What Boom Have Been Reading: March 2014 Edition

Wow – what a month!

Let’s get the bad stuff out the way first, shall we? The guest post apocalypse was started by the industries favourite man, and as a result, we ate a lot of cake. A serious amount of cake.  A small mountain of cake.

On a happier note, we also hosted the first ever drink:// digital marketers meet up (if you weren’t there, where were you?) which we are pleased to report was a success! After a little talk from Ian, the food was brought out and the conversations started. We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who came along and helped to make the night such good fun. We’re hoping to release the details of the next event soon – so keep your eyes peeled! If you have any ideas for the next event, things you’d like to see, talks, ideas etc, we’d love to hear from you.

Even though we’ve all been super busy eating our way out of cake mountain we’ve still taken the time to gather together our favourite reads, resources and sites for you to browse at your leisure. So grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy…

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Is the Influence of Brands Fading? by David Aaker (@DavidAaker)

This article is all about whether brand influence is fading as has been suggested by other people. David Aaaker, however believes that actually it’s not fading but actually its changing as a result of a more social web. He argues that only some brand sectors have been affected by customers behaving more rationally than ever before and don’t rely on a brand name to imply quality.  He also says that while yes, brands can be affected much quicker by negative news due to the internet than ever before, it is also true for increasing customer loyalty. He goes to describe and unpick the reasons why he believes brands will always have the power.

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How to Design an Ecommerce Checkout Flow that Converts by Peep Laja (@peeplaja)

My choice for this month is a really thorough guide to designing a checkout process that converts by Peep Laja. There are lots of helpful tips here for e-commerce sites and answers to some of the most common conversion questions. There are great examples of carts both good and bad – lots to learn!

You Won’t Believe What Happens When People Turn in to Clickbait Zombies by Trevin Shirey (@tjshirey)

A final last minute entry to the round-up, I just had to include this post from Trevin Shirey on how to survive the clickbait apocalypse. Clickbait headlines drive me bonkers! Whilst I understand their appeal, I share Trevin’s opinion that content producers should stop producing throw-away content for clicks and focus on creating something more useful and worthwhile for customers. He really hits the nail on the head for me with his final sentence “Use clickbait as an item in your toolbox, but don’t become another clickbait zombie, a brainless slave to impressions.” Bravo!

A Bonus Pick: Lorem Oopsum

A fun Tumblr that showcases shameful examples of template text released into the wild *facepalm*

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How to Boost your Business with Instagram by Yiota and Thessy Kouzokas (@saboskirt)

I’ve mentioned Sabo Skirt in blog posts of mine because I love their brand and I love the way they use social media. It really is quite inspiring and it’s nice to see that others have picked up on it, too. This nice article talks about Yiota and Thessy’s success with Sabo Skirt and also gives some great tips for businesses using Instagram.

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An Open Letter to Matt Cutts, Erin Schmidt, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, et al. by Doc Sheldon (@DocSheldon)(

Because open letters are always fun and this one says what a lot of us in SEO are thinking right now.

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Googles Wave of Guest Post Related Penalties – Keep Calm by Rishi Lakhani (@rishil)

Here well-respected SEO Rishi Lakhani gives a good overview of the recent My Blog Guest penalties dished out by Google, a little history behind it and a sensible approach to getting manual Google penalties revoked. He only lets himself down by including a “Keep Calm…” image at the end.

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Ten Cent Dime by Adam Turnbull (@adamjturnbull)

Ten Cent Dime is a illustration blog where New Yorker Adam Turnbull captures moments and feelings from life in New York with quick illustrations with subtle animations.

To see someone draw their life and share it is a fantastic antidote to twitter & instagram overload. It makes me want to make time to just draw more often.

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Do Long Tail Keywords Matter in PPC? by Sam Owen (@SamOwenPPC)

It was once accepted wisdom that targeting long tail keywords was a good practice that could help you to get really relevant, high converting traffic at low prices. But is that still the case? Sam Owen shares data from his account and talks you through how to analyse your own account so you can see if long tail keywords really matter to you.

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108 Ideas in 30 Minutes – The 6-3-5 Method of Brainwriting by Stacey Cavanagh (@staceycav)

This article was brought to my attention fairly late in the month, but I’m so glad that it did! I love learning new techniques and figuring out cool ways to do day-to-day things. In this post Stacey introduces you to brainwriting (it sounds gross, promise you it’s not). Stacey walks you through the process step by step, and BOOM – loads of ideas for your client in the space of half an hour! I can’t wait to try this out in April…

The Message is Medium Rare by MINE (@PrettyWellDone)

Seriously, I am going to bang on about this site until I am blue in the face. I mentioned it in my last blog post, and I’m mentioning it again because I love it! Burgers and designers meat (hey, hey?) on this blog and creative lessons are learned. Check it out if you haven’t already!

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9 Ways to Write Clear Copy by Demian Farnworth (@demianfarnworth)

This article has some fantastic tips on writing concise copy. It has advice on everything from sentence length to avoiding modifiers (turns out I’m a serial user of the word ‘actually’). I think it could be especially helpful when it comes to writing blog posts and descriptions.

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So it was a bit of a funny month all in all. We knew it would be coming when Matt Cutts put this post up.

Then we saw this:

Then we watched the fall out as anyone that had ever been involved in MyBlogGuest got a sitewide manual penalty (a little harsh in my opinion) and either scrambled to nofollow all outgoing links or get links removed that pointed to their websites.

It resulted in a strong stance from Ann and then a little bit of a retreat.

We saw Doc Sheldon’s site get penalised for what appears to be very little and then Mr Cutts state that his team had done a good job.

You can see Doc’s response in this open letter to Google and a follow up and Danny Sullivans take here. There are also a great discussion here and a funny post here about linking policy and Dustin’s take on it all here.

We saw Portent get a manual penalty and various big name brands disappear from the search results.

Who said SEO was dead?

Also I have just linked out to 13 different posts. In 200 words. I might be in trouble.


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