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A digital christmas

xmastreeGood and bad news this christmas. Firstly the bad. I returned to my parent’s house for Christmas only to discover that they currently don’t have any Internet whatsoever. I managed to share my 3G internet connection on my Nokia N95 8GB via Bluetooth with my Macbook so at least I have some connection, albeit pinging servers at over 300ms. 

On the good news front, I’ve received plenty of techie books to keep me busy. For 2010, I’ve identified my skills in Excel, CSS and landing page optimization need to be improved. With the latter, we ran a competition on one of our sites in our portfolio, and we sent a huge amount of traffic to merchants, but it became quickly apparent that the quality of the landing page influenced whether we generated £10k in sales, or literally nothing at all. 

My Excel book is probably large enough to kill someone with and has all the information to satisfy my knowledge for pivot tables. Over the forthcoming week, I’ll be cracking into that and my book on CSS. If I am to work on creating landing pages for clients, then knowledge of CSS will be critical. It’ll be helpful for my sites in my personal portfolio. Another book I need to buy in the new year is one on analytics, but I’ve got plenty of reading for now!

No pictures on this post. Not until I have a Broadband connection again!


Google real time search

This screen grab of a search I did is testament to Google’s new real time search results working 😀

googlesearch


The ongoing debate SEO vs PPC – SES Chicago 09

boxingI’ve been following some of the SES Chicago 09 coverage and the ultimate battle came up, SEO vs PPC. Representing SEO was David Naylor who I saw speak on the subject of SEO. Once you get past his love for plugging Microsoft services, then he is a very good speaker. Also representing too was Rand Fishkin, a true SEO heavyweight!

What amazes me is that in debating different search engine marketing techniques, so much effort is spent on debating which is better rather than using it as a forum for discussing how the synergies of both methods can be used to deliver value. I believe that SEO can deliver sustainable competitive advantage through excellent organic listings. Looking at the site portfolio I work on at work, I think SEO is the source of our competitive advantage. PPC has some great uses. It requires no investment, and you can deliver traffic in an instant. A particular interest for me is usability and converting traffic, so for that, PCC is great.

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check out the debate that was held. There are some really funny lines in it, especially by David Naylor. I Loved the Bing remark.


EU ‘no cookie’ Directive. Who should be most worried?

euIn the previous few weeks a large amount of attention in the digital marketing industry has been given to a directive approved by the EU council. If you are unaware of the Directive in question, check out the Econsultancy article who provide a good general introduction to the topic. With consideration to further analysis of the politics behind the directive, read the out-law article. If you have the time, you can even read the directive for yourself!

I completed a Masters in European Business which focused largely on the institutions of the EU and the process of ratification of legislation, but the EU can still be confusing. With decision making powers shared from codecision to consultation with the EU Parliament, one can be forgiven for getting apathetic with engaging politically with the EU. One important fact to note is that this is a directive as opposed to a regulation. The fundamental difference is that it is upon the member states to implement directives, and the manner in which they do so.

There is some disparity between member states in how timely they implement directives. The EU permits a deficit of 1.5%, but even among all member states the average is 1.9%. Countries who are the slowest at implementing directives include France and Germany. It’s unfortunately bad news for those in Denmark and Spain who have the lowest deficit – meaning they implement directives the quickest.

I have contacted my local MEP to inquire as to how I can get further involved in the decision making process and exert my democratic power. I’m not a fan of the protectionist trade values of the EU, but I’m a fan of political and cultural integration. However on this one directive, I think the EU have got things firmly wrong.


Is the Internet Developing it’s own Postmodern ‘Generation X’?

socialmedia

You could be forgiven for thinking it’s late December with the amount of Christmas promotion on television and in the supermarkets, but indeed it’s mid November. In fact, it’s my birthday celebrations on Friday and that’s what I’m looking forward to. However at work things are about to get interesting as we are launching our largest promotion ever.

Starting on Wednesday, we are giving away  a prize worth at least £500 a day. This amazing free giveaway is going to last 30 days, and so we have an incredible amount of stuff to give away. It’s going to be really interesting, but presents lots of opportunities and challenges along the way.

It’s going to be heavily social media based and I’m intrigued to see what the reaction is to it. Moonfruit have had great coverage with their social media campaigns, but reading some of the reactions among those who work in social media suggests that such campaigns aren’t as popular as some may think. ‘Generation X’ is a segment of the market which television advertisers have great difficulty in targeting. Teenagers who spend more time on the Internet and tend to be more cynical of advertising. Are such social media campaigns giving rise to an equivalent on the Internet?

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Preference Utilitarianism in Affiliate Marketing

Peter Singer

Peter Singer

If advertising as a vehicle promotes consumerism and contributes to the traits of capitalism that has adverse affects on society then it’s a sure bet that digital marketing, a career I’m starting conflicts with my aspirations to live a lifestyle consistent with preference utilitarianism.

In this article I make no defense  of the industry, but provide arguments that my own particular career path at present is one that minimises these adverse effects.

Firstly I would make the case that working in search marketing, a field of marketing that is a little more distant from traditional advertising. It is the case that with search marketing, the consumer knows what they want and my job is merely to help them find it. Whether or not that product or service that they are looking to buy is a necessary purchase or represents value is a different matter, but at least I am not creating false wants – only fulfilling them.

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The battle of transforming data into information

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel

It is fast approaching two months I’ve been working as a SEO professional in digital marketing and there has been one constant theme, the usefulness of data. Rational decision making is limited by a lack of information and time, but by having knowledge and tools at hand, one can quite easily limit these bottlenecks.

At the SEOmoz Pro Training Seminar 2009 Excel was either referred to or used numerous times and reading some of the commentary about the two days, I wasn’t alone in feeling I need to improve my Excel skills. With some pivot tables, identifying the links your competitors have but you do not can take minutes instead of being a horrible laborious task.

One of my modules on my Master’s was quantitative research methods and it comprised of statistics. P values, confidence intervals, distribution models, regression models… all of that. It was the least enjoyable module I did at university but I worked hard and graded really well on it. Perhaps had I had a better understanding of SEM, I could have seen use for it and played around a little for the gain of digital marketing. I wasn’t a total stranger to Google Analytics when starting my job, but I hadn’t used it on any of my own websites. Google Analytics is really interesting and now it’s running on my sites.

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SEOmoz Pro Training London Seminar 2009

With just a few weeks of being a SEO professional, I was packing my bag and getting ready for the SEOmoz Pro Training London Seminar 2009. With little experience in SEO I was a little apprehensive since the course is geared at established professionals rather than newly starting juniors such as myself. It kicked off with some pretty hardcore Google Analytics data being exported into Excel. After that initial scare, I was very much at home.

The quality of the speakers was exceptional and what I learnt was invaluable. A particular highlight of mine was the guys from Conversion Rate Experts who gave an excellent presentation on (yes you guessed it) improving conversion rates. One of their clients included SEOmoz themselves and the results they had with them were quite impressive.

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A little introduction

Farewell Royal Holloway, time to start the working life

Farewell Royal Holloway

After a couple of days hunting, I’ve finally settled on a WordPress theme for my blog and accordingly now seems as good as time as any to introduce myself. In September 2009, after two business degrees I figured my time at university should come to an end and I should start contributing to UK GDP.

Just two weeks after completing my MA in European Business at Royal Holloway, I was very fortunate to get a job. With my academic background I could have taken the path of a management graduate scheme, but rather I’ve decided to start a career in digital marketing. I love it too much.

Digital marketing isn’t something covered a lot (if at all) at university in neither my marketing or advertising modules, so the learning curve can be steep. I could quite happily give a 30 minute presentation on the democratic deficit at the heart of the EU institutions, or the impact of institutional shareholding on different models of capitalism across the EU, but to ask me to give a 30 minute presentation on link building would present a challenge.

That’s why I’m working my way up from the bottom. Digital marketing is a passion for me, and knowing SEO well is  going to be an essential skill in my career. So let the fun begin.


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