SearchLove 2013 Live blogging – Day 2

puzzle03Blogging live from The Brewery, Distilled’s SearchLove 2013 Conference – Day 2

Danny Scheinmann — ‘Telling Stories’

Research shows that stories, anecdotes and metaphors are more memorable than data. This session will look at why stories work and what are the hidden structures behind them; how stories work in business and how can they be used to communicate effectively.

Wrote a bestseller book: “Random Acts of Heroic Love

Shooting exercise : an exercise in shared experiences:

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Your brain chemistry changes when you hear a story. You’re more inclined to give. Oftentimes there’s no story: “buy here” …

Studies have been done on stories by London Business School. Only 5% of the people in the study remembered the data that was shown. When they presented the data with a story, 30% remembered the data. When they took away the data and just the story, 70% remembered.

Stories are 14 to 20 times more memorable than straight data

So you need to tell a story on your website. Stories add value, it allows you to even charge more. : stories about very simple objects which were then sold on Ebay. Silly objects normally at 0,50$ now sold at 67$. So there’s a 2700% price increase, if there’s a story attached to it.

Story about One of the employees’ daughter became depressed by imagery of perfect women. In a workshop the mother (Sylvia Laniardo) couldn’t take it anymore, and tried to ‘reinvent beauty’. It was hard to convince the management. So she took photographs of the bosses’ daughters and made a commercial out of it. (very moving!!

Managers were moved, and agreed. Dove went from a 1bln dollar brand to a 2 bln dollard brand. She turned soap into a moral campaign. She followed hear heart. Chances are that million of people will follow and agree with you. It was a real genuine desire for change.

Products need to do good in the world. Employees that work in a valuable company, feel better. Those who center their business on improving people’s live, triple their growth than those who don’t (lose citation from a book called “Grow”)

The ladder of abstration

  • At the top: love, success: We aspire but can’t touch
  • At the bottom: concrete imagery to illustrates this abstract ideas.
  • Businesses get stuck in the middle: “great customer service”, “we treat everyone as an individual”. But what does this mean? Give me a story, so I can understand. Great communication goes up and down the ladder. Why is this all about, and here’s how we do it.

Nordstrom: pride themselves on great customer service. They collected stories. Offered a packing service during Christmas. They saw someone coming from Macy’s, and they wrapped the gifts from that competing shop as well.Nordstrom knows this results in loyalty and great stories. And the employees will know how to behav, they’ll understand what the company understands by great customer services.

Think about the slogans of companies: what is the story behind that slogan?

Real imagery/pictures/”glowing hills of Georgia” is important. Danny has a ladder on stage = accessory that  makes us remember his slidedeck. It’s a bit unusual, it makes the point.

Another study: “Global Players”. Fortune 500 companies & online storytelling. Case of GE : they took off all the mission statements from their website and replaced them by videos telling actual stories.

Another video of a great story (commercial of John Lewis – 3 mln views on Youtube)

Stories often have the same  structure

We’re interested in the drama, in the action.

4 story archetypes

  1. Challenge stories: little guy takes on big guy (david & goliath)
  2. Connection stories: like Skype. Emphasise the challenge, the divide (Romeo & juliette)
  3. Creativity : Apple falls on his head. Eureka moments. Solve a great problem with creative thinking (Newton)
  4. How we do it different: Nordstrom (see above)


Nathalie Nahai — ‘Culturability: Are You Alienating Half Your Audience?’

Your site may be giving off the wrong psychological signals and causing potential customers to click away. In this revealing presentation, Nathalie explores how cultural differences impact your business, and explains some of the winning tactics you can use to improve your customer experience and convert more customers.

Wrote a Bestseller:

Her slides on Slideshare


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3 secrets to online success

  1. Know who you are targeting, not just demographics.
  2. Communicate persuasively: mirror the preference of your audience
  3. Sell with integrity: your intent should be positive and true. How will my customers benefit

Podcast: difference between manipulation and persuasion &

Behaviour of consumers is increasingly variable as you go from country to country and from subgorup to subgroup

Different cultural groups employ different usage strategies when using the same interface.

Cultural specific elements:

  1. Language
  2. Body positions/body language.
  3. Social Contexts
  4. Symbols
  5. Aesthetics

Color psychology is way too complex to be put in hard & fast rules

Hofstede’s Dimensions

Dutch professor

1. Power distance

2.Individualism vs collectivism

3. Masc vs Fem

4. Uncertainty avoidance: measures how uncomfortable we are with ambiguity. Cultures differ from one another with “uncertainty”. Ex. Portugal: threatened by uncertainty therefore more religious, rigid codes of conduct. Sweden/UK: more adaptable, more innovative, more liberal, emotions should be understated (maintains stiff upperlip)

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How to use this:

  1. Reduce ambiguity
  2. Clear navigation and structure
  3. Predictable + assuring user journey
  4. Avoid pop-ups / non-essential info
  5. Explicit languages and images. Be clear on what to expect

Example: TIU.RU: stripped down navigation, predictable, explicit text & images

LOW UAI, do this

  1. facilitate open dialogue
  2. don’t be too emotional
  3. allow user to take greater risks
  4. complexity, wider choice of actions
  5. navigation can be layered


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5. Long term vs Short term

The human search for virtue: truth is relative vs absolute

  • High LTO: China: skills education, family, patience
  • High STO: Spain: live in the moment, quick results, personal fulfillment (creativity, self-actualise). More trends

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High LOT

  1. offer practical value, free materials
  2. make content non-time critical, long term
  3. emphasise tradition history, heritage
  4. navigation can be less structured
  5. take smaller recurring payments

Examle: (chinese website) very practical navigation. Top left: “Red Children” => luckiness. Navigation is less structured

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High STO

  1. instant gratification – immediate access
  2. customer ratings: really important because you don’t need to think on what to do. As of age 7, boys show research behaviour, girls not so much
  3. facts, evidence, certainty: science is important
  4. reflect relevent social trends: trend sensitive. “I want to do it too”
  5. Rapid customer service: Twitter. Quick responses expected

Example: :

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6. Indulgence vs Restraint

Have fun and enjoy life through gratification of natural drives

  • High IVR: Mexico: happier, optimistic, extrovert, friendship, leisure time, health, control over own life. Seduce these people
  • Low IVR: Egypt: cynical, moral discipline, tightly-knot, gratification should be repressed at all costs. Something more transcendent is important.

High IVR, do this:

  1. Make interactions fun: like ebay
  2. Give away entertaining freebies
  3. Use and encourage UGC: people want to be perceived as smart etc… ego-stroking
  4. Provide honest discussions: social media
  5. Gender roles loose, range of models

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Low IVR, do this:

  1. Emphasise how you serve the community
  2. Frugal, show how they can save money
  3. Strict, cultured gender roles: probably highly religious too
  4. Website should be structured, predictable
  5. Use formal communication (not Social Media): Sweden for example doesn’t use Twitter. Highly hierarchy countries don’t use Twitter. Because you can communicate with your overlords, higher in the hierarchy: this is not accepted. It is self-indulgent, individualistic too, soo again not accepted.

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Example: (Egypt website). Simply structured

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Different cultures: different usage strategies
  2. Web psychology provide psychographic context
  3. Use Hofstede’s dimensions to inform your design


Institute of web

Great example is => very masculine, goal oriented, very busy

On a shoestring budget to do market research? hire a good free-lance designer from the country you want to target.

Women: clear & minimalistic, pretty colours, bigger pictures. Women see on average more colours

Men: more distractions are acceptable.

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Kelvin Newman — ‘Graph Theory: The Most Important Theory In Search That No One Talks About’

The Link Graph, the Social Graph, the Knowledge Graph… So much of digital marketing has a relationship with Graph Theory, but unless you studied Maths or Computer Science the topic may have completely passed you by, but once you get your head round how it works you will have a much better understanding of how the search engines work now (and will in the future).

FB GraphSearch is an indicator of the future of Google

  • Link Graph: how all websites on the web connect with links.
  • Social Graph: network between users
  • Knowledge Graph: way in which entities are coupled and then mapped out

GraphSearch is understanding how search engine fundamentally work

GraphTheory is a very old theory (°1936), it talks about the relation between objects, and is therefore a structure. It’s visually represented in network diagrams

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Vertices, nodes & edges

Edges are connections between node. E.g.: I like melons

  • Vertices are people/websites
  • Nodes are nouns – +/- zelfst. nmwden : i & melons
  • Edges are verbs : like

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What’s the first thing you teach your team?

For Kelvin: that’s PageRank. Usable for for more topics: predict traffic, lung cancer research…PageRank relies on GraphTheory

Fundemental difference between Facebook & Google

Google is moving more towards Facebook. Google is more about nodes (page on your website).

Facebook is about things and the relationship between them. Google is trying to catch up. FB data has a far more explicit structure.

“Kelvin was married to Carloyn in 2007” = FB knows this, Google doesn’t know.

How does Graph Search work?

Every user, page, place, post is a node.
Every friendship, checkin is an edge.
Graph Search allows you to search edges and nodes.

FB use query-independant signals to come up with a numeric value for importance = Static rank. Statis rank:

  1. signal of affinity. People who you more interact with, shows more in your timeline
  2. signal of weight. How many likes, comments, shares you have. Has bigger influence than affinity.

The value of real likes from a well connected person just increased

Introducing Knowledge Graph

See post from Dr. Peter = very interesting

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Google’s Big Change: help find answers, instead of pages. You cannot longer rely on Google sending you traffic

How can you make money if nobody ever goes to your website. See the Business Model Canvas.

Google wants to be the front-end of your website.

So what can I do in Response.

  • Familiarize yourself with Freebase: structured database
  • DBpedia

If any of your keywords contain entities you must be prepared

  • Use to visualize Social Networks. Interesting to see graphs of conference f.e.
  • VisualDataWeb
  • Open Graph Protocol
  • Follow @pmika
  • Watch WDSM Videos

Further reading:


Bridget Randolph — ‘So, You Have A Mobile Friendly Website, What Now?’

Global mobile web usage has been increasing exponentially, and we all know by now that we need a mobile strategy. But building a mobile-friendly website is just the first step. What happens next? This presentation will walk you through some of the ‘next steps’ for building a comprehensive mobile strategy. We’ll look at recent trends and stats as well as real-life examples, to discover the best tactics for future-proofing your online presence.


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  • 2017 : 85% of the world with 3G connection
  • Multiscreen, device agnostic world

There’s no such thing as “mobile” for the user — Will Critchlow

3 business scenario’s

  • Average. Joe Corp : How do do mobile? Seperarte, app
  • Early Adopter: How do we stay ahead? Big data tools, solar charger to print ad (
  • User-driven business: how can we take advantage of this technology? This should be our focus

1. Discovery:

77% of mobile searches happen near a PC (not on the-go). Sequential screening is common. Simultaneous usage.

3 main areas:


  • responsive design is fine, but basic.
  • Use dynamic serving by user-agent.
  • “Content everywhere”-idea: create once publish everywhere (COPE). Case study: BBC food hub pages.

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  • Long-term cookies for login (persistent cookies).
  • Sync user accounts all user platforms (Kindle)
  • Go to Element inspect > settings
  • Mobile CRO


  • Same person regardless of device
  • Look at context & user intent
  • Case study: Bravissmo. Used a tool called WeatherFit. only show sunwear ads for people in a sunny: 103% increase in conversion rate.

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  • Google Implicit Search (Knowledge Graph)
  • Google Now:
  • Corcoran Group: connecting home buyers even before they are in the market for a new home. (The Mobile Playbook)


  • Social marketing = mobile marketing
  • Allow social media team to engage in a conversational way
  • Filter bubbles & curation will be important (filtering e-mail)
  • Make your content mobile friendly


2. Explore

  • Tracking: Track the person, not the device: Universal Google Analytics
  • Showrooming: an opportunity. Case study: Best Buy. Gave people tablets to look at comparison sites. Then offer customers that lowest price. That’s now a policy
  • Personalisation: Build a recommendation engine: Case Study: LK Bennett (works with Qubic – tag management solutions). Segmented their visitors for non-buyers = they were shown a special message with free delivery : 11% increase in conversion rate.
  • IKEA catalogue app: augmented reality
  • Recognise the value of every interaction along the way. Last-click attribution is the devil


3. Buy

Retail industry: 15% of all online spend is mobile.

  • Smarter conversion paths for mobile are needed: link the form fields to the correct keyboard.
  • Disable auto-correct

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  • Ask for information that is essential to complete the transaction. Like Amazon 1-Click
  • Keep people logged-in long term
  • Don’t neglect micro conversions. Social sharing
  • On & offline integration: “Paypal in store”


4. Engage

  • Apps: benefit is that it is a walled garden. Saving password in the phone.
  • Case Study: Tesco Homeplus. Customers were commuters. They created an app that allowed you to shop in the subway. Delivery at night.

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  • E-mail marketing: 62% of e-mails are opened on mobile devices.
  • Use personsalitaon & context: avg. open rate for triggered e-mail is 4x higher. Follow-up e-mails are great with individual personalisation (also images are personalised). MailChimp & Campaign Monitor use mobile friendly templates. Test campaigns with
  • Social as a tool for loyalty. Make customers feel appreciated


Mark Borkowski — ‘Savage creatures and vile passions; the lessons of communication by contagion’

Persuasive arguments manipulated for profit and power from PT Barnum to Al Qaeda Digital is the most overused word in the vocabulary of advertising, media and marketing experts. Define digital? Is it online? Is it technology? How closely does the 24-hour news media we are exposed to everyday reflect the reality of what is happening in our societies? Identity, persona, essence and promise,are the new benchmarks. In his talk, Mark Borkowski explores the historical perception of engagement. Are there any new rules or are they all the old ones that have been retooled? Borkowski shows how to reinvent PR around collaborative conversations with traditional and new influencers, to succeed in the new environment and to win back the disillusioned. Borkowski will introduce his process of transformational story telling and will endeavour to explain the true route to unearth a relevant touch points.

Is the story more interesting than the truth?

  • You need triggers to let a story spread. Funny, cruel, … = it needs to be spectacular & shocking
  • You need amplifiers: controversy, topicality, popular people

Read “The Hidden Persuadors”

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Social capital and social validation are very important. Peer pressure. Bad risk management.

Are you leading your audience or following them?

E.g. The Royal Family (Will & Kate effect) was a great story, it rebuild the royal brand by understanding motivations of the crowd and filling in those needs.


Chris Bennett — ‘How To Win Fans And Influence Users’

Content marketing is not a new term, however most businesses still fail to grasp the concept effectively. In this session Chris Bennett is going to show you how to get internal buy in for long term BIG content strategies. How to get your clients to approve budget to swing for the fences and how to carry out successful campaigns from start to finish. Chris will share several real life case studies of effective content marketing and how it can affect a business from social shares to links and rankings all the way to making the sale.

His website:

Google’s Panda & Penguin updates forced us to evolve

How to get approval

We need freedom to explore and to fail. What works really well to convince management?

  • Find a competitor that is doing it and does well.
  • Start with a small piece of content (e.g. infographic, video, blog post, …). Repurpose the same content. Slice up an infographic and make it a slideshare. (Upload your slideshare on tuesday/wednesday and it pops up on friday on the Slideshare homepage, and it stays up all weekend – normally only 1 day). Embed your slideshare above the graphic on the infographic landing page. Work it in a BuzzFeed article

Blog content Case Study – O.C. Tanner

“Top 10 coolest companies to work for in Boston” – can be a repeated thing. Can be repurposed in Slideshare. They reached out to 20 companies to the HR department, and tell them “you’re in consideration”. Physical trophies will be made.

Upcycling content

Read the Pixar Theory 32 pages. So made an interactive version: – 4,5 mln pageviews, 27% bounce rate = Great study.

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Optimized for Mobile, and Open Graph tags (you get to share which picture you want to have shown) and Twitter cards

91% more engagement for Twitter engagement with pics instead of text

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Use : shows keywords used in tweets, why spikes occur (who was responsible for a mention spike for example), total reach. 17 mln people reached.

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Think campaigns, not one-osliffs

You cannot live up again, if your one-off succeeds. If you’re not successful, well then you lost the client.

We are pitching too much ideas. 1 great idea is better



Paul Madden — ‘Goodbye Spam, Hello Data!’

Paul takes us on a journey through the last few years of SEO and links. You will learn what changed and how Google has manipulated the way we view their most important signal. Through his own progression from a creator of easy links through to the realisation of the need to change, the battle to gather and analyse the huge data needed to understand the new signals and his experience in using it to understand how to prevent or solve the problem.

Owner of – Partner of Manual Link

LinkRisk crunches data to help you getting a clean link profile

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Get out of penalty: 97% good links

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Stay away from these types of websites – Google has a long memory.

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Removal penalty guide

  1. Verify if you have a penalty.
  2. Two types of penalties: Partial (1 part of your site got bummed) or site-wide. Mostly partial penalties
  3. Never go with someone who guarantees a result
  4. It takes a lot of time
  5. Read the “rules”:  &  Google hates sitewide links



  1. Plan for multiple attempts from the start
  2. Remove & record
  3. Disavow –
  4. Ask for reinclusion
  5. Expect to be told NO


Gathering Data:

  • Use MajesticSEO – Fresh (90 days) & Historic index (5 years) advanced report + OSE, + GWT + Excel
  • Analyse the data: Pivot or GroupBy. More efficient to do it at root domain level. Sitelevel is usally ok to evaluate.
  • Divide into categories: remove, disavow (no chance to remove) or investigate


How to decide what to remove?

  • Domains – with “directory, Pr, SEO” in it
  • Metrics – Free press release sites are bad, all directories are bad. If it’s placed for SEO reasons alone – remove the link
  • TLD’s – or .cn or .bg ?
  • Anchors – exact anchors? too many not good
  • Number of links per domain : no sitewides


Look at every site:

  • Record details as you go
  • Contact e-mail / contact form (
  • Category
  • Risk / Natural from Google’s perspective



  • As a real person, from the domain with the penalty, use a webmail account (give to Google to prove your work). Two attempts is usually enough



  • record a conclusion for every domain (removed – verify this), disavow (paid & non-responders), keep


Disavow file:

  • Correct format: (no www!). At domain level
  • #comments start with a hashtag
  • UTF-8 text file
  • Annotate the file – why you removed the link
  • It’s a live document
  • Submit your disavow, check if it’s taken
  • Then move on into reinclusion – but WAIT first. Wait for Google recached them. Wait at least 2 weeks!



  • polite
  • explain you’ve changed
  • and prove it
  • prepare for fake people to respond

4 to 5 attemps before the manual penalty is removed

When denied: Make sure you know what’s still alive, all the data, everyone should stop linkbuilding


Example bad links

  • Google are not doing a good job. (From Quality Raters):
  • Article sites, directory site, also (directory stucture sites),
  • Forums (profile spam),
  • Guest blogs,
  • Obvious scrapers (!!),
  • Sites not in any dataset,
  • sites already disavowed,
  • Nofollowed links,
  • 302’s (!!),
  • links that no longer exist (Google cache is far behind)


Penalty removal

  • Get rid of obvious
  • get rid of commercial terms
  • be more severe
  • correct any missed things



  • Monitor your infographic. Don’t incentivize your infographic. If they accept money, disavow them.

If you got a penalty, and all your links are crap, start considering a new domain

  • Sitewide links are dangerous, even for respected brands. Nofollow them
  • If you remove porn, viagra links, you can have a better success rate. If you got a core of decent links, and the website is valuable you stand a good chance.
  • Manual (go brutal) vs Algorhythmic (chop out the obvious links)
  • Scrapers are a fairly major problem. Watch out for redirections
  • Treshold of 65% links bad = is not good. See linkRisk (score from more than 650)
  • Do preemptive link removal: Scrapersite: disavow them
  • Scrape the links check for 404 and include them in your disavow list
  • Don’t put nofollow list in for the first round of reinclusion
  • First reinclusion almost always isn’t approved
  • Double, consequent penalties are rare.


Peep Laja — ‘5 Steps To Persuasive Web Design’

When it comes to boosting online conversions, web design exists primarily for this: to influence and drive visitors down the funnel. Drawing from the latest research on neuro web design and the results of numerous tests, Peep will show you a framework for persuasive web design that you can use for influencing user behavior on your website. You’ll get practical insights on what makes online visitors tick and how to incorporate these into your web design for increasing online conversions right away.


Truly succesful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking — Malcom Gladwell

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1. Clarity above all

People ask : what is this site about, what can i do here, why should i use it? So you have to be specific in design & copy.

Our brain processes images 50x faster than copy

Physical products = showcase them. This is very important.

First impressions are 94% design related

Visual appeal is more important then usability

Google did a study: low visual complexity and higher prototypicallity (familiar layout) are KEY ingredients.


2. Visual hierarchy

Make important visuals bigger.

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Color psychology = make a different color of your main colors/design.

Rounded Orange buttons are not the best converting!

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3. Keep attention at all costs

80% of attention is above the fold. 69% of attention is on left side

  • Huge photography on landingpages is a good trend
  • Using open, real smiling humans that look at you or the product work well.
  • Women images work better.
  • Use contrast, then & now. Super effective for catching attention. Before & after working for us
  • Surprise or unexpectedness works really well

Wall of text is a good way to kill attention

  • Each paragraph 2 to 3 lines
  • Forget “Welcome to our website”, “Our philosophy”, “About us”
  • Arrows are very effective to people scroll down

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  • Break the pattern. Cfr. Apple page. So we see what is different!

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  • Yes, there is an attention span
  • Too much choice is not good!

What sticks out gets picked

  • Product badges work (scores)

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  • More images, less text = people slow down
  • 25% more sales because of this:

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  • People make visual choices, and rationalize it later.


5. One action per screen, when they’re ready

  • Don’t call for action too soon. Too much too soon
  • Triggers are most effective when people have enough information and the barrier is at the lowest

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Will Critchlow — ‘Making Your Mark Online: Local Business Edition’

We’ve all seen the changing local search ranking factors and seen the procession of changes Google has made on the journey from maps to places to local. When you look at the whole landscape, however, the effective tactics for small and local businesses have changed. Will is going to highlight specific, actionable approaches that have made local businesses famous and show you how you can harness them for your business.


If you offer something Google could do, relying on organic traffic is dangerous (flights, recipes, insurances, …)

TheHawksmoor – best steak in London. Case study.

What worked for them?

Nothing about restaurants is replicable online — will Beckett, Hawksmoor

  • Take the online offline:

They have a book about the perfect steak. If they’re really serious about an offline copy, the publishers make an online copy

They invited bloggers over for steak.

Big brands pretend to be personal

  • So make it personal.

Brand monitoring was huge for them. the owner runs the Twitter account. They don’t use fancy tools.

OpenTable lets them treat VIPs appropriately. This system follows up, and sends them the customers an e-mail asking if they enjoyed it

So they get PR-coverage about their great service.

  • Expect early results if something is going to work

Try out new stuff, like Vine. Facebook worked fantastically.

Photography is huge. Twitter is used as customer service 1-1

What didn’t work?

Instagram, Youtube for various reasons.


Spending money

  • Every $ is compared to hiring someone who can. Go to every local business and invite them in.
  • 500$ on Google & 500$ on Facebook per month
  • They invest in evergreen content. Takes greater investment, but works better in the long run.


Other examples:

  • BrewDog : Tactical Nuclear Penguin video: 260K views
  • Equity For Punks
  • Lush: fresh handmade cosmetics (book: Cosmetics to Go” – The story of Lush). Visual works really well for them. – “Crusading angle” on Youtube
  • B2B: Geckoboard & Server Density



  1. Find a way to invest in photography <= this is huge!
  2. Video helps you “scale humans”. Think big, start small. The personal connection works really well.
  3. While traffic is low, use other’s networks for feedback: like
  4. Give access to people – chatbox
  5. = fold gift vouchers into origami horses.

You must at least have time OR money

  1. Feed scarcity: “1 week half price before we work out the kinks”
  2. Delight your existing customers
Just for Mailchimp customers = a wink

Just for Mailchimp customers = a wink

  1. Build flywheels: use Launchrock (high conversion rate). Ex: to launch Distilled Brandopolis


Wrapping up

Take online offline, make it personal and focus on what works immediately, keep the bar high when spending money (invest wise) and aim high





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