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Inbound Industry Report: Jan. 10, 2012

Top marketing news, articles and tips from the first week of 2012.

Blogging Tips: How to Grow Your Reach 

Neil Patel (@neilpatel) shared tips to grow your blog's reach, using Seth Godin's (@sethgodinRule of 10 (that if you find and nurture 10 people who love what you have to offer, they'll tell 10 friends, and so on). Some of my favorite suggestions from Patel include: 

  • Go beyond your blog—expand your reach through guest blog posts and comments on other blogs, and social media engagement.
  • Build relationships with your "10"—thank them for their comments/retweets, comment on their stuff, and keep your posts consistent and relevant.
  • As traffic comes in, keep it coming—make it easy for people to subscribe to updates, and quickly release follow-up content to popular resources.
  • Never forget about your "10."

2012: The Year of Coding?

Code Year, an initiative from Codecademy, launched on Jan. 1 with a simple mission: help people learn to code in 2012 through simple, weekly lessons. At time of writing, 304,470 people had signed up. 

Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) shared some thoughts on its success, including: It's a great idea, well-timed, and registrants are encouraged to spread the word through social networks. (I did.) In a comment on Wilson's post, Codecademy co-founder Zach Sims (@zsims) said "programming is finally being seen as it should be - as the literacy of the 21st century." 

Wilson also credited the simple, user-friendly design of the Code Year landing page as an element of its success. Interestingly enough, the design was completely overhauled in one hour during its "final review," just over a day before launch. Money quote from the dedicated Code Year employee, Sacha Greif (@sachagreif), who spent her New Year's Eve Eve making perfect: "You don’t always need weeks –or even hours– to create something. Sometimes you just need to stop over-thinking things and trust your creative impulses."

For more on coding's role in professional development, see Boomsri Dickinson's (@boonspoonSomeday, Writing Code Could be as Common as Farming of Factory Work.

Google Chrome Paid Link Scandal 

Google Chrome was caught in a link-purchasing schemeafter SEObook's Aaron Wall (@aaronwall) found more than 400 results for the keyword search "this post is sponsored by Google." Why the fuss? Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) cites two reasons in his first overview of the situation

  1. Purchasing links for the manipulation of search results goes against Google guidelines
  2. Overall, the linking articles were of poor quality—disturbing because this is the type of content Google aims to fight. 

Within 24 hours, Google acknowledged that "Yes, it was a Google campaign. No, it’s not what Google signed-up for." (Source) The search engine had contracted digital media agencyEssence Digital for a video ad campaign, but had not OKed paid links. Essence Digital passed the blame torch on to Unruly, a video promotion company it had enlisted to run the campaign. Unruly then claimed it never required links to the Chrome site from participating bloggers, and that it encouraged nofollow links for any used to adhere to Google's paid-link guidelines.

Sidenote: The cooking/baking nerd in me can't help but hope that the video linked in all these posts did good things for King Arthur Flour. Its products are awesome. 

In response to the ordeal, Google docked Chrome's ability to rank in search engine result pages for at least 60 days. After that time, a Chrome representative can submit a request for reconsideration, along with documentation that it has cleaned up the issues, according to Matt Cutts (@mattcutts). 

Key Takeaway: If Google can find itself in a less-than-ethical SEO scheme, no one is impervious. When working with external partners/providers, discuss specific tactics in detail, ask questions, and if something doesn't sound right, seek additional guidance. 

In the News... 

What were your top marketing stories of the week? Comments are open for your opinions.

Laurel Miltner is the assistant vice president at PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and PR firm. Follow Laurel on Twitter: @laurelmackenzie.

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