Archive for the ' News' Category

AdWords Phishing Scam: Beware (

I received a forwarded email from a client this morning, apparently from (the usual AdWords notification email address), telling us that “Your Google Adwords Account has stopped running this morning.”

Obviously my client was a little worried, but a quick scan of the email made it clear that this was a phishing scam, no doubt designed to extract your credit card/bank details as you “verify” your account. Two things gave it away:

1. Far from great grammar/spelling:

Some of the ads have stopped running today (Monday, 12 April 2010).

If you want to get your ad back up and running you need to optimize the campaign to improve the CTR. The link below has some helpful tips, but, in a nutshell, you need to look at your keywords and your ad text. Make sure your keywords are jighly relevant and then make sure that each keyword in the ad group makes sense in terms of the ad text associated with this ad group (usually this means you need to create more ad groups with a smaller number of keywords). Having a tight connection between keywords and ad text helps improve CTR, which should fix your problem.

2. Hover over the links to “Click here to get your ads back up” or “verify the status of your account” and you will see it directs you to – very similar to Google’s own AdWords address, bar the “-rs” of course. Indeed, try to visit the site (I don’t recommend that!) and you will see Google blocks it as a suspected phishing site.

Now whilst phishing email scams aren’t rare (how many emails have you had from banks that you’ve never had an account with!?), this is probably only the second or third time I’ve seen it for AdWords. I’ve seen eBay, PayPal and various other ones over the years. Remember to check those links before you click!

15% Off SMX Advanced London: May 17-18

SMX Advanced London May 17-18I’m pleased to announce a discount on attendance at SMX Advanced London on May 17 & 18 2010. Using the discount code IANLOCK010 when registering will get you a 15% discount on the price. Early bird rates are in operation until 28th Feb, so get in early!

The full programme hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m sure it will be packed with useful search marketing info and they have a strong “no sales pitches” policy.

Let me know if you’re going! :)

Web Developers Available and A Junior Web Vacancy

As you might expect, I have a lot of friends who work in the web industry, from programmers to graphic designers, SEO experts to pay per click wizards. In a strange and unconnected coincidence, I have three different friends all with a pretty high degree of experience looking for new opportunities in the web development arena.

So, if you’re looking for a web developer to join your team right now, drop me an email and I’ll put you in touch. Their experience in all cases is in excess of six years, many more for some and by and large they are all front-end developers with some scripting skills, so they can do graphic design, layout, HTML/CSS and implement some JavaScript, ASP, PHP etc. They have a fair bit of management and client liaison experience too, so these aren’t techies with no social skills.

I also heard from a client today looking for a junior web manager, someone who can do a bit of graphics manipulation, HTML, SEO, AdWords etc. Some of that can be provided as training, the key is that you understand the web and have some basic skills to start with. Again, if you know someone, drop me an email.

Thanks To All Online Marketing Conference 2009 Delegates

bl-logoThanks to all of you who attended the Online Marketing Conference 2009 on Thursday, organised by the Business Link eBusiness Programme. We had over 500 delegates attend and it was a pleasure to deliver my “What’s New in Search 2009″ presentation in the morning.

Special thanks to Diane and the team for their organisation and to those of you who took the time to speak to me during the day, your comments and compliments were much appreciated.

Those who want to relive the experience or who couldn’t attend, there is some online coverage, firstly on Twitter using the #ebizconf hashtag and also in these places:

eChampions Podcast (see video on right hand side)

Susi O’Neill’s Highlights (“uber-nerd of tech search”!? Blimey).

Red Creative Moves notes

Remember if you attended, you will be able to download the slides from me and from Susan’s afternoon Social Media Marketing presentation, via the eBusiness Programme website (username and password required).

Red Bubble Creative Gallery & Shop

redbubble-logoRedBubble is a website where you can browse images and writing created by users, then buy the artwork/writing in a number of formats, say t-shirts, calendars, cards or posters.

Why am I writing about this? Well, my fiancee (Helen Foster Design) has just put some of her cute characters up as t-shirts, which you can see here: Helen Foster Pid T-Shirts.

I really like this model, as it allows creative producers to get their work out to a large audience without a huge cost, hopefully demonstrating demand and leading to greater things. That’s certainly what we hope will be the case for Helen. :) Meanwhile, consumers get access to unique products away from the mass-market high-street me-too stuff most people have, which really appeals to someone like me. ;)

Please have a browse and leave some feedback and don’t be afraid to buy something if you like it! Helen will be adding greeting cards and other artwork later this week.

Online Marketing Conference in the East Midlands

bl-logoI’m pleased to announce the Online Marketing Conference 2009, organised by Business Link and being held on 3rd December at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham.

I will be speaking in the morning on all that’s new in the world of search engines, whilst Susan Hallam will be talking social media in the afternoon. This is all-new content that we’re both preparing for the day, so even if you’ve been on our courses before, you should attend! Not least as it’s free to small businesses in the East Midlands…

You can book online by clicking this link. :)

Keyword Examiner keyword research tool launched at last!

At long last, I’m pleased to announce the launch of my Keyword Examiner tool, which I’ve been trying to get finished for the best part of a year!

The software itself has been working since January, but I haven’t had the time to put the marketing and support elements together – until now. You can see for yourself at the new website here:

In a nutshell, the tool is a huge timesaver when conducting keyword research for organic SEO. It lets you search Google AdWords keyword data, just as you would with their external keyword tool, so that you can identify search phrases that people are actually using. It then runs up to three searches per keyword to see how competitive it’s likely to be if you optimised your page for that keyword, using exact match (“in quotes” searches), intitle (the exact phrase in the title tag) and allinanchor (the exact phrase in link text pointing to a page).

In this way, you can quickly tell whether a phrase is likely to be easy or difficult to optimise for, identifying the “low hanging fruit” as you go. To do this manually takes hours of cutting, pasting and searching, but Keyword Examiner automates the whole process once you’ve selected the keywords you’re interested in. You can even import WordTracker data if you want extra information (requires a WordTracker subscription).

I won’t explain further, you can read about it in detail on the website. If you think you can send some subscribers my way, there’s also a great affiliate programme that pays 40% lifetime commission.

I’d love to hear whether you like the product and from those who subscribe, what you get up to using it. :)

Link Building Seminar in the East Midlands

As I’m sure many of you know, I do a lot of presentations and workshops for the eBusiness Programme here in the East Midlands. Well, in November I’ll be delivering a short presentation on link building advice at a number of venues. The marketing bumpf goes like this:

Top Link Building Advice for Search Engine Optimisation

Breakfast Briefing

Without doubt, the hardest part of search engine optimisation is getting links to your site, but without them, appearing high in the list for competitive keywords is virtually impossible. Obtaining links is a time consuming, ongoing process, but it can’t be ignored if you want your SEO to succeed.

This session provides a wealth of tips on generating powerful links to your website, with the latest thinking on what works and time-saving methods to help you make the most of your link building activity. From Web 2.0 sites to social media and good old fashioned directories, you will learn where on the web the valuable links can be found.

Topics include:

  • Directories that still provide value
  • How to use user-generated content sites (Web 2.0) for valuable links
  • Using social media to generate links
  • Free tools you can use to find websites to get links from

08:30 Registration, breakfast and networking
09:00 Presentation Starts
10:00 Q & A
10:30 Networking and close

Who Should Attend?

This session will be useful to any business looking to improve their search engine optimisation and builds on the information in our Successful and Advanced Search Engine Optimisation workshops.

Event dates:

  • Lincolnshire 04 November 2009 Boston West Golf Club, Boston
  • Derbyshire 05 November 2009 Ringwood Hall, Chesterfield
  • Leicestershire 11 November 2009 National Space Centre, Leicester
  • Nottinghamshire 17 November 2009 The Village Hotel, Nottingham
  • Northamptonshire 24 November 2009 Freemasons Hall & Conference Centre, Northampton

Please note that places are limited and must be pre-booked. You can book online at the eBusiness Programme website here.

For more information or to register your place, please email or contact the eBusiness Programme team on 0845 603 8370.

East Midlands eBusiness Programme Cuts

I know many of you reading this are doing so because you have met me at an eBusiness Programme event. These events (workshops, breakfast briefings, conferences and of course the grants programme as well) are funded by EMDA, the East Midlands Development Agency.

For various reasons, not least central government clawing money back to cover the ever-increasing national debt, the programme has had its funding cut and as a result the last workshops will be this August, unless the powers that be can be persuaded otherwise. Fellow trainer Sue Hallam has created a simple petition to get as many businesses supporting the programme as possible, which you can add your name to here: eBusiness Programme Funding Petition.

Please do give this your support – I’ve heard comments along the lines of “best training I’ve ever had” and “best thing Business Link have done” so many times, it would be a crying shame to see this programme end prematurely, especially when it’s a resource unique to our region!

New Keyword Analysis tool coming soon!

I’ve been busy training a lot lately and also developing a new keyword analysis tool, which I’m very excited about. It’s nearly ready, I just need to get a few bugs ironed out and come up with a name!

The keyword tool will use both Google and Wordtracker data and perform competitive analysis on a number of factors, making life much easier for those of us trying to find the right target phrases without spending hours in front of the computer.