Inbound Marketing: Webinar & Live Hangout! 16

2013 EAN Webcast Series – Episode 1

Our inaugural videocast is titled “An Introduction to Inbound Marketing” and you can watch it right now:

Live Question Time:


will be answering questions from 4pm to 5pm (BST) TODAY, and you can take part in any of the following ways:

Right here: Leave your question in a comment on this post below!
On twitter: just tweet your question to @searchmartin
On Google

Plus: Just post your question on this thread:


We will be publishing a new webinar every 4 weeks for the next 6 months, each one focussing on a new topic. This year however we are taking a different strategy with distribution and access to the media.

About Martin Macdonald

Martin is Inbound Marketing Director at Expedia EAN. In his career he has executed organic campaigns in industries from Gambling to Entertainment before moving to Travel. He is a regular speaker at conferences worldwide about inbound marketing, and regular writer and contributor to respected publications on the topic.

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16 thoughts on “Inbound Marketing: Webinar & Live Hangout!

  • Martin Macdonald Post author

    If you’ve got any questions about Inbound Marketing, SEO, PPC, Social Media or other forms of online marketing – just post them below and I’ll answer all questions personally!

  • B

    Hi Martin,

    What link building/earning advice would you give to an SEO who is starting a new job with a relatively new company operating in the online bingo area? In terms of link building. I seen your JavaScript trick for harnessing the power of affiliate links so I will definitely been using that one!


    • Martin Macdonald Post author

      Hi B,

      great question – and the advice is relevant for people in any niche, whether that be travel, bingo, or anything else for that matter!

      Over the past two years, we’ve finally seen Google take a stance on high volume, low quality backlinks that so many marketers have relied on for the past couple of years.

      As an industry we’ve always said things like “get links from relevant sites only” or “earn links from sites where you would buy advertising, the kind of sites where your core demographic already hangs out”. While we’ve been saying that though, historically its worked just as well getting thousands of low quality links from unrelated sites.

      The difference now though is that this approach not only doesn’t work like it used to, its downright dangerous.

      So, my top tips for linkbuilding in 2013 for new companies in tough niches:

      1) Learn, or develop, your USP.
      Humans dont link to “ordinary”, or “average”. Humans link to extraordinary, or remarkable (or for cash, but thats not what we’re talking about!).

      Remember, earning links is the same as being a salesman.

      Good sales people often adhere to “value selling” practices, and if you cant empathise with your link acquisition target, and see why its a good thing for them to link to you, then its going to be hard work.

      2) Dont just look at sites in your industry. Look at sites that share your demographic.

      This might sound incredibly obvious, but as we all know, links from semantically associated sites are likely to be the best. Having said that, in competitive industries getting anyone to link to you might not be possible.

      If thats the case, I would look at my target market, and lets say its 35-49 year old married females (which Bingo might be?) and work out where the audience is already spending time. There are loads of ways to do this, but things as simple as audience planning in google ad planner are a great way of finding hundreds of sites that would have relevant audiences.

      3) Dont be afraid to spend to learn.

      Again, it might seem obvious, but a nice way of finding great sites to link to you is often in using the Google Display Network… Run a banner ad campaign on GDN sites, and ones that click to go to your site are probably going to perform well if you acquire direct advertising. In doing so this can often also result in editorial links – although I must point out to tread carefully, remember – you’re NOT asking for infomercial material!

  • Frederik Trovatten

    I have one for you – and it’s a classic:

    You are a small business owner, in the E-commerce space selling same products as everyone else. You have 10.000 products – How would you suggest to write content for 10.000 products? User generating content might be an option and getting a profesional copywriter is very expensive as well.

    • Martin Macdonald Post author

      Hey Frederick,

      you’re right, it IS a classic, and one that I get asked almost every week!

      So lets look at this in context: Expedia Affiliates all have roughly the same database of 165,000 hotels. Each of those comes with quite a few text based assets, but they are all the same – so its duplicate content but on a massive scale.

      Getting people to re-write several hundred thousand descriptions simply isnt going to work on this scale – lets do some math:

      Lets say you find the best, cheapest content producers in the world. You’re still not going to get much change from $10-$20 per hotel description if you want content thats even half decent. If you want content that rocks (examples might be sites like which does a great job) you might be spending $50-$100 per piece.

      Even at $10 though, X 165,000 hotels = $1,650,000 just for content.
      NOBODY is going to pay that.

      But – you know which products have search volume.

      You know which products sell well.

      You know what your site conversion rate is.

      So you know, how many clicks you need to breakeven for content production, under the assumption that you dont rank currently, but you would with improved on site assets.

      Start with the top 10, or top 100, or even 1,000 products that make sense for your company right now, and invest the time, effort or money into building out those alone with great content.

      Measure the position (in google) and traffic for the period before the content is applied, and then monitor the uplift.

      The delta between those two stats will be your increased revenue, and the time it takes to accrue however much you invested in content will become your turnaround time. If it takes 2 days or two months to recoup your investment, thats fine, because at least you know now what to expect and getting sign off to build another few hundred descriptions should be easy enough.

      Now just repeat that process until you hit the point of diminishing returns thanks to decreased search volume.

      The point here is that, NOBODY could be expected to produce limitless content immediately at quality – so just slice it into manageable chunks and track the ROI!

    • Martin Macdonald Post author

      Inserted a rel-canonical tag into 27k active websites through errant plugin hooks to see what happened.

      What happened was lots of traffic very quickly.
      But a lot of angry plugin users, so the test lasted less than 48 hours!

      Failing that, meddling with competitors quality scores used to be fun, but its been a long time….

  • Nico

    If you’d build a new website, with great unique content ofcourse (+15 pages), what would your first points of action be to gain traffic.

    To make it a little more trickier: we operate in Belgium and in Dutch. So promotion on reddit and such won’t be any help.

    • Martin Macdonald Post author

      Hey Nico – thanks for the question!

      The first 100 hundred visits are always the hardest, followed by the first 1,000 then million!

      Getting any site off the ground initially should always follow a similar path though:

      Assuming you’ve already got a good site, and good content that people interested in your demographic will actually get value from, its a matter of getting it in front of the key people in your niche.

      You can think if these as “hubs” or “influencers” if you want, and a great way of finding them is still through social media. Tools like or are great for sorting people by social authority against specific keywords.

      Come up with a target list of the top 10 or 20 people you would love to see sharing your content, then study each of those. Find the kinds of content they already share, and make sure that your stuff is up to scratch.

      Start a relationship with those people by sharing their stuff, and engaging them in conversation – once you have built up some trust then go ahead and ask for their opinions on your content. This more often that not will result in a social share, sometimes even a decent backlink. Either way is fine though, because the secondary effects of people that follow those key influencers is what you are looking for – because when these people share stuff, their followers link to you in their posts!

      The pre-requisite of course, is “have a great offering that is worth sharing” without that, you will struggle to get going.

      Good luck!

    • Martin Macdonald Post author

      Hey Gordon, thanks for the question!

      I’ll split my answer up into two parts:

      1) Those one of a kind, high authority links/sites

      To put it simply: make friends with the right people! Owners of high authority sites in your niche are a classic example, engage with them on their sites, engage with them in social media, and best of all, engage with them in the real world! Obviously, this might not be possible for certain people geographically, but every industry has trade events, every industry has associations, and those organisations have meetups. Go to them!

      The other great thing these days is finding the right journalists in the right places, by means of social media. Probably every media reporter under the age of 50 uses twitter now to scope out stories or gauge public sentiment, and you can often find people who are writing about topics relevant to your niche searching for hashtags like #journorequest or similar.

      2) The medium to longer tail links you dont have enough time to sort:

      Probably my most successful tip in this area is to mobilise your audience to build links for you. Obviously that changes depending on the niche that you’re in, but back when I was working in gambling we managed to effectively build a gamification layer into our linkbuilding (I think that was before gamification had made it into the marketing lexicon as well).

      The deal was, that if you blogged about our services, we would reward you with free bets. So far, thats pretty much standard right? Well, we took it a few steps further, but publishing league tables based on how many free bets people had got for essentially helping us with our marketing. Around 3,000 people in total took part, but a small hardcore of maybe 60-80 of our users really took it to heart competing to be the #1, and this basically equated to having nearly a hundred linkbuilders working for us!

    • Martin Macdonald Post author

      Errr, hi, “me”. Seems like Ive got a great question for myself!

      Yeah – Ive got some advice. Say “yes” more.
      Everything good that has happened in your career as a marketer has come from agreeing to do new stuff, meet new people, study new techniques, and crucially, share those learnings. Speak at conferences, that gets your name out there in the industry, publish stuff wherever you can, build your authority. Dont be scared to help people out, even if its done for free. Those favours come back tenfold in years to come. Carry on doing new stuff that hasnt been done or tried before, work out new ways of getting people to link to you, work out new ways of incentivising your audience to build your content.

      Basically, just push yourself to be everywhere you can, even if it takes working 7 days a week for the next couple of years (which it did). Think of this time as your “university” of marketing. Think of this time as your loss leader. Trust me, you will reap the rewards in years to come!