Archive for the 'Search Engine Optimisation' Category

Discount SEO Workshop In Nottingham – 1st November

eBusiness ClubI’m pleased to say that the eBusiness Club have given me a special discount price of £150 +VAT for the Search Engine Optimisation: Getting Started workshop that I’m delivering this Thursday 1st November in Nottingham. This applies to non-Chamber members, saving you £50 on the normal price.

For full details of the event, click here.

If you would like to book a place, please email sharon@ebusinessclub.biz and say that you would like to claim the Ian Lockwood discount for Thursday’s workshop. Please note that the discount only applies to the SEO workshop on 1st November 2012.

The workshop is a great introduction to the world of search engine optimisation, with practical tips to improve your website’s SEO and completely up to date information about what works and what doesn’t for SEO in 2012. Whether you’re planning on doing your own SEO, or thinking about paying for SEO services, this workshop will ensure that you make the right choices in who does it and how it is done.

New eBusiness Club Events – What’s New In Search

eBusiness ClubI’m pleased to announce that the eBusiness Club has a new series of events lined up, starting with “What’s New In Search”, delivered by me! The first place that I’m delivering this new briefing is in Chesterfield at the b2Net Stadium on 4th May, followed by the Nottingham Belfry on 15th June and Derby Pride Park on 6th July.

I’ll be covering topics such as the ongoing Google Panda updates, the importance of social media in search results (particularly Google+), new features in search results such as Rich Snippets, Google’s recent attack on “unnatural links” and changes in the pay per click arena.

Places are only £25 +VAT, which includes breakfast and time for networking either side of the presentation. Note that the briefings have a new, earlier start time of 7:30am registration for an 8am start.

There is a small amount of funding for full-day workshops still available in Chesterfield, Derby City and Corby areas. Keep an eye on the full list of events at the eBusiness Club website, not least as there will be new events announced very soon, including “What’s New In Social Media” and an in-depth briefing on Google+. New full and half-day workshops for paying delegates (discounts for Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Chamber members) will follow hot on their heals! :)

DVLA Abuse of Domain Authority

I’ve just written a new post over at our company blog, Boom Online Marketing, about how the DVLA Registrations website has moved to a sub-domain of direct.gov.uk and is benefitting from its domain authority at the expense of competing companies.

If you haven’t already, I recommend subscribing to the Boom blog/newsletter as it’s kept far more up to date than my own blog here! :)

Goo.gl URL Shortener: Possible SEO Effects

Goo.gl URL ShortenerI read a good post on Search Engine Watch today about the possible effects of Google’s new URL shortener, http://goo.gl – similar in essence to Bit.ly and all those other URL shorteners people use to post links on Twitter, Facebook etc.

The article suggests that Google has very good reason to promote this service – it offers Google another way of measuring what people “like” on the web, even when they don’t have a website of their own from which to make links. That means that whilst traditionally, links from websites have counted as “votes”, not many web users actually had their own websites from which to link. Being able to track what users of social media sites are linking to adds a significant amount of web users to those empowered to “vote”.

Not only that, but because you’ll be logged in to your Google account, Google may well have some demographic data to associate with the link you’re making. And of course, Google can aggregate all the links being made through Goo.gl and get a picture of “what’s hot”, enabling it to inform its search results better when people are searching for related topics.

Of course, Google has a habit of changing its mind about services (goodbye Google Wave, pages being tracked in Google Reader etc.), but as the functionality is essentially the same as other URL shorteners, it might make sense to start using Goo.gl when making short links to your own pages for Tweets etc., just in case you do get that extra bit of SEO juice…

Selling Electronics Using Google Merchant Centre? New Guidelines

Google have just issued an email to Google Merchant Centre users (which powers Google Product Search), telling merchants who sell electronics that they need to start including at least two unique product identifiers from a choice of MPN, Brand and EAN.

The email reads as follows:

Starting in the first months of 2011, we are making some changes to how your products in the Electronics category may appear on the UK and German versions of Google Product Search. In order to provide as much information as possible to our users, we need your help in matching your products to our “product pages” where users are able to view useful data such as product specifications or reviews. If you are submitting products in the Electronics category, please start including at least two of the following three unique product identifiers: MPN, Brand, and EAN.

These attributes will not be required for your feed to process correctly, however, to avoid seeing a drop in traffic from Product Search, we urge you to start including these unique identifiers as soon as possible. You can find unique product identifier information on Product Search product pages, under the “technical specifications” section for Electronics items.

For more details, including what specific identifiers you should include for each category of item, please see our Help Center at http://www.google.com/support/merchants/bin/answer.py?hlrm=en&answer=160161

Clearly your product rankings are going to suffer if you don’t follow their suggestion, so if you don’t already put these identifiers into your Merchant Centre feed, now is the time to sort it out! :)

Applegate Directory 30% Discount

I spoke to a nice chap called Sam at the Applegate Directory today, who very kindly offered to give all my blog readers, Twitter followers and anyone else who cares to ask a 30% discount off their new Mercury Listing.

The Mercury Listing gets you this little lot:

  • List your business in the top section of an UNLIMITED number of product/service headings
  • Create as many new categories for your company as you require
  • Include a flash animated colour picture of your products or logo on your entry
  • Encourage buyers with an UNLIMITED number of words of information about your company
  • Include as many deep links and linked images to your website as you require
  • Email Link for any enquiries
  • Modify at any time during the year

Clearly this is pretty handy for SEO, and you can see how it’s being used by some companies here and here. I have found Applegate to be quite handy for several of my clients, although I’m not guaranteeing it is the right thing for everybody – depends very much if you have the kind of business suited to that directory (primarily business-to-business), although the SEO benefit of lots of keyword-rich deep links to your site from a PageRank 6 domain can’t be denied for any type of website.

The cost? Usually £595 +VAT, but with the 30% discount, £416.50 +VAT. Note that you can’t get this online – you will have to call Sam on 01271 852 000 and quote reference IanLockwoodSR2.

Please feel free to Tweet, email and generally spread this discount code to anyone you think would benefit, it isn’t dependent on knowing me personally! ;)

Bing Launches UK Local Listings, But Outsourced

Just a quick one – you can now get yourself listed on Bing Local Listings (Maps) via this website: www.bingforbusiness.com

In a somewhat odd step, considering they have their own Local Business Centre in the States, Bing has outsourced the provision of local listing data to a company called 118 Information. Clicking the “get started” link on www.bingforbusiness.com takes you to a special page on their site, where you must search for your business by phone number/post code and if it isn’t listed, you can add your details and get a call within the next working day. I strongly suspect this will involve an element of sales, not least as the website professes to provide data for all these:

One other thing I noticed is that for some reason, the submission form is very broken in my browser – no tabbing, use of cursor keys or even delete! Way to go on the accessibility front…

Driving Global Trade Through Internet Marketing

Metafocus Global Internet Marketing ForumI’m speaking at the Metafocus “Driving Global Trade Through Internet Marketing” forum on 27th May at the Novotel Nottingham, J25 of the M1. To quote the marketing:

This forum has been developed for decision makers in International & Export Companies to help them use the Internet to reach overseas markets, expand their business and drive profit.

The event starts at 8.30am and lasts until midday (slightly earlier actually, to allow time for networking). The cost is £55 inc. VAT and the itinerary is:

9.00 Andrew Schlich, AST Language Services – Successful Communication with your Overseas Customers
9.20 Anja Nelskamp, Metafocus – Why Languange and Culture Matters
9.35 Ian Lockwood, Internet Consultant – The Importance of Ongoing Online Promotion
10.05 Alan Clements, Metafocus – Why You Need a Global Internet Marketing Strategy
10.50 Panel Q&A – Joined by Thomas Schaal (International Trade Advisor for the UKTI)

As you can see, my slot isn’t strictly international-focused, but it is relevant to all online marketing. If you have any interest in marketing outside of the UK, I strongly recommend attending – Metafocus have developed a real reputation for specialist knowledge of international online marketing.

You can book online here.

Paid Content: Google Spam Hell Approaches

Long time no post here! It’s been (and still is) very hectic, but I read this post by Aaron Wall of SEO Book today and I thought it was a very sturdy, significant comment on how “content farms” are affecting search result quality and ultimately how SEO plays out for everyone. You can read Aaron’s view on paid content here.

Without repeating the article, it boils down to sites like eHow (now owned by Demand Media) creating low quality content very quickly, which because it is hosted on an authority domain, easily gets into search results for “long tail” phrases where there is less competition. The money comes from the contextual advertising wrapped around this cheap (often inaccurate) content. Advertising that is not unlikely to be AdSense. Owned by Google. Hmm.

This is now being taken to the next level with “backfill” content on other authority domains, such as USA Today cited in the article, who will get a share of the ad revenue by hosting pages of eHow content on their website. So, you could easily end up in a situation where such cheap content becomes the de-facto monetisation mechanism for authority media sites and hey presto, the quality of search results for many phrases and subjects becomes littered with frankly useless “information”.

This matters, not just because it affects the quality of your search results as a user, but because as a small business owner, you will be increasingly squeezed out of the place you can most easily compete in organic search – the long tail. Aaron makes the point that this paid content on authority domains is just as bad as paid links, as far as messing with Google’s algorithm goes. The issue, of course, is that unlike paid links, Google is likely to be making money itself from the content farms via AdSense, so it has a disincentive to do anything about it.

Ultimately, failure to take action could be the death knell for Google – if its search results become populated with poor quality pages, people will turn to other sources, most likely those which can combine algorithmic search with user rating, where human beings are essentially filtering out the rubbish through their comments and ratings. That’ll be social media then… You can see why Google is trying to leverage social media into its search experience, but at the moment it’s a long way from applying social aspects to search quality (indeed, it has so far only succeeded in annoying a lot of people by including irrelevant Twitter comments into search results).

It will be very interesting to see how Google responds and whether search result quality really starts to drop…

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! :)