Unloved Rooms: A Keyword Worth Paying For?

'Unloved rooms' is the latest keyword campaign from B&Q, but it's left me wondering, what's the point?

I might be biased - I hate adverts that say "for more information, search for..." and then tell you which keyword you should be using.

That's not really the way SEO and search marketing should work - it's the televisual equivalent of a paid link, which by rights, Google should slam B&Q for.

But there are more reasons to be annoyed by it - such as B&Q's already dominant position in the DIY market.

OK, there's Homebase, but B&Q are the clear market leaders, and several of their competitors have been among the retail casualties of recent years.

Beyond that, the fact is that searching for 'unloved rooms', as instructed by B&Q, gets you less good results than if you search for 'B&Q'.

Search for 'B&Q' on Google, and you get local results, with directions to your nearest store - these are absent if you search for 'unloved rooms'.

In my case - and this may vary depending on your personal Google settings - I get an organic B&Q result at the top of page one when I search for 'B&Q', linking me to their homepage at www.diy.com.

Search for 'unloved rooms' and I get a top organic result linking me to their Unloved Rooms microsite, which starts by telling you how to landscape your garden - not a room! - and annoyingly includes 'marketing' in its URL, which makes me feel like I'm being sold to. Which, of course, I am.

But even worse than that, B&Q have actually lost some ranking by having me search for 'unloved rooms' rather than 'B&Q', and that's because there are now sponsored links (AKA pay per click ads) at the top of page one.

In my case, even more bizarrely, the sponsored ad also linked to the B&Q Unloved Rooms microsite, meaning they're instructing you to search for something that's more likely to cost them money on a clickthrough than if you just googled their brand name.

There are so many reasons to be mildly annoyed by being told how to search for things, particularly if it's what you do for a living.

Perhaps I'm overreacting though - so instead I'll just find comfort in the fact that B&Q are probably shelling out a small fortune on PPC ads, thanks to directing Google users away from their never-in-doubt first-place organic ranking, and shoving an unnecessary sponsored link under their noses instead.

Seriously guys, when it comes to web marketing, don't try to DIY.

What is Blogging?

I'm often asked what blogging actually is, usually by one of my own relatives who doesn't have the faintest idea of what I do for a living. And unless you've ever had a blog of your own, there isn't too much reason why you would know what it is.

So, what is blogging? Let's start by stating what it is not.

Hiring a Blogger with Google Authorship

As much as it pains me to say it, Google Authorship looks like it's here to stay, and while that may mean more publishers are forced to have a Google+ profile when they otherwise would not, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.

If you're concerned that Google Authorship - the bylines and author headshots that appear in search results - could have a significant negative impact on your ranking, then you might want to take a fresh look at the content you publish.

I've always believed that good-quality content is pretty much impervious to being downgraded by Google simply due to an algorithm update, and there's no better measure of what constitutes 'good-quality' content than whether or not you're willing to put your name to it.

But as an individual publisher, you don't necessarily have a Google+ profile that bears an individual's name, or that carries much clout when it comes to the search rankings.

Hiring a blogger with Google Authorship already up and running on other websites gives you a head-start, as you can effectively cash in on their existing kudos with Google.

If their headshot is already appearing in search results, for instance, you know that it has passed Google's guidelines (which, according to reports I've seen, require a passport-style shot with your full head visible, front-facing).

All it takes is to set up a linked byline or author page from your website or blog, with the correct Google+ link appearing on each page contributed by the blogger, and for them to link back to your site from the 'Contributor to...' section of their Google+ profile page.

There's an element of transparency to this, as you'll have to name the blogger and be willing to have your site listed on their profile, but again, if you've got something to hide, you should be looking closely at your content publishing plan anyway.

If you found this page in the Google search results, it probably had my byline and headshot alongside it.

I can help you to set up the same for any pages I contribute to your site, and will leave the 'Contributor to...' link on my Google+ profile for as long as we have an ongoing active working relationship (which basically means, until there's a full calendar month in which we don't produce any content).

Even if you want to publish your content with your own byline, that's fine, I'm happy for you to claim authorship of your content as long as you pay me for writing it in the first place, and I can still help you to set up the reciprocal linking between your blog/site and your Google+ profile, to get your byline appearing in Google's search results.