Tuesday, July 31, 2007

..Facebook is DOWN!

Well it might as well be as they state they "upgrade" their website.

Sucks. C'mon I have a Facebook addiction here and its driving me nuts especially when I am on my own time now....

Why "FREE" works for you and not for me...

In the space of 5 years I have found that the SEO industry seems to be different to a lot of other businesses and industries that are out there.

I'll give you an example.

I was asked recently to visit a prospective new client to discuss an internet marketing strategy with them. It was not a fact find nor was it for me to find out about their actual business, it was a call for me to go and specifically help them put together a strategy for them to achieve higher levels of traffic on their website.

Now in my book that's called consultancy and is a chargable service.

In the clients view they wanted me to "spill the beans" on SEO/SEM on a potentially false promise of doing further work for them down the line. They did not seem to understand that my time, knowledge and skill has a value and rejected my request that I would charge (at a competitive rate) whilst on site with them. The prospective client called off the meeting, which suited me anyway due to the current workload I am under.

Now this is where I find it strange. I know people are curious and want to know about SEO but I do not go out handing out my knowledge on a free dinner plate to just about everybody. You might, but I do not as historically it does not lead to work and people think because its "free" something is being held back.

The Internet is there for those who want to know about SEO for free, not me. Google does a great job and even I have page on how to get listed in Google's SERPS - so do me a favour and go look there.

And yet I thought if I wanted someone to carry out a building job for me I wouldn't have them over on the pretext of "finding out more about them" only for me to then drop it on them and ask "how to carry out the building work" in great detail over the course of at least a few hours. I'd just ask for previous examples of previous work, experience in the field (in years), costs, timeframe, brief plan of what they think they need to do to check their competence etc... and this would be just the same if I went to see a heart surgeon - I'd ask them what would be done (and, er, survival rates!), not exactly how in detail they would do it. And in both cases I would not expect a detailed answer from either the builder or the surgeon, I'd just let them get on with the job.

Thankfully someone at the end of last week called from London and did get it that I am entitled to fairly charge for my web marketing services and consultation time. For the price they will get me on-site for the day taking them through their website, page by page, in detail on what is required and the tools for them to use to help achieve higher rankings specifically on Google.

So free web marketing may work for you but it definitely does not for me and I intend to keep it that way and actually bring added value to a website.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Major UK Flooding leads to link love....

John W, a reader of this blog sent me an updated photo of the flooding to his employers business:

In sympathy I've added a little link: Middletons Car Paint and Panels and then in horror recoiled at what I found.

Still John W certainly knows someone knowledged and experienced who can help (for a suitable fee). My phone's awaiting.... but I guess you might want to clear up after the flood first... ;)

A frightening and dismal prospect....

I do not normally comment on events in the world outside SEO but a blog reader sent this photo in as the road where his office is gradually flooded (along with a large portion of the UK). All I can say John I hope you have put your armbands on!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Something so simple you'll overlook it....

The "Add to Cart button" - probably not worth thinking about too much, you might think... but think again!

That button is your connection to between you, your user and the £££ (or $$$) rolling in. Get it wrong and your site's users will not touch it with a bargepole so it might be wise to take a look at a huge selection of Add to Cart buttons to help you get creative:


Thursday, July 12, 2007

The web is good for a lot of things not just selling!

I saw this morning and in all our haste and rush to make a buck (or two) online its nice to see a virtual community do this much for one of their forum members... great looking car too!

Friends restore Lotus in secret for online community member

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

50 Web Mistakes

If you don't know, you should!

50 Common Web Mistakes

Visitor Conversion rate = 100%

I get a real sense of achievement and pride when visitor conversion rates hit the 100% mark.

In testing it only seems to happen with "difficult to find" products but when I see a client's ecommerce store sell 5 of the same products to 5 website visitors using the same keyword phrase on the same day AND see this consistently on other products he stocks I like to think I have had a hand in this level of success by identifying demand for the product and advising my client to stock this item to sell online...

Either way the client is extremely happy he's making even more online sales and I'm thrilled I have another form of success to add to my portfolio.

Probably easier to achieve in B2C than B2B and the keyword is somewhat "long tail" but still another set of impressive results I can notch on my SEO Post!

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Blogging to a silent audience....

I occasionally hear back from clients and friends in the real world that they enjoy reading this blog.

Thats nice to hear as there have been days I've thought that no-ones listening and contemplated cutting this blog off.

So a BIG thank you to Paul of Wisbech Motor Centre - specialist in used and nearly new ford cars Cambridgeshire, John and Phil plus the others of you who I know read this blog who are still waiting to tell me how much you enjoy it!

Always feel free to leave comments on this blog... I'm always up for a bit of flaming.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Could this changes the way links are?

Found this on Fark, if they win its likely to have a huge impact across the web...


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Handbags at Dawn....

I've just received a phone call from a very pleased client of mine that I have been working with recently to help increase the ranking of his handbag related website.

My client advised me:

"Our website did well with Google PPC though struggled to be listed in the organic rankings on Google's pages which was highly infuriating.

I was referred to you by a graphic designer friend of mine who said you were the man to talk to about website optimisation. Without your help, knowledge and experience I would not now be found on the 1st page of Google for the keyword phrase "Suzy Smith handbags".

I cannot thank you enough for your efforts, they have made a real and hugely positive impact upon my online business. I will be sure to recommend you to others whose websites are not found on Google."

So if you don't think thats a testimonial worth its weight, then I suggest you meet me at dawn for a handbag showdown!

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Competing effectively in a highly competitive online enviroment

All Things Web recently built and deployed a website for Cartridge Wizard - a printer ink cartridge supplier in the UK.

TO give you some idea of the competitiveness of printer inkjet cartridges (including toner) the top few performing websites for the term "inkjet cartridge"

Valueshop has 4670 links according to Yahoo and its link operator

Inkjet-cartridges.co.uk has 154000 links according to Yahoo

Refreshcartridges.co.uk has (surprisingly!) 555 links to it

Google reports back that for "inkjet cartridge" there are only 3 million or so results in it SERPS. Competitive but not out of reach...

The approach to increasing the ranking/traffic for this website on Google together with online sales will be (at its most basic level) the following processes:

Linkbuilding using backlink analysis of online competitors

Online press releases (usually based around environmental ink issues and/or the high price of printer cartridges)

Increasing the number of inkjet and laser toner products on the website on a regular basis

Assess ranking of the website and check that traffic to the website increases as well as look to increase the number of conversions of visitors to sales

Assess online competitors and their websites and features/prices offered

Adjust product content ensuring it is optimised as possible

Use Google Site maps to ensure all pages are indexed

Seting up a blog and consistently blogging on inkjet cartridges - perhaps a niche would be better here - maybe printer reviews or technical specifications being discussed.

The downside to this process is that a) it's going to take time and b) it's an especially competitive market with literally hundreds of suppliers online. Still there is no reason that Cartridge Wizard - UK inkjet cartridge retailers online cannot compete given enough time, investment and money.

Your web designer MUST know something about SEO!

I have been overwhelmed recently with work which is great but some breathing space would be nice!

I intend to blog before 07:30am UK GMT from now on, in a timely disciplined manner, though this will not be on a daily basis as I attend breakfast meetings once or twice a week.

Ok where are we... ah yes, being overwhelmed with enquiries for work recently has lead me to realise there are a lot of web designers out there who do not seem to adhere to even the most basic of web design best practices.

I'm not that bothered if web designers continue to use tables in design layout though they really should be learning CSS layout for their own (future) benefit.

What really gets me are some of the following situations I have discovered:

A - now new - client rang in to advise that up until last year they had a website that did quite well on Google, enough for them to risk an improvement in the look and feel of the website. This was carried out in January 2007 and since then the site has crashed out of the search engines.

So I checked out the current site - full of dropdown menus and imagery on the home page with a pretty little flash animation taking up half the page "above the fold".

Pretty animation? Yes. Useless? Absolutely!

I checked out the old site on Wayback and immediately saw that even though the design was rather uninspired there was enough good HTML content and textbased links that the search engines had gotten their teeth into. The client admitted they could not understand why they had lost rankings and their "web designer" didn't understand either. Kind of left me stunned, I would expect a web designer to know even the very basics of SEO!

A second client also came to me saying she had paid a youngster to build her website for her and she was keen to get it on a search engine's results pages (SERPS).

Ok lets make this clear now for those of you reading, you do not put your business or marketing in the hands of a youngster so why give them your website to build? My clients answer was "down to price" - turns out the client is going to have to spend more for me to fix the web page problems. I had to explain I could not compete price wise with someone at school or college.

What I did offer the potential client was experience in SEO, knowledge of marketing and a PROVEN portfolio in generating success for website owners.

Checking out her site I again saw images being used in place of HTML TEXT... don't ask, I believed the site had been built this way to save the "designer" time.... or in my opinion showed a lack of experience and control over tables and cells in HTML. The content on the home page was not targeted and did not even feature a key phrase associated with her industry so this website would stand no chance of ranking.

So now I have to charge this lady's start up business far more to improve the HTML code as well as optimise the rest of the website content and links. You can imagine my new clients annoyance at having to invest more money and time in her website when she initially set out to save money.

So please if you are setting out on the path of becoming a web designer, at least go take a look at the basics of SEO if only to give your clients the best value possible.


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