By Becky Simms, CEO at Reflect Digital

Gamification in marketing has been around for a long time, but I genuinely believe there are few brands that have really nailed the execution. In this article, I will share with you some of the top mistakes made and how to improve your future plans.

1. Too sales focused

Many brands integrate gamification with the view that it is a sales tool so therefore try to integrate the product too much or force the user to buy following completion of the game. A game is about creating a shared experience between customer/potential customer and brand. There is a strong likelihood of sales further down the line, but this must not be the driver. Our research found that consumers were 60% more likely to buy from a brand if they played a game they enjoyed with that brand.

So to dive into this point a little deeper, it is totally fine to have some product placement in your game, if it makes sense to do so, or to ensure your brand shines through. But the major no-no is to make it all about your brand and lose sight of the genuine shared experience you were trying to create. I was with a drinks manufacturer recently and they wanted to make the game all about their products and to fully integrate it with the shop. This is so obvious to the user and loses the authenticity of what a game should be all about.

I have also seen brands where the game is short and sweet and then you suddenly have a voucher code to buy immediately but without any data capture. So this then is driving for the immediate sale, which for an expensive item is not likely, and missed the opportunity for future marketing as no data was passed on.

In the perfect world, your game should have a little branding or product subtly included but there should be no sales focus other than potentially a free prize from your brand.

2. A complete lack of focused outcomes

In total contrast to point one, I have seen it many times before where a brand launches a game with literally no benefit to the brand. Gamification has so many potential benefits without being too sales-y that it is key you ensure you have a plan to deliver some valuable return. I recently met a high street fashion brand and asked them about a game on their website, no one in the marketing team knew about it, it pre-dated them, but the game was totally useless from a brand perspective.

So what do I mean? From a game, your brand should be able to achieve some of the following:

  • Data – by having a reason for example to either save progress or to win a prize
  • Engagement – this could be on site or over social channels, creating buzz about your brand and having a reason to talk to your audience without a sales message.
  • PR – if it is good enough then the websites your target demographic follow will want to talk about it!
  • Links – for an SEO strategy we all know how important genuine links are, this is a great way to get websites to link to you naturally.
  • Social media following – this can help increase your following, especially if users can ask for clues but need to follow you first.
  • Customer insight – we are getting really techy here, but a game might allow you to bucket your users off into new targeting sets based on their behaviour.

All of these are possible alongside offering a fun and engaging experience for the user, it is just a case of planning your game properly. We often advise starting at the end point of what you want to achieve and then work back from there. Find out more about gamification marketing.

Becky spoke about “Gamification: The link builder’s call of duty” at UnGagged London 2019.
Keep an eye out for her next speaking slot at UnGagged London in 2020!

By Viola Eva, SEO Consultant, Flow SEO

On-page SEO is often perceived as the ugly duckling of SEO.

It’s the process of optimizing ranking factors directly on your website. Those beautiful and powerful sisters (backlinks) are often stealing on-page SEO’s spotlight, which is perceived as a repetitive, boring, must-do task. However, more recently, on-page SEO is rising in popularity with underground SEOs of all hat colors.

How come optimizing page titles and H1 is suddenly exciting again?

In this article, we’ll cover the difference between normal on-page SEO and the correlational SEO of today. In fact, 2019 is the right time to show your content some love with next level on-page SEO.

Viola Eva correlational SEO

On-page SEO: The good ol’ days

Within minutes, most SEO crawlers (think Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, ahrefs, etc.) deliver meaningful insights on the status of the optimization of your website.

Today, most of them have appealing interfaces, and they’ll tell you where your on-page SEO is deficient. Common metrics include:

  • Missing, duplicate or page titles that are too long
  • Missing, duplicate or meta descriptions that are too long
  • Missing or duplicate H1s
  • … many more

You export the list of recommendations and pass it on to your team.

If you’re a respectable SEO, you’ve done keyword mapping before and have matched your target pages with a target keyword and supporting keyword variations. Now, your team is updating the deficient ranking signals. This is still SEO best practice, because as much as on-page SEO is boring, it works. There is hardly any SEO who would argue on the power of page title, URL and H1. Adding your target keyword always works.

If you are not optimizing those factors, you are simply missing out on powerful SEO opportunities.

In the good old days, you would also go in and sprinkle your main keyword across the content. Some people believed in keyword density (percentage of keyword in total text) and adjusted accordingly. If you push your website through the crawler again, green boxes appear. Everyone is happy.

Correlational SEO in 2019

Most crawlers will review a hard-coded set of ranking factors. The creators basically choose which factors should be included and no matter which target page you are crawling, you will receive the same list of ranking factors to review. Whilst our SEO experience tells us that headlines are an important ranking factor, we don’t know exactly how they should be optimized for our specific target page in order to outperform the top-ranking pages.

The recommendations of most crawlers do not factor in competition and their status of optimization. This is where correlational SEO hits the stage. Modern tools for correlational SEO (CORA, Page Optimizer Pro, SurferSEO, Clearscope) allow you to compare your target page against high-ranking competitors. The insights from these tools are not based on a simple traffic light system (done/ not done) but on a relative comparison to those pages that are successfully ranking on page 1.

You will learn to update the keyword count in the body of the text because that is what the websites on page 1 are doing. The ranking factor “search terms in body tag” correlates with their position on page 1. Suddenly, you are optimizing not just any ranking factor, but those that are statistically relevant to appearing on page 1.

This is why on-page SEO is suddenly sexy again — because it is easy to implement, but it can give you a real competitive advantage. With this mindset shift, you will learn how to use your target keyword, keyword variations and context keywords (LSI) based on the performance of the top websites. You will learn how to optimize to be competitive.

In terms of implementation, there is not a big difference towards the checklists of regular crawlers, but it is a huge mindset shift in terms of building strategies. We now make 100-percent data-driven decisions and pick those on-page factors from those which are proven to move the needle.

Time to rise and shine, on-page SEO!


Correlational SEO


Viola spoke about the “The Holy Trinity – SEO Science, Correlational SEO and Algorithmic Content Analysis” at UnGagged London 2019.
Keep an eye out for her next speaking slot at UnGagged in 2020!