What’s your tertiary superpower?”

Three years, a thou­sand con­ver­sa­tions, count­less mar­ket­ing ‘moments’, a dozen or so eBooks, one farewell blog post.

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Offices are fun­ny things. A few dozen peo­ple, with suit­ably diverse skillsets, from suit­ably diverse back­grounds — and each one devel­ops into some­thing entire­ly unique. The sum of each indi­vid­u­al’s expe­ri­ences merg­ing into… some call it com­pa­ny cul­ture… but I see it as more of a tribe.

No office is com­plete with­out its own strange rit­u­als, born of spon­tane­ity, but some­how stuck for no par­tic­u­lar rea­son, adap­ta­tions per­haps, for indis­cernible months. Before you know it, some­one’s spank­ing some­one else with, you know, those foot-long ergonom­ic palm rests in a total­ly not homo­erot­ic way.

the best’

Three years and a week ago, I start­ed at Linkdex with a brief to pro­duce a report on search and SEO in the trav­el sec­tor. With a young and expo­nen­tial­ly tal­ent­ed data sci­ence team (who nev­er quite man­aged to con­vince me why I could­n’t use that word as a superla­tive), we fired up our spread­sheets and set to work.

The key­word uni­verse in trav­el, as you may know, is unfath­omably huge, and doing a data-dri­ven study of search in the sec­tor is like… uh.. try­ing to count ants. So sev­er­al months and a few dozen GoToMeet­ings lat­er, we pub­lished Trav­el 360 — which look­ing back, is a seri­ous­ly awe­some col­lec­tion of essays/interviews/transcripts on dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion of an estab­lished ver­ti­cal. (A lit­tle known fact: it also fea­tures beau­ti­ful pho­tog­ra­phy, tak­en not from stock, but by Linkdex’s for­mer prod­uct man­ag­er.)


It was an hon­ourable endeav­our, but unfor­tu­nate­ly rather more naive in terms of mar­ket­ing (oh, I’d found a home in the mar­ket­ing team by now), in that it hyper-focused on an indi­vid­ual por­tion of Linkdex’s over­all SEO mar­ket. We did learn how­ev­er, that with audac­i­ty, team­work, and a lot of proof­read­ing and out­reach, we could pro­duce eBooks, or rather con­tent — with real edi­to­r­i­al integri­ty (I mean that) AND mar­ket­ing poten­tial.

That led us to SEO Now, which remains my favourite Linkdex con­tent project. On launch, we broke the vis­i­tor traf­fic record for the site, and cer­tain­ly for what it was — a record of thought­ful, cur­rent, dis­cus­sion with search mar­keters from brands and agen­cies — it seemed to be well received.

So amongst the effi­ca­cious mar­ket­ing activ­i­ty of the team, water­falls, of events, 1‑pagers, newslet­ters and emails, I most­ly made eBooks, writ­ing some­times as a ghost, but learn­ing, always learn­ing — par­tic­u­lar­ly from those imme­di­ate­ly around — from the best.


You can find Linkdex’s eBooks here.

Practice what you preach…

What­ev­er you think or hear about Linkdex, I can tell you that as an organ­i­sa­tion, we prac­tice what we preach. When we devel­oped momen­tol­ogy in 2014, our “dig­i­tal pub­li­ca­tion for con­sumer-cen­tric mar­keters”, we knew that all brands are pub­lish­ers, and we fol­lowed in the purest sense.


momen­tol­ogy has evolved, with all the con­tent migrat­ed to the Linkdex domain ear­li­er this year. Make of this what you will, but I had the ben­e­fit of see­ing the pained deci­sions, as well as the occa­sion­al acknowl­edg­ments of gen­uine appre­ci­a­tion from read­ers — which makes it all worth it. The team, our con­trib­u­tors, were beyond great, the con­tent was free and orig­i­nal — and it’s still all avail­able online on Inked.


The ben­e­fit of work­ing with great peo­ple, is that occa­sion­al­ly things real­ly click. Not so long ago, when it was still pos­si­ble to get search vol­umes from Adwords, we realised we had every­thing we need­ed to assess share of domain per­for­mance with­in a spe­cif­ic ver­ti­cal.

They may be slight­ly dat­ed now, but the Christ­mas Share of Search (2015) report, and our report on US Per­son­al Finance are two pieces I’m proud to have worked on.

Lat­er with The Unit­ed States of Search (unfor­tu­nate­ly no longer avail­able online), we looked at whether search data could tell us more about vot­er behav­iour, and cov­er­age bias from online news pub­li­ca­tions. It was ambi­tious, but if I had a regret, it’s that I did­n’t com­mit to this one more.


Blue Notes…

One of the serendip­i­tous con­se­quences of hav­ing a full-time office job in the noughty-tens(?) is being able to indulge a music stream­ing sub­scrip­tion.

In between repeat Daft Punk lis­ten­ing ses­sions, I’ve man­aged to retrace/explore, main­ly in reverse order, a fair bit of the his­to­ry of Amer­i­can pop­u­lar music.

And in as far as music reflects cir­cum­stance and life, with a pair of Denon head­phones — every­thing from delta, to Detroit blues, Mem­phis soul, that Motown sound, oogie woo­gie dis­co… right through to hip-hop, the many deli­cious flavours of house, and post-mil­lenial fusion pop (my way of describ­ing Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Rihan­na) — have been the sound­track of my Linkdex expe­ri­ences.

When Mozart and Beethoven were writ­ing (what I can only imag­ine must have been ban­gin’ tunes back in the day) music was order­ly. It was the sound of equal tem­pera­ment, enlight­en­ment, rea­son, argu­ments by design.

Blues emerged from eman­ci­pa­tion, and the need to cre­ate some­thing entire­ly dif­fer­ent. The addi­tion of the ‘blue note’ is now a cor­ner­stone of Amer­i­can pop­u­lar music, and with the accom­pa­ny­ing polyrhyth­mic pat­terns, it’s there, pret­ty much in every­thing.

What’s my point here… In life, or mat­ters of career, not every­thing turns out like you might think, or have built towards and planned for. But some­times, what is unex­pect­ed, actu­al­ly sounds bet­ter in the end.

Would you bang another bug?”

Offices. In digital/SEO, it amounts to a lot of time on the inter­net. Some of the best con­ver­sa­tions, and some of the worst: “If you were a bug, but retained all your rea­son and men­tal fac­ul­ties, would you bang anoth­er bug?”, “What’s your ter­tiary super­pow­er?” (some­thing which has no prac­ti­cal ben­e­fit)… “Slight­ly bet­ter than aver­age small talk.”, “What if the past belonged to men, and the future belongs to women?”

You make friends, often by pure acci­dent, friends you might not oth­er­wise have made. Maybe you con­nect­ed over The Walk­ing Dead. West­world. Friends who look out for you, even though they may not have even realised they were doing it at the time.

What next?

For me: this is a farewell blog post of sorts in that short­ly, I’ll be leav­ing the indus­try and retrain­ing as a his­to­ry teacher. But that’s nei­ther here nor there…

For the indus­try? Search is the future. It’s cer­tain­ly part of it. Let me take my Linkdex hat off and dwell for a moment on what I mean by that:

What­ev­er your polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tion, the events of the past year have shown us that dig­i­tal media ethics is an area that needs dis­cus­sion, progress, change. Democ­ra­cy func­tions on the prin­ci­ple of oppo­si­tion, and the SEO com­mu­ni­ty is the clos­est thing we have to func­tion­al oppo­si­tion in search. If Google do not want to take respon­si­bil­i­ty for the fac­tu­al integri­ty of the con­tent that prop­a­gates in their ecosys­tems, who will?

What’s the change that will make the sys­tem work?

I’m not sure any­one has the answers yet…

Search has, and will con­tin­ue to, change the world. So can you.

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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