Examples of Google Penalties and How to Get Around Them

About Google Penalties

Google is out to ensure that all referencing rules are implemented and respected by assessing the quality of the contents. It helps unravel low-quality contents and CEOs that tend to be unreasonable and deceptive.

To achieve this, Google has developed certain tools to ensure that all rules are followed. This article contains different types of penalties and what you can do to avoid them.

1.  The Automatic Penalties

Automatic penalties are the ones that happen algorithmically, the system itself detects the mistake made. This google technique is designed to rank websites with high-quality content higher as compared to the ones with weak contents. Automatic penalties are further categorized into three. They include;

  • The penguin penalties
  • The hummingbird penalties
  • The panda penalties

These three categories concentrated on sites that have text which is overstaffed with keywords, uncertainty in terms of incoming links and restricted loading time plus traced content.

Even though these types of penalties are not as tough as the manual ones, still they’ll hurt you, your site will be ranked poorly.

2.  Manual Penalties

These types of penalties are the ones that are issued because you had in one way or the other violated the rules set by Google. learn more about Google Penalties by clicking here

These penalties are often made by Google employees. They include;

  • Buying links
  • Virus infections
  • Cloaking
  • Redirects among others

Once the penalty is issued and received you’ll be required to appeal to Google to ask them to bring back your websites to search engines

Examples of Google Penalties and How to Get Around Them

How Can You Avoid Such Penalties?

1.  Avoid Buying Links

Buying links will undoubtedly induce penalties. The companies that sell these links can be very ascertaining and assuring. They even say that the links that they sell are undetectable, this marketing strategy can be very tempting but the truth of the matter is that they can never go unnoticed by Google, you will someday end up uncovered. So never fall for their sweet and convincing words because they only lead to penalties.

2.  Avoid the Use of Shallow Contents

Do not let shallow contents be the reason behind your business downfall. Instead have a perpetual flow of traffic-related blog with acceptable high quality is written contents with profoundness.

3.  Avoid Duplicating Contents

Also known as un unique texts are the most serious oversights that Google can’t consider as water under the bridge. The content is vetted in two different ways. One, the pages that contain indistinguishable content are kept on substantial pages from being listed or recorded completely. In other words, this means that such content will never come out to light.

Two, Google will penalize you if you decide to post your content in different places. For example, copy content from your website and paste it elsewhere.

4.  Avoid Over Staffing Keywords

Google has over the past decade prohibited the over-staffing of the keywords on websites. With its improvements (BERT) Google is now capable of interpreting content effortlessly the same way man can. This system enables google to tell whether the content is written reasonably or not. In addition to that, Google is also to detect if a content passes the smell test too.

Avoid being penalized, always make sure that content is written naturally, let it sound as if they were spoken words. Googles standard rule for keyword usage is 2% to 3%

5.  No Hidden Content

Normally, this is usually done to achieve higher Google rankings in a tricky manner. For example, people achieve this by matching the colour of their content to that of the page’s background.

To avoid penalties that come as a result of hiding content,  just maintain honesty and transparency by uploading high-quality content.

6.  Link Spamming

This is the act of including a link to a site manually or with the help of a computerized program to improve or in any way, to bestow to SEO. This on the other hand results in the penalization of the spammed website.

How Can You Recover from Google Penalties?

Once a violation of any rule is made it is not that easy to get rid of it. However, the best way you can recover is by first identifying the root of the penalty then everything else will fall in place.

Final Word

Receiving a Google penalty doesn’t signify that your business has come to an end. You can always have the penalties uplifted and get your website back. However, prevention is better than cure. Find a well-experienced SEO service, hire them and turn your back to Google penalties

Choosing Your Digital Marketing Agency

As online marketing grows, so too does the number of so-called specialist digital marketing agencies. Some of these are stand-alone specialists, while others are off-shoots of existing advertising agencies.

Many existing ad agencies have expanded to include digital marketing services. When choosing, you must question whether they really do have the necessary skills and expertise.

Your brand may best be served by appointing an outside specialist, whose sole focus is on achieving growth, though tailor-made digital marketing.

Digital Marketing Agency

So, what are some of the main issues that you need to consider when looking to appoint a digital marketing agency?


Talk to your peers in the marketing industry, review websites, read up on industry media news, check out the online campaigns that you like, see who’s on the up and who’s hungry and committed, check their link building strategies, how they acquire good link from top rated sites, if you want read more about link building for your off-page SEO, you can read it at  https://www.nextgov.com/sponsor-content/inside-digital-agency-transforming-government-through-digital-engagement-and-experiences/

Once you’re done, then make a shortlist and start making contact.


“The proof is in the pudding”.

And what better way to sample any digital marketing agency’s abilities, than a visit to their own website?

Consider how fast it loads, how easy it is to maneuver, if information is easy to find, if the interface is cluttered and if the design is clean and sophisticated?

In five minutes, you will have a sense of whether or not the agency knows their oats.


It’s a people-business, just like any other and your cultures must match.

Get to know key staff during your initial meetings and see how you interact. Web Designers Galway always try to focus on finding out how they think and how they view issues relevant to your business. Be sure that you will be able to form long-term relationships with them. Be able to differ without conflict.


The ability of your digital marketing agency to think strategically is vital. Creative short-term tactics may impress, but it is the ability to take a long-term view that determines the success of any digital marketing strategy.


Find out who will service your business on a daily basis. Be assured that a senior person will always be available to oversee or manage your account. Budget should not be the determinant here.


The current client list is an important consideration, because it points to the culture and abilities of the agency. You also do not want to end up being a small fish in a big sea.


It is easy to get a basic feel of any market like Web Design Ireland market, with a bit of research and an agency can make themselves look impressive on the surface.

Talk in-depth about your market and products and you will soon find out if the digital marketing agency truly has an understanding of the issues and challenges.

Of course, if the potential agency demonstrates that they have the skills and intent, then one can always work closely with them as they learn your market along the way.

Why most link building campaigns fail

Why most link building campaigns fail

One widely accepted and unquestioned ‘truth’ in SEO seems to be that being passionate about the subject of link building makes you a good link builder.

Knowing a lot about link building doesn’t make you an effective link builder. It helps, but it only takes you so far. In fact, I’d say that, ironically, being passionate about link building really only makes you great at link building in the SEO industry.

What it really takes

Surely, the essence of link building is knowing  a lot about ‘link building’?

I guess, but, it takes a certain type of arrogance to claiming to be an expert in link building, given what a subjective task it is.

It’s impossible to be ‘good’ at link building for 5, 10, 20 different clients, trying to hit vanity targets at the end of each month. How can you understand each of them top-to-bottom, inside-out?

Being well knowledged and passionate about your subject is what allows you to truly build valuable links effectively. To actually provide a valuable service to a client, you need to become a mouthpiece for their product, their company, their culture.

You need to be able to hold an intelligent conversation with someone in their industry, about its past, its present, its future.

A question I’d pose is that out of these two people, who would you rather employ:

  • Someone with an expert knowledge of your industry, but with very basic link building skills
  • An ‘expert’ link builder, with a very basic knowledge of the industry they’re building links in
The answer, I think, I hope, is obvious.

Get out of the building

I know this post might be perceived as quite pessimistic, but that’s really not its intention. The sooner we wake up to the subjectivity of link building the sooner we can make real strides in improving the link building product offered by agencies.

David Ogilivy’s advice to young account executives was for them to set themselves on becoming the best-informed man in the agency on the account to which they are assigned.

If it is a gasoline account, read text books on the chemistry, geology and distribution of petroleum products. Read all the trade journals in the field. Read all the research reports and marketing plans that your agency has ever written on the product.

He goes further:

Spend Saturday mornings in service stations, pumping gasoline and talking to motorists. Visit your client’s refineries and research laboratories. Most young men in agencies are too lazy to do this kind of homework. They remain permanently superficial.

I appreciate this falls well out of the pragmatics of how most agencies operate today and absurd given the budgets companies allocate to link building and internet marketing in general.

But surely the way forward is to fuse advanced link building and marketing techniques with the expertise of the client’s industry.

The only way of doing this is to get inside the belly of the industry you’re working in.

John Doherty’s wrote a post recently about the benefits of working on-site for his client, which is part of what inspired this post and, I’d recommend heading there now.

Link Building, Self-Control and Marshmallows

As part of a series on self-improvement on the 99 Per­cent, Joce­lyn K. Glei recounted Wal­ter Mischel’s now iconic Marsh­mal­low Test, which analysed the abil­ity of four year olds to exhibit delayed gratification.

Each child was sat in a room with a marsh­mal­low or donut on the table. They were told by the sci­en­tists that they could eat the treat now or, if they waited 15 min­utes, have two treats.

All the chil­dren wanted to wait, but many sim­ply didn’t have the dis­ci­pline to and crum­bled. Some, how­ever, held out and received the extra treat.

Most inter­est­ingly, when sci­en­tist checked back on the chil­dren years later, those who had the self con­trol to hold out were bet­ter behaved, less prone to addic­tion and scored bet­ter in exams. read more about self controlling at https://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/ptn/2014/12/self-control

Self Improve­ment in Every­day Life

Glei dis­cusses how our day-to-day pro­duc­tiv­ity is often depen­dent on mak­ing the right trade-off decisions.

We are faced with hun­dreds of these ‘trade-off’ deci­sions every day.

In the office, these come in the form of e-mails, tweets and noti­fi­ca­tions. Stay­ing focused and pro­duc­tive requires real self con­trol and dis­ci­pline; it is so easy to veer off-course.

James Shel­ley con­tends that pro­duc­tiv­ity actu­ally boils down to being the dis­ci­plined abil­ity to choose to do one thing at the cost of not doing another (often more tempt­ing thing).

Link Build­ing

You can­not help but relate this to the process of build­ing links, where again, we’re often faced with daily trade-off decisions.

Should you develop a com­plex, long-term link build­ing strat­egy, or should you buy that blogroll link?

We know one will be more ben­e­fi­cial long-term, but it’s so, so tempt­ing to buy that direc­tory link and see it right there in front of you today (espe­cially when it’s not your own site you’re charged with get­ting results for).

See­ing instan­ta­neous links make you feel bet­ter about your­self; it jus­ti­fies why you got up and went to work that morning.

In the future, self-control and patience may well become major fac­tors in sep­a­rat­ing the more effec­tive SEO campaigns.

We’re told to resist the temp­ta­tion of con­ve­nient low-hanging link-fruit; that the rewards are greater if we have the dis­ci­pline, strat­egy and self-control to look at the big­ger picture.

At the moment, you can achieve the same or sim­i­lar ends with the quick-wins as you will with a cam­paign that requires more sweat and blood.

Every­body wants to imple­ment a com­plex, mulit-level cam­paign that’ll yield pre­mium links; but not every­one has the patience required to see through its execution.

The ques­tion is then, how and can you bal­ance the trade-off of short-term link grat­i­fi­ca­tion with your long term mar­ket­ing goals?

The chil­dren who resisted the temp­ta­tion of the marsh­mal­low used ‘strate­gic allo­ca­tion of attention’.

If you want to change the way you build links, you need to stop obsess­ing over sites that have employed this tech­nique and had suc­cess; oth­er­wise, you won’t be able to resist the temptation.

How to Land a Graduate Job in SEO

As the scram­ble for grad­u­ate jobs con­tin­ues, leavers with­out degrees spe­cific to a par­tic­u­lar indus­try are des­per­ately look­ing for a start­ing role that allows their career to flourish.

The dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and SEO indus­try has exploded over the past decade. Sub­se­quently, there are a host of entry-level jobs up for grabs for those will­ing to show a bit of gumption.

This guide should serve as sound advice to any grad­u­ate inter­ested in land­ing a role within search engine opti­mi­sa­tion (you’ve made the first step by find­ing this post).

Note: I’ve tried to tai­lor this more towards grad­u­ates using my expe­ri­ence. I’ve listed other resources I found use­ful at the bot­tom of the page.

Read this Book

As you’d expect, there are a host of good online and offline resources for those look­ing to form their understanding.

Before you can start mak­ing enquiries any­where you need to form a solid under­stand­ing of the prin­ci­ples of SEO and a broader under­stand­ing of dig­i­tal marketing.

Read­ing The Art of SEO cover-to-cover will firmly estab­lish these core prin­ci­ples inside of you.Ini­tially, it can be tempt­ing to cut costs and assume you can just use the end­less free resources avail­able online (you are apply­ing for a dig­i­tal role, right??) Not so.

You take in knowl­edge dif­fer­ently when it is medi­ated through a screen, as opposed to in book-form. You’re never more than a click away from being dis­tracted online and you’re never more than a click away from your favorite social network.

Most grads will already be well aware of this; try­ing to read a jour­nal on-screen is infi­nitely harder than print­ing it out and find­ing a quiet cor­ner where you can concentrate.

As well as this, you’ll be invest­ing some of own (prob­a­bly quite sparse) finances into the book.

Hav­ing an invested stake in the book can be a huge moti­vat­ing fac­tor. The money you’ve spent will be wasted if you don’t make the effort read and under­stand it.

Yes, this book is towards the higher end of the price-scale of what’s avail­able. But, it is writ­ten by real indus­try author­i­ties; names it’ll be good to drop at the interview.

Graduate Job in SEO

Regard­less of whether you’re cap­ti­vated by the sub­ject mat­ter, you should have enough aca­d­e­mic dis­ci­pline to read a book cover-to-cover. If not, you might as well stop read­ing here…

Immerse Your­self

What­ever degree pro­gram you have grad­u­ated in, you should be more than equipped with the skills to con­tinue your research and acqui­si­tion of knowledge.

SEO, more than most jobs, requires you to be on the absolute cusp of the indus­try. It is imper­a­tive you keep abreast of indus­try devel­op­ments, a tricky task when you’re not in and around it day-in day-out.

High­light a few indus­try blogs or web­sites and incor­po­rate them into your nor­mal net-surfing rou­tine. Add SEO­moz or Search Engine Watch to your ‘check e-mails, check BBC, check Face­book’ rou­tine and you’ll soon be up to speed.

If you have only just grad­u­ated and you are unem­ployed, there should be a gap­ing void in your life that was pre­vi­ously filled with your studies.

Those who find gain­ful employ­ment imme­di­ately fill this void with their new indus­try. The key here is to fill this gap with­out hav­ing already landed a job.

Work Expe­ri­ence

Read­ing books and blogs is great but, as with any-line of work, there is no sub­sti­tute for real-world experience.

There are two routes you can go down here; both involve offer­ing your time and new-found knowl­edge for free.

The eas­ier of the two paths is to get work expe­ri­ence in an exist­ing dig­i­tal agency. There are sev­eral advan­tages to this:

      • You’ll be around peo­ple who live and breathe SEO
      • You will be at the front of the queue for any roles that become avail­able at that organisation
      • They can point you in the right direc­tion as to your next move

The sec­ond, slightly trick­ier option is to iden­tify a local busi­ness who could use SEO but, are unaware of it or do not have the bud­get. The kind of tar­gets you might want to iden­tify are dri­ving instruc­tors, restau­rants or small trade businesses.

It can be dif­fi­cult to moti­vate your­self to work for free; how­ever, you will have to bite the bul­let. If you don’t, then you can guar­an­tee some­body else will.

Make enquiries

By this stage, you should have acquired enough knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence to demon­strate you are seri­ous about a career in SEO. Your degree, enthu­si­asm and work expe­ri­ence should make you an attrac­tive propo­si­tion to poten­tial employers.

Make a list of all com­pa­nies you could pos­si­bly work for, your rel­e­vant point of con­tact at that organ­i­sa­tion and their e-mail/phone num­ber. It’s impor­tant you get a name so you can con­tact the per­son directly.

The best way to organ­ise this is to put together a basic Excel sheet, for example:

Ide­ally, this would be the SEO Man­ager or Head of Dig­i­tal. For smaller com­pa­nies, you may be best placed to con­tact the Man­ag­ing Direc­tor.

If you can’t find a con­crete e-mail for the per­son you want to con­tact, they gen­er­ally fol­low this rule:

(first name initial).(last name)@(business’ website)

Dig up as much dirt as you can on the com­pany before you apply. Even the most arbitary of knowl­edge can prove use­ful. As a rule, try to find out:

      • When they were established
      • Their cur­rent client roster
      • Areas they spe­cialise in
      • Hob­bies and inter­ests of employees

Find­ing this infor­ma­tion may mean hav­ing to go beyond the company’s web­site. LinkedIn and other social media chan­nels are par­tic­uarly use­ful here.

If there is already a role adver­tised, great, you are in the per­fect posi­tion to apply. If not, it does no harm to make an enquiry and put your­self on their radar.

The Inter­view

Con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, you don’t ‘blag’ interviews.

If you lie on your CV you’ll  get found out in the inter­view (you’ll be grilled by peo­ple who know their onions, remember).

If for what­ever rea­son you don’t (highly unlikely), you will be found want­ing in the first week of the job and politely shown the door.

Fol­low each of these steps (or some­thing sim­i­lar) and you won’t need to ‘blag’ any inter­view. You can relax and talk freely about your expe­ri­ence and your knowledge.

Your enthu­si­asm for the role will shine through naturally.

Use­ful resources:

SEO­moz — How to get an SEO job

SEO Gad­get — How to get an SEO job

Tamar — How to Inter­view for an SEO job

3 Habits to Make Your Link Building More Productive

One of the hard­est things about link build­ing is man­ag­ing sev­eral spin­ning plates at the same time.

With so much going on, it’s easy to let oppor­tu­ni­ties slip off the radar. It might just be from not fol­low­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties up, not get­ting feed­back or spread­ing your­self too thinly.

The fact is, get­ting links live requires per­sis­tence. It needs the per­fect blend of being both proac­tive and reactive.

Here are three tech­niques I have found have helped me have a more pro­duc­tive day’s link building.

Tomorrow’s to-do list, today

This is actu­ally a sales tech­nique I stole from Cold Call­ing for Chick­ens, which is effec­tive for any­one who needs to get things done on a daily basis, not just sales­men and link builders.

It is impos­si­ble to get every­thing done you need to do everyday.Often, just by proxy of com­plet­ing one task, you imme­di­ately cre­ate at least one other.

Some peo­ple write their to-do lists first thing in the morn­ing; I guess it serves as a nice, gen­tle intro­duc­tion to the day.

I’ve found there is a prob­lem with this though: tomorrow’s most press­ing tasks look dif­fer­ent in the morning.

I hate start­ing each day with a blank can­vas. It’s eas­ier to get in, know what needs doing and get on with it.For good link building you need to understand search operators, they will make your life easier.

Writ­ing down tomorrow’s most impor­tant tasks serves as a com­mit­ment to putting them into action.

Each day then, I work off two to-do lists. The first one:

  • fea­tures the tasks I have iden­ti­fied as pri­or­i­ties from the pre­vi­ous day
  • is allo­cated to parts of my sched­ule to my sched­ule and worked through systematically

The sec­ond list is for the next day and:

  • is dynamic; I’m con­stantly adding to it as the day as a con­se­quence of my work that day
  • fea­tures tasks num­bered by their pri­or­ity and whether or not it has to be achieved the fol­low­ing day

Obvi­ously, it requires a bit a dis­ci­pline, but when you sit at your desk each morn­ing know­ing the bare min­i­mum of what you want to achieve, it makes it a lot harder to pro­cras­ti­nate daunt­ing phone calls, or what­ever else you’d rather put-off.

Work out value and do more of it

Most peo­ple will be aware of the Pareto prin­ci­ple; that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Under­stand­ing this can help you be more effec­tive and work at the things that really make a dif­fer­ence to your results.

In the words of Bob Etherington:

There is a huge dif­fer­ence between being pro­duc­tive and being busy”

With link build­ing, the value comes in the con­tact; the back and forth of e-mails, phone calls, and the work that needs doing off the back of this.

As soon as you start to over­com­pli­cate things, you lose sight of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Per­son­ally, I’ve found the idea of link build­ing being a num­bers game as a bit of a myth. It’s a qual­ity game. What mat­ters is the num­ber with which you have success.

Don’t delude your­self into think­ing you’re engag­ing in pro­duc­tive behav­iour, just because you are keep­ing your­self busy.

When you spend pre­cious time putting together clever Excel tables, or sat in meet­ings, or com­plet­ing other admin­is­tra­tive busy­work, then you are avoid­ing your most impor­tant func­tion: talk­ing to people.

Think about the work you do that actu­ally pro­vides value and moves the nee­dle. Focus on this.

Sep­a­rate proac­tive and reactive

I’ve already men­tioned the impor­tance of bal­anc­ing time spent being proac­tive and time being reactive.

If you under­stand the dif­fer­ence here, you can actu­ally sep­a­rate the two when plan­ning your daily or weekly schedule.

Proac­tiv­ity is defined as:

As opposed to reac­tiv­ity, which is defined as:

They’re both impor­tant. On one hand, you need to be con­stantly drumming

The dif­fer­ence between the two is that being reac­tive is the time spent deal­ing with the con­se­quences of being proactive.

The bet­ter you get at being proac­tive, the more time you will have to spend being reactive.

You can define time spent being proac­tive as:

  • Drum­ming up lists of poten­tial leads
  • Mak­ing fresh, cold con­tact with people
  • Work­ing old or inac­tive leads
Com­pare this to reac­tive activities:
  • Respond­ing to the con­se­quences of proactivity
  • Push­ing it through to the next stage — con­tent writer, design­ers, etc.
  • Deal­ing with required byt non-value adding tasks

The rea­son you need to sep­a­rate the two is that if you don’t there’s no focus to your approach; you’re not work­ing as effec­tively or as efficiently.

You’ll end up sat wait­ing for e-mails to come in, des­per­ately hit­ting F9, paus­ing what­ever you were doing to respond to every­thing as and when it happens.

Per­son­ally, I don’t like to slog it out for hours and hours.  I like to work in spurts; short, sharp, force­ful streams of energy.

An Ode to My Favourite Advanced Search Operator

For a short, Sunday morning blog post to keep things ticking over, I thought I’d write a brief tribute to my favourite (and often overlooked) search operation, related sites.

I use this search operation all the time. All Google does is throw up sites it thinks are similar to whatever you’re using as your base.

It’s perfect for:

  • Finding overlooked competitors
  • Looking for similar, relevant sites when link prospecting
  • Identifying quick-wins from places similar to where you’ve already had success
  • Throwing up new ideas when your efforts reach an impasse

What’s amazing is how often good quality prospects come up in related searches that haven’t shown up in your previous research (well, for me anyway).

Whenever pitching content at a website, I’ll always make sure I run a related search on the website like if you want to search Web Design Ireland, you need to have search operators to search that site.

The first few sites that show up are usually also good targets for the content, so I can increase the chance of it being taken by pitching it at them too.

I sometimes think the best sites to target are the ones that don’t rank well. As Paddy Moogan says here, they’ve not been already been hounded by other SEOs and tend to be more receptive to your approaches:

This is why Twitter and particularly Followwonk are so useful. (See John Doherty’s post on link prospecting with Twitter for more on this.)

Anyway, that’s my relatively inane tribute to related searches. I’m also looking forward to Think Visibility next week and hoping to get a few more substantial posts on here over March.

Is William Hill Dumbing Down Sports Gambling Advertising?

Anyone who watches live football will have noticed the advertising campaign William Hill have been running for past six months.

Essentially, William Hill have created the televisual equivelent of a fruit machine, using the most basic psychological techniques to encourage prospective punters to think about betting.

This is a far cry away from the previous advertising campaigns by bookmakers such as Ladbrokes and SkyBet, which we’ll detail later in this post.

William Hill have taken a no holds barred approach to advertising sports betting, playing on the primitive pleasure buttons that gambling pushes.

Breaking Down the Advert

The series of William Hill advertisements in this campaign check all the psychology boxes that keep fruit machine enthusiasts coming back for more:

  • Light and Colours

Initially, this could’ve been a problem for Billy Hill. Its famous Royal blue hues are at odds with the warm reds psychologists find stimulate the gambler and encourage him to bet more.

The firm therefore had to get the balance right between keeping the brand’s signature Royal blue punters associate with the William Hill brand the warms hues that encourage the action to bet.

Scientists have found that gamblers will bet more and bet bigger under red lights – hence the proliferation of reds and oranges in casinos and on fruities. William Hill have found a way around this by subliminally fusing the brands trademark blues with recommended reds, yellows and oranges.

Is William Hill Dumbing Down Sports Gambling Advertising

The pace of the advert allows them to snap quickly between the reds that encouraging betting and the Royal blues that are essential in the branding of William Hill.

  • Music and Sound

Researchers found that gamblers part with their money faster if the music is upbeat and energetic – which explains the ultra high-tempo music on the adverts.

Not only this, but William Hill’s tune is beyond catchy, helping it quickly forge an association to gambling with the viewer. The short, sharp hook penetrates the entire home, ensuring you can’t escape it when you go to boil the kettle for your half-time cup of tea.

Just like Pavlov’s dog, the viewer is quickly conditioned to understand the music as a stimulus to bet. William Hill have already been primed to become their bookmaker of choice.

  • Language

What is glaringly obvious is that the adverts make absolutely no reference to ‘the skill factor’ that has previously been the cornerstone of other sports betting adverts, particuarly Hill’s arch rival Ladbrokes.

William Hill are ploughing more money than ever into advertising and marketing in a bit to establish itself as the UK’s leading betting firm. The explosion of online betting has widened the playing field, with more firms than ever vying for a slice of betting pie.

The Past & the Future

Traditionally, the marketing strategies of major betting firms have tried to cultivate the idea that sports betting rewards intelligence or, that it is harmless fun.

They encourage the punter to perceive their bet to be an informed and rational decision, drawing upon their own personal expertise to predict what’s going to happen.

An idea is sold that betting on sport is something that can be figured out. This is logical and effective because everyone either is, or knows someone who is, an aficionado on sport.

The wall-to-wall ubiquity of the Premier League coverage cements people’s perceived notion they know what’s happening: it gives them two cents.

It also means that football always appears to follow a narrative. It therefore makes sense to ask the punter to predict the next chapter.

These campaigns are then seasoned by playing upon masculine insecurities. Betting becomes a matter of pride; not backing down when your opinion is challenged.

Until recently this has been par for the course in the marketing of sports betting. It is the natural approach a marketer would take: persuade people they can predict the unpredictable.

It will be interesting to see how Ladbrokes respond and what the future holds with regards to the branding of these two firms.

One might think there will be two sets of consumers, both engaging with the same product but with a completely different set of perceived values.

One thing I’d be interested to find out more of is whether the demographic of punters changes in different firms in the same way they differ between Waitrose and Iceland.

Previously, I’d always assumed a bookies was a bookies and that the punters inside were generally the same.

William Hill are pushing sports gambling as a primitive hedonism. Some might argue they’re not giving their potential consumers enough credit; others might argue it’s working.

Non-spammy Tips for Link Building with Forums

Even with your best dis­guise, it’s dif­fi­cult to get away with being an imposter on a forum.

For some, link build­ing with forums is set­ting up pseudo-profiles and start­ing con­ver­sa­tion threads, per­haps drop­ping a sub­tle link to their web­site if and when the oppor­tu­nity presents itself.

You might even to be to stick around and inanely com­ment every time you can, hope­fully hang­ing around long enough to stick a link in your forum signature.

Even when done with the best inten­tions, you’ll stands out like a sore thumb and rile a few of the locals. Whereas you might get away with it once or twice, it’s really not a sus­tain­able tac­tic, nor does it do you any favours with com­mu­ni­ties you really could do with get­ting on your side.

It’s easy to spot imposters and the back­lash you face when you’re caught out isn’t nice — believe me. Here are a few less-spammy tips for using forums in your online mar­ket­ing efforts.read more about link prospecting by clicking here

N.B. These tips assume you’re not already knowl­edge­able in the sub­ject of the forum

Repur­pose pop­u­lar forum content

This tac­tic errs more on con­tent cre­ation than link build­ing, but they’re two sides of the same coin, so here we go.

Forums are amaz­ing places in terms of the exper­tise peo­ple share.

The lengths and detail at which peo­ple go to help each, debate prob­lems and resolve issues is incred­i­ble, espe­cially given the peo­ple have rarely con­nected in real life.

One thing you can do rel­a­tively eas­ily is mine this knowl­edge for your own content.

Ross Hud­gens, among oth­ers, has spo­ken about lear­ing how to repur­pose con­tent.

Forums are the per­fect place to start if you’re look­ing for con­tent inspiration.

Try search­ing for your head terms and related terms in the forum. What you want is the posts that have had the most input and have pro­voked the most dis­cus­sion. When you get your results then, refine the search by ‘Replies’.

(Most forums have the option to sort by replies and views. If not, you’ll have to scan the threads manually.)

It’s a good idea to cross ref­er­ence the topic on a num­ber of sim­i­lar forums. Usu­ally this gives you a breadth of opin­ions and tid-bits of advice to include in your cre­ated content.

If the topic hasn’t been men­tioned on one forum, then there is scope for reach­ing out to the com­mu­nity armed with what you know so far and ask for advice.

Once you’ve fin­ished your research, you can let  it guide your content.

Reach out to high pro­file members

Forums are a great place to reach out to peo­ple who know about your market.

If you’re work­ing in a dif­fi­cult niches, find­ing appro­pri­ate fig­ures of author­ity to try build rela­tion­ships can be a bit tricky.

High pro­file forum mem­bers are prime can­di­dates here.

Whereas they might not have Hollywood-metrics in terms of Twit­ter fol­low­ers etc, they’ll know the indus­try you’re work­ing in bet­ter than anyone.

You might want to ask for their feed­back on con­tent you’re devel­op­ing, inter­view them on your own site or sim­ply pick their brains about the industry.

There’s no need for any smoke and mir­rors here; just be hon­est about who you are.

Robert Kozinets has spo­ken at length is his book Netnog­ra­phy about the impor­tant of being com­pletely hon­est when research­ing using online com­mu­ni­ties for mar­ket research or any other purposes.

If you decide to lie or mis­lead peo­ple about your inten­tions, you risk your own and, worse, your client’s reputation.

You’d be sur­prised how recep­tive peo­ple are when you’re upfront.

Encour­age client use

One, per­haps obvi­ous (and quixotic) point to sug­gest, is to actu­ally use the forum in the man­ner it is intended to be used by the client.

The cop-out here is nor­mally: (a) ‘Where am I going to find the time?’ and/or (b) ‘What am I pay­ing you to do?’

The ques­tion is, why wouldn’t they want to get involved? If you really care about your busi­ness and indus­try, why not try invest you’re own time in one of its online communities.

This boils down to the vendor/consultancy ques­tion and the role you’re expected to perform.

Rhea Drys­dale defines con­sul­tancy in her WBF:

 “A con­sul­tant is some­one who receives the busi­ness goals from the client, but then they com­mu­ni­cate the strat­egy back to the client, and say, “What we’re hear­ing from you is this is what you want to achieve, but in order to do that we’re rec­om­mend­ing that you pur­sue these dif­fer­ent meth­ods, which we’re going to help you with or maybe we’re going to actu­ally bring on dif­fer­ent resources or we’re going to help man­age resources within your own orga­ni­za­tion and staff this project.”

If your role is as a con­sul­tant and then you should encour­age your client to grow their own pres­ence wher­ever their mar­ket is online, not sim­ply in forums.

You can hold their hand at first, with a view to let­ting them stand on their own two feet one day.

As I say, per­haps this obvi­ous and dis­lo­cated from real­ity. Still, it would be nice…

The 3 Best Link Building Books

There is not yet a defin­i­tive book on link build­ing. There is a nice ebook by Gar­rett French and Eric Ward is set to pub­lish one in the near future, which you can bet will be good.

This does not mean there aren’t books out there, how­ever, that will indi­rectly help with your under­stand­ing and encour­age you to become a bet­ter link builder.

Here are  three books that I’ve per­son­ally found use­ful that aren’t strictly about link build­ing. I’d wel­come any other sug­ges­tions peo­ple want to make :)

Cold Call­ing for Chick­ens
by Bob Etherington

If I could only rec­om­mend one book for link builders who are new to the indus­try it would be this one by sales expert Bob Etherington.

Although cold call­ing is tra­di­tion­ally per­ceived to be almost exclu­sively the domain of out-and-out sales roles, the prin­ci­ples are directly related and apply per­fectly to link building.visit http://www.eatsleepsearch.com/finding-link-building-opportunities-with-competitive-link-research/ to read more about link building opportunities.

What Ether­ing­ton stresses in this book is that it is not just about that moment you pick up the phone and dial a num­ber, but more about being able to effec­tively and reg­u­larly make cold con­tact with peo­ple is a lifestyle and atti­tude choice.

It is about being able to cre­ate effec­tive habits and under­stand­ing how peo­ple make buy­ing (or ‘link­ing’) decisions.

Sell­ing is not telling

Per­haps the key point the book stressed and the best take-away for link builders is that sell­ing is not telling. You can rarely per­suade peo­ple to buy from you; peo­ple per­suade themselves.

Just think about what under­stand­ing this can do for your link build­ing. Mak­ing that first cold con­tact is the first step to the estab­lished order of flow in which you need to influ­ence their thinking.

No one is say­ing you have to like cold call­ing. What you have to under­stand though, is that 85% of the busi­ness out there is won by the 5% of the sales peo­ple able to make cold calls.

I would wager that there are sim­i­lar per­cent­ages for the best links that are won.

Trust Agents
by Chris Bro­gan and Julien Smith

I really was torn between includ­ing this or Seth Godin’s Per­mis­sion Mar­ket­ing. Both tackle the same idea, how­ever, Bro­gan and Smith’s book edged it onto this list because it is a bit more online centric.

Its cen­tral theme is about max­imis­ing human con­nec­tiv­ity and inter­ac­tion online. You need to be able to under­stand the inter­net as a tool and be able to think strate­gi­cally about build­ing your own pres­ence online.

Whilst a lot of the con­cepts intro­duced in the book will not nesses­sar­ily be ground break­ing to most online mar­keters who already ‘get it’, what it does do is per­fectly artic­u­late the econ­omy of build­ing trust online, which comes as a use­ful rein­force­ment even to peo­ple with vast experience.

This is an espe­cially good start­ing point for peo­ple com­pletely new to online mar­ket­ing and the book that, in an ideal world, all clients would read.

One thing that struck me from both this book and Godin’s Per­mis­sion Mar­ket­ing is that for a busi­ness to really thrive online, it requires a fun­da­men­tal shift in its culture.

If its tra­di­tional ways of oper­at­ing stay the same, throw­ing money at mar­ket­ing agen­cies becomes like try­ing to cram a square peg into a round hole.

Bounce: How Cham­pi­ons are Made
by Matthew Syed

My last choice is moti­vated by the fact I think it’s impor­tant to under­stand that peo­ple aren’t born nat­u­rally good at link build­ing, mar­ket­ing, or any other dis­ci­pline for that matter.

They may have been exposed to sit­u­a­tions that have cul­ti­vated the basic skills needed to excel quickly in the pro­fes­sion, but it is not a god given talent.

That’s why I have included Matthew Syed’s Bounce on this list. Sim­i­lar to Mal­colm Gladwell’s Out­liers in its theme, it looks at why and how peo­ple excel in cer­tain sub­jects and sports.

Ulti­mately, it dis­pels the myth that peo­ple are born tal­ented and reit­er­ates how impor­tant pos­i­tive prac­tice is.

I guess this is impor­tant to grasp because even if your work isn’t at the place you want it to be today, you can have faith that through cul­ti­vat­ing the right habits, you can get it there tomorrow.

That’s it then. As I say, I would love to hear other people’s sug­ges­tions. Other notable men­tions that nearly made their way onto my list were:

Sell­ing to Win by Richard Denney

Influ­ence: The Psy­chol­ogy of Per­sua­sion by Robert Cialadi

The Inner Game of Golf by Tim­o­thy Gallwey

If you are look­ing for other SEO-related books to sink your teeth into, check out Paul Rogers’ rec­om­mended dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and user expe­ri­ence books.