Author Archives: Chrissie Saunders

About Chrissie Saunders

Social Media Consultant for RippleGen. She coordinates all our Blogger Outreach campaigns, delivers in-house training and adds the Human Touch to Search. google+

Klout + Instagram

As a blogger myself, I have a love hate relationship with Klout, a measure of social influence, and am aware of its many flaws.  Klout has come under a lot of scrutiny over the last few years for its lack of transparency, dodgy privacy rules and questionable algorithm.  However, many Brands/PRs still use this as trusted measure of influence when deciding who to reach out to online. 

One of my biggest complaints was the exclusion of a number of platforms.  In my case, the fact that it doesn’t include self-hosted WordPress blogs.  However, I’ve done a bit of research and as far as I can tell, this hasn’t negatively impacted me that much.  I asked a few fellow friendly bloggers, to disconnect their Blogger blogs for a few days to see if it affected their scores and it didn’t.

Klout + Instagram

However, late last week I noticed that my Klout score had jumped 4 places.  After a quick Google search, I learned that Klout is now including Instagram, an online photo-sharing and social networking service, to its algorithm.

‘Over 77 percent of users who have connected their Instagram accounts will see a score increase between 1 and 5 points’

Is this an attempt to rebuild its reputation?  What does this mean for businesses?  Will it make the site more credible and relevant?  Is this a reaction to the increasing popularity of Kred?

Hopefully we will see more platforms being added to Klout in future so we can confidently use it as a trustworthy measure of online influence.

How to Build Relationships with Bloggers

Support Bloggers

When doing blogger outreach many companies focus in on the most powerful and influential bloggers, which makes perfect sense, but you have to bear in mind that they are inundated with requests and it may be difficult to persuade them to work with you even if you think your product/brand is awesome!

Why should we?

I went to an event a while back and for the life of me I can’t remember who briefly mentioned it, but SEO and Marketing peeps would really benefit from investing in their bloggers in the long run.  I don’t mean this in the monetary sense but in time and expertise.

As always, try to identify bloggers who are best matched to your product and build a relationship with them. They may not be the most influential or highest ranking, but if you share your expertise with them, you may have an in-house technical team that can help with this,  you can help them improve their blogs and thus increase their online influence; which will benefit you and your client in the long run.  Many bloggers are technically savvy but some are not and would be most grateful for the support.

How you can help

Take the time to audit their sites and offer them suggestions for improvement.  Are they self-hosted, if not can you help them make the transition?  Are they aware of Google Analytics and Webmaster tools.  Do they have lots of error pages? Do they have a custom 404 page or know how to set up redirects?  Are they familiar with key words? Have they setup Author Rel?  Could they add a favicon to their site?  Are they aware of Google and the ASAs rules?

If you have the facility and the right person, you could always bring a handful of bloggers in for a days workshop but don’t forget the cake, they love cake.

Now more than ever, with the clamp down by google, building positive relationships with bloggers is crucial.

Flickr Photo Credit andjohan


Treat Bloggers with Respect

Don't break the law

I found this post a bit awkward to write as a blogger and the person who is responsible for all our blogger outreach.  I’d be lying if I said we weren’t hoping for a few follow links when we embark on a Blogger Outreach Campaign.  However, we would never try to deceive a blogger to get one.

As a blogger, I receive approximately 10-12 requests a day from SEOs and PR companies to review products or to host sponsored posts.  My standard response is:

‘thank you for getting in touch, I currently do not accept paid for sponsored posts as they are against Google’s Terms and Conditions unless it is a no-follow link.  If this is of interest please do get in touch’ 

‘You are more than welcome to send a product for review, however, to comply with the ASA and google, the post will contain a full disclosure and the links will need to be no-follow’

Unscrupulous Marketers

Nine times out of ten I never hear back from them.  However, a few of the Black Hat’s will try it on. On one occasion the PR/SEO came back and said ‘we work with bloggers all the time and it’s okay not to include a disclosure we do it all the time or sorry my client won’t go for that.’   It seems they will stop at nothing to get a link.

Non-disclosure is breaking the law

It clearly states in ISBA Guidelines on the Payment for Editorial Content to Promote Brands within Social Media, July 2012 that this is not the case.  If you haven’t already do make yourself aware of this document.

‘The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) specifically prohibits “using editorial content in the media to promote a product where a trader has paid for the promotion without making that clear in the content or by images or sounds clearly identifiable by the consumer (advertorial).”

And it also goes on to say:

Google’s webmaster guidelines explicitly state that paid-for links should have the ‘nofollow’ attribute, and brands found breaking these guidelines are routinely de-indexed by Google.

So what do we do?

Don't PanicTo keep on the right side of Google and the law encourage your bloggers to fully disclose in the body of the blog post when payment has been received and to make any links no follow.

In terms of SEO this isn’t brilliant but just remember that every time you get a link, even if it’s no-follow, you’re putting the business/brand in front of people and the no-follow helps you build the trust factor.

It’s only a matter of time before Google notices unnatural link building and implements a manual penalty.  Are you prepared to take the risk?

Creativity and Fun Count….Big Time! #danceponydance

I have a small confession to make and I’m not proud of it, but I found myself spending a good hour or two on Saturday night creating a Bollywood film featuring a Shetland Pony.  I know I’m not the only one as the Youtube sensation Dance Pony Dance, created by Wieden and Kennedy for has already had 1.3 million hits at the time of writing this post.

Camera Roll, Action….Cut!

And what’s more, once you watch the video you can then pop over to The Pony Mixer and make your own music video.  Who doesn’t find a Shetland Pony wearing a disco ball and grooving to Wild Cherry’s Play that Funky Music hilarious?

What’s so funny?

The campaign is genius and appeals because we all need some silliness in our lives with all the modern day pressures of commuting, finances, work, family and crap weather.  People are more likely to share things that make them laugh, not things that bring them down.  I found myself instantly sharing it across all of my social networks and now I’m writing about it.

I hate to think what this campaign cost, but with a bit of imagination I think even the smallest of budgets can come up with something that could go viral.

What other campaigns have you seen that compare to this one?

Why is Interflora still sending out vouchers to bloggers?

Interflora PenaltyLast week we saw Interflora UK wiped of the face of the earth, well off of Google anyhow for allegedly breaking their terms and conditions.  Here’s what Matt Cutts had to say about buying links and paying for advertorials.

Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or “advertorial” pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations. The consequences for a linkselling site start with losing trust in Google’s search results, as well as reduction of the site’s visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar. The consequences can also include lower rankings for that site in Google’s search results.


You can see loads of the coverage from last week here  AND

This wasn’t a bolt out of the blue and Interflora UK must have been aware as they started a militant clean up last Aug 2012, contacting bloggers to remove the links that they initially purchased and threatening them with DMCA takedown notice or reporting the links to Google.

So, why are they still sending out vouchers in return for advertorials?  This voucher was received last week (19th Feb 2013).

Interflora UK Penalty

Are they playing with fire or just someone being rather naive?



Image credit Lee Forrest