Who will link to this?

If you’re in the active business of creating content for the purpose of gaining shares/links, are you asking yourself this question enough: Who will link to this?

Going back as recently as 3-4 years ago, link building services were at a high, because building links at scale was easy. People would buy 200 directory submissions here, spin the text of a couple of articles over there, and along with a few other less-than-white-hat tactics, you had high quantities of links to show your client on the first of the month.

That’s changed quite considerably these days. The stop-gap in-between mass web spam and the sudden daunting reality that is modern-day SEO, was the ‘boom’ of guest posting and infographics that dominated the last few years.

The problem seems to be that the industry is working at the extreme ends of the spectrum. Suddenly the directory submissions and guest posts aren’t as effective (and are even harmful to a site), and the amount of “link building is dead” articles begin to creep out of the woodwork (not helped by sensationalist headlines).

Link building isn’t dead, it’s just most of the old ‘tactics’ don’t work anymore.

Content for links?

Content is undoubtedly the best way to build genuine links (at scale) in 2015 and beyond, but with that becomes difficulties. What we now see is endless new pieces of content being created around topics that people think will go ‘viral’ and get them lots of links, but in most cases, don’t.

If you read articles around content marketing or listen to podcasts (such as This Old Marketing – which I love, for the record) the focus is very much on content strategy, and creating the most applicable content for your audience. But what about amplification and seeding?

Never-fail content promotion

One of my favourite SEO articles is by Richard Baxter on the Built Visible (formally SEO Gadget) blog. Richard talks about big content promotion and his team’s mantra of ensuring content is a success in terms of it’s goals.

Never Fail Outreach

To borrow Richard’s example:

You’ve had that “great” idea, everyone in the room agreed to it, you got the research done, you hired a designer, you hired a developer and everything looks great. The big day comes, it’s time to go live, to publish your work.

You click “publish”, and, nothing.

The solution Richard outlines is a great process for publishing content, but keeping your SEO hat on, the core question should simply be: who will link to this?

If you are planning a piece of content to encourage links and shares, then you shouldn’t be blindly doing so without doing your due-diligence.

Can you quickly find 10 websites or blogs that would be interested in sharing your piece of content-in-the-making? If the answer isn’t an emphatic ‘yes’, then it could be a sign that your piece of content isn’t going to do very well in terms of outreach when you’re trying to gain coverage.

Do your research. Analyse what people are sharing. Speak to potential target sites. See how well similar content has done in the past.

For The Open University, we at Huskies recently produced a piece of content to celebrate 30 years since the first dot-com domain name. We had identified a clear topical opportunity in advance with relevance to our goals. Before we created anything, we did our due diligence and made sure we had identified (and spoken to) the people who would be interested.

Apple 1990s website

This worked really well to get us shares (and links) above the noise of lots of other news/content that was being published by other brands across the web.

Relive the 1990s web

We can do better

Not all pieces of content that we create will be successful, and some will completely fail. There are steps we should be taking as an industry to produce the best possible ideas and content though, and not just publishing things for the sake of it.

I’ll end on Jonathan Colman’s great post from a few years ago:
We Can Do Better Than This


How to Export Gmail Messages to Excel CSV (with Thunderbird)

I needed a way of exporting the email messages from Gmail to Excel CSV format recently, and there’s a lot of random (and confusing) solutions listed online, so thought I’d blog about the one that actually worked for me.

It’s all pretty straight forward – here’s how.

Step 1: Download & Install Thunderbird

Hop over to the Mozilla website and download the email client Thunderbird. Once you’ve installed it, open up the program and head to step two.

Step 2: Add Gmail Account to Thunderbird

Once you have Thunderbird open, select the option to add a new account and enter your Gmail credentials. Thunderbird should automatically detect the default Gmail settings, giving you the option to select either IMAP or POP3. For the purposes of this, I selected POP3 (to store emails on my computer), then clicked the ‘Done’ option to finalise.

Add new Gmail account to Thunderbird

Step 3: Import Gmail Messages

Next up, click the ‘Get Mail’ option in Thunderbird to import the email messages from Gmail.

Import Gmail email messages into Thunderbird

Step 4: Install Import/Export Addon for Thunderbird

As Thunderbird doesn’t offer the export to CSV functionality as standard, you’ll need to grab this import/export addon which will do the trick. Download and install the addon.

Step 5: Download Gmail Mails as Excel CSV

You can now select multiple emails within Thunderbird (hold CTRL and click in Windows for multiple selections). Once you have selected the messages you want to export to Excel CSV, simply right click and select the ‘Save selected messages’ option, then ‘Spreadsheet (CSV)’.

Click to export Gmail messages to Excel CSV

This should do the trick, with your selected Gmail messages appearing as seperate rows within an Excel CSV file (downloaded to the destination you chose).

Have fun.


UK Domain Names for Sale – June 2013

I spotted this afternoon that Rhys was selling a few of his domains and it reminded me that I have a few knocking around that I’m happy to let go.

Below is the list of domains I’m looking to sell on, along with their approx. monthly search volume (taken via the Google AdWords Keyword Tool). None of the domains have any history in terms of having websites on them, as they’ve kind of just been sitting around in my 123-reg account. Drop me an email (kieronhughes[at]gmail[dot]com) if you’re interested!

  • usopengolf.co.uk – 6,600 searches (up to 74k+ at time of event)
  • elclasico.co.uk – 4,400 searches (up to 12k+ at time of event)
  • streamlivefootball.co.uk – 14,800 searches
  • flightstocrete.org.uk – 5,400 searches
  • martymcflyshoes.co.uk – 320 searches
  • rangeroverforsale.org.uk – 2,900 searches
  • transitvans.org.uk – 590 searches
  • usedcaravansforsale.org.uk – 2,400 searches

Stop. Start. Stop. Start.

Chuck Palahniuk

Last week I was reading Chuck Palahniuk’s AMA on reddit and one particular answer struck me. The question posed to Chuck was (to paraphrase), “What offends you?”, to which he responded:

What offends me? Waste offends me, or great ideas that never get developed. I want to steal from every writer I meet who shares a brilliant idea that he or she will never complete.

As I looked through my domain list on 123-reg this morning, that quote struck a chord. I have 20 registered domain names, down from around 35 about 6 months ago. The amount of sites that sit live on them? One. This blog. And that wasn’t even live until today.

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