Mike Laraman, Author at Gooey Digital
Gooey Digital

The Ultimate Digital Marketing Glossary: 50 Terms You Need To Know

Most industries have their fair share of jargon, and digital marketing is no exception. From the CTR of your adverts to the bounce rate of your website, there are numerous terms used by marketers that might sound like gobbledegook to the uninitiated.

However, there’s often no substitute for explaining things in plain English. Today, we’re going to look at fifty of the most common words, phrases and acronyms you’re likely to come across in the world of digital marketing – and reveal the meaning behind the neologisms…

  • A/B testing: The process of creating multiple variants of a page and showing them at random to different website users, to see if the ‘A’ variant or the ‘B’ variant might be more popular with visitors. Sometimes, this is also known as A/B/C/D testing, or ‘split-testing’.
  • Abandonment rate: The proportion of users who initiated a predefined conversion process, but left the website before completing it. For example, if 10 of the 100 people who started to buy something from your online shop left without submitting their order, your abandonment rate would be 10%.
  • Algorithm: A set of rules, logic or calculations followed by a computer. In the context of digital marketing, we usually talk about things like ‘the Google algorithm’ or ‘the Facebook algorithm’ when trying to craft content that will be favoured by these automated processes.
  • Anchor text: The visible text of a hyperlink.
  • Authority: One of the factors considered by Google when ranking websites on its results pages. A site that has been around for years and is a well-respected source of information (such as Wikipedia) is said to have high authority – and tends to rank very well in search results.
  • B2B / B2C: These acronyms stand for ‘Business-to-business’ and ‘business-to-consumer’ respectively, and describe the operating model of a commercial organisation – in other words, whether they primarily offer their services to individual end customers, or to other businesses.
  • Backlinks: Backlinks are all of the links on other websites that point to your page. Collectively, they make up what’s known as your site’s backlink profile.
  • Black Hat SEO

  • Black hat / white hat SEO: ‘Black hat’ is a euphemism in many tech fields for unethical practices, and in the world of SEO can include engaging in optimisation practices that contradict Google’s guidelines, fill websites with spam and other ‘quick fixes’ that don’t provide long term results and often result in ranking penalties. By contrast, ‘white hat’ SEO is essentially doing it the good guy way and improving your rankings as a consequence of making your site genuinely more valuable for human users.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who arrive at your website but then leave without accessing any other pages. High bounce rates can indicate a problem with the website’s content or layout – it may be that users find it off-putting, confusing, or uninteresting.
  • CMS (Content Management System): The system used behind-the-scenes to handle all of a website’s content. For example, WordPress is an extremely popular CMS used by numerous websites to handle main site pages and blog posts. Other content management systems include the likes of Drupal, Joomla, Concrete5, ExpressionEngine and Magento.
  • Conversion rate: Simply put, the percentage of your total users who complete whatever process you consider to be a ‘conversion’ (which might be buying a product, successfully submitting a message to your sales team, registering for the site, or whichever outcome you ultimately hope to achieve).
  • CPA (Cost Per Acquisition): The average cost of a single conversion in a paid ad campaign. If you spent £100 on ads and got 100 signups, your CPA would be £1.
  • CPC (Cost Per Click): Similar to the above, this is the average cost of each user who clicks your advert in a paid campaign. As not everybody who clicks an ad will necessarily go on to sign up or buy anything, it’s useful to consider these as two separate metrics.
  • Crawler/bot/spider: A crawler is a program that automatically visits (or crawls) a large number of websites and pages to build an archive of data about them. Googlebot, Google’s own crawler, is perhaps the most famous and seeks to build an index of the entire Internet as best it can. Many other companies have produced their own crawlers to mimic the behaviour of Googlebot or to perform other useful SEO-related functions (such as Moz, Majestic, and Screaming Frog).
  • CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation): The process of amending a website or page to increase the percentage of users who go on to complete a conversion process.
  • CTA (Call To Action): A call to action is a short message used on a website or elsewhere that encourages the user to perform a specific action using unambiguous language (“buy now”, “sign up today”, “click here”).
  • CTR (Click Through Rate): The percentage of people who, having been shown your paid ad, have clicked it.
  • Featured snippet: The box of information that often appears at the top of a Google search results page – before the actual results – in an attempt to answer the user’s query by extracting a highlighted passage from the top search result. These can be quite important for SEO, and many search optimisation specialists spend a lot of time tweaking pages to try to get Google to use them as its source for a featured snippet.
  • GDPR: Short for the General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR is an EU law that places certain restrictions on the types of personal data that websites can collect about users (and for what reasons). For more information, please see the Wikipedia article on GDPR.
  • Geo-targeting: The practice of targeting different content to different users based on their geographic location.
  • Google Ads: Google’s paid advertising network.


  • Google Analytics: The industry standard for user analytics, Google Analytics allows webmasters to access a very detailed wealth of anonymised information about their site and its users – which pages are the most popular, where traffic has come from, how many visitors are converting, and a great deal more besides.
  • Google Search Console: Google provides a free tool for allowing webmasters to check up on their site’s search performance and visibility.
  • Hashtag: On social media, a hashtag is a word or phrase (without spaces) marked with a hash symbol (#). This causes the post to be tagged with that hashtag, and users can search for all of the posts that have been tagged with the same identifier. Thus, tagging your Instagram post with #dog will cause your photo to show up for anybody who is looking at the hashtag feed for pictures of dogs.
  • Heatmap: A user heatmap is a popular tool that allows a webmaster to see a Predator-vision-style representation of which areas of their page are the most used by visitors. Tools such as HotJar can record how many clicks are received by each element of the page, and use that data to create a visual display of which links are ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ in terms of user interest.
  • Impression: Every time your paid ad is shown to a user, this is called an impression. However, this doesn’t concern how many times it has been clicked – only how many times it has been displayed. Therefore, an ad with high impressions but a low click-through rate (CTR) may need to be rewritten or redesigned to be more appealing (as people are seeing it, but not clicking on it).
  • Indexing: When Google collects data about a website for its list, it is said to have indexed the page.
  • Keywords: Keywords are the most important words and phrases that describe the content of your page and what users will type into Google when searching for your topic. Keyword research is using various tools to identify which keywords are the most important for optimisation of the site.
  • Keyword stuffing: The outdated SEO practice of padding out a webpage with repetitive and redundant search engine keywords. It’s a terrible idea – in fact, we wrote a whole thing about why you shouldn’t do it
  • KPIs (Key Performance Indicators): In essence, a KPI can be whatever benchmark you decide is a good way to tell that your marketing efforts are actually working. It could be that you want to see an increase in traffic or conversions, a reduction of bounce rate, an increase in the number of returning visitors, or any other metric of your choosing.
  • Landing page: A landing page is a page on your site that users arrive at from search results or an advert. A common SEO practise is to identify which pages on your site are key landing pages and clearly define them as such for Google’s crawler.
  • Link building: The process of getting links to your website from others. This might be achieved via guest posting, leveraging pre-existing professional relationships, requesting link insertions, or any of a number of other techniques.
  • Local search: Google will often serve different results to different users based on their geographic location – somebody searching for ‘Italian restaurants’ from a computer in London won’t see the same results as a user from Glasgow. Thus, many businesses find it essential to optimise their site for good visibility in local search results.
  • Long-tail keyword: Whereas we might imagine that most keywords are short, single-word items (such as ‘toys’), long-tail keywords are longer phrases that are much more specific (‘barbie doll clothes and accessories’). These search terms are often easier to rank for than generic keywords, and crafty keyword research looking for these sorts of phrases can sometimes yield good SEO results.
  • Meta-data: Encompassing meta-titles, meta-descriptions, and (to a much lesser extent) meta-keywords, meta-data is information stored in the header tag of a web page that contains data about the page for search crawlers to use. The contents of these tags can often make a notable difference to a website’s SEO performance, and are often the first port of call when seeking to improve the Google presence of a page that doesn’t rank very well.
  • NoIndex: Noindex is an attribute that can be added to a website’s header tag which asks Googlebot to not add the page to its index. This should be thought of as more of a suggestion than a hardline command, but Google’s crawler tends to respect the directive more often than not.
  • Organic traffic: Visitors who find your site from a search engine results page, as opposed to a direct link from another site, a social platform, or a paid advert.
  • PPC (Pay Per Click): A type of paid marketing, where you pay only when a user clicks your advert.
  • Rankings: The order in which websites are returned on a search engine’s results page.
  • Remarketing / retargeting: This is the practice of targeting advertising towards people who have already demonstrated an interest in your business. For example, this might be users who have previously visited your website or interacted with you on social media.
  • Rich Snippet

  • Rich snippet: Whereas a normal snippet is the short excerpt of a web page that Google displays with each listing on its results pages, a rich snippet has additional features (which might include imagery, review stars, the preparation time of a recipe, or any of a number of other additions).
  • Robots.txt: A file that can be used to recommend to Google’s crawler that it should index or ignore different areas of your website. Googlebot will always look for this file in the root directory of your site (eg., yoursite.com/robots.txt).
  • Schema: Schema markup is a special kind of HTML that can be used to explain the structure of your content to Google. For example, you might want to make it very clear to Googlebot that what you’ve written might be a postal address, medical information, or a movie review – and by using the right type of schema markup (as described on schema.org) you can make sure the search crawler understands what it’s seeing.
  • Search query: The word or phrase used by a user looking for something on a search engine.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): The process of making improvements to a website to increase its presence in search results. This can involve on-site factors such as changing the meta-data or improving the content, or off-site and holistic factors such as seeking to better the site’s backlink profile and overall authority.
  • SERP (Search Engine Results Page): The page of results that a search engine presents in response to a user’s query.
  • Sitemap: A sitemap is a list of all of the pages on a website. This can either be a publicly visible HTML sitemap for the use of human visitors, or an XML sitemap used to help Googlebot find its way around.
  • Tracking pixel: A small chunk of code that can be added to your website to collect data for a particular service (eg. a Facebook tracking pixel to keep track of Facebook users who end up on your page). Sometimes this code may incorporate a literal ‘pixel’ in the form of a 1×1 image file, but not always.
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): The thing that differentiates your business, service, offering, or website from that of others. For many marketing projects, identifying your USP is the foundation of knowing what messaging to put on your site and in your ad campaigns.
  • UX (User Experience): User experience design is concerned with making sure a page is intuitive and pleasant to use. If a website has a high bounce rate, improvements to UX may be the solution – and if users are confused or frustrated, they are unlikely to stick around.

The field of digital marketing does come with a lot of complicated jargon, but it needn’t be an ongoing mystery for newcomers.

By bookmarking our handy reference guide, you can return to this page in the future as a refresher if you should happen to encounter a buzzword you don’t recognise – and by staying abreast of the industry lingo, you can make sure you’re always part of the conversation.

6 Weird And Wonderful Facts About Google

Many of us in the world of search engine optimisation (SEO) devote a lot of time to understanding the inner machinations of Google’s search ranking algorithms, pouncing on and obsessing over every scrap of information about how their systems operate.

After all, if the search engine company were to ever fully spill the beans about how it works, the algorithm would immediately be mined for loopholes and exploits – and so its secrecy is carefully maintained.

However, the company itself is just as fascinating; since its inception in 1996, Google has enjoyed a long and colourful history marked with interesting events and curious happenstances. Today, we’re going to look at six facts about the organisation that are surprising and yet absolutely true – so buckle up!

1. Google used to be called ‘BackRub’

Before the word ‘Google’ was ever coined by the company’s founders at Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin originally had a much less striking name for their service.

Reasoning that its primary function was to analyse ‘backlinks’ for websites across the Internet, they named it ‘BackRub’ (a moniker that lasted for less than a year).

BackRub logo

It didn’t take long for the pair to decide that they needed a new name – one that would convey just how much data they handled – and eventually the word ‘googolplex’ was suggested by a graduate student they knew named Sean Anderson.

What’s a googolplex, you might ask? Well, it’s an unimaginably large number. A googol is a 1 followed by a hundred zeroes (1×10100) – and a googolplex is 1 followed by a googol zeroes (1×1010100). To put that into perspective, that’s more zeroes than there are atoms in the observable universe; it’s a number so huge that it’s physically impossible to write it out (you’ll run out of matter to write it on before you run out of zeroes).

Not only is the number hard to wrap your head around, but the word itself is also not especially catchy. The decision was therefore made to go with the shorter ‘googol’, which due to a now-famous misspelling was eventually registered as ‘google.com’ – and the rest is history.

2. They have a T. rex

Say that again?

We Have A T-Rex (Jurassic Park image)

His name’s Stan, actually.

Dug out of the Hell Creek Formation in 1987, Stan the T. rex can be found guarding the California headquarters of the search engine giant.

He’s one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus specimens ever discovered, although – to let you in on a little secret – if you see him at Google’s offices, you should know that he’s actually a replica (the original fossil skeleton lives at the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research).

Image by sporst, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Fun fact: Although many dinosaur specimens are given friendly nicknames like ‘Stan’, ‘Sue’ or ‘Sophie’, this shouldn’t generally be taken as a real indication of gender. It’s very hard to definitively identify the gender of a fossilised dinosaur (it’s possible only in a minority of cases) – so it’s perfectly possible that ‘Stan’ might actually be a lady.

3. Google acquires a new company every week

It’s true – since 2010, Google has acquired other companies at an average rate of at least one per week.

Notable acquisitions have included Keyhole (the company whose mapping technology powers Google Earth), Android, Picasa, YouTube, reCAPTCHA, game developer Owlchemy Labs (whose work is now being incorporated into Google VR), and hundreds of others – most of which are based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

To date, Google has only ever divested itself of four of its businesses (Frommers, SketchUp, Boston Dynamics, and Google Radio Automation) – so you know they like to hold onto them, too.

4. Google Mars is a thing


Everybody’s heard of Google Earth, but did you know the company has a version for Mars?

Using material provided by NASA’s Mars Space Flight Facility in Arizona, Google Mars incorporates images and data from the Mars Global Surveyor missions and the 2001 Mars Odyssey (a robotic NASA spacecraft that continues to orbit around the red planet today).

Of course, it hasn’t taken long for UFO cranks to find a use for Google Mars in their theories, with some suggesting that they might have spotted a crashed alien craft on the planet’s surface.

Oh, and Google Moon is also a thing that exists…

5. The search engine has dozens of Easter Eggs

Easter Egg GIF

In the context of entertainment media, an ‘Easter Egg’ is a secret feature, reference or other hidden detail put in by the creators for the audience to discover, particularly in videogames and software (the term was invented by Atari in the late 1970s).

Google’s search engine service has a bunch of them. Not all of the ones you’ll find on the many lists around the web still work today, but the ones that do include the following:

  • Searching for ‘recursion’ will cause Google to prompt you with the message “did you mean: recursion”, in an infinite loop.
  • Searching for ‘is google down’ will return a simple message, “No”.
  • ‘Do a barrel roll’ will cause the entire page to spin around in a manner reminiscent of Star Fox.
  • Typing in ‘Google in 1998’ on a desktop browser brings back 90’s web design chic in all its terrible glory.
  • ‘Minesweeper’ gives you a playable version of the classic game right on the search results page.
  • ‘What is the loneliest number’ returns an answer of “1” in Google’s calculator.
  • Entering the German version of Monty Python’s ‘funniest joke in the world’ (“Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!“) into Google Translate and attempting to convert it into English produces a joke error message.

There are many others, of course – see Wikipedia for the full list.

6. Gmail launched on April Fools’ Day

Originally kept as a secret even from many of Google’s own internal engineers, Gmail – the company’s email service – was launched as a limited beta on April 1st, 2004.

As it happens, this wasn’t the only notable thing to ever happen to Google on an April Fools’ Day. In 2007, management sent out an internal email stating that staff should be on the lookout for an escaped python on the premises – a message that many employees assumed must be an odd joke, despite its claims to the contrary:

Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2007 10:24 PM

Subject: [Everyone-ny] Pet Snake Missing in NYC office

Dear Googlers:

The timing of this email could not be more awkward. Over the weekend, a pet snake belonging to a Googler was released from its cage in a 4th floor cubicle near the Tech Stop. The snake is a 3-foot long, brown and grey ball python named Kaiser. Ball pythons are nonvenomous and are commonly kept as pets. Our exterminator, with Google’s security team and the snake’s owner are searching for it. Should you see the snake, please do not attempt to touch it or pick it up. Call security immediately.

Tempting as it might be, this is not an April Fool’s joke! We are sending this message to alert you to the situation and to let you know what to do in the event you see the snake. We will send an update to all New York Googlers at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2 and post signs at office entrances. Should you have any particular concerns, please contact your immediate supervisor.

As a reminder, the pets policy of Google New York allows only dogs to be brought into the office by Googlers. Permission must be obtained from management before any other type of animal can be brought onto the premises.

Sure enough, the snake was real – and it took them four days to find it. Royal pythons (as ball pythons are usually known in the UK) aren’t generally dangerous to humans and are kept for their docile nature, but the timing of this event certainly made for an awkward internal comms episode.

Of course, the fullness of time has ultimately shown that they weren’t joking around with Gmail, either – given that the email service now has more than a billion users worldwide.

As an organisation, Google themselves are almost as interesting as the technology behind their secret search algorithms. We like to stay abreast of what they’re up to, because there always seems to be something going on.

Tis A Silly Place (Monty Python)

The company’s focus on innovation and continually acquiring new technologies makes them difficult to predict. Google’s rise to the top of the tech space has been a long and interesting ride – and there’s no telling what they might decide to launch tomorrow.

5 Common Social Media Mistakes: What Not To Do

Much has been said about the marketing power of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Each of these platforms represents a great opportunity for small business promotion – placing your marketing messages in your customers’ feeds right next to content from their friends and family.

However, while these channels can undoubtedly be effective, good results aren’t always as easy to achieve as we might hope. Many businesses and marketers jump into the world of social media without much of a plan for success, and unfortunately mistakes are common.

Today, we’re going to outline a few everyday social media missteps and offer some advice for getting those underperforming channels working for you…

Social media

1. Forgetting to be human

Many businesses (especially on Instagram) simply post endless product photographs and adverts for their services. While one of these posts might be effective on an individual basis, it’s no way to build a brand – customers will likely be slow to follow a page that offers nothing but an endless stream of self-promotional material.

Instead, take the time every so often to break things up with a personal touch and some human interest – a photo of your team out for lunch together or of the office cat sleeping on somebody’s keyboard will go a long way to help your company seem as though it’s full of real, lovable people.

Social media is at its best when marketers and customers are able to build a relationship. Bombarding users with nothing but self-serving spam is unlikely to get them to care about you, so let them put some faces to the business name.

2. Inconsistent posting

We get it – for many small businesses, social media isn’t a top priority and it gets done when somebody remembers. However, much like exercising, it’s rarely effective when you only do it once in a blue moon.

Dog on a treadmill

In order to get the best results from social media, you’ll need to get serious about your posting schedule and maintain a constant stream of good content. It’s an unavoidable fact that a ludicrous amount of material is posted every day on social media and unfortunately it’s necessary to bang a drum loudly and often in order to get noticed.

The good news is that consistent posting can be a great way to accumulate followers; as users notice they are seeing more and more content from you that they enjoy, they will be much more likely to sign up for further material.

We know it can be hard to find time every day for social media, but with tools such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Buffer and Post Planner you can queue material up ahead of time and leave the software in charge of publishing it when the time comes – meaning you can prepare a whole week or month’s worth of content in one go and then turn your mind to other matters.

3. Not being ‘social’

It’s a sad fact that brands and businesses often seem to forget the ‘social’ part of ‘social media’. All too often, content is queued up, published, and then later checked hopefully for ‘engagement’ – all without actually engaging any users themselves.

As a strategy on social media, this is tantamount to sitting alone in the corner at a party and hoping somebody will come over to talk to you: it happens occasionally, but it’s a poor approach for making friends.

Lonely frisbee

Many businesses don’t do nearly enough to start conversations, reply to commenters and interact with other people’s posts – and so it’s hardly surprising that users rarely look their way. It’s always worth remembering that social media is at its best for marketing when time is taken to interact personally with users and to build real relationships and trust.

Speaking of interacting personally, another common issue is…

4. Mis-handling complaints

It’s bound to happen eventually.

Maybe you’ll screw something up, or maybe the commenter will just be a troll trying to make you look bad – but from time to time you’ll get the dreaded Negative Comment (cue thunder clap/dramatic organ sounds). It’s an unavoidable consequence of being active on the Internet, the same way that getting snowed on every now and then is a natural side-effect of living in Alaska.

The question is what to do about it – many businesses are in the habit of simply avoiding, ignoring or (in some cases) actually deleting negative comments, thinking that having customer complaints sitting out in the open is a bad look.

You Didn't See Anything

These actions may seem sensible, but really they erode consumer confidence and trust – if people realise that their complaints are being ignored and removed they will start to lose faith in whether you truly care about your customers, whether you’re listening to what they’re saying and even whether you might secretly be keeping other transgressions on the downlow.

As with many things in life, it’s often best to come clean and own the situation. By responding to the complaint with apologetic respect and explaining how the situation is being rectified you may actually earn admiration – most consumers know that businesses aren’t perfect 100% of the time, and they’d rather see the inevitable complaints and slip-ups get handled with grace and professionalism than swept under the proverbial rug.

5. Not tracking results

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” is a well-known pontification of the business management thinker Peter Drucker. These days nobody can seem to agree if it strictly constitutes good or bad advice, but there is some logic to it – especially in the world of digital marketing.

Simply put, too many businesses on social media don’t really have much idea of whether or not their efforts are actually getting anywhere. They may be watching the follower count, but what about their engagement metrics? Are they tracking user clicks and keeping tabs on which posts are generating the most conversions? Are their posts attracting more likes and comments than those of their nearest competitors, or fewer? Have they done hashtag analysis to identify the most promising tags for each post?

Data is the friend of digital marketers everywhere. The more information you have about what works, what doesn’t and what users best respond to, the better your marketing output can become – otherwise you’re just blindly trying things and not keeping any record of what’s working, or why.

At the end of the day, social media in its various forms can be a seriously powerful marketing tool, but there are many ways to do it wrong. It’s not something you can get into ‘a little bit’ and expect it to work for you, and social media channels each require careful planning and dedicated effort to get real results.

By maintaining a scrupulously consistent update schedule, keeping tabs on your data and taking the time to come across as a real human you can lift your brand’s social media marketing to the next level – and make a great connection with your followers and customers along the way.



5 SEO Myths That Just Won’t Die

Persistent myths are a regular feature of human society. Whether we’re talking about classical concepts like dragons and King Arthur, or “urban legends” such as the notion that Area 51 might contain an alien spacecraft, myths can be fun ideas that make the world seem to be a more fantastical place. While we don’t often think of SEO as having a mythical component, there are certainly some ideas that owe more to fiction than reality.

Some modern myths might be better described as commonly held misconceptions – such as the belief that the Great Wall of China is visible from space (it’s not) or that vitamin C helps you get over a cold (it doesn’t).

As with many technical disciplines, SEO has its own fair share of frequently cited untruths which have somehow managed to persist for years despite having no basis in fact – and today we’re going to set the record straight on five of the worst offenders.

Fake news

  1. SEO is done once and then you’re golden

Often, we’re not geared up to think about “optimisation” as an ongoing, long-term effort. If you’ve got something that’s unoptimised, you optimise it and then it’s optimised – right?

Many of us don’t realise what a dynamic and constantly-changing environment the Google search results pages really are. New pages are indexed at a rate of 100 billion a month, algorithm updates juggle things around, some sites undertake SEO practices for the first time while others are being penalised for succumbing to hackers or using black hat SEO tactics, and so on.

It follows that the results page you get for your query on Monday may well appear differently to what you see on Tuesday, because the Internet never sleeps.

The very idea that you can optimise your site once and then expect it to perform at the top of Google’s results forever is patently silly. What happens when the competitors you out-optimised start to use their own SEO practices to catch up with you? What happens when Google changes its system? You’re going to need some new tactics.

Every industry – and every client – is different, but often getting a given website to the top of the results page is only half of the battle, and the real trick is keeping it there. It’s not enough to rest on your laurels and expect Google to recognise the site’s self-evident brilliance for the next decade – the search results page is a never-ending treadmill, and you’ll have to keep moving if you want to stay where you are.

  1. Great content is all you need

We should be clear: we think that great content is very, very important for search engine optimisation. Creating rich and valuable content for a site’s visitors is a very powerful way to improve rankings and increase user satisfaction, reduce your site’s bounce rate, and boost conversions. Great content is awesome, and it forms the backbone of a lot of what we do.

Kermit typing

However, sometimes people take the idea a little too far, and start coming out with maxims like “write great content and the rest will take care of itself.” While we might see some truth in the statement, it’s also misleadingly reductive.

What about link-building? What about keyword research, and meta-titles, and site speed optimisation? There are a large number of techniques for improving any site’s SEO, and while all of them can make a difference, a really powerful SEO strategy will use them all in combination.

In short, any expert who tells you “this one technique is all you need” is probably not taking their job seriously – or are getting it seriously wrong.

  1. Google are actively trying to outfox SEOs

Every good SEO professional knows that Google can and does update its algorithms on a regular basis – sometimes causing merry hell in the process – and it can be tempting to see deliberate malice when your entire job is making sure that those search results pages look the way you want them to.

Of course, Google’s job isn’t to serve data in a way that pleases SEO consultants – it’s to provide genuinely useful results to its countless daily users in whichever way it thinks is best, and getting annoyed with Google for changing its approach is a bit like getting angry at clouds for raining on you.

Chill out, homeboy

Combined with the deliberate obfuscation of the inner workings of the search engine’s logic (which we all know would immediately be exploited into oblivion if it were ever revealed), operating in the world of SEO can sometimes feel as though Google is specifically trying to make our lives difficult.

That being said, the search engine giant has made no secret of its disdain for dodgy black hat techniques. Confusing this highly specific grudge with a dislike for the SEO industry as a whole is an easy mistake to make, but the truth is that Google actually seems to approve of search engine optimisation when it’s done properly – as evidenced by the amount of helpful material provided by its Webmaster Guidelines and its part in establishing useful SEO standards such as Schema markup.

  1. Guest posting is dead

This is one of those dramatic proclamations that has been made on a regular basis for so long now that it’s beginning to sound like those people who keeping saying the world is about to end because Nostradamus or the Mayan calendar said so. Here’s an article from earlier this year, for example, along with one from 2016. Here’s another from 2014, one from 2013, and did you know that 2012 had some too?

We’re not sure why people are still writing these things, in spite of the fact that high-quality guest blogging has continued to work consistently for link-building throughout.


Some of the misgivings have been due to some less-than-glowing comments from Google in 2014 (“stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy”), although these were later softened with some clarifications (“There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging… Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there”).

Another warning was issued by the search engine providers in 2017, although it didn’t add too much new information.

Yes, writing low-quality articles with the sole objective of getting a do-follow link is spammy and gross – it ought not to be a surprise to anybody that Google doesn’t like that sort of thing. But there is a difference between doing that and trying to write a unique and high-quality piece of content designed to bring real value to the readers of another website (who may just decide to link to you in return).

If your guest posts are well-written, non-cynical and provide genuine value to readers (and aren’t mass-published), you have nothing to be concerned about – no matter what the SEO alarmists tell you every year.

It’s worth nothing that while guest posting is most certainly still very much alive, it is a lot harder than it used to be. Webmasters are far more alert to spammy pitches, and securing an article on a prestigious publication takes a lot of time, effort, and some top quality writing. But that’s the point anyway, isn’t it?

  1. You can get position 1 results in a matter of days

The danger with an industry in which the day-to-day principles aren’t well understood by the general public is that sometimes you encounter practitioners who, for want of a more polite term, we might describe as snake-oil salesmen.

From time to time we see people making promises along the lines of “getting you to position 1 in one week” and other such claims, which can sound terribly impressive to unsuspecting potential customers but have absolutely no basis in reality.

It's a trap

For one thing, some industries are highly competitive and it may well be the case that all of the client’s competitors have been powerfully optimised already – it might take a sustained and dedicated effort to dislodge them and claim the top spot in the search results.

For another, Google’s crawlers often take several weeks to register changes and it might be next month before you see any of the fruits of your link-building labour; and let’s not forget that often the best SEO strategy in the world can encounter delays when cooperating with the client’s existing web development team or internal review process.

In short, these claims never stand up to scrutiny and are an unethical way to handle client expectations. The honest truth is that real SEO can take many months of sustained research, strategising, optimisation and link-building – and saying you can do it all overnight is tantamount to quackery.

Of course, with the frequency of Google’s algorithm changes, none of these debunkings are necessarily set in stone – maybe one day content will actually become the only important factor for SEO, or the search giant really will kill guest posting once and for all.

For now, though, the only thing to be done is to keep an ear to the ground and to stay up-to-date with current developments – all the while diligently sorting fact from fiction.


Keyword Stuffing Is Poison For SEO – Here’s Why

In a lot of ways, the early days of the Internet were a simpler time. You didn’t have to make the kind of responsive web pages that would display just as well on a 360×640 smartphone screen as they did on a 1080p desktop monitor, the use of cookies wasn’t a tangle of confusing legislation – and search engine optimisation (SEO) was a lot more straightforward.

The intelligence of Google’s ranking algorithm has come along in leaps and bounds over the years, largely to the benefit of the Internet in general – the inevitable corollary being that many of the SEO tactics of days gone by are no longer effective (and in some cases now work to the detriment of the page they were intended to boost).

What is keyword stuffing?

Sometimes rather oxymoronically referred to as “over-optimising”, “keyword stuffing” is the practice of jamming as many target keywords into the display text or hidden markup of a webpage as possible (often regardless of any concern for its readability in the eyes of an actual human being) in the hope that this will convince Google of said page’s overwhelmingly high relevance for those keywords. Just look at how many times these keywords come up!

The example provided by Google is as follows:

Keyword stuffing example
Provided in the form of an image, so that Google doesn’t think this website is guilty of keyword stuffing…

The writer of the above hypothetical example would be hoping that this would be enough to convince Google that their site was the number one destination on the web for all things relating to custom cigar humidors and put them at the top of the search rankings – and wouldn’t it be nice if that were all you had to do?

Of course, it doesn’t work that way, and if it did, that company’s competitors would have to fill their sites with spamtastic, keyword-packed paragraphs to keep up – and pretty soon the entire Internet would become nothing but an unreadable mess of word salad with little or no value to human readers.

Google’s engineers know that if search engine users found nothing but keyword-stuffed nonsense pages, the usefulness of the service would be in jeopardy and they’d all eventually be out of a job; and so their algorithm is constantly updated to try to identify good-quality content which is of genuine value to humans – and to penalise transparent attempts at gaming the system.

What even is a humidor, anyway?

Why is keyword stuffing bad?

As well as being generally ineffective, keyword stuffing is ultimately sort of a pointless tactic in any case.

Let’s say it did work, and our spam-packed site sat majestically at the top of the Google search results for cigar humidors – time to celebrate, right?

Peanuts celebration GIF

Well, not really, because any actual potential customers who click our link are going to say to themselves, “Yuck, what is all this nonsense? This looks super dodgy, I don’t think I want to buy anything from this site.”

In short: even if a visibly keyword-stuffed website did do well in search results, it wouldn’t be of any real use to anybody (and probably would have an appallingly low conversion rate for the webmaster).

Sometimes the keyword stuffing is done in such a way that it is not visible to the end user, and is either camouflaged in the layout (for example, by hiding words in white text on a white background) or by disabling their visibility via stylesheets (using display:none) – the latter tactic completely hiding the spam from human users, but preserving its readability for Google’s search spider.

This brings us onto the second reason that keyword stuffing is a bad idea: Google takes a dim view of the practice, and will actively penalise any website that it catches trying to manipulate its algorithm in this way.

A famous example is BMW’s German website, which in 2006 was caught trying to rank a spam-loaded page that auto-redirected human users to a nicer, cleaner version and was ultimately banned from the search engine – note that this happened nearly thirteen years ago, and you’d better believe that Google has since gotten a lot more sophisticated about spotting crude attempts to get an advantage over the competition.

“Webmasters are free to do what they want on their own sites,” Google engineer Matt Cutts has said, “but Google reserves the right to do what we think is best to maintain the relevance of our search results, and that includes taking action on keyword stuffing.”

What do I do if my site has been penalised for keyword stuffing?

Sometimes, keyword spam is implemented not so much out of a conscious desire to unfairly game the system but more of a general innocence about how websites work, or an outdated notion of SEO best practices.

Consequently, well-meaning users are occasionally surprised to find that their website has been blacklisted by Google and often end up feeling like they broke a rule nobody actually told them about.


Fortunately, Google do accept appeals in this matter. Once your site has been cleaned up and the spam excised, you can file a Reconsideration Request in Google Search Console and hopefully have it reviewed for re-inclusion in the search rankings for your target keywords.

What’s the alternative to keyword stuffing?

So, if you’re not allowed to stuff your pages with paragraphs full of product names and possible keyword permutations, what can you do with your page content to ensure good positioning in Google’s search results?

As with many things in life, the answer is that there aren’t really any shortcuts; Google’s algorithm wants to favour content that is the most useful to the largest number of people, and so the solution is… write really great human-readable content.

It may sound like an anticlimactic answer, but the truth is that there are no magic techniques to make Google “think” you have a great page full of really relevant and helpful information (apart from actually just honestly making that page).

The algorithms today are very sophisticated and able to tell with high accuracy which pages are likely to be the most valuable to human readers, and while there are often optimisations that can be made to a page’s meta-information and header tags for a bit of an SEO boost, few things are as powerful as high-quality content.

After all, content that is genuinely engaging for human readers is much more likely to be linked-to from other sites and shared on social media by interested users, and you simply can’t get that kind of organic word-of-mouth marketing by using spammy pages that look like they’ve taken keyword steroids.


Fundamentally, keyword stuffing is both useless and dangerous when it comes to boosting your presence in Google’s search rankings, and it hasn’t been a serious SEO technique for at least a decade. Nonetheless, we still see its influence in many websites, even today.

Even if it did somehow end up ranking fairly well, a spammed-up website wouldn’t do much except contribute to the general white noise of Internet spam – and consistently lose readers to competitor sites that featured genuinely interesting and useful page content.


Six Digital Marketing Tips For Game Developers

In today’s games industry, making a great product is only half the story. “Build it and they will come” no longer rings true, if it ever did. Many developers seem to operate under the assumption that a self-evidently great game will just “sell itself”, and unfortunately this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The good news is that there are always things you can do to generate interest in your game, even if your marketing budget wouldn’t cover the cost of a Happy Meal – so here are some things you can do right now to start getting people excited.

  1. Start early

Many new developers think that the marketing process starts a couple of months prior to their big release. Unfortunately, they might as well just load a gun and point it at their toes.

When should you start? As soon as possible. Right at the beginning of development. Yesterday.

Start banging a drum about what you’re making as soon as you start making it. This can go against all of our impulses to only show the world things “when they’re ready” and they have a bit of polish, but today’s gamers and social media users love to see projects develop.

If you haven’t even made a prototype yet, post some of your concept art. Post something. The unfortunate truth is that it can take months and months, perhaps years, for your message to start to take hold in a big way, so don’t short-change yourself by trying to do it in six weeks.



By the way, don’t be afraid that people will copy your brilliant game. Howard Aiken once said, “don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” Ideas are ten-a-penny, and largely worthless without good execution – so put them out there and show the world how well you can act on them.

2. Find a niche

So, real talk: your development company probably isn’t Ubisoft . You almost certainly do not have ten hojillion dollars to market your games the way the big guys do, blasting your message on the biggest and broadest wavelengths possible.

In a way, though, those triple-A marketing efforts are often more wasteful than they are effective. It doesn’t matter if 100 people see an advert for the latest FIFA title and 99 of those people have never had the slightest interest in buying a sports game.

This just means you will have to get creative with your approach. Don’t try to reach “all gamers” – that’s daft. Instead, start thinking of ways to reach those specific types of people who might be interested in what you’ve got.

  • If you’re making a game in a specific genre, could you target people who have enjoyed other games in that genre – for example, could you sell a new hardcore platformer to people who enjoyed Super Meat Boy or Cuphead?
  • If your game has a nostalgic, creepy vibe, could you sell it to people who like Stranger Things, or gamers who are fans of Stephen King stories?
  • If you have a game about wizards and spells, could you find a way to reach players who are crazy for Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?

In essence, try to identify a group of people who might be interested in your product – particularly a group that might have a fan community or a way to reach them.

Jurassic Jump Ad Banner
A screenshot of an ad seen on a Jurassic Park fan community site – that’s the way to do it!

For some marketing projects, you might be forced to think outside the box; if you’re making a game about cartoon carrots, you’re probably not going to find a passionate carrot fan community waiting to buy a videogame. You might, however, be able to find people who like quirky things and silly concepts in general – perhaps by trying to reach people who like Adventure Time, say, or The Muppets.

On a related note…

  1. Ditch #gamedev

Every game developer in the universe seems to post their work on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #gamedev, #indiedev, #screenshotsaturday, and so on. These are all well and good – you may even seem to be getting good engagement with them.

But let’s not forget who uses these hashtags; it’s other game developers.

Yes, game developers buy games, too. But are they your main target market? You want to reach people who play games, not just people who make them, and #gamedev has become little more than a big incestuous mess of game developers trying to sell each other their creations.

Identify the people you do want to reach, and then find out what hashtags they use and where they congregate. To do this, a combination of Googling for fansites and hashtag research for social media can help you to zone in on the right gamers (RiteTag.com is an excellent tool to help with the latter).

  1. Have a compelling trailer

No, not that kind of trailer…

Trailers are one of the most important aspects of your marketing activities, and to some extent can make or break your game’s success (it won’t matter if you get ten thousand gamers to watch your video, if it makes your game look like a piece of crap that nobody in their right mind would get excited about).

Here’s some tips for a great game trailer:

  • Keep it short – a good rule of thumb is to not exceed a 1-minute duration unless you have a really, really good reason. People online have short attention spans, and if you can’t hook them in 60 seconds you’ve got a problem.
  • Be sure to feature a lot of gameplay – this sounds obvious, but everybody hates those trailers that are basically just cutscenes and flavour narration and don’t show you what the actual game is. Triple-A development teams with established followers can get away with this, but everybody else? Nope.
  • Identify upfront what you want your trailer to say. You’ve got one minute of your viewer’s attention to communicate the essence of your project, so clarify this before you start editing the video. For example, you might say, “I want the viewer to know that this is a horror game with a creepy vibe and not too much action.”  Use that motto to guide your decisions about which shots to include in the trailer and how to communicate that with the presentation.
  • Don’t front-load a bunch of logos; nobody wants to sit through several seconds of “So-and-so Game Studios presents…” stuff before anything happens. If you have to have those idents in there, consider putting them at the end.
  • Make sure your game’s Unique Selling Point (USP) comes across very clearly – if you’ve been able to make a game with a compelling hook, your trailer should be shouting that from the rooftops. If you’re lucky enough to have any awards, accolades, good reviews, or a previously well-received game project under your belt, then get it all in there as well. You know, “From the makers of…”
  1. Utilise calls to action

This is Marketing 101 – if you’ve gone to the trouble of putting your promotional materials in front of a lot of people, you should definitely make sure they know what to do about them.

A call to action instructs someone to take action then and there, and it can simply be something like, “Buy now!”, “Play now”, “Buy it here”. It might sound obvious, but a surprising number of developers just put their material out without really stating what they’d like people to do with it.

If your game hasn’t come out yet, you can’t do a call to action, right? Wrong! You still want to gather up all those interested gamers so that they can later find out when the product gets released – so your calls to action in this situation might be things like:

  • Wishlist the game here!
  • Follow us for more updates!
  • Sign up to our mailing list!
  • Check out our development blog!

A person who sees your marketing material, and is interested, should not be left wondering what to do to find out more – so make sure there’s a clear instruction they can quickly carry out.

  1. Think twice about courting YouTubers and streamers

Yes, this flies in the face of a lot of conventional wisdom when it comes to marketing games, but the truth is that getting streamer coverage of your game isn’t a magic potion for mega-sales – in fact, it may even harm you.

The Binding Of Isaac
The Binding Of Isaac

It’s true that there is a type of game that can benefit hugely from video coverage. If your game has a lot of generated content and variation in play experiences, then getting big views on YouTube can make your game look like a fun experience without spoiling anything; some games, such as the procedurally-generated The Binding Of Isaac, owe a huge portion of their success to Twitch users watching streamers having fun with the game and deciding that they wanted to play, too.

But consider a more content-authored game, one with a linear narrative progression – what are the chances that somebody will watch a video of the gameplay and then “not need to play it” for themselves? Who would want to buy a puzzle game after watching their favourite YouTuber find all the solutions? Depending on the type of game you’re promoting, you may well decide that streamer and YouTube coverage is unlikely to work for you and focus your efforts elsewhere.

In the end, the most effective videogame marketing strategy is one intelligently tailored to the specific project you’re selling. By starting your promotional efforts as early as you can and carefully targeting the people most likely to be interested, you can sometimes achieve great results even with little to no financial outlay.

  • quote-mark

    Gooey Digital has been instrumental in helping us improve the performance of our PPC campaigns over the last year. In a year-on-year comparison we spent £478 less but received an additional 2,306 conversions

  • quote-mark

    As a digital agency, Gooey Digital has a great way of presenting what is often viewed as a complex, mystifying subject. They assisted our digital marketing and content teams in SEO, increasing traffic by over 250k, while providing PPC best practice. They really got under the skin of our business requirements.

  • quote-mark

    Gooey Digital has proven to be a very talented SEO Agency who have delivered outstanding results in a short period of time. Their expertise and meticulous approach are second to none.”

  • quote-mark

    Gooey Digital has helped us with the SEO and marketing for our website since 2014. They are an expert in their field and are incredibly knowledgeable, helping us to reach potential clients all around the world. They are always friendly, available and always brings great ideas to help market our business. They have helped to raise our business profile and get us seen by a bigger audience. We’d recommend their services without hesitation. They really know their stuff.

  • quote-mark

    Gooey Digital have been nothing short of stellar. They worked with us from our very early days and always showed a willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty. They possess excellent communication skills, and the quality of their content creation is absolutely first class. We've been working mainly with Nick and Holly and they have fitted into our team brilliantly and contributed some really creative ideas to help us get out there and enhance our visibility. I would really recommend these guys, in fact I already have, including to members of my family.

  • quote-mark

    I should start by saying I’m a perfectionist. My business means everything to me and anyone who I hire needs to be of the highest standard. I was introduced to Gooey Digital about a year ago to help write copy for my website. They're truly fantastic. Their writing is impeccable and given that writing is part of my work, I do not say this lightly. For each piece they do for us they also researches content in depth and I often learn about my own industry through their efforts. As a result of this, I started hiring them to help with a host of other writing projects on policy groups I work with; everyone is always impressed with their work. Moreover, Gooey Digital are prompt, good natured and not expensive. In short, they're a gem and I imagine we will continue working together for a long-time.

  • quote-mark

    We've worked with Gooey Digital on a number of projects, and I could not recommend them more highly! They are responsive and fun to work with, and wow do they know their stuff. I wish I could package their deep knowledge of driving traffic and, in the end, sales, but in the meanwhile I love reaching out to them to help us with all of our important projects throughout the year.