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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What is the Google Plus One

Unless you have all been living offline for the past two weeks, then you would have seen Google’s new product – the +1.

What is Google +1?

It was announced on 30th March, posted on the Google blog by product manager, Rob Spiro. Google basically is jumping on the social media bandwagon and many reference the +1 as similar to the Facebook like button. To recommend something, users will click the +1 on a webpage or ad. The +1s will start appearing in Google’s search results.

Google +1

So I bet you are all asking whether this will affect the natural search listings. The answer is yes. If you have two websites all with the same page rank, optimised pages, lots of link building and one site has more +1s than the other, then that site will rank higher. This means you still have to optimise your pages, this update reinforces how important seo is.


Here is a little bit of blurb for the search engine giants Google:

“So how do we know which +1’s to show you? Like social search, we use many signals to identify the most useful recommendations, including things like the people you are already connected to through Google (your chat buddies and contacts, for example). Soon we may also incorporate other signals, such as your connections on sites like Twitter, to ensure your recommendations are as relevant as possible. If you want to know who you’re connected to, and how, visit the “Social Circle and Content” section of the Google Dashboard.

To get started +1’ing the stuff you like, you’ll need to create a Google profile—or if you already have one, upgrade it. You can use your profile to see all of your +1’s in one place, and delete those you no longer want to recommend. To see +1’s in your Google search results you’ll need to be logged into your Google Account.”

When will it appear?
Google will slowly be rolling out +1’s, starting in English on Google.com. You can also see what it looks like before the launch be going to Google’s experimental search site. Initially, +1’s will appear alongside search results and ads, but in the weeks ahead they’ll appear in many more places (including other Google products and sites across the web). If you’re an advertiser and want to learn more about how the +1 button works on search ads and websites, visit our AdWords blog.

Google did say at the beginning of the year and at Search London – New Year Search Club that 2011 was the year for social, so keep a look out on the updates coming out this year.

How to find a new mobile phone

For those who are looking for a new mobile phone, it can be very overwhelming.

Buying a mobile phone should be easy and simple. With the rise of smart phones, this is no longer the case.

I am looking for a new mobile phone, I have a 2 year old Samsung mobile phone which is unheard of. I do not want to spend more than 25 pounds a month but I would like to have at least 300 minutes and 500GB of data download. I will share with you my quest for the ideal mobile phone:

1) Vodafone
I started my mobile phone journey with Vodafone as I have been with them for over 10 years (although I have never received any loyalty points or benefits from being such a loyal customer)
.
I do not want to be on a 24 or 18 month contract. That is too long. I switched to a SIM only contract with Vodafone in November and my bills have not been more than 25 pounds. So what can I get with my money?

BlackBerry: BlackBerry Curve 8520, Curve 3G 9300,
HTC: the HTC Wildfire only
LG: LG Cookie,
There are a number of Nokia phones on PAYG
Nokia 6700 Slide, 7230, C1-01, C2-01, C3-01, C5-03.
I can get 6 Samsung phones , C330, Ch@t 335 E1150, E2550 and the Galaxy Mini. I can get just 2 Sony Ericsson phones, the Spiro and the X10Mini Pro.

All of the Vodafone phones are available on PAYG.

Mobile phone operators

(source – flickr.com/photos/marksunderland/4543099719/)

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Search London – Boating on the Thames

I will be hosting an event on Monday April 18th. “Search London – Boating on the Thames” will take place on the HMS President, which is by Blackfriars station. At this event, we have Marko Saric, from howtomakemyblog.com. He will be telling us all about how he grew his blog from nothing to being voted one of the top 50 blogs.

Marko Saric, one of the top bloggers

I first met Marko in October 2009 when he was speaking at a London Bloggers event. I was impressed by how dedicated he was to blogging and I even wrote a guest post on his blog. http://www.howtomakemyblog.com/mobile-blogging/how-to-optimize-your-blog-for-mobile-devices/

Marko has been passionate for online media for many years, He created an online site for Metallica, his favourite band and was just sixteen when his site became Denmark’s official Metallica fan club, which led to many musical adventures… and gave him a taste of online possibilities. While at Uni, completing a BA degree in Marketing Management, he had an idea for yet another project, and so he launched HowToMakeMyBlog.com. It has just been voted one of the world’s top 50 blogs!

Opportunities came knocking as Marko’s blog grew in reputation, and he was approached by PartyGaming to be their very own social media head. Marko has earned his stripes in this role, taking PartyPoker’s social media activities from next to nothing to a nomination for Best Social Media at the 2010 eGaming Awards.

I hope you to see you all there at Search London – Boating on the Thames where you will get some tips from Marko of how to combine both seo and social to grow your own blogs.