February 14, 2017

Gutter Cleaning, a better, safer, cleaner way.

Writing about web page https://www.ace-drains.co.uk/gutter-cleaning/

gutter cleaning aided by CCTVLiving next to a wood leaves and moss in our gutters are a constant problem. I have been approached by a couple of guys with a ladder offering to clear gutters but I declined then observed them quickly do the front gutter of a house across the street then ask for payment. What kind of job did they do?
Without getting the ladder out you cannot tell.

My next conversation was with the local window cleaner. We talked about his web presence as he planning to expand into gutter cleaning. Starting off by going back to ladders for domestic gutters, they had switched to long-reach window cleaning some years back, he was thinking of investing in gutter cleaning kit.

I mentioned the site www.ace-drains.co.uk of a client that was doing great business using the Sky Vac professional kit with CCTV. He agreed this was the best way as he had hired the Sky Vac to clear the gutters of a commercial client over on the Warwick Business Park.

They were keen on a safe, clean, fast and verifiable service, The site manager even came out to take the opportunity to make a quick visual inspection of some downpipes he had concerns about.

I would have loved to have seen the Sky Vac in action but hired the window cleaner as he was able to clear the gutters immediately.

gutters on an old churchFor more complex buildings the Ace Environmental Services service is a no brainer. A church in Selly Oak, pictured below, used to hire a cherry-picker for £750 to still have to do the messy job with volunteers!
cleaning inaccessible guttersJoe Brooks cleaned their gutters, quicker, safer and cleaner for £250 !!
See this church gutter cleaning case study for more details and pictures from Selly Oak.
CCTV display for gutter cleaning

March 18, 2015

Trust, Ad Positions and Conversions Rates

Writing about web page DDAerials.com/Redditch

What is the Best Ad Positions for Conversions?

I noticed a change in the conversion performance of one of my best clients, Digital Direct Aerials, where their ads are now converting at the same rate in all the three top positions.

This is exactly as Google has claimed for over 10 years now. That the overall conversion rate is about the same for positions 1 through 10.

Over those same 10 years I have always known and seen that, for small companies, the conversion rates were significantly higher down at positions 2 and 3.

The reason for this divergence could be understood by asking the question; why should I go back up to the first listing?

If the number one Ad was for a company you had an account with, or trusted better than you might go back. Wider industry data confirms that the likes of Amazon, Apple & John Lewis convert better at position one.

Redditch Ad with Gold Stars advertisor reviewsMy aerials company caused me to check a number of clients to see if my old rule was no longer true. Yet, the great majority would still be throwing their money away bidding for position one. Paying more for every click and getting fewer conversions.

Only one other company was also converting just as well at Ad position one.
When I looked for the common factor, I found that you were both getting Advertiser Reviews gold stars next to their Ads. In fact both were using Trustpilot, one of the main sources of reviews that Google uses. The Ad on the right also benefits from geographic targeting as the search was for ‘aerial installation redditch’.

An experiment of increasing the bids for some Keywords, produced two-times the clicks at position 1 than at position 2 only resulted in the conversion rates at position 1 falling behind again. Clearly still a waste of cash. There was still a sweet spot for the average position, it was just a little higher.

Trust and convenience are the 2 factors that can cause searchers
to make the 2 clicks back to the position 1 Ad even after they have found
another very similar offer.

Trust is a strong factor in conversions. Customers of Digital Direct Aerials now regularly cite the genuine, unfiltered, independent reviews as the reason they made their call.

September 08, 2014

CCM helps win funding with verifiable open tenders

Writing about web page http://www.wmccm.co.uk/WMCCM/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=12

CoMech Metrology Ltd is looking to expand their UKAS Accredited Laboratory
based in Derby, Derbyshire, UK. They won some funding to help expand their services and were advised to post the procurement onto the CCM tender feed as a way to provide a verifiable open tender process.

After their responses came in and their supplier selected CoMech were asked for evidence that the tender was on the Collaborative Commerce Marketplace.
They searched but could not find it! Even a CCM expert was struggling due to the vast number of tenders that have passed through the system.

So he just Googled torque testing comech tender to see the Tender at position no. 1.

The important thing to remember is that every day the WMCCM feed is checked by Google making it easy to find the EC’s Tender Electronic Daily and other tender feeds for free. Simply log in to get the detailed contact information.

August 22, 2014

Alligning Aerial Installation and other Local Services on the web.

Writing about web page http://ddaerials.com/birmingham/

I have blogged before about the difficulty of targeting Adwords campaigns to local areas in the UK. Overall this has improved as the proportion of web visitors using mobile phones has increased. However BT’s broadband and new fibre network still cannot provide accurate location information. I have moved from the BT wholesale customer and subsidiary PlusNet to BT Infinity and apparently moved from London to outside Oxford. The line is still a Coventry number which you would think could give them a clue.

replacement-car-keysCreating good content that will attract free search visitors can also be a problem. Nathan Chan wondered why he was getting enquiries about his Midlands Car Locksmith service from the North East. These were from free Google impressions for his site. Despite many words describing his support area his good content was a better match for many search queries than the car locksmiths that were closer. He solved this with a simple map to make it clear that his drivers did not go that far north.

His brother Nik’s business had a different problem. His local pages covering each city are working well and being added to as Digital Direct Aerials has grown the team this year. Now they can support their commercial aerials customers England wide and have now ventured into Wales too!

Supporting the Shaylor Group as they refurbish student accommodation for Aberystwyth University and build a new block. The guys get in and install the multi-point aerial system during the site-access windows as they occur to help keep this complex project stay on time and the site safe.

It has come to a point where they are starting to turn new commercial business away as Nik understands the level of responsiveness these larger clients must have. When he is ready to take on more business again, bidding on the Google AdWord’s ‘province’ (sic) of England will be easy.

Aberwystwyth University Accomodation Refurbishment by Shaylor Group

December 08, 2013

Broadband Switching Comparison Sites. Can you trust their deals or data ?

Writing about web page http://www.uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest/#filters=merchants%255B%255D%3D12179%26merchants%255B%255D%3D12165%26merchants%255B%255D%3D12175%26merchants%255B%255D%3D12153%26merchants%255B%255D%3D12185%26merchants%255B%255D%3D12161%26merchants%255B%255D%3D12197%26merchants%255B%255D%3D12195%26merchants%255B%255D%3D12155%26postcode%3DCV3%2B4FW&speedtestID=28189601

Uswitch speed-test at 4pmI had been a frequent visitor to the speedtest pages, including the Uswitch one, when I was experiencing intermittent problems with my broadband. This was nothing to do with my Internet Service Provider, PlusNet so I continued to check when fibre-based broadband came to my area?

When it was confirmed that this was available I confirmed that I could get the upgrade with PlusNet, BT Infinity and a choice of providers.
Two weeks later the Uswitch site still only records the 2 BT Infinity offers at the ‘super fast’ levels. This contradicts their test results that shows EE with an average speed of over 50 Mb.

The failure of these ‘averaged’ test results is they are comparing two totally different services using different infrastructure. Fibre and copper or copper all the way. In my street you can expect 12 Mb download speeds on the old ADSL and over 60 MB using the new Fibre To the Cabinet service. The cabinet in this case is about half way to the exchange from my street showing how critical that second kilometre is. To average the results of these services together just measures the proportion on customers who have been upgraded.

The StreetStats can provide an interesting view of speed tests in the area overlaid on Google maps. Today I see that a PlusNet customer further up the hill has recorded 30 Mb. Is this due to their extra distance from the exchange? NO, it is likely that they have gone for the cheaper “Up to 38Mb” offer not the “Up to 76Mb” option.

So how can you judge these things?
The simplest way is to go onto 1 or more provider’s site and find out what they estimate speed you can expect for the service level options they provide.

With PlusNet costing £16 pcm for Up to 38Mb and £20 pcm for Up to 76Mb after their introductory offers I thought it was a no-brainer. I have TV reception problems too so wanted BT Vision immediately so I switched to BT Infinity for £26 pcm. I am very pleased with the service especially the 12 Mb upload speeds. My test, right, was at 4pm and is as slow as I have measured since upgrading.

October 09, 2013

4G Rollout arrives in Coventry along with possible TV interference.

Writing about web page http://ddaerials.com/4g-freeview-interference

A resident nearby in Whitley Village reports the upgrade of a mobile phone mast to 4G. These services are being rolled out city by city so we should expect coverage in Coventry for 1 or more providers.

This brings with it the possibility of interference on your Freeview channels close to the new 800 MHz 4G band. This could affect up to 2.3 million homes close to these 4G masts.


at800 Logo on filterDisruption to Freeview services can be resolved for many homes with an at800 filter.
You can get one free from www.at800.tv and this can cover all TVs connected to a single aerial when placed in the right place. You can buy additional filters where you are advised to ensure they have the at800 branding, see right.

Nik Chan, who sorted out my aerial problems, has more west midlands details on his 4G Freeview Interference page .

May 08, 2012

Scientific Split–Testing on Google Adwords gets a 30 day time–limit.

Writing about web page http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2171802/How-to-Handle-the-AdWords-Ad-Rotation-Changes

Many student projects at WMG have used Google Adwords as a methodology to scientifically split-test marketing ideas
split testing with automatic keyword insertionProjects have used Adwords to:
  • Verify that people are looking for keyword terms.
    This can predict demand based on natural or seasonal changes.
  • Test different offers and sales copy.
  • Test market new brands and online domain names.
    This saved a local company thousands on rebranding.
  • Split test titles for books and multimedia releases.
  • Verify interest in products and services before spending your
    development budget.
    A project confirmed the demand for high temperature paints was used to get funding for the development of safer paint formulations.

The split-testing of domains has been more difficult for some years but we found a way around it.

The example, above right, shows a split test using ‘optimised bidding’ where the failing Ad is already being shown less frequently. This is using automatic keyword insertion and proves that some Greek keywords could do better split in their own Ad groups.

rotate adwords scoientifically

Google has just announced now that the ‘Rotate Ads Evenly’, pure scientific rotation option will revert to optimise after 30 days.
This has just made life more difficult especially for low-volume or niche markets.

One alternative is to set up Adwords Experiments as these can be set to run for 90 days. For more on experiments and other ways to respond follow this link to the Search Engine Watch site.

May 01, 2012

Managing Duplicate or very similar Content using Canonical Links

Writing about web page http://james-hutton-pressings.com/

I blogged about the limits of canonical links over on Rob’s Search Blog.

I’m still waiting to see if the search engines ‘take the hint’ on my inter-domain trial but I have confirmed that this has worked well over on the James Hutton Pressings group of sites.

Metal PressingsThe Group’s diverse range of products led them to set up 5 mini-sites within their main domain covering:
  • Metal Pressings
  • EPS Mouldings
  • Stage Lighting
  • Hinged Metal Boxes
  • Janitorial Tools

Some of the pages, the home pages and about us were different for all 5 mini sites but their pro-forma trust pages such as Privacy and Terms were all the same.
This CCM post on the impact of Ethos pages back in ‘09 was actually about these very pages.

This year I did a tidy up of their sites and nominated the one Canonical version of these common pages for the 5 mini-sites. I just confirmed that both Google & Bing/Yahoo has removed the duplicates from their indexes.

March 27, 2012

Update on WMCCM

Writing about web page http://www.wmccm.co.uk

The WMCCM system has been in operation for about 7 years now. There are over 11,000 company members, over 17,000 individual members and we are still getting applications at a rate of about 20 per week to join. All without any advertising or promotion.
We calculated last year that WMCCM companies won tenders worth over £8bn and that the SMEs won over £4bn. An interesting observation was that of the 100+ start-up companies assisted four years ago, 85% are still operating. Justifies the World Bank using WMCCM as a best practice example of a Virtual Business Incubator.

Recently we have been working out how the Cloud concepts and Smarter city concepts can align with WMCCM. See the resulting slideshow at slideshare.com

October 19, 2011

Leacy Classic Car Parts site grows using Content Management System

Writing about web page http://www.leacyclassics.com/parts/mg/midget.html

British Motor Heritage Approved parts

I have struggled to help several companies after they had selected off-the-shelf e-commerce packages.
The problems I have encountered include:
  1. Very slow page loading times.
  2. Hidden or non-existent page titles.
  3. Charges to add Google Analytics and even then prevented conversion tracking.
  4. Database generated URLs with duplication.

I have been working on the new Leacy Classics website with the guys at STAAK in Leamington. Even these serious web-developers needed to use an e-commerce builder package from Magento but they have been able to implement all of my SEO suggestions swiftly.

When a customer suggested that the MG Midget Parts should be separated out, I was impressed when a Leacy employee at Perry Barr was able to easily add this as a Category, with 14 sub-categories, and populate this with compatible parts. When I found that these pages were well titled and picked up by the sitemap I knew that at last I found a decent e-commerce, CMS package.

May 10, 2011

Online Posting for Corporation Tax; Self–Help or use an Accountant?

Writing about web page http://www.getaccountant.co.uk/tax-accountants

Last year I was able to avoid the new iXBRL online filing to HM Revenue & Customs by using the old paper form for my Limited Company tax returns.

This year I will have to find a tool or service to generate my accounts in the correct tagged in-line XBRL format.

Many tools are leaving up to a third of the required Tags out thus requiring manual intervention.
I use the open source GNUCash accounts package with full double entry books but this does not, yet, support iXBRL.

So I have been browsing the online tools and services available. These can pick up reports generated by Sage, spreadsheets or even Word but not GnuCash directly. So I must first export my tax filing data to a spreadsheet.
Some of these services do provide some manual checking that the required Tags are inserted.

This is like my own business you want to use a service that uses these tools on a daily basis. One of my clients has set up a national Accountants Directory site, www.getaccountant.co.uk that covers your local Tax Accountants so I am starting to think that it could be time to explore local accountants. Many of these offer fixed price online tax filing packages. If they see any opportunities to up-sell their services I should expect them see more savings that their charges or they are not being accountants.

One accountant in the directory uses the slogan:

It is not what you earn, it is what you keep.

July 11, 2010

The 4 best Teams make the FIFA World Cup Semis & Shankly on Teamwork.

All the pundits agreed. The four best teams are in the top four positions in the 2010 FIFA World Cup because they played as Teams not individuals!

When they then looked at our national team, England, they then all used; pampered millionaires, overpaid, no passion, no patriotism, no pride in the shirt and many other cliches that have nothing about playing as a team.

Bill Shankly in front of the KopMy favourite Bill Shankly quote on teamwork is:

Teamwork is playing to each others strengths
and compensating for each others weaknesses.

I like this qoute because this works for any sport and any team, at work, wherever.

Examine the management of the England team in recent years.
Were these teams set up to play to the squad’s strengths, to cover for each other?

When these same pundits discuss Real Madrid’s Galacticos they all agree you cannot build a team out of stars. Turn to England and “world class players should be able to play together” and “he can play over there”.

John Terry was a popular fall guy. In South Africa he trained and played alongside 4 other centre halves and 2 keepers. With the choice between the 5th & 6th choice centre back partners; Upson was chosen and so Terry had to play out of position, on the right. Yet if Carragher was chosen Terry would have played on the left with his club teammate Cole & Carra alongside club fullback Johnson. They know what each other will do and are well aware of each others weaknesses.

Spain tonight will have more high-paid players than England. No-one will be daft enough to play the patriotic card with over half the team Catalans! No, they will build on their experience of playing together as a highly technical team to try to overcome another great team who can get the best out of the likes of Dirk Kuyt, the Netherlands.

April 26, 2010

How Small Order led to Big Deal; Hand Pallet Trucks to Forklift Service Contract

Writing about web page http://www.bendigomitchell.com/

Hand pallet trucks inc scissor lift & high-lift trucksA small order for a single hand pallet truck
helped build a relationship with a new customer
that produced a valuable service contract
despite the highly competitive, low margin, pallet truck business.

I visited Brian Nealon of Bendigo Mitchell, a forklift specialist company in Kenilworth. He was very pleased with the improvements of their web presence but I was surprised when Brian went on to say.

My greatest satisfaction has been in the rapid increase in hand pallet truck enquiries/orders since Rob has got involved with us.

After years helping small businesses to attract their perfect, high value, customers I was surprised that Brian was so pleased with orders in a notoriously low-margin market!
He told me two stories to explain why.

The first was a one-off specialist hand pallet truck order from a new customer based in Oxfordshire. Brian drove down to deliver the truck only to find they’d ordered the wrong pallet truck. He agreed to take this special purchase into stock and arranged to ship the correct model. Days later they called again with a requirement for another department that actually wanted the first truck!

During this time he built up a real relationship and was delighted when they came back to ask him to discuss a service contract for their two fork lift trucks that BML now provide.

He was also quoting for another contract for a multinational for 300 hand pallet trucks per year on a rotating basis!

April 22, 2010

Knowledge Transfer by Outsourcing & Hiring Expert Skills

Writing about web page http://ppcPromotion.co.uk

Knowledge Transfer by Outsourcing & Hiring Expert Skills

The IDL's Leigh Blount met up recently with Rob McGonigle of PPC Promotion Ltd. Rob's company was one of the first spin-outs from the International Digital Lab. Rob described the development of his business that was built using two of our main Digital Lab tools, networking and knowledge transfer.

Networking, Partnerships & a random Cluster near Kenilworth

Pick and pack at E-WarehousingRob's client base was built up from networking & referrals. ABC Desks recommended their forklift supplier Bendigo Mitchell and E-Warehousing, their fulfilment partner, to use Rob for his AdWords campaigns and SEO. A security specialist led to a cluster of companies and partnerships in IT, health insurance, theatre tickets & wine cellars! This cluster, based in a barn conversion, required IT & strong internet pipes to launch their e-businesses. All of these companies are based within 3 miles of Kenilworth.

Knowledge Transfer in QA

Aerospace | Laser cutting to aerospace quality standardsRob has seen his more traditional engineering clients respond to regional initiatives such as SC21 to serve the aerospace industry. These have been achieving the AS9100 aerospace quality accreditation. One did this by bringing back an ex-employee who had achieved this with a company in the south. Mostly SME's hire in Quality Consultants with a proven record of setting up compliant systems. They cannot justify hiring their own QA Expert at over £50k per annum instead hiring the top skills for a few days per month.

Rob saw this as a real example of KT. The expert helps set up systems and trains the companies workforce so that they can take on the day to day implementation. The consultant can reduce their days per month and may eventually only be hired for practice audits and annual process reviews.

This approach is flexible and cost-effective but has risks. They have to pick the right expert. Again referrals and reference customers are often used with help from professional bodies & neutral experts such as WMG's MBE team or MAS-WM.

KT for Digital Marketing?

Anamytics FunnelRob sees only parts of digital marketing as suitable for outsourcing. Building relationships with existing clients and getting back in touch with old customers with email newsletters and regular communication should always be kept in-house. Small companies may need external help to set up emailer campaigns as well as to make changes to their website. Rob's own business PPC Promotion Ltd provides AdWords Management Services and helps monitor the results using Google Analytics. Rob optimises for the conversion rate and cost per conversion and not the Click-Through-Rate within Google's AdWords reports. Better CTRs increase Google's bottom line, whereas sales, leads and sign-ups will all help his clients to thrive.

The problem with many of these website and other digital services is picking the right partner. PPC Promotion offere a low risk approach. A free report with at least 3 tips that anyone, who wants to experiment with pay-per-click marketing, can try. Their proposals have no long-term tie-ins and like Google Adwords can be paused and revived. Rob has seen many companies who cannot easily make changes to their website, sometimes losing control completely. The next change 2 or 3 years later is often for the worse. Rob's research study of over 50 companies for his Open University Masters dissertation found that 50% broke their websites second time around. All of the websites that still worked had access to internal skills or independent advice from the likes of WMCCM, the NB2BC or the Digital Lab.

The first impression of a webpage can be fixed for good or bad within 50 milliseconds. Good creative skills are needed to get the correct 'look'. Rob has found that virtual teaming with the client and their developers can be very productive. The search marketing input brings in a stream of visitors. The website is where these are converted to customers. Even this balancing of two experts can be difficult for engineers who are experts in their own products and their applications. Taster sessions at the Digital Lab can help.

A different type of Knowledge Transfer

Other clients have already been self-taught in search engine marketing but want to go to the next level. These can find books, seminars or hire a specialist service such as PPC Promotion to take them to the next level with a view to taking over themselves. Two clients have already moved on to do SEM themselves. They need to keep in touch, networking and watching the changes in Google's algorithms.

Local listing top on Google for Birmingham Digital AerialsThis is where Rob sees a different type of KT. Lessons learned with one client can be deployed for the others, a full time Google watcher can spot the new trends faster.
Rob has learned from his clients. Digital Direct Aerials had real expertise in local listings using Yell.com. Together they exploited this approach on Google's Local Business Listings.

Google are treating more and more searches as being 'local' providing a map and some local businesses on the first page. So Rob has taken this knowledge to take many local listings to No. 1 on Google Search, above.

To get started networking with potential partners and customers or to explore knowledge transfer by outsourcing or more traditional research based KT get in touch with the Knowledge Transfer team at the Digital Lab.

For more information about PPC Promotion please follow this link

To get started networking with potential partners and customers or to explore knowledge transfer by outsourcing or more traditional research based KT get in touch with the Knowledge Transfer team at the Digital Lab.

January 28, 2010

Don't exclude Customers who speak other languages from your AdWords.

Writing about web page http://www.e-warehousing.co.uk/eWarehousing.aspx?id=12

When you publish a web page in English or bid on a keyword term like pick pack and dispatch you expect the search visitors will have used English words.

Yet the visitors to the CCM site, this first month of 2010 have used 66 languages. Looking at the keywords logs confirms that everyone did search using English as you would expect with a site written in English.

Here the language is being picked up from the visitor’s language settings.
Google AdWords notes the language set in Google’s search preferences, the interface language for the search button and links.

Even if Polish employees sets their preferences to Polish they will still work and search in English in the UK. Google is starting to highlight the limitation of most AdWords campaigns that only target English.

I set up a campaign around Cambridge and AdWords suggested targeting more languages, see below:
 Interface Language suggestions by Google AdWords

I had been setting the target languages to ALL for many years on AdWords until they removed this option and forced me to tick all 41 language options. Still it is good to see official confirmation of my old tactic. Now, can Google AdWords give me back the All Languages button please?

Why did I use E-Warehousing as my keyword example? Because they are going one better at their Spring Fair International stand by having a Chinese language speaker available. They have got a volunteer from WMG to help them link up Chinese exporters with their local, Kenilworth based, fulfilment service. Find E_Warehousing in NEC Hall 9, Stand H 32, from the 7th to the 11th Feb.

December 14, 2009

C&K Precision Engineers are latest CCM hosted website to migrate to MS Live.

Writing about web page http://ck-precision-engineers.co.uk/

C and K Precision Engineers Ltd, est 1969.I have posted before about CCM’s collaborative clusters and how these have been prototypes for Microsofts Live collaborative websites and spaces. WMCCM started with collaborative clusters and developed these into showcases, essentially collaborative webspaces. Microsoft’s Office Live sites started as business and school sites then offered private collaboration spaces.

CCM have reviewed and can recommend both these MS Live sites and the sites.google alternatives. We offered Matt Kelsall of C&K Precision Engineers up in Stoke on Trent these options but he chose the MS option because of the familiarity of the interface and modular approach.

Matt was able to create a website easily and found the images slideshow worked well. Hosting was straightforward by changing the DNS servers but he did have some problems with getting the new site onto Google. The SEO triple pack can be added to these sites but this is a bit of a bodge so he engaged PPC Promotion.

It was good to catch up with Matt and C&K Precision. They continue to thrive serving the rail, medical and engineering sectors with their 2 shift, responsive workshops providing precision machined components using CNC machining, fabrication and finishing that includes the polishing and marking of perspex.

November 19, 2009

Sitemaps can help save the Planet but only if you use lastmod Tags

Writing about web page http://www.bendigomitchell.com/hire.htm

Forklift Truck Hired by Bendigo MitchellI have been working with Bendigo Mitchell of Kenilworth to re-focus their website onto their casual forklift hire and longer term leasing and contract hire services. Working with their web-developers, eStirling, the changes were delivered to a trial area for review and approval.

Here I checked their XML sitemap to find that whilst ot did include the lastmod field these were all set to 2006, when the site was first published. One quick call and they updated it using an excellent tool with a good stylesheet making it very easy to verify.

The lastmod tag is important as it is this that saves the processor cycles at Google, Yahoo, Bing & Ask’s data centres. If you just re-submit the sitemap you force the spiders to check every page not just the changed content. Use wisely and the search engines return more often.

EPS thumb moldingsSometimes the built-in tool sets all the dates to the run time. There are two solutions to this. Run an external generator if your web-server accurately provides the changed dated. If all else fails you can just change the date manually. I can generate sitemaps easily for the www.james-hutton-pressings.com group of sites but when a couple of page changes inc. their James Hutton Mouldings about page, EPS Mouldings , it was quicker to do it by hand.

October 15, 2009

Decorative Concrete and the fading Art of Article Spinning

Writing about web page http://www.dekorbeton.com/

One of our first CCM website reports was delivered too late! A small plastics business in Hednesford had handed their website over, with £100 per month, to get to page 1 on Google.
PageRank of 4/10Their website was PageRanked 4/10, the same as Bentley Motors, because they were in the Open Directory Project’s DMOZ directory. By the time our report was sent the website had been removed from Google’s index because of the illegal techniques used by their so-called ‘SEO experts’. The same techniques also took bmw.de off the air, for days.

So CCM was always careful to recommend giving Google what they wanted, relevant content and links from pages about related topics. This is also what we want, the best results for our queries. The tactics moved on through link-swapping, link-farms etc and people continued to try to game Google and sell these services.
More recently many of my clients are asking about article publication services they’ve been pitched and I’ve heard a top UK ‘Internet Marketing Expert’ promote ‘article spinning’. So I decided to gather some real data.

concrete stamping patternOne of my clients, decorative concrete specialists, Dekorbeton, supply textured concrete stamping & overlay products. Based in Istanbul they hired English experts to keep their English language site content accurate with the correct navigation and tags etc. Their web experts also offered to create and publish featured links and specialist articles as an additional service. This lined up with a number of the carefully crafted services that I had seen offered.

The ‘internet marketing expert’, above, recommended a few good high quality links and loads of poor ones, the more the merrier.

PageRank Analysis by Market SamuraiWhen I investigated the in-links to www.dekorbeton.com I found this pattern, see the Market Samurai report summary, right. I drilled down to find their article content in sites such as EzineArticles and Articles3000. I followed 8 such sites providing 170 links, all from the 0/10 column. Now Google don’t provide comprehensive in-link data so I use Yahoo’s excellent SiteExplorer. Market Samurai’s tool does too then merging Google’s Pagerank data. So not every PR 0 link is in the Google index. I sampled 52 of the 170 article links to find that only 17 were indexed by Google! So 2/3 of these articles were a complete waste of time. (Based on 82% of Dekorbeton traffic coming from Google. Google’s search engine share was over 93%.)

decorative brick wallSome of the articles were very relevent on patios etc. and of good quality. Most used keywords in the link text such as ‘brick wall overlay but often these were down in the author’s details. Many were on vaguely related topics such as soft furnishings and hydroponics. I am grateful to the director at Dekorbeton giving permission to use their data. I also confirmed that her own efforts in adding comments and answers on blogs, forums and other Web2.0 sites had a far greater impact. This also was a good excuse to add some images from their site to break up this long post.

I cannot make the case against article-spinning based on just one example so I checked out the links to the site of the ‘internet marketing expert’. Position 1 for very competitive keywords, he was doing many things right. The pattern of links was as he recommended and similar to the pattern in the panel above. His articles, too, were rarely in the Google index. I have found clear evidence that article-spinning did work in the past but, like many other SEO tactics, its day has gone.

October 13, 2009

Local Companies provide excellent Project Opportunities for Students

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/about/people/profiles/robmcgonigle/

picking and packingThe CCM legacy of providing WMG’s Masters research projects with a real practical contribution and collaboration with innovative local companies has continued with my two posted projects for 2009-2010.

The first is with Kenilworth logistics specialists, E-Warehousing with a new e-fulfilment service storage, pick & pack etc.

The second is with LickWorX Original Music who are bring research-based custom music generation to the market.

For more details see Rob’s WMG staff page.

August 15, 2009

Google Sitelinks – A Guide to your Website

Writing about web page http://www.laserprocess.co.uk/contact.asp

I was posting a new sitemap after some website changes that my client has made to Google’s Webmaster Tools. I spotted that Laser Process had been given a Sitelinks Panel.

Google Sitelinks for LaserProcess

These panels, above, can help visitors to go straight to the part of the site they want to use. These also highlight the navigation panel words. If visitors cannot see the home page will they know what the pages are about? If not add better or more words.
So would these be better for Services and About Us?
Laser Cutting Services
Laser Cutting Capability


Collaborative Commerce marketplace

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