Penguin world
Having a website does not make you...
Gaming SEO in 2002-2011

Webpage

Links

Rankings
#1

It worked

#2

Google is was stupid

#3

Everybody was doing it

#4

But mainly, it was cheap!
As a long-term strategy
this categorically does not
work anymore
“It is not the strongest species that
survive, nor the most intelligent,
but the ones most responsive
to change.”
Charles ...
Recent Google Algorithm Updates
Unnatural Links
Bad Strategy

Penguin 2.0
Churn & Burn
What is Penguin?
“Using advanced computer science
techniques such as machine learning and
neural networking, algorithms ca...
Why should we avoid penalties?
The current

Sentiment

Engagement

NEWS
DESIGN

BUILD

Quality

Structure

CITATIONS

is listening to…

CONTENT

CONVERSA...
Our

Interdependent Approach
fits this landscape
VIDEO
OPTIMISATION

LOCATIONS
OPTIMISATION

PR & OUTREACH
CONTENT
STRATEGY

SCHEMA

BLOGGING

AUTHORSHIP

IMAGE
OPTIMISATI...
Google is Using
User Signals
Return to Search
You have a few seconds to get
the visitor’s attention and
persuade them that they have
arrived at a site ...
Usability & Conversion
If a website is difficult to use…
If the homepage fails to clearly state what
a company offers and/...
Mobile affects user experience

+100%
MOBILE
CONVERSION

+51%

MOBILE
CONVERSION

+20%

CLICK
THROUGH RATE

+28%
TRAFFIC
I...
• How and where do we acquire new visitors and traffic to the site?
• Search engine organic traffic (SEO)

Acquisition

• ...
How do we
get links then?
Image Credit: http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/4228
Put your site at the centre of
http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g40rrWBx2ok
This gives you two key benefits

#1

Gets you in the conversation

#2

Makes you worth talking about
Old style links
Pros

Cons

Easy

Google will devalue

10,000+ per day

Google will spot patterns

Cheap

Google will pena...
Creative linking
Pros

Cons

Google CAN’T devalue

Expensive?

Referral Traffic

Time consuming

Social Shares

1 link per...
You have to promote
Social activation
of content
Blogger
outreach
Social
seeding

Forum
seeding

Media
databases

Seeding
Paid
media

Media
relations

Response
Source

Goo...
Case Study 1
“HOW SOCKS
CHANGED THE
WAY I BUY
BROADBAND”
http://www.havasmedia.co.uk/2013/02/how-thermal-socks-lead-to-a-meaningful-connection-that-made-me-change-the-way-i-buy-br...
Case Study 2
Pornhub – “Big Data”
•
•
•
•

Use easy to get data (Google Analytics)
Present in an easy to use format
Create eye catching...
http://www.buzzfeed.com/alanwhite/pornhub-just-released-its-data-on-uk-viewing-habits-and-its
Case Study 3
PR & blogger outreach
By storing all players’ results in the quiz we
were able to release the data to journalists
and blog...
Social influencers
Forum seeding
Reddit
Using Reddit’s self serve advertising across general football and team related
sub-reddits we were able to reach ov...
What’s the future?
Google is clever
If Google can do this in its 20% time, think what it can do in the other 80% time
Golden Retriever
Create sites & campaigns for the users
Negative SEO?
Summary
Your new link strategy
• Create something to talk about

• Promote to a relevant audience
• Be a part of the conversation
Don’t worry about…
•

Link anchor text
•

•

Keyword relevance
•

•

If the content is related to commercial terms, the an...
A few tips…
#1

Create things you and
others are passionate about
#2

Paid media = Earned links
#3

Work with the right people
Thank you!
Please email any questions to contact@branded3.com
Or get in touch on Twitter: @Branded_3
London Affiliates Conference: Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World - Matthew Jackson
London Affiliates Conference: Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World - Matthew Jackson
London Affiliates Conference: Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World - Matthew Jackson
London Affiliates Conference: Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World - Matthew Jackson
London Affiliates Conference: Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World - Matthew Jackson
London Affiliates Conference: Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World - Matthew Jackson
London Affiliates Conference: Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World - Matthew Jackson
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London Affiliates Conference: Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World - Matthew Jackson

  1. 1. Developing White-hat Strategies in a Black-hat World Matthew Jackson, Chief Search Strategist @M4Jackson
  2. 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. 3. Gaming SEO in 2002-2011 Webpage Links Rankings
  4. 4. #1 It worked #2 Google is was stupid #3 Everybody was doing it #4 But mainly, it was cheap!
  5. 5. As a long-term strategy this categorically does not work anymore
  6. 6. “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin Image: http://www.chelseafcblog.com/2012/02/19/fa-cup-chelsea-1-1-birmingham-city-oh-my-god-charlie-darwin-where-are-you-now/
  7. 7. Recent Google Algorithm Updates
  8. 8. Unnatural Links Bad Strategy Penguin 2.0
  9. 9. Churn & Burn
  10. 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. 11. Why should we avoid penalties?
  12. 12. The current Sentiment Engagement NEWS DESIGN BUILD Quality Structure CITATIONS is listening to… CONTENT CONVERSATIONS Authority BLOG Satisfaction SOCIAL Relevance Freshness
  13. 13. Our Interdependent Approach fits this landscape
  14. 14. VIDEO OPTIMISATION LOCATIONS OPTIMISATION PR & OUTREACH CONTENT STRATEGY SCHEMA BLOGGING AUTHORSHIP IMAGE OPTIMISATION TECHNICAL SEO SOCIAL GOOGLE + EDITORIAL LINK BUILDING
  15. 15. Google is Using User Signals
  16. 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. 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. 18. Mobile affects user experience +100% MOBILE CONVERSION +51% MOBILE CONVERSION +20% CLICK THROUGH RATE +28% TRAFFIC INCREASE
  19. 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. 20. How do we get links then?
  21. 21. Image Credit: http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/4228
  22. 22. Put your site at the centre of
  23. 23. http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g40rrWBx2ok
  24. 24. This gives you two key benefits #1 Gets you in the conversation #2 Makes you worth talking about
  25. 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. 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. 27. You have to promote
  28. 28. Social activation of content
  29. 29. Blogger outreach Social seeding Forum seeding Media databases Seeding Paid media Media relations Response Source Google Alerts
  30. 30. Case Study 1
  31. 31. “HOW SOCKS CHANGED THE WAY I BUY BROADBAND”
  32. 32. http://www.havasmedia.co.uk/2013/02/how-thermal-socks-lead-to-a-meaningful-connection-that-made-me-change-the-way-i-buy-broadband/
  33. 33. Case Study 2
  34. 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 http://www.pornhub.com/insights/pornhub-united-kingdom/
  35. 35. http://www.buzzfeed.com/alanwhite/pornhub-just-released-its-data-on-uk-viewing-habits-and-its
  36. 36. Case Study 3
  37. 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. 38. Social influencers
  39. 39. Forum seeding
  40. 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. 41. What’s the future?
  42. 42. Google is clever If Google can do this in its 20% time, think what it can do in the other 80% time
  43. 43. Golden Retriever
  44. 44. Create sites & campaigns for the users
  45. 45. Negative SEO?
  46. 46. Summary
  47. 47. Your new link strategy • Create something to talk about • Promote to a relevant audience • Be a part of the conversation
  48. 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. 49. A few tips…
  50. 50. #1 Create things you and others are passionate about
  51. 51. #2 Paid media = Earned links
  52. 52. #3 Work with the right people
  53. 53. Thank you! Please email any questions to contact@branded3.com Or get in touch on Twitter: @Branded_3
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