Integration is Key – SEO, PPC and Social

I held a meetup last Thursday on the HMS President. We had two speakers:

Martin McDonald from seoforums.org
Matt Owen from Econsultancy

Martin McDonald kicked off the event with:

A brief history of search
Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up Backrub.com – yes that was the name before they changed it to Google. They were both students at Stanford University at the time. There were two search boxes. There was the option users to search Stanford University and also the web. In order to be seen within the search engine, you had to have keywords in the code of your site telling the engine what your site was about. This is now referred to as “Keyword Stuffing” and it did help many sites rank for 7 or 8 years.

What is PageRank?

PageRank is what Google uses to determine the importance of a web page. It’s one of many factors used to determine which pages appear in search results. It was designed by Page and Sergey. The more links a site had to it, the higher the PageRank it could achieve. Therefore people started buying and selling links, trying to boost their own PageRank. This is not what Google intended and this is where social signals comes in.
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What is Google Social Search?

Google announced a product update last Thursday, May 19th – called Social Search.

Google first launched it in 2009 on google.com only. It was supposed to be, as they say “an experimental feature designed to help you find more relevant information from your friends and the people you care about.” We know Google, they keep developing their products and they introduced Google Plus 1 earlier this year. Now, Google are bringing Social Search to more users around the world.

Social search results in other languages and on other domains are mixed throughout the Google results page based on their relevance. If you are looking for a particular product, it will highlight blog posts, twitter feeds that you are connected to .

Click on the link which is a video showing how social search works.

Google Social Search

So what do these updates mean for those in online marketing? It means you need to make sure you are covering all bases. You have to be present on blogs, in forums, on twitter, have an active facebook page (although Google cannot work out Facebook’s algorithm that mean. Social Search will be rolling out globally in 19 languages and should be available in the coming week, with more languages on the way. You cannot ignore social anymore. It is here to stay, Google have also said they will be rolling out the + 1 feature soon.

Google is constantly updating its range of products and even launched its first blog dedicated to search last Wednesday. http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/ I know I will be checking this one out on a regular basis. Google certainly invest heavily in R&D and it has paid off. They are now the number one search engine in the west.

Search London – Integration is Key

I have teamed up with the Online Marketing group to host a networking event on Thursday, May 26th. Integration is key to any successful campaign and there are many areas of online marketing which have an effect on search. This is one of the reasons Search London and Online Marketing Meetup have joined forces to host the meetup this week.

HMS President venue

Speakers include Martin MacDonald from SEOforums.org who will be talking about integrating social with SEO. Matt Owen from eConsultancy will be talking about Facebook optimisation

Leading Digital Recruitment company Digital Gurus are sponsoring the bar so there will be free drinks until the tab runs out.

Nick Yockney at Digital Gurus looks after the Media and Performance division – SEO / PPC / Media Agency Roles / Affiliates. So if you are looking for a new role in digital, speak to Nick and he will point you in the right direction.

Thursday is the new Friday, so RSVP to the event happening this week. www.meetup.com/search-london

The nearest station is Blackfriars or Temple

HMS President (1918)
Victoria Embankment,
London EC4Y 0HJ

How has the google panda update affected your site?

I have noticed whenever there is a change to the Google’s algorithm, everyone panics. Those that did not pay attention to seo before, suddenly sit up and take notice. The latest algorithm news was the panda or farmer update.

Why did Google introduce the Panda alogrithm?
They wanted to clean up the search engine results pages from low quality websites. Content farms and sites which that had a lot poor quality information were hit the most. Some of these included well known article syndication sites like Ezine Articles.
Google panda update

(source of photo: http://terry.henfleet.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Google-Big-Panda-Update2.jpg)

So how do you know if you have lost out on the update?
Check your rankings and your website traffic from the beginning of April until now. If you have lost traffic and rankings and year on year it is low, then you have been affected.

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Top 5 tips to optimise your blog

It is really simple and easy to set up your own website. One of the most common CMS (content management systems) is wordpress. This blog will highlight the key tips you should do to optimise your blog to help you appear higher in the search engine results (SERPs) and bring more traffic to your site.

1) All in one SEO Pack
A great wordpress plugin that allows you to add a title tag and meta description to each of your posts. This is important as each post will have a separate URL and therefore should have an optimised page title and meta description. This means you can optimise different posts for different keywords.

2) Tracking
You definitely need tracking in place. The easiest is google analytics, I wrote a post about how to install ga on your wordpress blog. It is important to see where your visitors are coming from, which sites and on what keywords. If you have done a lot of link building, you want to check that the links are sending traffic to your site and which sites are sending you the most.

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Top things to do before you are 30

I am hitting the big 30 next month and it got me thinking of the list people write containing things they want to do before they turn 30.

Here are the top 5 things to do before you are 30

Things to do before you are 30

photo from flickr – flickr.com/photos/charleyscakes/3980764400/

1) Travel
You will never have the time once you get married with all the kids and co to go to those non child friendly places you always wanted to visit (most places outside of a kids club are not child friendly). So do not have any regrets, book that trip to South America, or South Africa or even the Antarctic if that is where you have wanted to go.

2) Invest

The earlier you invest the better, the longer you have time to grow your money. You can afford to take risks as you have longer to get it back should the investments go down. Now with the credit crunch, you should speak to a bank manager especially if you have some spare cash not making any money in a low interest ISA.
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How to make your wedding day last

So today it was Kate and Will that got married. Congratulations to them. I am not a royalist, but I couldn’t help feel very happy for Catherine and William.

There were months of preparation and yet it is all over in one day. All that hype and then it is over.

I am going to another wedding tomorrow, one that was planned well before the engagement announcement of Wills and Kate. My aunt has made the bride’s dress and the bridesmaids, the venue was booked months ago, flowers, catering and photographers have been planned out to the finest detail. After the wedding couple leave at midnight, the wedding will be over and life again returns to normality. It seems like a little bit of an anti climax, lots of planning and preparation and then it lasts barely 12 hours.

London wedding - Google doodle

So I thought I would come up with a few suggestions on how to make your wedding day last

1) Start early
Some weddings I have been to start at 5 in the afternoon and then it is over far too quickly. If you are getting married in the summer, start the ceremony closer to 12, then you have the whole afternoon and evening to celebrate.

2) Friends take photos
Instead of expensive flowers on each table, leave 2 disposable cameras which you ask your guests to use during the day. They can therefore take photos of all of your guests, friends and family which you will be able to view in years to come.
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How to optimise your home page

Your home page is your most important page on your site. It is the portal to the rest of your website and therefore should have enough content and information to prevent your visitors from bouncing off. You need to keep them within the site and convert on sales (if you are selling products)

So how should you optimise your home page?

1. One of the most important elements in seo is the title tag.

The title tag tells users and search engines the topic of that particular page. The title tag should be placed within the tag of the HTML document. There should be a unique title for each page on your site and they appear in the search results as the below illustrates.

Title tag example from seojoblogs

The homepage is probably the only page on your site where the title tag should feature your brand early followed by relevant keyword second. Typically, this is opposite to how your title tags should read for your internal pages.

2. Optimise the metadescription

This tells the search engine what the page is about. It is a summary of the page. It also appears in the search engine result pages and should be compelling enough for users to click through. Like the title tag, the description meta tag is placed within the tag of your HTML document.

If you do not have a metadescription tag, other content from the page will be pulled through.

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Search London – How To Make My Blog

Thank you to everyone who came to Search London last Monday.

We had a great talk by Marko Saric who shared some tips on how to increase traffic to your site. The video of the event with the presentation is on the link below:

However, here is a quick recap for those that missed it:

1. Keywords in your domain
If you are setting up a website, make sure you have the keywords you want to rank for in the domain.

2. CMS
If you have enough time and are able to you can write your own content management system. However many people when setting up their sites use wordpress. It is free and easy to use and there are a number of plugins to help with SEO.

3. Articles

Write interesting articles on your site. Think about what your readers would like to read and write for them with catchy headlines and “how to” articles.

4. Promote off line
People will not know about your site unless you talk about. You must go out there and promote your blog.Establish contacts with other bloggers, get them to retweet your articles. Comment on bigger blogging sites, be relevant and interesting comments, do not just put a link in there.

Make sure above all else, that you choose a topic you are interested in and love your blog – so write regularly so that readers can find up to date articles.

See you at the next event. meetup.com/search-london


The Panda is coming to the UK

What is the Panda update?

It is the major algorithm update to Google search with the aim to improve the quality of the search engine results. It started in the US at the end of February but has now rolled out across the UK. Many sites have seen their rankings drop which means they will be getting a lot less traffic following on from the update.

The Google Panda update hits the UK

(source of photo: http://terry.henfleet.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Google-Big-Panda-Update2.jpg)

The panda update has received a lot of criticism. The product comparison sites, reviews and voucher sites came off badly from the Panda update. Ciao’s UK site lost 94% of its SEO visibility after the update went live in the UK earlier this week. Ciao is the shopping comparison site owned by Microsoft and Ciao along with other Microsoft sites including Foundem and ejustice.fr complained to the EU that Google was abusing its dominant position by lowering the ranking of unpaid search results of competitor services in November.
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