It feels like 2005 all over again with big happenings in email, social and search: 🎄

✅ Google and Yahoo get serious about bulk email senders – I though they had already!; 

✅ Threads is developing nicely with tags and Twitter expats; 

✅ Google’s Search boss reveals the inner workings of search; 

✅ A blast from the past as Google Groups surface again;

✅ AI gets a run at cold email. Now you have nicely personalised spam. 

🌟All that wrapped up in a handy video and blog post by me, your Christmas grinch, JB ;-) Read on and enjoy! 🌟

❤️ Don’t forget to like, share, follow, subscribe, wherever you see this post ❤️

New Rules for Bulk Email Senders

Early next year Google and Yahoo will begin enforcing new rules for bulk email senders who send emails to their networks. Google defines a “bulk email sender” as someone who sends more than 5000 messages to them a day, but really these rules should apply to all of us. 

They are quite simple really: Use SPF (not sunscreen), Sender Policy Framework, which aims to prevent email domain spoofing; DKIM, DomainKeys Identified Mail, which is a form of key-based verification; DMARC, Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, which details authentication actions. 

These convoluted word-salads are the keys to getting email out there and into inboxes. I’ve been recommending my clients use them for years, and have set them up for all of them, because it’s been best practice for a long time. 

The other two major factors are reported spam rates, which needs to be beneath 0.1%, and one-click unsubscribe. 

It’s really important to note that if your domain gets put in the naughty corner, it will affect all emails from the domain – including transactional and other types. So beware. 

These are significant changes which shouldn’t affect most reputable senders who have been doing this for a long time, but there will be a few who are caught out.

If you would like to review this and put together a sensible email and CRM strategy, contact me. Let’s chat. 


Threads Has Its Own Version of Hashtags

Recently, I’ve been busy posting on Threads, not because its super cool and popular (yet), but because posting at the start of something, and seeing it develop and change gives you a really good insight into how users use platforms, and how the majors construct the feeds we all know and love. Honestly, it’s fascinating watching it change in real time. 

(It’s also fascinating seeing how unbelievably entitled some users are on these platforms – they truly believe it revolves around their use-cases, or desires). 

Anyway, in a much-called for option, Threads has now launched tags in a different way to other platforms, currently only allowing one tag per post  and highlighting it as a blue link rather than a hashtag. Clicking the link also acts as a keyword search, so even if your post is not tagged, but mentions the keywords, it has a chance of surfacing in the results. 

Generally, it’s good fun. It’s not been over-run by spam, apart from people tagging “Threads “ like FYP on TikTok and some really cool people have signed up to post, announcing it via the Tech Threads tag. 

It’s not Twitter, Reddit, or Facebook, but it is very interesting, as Twitter and other users start to migrate.

If you want to talk social media strategy and the roles different platforms play, please reach out and let’s have a conversation. 

How Google Search and Rankings Work

You will need a cup of tea, or something stronger to fully digest this post, which is a summary (a summary!) of Google Search’s Big Boss’ recent testimony at Google’s antitrust trial. 

It is not an explanation of the multiple factors which go into ranking a page on Google, but rather the layers, mechanics and rationales that get processed in milliseconds and returned as search results. 

It’s too long for me to repeat verbatim, suffice it to say, it’s not merely a database query, but it’s also not unfathomable. 

One thing it does show is the struggle Google has (still) with parsing natural language and truly understanding meaning and intent for keywords and text on page. It is probably possible, but computationally it is expensive and too slow for their search results, so you get a best guess, even if it is very educated. And that explains a lot. 

Let’s discuss technology and development and how having a Virtual Chief Digital Officer can help you through this age of digital transformation.  

Google Groups Gets Rankings Boost

In what seems like a blast from the past, I’ve spotted reports that Google Groups results are starting to resurface in search results. These were kind of the archival home for Usenet content when it eventually shut down, and which then progressed into mini forums before kind of going the way of almost all Google products and getting somewhat abandoned. 

The recent Google Updates has had a nod towards “hidden gems” content. Small unassuming pieces of content which may not fit the bloated 3000 word treatise that a common-or-garden query now gets. This has also had the effect of returning Reddit posts to the top of the pile and, like other things which float, some Quora threads. 

Intertwined with the Google search explanation above, you get a sense of how this kind of content might start appearing again, because even though it may not be beautiful, it is useful. 

Let’s talk about SEO and how Google Updates can surface your hidden gems of content. 

AI Cold Email

Mmmmm cold email. The delight of most people’s life. Even better when served with a dash of AI, no? 

A cold email, or prospecting, is when a business you don’t know (usually) sends you a business email looking for business. Often, it’s generic blast-mode spam, sometimes it’s halfway optimised with individual content like your name, and very occasionally it’s coming in the form of AI-driven content. 

The thing is, they almost all follow the same format: ego stroke, introduction and broad affinity matching to show understanding of a problem, solution pitch, and the close to generate next steps / action. You’ll then get two or three “I know you’re busy but” emails, and maybe even a “Oh boy, are you this dumb you’d miss out?” email. Even AI cannot cover up the format, tone and content.

It is hard reaching out to new clients via email. I’m not a wild fan of cold email, unless it is actually a personal email with some useful content. I generally find that providing value goes a lot further than smothering with inane platitudes. 

Let’s talk about digital marketing as a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer and the role cold, warm and hot emails can play in your customer outreach strategy and conversions.

State of SEO 2017 Machine Learning and AI