Thursday, June 29, 2006

Setting up a basic corporate blog

I'm finding a lot of demand from new and existing customers to creat blogs on their behalf.

A great deal of them have of heard of "blogs" but do not understand their true meaning (and POWER).

Once I have set them up a basic blog and shown them how to use it in the most effective way they are pretty excited of the possibilities that become available to them.

In time I will bring a clients blog onto their own websites and style them to look unique rather than just making use of a blog template but for the time being I will let my clients get used to blogging on a regular basis.

So if you're looking to provide a new service to set clients up why not consider offering set up of corporate blogs - I am certain you will find a lot of demand from business owners who have heard about it but are unwilling to take the plunge without some initial guidance.



Wednesday, June 28, 2006

1000 word webpage - just a page of spam?

1000 word webpage.

Having seen this on econsultancy's blog (and mentioned on quite a few others) I checked it out.

Run by a couple of marketing students in London, you basically bid on a word on the page. The more you pay the more prominent your keyword will be. I believe it is jumping on the million dollar website bandwagon so I can't see it being wholly successful.

Thing is, the page to me just looks like spam. It will generate some buzz and if the lads make some dosh then good on them but I for one cannot see how it would generate traffic to my website that would likely convert into business.

Also if this did take off in the SERPS then Google and the other search engines I think would have to classify this as spamming - its just not relevant enough to their users.

Anyone disagree?



Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rumour? Yahoo to be bought by MS.

A rumour is flying round that Yahoo might be bought by MS.

Not sure myself but then seeing as Adobe bought Macromedia (and I thought that was just a rumour and nothing else when it first came out) anything could happen.

Will Yahoo keep its brand or will it be dropped in favour of MS' own branding? I would prefer to see it be left as Yahoo if it is bought up.

One thing though is that it might open the search market and allow a small search engine (possibly unknown at this time) to flourish into one as successful as Google thse days.



Monday, June 26, 2006

Your car and your image to your SEO clients

Myself and my wife Helen are considering a change of car... we've looked at VW Passats (responsible family man), Audi TT's (mature sports car man), VW Golf GTI's (flash harry man) & Toyota Aygo - pronounced "I - go" - (green responsible and ethical man)

I even considered buying a car for not too much money - say 6 or 7 years old (make do man!).... but Helen completely shunned the idea.. .wasn't that bad: a W plate Citroen Xsara VTS, 'nowt wrong with that.... though Helen said it would say to my customers I am doing poorly... and that might influence them to look somewhere else for web marketing...

Why is it a car should say so much about you? My wife worried that the wrong choice of car would send the incorrect type of message to my clients.

Yet in my mind if I want to lord it up in an Audi sports car, whats that got to do with my customers? Especially if my prices don't change? If my new car IS a reflection of my success then why can't I celebrate that fact?

Could I do without a car?

In the UK I would say no. Our transportation system is poor and expensive. If I exclusively worked in London then maybe I could get away with using taxis, buses and the tube but any other major city in the UK? Not really.

So what car do you drive and what message do you think that gives to your clients when you go visit them? (and I am sure they'll be looking!)



Friday, June 23, 2006

Blog Designer needed for my business

I need a Blog Designer to help me out as I am keen to offer Blog Design Services.
If this is something you can offer and show portfolios of your work and provide testimonials of your services from clients I would very much like to hear from you.

OR if you know of anyone that has created some designs for blogs and is looking for some commercial work then feel free to recommend them too.

Its not that I can not do it myself its just that I am in demand for SEO services and do not have the time to sit down and do.

You do not need to be based in the UK but it may be preferable.



Ps you may call me directly on +44 (0) 1480 412931

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Building better websites

There are many ways to build a "better" website for your business. One of them would be to check this article by Jane Horwood - a talented web designer of 6 years based in Cambridge.

Jane hits the nail on the head in a simple to understand concept: -

Well, the bottom line is "anything that gets in the way of what customers need is bad design however nice it looks".

Very good point.



The POWER of Referral Marketing

Your website is part of a network, an electronic one, but still a network

Do you network your business offline with others? I do.

Some of my business, no, in fact a great deal of my business is generated by word of mouth advertising. Your best salesteam are in fact your customers! Have you got them working for you??? Do you have them singing your praises to their contacts?

No? Well from my experience I cannot strongly recommend enough word of mouth advertising - the art of referral marketing!

If you don't know anything about referral marketing then take the following advice from Sarah Owen of The Referral Institute:

"Tips to drive word of mouth business

  1. Your contacts won’t generally refer you business off their own bat just because you are good at your job. Many will be happy to refer you business if you ask them.
  2. Pay attention to behavioural styles and treat people how they would like to be treated
  3. Go to network meetings to meet people not to sell. It’s then up to you to follow up after having made initial contact with people at the meeting.
  4. Focus on developing deeper relationships with a few people rather than superficial relationships with a lot of people."
I could not agree more.
If you're looking to increase the levels of business that you do then I strongly suggest you contact The Referral Institute. I think this type of marketing can take your business to a new level.



Wednesday, June 21, 2006

78% of websites are invisible

Received an email this morning from Synergy - a business networking newsletter I subscribe to with this link on "78 per cent of websites are invisible".

Thought I'd share it with you:

I wonder how many websites are invisible in your area?



NEW! The value of Google Ads Dayparting

I mentioned that Google was rolling "Dayparting" out and logging into my Google Ads this morning I find the UK is ready so I can now set this up for my clients.

What is Dayparting?

It is where Google Ad campaigns can be set to run at certain times of the day - rather than just run continuously over a 24 hour period.

And what is the value of Dayparting?

If you see from your stats that your website's busiest time is between 12 and 2pm then you can ensure your Ads only show during this time. You can also look to then test which period in a chosen timeframe generates more orders... and then increase your Ad budget during that period. In short your chosen time should be one of your most profitable - though you'll need to combine Google Ads with landing pages to get the best result.

As an example I have one client's website that see's an increase at 12pm to 2pm and then from 4-30pm till 6-30pm. There is also a traffic blip at 9pm on a regular basis.

By setting dayparting at these times and then monitoring which timeframe generates more orders for my client will allow me to get the best from Google Adwords for him.

A powerful online marketing tool that I think could see Adword budget "wastage" reduced by as much as 20% (if the correct times are picked)- a significant figure don't you think?

I am also aware that like TV, Adwords clickthrough budgets may increase at certain popular times - something else that needs careful consideration.

Care must be taken in choosing the right timeframe based on observed client behaviour. There is no point picking the wrong time and missing out on significant orders!

My crystal ball thinking? That for B2B marketing, companies may find the best time for Adwords marketing is between 5pm and 6pm (maybe to 7pm).

Why? Mainly down to managers looking for required business services and able to make more informed decisions when its quiet and without the distractions caused by normal day to day operations. Could be wrong (anyone care to point out that I am?), but I got a good gut feeling!



Very powerful wa

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Reporting "cheating" sites to Google = no tangible results!

I carry out SEO for a small country hotel in the UK and one competitor site regularly comes up for "****** country hotel". My client is on the first page too but sits below them.

Anway having checked the competitors page numerous times I see their web page makes use of hidden links.... I appreciate it is making use of the hidden text links as it's "visibly apparent" links use javascript which as we all know can cause Google bots some difficulty in crawling. Still in my book its not on to hide links with a "spacer" gif as this website obviously does.

Why not just use a text based sitemap???

What really annoys is that having reported it to Google twice now nothing seems to have been done... it still sits at the top for rankings... if Google is made aware by a report then really should it not take some steps? Or are they aware of who the person/organisation is that makes the report and their standing in the SEO community? Or I am just going slightly paranoid????

I ensure my client site stays as "legal" as possible in Google's eyes and its still outranked by a site clearly (or hidden - depends how you see it!) going against the grain - well in terms of on page optimisation anyway... what gives Google?



Getting free website links Part 1

Did I say my website is relatively new?

Well it is.

In fact it's less than 2 months old in its complete status - though it will technically never be "complete" due to the additions of new content.

Anyway I am going to need to get some websites to link to it - so where to start first... hmm lets head over to Google to find some free link directories.

Now the question is, are they worth it? In terms of SENDING you huge amounts of traffic (that a lot promise) I very much doubt it. But you never know, if one directory was to send you two legitimate visitors a month for free for the rest of the lifetime of your website would you say no... I doubt I would!

So here's Google's results for:

Link directories

I am not a great believer in Google's Pagerank as an accurate guide but once I see a site's ranking it can help give me some clue as to where that website sits in the index.

To increase a website's value to a search engine is achieved generally in 2 ways.

  1. Look for links to your site
  2. Write interesting and valuable content

Plus there is a third way IMHO:
  • and thats PROPERLY adding links from your website to other sites that YOU highly rate...
...though don't go linking to some two bit 3 page website your aunt created for her shoebox diorama's (well not unless its truly authoritative on the subject)

So looking around I find
which is pretty cool as each directory it lists it shows the pagerank for the site, how many sites link to it in MSN and a whole bunch of other interesting data!

Link directories is a directory that links to other free directories so I choose one on its list and surf over to Not a bad start - they don't want reciprocal links from my website. So I submit the allthingsweb site there ensuring I give them my junk email address (just in case).

No fuss as it takes my website and then offers me another opportunity. Which I decline this time round.

Eventually I submit to all the sites listed below and here's a quick line about each of them:

Says its free but no mention of having to have a reciprocal link to avoid the $20 charge.

Looks suscipiously similar to and part of their agreement is that "
There must be a submit page for visitors to submit to" - is that so they can potentially gain other email addresses from this website as well? Hmm not sure...

Promotes itself as the world's biggest directory. Somehow I believe evidence suggests some other site directory (Yahoo anyone?) is bigger.
Again the form on here is very similar to (though they do ask a security question to prevent automated signups.)

Purports to be a British directory, again the sign up form looks too similar to the ones above NOT to raise suscipicions.

Only time will tell if these links successfully generate any traffic - however its hard to know. All were given reasonable pageranks from Google (though not amazing) so the search engine is aware of them - how long it stays aware of them is another matter.

If anyone else knows of any free directories I could and should place links from to my site please let me know!



Web Optimisation Reviews for FREE - TODAY ONLY

To the first 5 people who contact me today at I will look at your site on an optimisation basis and give my SEO review for free! SO you'd better be quick and get on the blower to me!

You may wonder why I am giving web optimisation reviews for free?

Well I went to dinner last week and with my business colleagues had a very interesting conversation about offering free services...

I stand on the side that says "All clients must pay for my time. Existing clients who pay on time and use my services may get some services for free from time to time"

Another person who was at our table agreed with me whilst the other two declared that its likely I would get many enquiries for free services that would likely lead to more business.

I tried giving out SEO services for free when I first started in the SEO game... it never worked.... I attracted many "bounty hunters" keen to take my services with promises of paid work to come. All of them disappeared as fast as they could when I handed over my reviews - well they feigned disinterest in my web marketing services.

I even had one tell me to never contact him again. People... tch!

A few did refer me on - to other bounty hunters! At that time I found it very hard to say to someone who had been referred to me and had taken the time to phone me that I would have to charge them for my time. Why did I find it hard? Mostly to ensure they were not disappointed. However it was me that was disappointed time and time again.

It dawned on me one day with a burgeoning credit card bill I was using to just survive that I either started charging for initial time or got out of the industry. Well I enjoyed it too much to get out so I started charging for my time.

Suddenly referrals got easier as people got to hear about a good job and my clients told them I charged a fair and reasonable rate...

So its this free website optimisation is a re-test to see if the market has changed. I am not after a high figure - even one free review that converts itself into paid web marketing business would DOUBLE the success rate from the previous time.

So go on, shout me and I will see what I can do. Just remember you'll need to be in the first 5 to get the benefits!



Monday, June 19, 2006

Is this email for real from Yahoo?

Now this to me - because of the address comes across as a phishing attempt - I have not followed the link - I don't really want to know whats on the other side.

However if it is genuine from Yahoo why then have they not used their own domain rather than the one in the email to

Does anyone else know if this is a scam or is it a genuine attempt from Yahoo to carry out user/marketing research?



Getting Google Ads editor (beta) installed and running

Having tried unsucessfully to install and run Google Adwords Editor on my PC last week I have finally managed to get it running. Seems like my firewall didn't "trust" it... well who can you trust these days? ;)

SO first thoughts on the software - loaded smoothly and downloaded campaigns quickly and without fuss. I would not have expected anything less here.

Disappointed I cannot download results of campaigns... just looks like its an editor by name... going to have to log in to get the results... shame... to have everything under one roof would have been easier.

Ah yes I can get stats... not that obvious at first! Hmm would have been better if they could have supplied as charts and graphs rather than just as text.

Not enough width on the page to allow for all the columns means I am going to have to close up certain columns of data to get to see what I really want.

I'll stick with it to add multiple keywords to a few clients big campaigns and go from there with it... I can always change back to the online version if I struggle to get along with this software.



Friday, June 16, 2006

Spending BIG on Google Ads reaps rewards

Wow. $40K planned to spent on PPC. Actual spend $28K. Return: $144,329.29

Good on this chap. He took the risk and got the reward - just wish I had $40,000 lying around ;)
instead I have bought a new house!

Back on Monday!



Thursday, June 15, 2006

Unique Blog headlines are gonna get your attention!

Some people blog to make money and some don't.

I'm in the second camp, I do it to communicate to clients and bloggers interested in what I have got to say.

So how do I get initial interest in my blog thats posted to a newfeed? By using a unique headline to garner attention.

And it seems to work. Original headlines using keywords such as "Exclusive", "Successful", "How to" seem to generate more interest and send over more people to the allthingsweb site

So craft your headlines carefully - even make them calls to action to spur people on to read your blog over someone elses. Cause getting to your blog is the first step, your ultimate aim is to entice them to your website to see what you do!


ukdaz (obviously no-one is reading in the UK as everyone is watching England attempt to play at football!)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Exclusive invitation to Google Ads Editor

Cool... do I feel special or what!

Sitting here converting my website into a template based system - which quite frankly is boring me out of my mind I received an email from Google offering a software download to manage my Google Ads accounts. - of which I manage many campaigns for my clients.

"Based on your current AdWords account activity, we believe you would benefit from the ease and flexibility AdWords Editor offers. Especially designed for users with large accounts... "

So I download the software - checking first its not a phishing/spamming attempt from a third party. Looked all good and proper and slightly surprised me with a 7.8MB download!

Ran the installation and attempted to sign in with my current Google details. Hmm a failure there... maybe the firewall is causing the issue so temporarily switch that off... nope thats not the cause as it is still not recognising my account. Turn the firewall back on.

Logged into Google and reconfirmed my password. Back to the Google Ads software editor to try agin. Still no good.

So first attempts not perfect. It's late and pub quiz beckons so I guess its try another go tomorrow - an email to Google is likely.

Anyone else have any problems logging into the newly loaded Google Ads software?



Writing website copy for Google

I keep reading on other blogs - such as Peter De Vanzo's excellent - that if you use keywords that a lot of other people are targeting heavily on their websites your site MAY get penalised for duplicate content by Google...

I also see that focusing the same keyword phrase in your:

  • Page title
  • Page header
  • Page content
  • Internal links
  • Meta descriptions

may result in Google spotting your content and finding it may be similar to other "over" optimised pages for a particular keyword. This could result in your site not ranking as highly as others, though I think a search term without much demand or competition (so giving very few results) would force Google to likely link to the most relevant document regardless of the page's keyword density and/or it's overoptimisation.

Ok, so how can one get round this?

By writing natural copy - taking care to remove the number of keyword phrases repeated in the page +
internal links and making good use of stemming in your content.

However if a page is relevant then wouldn't the keyword phrase be used more than any other phrase?

I would think so... though on the other hand if your content's keywords are too diluted across the page you'll likely not rank at all either... its all in the finesse of knowing whats about right.

Best way to figure this? Read your content aloud.

Does it sound repetitive?

My content to an extent does and certainly this applies across nearly all of the pages so I intend to make a lot of changes to the on page optimisation.

I will likely start by adjusting headings and titles to appear different to each other, check synonyms and apply suitable stemming techniques into the content. I will then monitor increases in ranking (though it's a relatively new site and potentially "sandboxed" so the results may be somewhat inaccurate for the time being.)

One of the keywords the site does show up for is:

website pitfalls

As I never optimised the page content for this keyword then this is a clue for me to look at that content and see what kind of flow/style of copywriting I used.

Having a brief look I can see that I have targeted the keyword phrase in the page title, description meta tag and header but NOT in the actual page content.

So I will adjust the copy on other pages on the same basis and see if that improves the site's ranking. I'll let you know how I get on.



Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Search Marketing Standard Magazine

Debating whether this new magazine Search Marketing Standard can stay the course in this industry. And will it just be full of adverts for SEO companies?

I'm not sure if its aimed at the amateur or the professional though at $10 for a subscription for 4 mags a year its not bad value...

Having heard its pretty thin at 36 pages I cannot see it's going to cost a lot more to have it shipped to the UK...

Check it out here:

Worth a punt for the price...



Monday, June 12, 2006

A USEFUL FREE Keyword Tool

Found a very useful keyword tool that I can add to my SEO arsenal.

Part of Aaron Wall's SEO Book website, check it out here:

Used in conjuntion with Wordtracker will likely give me an edge in keyword research to better help my clients.



Friday, June 09, 2006

MSN Adcenter - signup sucks

Reading about Microsoft Adcenter today I thought it would not harm to go sign up there for an account and see what is on offer.

So off I surf to and attempt to sign up.

And lo and behold a page appears informing me:

"Microsoft adCenter does not currently support the web browser you are using. Please sign in using Internet Explorer 6+. More about system requirements"

Now I can sometimes understand that some websites may fail to load correctly in Firefox - but at least they still display. What they do not do is inform me I have to use Internet Explorer to even see the content.

MSN - you're big enough to understand that over 10% of users choose Firefox as their preferred browser - and in the world of SEO and web design I would think that percentage probably doubles at least!

First impressions? Well being forced to use Microsoft's own product to sign up makes me very annoyed... i've never liked IE... have these guys never heard about browser support and accessibility?

This has left me quite pissed off on a hot Friday afternoon!



Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dayparting with Google Ads

Having heard that Google is about to roll out dayparting for Google Ads my first reaction was about bloody time!

Running and managing Google Adwords accounts for my clients, dayparting is something I have wanted Google to offer for over 18 months now. I am surprised it has taken them this long.

I am thinking they are likely to release this feature for the USA first and then progressively enable it in more countries as time goes on.

I cannot wait to start applying it to my accounts here and getting my clients greater value.



Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Size of the fight in your website - Part 2

I had some more thoughts about my previous statement about the size of the fight in your website...

The internet is a competitive place if you want your website to do well... you've got to be pro-active (maybe even aggressive? in a non violent manner of course!) to get people to visit your site and buy from you.

So are you doing the following to put up a good fight?

  • New content added to your site on a weekly or daily basis (yes, yes I can hear the bitching at the back)
  • An Online Pay Per Click campaign using the likes of Google Ads or Yahoo Search Marketing that is continually improved
  • Sifting through your webstats once a week and seeing where people went in your website and how they got to you in the first place
  • Looking for online alliances to generate high quality links with (both outbound and inbound)
  • Refining the optimisation of your website - making code or content changes where necessary
  • Researching new keywords
  • Ensuring your site is fully accessible to all using CSS
  • Comparing products or services offered online by your competitors to see if you can offer your visitors something better

Or is your website cowering in a corner hoping someone will come along, take pity on it and then send you traffic? 'Cause I can tell you that ain't never gonna happen.

So go on, get your gloves and get into that online boxing ring!



Tuesday, June 06, 2006

SEO Ranking Factors you can't miss out on!

Rand Fishkin's VERY informative post on search engine ranking factors. I read the original version a while ago but nice to see a newer version with certain SEO guru's worldwide (Ammon Johns, Dan Thies, Bill Slawski) able to comment on statements made with their own views.

SEO Ranking Factors

If you're unsure or inexperienced with search engine optimisation I really cannot give more advice than read and absorb the knowledge in this document.

However by reading this it will NOT make you an SEO guru - it will instead help you understand the processes involved in gaining good rankings with a major search engine such as Google.

So you can then practise and start to progress forward to being a champion and ethical SEO'er!



Monday, June 05, 2006

Size of the fight in the website

Had a thought over the weekend as having to come up with a "memory hook" for my business during presentations...

Suddenly struck me that old adage "Its not the size of the dog in a fight, its the size of the fight in the dog..." could be modded to suit my business.

So I've come up with

"Its not the size of the website in your marketing, its the size of the marketing in your website that counts"

Kinda has a ring to it don't you think?

Yes a bigger website (in terms of the number of overall pages) can help attract the search engines and increase your web ranking but will it turn visitors into $$$?

Lots of poorly written pages are not likely to convert into a successful sale.

With less pages your site can help visitors reach what they want quicker and more simply. Making this process of navigating your site easier together with execellent sales copy on the page has been proven to increase sales.

I know plenty of customers who have less than 10 pages for their websites and invest in online marketing on a regular basis to generate leads, enquiries and sales for their business and they are seeing some great returns.

So for your next website don't think about how much you have to invest in how big your website has to be but instead think about how online marketing (carried out carefully and correctly and at an affordable budget) could help your company generate even greater profits.



Friday, June 02, 2006

So little time!


A shorter post this afternoon as I am about to dive out the door and take the train into London - things are manic as I have just driven back from Bristol - a 3.5 hour drive.... going to be a weekend of working to catch up ready for next week.

How do other SEO'ers manage their time... one for me is that I am moving closer to my client sphere so that will cut down on travelling time (and make me greener and more environmentally friendly too!)

If anyone has any tips on increasing the number of hours in the day from 24 to 48 please let me know!



Thursday, June 01, 2006

How to get in Google

Got a new website?

Keen to get it listed?

Check this exclusive posting:

How to get in Google



Google Base - Forbidden Error 403 on sign in

As of 16:54 GMT I was unable to sign in to Google Base.

I've found this whilst researching keywords this afternoon. I moved to this page on Google initially:

Saw Google Base and followed the link. On attempting to log in I was presented with a blank page (not even Google branded) telling me

Error 403

I appreciate Google Base is in beta but would it not be better to provide a better page than this to the user? see screen shot below:

I appreciate it's beta but I'm left wondering why its set as a plain old Forbidden without any notice of when the page is due back up. Anyone know why Google would do this?



Google Sitemaps

I heard about Google Sitemaps quite a while ago. I registered my website for verification and then promptly forgot having quite a number of other projects to complete for clients.

So I got round today to generating an XML site map
- I "cheated" by using a thirdparty tool that installs itself as an extension into Dreamweaver. Quite useful and saved me typing out xml code myself.

Basically the sitemap.xml keeps Google informed to additions and changes to my website and allows their bots to fully crawl my site. I am hoping with regular additions (using keyword research to indentify niches) of pages to the allthingsweb site will get better rankings and increase traffic.

I shall be keeping an eye on any increases in traffic and will keep readers of this blog posted.