Love your website

It is Valentine’s day, the day you are supposed to tell people how much you love and care for them.

Those that want to increase traffic to their website, must love their site. I do not mean this in some weird way. You must simply spend time on your site, making sure that you add fresh content, optimising the title tags and the images.

Valentine's Day cupcakes

I am guilty of not spending enough time on my website. I would like to update it daily, but I simply do not have time with a full time job that eats into my evenings. And then if I am out networking, I cannot update the blog that day. There are many people in this situation, working long hours and busy social/networking lives.

You can come up with all the excuses for not working on your site, but you just have to make time. Here are a few tips on how to get the most time to work on your website.

1. Spend just 30 minutes a day during the working week researching ideas, writing posts for your site. If you do not have time to publish the post, just save it as a draft and come back to it the next day.

2. Check the analytics
It is really important to see where your traffic is coming from. See what keywords people have used to find your site, this can give you ideas for new posts on your blog or new pages on your website.

3. Images
A picture paints a thousand words. Add images and optimse them with relevant alt tags on your website. Pictures catch the eye of people looking at your site and will encourage them to stay and read on.

4. Write interesting articles
Do not just write for the sake of it. Make sure you have something of value to add. I write about my experiences with seo and some of my posts are therefore written from a subjective perspective, such as the post about 301 and 302 redirects.

5. Spell check and edit
If you do not have time to add to the site, make sure you are regularly going back to read your older pages/posts. Make sure you do not have any spelling mistakes. Many sites have spelling mistakes on their site, often because they rush the editing.

6. Fun
Remember, having a website should be fun. It should not be a chore to update and change the website. If this is the case, then you should get rid of it.

The photo is gabby’s cupcakes from flickr.

Google Buzz

On Wednesday, Google announced their new social media product “Google Buzz”

Google Buzz

According to the guardian, Buzz has been rolled out to all of Gmail’s 150 million users worldwide, though not yet to those using Gmail inside organisations, where it is expected to arrive next month.

When it was being tested internally, it was called Taco Town, and proved popular for sharing high-definition videos, said Hugo Barra, a product manager. “Google is really good at sorting information,” he said. “That’s what we intend to do with social information as well.” Some critics say this is Google’s attempt at twitter and it is not really offering anything new and exciting. However, if Buzz were to be used by all Gmail users, then it would have more users than MySpace. Facebook is currently the number 1 social networking site with 400 million users.

But what about mobiles? Well it does not work on all mobile phones yet, just the iPhone and the Google Nexus. I am sure Google is working on making sure Buzz is available on more handsets.

So how will Google compete in an already saturated market place? Apparently, Google already tried to build social networking systems before. In 2004, it launched a Facebook like site called Orkut and successful in Brazil. Google bought Jaiku in 2007, a Twitter-like system but was abandoned by the company in January 2009.

According to techradar , Yahoo and Microsoft already offered similar services. Yahoo launched two years ago. And Microsoft say their Hotmail customers have benefited from Microsoft working with Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and 75 other partners since 2008.

It seems like Google have copied the name from Yahoo and the idea from facebook and twitter without offering anything new. It will be interesting to see if Google can make Buzz work.

301 redirects vs 302

What is a 301 redirect and when do you need to use it?

This post will address the question and explain the difference between 301 and 302 redirects.

A 301 redirect is a permanent move from the old domain. It is the search engine friendly way to for redirecting your webpage. It should also preserve your search engine ranking for that page. It is the most efficient way of moving domains especially if you have to change file names.

As Matt Cutts explains, a 302 refers to the HTTP status code that you get in your browser when you request a page. A 302 status code means the page has moved temporarily to a new location.

Matt Cutts say that the 302 redirect can be on-domain or off-domain.

– On-domain 302 Redirect – the 302 temporary redirection is implemented in the same domain. The disadvantage it that it is simple and not prone to hijacking.
For example is redirected to
– Off-domain 302 redirect – a redirect from one domain to another domain that are claimed to be temporary. When a search engine receives an off-domain 302 redirect, it should crawl, index and return the destination page.

A client asked me for advice when changing their content on the page. They were changing their page titles and the content and they wanted to know if they should implement a 301 redirect. You did not to use a 301 redirect unless you are changing the URL. This brings me to another point that was raised. The difference between underscore and hyphens in URLs.

Are hyphens and underscores seen as different by the search engine? The answer is yes, they are. Google does not treat underscores and hyphens the same – underscores are not counted as spaces.

So the URL:
“” is seen as different to “”
The search engine reads the later as “”

However, from a user point of view, it probably isn’t a good idea to have both URLs as they look the same. Read more at Search Engine Journal

T Mobile’s handsets for Q1 2010

T-Mobile will launch 15 new mobile phones in Q1 this year with 8 on contract and 8 on pay as you go. LG Pop will be on both contract and pay as you go.

Below are the phones launched q1 2010
Pay monthly mobile phones
BlackBerry Storm 2 (9520)
LG POP (GD510)
Sony Ericsson Vivaz
Nokia E72
Nokia X6
Sony Ericsson X10 (Android)
Samsung Galaxy Portal (Android)
LG In Touch Max GW620 (Android)

Blackberry Storm 2  -9520

Pay as you go mobile phones
BlackBerry 8520
LG POP (GD510)
T-Mobile Vairy Text
T-Mobile Vairy Touch 2
Nokia 2220
Nokia 1616
Sony Ericsson W205
T-Mobile Pulse (Android)

LG Pop

According to Mobile news , T-mobile has big plans for BlackBerry smartphones, following the success in 2009 when they shipped 10,000 Blackberry handsets every week in q4. The BlackBerry Storm 2 9550 will be released in February, and the Curve 8520 with be on pay as you go. The original BlackBerry Storm 9530 was only available on Vodafone until end of January.

Apparently, more than 2,900 BlackBerry handsets were activated on the T-Mobile network on Christmas day alone. 50% of those were with the BlackBerry Curve 8520 handset – so you can guess which Christmas presents were popular for 2009. T-Mobile also said that the number of customers using Blackberry devices increased by 125% during 2009, most of these were on pay monthly contracts.

T-Mobile are offering the Curve 8520 on pay as you go for £150. Customers will also get 30 days of free text messages and 6 months free email and internet usage when purchased between 1st – 31st of March. This will look set to increase the popularity of the Blackberry Curve 8520 which according to GfK (the retail analyst) was the best selling pay monthly mobile phone in the UK in Q 4 2009.The Blackberry Curve 8900 was the best selling contract handset over the summer.

Phil Lander, T-Mobile account director at BlackBerry-maker RIM said “It was a phenomenal year for BlackBerry and T-Mobile. We have seen significant growth. We have established the BlackBerry brand with huge investment. There was a lot of focus on the consumer market, but we are in no way turning our back on business. The entry-level Curve 8520 is a really strong prepay proposition. We are anticipating big things for this, not just because of the product, but also because of the T-Mobile brand and the propositions that will help drive its success.”

Looks like T-mobile are onto a winner here, the other mobile operators better make sure they are working on their own USP.

Reasons to closely monitor your twitter account

A Vodafone employee posted an offensive message this afternoon which read “Is fed up of dirty homo’s and is going after beaver”

This was sent out to Vodafone’s 8,663 followers. Vodafone has since apologised to its followers and says the employee in question has been suspended.

Vodafone are not the first company to be embarrased by their twitter account

Habitat returned to Twitter in September last year with a message, “We’re back. Sorry it took so long. This time we want to get it rightt. Tell us what you want to hear from us and we’ll mark suggestions in our favourites.”

Habitat was criticised for using Twitter site to spam the community back in June. It used hash tags, which help users track conversations on the microblogging site, to promote marketing messages that had no relevance to the topics used. Habitat’s defence was that the campaign was a mistake and the posts were made by an intern.

However, HabitatUK, was putting out marketing messages such as ‘Our totally desirable Spring collection now has 20% off!’ on Friday, using tags such as #mms, #Apple, #iPhone and even used an Iranian election hashtag #Mousavi.

Although all the messages were replaced with sales and marketing tweets, the damage had already been done. Many Twitters already saw the messages and tweeted their annoyance.

This is a classic example of how a big brand such as Habitat was unable to execute a social media idea successfully. They jumped on the twitter band wagon too soon without truly understanding the full damage it could do if implemented incorrectly.

Page title for SEO – is it important?

If you are trying to optimise a client’s website, you may find the brand team have different views on SEO.

Brand team are obsessed about how their brand is displayed which is their job. However, it can sometimes prevent their site from being completely optimised.

Page title is one example – they want to have the brand at the front of the title tag and keywords at the end, if at all. SEO gurus often have to compromise and agree with brand. But what is the best solution?

Below I have summarised three articles and their opinion on page title.

SEO PPC PROS recommends:

Place the keywords first in the title tag. This is the first place most people look and this is the first place the search engines look when reading your site, therefore you want this to be the first place you want your keywords.
This article also highlights the problem that I have faced from brand that want the title tag to look like

“Company name – keywords”

I like what the article said about the branding department. “There are a lot of people who think branding is so important for everything in marketing because that’s what they learned in college and from there marketing managers in the 90s.” This is so true. The article suggests to remove your brand from the first characters of your page title if at all possible and find a way to put your most valuable keywords there instead.

Randfish offers some more advice about title tags – I have just picked a feW

1. Brand your traffic
Rand suggests using the title of your site or brand at the beginning or end of every title tag.
2. Limit length to 65 characters (including spaces) or less
3. Incorporate keyword phrases
4. Target longer phrases if they’re relevant
For example a title tag like “SkiDudes | Downhill Skiing Equipment & Accessories” is better than “SkiDudes | Skiing Equipment” if there is content about Downhill skiing equipment and accessories on the page.
5. Use a divider
Rand recommends using the “|” symbol (aka the pipe bar). Other are the arrow “>” or hyphen “-” and both work well. ”
6. Be consistent
When you have a good formula for your page titles that works, then stick to it.
7. Repeat in the headline
Re-use the title tag of each page as the H1 header tag can be valuable from both a keyword targeting standpoint and a user experience improvement.

Asssit 2 web

This article states that the keywords should be in the first few words of the title tag. It should be used no more than twice. The title should have capitals on each work except for the minor words such as a, and, an, the and should be 65 characters with no special characters.

If you know of any other good points to raise, please let me know.

SEO events calendar

It is 2010 and the start of another year for SEO.

Below I have included a list of SEO, SEM and social media events that are happening through out the year. If I have missed any out, please comment.

February 16 – February 18th
SES London

SES London is organized and programmed by the SES Advisory Board and, the leading authority on Search Engine Marketing (SEM), including SEO and PPC. This event has happened every year for the past 11 years. For three days there are sessions covering topics such as PPC management, keyword research, SEO, social media, local, mobile, link building, duplicate content, multiple site issues, video optimization, site optimization, . There is also an exhibit floor with companies that can help you grow your business, there are networking events and parties as well.

Location on SES London

February 15th – February 18th
Mobile World Congress

As I mentioned in my previous post about mobile events , this takes place in Barcelona and is the event of the year to attend if you are serious about mobile.

March 15th and March 16th
Social Media Forum

Two day event featuring four dedicated conference streams, workshops and exhibition.
Conference streams include: Social Media World Forum, Enterprise Social Media, Social TV , Mobile Social Media Cloud Computing Congress.

Key speakers from global brands, organisations, social networking publishers and developers, pioneering social media leaders, agencies, content producers plus many more.

Social media gaming & virtual currencies. Building social media apps – and understanding the market for virtual good and virtual currencies. The opportunities for brands within social gaming.
The impact of social media on politics, the impact Twitter is having in politics and celebrity domains, and the role of social media within PR

There is a lot going on and I hope to attend.

Social Media Conference

June 15th and June 16th
Mobile Marketing Forum NYC

This event is also being held in Singapore April 14th and 15th. The MMA Forum New York is an event for the mobile community and there will be attendees from agencies, brands, carriers and other members of the global mobile marketing ecosystem.

There will be keynote speakers, presentations which will cover the latest developments in mobile. Mobile is an effective marketing channel and there will be case studies of successful implementation of mobile strategies.

The event is quite expensive and can cost up to $1600, but if you book early, you can get a discount. Free passes available for brands/ non-mobile agencies. Contact

Agencies offering a mobile strategy

There are many agencies that are already offering comprehensive mobile strategy.

I have highlighted a few below.

Accuracast offer the following services:

# Mobile search engine optimisation
# Accessibility testing
# Usability testing
# Multilingual mobile site optimisation

Zealousweb is another agency that offer mobile seo services.

* Website analysis
* Mobile website design
* Mobile website development
* Mobile search engine optimisation
* Accessibility
* Keyword research
* Multilingual mobile site optimisation

Mobile search will be growing over the next year so there will be more agencies offering mobile search in 2010.

Why should you have a mobile strategy

Three main reasons:

1. Everyone is going mobile

The iPhone launched UK November 2007 changed the way we thought about mobile phones and advertising forever.

Google even has its own mobile strategy, launching the first Android phone the G1 in 2008. Last November Google paid $750 million for Admob so it certainly sees mobile as a growing area, Apple does as well and bought Quattro, Admob’s privately owned rival which owns mobile websites and applications for Apple’s iPhone and other smart phones.

2. There is potential to earn a new revenue stream from mobile.

According to Gartner, mobile advertising revenues could be worth as much $13 billion by 2013. If we just had 1% of that, we would be very happy agency. There is a window of opportunity here for a digital agency that says it can offer everything digital to deliver a new service to its clients and generate more revenue.

3. There is an increase in the number of smartphones

According to Strategy Analytics, smartphones now account for 15% of global mobile shipments, and that proportion is expected to rise to 45% by 2013. Smartphones are a great platform to create adverts or mobile apps to drive customers to the clients’ products.

If you are an agency and have clients that expand across a wide range of industries, there is huge potential. As a digital agency you should put together a roadmap of how you can drive more sales to their website through this new channel – mobile.

There are many areas of a mobile marketing strategy as the table below indicates.

Mobile Marketing Communications

(source: – Mobile Marketing: From Marketing Strategy to Mobile Marketing Campaign Implementation)

As an agency, you have to decide which area you can offer that best suits your clients’ needs.

Vodafone launches the iPhone

Today, January 14th was the day the third UK mobile operator, Vodafone launched the iPhone.

I went to London Bloggers last night and Dan Bowsher from Vodafone was there to promote the iPhone. One lucky winner won one of the first Vodafone iPhones. Congratulations.

According to Dan Bowsher, there have been more than 50,000 iPhones sent to customers today.

There are a range of deals available at the Vodafone store.
iPhone on Vodafone

Images from the Vodafone store.