In today's AMA with Rand (http://www.inbound.org/articles/view/i-am-rand-fishkin-seomoz-founder-ceo-ask-me-anything), Anonymous (https://twitter.com/YourAnonNews) asked Rand for SEO tips.
That seems like a great discussion topic so... Inbound community: how would you do SEO for Anonymous?
Hi Steve, Inbound's people and all SEO's and marketing experts.
First let me give you a little context so you can better understand our questions
Anonymous is a unified branding anyone can use. We have people who work in solo and people who work in teams (or both). Influential people or team usually get access to big stuff Anonymous put up. @YourAnonNews for exemple, wich is regarded very highly upon. In this context I will speak for @AnonRelations and not Anonymous for all marketing and SEO related questions. Our team will answer for Anonymous for anon related topics.
The @AnonRelations team is dedicated to publish the intent of the Anonymous movement to reporters, newspaper and media as a whole. Our secondary objectives are : educate anonymous participants to communicate in a meaningful and respectful manner to everyone, work 100% legally and answer in the name of anonymous in some cases.
Here's some questions we have and they are pretty challenging. Gentlemens, fasten your seat belts.
(coming in future comments)
And ladies ;)
This is a very appropriate comment indeed. I wanted to share a funny twitter conversation related to this topic but the user was suspended. It happen a lot :p
Pretty cool to have you guys on here - welcome to the community!
I would like to thanks Steve Webb, Inbound and everyone who took the time to read or post on this tread. Steve opened this after Rand Fish answered our questions and we would have never though of coming here for insights on the first place.
We started our project one year ago and it is the first time we receive such insightful comment, critics, tips, etc. And we really appreciate this. We work hard each day to make Anonymous and the world a better place, even though we have jobs and families to take care of.
This really mean a lot to us so thank you everyone. And please keep posting comments :)
I'm glad I could help, and hopefully, our feedback will help you take the movement to the next level :-)
I think you'll find that the community is very willing to help so if you ever have questions, post them on Inbound, or hit one of us up on Twitter.
Some of the media, mostly bigger names like New York Times and BBC do
not link to our website as a source when they speak of operation that as
been exclusively publish about on our website.
Thus we think they might
fear that linking to us would give us to much exposure or allow
unwanted people to get in touch with us or any other reasons we can
Two things we'd like to do to fix this issue but are not sure
how to do :
> Write content that would be, ethically and not technically,
easier to link to.
> Make our website more appealing to other medias, UX and design wise.
We lack of web designers so we are not able to get useful advice on this topic. And UX wise... I've read a few books about it like Don't Make me think. Even though I'm a professional web developer myself I'm not experienced enough to do better than what we have right now.
By the way our website is http://anonrelations.net
Ps.: The guys at CloudFlare were awesome enough to give us a free pro account so we have a very good CDN up and running.
I think one of the biggest problems at the moment is a matter of perception. When I go to the anonrelations site, I just don't get the impression that it's the "official" site of the Anonymous movement.
Additionally, your Twitter account (@YourAnonNews) points to your Tumblr site, and that site has significantly more authority-related signals (e.g., more root linking domains [146 vs. 7], higher Page Authority [65 vs. 35], more social signals [2K FB, 1K Twitter, 80 G+ vs. 47 FB, 267 Twitter, 1 G+], etc.).
I'm not a web designer or UX expert, but I think you're 100% correct about needing a design overhaul. But the bigger, more pressing question is a matter of tone/voice (you also brought this up in the AMA with Rand). Do you want the site to have an edgier feel (something closer to the Tumblr site) that screams renegade, or do you want it to be softer and more like a traditional news site?
The thumblr website (http://youranonnews.tumblr.com/) and @YourAnonNews is not owned by us.We can post to @YourAnonNews because we're a respected team.
Our twitter account is @AnonRelations and website http://anonrelations.net
About the "Official" feeling. Official things in Anonymous don't exist. Anyone can become a PR team and publish information related to operations or any other topic. So we cannot claim to be "the official" anything because we have no authority in doing so.
To answer your question about the tone we do not want to feel : We want to feel like revolutionary gentlemens like the guys in Ocean's Eleven (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0240772/). Classy but damn efficient.
If we could feel like "the official" Anonymous website that would be awesome but we cannot claim to be. It would be a lie. And Anonymous would destroy us.
I agree with you. I already updated our bio and we gotta admin that "We publish Anonymous operations Press Releases. Reach out to media and
reporters and help the public get in touch with Anonymous." is way clearer then "Operation, Leaks and Moar!" :)
this is a bizarre but fascinating challenge, Steve hints at it, because it feels like the organisation's philosophy prevents it organising itself in the classic sense. One part of my instinct says I need to see an about page or an immediate raison d'être when I see the site to understand how you fit in to the whole movement but maybe that is too formal or counter to the movement. So at least some subtle but unified imagery would be welcome to lend it greater credibility. I also see broken images and other weird signals. You say you need funds via bitcoin to operate, why not ask for donations? I just don't get the gist of it, if it's media relations that doesn't really come across either but nor is there a rally call to activism. Calls to Action basics I don't see it.
It's true we cannot organize like a biz for a few reasons; we have no revenues, there's no central authority, you can do pretty much do what you want until you screw up bad, you're on your own.
Indeed there is not screaming call to actions.
We do not have an about-us page. That would be useful indeed. We will work on this. Might as well throw the bitcoin donation address there. We will see.
I get that we also need to write something that explain out that the media and reporters can reach out to us with a good call to action at the end. Link to this page correctly from within the site.
I understand why Anonymous is a distributed organization, and I appreciate the fact that anyone can speak on the organization's behalf. However, when a member of the media wants to write a story about an Anonymous-related topic, they need a reliable source.
And therein lies the challenge. It seems like you want to be that reliable source more often than not, while distancing yourself from any "official" titles within the organization.
I agree with Paul's suggestions (e.g., unified imagery, some sort of About page to explain your role in the movement, etc.), and those actions will help make the site appear more reputable in the eyes of the media. Once you're over that hurdle, you can work on being the first group contacted by the media when it's time to write an Anonymous-related story.
You already asked a PR-specific question down below (and hopefully a few PR pros will tackle it), but here are a few ways to get in front of the media without a PR firm:
Use HARO, which is a service that connects reporters with expert sources. You can either monitor the service's emails, or you can follow them on Twitter (@helpareporter).
Use Google Alerts to monitor Anonymous-related topics (you can also set up searches on Twitter and places like Topsy and Social Mention).
And finally, this is one of the best resources I've seen for getting press coverage: 92 Ways to Get and Maximize Press Coverage.
I agree with both of you.
Also thank you very much Steve for all the links to the tools and the explanation related to them.
I will look at each of them carefuly.
If I get HARO right, we get emails with subjects reporters need to cover, you let them know you can help and they can reach back at you. Is that it? If not I'll read more about it.
That's it. And once you successfully connect with a few reporters, you will hopefully become their go-to source for future Anonymous-related stories.
The emails are effective, but I recommend monitoring the requests on Twitter because you'll be able to respond faster (and ultimately have a higher success rate).
I actually like the site as it is, and would caution against taking the branding or UX in a definitive design direction, be it Oceans Eleven, or Shogun Assassin. You run the risk of trivialising the content, or at the very least changing perception of the content. I'd keep it as clean and simple as possible, maybe a weightier tagline to underline the trustworthiness of the source but that's all.
It's possible that our resources would not allow us to do a total re-brand anyway. So we have to begin by doing what you said. We've already done some tweaks :
Changed the tagline to "Operations, leaks & Moar!" for "We are Anonymous. We are Legion. Expect us!" update the avatar after the title for a new one, that is more like the origial guys fawkes mask. Added the original and official anonymous logo on the left hand side in the background kind of like an "official stamp".
Related to what Rand said about getting in touch with a PR firm in this discussion => http://www.inbound.org/articles/view/i-am-rand-fishkin-seomoz-founder-ceo-ask-me-anything.
It's definitely a very good advice. Here's a few questions :
How do you think we should approach such firms?
What do you guys think we could offer in return that would interested them?
What should not we do or ask to them?
What firms would you recommend us to contact?
Personally I think an activist group does not need a PR firm. Unless you want to morph into an NGO. You need public relations in the literal sense of it, relations with the public. You need print publications for example and posters so that average people who don't use technology 24h a day can get your message. Real life gatherings would be helpful too.
Your activism should speak for yourself. Your message should be open source and able to spread through peer to peer channels and word of mouth without requiring people to link to Anonynous sites where they have to fear to get problems with the law.
Also people do not trust PR firms and such firms wouldn't take the risk involved. You rather need a progressive group of lawyers speaking on your behalf while being able to keep your names undisclosed.
That's what we do already.
Hey anonymous... give inbound a tweet lol..
They've already done at least 2 today...
Make that 3 : https://twitter.com/AnonRelations/status/291604388387123200
I'm happy :D
Another question :
We're managing a huge amount of twitters accounts through the collective and most of the users are not expert at Twitter and less at community management. @AnonRelation team have too many accounts we can access and that need help. So here's what we'd find very useful to solve this.
What tool would you recommend for community management and why?
What twitter analysis tool would you recommend and why?
What twitter beginner guide would you recommend to activist beginning their life on twitter? They have to be easy to understand.
PS.: Please note that we cannot use credit cards to pay for stuff because it could be tracked to us. So we relies on bitcoins, free stuff and donated tools (like our pro CloudFlare account).
I use TweetDeck to manage my Twitter accounts, but I'm not sure how well that will scale beyond 5-10 accounts (the tool is free, but I'm not sure how many accounts it supports). A lot of people also swear by HootSuite (it's free for up to 5 social media accounts [not just Twitter]... you could also email them about getting a free pro account - $9.99/month).
As for Twitter analysis tools, I love Followerwonk because it helps you identify outreach opportunities on Twitter (e.g., who would be interested in reading/sharing content about X, who influences the people I want to influence, etc.). SEOmoz now owns the tool so you can ask Rand about getting a free pro account (the free version of the tool is still very useful). For other suggestions, I need a little more information about what kind of analysis you'd like to accomplish.
Speaking of Followerwonk, here's a video from Rand about leveraging the tool to build your following: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/using-followerwonk-to-grow-your-twitter-account-whiteboard-friday
I can't think of a GREAT beginner's guide to Twitter off the top of my head, but I'm sure some of the more Twitter-savvy members of the community will have suggestions for you :-)
You may want to try Jugnoo. It's free and allows multiple accounts, teams etc.
I understand there is no "official page". But Anon Relations doesn't have the same look and feel of the Your Anon News tumblr. Maybe a first step would be to have a similar looking design? So it "feels" official and part of the Anonymous brand. An "about us" page would also be very helpful. It shows potential partners (media) who you are, and what you do.
I've noticed that most people on twitter think of @YourAnonNews as the official Anonymous twitter account and you guys give me the same feeling about the website.
It's pretty obvious that there's a brand association for Anonymous based on @YourAnonNews and the associated website.
Ps.: I heard that the owner is a very successful web marketer. But cannot confirm since we don't know who he is.
Were you the guys that brought down godaddy? My boss was really pissed that day!
In fact that is a funny question :) We thought at first that it was the hacker known as AnonymousOwn3r but it turned out to be a fake. We found out fast enough and we've published more information about this.
My clients were also very upset that day. You cannot imagine the number of dumb ass comments we receive about this :p
I may not always agree with your methods Anonymous but I certainly agree with your message. Writing content that is less "intense" is probably a great way to obtain links from credible sources. Major publications are always afraid of bringing heat upon themselves so I am not surprised that they avoid linking to you.
In the meantime, I am sure you have had a lot of success receiving links from independent blogs and sites. Try to align yourselves with others that are as free as you - unlike the corporate goliaths of the world.
Blue Link Associates
How Would You Do SEO For Anonymous?
If I were you the first thing I would do before posting anything anywhere is starting out with a keyword analysis. http://tinyurl.com/27uvznm
I would also take a quick peak at http://www.google.com/trends/ to determine if your target is on anyone elses radar as well. Start with low hanging fruit of competitive levels .5 and lower and update your website with a press release stating your objectives the reasoning and initiatives.
Take this information and make sure to include in your meta-tags, title tags and link on the homepage as an update.
Looking at your website you want to consider the categories your targets must fit into. Take a vote, research related keywords and create those folders on your server. Each folder should be named the targeted keyword with a index / default listing quick recaps of attacks in each category linking to the historical press releases by category. Each press release should be well optimized.
Upon each press release, there should be a blog post overviewing the press releases and allowing people to contribute their voices about it and spread the word as your network is the key to your success.
Remind you everything that ever touches the web is to be fully researched through google keyword tool, targeted, and optimized. From facebook posts, to titles, to twitter responses to youtube videos to pinterest.
Everything needs to link back to your blog which will feed the website with link juice and return the love back to your youtube channel because you are embedding the videos in your blog posts. Interact research, target, and optimize everything as the entire www is based on how many people can find you.
If you do it right you can potentially flood long tail search results with your voice.
Its a beautiful thing - and as long as you are truly representing the people’s common voice the greater will follow and redistribute.
The only part I don't like in this post is where you say "legally" I thought Anon was an online vigilante group.. I miss LulzSec :(
Hey Anonymous. My advice would also be a web design overhaul. The thing is, your content looks great (the word great may even be an understatement) but your site's design and feel isn't on par with your content's greatness.
I think having a web design overhaul should be the first on your list since it isn't usually a good idea to look "outside" when you don't have a bulletproof "inside".
Just my two cents.
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