Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Falling for the oldest (SEO) trick in the book

I can't believe I just fell for one of the oldest "tricks" of SEO tonight. I arrived in, after a very long drive in the cold rain and I popped in a search phrase, Search Engine Optimisation, and to my immediate surprise, this is what I got:

I'm normally used to seeing completely different results - the usual Irish sites (and my own, hopefully) who normally appear but this seemed like an international list of complete unrecognisables. I immediately went to check that I wasn't searching Google NCR (No Country Recognition) or USA or CO.ZA but I was at the right place. I'd searched for "Search Enigne Optimisation" by mistake, instead of "Search Engine Optimisation".

This has to be one of the most overlooked yet easiest to implement opportunities for Webmasters and its one of the oldest tricks. Don't expect your target search market will never make mistakes - in fact, plan for them. The number of sites in the index for "enigne" instead of "engine" is only 12,600 - but in the correctly spelled version, there are 38 million results - much easier to rank for!

People make this mistake with everyday words all the time - apartments (aparments), Christmas, accommodation (acommodaiton etc), travel destinations (Porto for example) - so make sure you have both bases covered, don't rely on Google to auto-correct.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Endeavour Programme in Tralee

I got an e-mail from John Dineen, CEO of Learnpipe.com - Ireland's (and the worlds) leading training course search engine, about the Endeavour Programme. From his own blog, I am copying this so you can read all about it

Back in September, I was listening to Matt Cooper's Last Word drive time radio show when I heard an interview with Jerry Kennelly (founder of Stockbyte) on the launch of a new entrepreneurship programme in Tralee, Co. Kerry called Endeavour.

The interview caught my attention - it seemed as if the Endeavour Team were trying to build something special - almost like an Irish Y Combinator / TechStars. The programme offers seed capital (CORD) combined with intensive mentorship - all designed to hatch new companies / take others to the next stage - very, very quickly.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wiseloads - Online Courier and Parcel Delivery

Thanks to top chap Ted Vickey, Golf Fitness Writer and commentator, I was introduced to Pauric Logue, the man behind Wiseloads.com, Ireland's new online courier website. Pauric is setting up some interesting new solutions for companies that need cost effective parcel delivery etc.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SEO Dublin

Given the amount of travelling I'm doing to Dublin and the time I'm spending there, I hope to announce a new SEO Dublin office address there shortly. I like Dublin and I used to live there but I'm settled in Limerick with our family here and in Kerry, so I'll have to continue splitting my time until then.

I've been offered a nice desk near St James' Gate and I'll update everything next week when I get a chance!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bootstrap funding for Irish Technology Companies

This slide show demonstrates a model for bootstrapping a Technology/HPSU company in Ireland - as long as you meet the necessary Enterprise Ireland requirements. A Blog-On from which says:

Outvesting was largely inspired by the IQ Prize and the conversation around two blog posts, by Pat Phelanand Joe Drumgoole. While lots of figures were bandied about throughout the discussions the sum of €5,000 kept coming up as a baseline figure that a bootstrapping startup could do something useful with. It’s also the amount of funding received by Level 1 awardees at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

SEO in Killarney | What does Google turn up on you?

I've spent the weekend in Kerry and we spent a night in Killarney. I love Killarney and would love to live there. I'm not sure how lively the SEO scene is there but I'd love to be able to work there and spend more time there.

While we were thinking about hotels, I noticed two interesting issues with one hotel site. When I got back to Limerick, I went to twitter to ask people if they ever check their own site, company name, brand name etc on Google. I didn't mean a Google Alert, which is obviously a good thing and was pleased to see that most people were actively using it.

What I meant was - in the first page of 10 results, how much of the returned results was about you and how much of it was good?

Google is a search engine. Most companies want top listings in Google. That's what SEO is about and that's the business I'm working in. So if you've spent months and months working on an SEO campagin, whats the point of having possibly negative or confusing results display below you?

Here's an example from the Brehon Hotel in Killarney:

There are two domains here. Its hard to guess which is the hotel and which isn't. Both sites will allow you to legitimately make a booking. One of them will cost the hotel more (the one they don't own) and the other may net you a better deal as you can talk directly to the hotel. You're possibly thinking that either way the hotel will make a sale, so whats the problem? Then why did the hotel bother setup a site then? Most hoteliers prefer to make the sale directly - its cheaper for them and they get to start a relationship in some cases.

Some research/opinion I've read from an Irish SEO who analysed click-throughs from another search engine (not Google) showed that on average 54% of clicks went on result number one - so why start your SEO programme by losing up to 46% of visitors by just not dominating your own search results?

The second thing I noticed is that even though they have a website - the Brehon don't list their telephone details, except on the contact us page, and not on every other page. I was using my iPhone and in North Kerry, the reception can be dire. As a result we ended up booking somewhere else.

Given that many people, especially those new to the web, now enter the domain name or part of a domain name into Google rather than try to remember and type in the address into the address bar, can you really afford to have confusion for your own site/brand/url in the returned results? Or do you just assume that people will work hard to find you?