Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Techspectations - SEO & Social Media - great day for IM Geeks

I was delighted to be at DCU yesterday to see the speakers and audience at the latest Techspectations event. Its the second one I've attended and I was very kindly asked to join the Q&A Panel at the end. It was by far one of the most interesting discussions I've seen with some great questions from some very engaging members of the audience.

We held a free Techspectations event today at Dublin City University in conjunction with the LINK Research Centre, North Dublin Chamber of Commerce and DCU Business School. The event was entitled "When Search and Social Collide" and Master of Proceedings as our very own Sean Donnelly (@Seanog1982).
You can read the rest of the post on Theo Lynn's Google+ page
It was a really enjoyable day with a lot of high level and technical knowledge being handed out. As I was invited to sit on the panel, I also got to meet some absolute legends from the world of SEO and Internet Marketing, which included SEO Nuts Alan K'Necht, Gillian Muessig, Anne Kennedy, Evan Fishkin, our "own" Krishna De and Rick Kelley from Facebook.

Who's Who
+Gillian Muessig (CEO, SEOMoz) @seomom
Anne Kennedy (Beyond Ink) @annekennedy
Evan Fishkin (Slingshot SEO) @efishkin
+Alan K'necht (Digital Always Media Inc) @knecht
+Krishna De (BizGrowth) @krishnade
Rick Kelley (Director of Sales- EMEA at Facebook)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dealing with Bad SEO and Spam SEO

The easy guide to dealing with bad seo
View more presentations from

Our latest SlideShare, which looks at how Bad SEO is perceived and how people ultimately deal with it. A good guide and set of checks to ensure that your SEO Consultant or Vendor is working for you and is using best practices.

Now in Video:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fascinating Survey - why do users abandon funnel carts

Econsultancy posted a blog post today, entitled Why do consumers abandon online purchases, and it's just brilliant. It really underscores what we've been saying for years - based purely on experience. While this was just a small sample, the data stacks up with the reason behind the growth of the internet and search marketing as a result:

  • Consumers want to buy the right product at the right price
  • Consumers want to buy it from the right place

Traditional marketing has always been built around a brand and search marketing (for example SEO) has always been built around generic. This has been difficult for Brand Marketing to understand. Brand marketing is, in it's worst form, quite often one dimensional. Often the message is "Yes you could buy this for less over there but we want you to spend more". That is - honestly - many people's perception of a company or a product. And that is a brand. Brand's don't want you calling it by the generic. They want you to remember the brand. So they engage in heavy advertising. They get music starts. Movie starts. "I love my [insert brand here]". Do they ever even use it?

Are you just paying more to have the same the thing sold to you at a higher price because you're aspirational?

Businesses are least likely to buy in this fashion but it was interesting to take the following away from the post

Amongst the chief signals to give people trust:
  • Trustmarks (think SSL, Membership, Testimonials): 48%
  • Contact Information: 46%
  • Someone they know had used it before: 40%
  • Looked Professional and well designed: 32%

Least important were:
  • Well known brands: 24%
  • Being fast: 23%

Most likely to stop you purchasing after adding a few products:
  • High delivery charges: 74%
  • Technical problems: 54%
  • High Prices: 49%
  • Needing to register: 24%
  • Other: 2%

So, when you're reviewing your website, make sure you're pricing, returns policy and delivery prices are in order. You could probably increase sales more by reducing shipping charges (and maybe demonstrating how low they are) more than by many other improvements combined!

Its amazing how many people will tell you with absolute confidence that x, z and y are critical. With full conviction yet based solely on their own personal belief or vested interests!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spam: Dirty. Sexy. Funny.

Can the Spam
The reminders of this are everywhere this week. Everywhere I look, its coming. I used to defend SEO vigorously on twitter and in blogs when people had reached levels of despair with the rising tide of spam. It's everywhere: Blog comments, blogs, twitter, cookie cutter sites, LinkedIn, paid links and e-mail. Actually e-mail isn't that bad - not as bad as it used to be. Well done to Microsoft and their crack anti-spam investigation team that recently stopped as much as 60% of spam e-mail.

Someone recently shared how they "dominate LinkedIn" recently. I'm not linking to it but essentially his job profile was literally the length of the screen - "Marketing advisor, Marketing assistant, Marketing..". You get the picture - it wasn't pretty.

The Dirty
Spam and blackhat SEO to me, was largely the preserve of American hard-hitting Blackhat marketeers and the enourmous sweatshop industry they've [help] create in India, China, Malaysia, the Philipines. People who probably never used the internet except to make money. Your internet experience is not their concern - you're just another over paid, over consumerised and lazy Westerner to sell rolex watches, holidays and insurance to. Its obvious, its bad, its annoying. And that's just the US side. But it's getting into Ireland. Bar the top tier SEO agencies (of which there is really only a handful) - probably 60% of people providing SEO as a paid-for service - outsource it. And it's always spammy. SEO as a product plan can only be spammy.

A young, vibrant and dynamic company recently approached us. Their existing SEO was handcrafted, slightly outsourced and very heavy. And it needed more. So we started looking at the guys at number one. The spam wasn't just obvious. It was an avalanche. I had to lie down. It was enourmous.

And it was Irish led. Entire fake, cookie cutter sites which 'spun' content were created - a single bad, copy+paste blog post was refiled again and again and again, giving them NASA terminology numbers in backlinks. I was distraught.

One person called me a spammer. Once. It was 3 years ago. I'm still shocked. I hate spam in all its various incarnations. As do you probably.

The Sexy
There's nothing sexy about spam kids, but its used a lot on twitter - 0 followers, lots of tweets and a really sexy avatar. You know the drill. Well, it's not enough. I think we need to be more on guard. Those dodgy looking websites and blogs aren't just a mere inconvenience - they're harming real businesses. They push real businesses, ideas, brands and genuine content out of the way. So if you're on twitter and someone spams you - Report it - close it down - let twitter work out their IP Addressess and lets help can the spam.

The Funny
Some spam is just ridiculously funny. Self certifying SEO experts are spammers - how do you certify yourself? I think its funny anyway. Especially when its obvious to all and sundry that you clearly couldn't rank in Google if you tried. Just because you've read a few books or blogs about meta data, bookmarking, blog commenting, links (see where the spam comes from) - doesn't make you an SEO expert. Nothing does. You're not a guru. You haven't created anything. You aren't an oracle. Selling yourself as one = snake oil.

Want to show that you rank - then do. Rank for your area or region. People will respect that. Get referred to people for doing a good job. Classing yourself as an expert is your opinion on your own set of credentials. It's empty, meaningless and if you don't know that then how do you know what it is you don't know?

Except when you see the costs that they add to businesses who to have spend more to get them out of the way. So, if you're in Google and see a spammy website, log in and report it. Website copying content? Using too many keywords (stuffing) ? Deceptive pages (e.g. "rolex in Dublin" but then showing something else?) Report it to Google. Help us all make it a better place.

You can report spam found in Google in the Google Spam Report

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Google results and Social Media

Google Gets Social
Working in a series of posts about Google and it's integration with Social Media (see the Google +1 Button and the LinkedIn Recommend Button) , I'm seeing more and more twitter shares in Google results featuring twitter, blogger, flickr and others. I also noticed tonight that Google sometimes links people via (a Yahoo! service and Social Media profile aggregator) that was shut down on the 24th May this year - bit of a disappointment as I quite liked it!

Showing up

Here's a search for "Gaggia" that shows what I mean. It shows who in my network shared this link via twitter - I find it quite useful actually. Note that you need to be signed into Google (aka Personalised Search) - otherwise it doesn't work. More importantly, you don't need to be signed into twitter - Google tracks this from your public profile and also from other networking sites.

Staying in control
If you didn't know this, you can control what accounts Google associates you with through a special "My Accounts" control panel. You can link your LinkedIn, twitter, Quora, Plaxo, Yelp, Microsoft, Yahoo and other accounts. If you want to.

Sharing yourself
Most sites I've looked, the "Shared by" tends to be an employee/owner or representative - possibly the first person to share.

Notes: You need to be signed in to use personalised search fully and also to use or see the Google +1 recommend button. You may also still be signed in after you've signed out of Google. Depending on your level on cynicism, Google is trying to either continue helping you or track you - you decide!

Here's the Google Video on it

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blogger launches new Mobile Template

Blogger are catching up fast and their new Mobile Template is pretty slick. It uses your Blogger Blog's existing Template and modifies it for mobile screens. This is literally one-click formatting-and-publishing. It looks really well on my iPhone and it will be interesting to see the mobile usage on it change over the next few months - if any! Here's what the blog looks like using the Blogger Mobile Template Preview:

It's getting hardrer to move to WordPress (although I'm dual-blogging - here and on our SEO Glossary) Actually, we always use WordPress, I'm just stuck on Blogger - especially as the features are growing so quickly and its so easy to maintain and edit.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

SEO Clare

Blog post to see how far this will go up for SEO Clare and how long it will take.

Lots of love to my boyz Keith, Raul and Paul

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bringing Virtual to Reality - Ireland Day and Techspectations

On Tuesday, I'll be attending Techspectations for the DCU and PocketNative #IRLDay Initiative at DCU, designed to Get #Ireland Trending, thanks to Theo Lynn on twitter.

So, to make it a bit more fun, I'm asking our virtual and global audience to log in to the SecondLife sim of Dublin,, and if possible, DCU will screen it live, with extra insights from @daynuv.

No naughty gestures no, you hear? :)

Ireland hashtag search:!/search/Ireland

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Can you Tweet your Value Proposition?

I was recently invited to Guest Post for Future Curve, a Value Proposition consultancy, about Social Media and Value Propositions. My post, entitled "Can you tweet your Value Proposition" was posted here :

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Digital Advertising Ireland

Just a quick blog post to start talking about our next venture into Digital Advertising Ireland. We're currently expanding and working with a world-class crew to take Primary Position to the next level in Digital and Online Media.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Google +1 Button - long overdue

Google announced the Google + 1 Button on their blog, today, which I think will likely have a positive impact on SEO.

Users of the first Google Toolbar will possibly remember the like and dislike voting buttons on it. They were available beside the PageRank Meter but you had to enable them manually. (I don't have a screenshot). I used to like them but they were quickly disabled as they were too open to abuse. But Google has returned, Facebook-esque, with the Google +1 Button. I think this is brilliant and much overdue.

A lot will be made of it being a Facebook copy-cat but that's overrated. Much of Facebook isn't original and Google has tried this in the past. It's also not social networking - Google is an aggregator of data and their star rating system, like/dislike voting buttons and PageRank systems are relative dinosaurs compared to Facebook and the like button.

Here's why I think its so important and where it will have some positive effects for SEO.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Users liking sites brings back appreciation for design, UI and UX. If design is really bad and the User Experience is awful, this will could have a negative effect on a website. Of course, design is impossible for search engines to take into account and its pretty hard for humans given its subjective nature.

This to me is great news for people who value strong design and user experiences and is a big shot in the arm for web designers. But it's how the design affects you, not how you feel about the design (note for site owners) - and so "graphics-free" sites like Craigslist will probably garner many likes.

Up until now, design and UIX was taken into account by indirectly valuing the CTR and link back stats that Google collects.

Can the spam
A massive benefit could be reduced spam counts. Rubbish and empty blogs, posts, press releases, content farms and other spam mass generated by ruthless and shameful blackhat-SEO companies and their careless clients should be hit again by giving a direct vote to users

Bringing Balance to the Force
By giving users a vote on pages - it essentially starts to move to balance out the guesswork by the algorithm. For example, if users keep picking the first few sites that rank but they get less likes than other sites - it makes sense for Google to shake up the mix a bit.

Its unlikely that this will be a heavy weight factor at the start. Because internet representation is still anonymous (and Privacy Campaigners keen to see it that way), the system is open to some abuse, so some form of balance of power to limit it.

Ennis Open Coffee gets started

Ennis Open Coffee is now on thanks to @enewmedia.

It’s an open forum, where you might feel obliged to buy a coffee, but otherwise you are free to drop in between the hours of 11AM-1PM each 1st Friday @ The TempleGate Hotel, Ennis, County Clare.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Internet : Going Global and other myths

It's 2011. We're embracing the 3rd decade of public internet access. Since 1991, home use of the internet has been mushrooming. Google has been at the forefront of the use of the internet. If you want to find something on the internet, you use Google. Ok, maybe you use Bing or Yahoo, but same thing really.

Why? Search engines have the whole internet read and indexed, stored and filed, cross referenced. Google has been going since 1994 and in 2001/2 became the biggest search engine in the world (by use and by documents indexed - the then used benchmark). You can read more about the history of Google on my slideshare.

With all of these documents, Google has to look at different ways to present information. It's slowing moving towards the concept/idea of a Symantic Web but allowing cross-referencing. Google is learning to return results on the way you use results. It's using Places (Geo-Targeting) and Organic Ranking. It displays results by Blogs, Discussions, Real-time (twitter), Video (including Youtube) and Images. It uses User Ratings and reviews, average prices and other data (Google Snippets).

It's a vastly different animal from 10 years ago. So why do pre-Google myths still surround us? Some of them are made up and some of them are just scary. Many of them are issued like edicts by self-professed experts. But they're all debunkable - Google goes to comprehensive lengths to distribute accurate information but we've too many soap-box experts willing to shout out rather than sit back and listen.

This is a quick list of my favourite, pet-peeve Internet Myths. I hear them daily. I read about them on Fora (plural for Forums), blogs and in advice given to clients. Sit back - some of them seem like complete fact - but these are all bona fida Internet Urban Legends. If you hear any SEO Guru espousing the virtues of these - run, run away fast!

1. Keywords and Keywords density: Why do 1990's SEO "tips" still survive into 2011? Because its easy to understand. It's based, loosely, on a library-style indexing system. Really - Google is going to rank you for "Hotels Dublin" because you have it 101 times on your home page and you competitor fell short at 100? Forget it - Myth Busted: Google doesn't respect a Keywords Meta-tag!

Snake oil Hint: Keywords are just text.

2. You get penalised for duplicate content: I've been lectured on this at length. I keep 4 domains with exact, duplicate content that are all at least 5 years old and none of them are penalised. I don't need to - Google has a video on it. Duplicate content, that you own, is not necessarily penalised. Cloned, syndicated, plaguarised and scraped content being different. Rolled up content is not penalised content. This is actually quite a complex area but I'll keep it simple - its how I can tell the cowboys from the real researchers!

Snake Oil Hint: Be careful but be weary when someone pontificates on this one!

3. .COM is global: This is the worst and most damaging myth of all. A .COM, for most parts is a TLD but it's not necessarily Global. If you're a search user in Ireland or France, you'll get search results based on your location. A .COM hosted in France with largely French Traffic will most likely be seen as a French site - interchangeable thus with a .FR - the ccTLD for France.

Why is this myth the worst? We speak to companies and web designers every day who think selecting will make them ubiquitously available. The issue is Geo Targeting. Google uses your Location (e.g. Ireland) to show websites that match your search and location best.

Here's an example:

This a search for "Pensions" from Google IE and Google UK. So whats so different? In both cases, the search is "Pages from the Web", not just pages from Ireland or the UK. In both cases the results are perfectly tailored to my Geo-Location. In fact, because I have a Dublin IP address, Google is showing me a map of Dublin and showing listings and cross referencing them with their listed places. In the UK search, my Dublin address doesn't match a UK Region, and therefore no map is shown.

So what does this mean? Well, in the UK results, most of the UK sites (AdWords aside) are targeting the UK. In Google Webmasters, you can only associate 1 country with a domain. In the case of a ccTLD - you are stuck with the countries that keyword is associated with (for example .IE is for Ireland only and .CO.UK for the UK only). Any of the TLD's (COM, NET, ORG, INFO, BIZ,....) can be set to target any country.

Even if you don't set it, in the case of most new TLD's , Google will auto-select your Geo-Location for you based on hints provided by where you're hosted, words used in your content, address hints, where you get links from, searches you're associated with.

In some cases (but rarely) - Google will select 2 locations - this is common for companies with both Irish and UK companies. But's it very hard to create.

Why does this myth persist? Well, big sites like often outrank local sites - but that's because of their enormous authority. When you select "Pages from [my country]" they often disappear.

So whats the big deal? Well, many web designers are still building websites that can only run on one domain. Quite often it's a .IE or if their client wants to be international, on a .COM - even though the site will probably still only be seen as a .IE (and there's little they can do about it). When queried, most retort that Google "Punishes" duplicate content or that international domains are hard to purchase. And this is holding us back. As long as we continue to believe, perpetuate and listen to myths, we'll only struggle to use the Internet as a successful exporting vehicle.

Hint: German and English content published on two domains does not qualify as "Duplicate Content"

It doesn't matter what the myth or excuse is - there's no reason for them to exist anymore, and web designers will have to rise to the challenge of developing localised sites - that's how people work and that's how Google works. Time to work with it, not against it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our new project for 2011

The Project
Our new project for 2011 is to take and analyse traffic source data from a number of websites with a combined pool of at least 100k - 1million visitors. This should be relatively easy as we manage sites with that level of traffic monthly.

The hashtag on twitter is #IrishTrafficSurvey.

We're doing this as a part "collaboration" with our sister WebCare (which builds and maintains Websites and Media for e-Commerce Clients). We'd also like to expand this to other online marketing companies to build a base from which we can measure the state and climate of the Irish Internet.

We're currently looking at traffic from websites in our Analytics accounts. This data will be compiled in proportion to each site (to give highs and lows) but will be kept anonymous. The data will be normalised and compiled and then made available to the public, but first we'll be sharing it with a select group of other online marketing observers.

If you'd like to be involved, please use the tag or contact us to add you to the list.

Here is how we will look at the data and how the data will be made available:

Data Criteria:

  • Source
    • We're using Google Analytics only
    • We're using Absolute Visits, not Unique
    • We may include Page Views
  • We're selecting all traffic from Irish Websites targeting the Irish market. Websites and domains targeting other Geo-locations are not included
  • We'd like to sort that information by Irish Traffic within it - but that isn't going to be as easy as it looks as it sounds
  • Data will be taken from Analytics
  • All websites will be selling online and taking payment online. Those that are close-to-online sales may be included but recorded separately for further analysis
  • All sites are Business to consumer
Data Segments
  • Search Engines (By Google and Other)
    • Google Organic
    • Google CPC
    • Other
  • E-Mail Marketing
    • Where Possible
    • Some Newsletter
  • Top Social Networking sites
    • We've identified these as common referrers
      • twitter
      • Facebook
      • Stumbleupon
      • Other Irish Forums
    • We'll also try to track the effort involved
    All of this is our "planned" Data List - we look forward to any comments, ideas and suggestions you may have!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Google gets fed up of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael; Invents new party

    Google has clearly gotten into the Irish 2011 General Election with a huge amount of enthusiasm. Spurred on by a high search volumes in all of the political parties, Google is seeking to make it a bit easier with the new "Fianna Gael" party - which stands a pretty good chance of winning...

    Google has a habit of grouping keywords together and often assembling new keyphrases based on words from different seaches. Each time you search - Google is "learning" - using pattern recognition. A major part of Google's drive is to essentially help you find things faster. So, it's take to optimising the whole search process - from the start of the search idea right through to delivery:

    Here's how it does it:

    • Rapid search - searching billions of documents in split seconds using caches and compiled indices
    • Search Phrase suggestion (as you type, a predictive text style phrases suggester - see below)
    • Instant Results (where results display as your type, requires you to be signed in or 'recognised'; highly annoying)
    • Benchmarking the sites in the index to make sure the sites it sends you to are fast too (based on an average)

    A famous example recently, was during "DrunkGate" - when you started typing in "Brian Cow" for "Brian Cowan", the predictive text or phrase suggester displays: (suggestions in Bold)

    During the day it emerged, the "Brian Cowen Drunk" suggestion was first, demonstrating Google's focus on "trending" searches. If it was me, I'd be heavily engaged in Reputation and Personal Brand Management but this obviously doesn't matter to everyone. The suggested searches above are horrendous at best. There are now positives, only some neutrals.

    Back to the topic at hand - Google often slices "related" keyphrases (one or more words in a group : Keyphrase but still called a keyword). The biggest search phrases are, according to the Google Keyword tool, "Fine Gael" (14k lcoal searches) and "Fianna Fail" (9,9k local searches). This isn't remotely accurate. It's based on a sliding curve/pattern system and multiplied out. The numbers are just too even - anyone who works with stats would find that more than a bit odd!.

    But the oddest and funniest suggestion is "Fianna Gael":

    And its not just a suggestion. Google's taking it quite seriously - having added the search volume for "Fine Gael" and "Fianna Fail" together - Google estimates a colossal 23k searches per month - making it the biggest political party in Ireland. So, if you're voter and can't make your mind up - try these guys. In fact, Google is so confident about it's new political party, it clearly doesn't think much of Voter Apathy - with "Why Vote" only topping 170 monthly searches....

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    The Green Party push their internet strategy into high gear...

    Only it's not good. In fact it's even worse than Fine Gael's desperately bad Valentine card. I'm not going to even link to it. It's just too dire. It was the worst online effort in #GE11 so far. But then the Green's did something worse - even worse than even not doing anything at all.

    I was in the middle of gathering my thoughts about the challenges facing internet businesses in Ireland and the complete lack of them on anybodies radar. The challenges I'm referring to aren't about driving traffic or recessionary but a look at the wider challenges of a developing but diverse Irish Internet scene. Gateway providers, retailers, enablers and consumers are faced with a growing range of problems that are not being addressed or even heard of at a national and political level.

    But, despite these the Green Party has decided to be completely unhelpful. They've suggested that we tax data usage on the internet. Just trying to do that would be an exercise in futility but it would seriously damage our international competitiveness, our fledging internet businesses and our campaigns to make internet access more universally acceptable (and this after we're already behind). I'm shocked and slightly outraged to be honest. Cynically, I've wondered if this was a bit of a political "smoke screen" - designed to create a diversion - but why would you want to divert people by destroying your own name? Something they learnt while in power perhaps,...

    They suggest that this would be a good replacement for the TV Licence. Granted, the TV licence should go. Afterall, it subsidises RTE's overpaid staff - allowing them to charge less for advertising (pushing more effort on the independent channel TV3) while pretending to carry the voice of the national as the "national broadcaster". Got to love the recent Edelman Trust Barometer that highlights that Google is now more trusted than RTE by the public as a news source. And its not even a news source...

    It does highlight the plain ignorance and almost contempt that Irish politicians treat the internet with. Comparing a data download tax with the TV Licence assumes that data is nothing more than idle 21st century consumerism - digital "Fair City" if you will.

    Ireland's future is intertwined with the Internet - it will either take us into the future as product developers and technology owners or it will drag us there, enslaved because we failed to identify, adopt and embrace it.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Fianna Fail now targeting Fine Gael

    In an update to my last blog post, I have noticed that the term "Fine Gael" is now being targeted by Fianna Fail in their AdWords. They'll find it a lot higher CPC-wise (cost per click) to outrank "Fine Gael" though - as no doubt they'll have a much lower Quality Score (QS) which affects the cost of your ads.

    Equally interesting - and I'm quite impressed by this - Fine Gael are using time-current ads - their ad below suggests that people watch an address from the Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, this evening.

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    How they rank - the main Irish Political Parties

    Damien Mulley recently lamented how little politicians were using the Internet to promote themselves and engage with the electorate in the upcoming General Election (#GE11) - and in particular networking sites like Facebook. Not that I expected them to much better on SEO/SEM, I thought I'd take a little peek to see how they were at least managing their brand in the Google SERPs.

    It seems that Fianna Fail have quite a strong Brand SERP result - most of the results are either their own or at least "brand friendly". Nobody is running any AdWords on their name - including themselves.

    Fine Gael have a similarly strong brand performance in the SERP's but they're also targeting their name through AdWords. If nobody else is targeting your brand in AdWords and you own the top Organic spots, then it may seem redundant and a little costly but it will also give you quite a lot of ancillary information: Just how popular is your brand (not if nobody is targeting it) and also how many searches actually take place (assuming AdWords is a lot more accurate than the Webmasters CTR tool - which, given its related to financial charges, AdWords should be more accurate). Because of the close relationship between the site linked in the AdWord, the Quality Score should be high and the CPC quite low, even if being targeted by a competitor.

    The most interesting is however Labour. The difference between Labour and the other main parties is that Labour is a generic English word - so the other sites returned are related to instruments of the state involved in Labour policy and management. Interesting that Fianna Fail is targeting "Labour" but also so is Pampers (???)
    Nobody seems to be currently targeting either Sinn Fein or the Greens....Draw your own conclusions!

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Google accuses Bing of copying it's search results

    Today Google has claimed that Bing is now using Google's Search Results in its own search engine. The claim - and that it is denied by Microsoft - was asserted on the Google Webmaster blog. Bing have posted a reply.

    The evidence produced by Google is for a search for [torsorophy], which is a misspelling of a surgical term ("tarsorrhaphy"). But this resulted in a very narrow result set (just 2 pages or results are returned) which Bing returned (although only 1 of the 2 URL's matched Google's - so hardly concrete evidence).

    Incidently, a single or two word phrase that returns just 2 results is known as a Googlewhack and are very rare.

    My reading of this is that Google is accusing Bing of using it's toolbar to help it crawl the web and develop search suggestions. The argument it is putting forward is that it discovers these pages through it's web crawling and indexing systems "organically" whereas Bing is just copying them from the results gathered by the IE 8 toolbar.

    It's not stating that Bing is just using Google's results or result order in it's searches. Interesting to see how this pans out.

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    What URL shortener do you use?

    URL shorteners are very handy little utilities that shorten URL's. There's a good choice and I usually opt for but experienced a few issues. Google launched theirs in 2009 but they recently opened it up (it used to only work on Feedburner and the Google Toolbar) and because it produces stats (when logged in) - it's become my favourite.

    Instead of using, for example: , you can shorten it to this This URL is much easier and shorter to share in places like twitter, linkedin and facebook where space is limited - or on e-mail where it can get concatenated and stop working (if the URL isn't whole, it mightn't take the user to the desired spot).

    Essentially all that happens is that Google have purchased GOO.GL - a play on "Google". GL is the ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain - ccTLD) for Greenland. This software then translates the short address into the long address, and also provides a fast lookup so that sites can show the target URL when you mouseover

    It also gives amazing real time stats about how many people follow your link, when they clicked and from what country and platform.The shortener can be used without logging in - handy but then it doesn't store any details. As per usual with web visitor stats, the information tracked is not personal and doesn't identify any individuals at all.

    The main dashboard gives you an overview of the URL's you've shortened

    The Shortener detail screen shows the user platform, application, age and the number of clicks

    This makes it very handy when sharing on twitter - so you can see who finds which links interesting (by country) and how many people following you are actually engaging with you. This should hopefully improve your blogging and tweeting content!SimplyZesty blogged about tracking twitter RT Click-through-Rates here, which I thought was interesting and relevant.

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    SEO and Internet Marketing - Training and Tools

    Just a note that we've updated our page on the the training that we provide in SEO and Internet Marketing.

    The tools we train people to use include

    • Google Analytics
    • Google WebMasters
    • Google Places, Alerts and Profiles
    • Some AdWords
    • Keyword Selection
    • Site Architecture, our e-Commerce support partner is currently hiring e-commerce support engineers.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    SEO - the devils in the detail

    Of all the tools I've used over the years, the Google SK tool is the most useless. It looks really good and really easy to use - and perhaps that's the problem. It just doesn't give nearly enough information. Too little detail. And with SEO - that's where it all happens.

    SEO is a strategy. PageRank, SERP's (Search Engine Rank Positions), Alexa scores, Website valuations, keywords and titles - these are all symptoms of the implementation of a strategy. SEO isn't a checklist of things you need or have to do. Some of them are accidental or even intentional red herrings.

    When you read all the many blog posts and news articles on SEO (and Internet Marketing), many of them are just written by people who want to be good or think that if 10 websites say the same thing, it must be true. Many are just looking for a website that can grow extra income on the side. "Work from home" ads in the classifieds were huge in the 1980's and 1990's and they're still going strong online.

    Stop looking for a checklist - develop a strategy.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Google AdWords - Is a higher spend good for you?

    The User Interfaces in Google Analytics and Google AdWords have become much more similar in recent years, although some stark differences are visible. I noticed this a while back and I just couldn't resist blogging about it - it's a rather curious way Google reports on the metrics in AdWords.

    In both, when viewing a comparison report (for example last month to this month or last 7 days or this month compared to the same time last year), increases and decreases are shown by a percentage change and then colour-coded - red if the change was negative and green if positive. For example, if your traffic grew 100% in the December over November, then the 100% is green. If, unfortunately, the bounce rate increased from 50% to 55%, then the 5% increase is noted in Red - because this is a negative metric change. You don't want your bounce rate to go up, just like you dont' want your page views to go down.

    A client asked me to look at their AdWords campaign, as we often do. What's curious to me is that Google denotes an increase in spend in Green - so this is positive!?! Sure, if you have the right formula, and then you were returning €10 profit for every €1 spent, why wouldn't you drop €50k or even more - but just to have the up in spend regardless of the conversion rate as a green made me smile.