Thursday, September 28, 2006

Case Study 1: A typical (good) day in SEO consulting

I spend a lot of time with new and existing clients reviewing their websites, their performance online from the results on their traffic logs. I carry out this task on site, in front of the client, so they are able to see that online marketing and seo is not a smoke and mirrors process or some black art voodoo.

In fact to me SEO is common sense online marketing - give your website users what they want, give them a reason to return (or add you to their favourites list) and/or a reason to tell someone about your website.

I spent yesterday with a new client (and all my clients mentioned on this blog have given permission for me to blog about them and their websites) - Jim Caola of Gem Security Centre Ltd - and owner of

Jim was referred to me by Business Coach - Greg Haddock (aka The Profit Doctor) after Greg discovered that Jim wanted more from his website. So I owe a thank you to Greg for his referral of my business.

On arrival I meet with Jim and find he wants to increase the traffic generally to the site but more importantly he wishes to be on the first page on Google for Salto Security Products as his business is a major supplier of these in the UK building access control market.

I point out very quickly why his competitor is first for pretty much everything related to "Salto Security" and we then analyse that site for particular seo strengths and weaknesses. We also take the time to review the back links and anchor text for each competitor website he feels he has to compete with in the UK.

It sinks in on Jim during my SEO consultation that a major key to web optimization is:
  • carefully created ON TOPIC content with a suitable amount of inbound links - and that the more competitive the keyword phrase you wish to target the more work you're going to have to do!
Salto when used inside a 2 or 3 keyword phrase right now is not particularly competitive - in most cases there are less than 1000 websites are competing for each phrase. I do not intend to list them here for obvious reasons!

So Jim and I formulated a plan to increase his website's ranking over time to start gaining increases in ranking on search engines such as Google, not just for Salto door locks but also for other security products his company supplies to businesses across the UK.

I created a specific page on Salto products and also assisted in making changes to the content of the home page (not the design or the code). I also explained and demonstrated the basics of meta tags (title, keyword, description) - which is pretty much do NOT put anything in the tags if you have no intention of putting them in the content on the page otherwise its a pointless exercise.

I have to admit for anyone to start looking at optimizing their website my webmarketing and SEO consultations can be a steep learning curve. But when you see a client put the SEO two and two together and come up with the answer it is really a great feeling for them and for me.

I left the session with Jim's head working overtime on what he can do now to help his website, that SEO is common sense (but like anything does take practice) and that submitting to thousands of poor quality websites is a pointless waste of time.

I hope to report back in a few months time - even sooner if at all possible - that the website is hitting it's traffic targets!



Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cutting back on advertising when things are tough

Many people as soon as things get tough in business start looking to cut costs. The biggest mistake I feel they can make is to cut back on advertising... if your business MUST use any form of advertising online or offline then if you cut back then your potential sales will be cut back too - as you're not reaching your market.

I would recommend in the first place to contact your advertising suppliers and attempt to renegotiate a cut in costs for the same amount of advertising OR an increase in advertising for no extra cost. If your suppliers will not do this then you could then consider a slight cutback. Do not stop advertising completely.

If your business is not out there people will not find you. Those who do see your advertising regularly and then see it fade quickly from sight may think you've gone out of business.

Of course there are other ways of generating interest in your business - networking, cold calling, leafleting to name but a few and can work over and above advertising alone so all is not lost.

Another way is creating a website on what you know. Present your business as experts rather than having a 5 page generic website and more people will want do business with you - regardless of whatever industry you are in.

I believe if you cut right back on advertising then you're putting your business at more risk of lost opportunities and sales.



Using Radio to advertise your web services

I spent the last few days in Javea, about an hour south of Valencia, in a private villa which we "won" in a charity auction earlier this year. Very nice it was too.

Whilst driving around the town I heard a radio advert offering details of a web design company in Javea. This generated a conversation in the car with my wife's friend's husband who had used radio advertising to advertise his used cars sales & service in Wisbech - he mentioned it had been successful for his business but not as much as he had really wanted it to be. It may have been that the advertising they used was not in any way measurable - a simple code for an enquirer to quote to receive a 5% discount having only been heard on the radio ad would have likely helped with tracking.

Regardless the radio ad for web design services I heard was short, to the point, listed the benefits and features - one being they were English speaking and experienced in web design and the other they were sensibly priced - note they did not say their prices were low. It caught my attention - enough to wonder to look into the demographics of radio station listeners back here in the UK and check costs to see how reasonable a form of advertising. It may well suit the larger style of businesses but if I can find a niche station with listeners who may be in a position of buying responsibility in business - whether self employed or employed it may, just may, prove to be a profitable exercise...



Thursday, September 21, 2006

Vacationing away from SEO for a few days

Gonna have to love and leave you dear blog readers for just a few days...

... as I am off for a 4 day holiday in Valencia, Spain - looking forward to it as its my only summer break away from my business this year. Heard its like 34 degrees celsius over there... likely I am going to going to come back a red lobster... I'll post photos to prove it too! ;)

I'll be thinking of you whilst I am drinking my sangria, tucking into paella and sampling the delights of Spanish culture...

By the way I will be posting (surreptiously when the wife's not looking) to my other blog:

Its what it says on the tin... photos from my mobile phone immediately blogged. Gotta love the Sony Ericsson K800 camera phone!

See you all next week!



Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Isn't SEO just like washing the dishes...?

Whilst washing dishes and plates last night it occurred to me that this process could be considered similar to carrying out SEO.

I have to admit we have a dishwasher in our house, but seeing as its only the two of us here we rarely use it. I'm a modern man so I'm not unhappy to do chores around the house.

So at the sink last night whilst scrubbing away I was wondering if there was a way of explaining SEO to clients by describing washing plates and dishes. I'm not sure if its going to work so bear with me but here goes....

Take your dirty plates and remove one for initial inspection. Thats your website. Its dirty, messy and needs a spruce up.

Pre-rinse that plate to remove the loose remains so you can wash the plate in clean water. This is where you're initially stripping away what you want and don't want from your website. You're left with a few traces of what you do need to examine at the washing up stage.

Visually examine the remains on the plate (do NOT lick them!). You're researching keywords and your competitors websites here. You're looking for those small crumbs that have come through the pre-rinse which are going to be the give-aways to online success.

Using the tools at your disposal - brush, scrubbing pad, J - cloth - clean the plate and rinse. Here you're applying the warm soapy suds of SEO to your website. Ain't that a nice feeling? (Use your knowledge, experience and online tools to get the SEO job done.)

Place plate in drying rack (submit to search engines and link build).

Leave to dry. Leave your website alone for a while. It won't dry to a perfect finish if you keep playing with it!

Once thoroughly dry, remove plate from rack and carry out an inspection on your results. Is the plate as you wanted it, is it coming up to the clean standards you set yourself? Is your website doing the same (you'll have to review your web logs to find out).

Finally put in the cupboard, fully expecting the same washing process on this plate will take place shortly after repeat usage. SEO is similar as it too has to be done regularly If you clean your plate once, use it again and then never wash it your plate will fester, rot and decay just like your website will eventually do on search engines if not optimized regularly enough.

Right, now where's my rubber washing up gloves!?



Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How ethical an SEO are you?

I have had to turn an individual away recently as I felt his line of business was not entirely ethical. I am not sure of the legalities of selling branded replica products online but it made me slightly uncomfortable enough to decline their offer of sending them a quotation.

If it had been ethically ok then I think I would have still declined due to the amount of SEO work the company required - they needed it fully optimized in time for the Xmas rush. That's something I cannot do right now due to existing client demand.

If I had been starting out and needed the work or the $$$ would things have been different. Hard one to call.

Why is it though I feel sorry for them for not being able to help? Should I feel guilty?

On the positive side its nice to be able to turn business away, it seems to me to show some measureable unit of success.



Web resources for the environmentally conscientious home

No its not boring - this issue about global warming right now in our time is CRITICAL.

I read a long time ago that planet Earth can only sustain 3 Billion souls, right now there are 6 billion and our resources (water, oil, etc) are limited.

I really recommend this site to those of you who want to make a difference:

The Conscientious Home

It's a site on green issues with plenty of resources and articles that I think you should read.

As a glider pilot and instructor for years I was trained to read the weather conditions so as to prolong a soaring flight - my own record being about 7 hours aloft.

I have seen changes in the weather that mayb a lot of non gliding people may have missed - i.e. thermal soaring in East Anglia in November, December, January and February... I doubt this was the case 10 years ago... and I can confidently say it has to be a result of climate change

Anyways I think the site is worth a read and also one to keep an eye on. Intelligently written and in-depth - something to make you think before jumping in the car/truck/suv to get to work!



You know when Bloggings gone mainstream when...

BBC Radio 4 are currently airing a Radio 4 series: Meet the Bloggers

Its safe to say that if Radio 4 are putting out information to bloggers to a mainly older /intellectual audience then blogging is now fully in the mainstream.

I've missed the first 3 episodes (mostly because I am Radio 1 fan myself)

This weeks airing includes David Goldstein of (care this blog does use bad language).

Its a grass roots political blog based in Seattle. It made me chuckle anyway.

The other is a blog from a leading Law Professor Glenn Reynolds and his instapundit blog is one of the biggest political blogs in the country. Worth a look, I added it to my blogroll.

I'm just wondering when the mainstream media will start using blogs openly in their sources of information for breaking news?



Not making this blog political... BUT

Cre8asite forums is having a discussion on whether a bloggers politics should be kept out of his or her blogs.

Hard one to call really as politics is (to me) somewhat personal. Will it help me think more or less of a person if I read their politics?

Yes it would.

If they said they voted a certain way or believed in a certain political group which I disagree with and they "banged on about it" then that would influence my view and ultimately force me to assess: do I need to be reading their blog?

I'll keep my politics out of this blog THOUGH I will at times harp on about the environment and social issues if I feel there is a direct connection with the search marketing industry.

Politicians - 99% of them are the same creature... you know which one... ;)



Monday, September 18, 2006

Are you listed on Google as an Internet Marketing Expert yet?

I spotted this keyword phrase:

internet marketing expert

in my web logs today.

Quick bit of research and I spotted I was in 29th spot on Google. Admittedly on a UK only search but its a start.

Now I have to admit I never specifically targeted this keyword phrase due to the amount of high competition online for it - over 46 million results on Google worldwide. A UK only Google search is not so bad with only 1.65 million - now this is more like it.

However because of my current position I am going to set myself the task of increasing it's page ranking on Google over the next few months on a UK and then on a worldwide basis for the term "internet marketing expert".

I am pretty confident I can easily move it up to the next page in between positions between 10 and 20.

Getting it higher onto Page 1 results using ethical SEO is going to be the real challenge.

How am I going to achieve a higher listing on Google?

Part of my plan is to create a page that lists people in the search engine marketing industry who are held in high regard by their peers.

If I turn the page into a serious resource that allows my site users to find the major internet marketing experts in the SEO industry across the world and in the UK, then that is likely to generate more inbound links to the all things web site.

This can then only help its ranking in time and increase my website's position on Google - especially if the phrase is properly targeted.

The only one thing I have to watch is that the page does not turn into a spammy one. To get round this I need to think of different ways of using the phrase "internet marketing expert" without spamming the page content (and suffering the wrath of Google).

Here are a few suggestions:

"... internet expert. Marketing on the web is easy...."

"Using marketing experts on your internet website...."

"Looking for a UK Internet Marketing Expert?"

Other keywords I will need to carefully craft around these keywords:

search engine

Should not be too hard but I need to create in-depth content on the page and then make it HIGHLY relevant to the search engines using carefully placed links to the site.

This is just one of the main ways to success and I intend to measure my rankings on this phrase over the next few months - even if my ranking slips away... hopefully not but with a search engine such as Google there are no guarantees on what could happen!

So to start who wants to link to with the anchor text "Internet Marketing Expert"...

...any takers anyone?

Anyone want to be listed? Feel free to ask, my decision however will be final.



Ebookers positively respond

I received a phone call this morning from an Ebookers Sales Manager with regards to my recent post about the company and its somewhat lacking service from a representative over the phone.

An apology was issued over the phone by the Manager and a detailed explanation as to why I was not able to add an extra driver onto their online booking system or via telephone at the time of my previous call.

Ebookers Sales Manager kindly offered to fully refund my fee without a cancellation charge. However I need the car and its possibly too late to start making other alterations to my trip now. I wasn't after compensation or free car hire for my trouble, my blog was only to get the company's attention which it has done quickly and remarkably well.

This one call from their Sales Manager has helped restore my faith in Ebookers. They have taken the time to contact me to resolve the situation - which is highly professional and makes me feel looked after as a customer. That can only help encourage me to use their business again.

So fair play to Ebookers for taking the time to help. Much appreciated, Karen!



Yay! My blog's 100th post

I didn't think I would get this far but today I have reached my 100th post on this blog.

Here's to another 100!



Sunday, September 17, 2006

Yikes! The power of Keyword research


I regularly research keywords for clients so that they can stay one step ahead of the game.

I also gain new clients by offering a keyword research service that looks to generate a highly significant number of (on-topic) keyword phrases that can be leverage into their existing websites.

I normally find around 2000 keywords but for my last project carried out recently I "discovered" over 4000 keyword phrases (4279 to be precise) that could be used by my client - Attic Tea - where you can buy assorted Chinese Teas online.

A good result that with effort can help increase the content on the website and encourage visitors to use his website as a point of authority and resource for Chinese tea.

So next time you're sat down and can only think of 10 keywords - think instead about keyword research and how and where you can get even more specific keyword phrases that can help your business online. You know you could even contact me and I'll do the research for you (for a fee of course!)



Friday, September 15, 2006

Whats wrong with my tie???

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz has his legendary Yellow Puma's so why can't I have this tie as my personal "trademark"?

Went to a network meeting this morning and wore it. Many people were dead against it... I thought it brought a bit of "sun" into a gloomy, wet morning. Its old for sure but 100% silk and made in England!
Anyone care to comment? ;)



Thursday, September 14, 2006

Accessibility issues for those with dyslexia

Whenever we think of accessibility of a website I think many people assume those who are physically disabled or blind. I have to admit dyslexia is not one I have thought about.

I should do seeing as I have 3 friends who are dyslexic.

I found this website which covers accessibility on websites for those with dyslexia - compulsory reading I would think.



What the hell is splogging?

You've heard of blogging - now get ready for "splogging." Well not really. Not unless you're into spamming. I looked this up on Wikipedia and thought I would share it with you.

Splogging basically this consists of people setting up blogs with fake articles to promote other websites they wish to see an increase in PageRank. The articles usually are from another website by means of scraping.

"Spam IN Blogs" is not Splogging and is in fact where a person leaves spam comments in someone elses blog. This can happen in a short space of time once a spammer finds that you have left your comments open to non members, in blogger anyway.

So ends todays lesson. ;)



Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Giving EBookers bad press cause they SUCK!

Don't use Ebookers for Cheap Car Hire

I made the SERIOUS mistake of booking my car hire through for whilst I am out in Valencia next week.

You know if you are dealt with by a good company you'll maybe tell 10 other people? And you know when you feel you get poor uncaring service from another company you'll tell 100 others - well thats what I am doing to Ebooker via my blog right after getting off the phone to them.

At the time of booking their online system did not offer me the opportunity to add on a second named driver. No problem you would think for a modern online company to offer this.

So I phone Ebookers today to ask them to add on the details for the other driver in our party and let me know of the charge (if any).

First off it took over 10 minutes on hold listening to Ebooker's totally awful music/muzak and some irritant in my ear singing the praises of ebookers online.

Their phone menu system said I would get a faster response by reading their online FAQ's. BS! Once I have booked or bought ANYTHING then I want to be able to talk to the company direct.

I do NOT want to use their website to read their FAQ's - I only want to discuss my query with a customer service representative.

And talking of Customer Service Representatives:

  • The ones at Ebooker (on the phone anyway)sound like they're millions of miles away. You say something and there's like this really long pause whilst my voice is beamed halfway around the world. UK Offices? For one second I do not believe that.
  • Ebooker staff I spoke to are rude and talk over me when I am speaking. Heh! I AM THE CUSTOMER, when I am stating the facts YOU do not talk, you need to LISTEN. When I asked each of them to let me talk they continued to speak like robots. This must be some defence mechanism so that they can attempt to "control" the customer. In the end I had to resort to shouting down the phone demanding they shut up... one still tried to continue to speak!
  • Ebooker employees hide behind the company's "terms and conditions" when there is no valid answer to my question (which was I would like to add a driver to the car hire as at the time of booking I was not able to do this as Ebookers car hire booking system did not allow this - they basically blamed the car hire firms!)

Ebookers were:
  • Unable to add my named driver stating that had to be done at the airport - so wasting my precious vacation time - a 3 day trip
  • the first rep I spoke to was clueless and knew nothing
  • when I asked how to cancel as they could not get their act together I was told that I would have to pay a £35 cancellation fee subject to their standard terms and conditions

I will NOT book or use ebookers again. Shoddy service, rude arrogant staff and being kept on hold far too long... just NOT the way to do business in the 21st century. - you suck!

Heh, ya know I want this to be passed around - it might even get Ebookers to come back to me with an apology. Lets see if we can make this happen.



SEO can be affordable for small businesses

During research this afternoon Wordtracker gave me this result for the following:

"affordable business seo small" 20.952 134 81 857

A KEI of 20.952 with 81 searches a day competing. Now that's not too bad a result to target especially with ONLY 857 websites competing - though strange as I am unable to find that result in Googles search engine. More like 45,000,000...

Anyway you're not interested in that, you only want to know about affordable SEO small business and a positive know-how checklist for your online site!

Affordable SEO services for small businesses - a checklist

You can afford SEO for your small business website - its just finding that right Search Engine Specialist who has an extensive portfolio and proven results.

Researched your keywords? Thoroughly? Looked at your competitors websites (i.e the top performing ones in Google)?

Got a list of over 1000 keyword phrases and know EXACTLY what you're going to do with them???

All Things Web price for keyword research: £210-00 plus VAT (fixed price)

Optimized your code and content?

Is your content on target and relevant? Does your copy on your website work to generate an enquiry or sale? Is it persuasive or just plain old generically boring?

Navigation is offered in at least a text only mode so EVERYONE can navigate your site?

Google Analytics is activated? Google Maps have been notified? Your ODP description has been struck out from your website?

On page optimization has been carried out?

Targeting those long tail "niche" keywords?

Your small business website gives others the impression you are professional, well informed and expert in your field?

Analysed your competitors backlinks? Approached others for link building on a highly targeted basis?

Plenty of content ready to place on the website?

Plenty of content you think people will really WANT TO SEE on your website?

Understand how best to place your h1, h2, p and hr tags to help with conversions?

Utilising an effective title tag to hook visitors in from the search engines results pages?

You're certain that your content that is important and should be clear to EVERY visitor to your site is above "the fold"?

You have placed the telephone number on each and every page of your website?

You've set a blog up to communicate with your customers on a personal, informal yet authorative basis?

You haven't???

All Things Web optimization services for small businesses can help you today. With prices from £210 for just a 3 hour consultation I think SEO for your small business can be highly affordable.

Search Engine Optimization - its not a cost, its an investment and carried out correctly will help you see a return.

Picking the right person is half the story. Make it a quick half. Pick me.



Don't rave about China - they practice Censorship

There has been a few posts these past few days about China being the biggest internet market by 2007 or that China has more mobile phone users than the USA.

And you know what... I don't care about that and why?

Because what most people don't mention is that China still remains a hardline communist country that punishes (and rumour has it kills) certain people for their beliefs.

Hardly a democratic way of life is it?

This made the BBC News: China to increase restrictions on foreign news agencies.

So next time you post some "great" news on China, just think about the persecution and censorship that is practiced there by the government on its own people

Shame so many people say "we should be free and democratic blah blah" and yet willingly negotiate with a country ran by a communist elite for a few more $$$ in their pocket.



No Sales? Increase conversions not traffic

Everyone wants more sales to their website, tell me a business owner who doesn't?

The following article from web expert Sophie Wegat hits the nail directly on the head below by stating its about the number of conversions not the traffic to the site that's important.

"In the last week or two I’ve chatted to a number of website owners about the lack of sales on their website. In each instance their first thought was to get more traffic.

I explained to them that just throwing more traffic at the site would not necessarily increase the amount of sales, at least not significantly. If you’re already getting traffic and no sales I’d be looking at why your prospects aren’t buying. Some issues to consider:

* Your traffic isn’t targeted
* There’s problems with your website

Targeted Traffic

Is what you’re selling what you’re visitors are after? This is a good time to review your search engine optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) and other marketing initiatives to make sure you’re targeting the right people. Perhaps your visitors are expecting “genuine widgets” and you’re offering “generic widgets”.

Website Issues

Is your website compelling? Does it provide your users with a reason to buy from you? Is it easy to buy from you? Are your product/service descriptions informative?"

...continued, click here

You'll find loads of posts that help and some to get you thinking over on Sophie's blog - check it out today.



Monday, September 11, 2006

Firefox Shortcuts Sheet

Reading a post over on the Cre8site forum I noticed Ammon Johns mentioning Stumble Upon.

Seeing as I haven't really used it for a while I activated SU in my Firefox browser and the first website I went to was:

Firefox Shortcuts sheet in Large Printable Format

Great first time find I think I should share with you!



New website: Rhubarb and Custard Designer Childrenswear


I'm passing some link love to a client's new website that sells designer childrenswear in Bristol and across the UK.

Rhubarb and Custard are a designer retail outlet in Clifton in the city of Bristol. Renowned for babies wear, childrens wear and girls teen wear, R and C stock exclusive brands that are wonderfully affordable.

It is my clients first foray online and theres a big learning curve ahead for them. If done correctly theres no reason why the site should not be a huge bonus for them, in terms of branding and sales.



Photos from a mobile phone

More of a personal blog this one.

I like photography on an amateur basis. A lot of people say I should show it off a bit more - so what better than another blog... I won't be updating this daily, more on when I capture a great shot on my nice new Sony Ericsson K800 phone. Very impressive piece of kit that will allow me to blog directly from the phone. Cool huh?

Anyway here's the link to Photos from a mobile phone

For those savvy ones out there here's the Feedburner version

Enjoy and please feel free to comment on any photos you see there. I would love your input!



Thursday, September 07, 2006

Link Exchange Requests: Don't do them like this!

I found in my inbox a request for a link exchange this morning. I was pleased initially that someone valued my site enough to make the request.

The experience soon soured and here's why:

Dear webmaster,

Good start there, Shiva (the "person" who emailed me), a really great start. You've bothered to find out about my name as the owner of the website so that's really appreciated and warms me up to your link exchange proposal.

Ok, next line:

Please consider exchanging links with this financial site.


So you visited my website and found it concentrated on internet marketing (primarily on SEO) and thought it was on target and relevant enough that a link to your financial site would benefit my website's users if they saw it.

'Cause finance sites and internet marketing go together well (in a really warm kind of fuzzy way you know?)

There's more (below covers off the bases where I might not be interested in a credit card website.... but tries to work to arouse my curiosity with other sites)

I also have 2 other financial sites (1 PR5 and 1 PR3) and 1 internet marketing (PR3) site to exchange links with. Reply, and I will send you the urls.

If I reply I expect you will then include me on an active email list which you will use to quite happily spam me with more of your wonderful requests. I am also so looking forward to those urls you mention.

The excuse...

The reason for you getting this email is that either you are on my private contact list, you have sent a link exchange request to me or we are registered in the same link exchange site.

I'm HONOURED that I might be on your private contact list. I've sent you MULTIPLE link exchange requests all of which you have ignored which left me gutted for quite some time. And I am registered on EVERY link exchange site IN THE WORLD. I'm surprised you have not emailed me before seeing as we have that much in common!

The time limited call to action...?

This is a one time send out and will not be repeated.

Ok, ok I will act NOW. My agreement to a link exchange request is on its way even as I write this blog.

I am also not sharing my contact list with anyone, so don't worry.

I appreciate you won't be sharing your contact list. You know I get a really good feeling about you and therefore will not worry.

If you don't reply your email address will be deleted from my contact list.

That, Shiva is really nice to know.

If you like to receive links from one or more of the above mentioned sites, please reply to this email with your linking details.
I will then put up your link and send you my own linking details.
Looking forwards to hearing from you.

You know I am so desperate for traffic to my website I desperately need your links. I cannot wait to hear from you. I'm really looking forwards to it.

Ok. As you have guessed I'm being sarcastic. If you receive an email like this then think carefully about replying - especially if they want you to link back to them and the search engines consider them to be a bad neighbourhood. It could ruin all your online marketing efforts so do not accept reciprocal link requests from just anyone.

Finally Shiva, I did not look at your website and I do not want to exchange links with you (just in case you didn't get my sarcastic blogging above)



Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What goes around, comes around... only took 4 years

4 years ago I was confronted by a web designer who told me I was not welcome in this particular business group due to the fact they too offered website optimisation. This was in fact not really true and that day I spotted their website updated to include SEO as a service just so they had a "justifiable" case to keep me out of their group.

Their attitude really upset me at the time, anyhow I then moved on to better things.

Funny website now does not make any mention of SEO but at the time they were adamant they did it and did it well....

Roll round 4 years later and I meet a person who has had a website built by these designers and so called optimisation has supposedly been carried out on the pages.

The home page consists mostly of sliced up images, the site is using frames (Iframes) and no metadata is readily apparent.

The person I was speaking to have been charged a lot of money for a small business website and as I informed the person what was wrong with the site, why it would fail on the search engines and that no optimisation was readily apparent they became more and more upset.

I will say this... if you elect to con your customers and pretend you have done work you have not done it will come back on you. Not now. Not tomorrow but way, way into the future when you least expect it. So if you're not working ethically in the web world, step away. Find someone else to rip off as news travels even faster now in cyberspace than it did 4 years ago. And believe me it will catch up with you and bite ya back!

It might have taken 4 years BUT I will now take the opportunity to actively seek out these particular designers sites and demonstrate to their clients why their sites are not likely to be working in search engines. I expect to take a lot of business and I do not doubt I will fail.

Revenge is sweet and don't let anyone tell you its not 'cause I am going to have fun with this one.



All about Googlebot

If you want to do pro SEO you're going to need to know how Googlebot works and what it does. Compulsory reading for those of you who don't really know and direct from the horses mouth (Google).

All about Googlebot

Have to admit I have never seen Googlebot crawl one of my websites TOO much... wouldn't mind as it would be nice to be that popular. LOL!



Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Content Planning for Search Engine Optimisation

Bill Slawski's excellent blog SEO by the Sea always comes up trumps:

A highly detailed article on Content Planning and one you do not want to miss.



Steve Irwin - as an expert was he complacent?

I am really trying to avoid jumping on the bandwagon here with regards to the untimely fatal accident of Steve Irwin - the Australian Croc guy.

Steve seemed to know - from what I was watching on TV anyway - when to keep a distance to the dangerous creatures - sure the stuff with his baby within a few metres of a croc... a tad silly, but I think he had everything under control and I'm sure he'd have put himself completely in front of the croc if his kid had ended up in real danger...

His shows were entertaining and informative and he truly knew his stuff. Yet to be killed by a stingray (which as a species is accepted to be docile) is so unfortunate but I also have a nagging feeling that complacency may have crept in.

I've been there myself whilst instructing in gliding, you think something won't bite you in the a** as you've done the process a thousand times before and its generally accepted to be safe. But the one time you don't check and all hell is let loose and action is required to stop yourself from plunging back to Earth.

Anyway the point I am trying to make here is that if you are an expert in your own field NEVER get complacent or too comfortable in your comfort zone. Look for the risks, however minimal they may seem and weigh them up - if something does not feel right then drop whatever you're doing or work to minimise the risk.... I guess in the SEO world though it wouldn't really be fatal...

RIP Steve Irwin - you were and always will be the original Croc guy and a true entertainer.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Get your website high on Google

I really like this result:

"Get your site high on Google" as a keyword phrase right now is listed second underneath Googles OWN listing.

Not bad on a worldwide search with 65,000,000 million competing sites? is it generating traffic?

Ohhhhhhhhh yes!

Am I pleased? Sure am. Is my head going to fit through the door? Nah not for the next few hours.

Question is now do I tweak it or leave the page alone? I am tempted to play with it... just the way I am I suppose... but a nagging voice at the back of my head right now says "leave it alone for a while..."

C'mon gang, let me know what YOU would do in this instance!



Lets drown the "Splash Pages"

I really, really,REEEEALLY have NEVER liked splash pages... totally pointless and to me shows the client has no idea what the web really is best for.

I have had just got off the phone with a potential client who thinks that their animated home page with no HTML text and no way to bypass the animation is what users really want to see every single time they visit.

When I attempted to explain that his 20 second animation of 4 items moving across the page has been done a ZILLION times before and quite frankly only a 2 year old might be initially impressed (ok so maybe I was more diplomatic with the client) whats the point in keeping a user around waiting???

If all you want is a moving ad then film one and stick it on YouTube or local access TV if you're in the US (we don't have that in the UK on terrestial channels anyway).

Otherwise remember that you must give the user what they want: hi quality content that appeals by product, service, niche or price.

No-ones going to be blown away by an animated splash page (UNLESS its TRULY original and quite frankly in 5 years I've never seen one!)

So lets make a point that whenever we come across one we take 30 seconds to email the company WHY they should not use a Splash page. A little bit of education might help.

If I had my way I would stick web designers who still upsell the benefits of a splash page on a modern day equivalent of the ducking stool

My rant for today!



Saturday, September 02, 2006

Holy smoley! Budget SEO services for start ups!

Professional SEO is expensive. FACT.

Budget web optimization is near to impossible for many start up businesses to find.

Companies and search engine marketing specialists with extensive portfolios of successful online marketing for prestigious clients can command fees that to some are just way, way out of reach... $400 per hour I know for sure in the USA, even £600 per hour is a figure I have heard bandied around in London.... though that's just rumour and I have nothing substantial to back that up with.

For many start up businesses looking to promote their website online it can be difficult to get an established agency or specialist interested with only a budget of around £1000.

As one person who called me yesterday, he said he previously had phoned 2 London based web marketing agencies who laughed him off the phone when he mentioned this budget figure.

Oh yes, highly professional attitude. Why don't some of these agencies refer people with limited budgets to those who are happy to work with them?? They could even take a small fee for doing so....

Well, the agencies disinterest in his business is my and his gain as I have a popular web optimization service that is increasing traffic ten fold to every clients website* I have worked on so far.

*clients comments, not mine.

Most start up businesses are faced with 2 risky solutions when needing web optimization:

Go it alone and learn from their mistakes. This takes time, a lot of time if they do not know where to start and who or what to believe.


...they find a cheaper SEO outfit and hope they're not internet marketing cowboys (and believe me people they DO exist!)

By identifying this budget requirement in the SEO market I have come up with a solution that suits a potential start up client and wins All Things Web new business.

If the client is willing to do some of the legwork to help themselves then I can assist greatly.

If, however, the client is unwilling and for a very limited budget they want to be "number 1 in the search engines" and I need to do all the work then this allows me to disengage from their request to help.

So here is what I offer for budget web optimization services both here in the UK and US (I have one start up client on the US Eastern Sea Board - site is not yet ready but we're progressing, albeit slowly):

(In the UK) Website review onsite WITH the client. (In the US - carried out here in the UK and review is done by telephone and/or email support.)

During this meeting I will demonstrate how to research keywords by using tools such as Wordtracker and others effectively.

I demonstrate and teach the client how to structure web page content with correct, ethical and safe optimization (and as we all know this is a simple technique, but for some hard to master).

We discuss meta tags - which ones to use and which ones to disgard and also consider document type declarations.

We go over techniques in search optimisation that are considered "black hat" and which ones (if caught) go against Google's guidelines.

I show where to find information on search engine optimization that CAN be trusted.

I provide details on website forums that can give feedback on a clients efforts with their website so that they may enhance their pages in accessibility, design, written copy and usability.

I will provide a list of tools that are freely available on the web - things like back link analyzers and keyword density tools. I am quick to stress the importance that KW density is only to be used as a guide and it is not a holy law of SEO.

I show how to create and use blogs effectively, how to get the best from what is linkbait, how and why to create articles based on their products, services and business. We discuss how to market the website online in conjunction with offline marketing efforts.

I will discuss paid advertising using Google's Sponsored Links and calculate the best PPC bid rate to use against the clients expected sales figures and profit margins. I then implement a sponsored campaign on Google Ads if the client wishes to proceed with this.

I will recommend the best statistic packages available so that the client can begin to measure traffic to the site accurately. If the client has an existing site that already has traffic data I will review that to see if any results there can be leveraged further onto the site to send in more traffic - this is a technique that works well, believe me.

Finally the website will be reviewed on a "bottom line" basis. I will go over how to increase conversions and how to generate more enquiries from an online presence.

This is all provided for £560 plus VAT and travelling expenses. Yep, it's a lot less than the SEO agencies are charging and the value to small start up businesses, as it is proving, immense.