Monthly Archives: January 2011

New Year Search Club

New Year Search Club was held on Monday, January 17th.

Thank you for everyone who came, it was a great success. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the meetup and I will be hosting another event soon.

We were lucky enough to have two guest speakers. Finlay from Google talked about what 2011 means for search and Richard Fitzgerald informed us about his 52burritodates.com and how he turned his competition win of a year supply of burritors into a social media frenzy.

Here are a few photos from New Year Search Club 2011.

For more information about the meetup please visit http://www.meetup.com/London-SEO-SMO-PPC

New Year Search Club members

New Year Search Club members

New Year Search Club members

New Year Search club photos

How much should you charge for SEO?

The answer is dependent on what services you will provide for your client. I have found that people do not always understand seo and therefore question you when you charge a fee for your services. People pay for a number of different services in business, why should seo be any different?

Cost of SEO

source: flickr.com/photos/woowork/3307031049/

Services
What you need to do is give a detailed explanation of all the services you provide in a document with the number of hours it will take to complete each one and your hourly rate. As long as it is clear, you should not have any disputes. You should refer back to your proposal in your costings so that the client knows exactly what services they are getting for their money.

Consistent
Do not doubt yourself or try and amend the hours. If you have worked in seo for a number of years, then you know how long it takes (realistically) to complete a piece of work. Make sure that what you quote is how long it takes to complete the task and keep the number of hours consistent for that client. Do not make up 5 hours for a piece of work and then change it the next time.

Integration
Within an seo proposal, you should also incorporate ppc and social media. 2011 is the year for integration. It is important to rank high in natural search for those terms that you may be spending too much money on with paid search. The lines between social and seo will become more blurred this year and your social media presence will have an effect on your rankings.

So in conclusion, when you are putting together a proposal, make sure you are clear on the tasks you will complete for the project and do not be afraid to charge the correct amount for it.

Subdomain vs subfolder

There is often confusion in the seo world between subdomain and subfolders. This post shall explain the difference.

Root domain

This is the domain that you buy from the hosting company eg www.example.com or www.seojoblogs.com

Subdomain
This is a domain which is part of the root domain. eg uk.example.com

Subdirectories
Also called folders are separate sections of the root domain. For example www.example.com/blog

What does Google say?
Google has viewed subdomains in the past as completely separate entities from the primary domain. Google uses what it calls “host crowding” where it returns up to two results from a single domain on a search engine results page (SERP) (with the second one indented). As subdomains are treated as totally separate, a single domain could get more than two listings on a Google SERP, through its subdomains. However, in December 2007, Google made a change announcing that subdomains would be more closely associated with the primary domain — not to the point of being viewed as a subdirectory, but not so completely separate. You can see more about this on Matt Cutt’s blog

If you are building your blog on a subdomain so blog.example.com, it may not get any benefit from its root domain and any links you get will flow back to that subdomain and not to www.example.com. Therefore you should set up the blog as a subfolder www.example.com/blog and when you get any external links, it will flow back to the root domain.

Rand Fishkin goes into a lot of detail about subdomains vs subfolders.

When do you use a subdomain?

– If your blog is separate to your services or if your cms does not allow you to add blogging software to the root domain.
– If you already have two pages from your main domain ranking for a search term. Google will show a maximum of two URLs on a given search page but may show more for a root domain if there are multiple subdomains.
– If you have keyword you want to rank for and you are doing link building for that domain.

When do you use subfolders/subdirectories?
– If you want to organise your site into different sections with descriptive URLs. This is also an easy way to grow your site.
– Adding subfolders allows you to build your site and add new content in a search friendly way.
– It is easier to use subfolder than subdomains due to the url structure as it is all under one domain.

And finally, there are some companies that set up a completely separate site to their main site.
When should you use a microsite?
– If you have a brand new product or service that will be eventually sold off.
– If you do not want the product or service to be associated with your site.

Having a microsite is like starting from scratch. There is no trust, authority, ranking power so you will need to spend a lot of time building up trust and authority.

I hope this post has cleared up some of the confusion regarding subdomains vs subdirectories. If you have any comments or questions, please get in touch.

What is a feed?

According to Wikipedia, “a web feed (or news feed) is a data format used for providing users with frequently updated content.” So if you visit a site and click on the image below, you will receive updated content from that site. This means you do not need to go back to the site to check when they add new content.

RSS feed

What is RSS
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is the technical format of a web feed. It is just one way for expressing feeds as XML. Another popular feed is Atom. Both feeds are made to be viewed for computers, but you can view them as plain text files.

Who uses feeds?
Most websites that have a lot of content. The BBC news, amazon, google, all big websites will allow users to subscribe to their feed. Smaller sites such as bloggers will also have feeds.

Can I publish my own feeds?
Yes of course you can. If you have a website you can have a feed on your site. Using a cms like wordpress, drupal or blogger, you can choose the theme that incorporates a feed and you will be publishing your feed automatically.

How do you get started with feeds?
To read the feeds, you have to use a news aggregator. One of them is Google Reader. You can go to one place daily and receive all the updates from the sites where you have subscribed to their feed. It is really simple and saves so much time.

There are also feed reader applications:

* NewsGator – FeedDemon 2.0
* NewsGator – Inbox for Microsoft Outlook
* NewsGator – NetNewsWire
* Firefox (via “Live Bookmarks” feature)

Online Services

* Google Reader
* NewsGator
(Online)
* My Yahoo!
* Bloglines
* Pageflakes
* Netvibes

Podcast Readers

* iTunes
* Juice
* Doppler
* FireAnt

So now that you have chosen you feedreader, go and visit your favourite sites and subscribe to their feeds by clicking on the image as shown above.

SEO Predictions 2011

What does 2011 bring for search?

1) Integration between ppc, seo and social media
This has been discussed last year but 2011 is the year where people are going to sit up and take note of the positive effects you can get from combining all three as a digital strategy. Once a client has tracking on their website, it is possible to see the visits from paid and natural and social sites. Cost savings can be made on paid search if the site is ranking well for some of those key terms. Regarding social media, blogger outreach content can be optimised by the seo team, if the blogger is going to write about a particular product, they might as well include a couple of links back to that site

SEO predictions for 2011

2) Local search
With the introduction of Google Places in September 2009 and then the merger of the local business centre in April last year, local search is going to play an even more important role in 2011. If you do not already use places for your business, then you should start now.

3) Mobile
People have been jumping on the mobile apps and mobile site bandwagon. Mobile will be increasingly important in 2011. However, webmasters and marketeers will have a better understanding of a mobile app vs a mobile site and how to make these “seo” friendly. To me, it is making your site readable on a mobile device and when someone is looking for your store, they should find it on their handset, which ties back into the second point above, local search

Here are a few seo predictions from the industry experts like Rand Fishkin

#1: Someone Proves (or a Search Engine Confirms) that Clicks/Visits Influence Rankings

I’m taking a chance on this one, but I’ve been hearing from more and more SEOs that there’s some correlation between earning clicks and moving up in the rankings. In 2011, we’ll get confirmation, either through testing or an admission from an engine that click-through-rate from the SERPs, visit count outside of search (or diversity of sources), or other usage-based data is in the ranking algorithm (or a method they use to help ID spam).

#2: Google Local/Maps Adds Filters and Sorting

The big reason Yelp is so much better than Google Maps/Local for finding a good local “place” isn’t just the reviews (which Google aggregates from Yelp anyway). It’s the filters that let me sort by features/pricing/proximity/open status/etc. Google’s been playing the silly game of forcing users to choose search queries to enable rough, imperfect filtering, but 2011 is going to see the search engine shift to a model that allows at least some important filters/feature-selection.

#3: Social Search Will Rise

There’s power in social media search, and Google/Bing’s efforts to date have been lackluster at best. I suspect in 2011, we’ll see the nascent beginning of search that leverages Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn connections to find results from your friends. It’s possible this will start niche-based only (search articles your friends have shared, ala Trunk.ly), but it could also be broader – possibly something from Facebook or Twitter themselves.

I am looking forward to SES London next month, when some of these predictions will be reinforced by other key speakers and industry experts. No one knows for sure what will happen in 2011, but based on the results from last year, we know there will be more developments in search and the fight between Google and Bing will continue.