Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pitch Perfect from Wordtracker

I use Wordtracker on a regular basis as its a real boon for my clients knowing what keywords potential customers are using.

This pdf document from Wordtracker says it all really:

I will admit its a bit long winded and I was left with the impression the guy only works from a restaurant with his laptop and/or he's having an affair with his co-worker (for the record he's not it just seemed like that to me!)

Its an interesting read I'd think you should go look at it!



Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What are your clients saying about your SEO services?

This testimonial came out of the blue today from an on-site web marketing consultation I made to a new client last week. I do like these kinds of testimonials from clients!

"Dear Darren,

What can I say . . you're brill, you're services are oustanding and all I am going to do now is promote you to the best of my ability at every opportunity I can.

Many thanks for all your help


Jason Flinter
Hum Drum Strum

Always nice when a client makes a positive statement without you having to prod one out of them!



Denial Design search engine optimisation tips: Content, content, content

Denial Design search engine optimisation tips:

A useful piece on seo tips, I thought it would be good to share it with you.



Google and Semantic what???

The way the major search engines such as Google are indexing pages is ever changing and one difference SEO'ers are going to have to get use to is that semantic indexing is likely now taking place.

Thing is plenty of people use the word but its likely that not many know what it actually means.

I'll start with a "define" command in Google's search bar:

Definitions of semantic on the Web:

So the widest types of an expression.... I am presuming then that Google is looking for keywords associated with another keyword

Ok taking "country hotel" as a keyword phrase example, how to search for those wider expressions?

We could brainstorm with other members of a team (if we're lucky enough not to work on our own) or we could use tools if we work as an individual like me such as

goRank's Semantic "Ontology Related Keyword Research Tool"

And here's the results:

country (5 related words found)


hotel (9 related words found)


I was impressed with this tool!

"Country" as a keyword and it pulls "golf" out of the hat. Seeing as thats one keyword I have targeted previously for a client in the country hotel industry leaves me pleasantly surprised.

Ok lets look at "hotel"

"inn" - for my client not really but for someone else maybe. I'd like to have seen "bed" and "breakfast" in the results but can't please all of the people....

"accommodation" - here is one I should take and use in the clients content, I should re-adjust keywords to reflect this particular phrase.

"lodging" - not sure about this keyword. I would not use it in a page's content BEFORE having carried out further keyword research to ensure it would be suitable for UK visitors. Has an American ring to it and right now my client is wishing to target the UK Holiday market.

"holiday" - an obvious but perhaps easily overlooked choice - this keyword will be used in the content of my clients pages before the day is out.

So semantic indexing can be defined as Google using other words associated with a certain keyword and looking for these other keywords within a pages content.

Its going to need further research and if anyone knows more feel free to post comments below to help readers of this blog.

I shall for one be starting with Matt Cutts' (of Google) blog - you might think about doing the same too.



Monday, May 29, 2006

Web Page Titles - simply unique and targeted.

It never fails to surprise me to find the following in page titles on search engines like Google:



"Untitled Document"

Have a look here at Google:

Google allintitle "Untitled Document" results

"Results 1 - 10 of about 42,300,000 for allintitle:Untitled Document. (0.42 seconds) "

Why are title tags missing from these pages? Each HTML Document has been left untitled and is missing the opportunity to use keyword phrases to accurately describe the content on the page.

Without relevant keywords in your title tag it is likely a search engine will rank your website on a lower basis. This can then lead to lower levels of traffic. Something you're going to need to avoid if you have a commercial site you want to see doing well on the web!

Based on my own experience and research most search engines seem to prefer between 10 to 15 words in the title tag, uniquely targeted to the great content you have in the page.

Its no point just stuffing the Title tag to the hilt with keywords, as thats considered a spamming attempt and will likely hinder your website's progress.

If you really, really have to have more keywords in the title then ensure those keywords form part of an actual sentence (with a call to action if possible) rather than just a list of keywords. When a searcher see's your title tag on a search engines results page then ensure the tag identifies exactly what it is they are looking for. Together with an obvious call to action this can enhance the clickthrough rate to your website from a search engine's organic results.

When it comes to Google the maximum number of characters displayed in a title tag is 67 (that I have seen on an Amazon result).

Other search engines such as Yahoo and MSN I have not looked currently explored in full but I believe that Yahoo may be upto twice as many characters. (I am not too concerned with Yahoo and MSN as of this moment)

Oh and don't put your company name at the start of the Title Tag UNLESS you have a VERY well known brand name.
Place the important keyword phrases at the beginning of a tag and your company name at the end.

You can get round this if your product name is in your company name already.

I.e. you have a product called Widget X and your company name is Widget X Limited... you get the picture...

Write unique and individual Title tags at the beginning of EVERY page and ensure the keyword phrases used in them are also applicable to the content on your page.

For a good example check out and see where I have crafted unique and individual titles in each web page targetting the actual content I have created on each web page.

To prove a point if you carry out this search on Google

allintitle:business website marketing

At present the All Things Web site sits currently 4th.... this site is new and will not show for this search in the first 10 page with the command allintitle: removed - I'm just waiting for Google's bots to start (I am seeing them in the stats)



Friday, May 26, 2006

Never work without a signed agreement of understanding

Must admit when I started my business I was clueless and perhaps naive. As you Americans say "kinda wet behind the ears!"

I was perhaps too eager to please potential clients and always worried that by saying the "wrong" thing I would not get the business I so desperately needed at that time - to build a successful portfolio and establish a good reputation.

I learnt some harsh lessons... and one of the hardest was not getting clients to sign an agreement of understanding (aka a contract) to make sure they understood what it was that I would be doing for them and the web marketing or ecommerce of their site and what I expected from them plus other assorted project details etc etc.

So I'll stand up now and say that if you are not doing business with a signed agreement then you really need to look carefully at how exposed your business is to unnecessary risk.

Without an agreement (that YOU and YOUR CUSTOMER both sign) how does your client know what your payment terms are?

Without an agreement how are you going to deal with a client who has now changed the goalposts on a project for the umpteenth time and has no intention of paying you for the extra labour?

Yes most people work on trust and have integrity but there are the sharks out there that do not play by the rules.

Trust me I have experienced them!

They will say how refreshing it is that you are not asking to have them sign a contract and that you work based on trust.... and when something goes wrong... you will have nothing to fallback on to provide to the client to say that they have read, understood and signed the agreeement... with an agreement YOUR business can work completely transparently and your CLIENT understands from the beginning what is expected of them and what you will be providing.

There's also the fact its easier to remind a client that what was discussed and then written down as was agreed - I have had many an occasion where a client has been adamant that I promised something I would not have promised without adding on extra fees for more labour!

If you're not sure how to go about getting a contract of agreement together then I would advise you speak to a lawyer or solicitor as soon as possible. Trust me for most small businesses it should not cost you an arm and a leg to have the right agreement that will help protect you in the event communication breaks down between you and a client.



PS and if anyone refuses to sign a contract or your agreement then I would seriously consider whether it is a wise move to do business with them.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Making SEO affordable for your business

I quoted a few weeks ago for a company who wished to have their website optimised and targeted correctly for relevant keyword phrases.

They came back advising that at present the price quoted was right now out of their budget and was there any kind of service I could offer that would help with the website marketing and optimisation but at a lower rate?

Well there was and I was able to go in for a few hours consultation at a budget which suited their pocket with greater value.

Below I have listed below some suggestions and links to websites that can offer you website optimisation on a budget.

Read it from an SEO Training Book!

I will admit I am self taught in SEO and along the way I have wasted good money on books exhorting the "secrets of SEO". However along the way I found a few great gems that I will recommend here:

Jill Whalen's "Nitty Gritty of Writing for Search Engines"

Very concise and great if you don't yet know how to write your content to suit search engines.
Highly recommended and one book I will ALWAYS take time to refresh myself on every 3 to 4 months.

Sitepoint's "The Search Engine Marketing Kit" by Dan Thies

This is one book that by its size when it arrived at the door (its not a download) blew me out the water. It WILL take you quite some time to go through but if you're new to SEO or even not so new its definitely worth investing in. For people with some SEO knowledge the first few chapters can be glossed over - the information towards the rear is more important to help you refine your approach.

Hire a Search Engine Marketing Consultant for a few hours or day

This is a great way to get a web optimisation expert through your door and directly assist you with the marketing and optimisation of your website.

Don't however expect them to start actually making the changes to your website instead they can provide you with an action plan of where your site is going wrong in its search engine AND visitor targeting.

2 ways you can look at this approach:

  • One you've read up on SEO and you've carried out some processes to your website but you want a consultant to go over what you have done and double check your optimisation efforts - just to ensure the fuzzy bits you were not sure about are not going to harm your website in the search engines OR worse put your visitors off!
  • Two, you do not have the time to sit down and start learning (heh you got a business to run!) and you want the search engine marketing consultant to offer you some education to give you a head start and be there to answer anything about SEO you are unsure about.
Fees vary from business to business - some SEO agencies charge £1000's a day whilst some one man SEO experts will likely charge only a couple of hundred pounds for a few hours to help you out.

It pays here to do some research when choosing an SEO consultant - look at the web, look at their results, look at their own marketing efforts with their own sites (hard if you do not know what to look for!) and see if you can find a consultant who is recommended by word of mouth - thats how I mainly get a large proportion of my business.

Site Reports

Many companies involved in search engine marketing can offer comprehensive website analysis for a one-off fee. Your website is analysed and a report is provided with an action plan (sometimes with keyword research too). You can then decide if you want to carry out the action plan yourself or hand off to a third party to carry out these SEO processes for you.

One web marketing consultant - James Saunders of offers extremely detailed site reports for just about any commercial website. James comes very highly recommended and having worked with him in the past and present I can definitely say he knows his stuff!

Email me at if I can be of any more help to you in your endeavours to market your own commercial website on a budget.



Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Web to Split?

I saw this article on BBC News and it reminded me of what I mentioned to a few people last year...

I see the web already splits into 2 distinct parts - academic/information and retail/entertainment... (to me a bit like comparing the BBC and ITV of yesteryear anyway, one advertised and one did not)

With the advance of SEO & Web 2.0 this boundary is beginning to blur as search engines require more and more updated and targeted content, the popularity of newsfeeds and RSS increases and the unstoppable rise of online PR thunders on.

We already pay for Internet access in most cases so why should we be forced to pay again for another tier... ?

I for one agree that a two tier system where one has to pay more is an internet I do not wish to play on.



Google Trends

A client of mine started a website just before Xmas 2005 and using PPC he saw increases in sales very quickly. As you can imagine my client was a very happy bunny!

Even though he is still receiving orders business has slowed up for him a little. I needed to find out why.

So in my efforts to ensure the online public get to his website I found out about Google Trends... its only been out for less than 3 weeks (feel free to correct me if I am wrong!) but its turned out to be a useful tool!

The first trend I checked was:


"Camping" as we can see below gains more searches than "hiking" which stays relatively stable but low in number of searches. Shame Google has not thought to put the number of approximate searches up the side of the graph. That really would help - even if it was just a rough figure.

I also noticed that the use of the "Camping" keyword increases coming closer to the Summer each year and rapidly decreases after Summer is over.

I'll be using this Google tool quite a bit more in the next few days to further refine camping equipment related keywords for my client and its likely I can discover which keywords alongside using Wordtracker can better help my clients website increase online sales.

If anyone else has any comments on Google Trends that thinks it may benefit readers of this blog then leave a message.



Monday, May 22, 2006

'Tis late but could not resist

Having transferred some of the holiday photos this evening of my recent family trip to DisneyWorld, in Florida, I could not resist posting some of the ones that stood out from the rest!

Have to admit the gorillas did look kind of bored, this one stared back at everyone like he'd seen it all before. He got bored in the end and wandered off over the slope behind him.

Catastrophe Canyon - unexpected fire and water on the Backlot Tour at DisneyWorld's MGM Studios - I was impressed by this one!

Lights - Motor - Action! Very cool cars and an almighty explosion at the end that I think the whole audience felt the heat from! Lucky shot to get as the explosion quickly disappeared!

Me and the missus... I really have to lose some weight, so my diet started today... :(



Dare to break Google's submission guidelines?

I have always carried out "ethical" SEO since I started in this industry and this has worked out well with getting my clients websites listed in Google.

Google uses algorithms developed by it's in-house engineers to determine a website's position within its rankings for a keyword search term entered by a searcher.

The algorithms and filters can be indirectly manipulated to list a website higher in the rankings than it really should be.

A search engine cannot afford to lose it's web audience and will take great lengths to ensure a website comes up to standard.

Search engines results that are unreliable can potentially put off users causing them to use another engine to conduct a search for what they are looking for. This then can lead to a decrease in revenue from paid sponsored links - not what a search engine really wants!

If the site does not adhere to their guidelines then the engine is very likely to either drop the website from its rankings OR just refuse to ever list the site on a long term basis.

For more information on ensuring your site complies with Google then please follow this link:

All the answers are there for you to identify on what NOT to do!



PS returned from holidays late yesterday, completely Disneyed out and now jetlagged!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Disney and the power of their marketing

I am writing this blog whilst on holiday in Florida taking time out at Disney World.

And what a place it is.... being flung into space, being chased by a Yeti around Everest, shrunken to a tiny size, soaring over California, on safari in Africa through to hanging out in Mexico its a wonderfully great place.

Disney's marketing of the whole concept of Disney World is also fantastically effective too... just looking at their blurb on their leaflets through to viewing their presentation of the latest rides online turns a mature adult into a small kid who couldn't wait to get here!

Right I better get back to having fun on vacation...



Friday, May 12, 2006

Todays 10 minute presentation

I belong to a business organisation called BNI and participate in a group in Bristol. Its a good way to meet other business people but the only downside is that you have to get up extremely early (05:15am for me) to meet for breakfast.

Still its good fun and I get decent leads from it on a regular basis. The hard part is then finding leads for those that generated business for you!

So I had to present my 10 minutes to a group of around 27 people in the meeting.

I went over what to avoid when they hear from people attempting to sell them search engine optimisation services over the phone via a cold call.

The usual stuff such as:

keyword stuffing and keyword hiding
illegal redirects
hiding content inside CSS files
guarantees which turn out to be useless

The presentation seemed to go down very well and I received some great remarks about the presentation after it ended!

I did have to wing it as I did not carry out a practice speech before hand to check it would run to 10 minutes... not bad as I came in close at 8 minutes 54 seconds which then allowed a few questions from the floor.

I'd also failed to bring a draw prize so I ended up giving the winner a £10 pound note - he seemed to think that was very generous AND SO DID I but I thought giving him a fiver would look too tight!

My experience has grown in SEO in line with my public presentation skills which as been great for my business. So if you're looking to increase the amount of work you do then I would recommend the power of business networking.

It takes a bit of effort but its a great way to meet and do business.



Ps off to Florida for a week for a well earned rest so I may not be posting for another 7 days... depends if the other half lets me!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Giving SEO advice for free?

I like to help people in and outside of work as its generally part of my nature and I don't like to think of myself as a selfish person.

But I find it hard to help someone I know has me over for a first meeting to "discuss the benefits of Search engine optimisation"


Because every time I am asked "In fine details what do you do to optimise a website?" all they really want to know is what to do and leave me out of the loop!

I don't dress up optimising websites as a black art - so I like to stay pretty transparent about what it is I do.

Whilst lots of SEO consultants and practitioners talked about smoke and mirrors (
something thankfully the Search Engine Marketing industry seems to be moving away from) I provide what I know and not hide behind fancy terminology in an effort to secure the potential business.

Yet whenever I did this and talked about how SEO is done I never ever got the work!
So it was becoming tempting to advise it is "magic"... though I never did.

Ultimately I found myself advising for free - which after 4 years just doesn't pay enough! ;)

I tried something different today whilst with a potential client when asked about advising SE optimisation in detail and said:

"I've carried out SEO for 4 years and spent a lot of time carrying out research, analysis and testing. I trust you'll understand I will not explain in detail what I do but instead summarise briefly so you can make an informed decision if I am right for your business."

I continued:

"If however you need me to go into exact detail on optimising your website then may I suggest we arrange a new date in our diaries for me to return and carry out a paid consultation with you."

An honest answer - and one which I think was appreciated all the more for it.

I finished by summarising the SEO involved:

Keyword research
Structuring the code & content (i.e. on page SEO)
Linking strategy
Ongoing analysis and optimisation

We then progressed forward with schedules/prices and a mini SEO project (paid work too) for me to start the ball rolling.

So next time you're in a similar situation try this approach it might just work for you!



Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Overdoing SEO...

I never seem to understand why people cannot carry out basic SEO without considering usability, accessibility and conversion factors.

Whats the point in optimizing a website if no-one is going to buy into what your website sells?

Plenty of sites can claim to be number whatever on Google's ranking but if not generating the £££ or $$$ for that matter then isn't it a waste of time?

Put yourself into your customers shoes, think carefully about the keywords you THINK they will use, carry out careful research on keywords using keyword research tools, plan FIRST and then implement on page seo, research off page seo and then plan a link strategy.

This is what is going to help you achieve significant results.

Just slapping in some keywords and altering the content on an "on a whim basis" is unlikely to be truly successful for you. Sure you might get lucky and hit the jackpot but I doubt it.

Professional SEO starts at the planning stage - I usually start on paper and then move to the computer and the web to further develop my plans. Only fools rush in....

Trust me get the SEO basics right and you're halfway there!



Tuesday, May 09, 2006

First post on SEO and Web Marketing


My first post on - must admit I've hung back for quite some time with blogging... why you wonder?

Mainly because I felt it was one of those things that didn't seem so cool with a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon...

I prefer things with less of the hype and tend to make my own decisions rather than just follow the herd... does that mean I miss out on the action, pioneering new in-roads on the web? Possibly.

So... this web marketing blog is intended to be about my thoughts on search engine marketing. Its not a trumpet for me to crow from the roofstop, more to comment on internet marketing issues that pop up regularly across the web.

Its not a tool for me to emblazon my company name in virtual neonlights either (though if you're wondering its

So what is that I do?

Well... I carry out web marketing & website optimisation services for small to medium sized businesses along the M4 "corridor belt". Regularly travel to Bristol but I reside in Huntingdon and yes the drive home on a Friday afternoon always wipes me out... good old M25!

I've been optimising websites for 4 years on my own and been pleased with the successes of getting my clients sites good listings in search engines.

Why do I enjoy doing this?

It satisfies my sense of curiosity

And the downsides?

Working on one's own is tough - there are times I miss the camaraderie of the office workplace - though I don't miss the commute!

The plan for this blog is for me to collate info from web marketing emails I receive and then comment on them hopefully in an unbiased way but who knows, we're all human and have differences of opinion. I'll be linking to other websites to too so that you'll be able to see whats going on... that way you can hopefully pop in here and stay informed.

Trust you'll be back and feel free to leave comments. I will try to answer them as best as I can.
Hopefully feedback can be left that will generate some decent discussions!


ukdaz (Darren Moloney)