Thursday, November 30, 2006

Radio 1 reports BA gets 50,000 hits... WRONG!

Driving home tonight from 3 meetings with clients today - and 3 potential orders (which is always nice, though potential as early days yet but positive response)... anyway yeah driving home and listening to Radio 1's news report about the radiation on British Airways planes... the presenter announces that BA's website has had 50,000 hits today alone.... come on... if the media cannot get it right and use the wrong term HITS instead of VISITS or PAGE VIEWS what hope have my clients got when they hear the wrong term on national radio???

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Further to SEO gambling

I found this post written by Ammon Johns of FreshEgg over on Rand Fishkin's website:

Clients who are ignorant can not tell whether your service is remarkable or not. They simply can not tell whether you honestly offer anything better than the offers made in the emails they will receive from bottom-dollar offshore suppliers apparently offering all their SEO needs at a fraction of the price. But even ignorant clients will learn. Ignorance is not a lock-in.

I agree ignorance is not a lock in (to my clients) but I have found overloading clients with info can make things more difficult for them to comprehend.

Will ignorant clients learn if what I offer is better than as Ammon puts it "bottom dollar offshore suppliers... at a fraction of the price"?

I truly hope so! I haven't spent these past years to be out-competed by some so called SEO company thats carrying out optimisation and online marketing read quickly from a book or other peoples websites.

Read this post of mine:

Then read Ammon's here for more details:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A message to blog spammers

You know who you are Edwards....

Please do not post links on my blog - they are spam and I do not consent to your "MLM make a quick buck" link drop and comments/posts on my blog.

Do it again and I'll request Blogger to ban you.

If you want to comment then do it on topic. If you don't then I'll just delete spam comments within 4 hours so you're wasting your time anyway.

Link requests that just go nowhere...

I get many link requests and I ignore most of them as they are from sites I do not hold in high enough regard.

However I get the odd decent link request and upon investigation seems to be a good enough site for me to link to. The request usually asks to be placed on a page with at least a Google PageRank of 3 (my site's home page currently has a rank of 4 after 6 months)

So I respond positively advising my link details and that I would want to see a link to my site first (heh they asked for links in the first place you know?) without NO FOLLOW tags applied or crafty redirects and using the anchor text that I require (or a variance on that theme): internet marketing consultants

An exchange of emails usually follows where both parties then agree to place links. I advise that I do check for backlinks and mention that if the link is set as NOFOLLOW or removed down the line then I reserve the right to remove the link on my site back to theirs without notification.

It thankfully does not happen that often but I seem to have found a new link request behaviour and that appears to me is to do the following:

You get asked for a link from your site wanting it on a web page based on a certain topic with a certain level of PageRank

You're advised the web page they will place a link to your site also has PageRank and is also on-topic and on theme.

Then once a link to my site is on your website and more importantly a link from mine to yours, you quietly move my link on your site to a new page - usually a page with a very low Page Rank or worse none at all...

So it seems to me that its now about not deleting the link you originally offered but just giving it "less value" (in my case by seeing my link moved to a no PageRank Links page) whilst you get a high value link - placed on topic, with the required anchor text and inside my content back from my website.

I'll email the original link requester asking why was the link moved and I will get some nonsense about the website's publisher needed room on that page or it was felt my link on their site was better suited to the Links page... would I mind and that they hope I continue to keep their link on my own website in its original place.

I could just say at least I have an inbound link but its being "duped" that grates so I'll then quietly drop the link this end in a few days.

Both parties lose out in terms of link quality and its a waste of time for all.

For those that wish to link to me I am happy to take a look at your sites however please do not mess me around. My time is taken up more and more with clients so if I feel I am being messed around in some way I don't want to know....

Mr Play Fair really is out of his cot this morning....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gambling on Cheap Search Engine Optimization

It amazes me that so many businesses put their faith into the Internet and use internet marketing specialists/consultants like myself to help their websites get ranked highly, generate significantly increased traffic (organically or via PPC) and increase sales conversion rates online.

What astounds me is how little value some people put on our PROVEN expertise expecting dirt cheap search engine optimization rates whilst wanting 1st place position.

Quite clearly thats not entirely do'able.

Here's an example of what I am talking about:

A competitor SEO Company approaches my client and says we can only find you for one phrase on Google. They talk through some results they've "discovered" and sell you the concept of being found for more keywords at the amazingly low rate of £35 per month for 12 months offering 1st page position.

My client asks them how they intend to do that and my competitor advises they cannot fully give the details until they're signed up with them. Really???

So my client contacts me asking can I offer the same level of search engine optimization service for more keywords at the same price - only £35 per month for 12 months. I advise thats madness, stinks of a scam and he'd be better investing more for better search engine optimisation.

He explains the other company's offer and kindly tells me who they are... their name kind of rings a bell for using spam techniques in the past and I am sure they have had a name change. I'm not going to name and shame them here though so please do not ask.

I ask my client what terms this competitor is ranked for and he gives me a keyword phrase they have passed to him.

"Any more phrases they rank for?"

"No" he replies.

"So just the one. So they're saying you rank for just one phrase the same as them. Though I know thats not true from reviewing your stats last month. But they say they can get your company found for more keyword phrases in number one slot for just £35 per month?"


That's (in my book) total bullshit. I then proceeded to explain to my client that it cannot be done by All Things Web and I smelt a rat. I checked out the competitor site and lo and behold we get the offer of:

"Site Submission: Your site submitted to thousands of search engines from only £35 per month!"

So where's the research, the testing, the client review, the analysis of results and the re-application of SEO where required? There was none - just site submission to thousands of search engines - MAN I AM SO IMPRESSED! Thousands you say!!?? Amazing!

The only search engine I give a s*** about is Google - any other search engine in the Uk does not just cut the mustard (as well) for me, my clients or their site visitors. My client knows that too. In fact all of them do.

I still cannot believe people fall for these kind of companies who offer this lunacy SEO - especially the clients I've already helped get their sites found online AND educated them along the way.

If you value your business, if you value your website and if you value your web optimisation specialist with many years of business you won't go too far wrong.

If you don't and you want cheap shoddy so called SEO services then you're gambling not only with your money but also with your website. Get it wrong and you'll likely stand the chance of getting de-listed from Google and thats only going to cost you more money down the line....

The final choice is yours but too many firms take the cheaper step and then wonder why they got burned, ripped off and/or tied up by the cheap SEO company's contract.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

An SEO Blast from the past!

I optimised a website a long time ago for a client of mine who had set up a business in homestaging and property presentation to help people sell their homes.

The client Zoe Beaudro, is also a family friend and as with any small business start up funds were severely limited. Obviously, as anyone would, I wanted to help a friend as much as I could and helped the client set up Contribute and explained the benefits of link building and keeping the site up to date.

So far the client has carried out most of the maintenance and updates of the site (with the odd tweak behind the scenes carried out by me).

As so often happens with friends when things get busy, time or that lack of time prevented us from seeing each other as often as we would like and I had not tracked the site in a long time.

I received a call this evening from Zoe to say she was receiving enquiries for home styling expertise from the site and was really pleased with what was happening.

After a quick check I discovered Zoe's website was second worldwide for the keyword phrase "Property Presentation".

After a long chat catching up I then advised her how to go about the next stage, tweaking, the site, researching more keywords as Zoe now wishes to be found for "home styling expert"

I'm really pleased to see my initial optimisation efforts have been rewarded - not only by my own work but also by Zoe's commitment to her website and her business.

Those who try, succeed indeed!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Our first wedding anniversary!

It was mine and my wife's 1st wedding anniversary this past weekend so we planned to go away for a couple of days and do something VERY special.

We spent some of the weekend at The Manor Hotel, Castle Combe and I took the liberty of renting a BMW 2 seater sports car from Escape Prestige Hire for the weekend.

I've had some experience handling sports cars in the past but nothing at the level of a BMW Z4... 'twas great fun though the threat of mobile speed camera vans (I really detest you sad gits that sit there snapping motorists, you so need to get a life!) kept my speed way down the scale. The car was highly responsive, looked the business and got many admiring glances from other road users (which I don't tend to get in my Ford!)

The Manor hotel in Castle Combe was truly exquisite and was a true romantic setting for me and the wife. It was only a short distance away from our home, but Castle Combe is like stepping back in time... its so quiet at night... perfect location though outside it does make me think of Gotham Manor House from Batman... still a stunning building inside and out. And the food and service is second to none but you'll pay a somewhat hefty price - hint, but ITS WORTH IT!

I'll be posting more photos on my other blog:

Now its back to reality and the grindstone to save up and do it all again!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How many enquiries are you missing out on?

Its mine and my wife's wedding anniversary this weekend so I decided (in my infinite wisdom, my wife begs to differ) to rent a powerful sports car for the weekend and go away in style... nothing wrong with my car but I fancied a change and to live it up a little seeing as I have been working so hard for the past 8 months!

So I checked out a couple of prestige car rental firms online and made some calls. ALL had answerphones and out of the three I rang one has yet to ring back (now 4 days later), one rang back 2 days after my initial call and the other rang back within 10 minutes apologising for not answering soon enough as he was with a client.

Guess which one I rented a sports car from?

Poor and delayed responses to enquiries are not an indication of good service. How long does it take you to respond to an initial enquirer?

Right I'm off for a weekend of living it up... ;)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ms Dewey - you hot sexy thang

Definitely a gimmick but works for me!

The longer you leave her waiting on screen awaiting your response the more she sighs.

Have to admit the search phrases I entered degenerated into rude questions (in the interest of search engine science of course).

The best retort I got back was:

My question: How to please a man in bed?

Ms Deweys response: I can't talk about that right now as my hands are tied!!

She then spins round to show her wrists tied together with tight rope. Hilariously funny!

Cleverly thought out but in the end I want a faster search - or for her to remove items of her clothing... must get hot in that virtual studio!

PubCon Vegas? You missed Pubcon Blunsdon baby!

Couldn't get to Pubcon Vegas this year?

Too far to travel?

Too costly?

Saving the planet by NOT flying again this year?

Well never fear 'cause why not have your own PubCon Vegas in your own village, town or city?

Grab a mate (with at least some knowledge of the web), take them down the local hotel (if you have one, if not a pub will have to do), wait to be served and start drinking, amaze and wow your buddy with your vast knowledge of web marketing, drink some more.

Get on the "fruitie" (aka a Fruit Machine - a gambling machine) and try your luck. Promise to win again next time. Drink some more.

Talk more about SEO or SEM - depends how drunk you are by this stage. Drink some more.

Wander back to your room, polish off a few from the mini bar, ok its your spirit/liquor cabinet but you can pretend... drink some more.

Call it a close at 3am.

Head to bed. Wake at 7am for another thrilling day at PubCon Blunsdon - One Man Band SPECIAL with a mighty hangover... I bet its almost like the real thing!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Web opimisation - bad spelling just has to go!

Checking the allthingsweb site position in Google for keyword phrases that I am targeting I was appalled to see that I am 4th worldwide for "website opimisation".

Thing is its dragging traffic in BUT I hate bad spelling so its just got to go.

Yes it will reduce traffic coming in to the site but on the other hand I'll be ensuring my site is perfect for users. So it's a toss up between bad spelling or traffic. For now I'll sacrifice the traffic (I'm such an SEO martyr!)

... now which client could I grab a testimonial from with this mis - spelling included from them, so I can keep it on the page??? ;)

Monday, November 13, 2006

The UK Seo Community - is there one?

I post and read the Cre8asite forum on a regular basis and also subscribe to quite a few of the blogs that forum members have set up. You can sense the community and team spirit - but to me it seems stronger and more together in the USA - especially around the PubCon thats being held in Vegas...

Is it me or is there an active SEO community in this country... I've searched around but not yet found one.... which is a shame... maybe its an "underground" SEO community and you have to know someone to get in.

Apart from the legendary Ammon Johns @ Fresh Egg we in the UK don't seem to have characters such as Kim Krause Berg, Rand Fishkin, Bill Slawski, Mike Gray, Shoemoney, Danny Sullivan and the like as they do in the US.

Are we missing out here with our own uniquely skilled and original characters... is it about time some UK SEO'ers (myself included) stood up too?

Results on PS3 blog post

I did some research on Saturday after spotting the PS3 release in Japan and created a blog post around all the fuss the PS3 is creating PLUS a top ten list of where to pre-order a Playstation 3.

In retrospect it worked quite well, ok for me very well especially for a Saturday which is almost the quietest day on this blog in terms of visitors hitting it.

I found that "Pre-order PS3" was a hot keyword in demand so as a test thought that the post should revolve around that... as well as my opinion on all the fuss about its release in Japan (heh lets make this personal ya know?)

I received 45 visits in one Saturday afternoon and this blog was referred to by people in their emails (whoooo, yes I can hear you at the back!) but it proved to me that write the correct headline with a useful post (why I changed the post to a top ten) and you'll see that you can draw people to your blog.

Did it make much difference to my bank balance...? Nah not really but it did promote the All Things Web brand in Europe but mostly across the USA THOUGH I had my first visit from Iraq - which was kinda cool!

Got my imagination running riot of some elite soldier in a vicious firefight cooly checking out my blog on his laptop whilst taking potshots at insurgents!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Previous blog post on Sony Playstation 3

I posted about the PS3 in my last post as I'm a fan of the Playstation consoles (but not an anal retentive one).

Anyway with a few minutes of posting this blog started attracting comments (I think its a personal record for this blog!)... all were trying to linkdrop this blog and it shows the hype surrounding the PS3 and more importantly internet marketers interest in this latest product from Sony.

I'm going to look forward to seeing how many drop comments into this blog to get ranked for the Playstation 3. Let the linkdropping commence!

PS3 Top Ten websites to Preorder Playstation 3

PS3 fans... I noticed this article on the release of the Playstation 3 in Japan on the BBC News website.

Now I'm a fan of computer gaming either on the PC or Playstation 2 (what I currently have) but I'm not desperate enough to queue for hours just to be the first in the world to have a Playstation 3. However to make your life a little easier I've created a list of the top 10 websites where you can pre-order your PS3 and make life better for you.

When reserving a PS3 know that the pre-order task is difficult as some retailers advertise they are taking preorders but when you get to the site they say they have stopped. So here's my top ten list of the PS3 websites that could help you reserve your Playstation 3 (good luck!):

Are people's lives that sad that only having the latest Sony PS3 games console will increase the quality of their lives and give them a better existence...? Or are we becoming so dependent on the next fix in video gaming that we can no longer exercise patience or restraint?

The best bit from the news item (for me) was:

Shop attendants with microphones warned impatient customers that sales would end if there were any injuries.

Strange I've always found the Japanese (the ones I taught in gliders anyway) to be polite and courteous... I hope our somewhat poorer western world values aren't rubbing off on them...

I'm going to be buying a Playstation 3 when it comes to the UK but you'll find me at the back of a very long queue - like months down the road and then buying my Playstation 3 games console at a seriously reduced price....

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Get your site optimised from those without PageRank

It really leaves me in disbelief sometimes.... I belong to a community called ecademy and regularly use the site during my working day.

I found today a self proclaimed expert in SEO, liked their writing style and followed their post to their website. Now I don't go by PageRank as a holy grail but I'd expect a web optimization specialist to get at least something... and if the excuse is its cause its early days then I'd postpone saying how much of an expert I was until I had some PageRank at least.

Is it only the web industry where individuals can set up for next to nothing, read a few other peoples websites and then proclaim they are experts in their field?

If you're going to say you're an expert in SEO then at least back that statement up!

Really gets me going this one!


1 set of SEO results, 2 sets of responses

My website is doing remarkably well in Google for targeted keyword phrases yet when I tell 2 different sets of people I get 2 different kinds of responses.

The first response:

When showing them the results I am achieving online this type of person gets very excited. They are impressed to see the search engine optimization service that I offer I have also carried out for my own All Things Web site - a case of what's good for the goose is good for the gander then!

This type of person then wants to talk more in depth about what I can do for their business and price is not then (generally) as strong an issue as I have proved to them what can be done by All Things Web for itself and its clients.

The second response:

A somewhat muted response to the point that what I have achieved in getting listed for the keywords I was after (against 8 million other results) is actually "downplayed."

Usual comments are "well... it's to be expected really".

These types of people aren't really all that keen to share in my recent online success and to me its perhaps obvious why.... is it obvious to you? Comment below and let me know.....

If you're reading this let me now lead you to Peter de Vanzo's recent blog on "How to tell if someone is lying to you"

A good post to remember the next time for when you're negotiating with someone.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Linkbucks - is it just Popups 2.0?

Having seen Linkbucks in operation on another bloggers site I have to say I am not impressed being held up by Linkbucks redirect... is it me or does this stink of wasting a users precious time?

If I found a favourite website of mine started using this I'd drop the site and go find one that did not hold me up between Linkbuck pages....

Its hard enough to keep visitors on the site... putting Linkbucks on is only going to piss them off and go find somewhere else! And is it for losers? Well time will only tell... I think its going to attract a lot of spammers....

I really hope this does not become a standard part of the web....

SEo'ers do have senses of humour

A difficult day for me today cooped up in the office with a TONNE of things to do and only a limited number of hours in the day so thankfully 2 of my favourite bloggers posted humourous articles.

Anyway we SEO'ers do have a sense of humour and two I spotted today are on Kim Krause Berg's site and Graywolfs... both made me laugh and I've popped the links below for your entertainment!

(Bear in mind theres always some truth in jest!)

If your Home page could only talk by Kim Krause Berg

How Pubcon is like Star Wars by Graywolf

Great. They made me chuckle (and think too!)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Meeting the new owners of Woodlands Country Hotel

I met Peter Botes today at Woodlands Country Hotel (which can be found in a very peaceful and beautiful corner of Somerset, UK).

Its great to meet someone with vision who wants to offer the very best to their clientele. I left excited and knowing that the hotel is facing changes but extremely positive ones that will turn it into a flagship Somerset hotel.

I wish both Peter and Glenda luck though I am sure they will be highly successful in their endeavours. I look forward to hosting and optimising their hotel website on a continued basis.

Monday, November 06, 2006

PCNames domain name search tool

Have to admit I love this tool at PC Names

I've bought a few domain names and its great to be able to type them in, in real time and get an immediate instantaneous response back from the server... I've found and registered/bought a few domain names I'd not thought of before.

Only shame is it doesn't cover domains... shame I shall just have to register the .coms then!


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Its all too easy NOT to post a comment on the blog you visited

I was reading a blog this morning (Kim Krause Berg's) and read a couple of her posts and then carried on working.

Yes, its a Saturday and I am working - "pretending" to do admin like invoices and accounts... instead I am catching up with blogs or/and putting last minute touches to a site thats going to go live in the next few days... which quite frankly can wait....

Anyway it suddenly dawned on me that I'd read Kim's post and what she had written had made me want to react but because I was distracted elsewhere I carried on other doing other things.

See its all too easy to read a blog and NOT post (not that Kim doesn't get comments cause she does!) but if you come across a blog that looks like it has been cared for (and is not full of other peoples articles lifted from their blogs) but seems a bit barren on the comment side... go on, drop one in, a brief one to acknowledge the author even if you don't agree with their viewpoint... if they're putting the effort in and getting little in the way of other bloggers comments, one positive comment with feedback on their post WILL spur them on and continue to benefit the rest of their small but growing community of readers...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Testimonial Fun: All things Web is All things Wonderful

Many of my clients love what I do and verbally tell me so... increasing the internet traffic to their websites and keeping them posted on what they should be doing to get the most from their websites...

The hardest thing I find to do though is to get your clients to WRITE a glowing testimonial on headed paper. Once you got an SEO testimonial from them in writing ensure

a) you frame it

b) you scan it

c) you blog about it!

Here's one excerpt from a client's written testimonial I received today:

"Dear Darren

... it took a big leap of faith to utilise the marketing techniques of my arch enemy "cyberspace". However it does appear people "can hear you scream" in this big void. This has become very evident due to the amount of visits we now have to our website since you did your mystical webby witchcraft."

For my blog readers I'll pause here to say I don't do smoke and mirrors stuff but I love the term "mystical webby witchcraft" though don't you? I digress....

"Within a few weeks of your visit we can be found ranked 7th on Google for Corporate Drumming world wide.... ... it is without doubt that we secured our biggest job to date with [insert MAJOR GLOBAL brand name satellite TV channel] because of your work, support and expertise. You have converted me, I'm not so scared of marketing by the web and I am now extolling the virtues of cyber voodoo as much as I can.
In my eyes All Things Web is All Things Wonderful"

Its testimonials like this that make my day and all the effort I have put in just so worth it. Jason, many thanks for your testimonial, I was chuffed to bits to get it!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

In SEO checking is everything

Back in June/July (was it that long ago!??) I aimed for the All Things Web site to come up on the first page of Google UK (note I do not say number 1 position) for certain keyword phrases:

web marketing expert
internet marketing expert
web site optimisation expert
web optimisation expert
uk marketing expert

Just a few from my original list!

These were my original phrase targets and I hit the first page of Google far quicker and with far less links than I thought would be needed for most of them. Was I chuffed, you bet I was! :)

Over the last month I kept one eye on the SERP results and one eye on my stats. In terms of positioning Google was doing great, MSN ok and Yahoo didn't even want to know. Par for the course with Yahoo I suspect unless you pay them £299 and seeing as they own Overture for PPC I pretty much object to coughing up to them.

I noticed that though they were competitive keyword phrases (more than 5 million results in most cases) I was targetting, certain other comptitor websites ALWAYS stood out for these phrases above the "all things web" site.

Fair enough you might say, but it made me curious to start examining their title tags, descriptions and content. Yup I pulled out a few more phrases there too, popped them into keyword research and saw higher amounts of search for less competitive terms. What you might call a no brainer.

So with those details (which I noticed covered off all the seo marketing bases) I realised there was greater leverage in using these new keywords that would more likely pay off in terms of greater levels of enquiries than the ones I'd originally targeted.

Thats not to say the original keywords went to waste as they were great when showing prospective new clients that I can do for myself what I can do for others and got a fantastic response - apart from on ecademy (which might have been my own fault though I'm not so sure).

Anyway what are these new keywords you ask? Well not giving the whole game away, 2 are:

Search engine ranking specialist (I am not sure if it will bring in business but I like the term and want to be ranked on Google's first page for it regardless)

Internet Marketing Consultant (this is where I feel the enquiry "dollars" are and seeing as it is what I do first and foremost along with carrying out SEO for clients its an accurate term for me)

Again early days for targeting these new keywords but I've noticed Google took about 7 days to list my new and lovingly revamped home page Title tag so onward and upward...

I'll keep you posted as to my website's progress.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Is SEO dying out?

Mike Grehan on the Clickz Network states:
I've said many times that I sincerely believe the SEO only shop will become a rapidly diminishing corner of this industry sector. Clients want ROI from optimization efforts, not just rankings.
Debatable, perhaps SEO will rapidly diminish with the bigger companies who can compete with deeper financial pockets using PPC but I cannot see demand rapidly diminishing soon amongst the smaller players (not unless the search engines move to advertising only results instead of a mixture alongside organic).

More new clients (of which many are small to medium sized businesses though NOT Mom and Pop operations) come to me looking for web optimisation over and above PPC. They've all wanted higher rankings but for years they have all also wanted improved ROI.

When I talk with them about the benefits of PPC a lot have been put off by thinking it is too expensive for them to compete. A few of my clients have margins that are so tight that £500 a month invested in PPC is basically unaffordable and no matter what I show and demonstrate they prefer to have "free" organic listings over PPC advertising.

My clients also refer me to their contacts based on not only bringing them up for the keyword terms they wish to target but for the ROI that I bring to their business.

I am however quick to point out to them if I feel their keyword is unlikely to bring as much relevant (and therefore more receptive to buying) traffic than a keyword phrase that I have found which I think would offer a better ROI.

If the client refuses and wants to proceed with their nominated keyword phrase(s) then thats ok but I always give them the option. I usually aim to include my keyword phrase so that I can show them the comparisons later on when the SEO campaign is ongoing.
I've gone on record as saying I believe more SEOs should read more marketing books than Apache Server manuals.
Yep, true though I've gone for a 50/50 approach. Too many people offer SEO these days with no real basic understanding of marketing. My first marketing book was one from 1993 - amazing how much from what is an old(ish) book can still be applied now.

Try looking for used books on ebay to get you started... it will save you a few pennies and as you progress you can chart the marketing theory and techniques that have fallen in and out of favour.