Friday, 16 November 2007

Facebook Fans

Introducing the Facebook Fan profile pages

If you have a company, a snazzy product, or a corporate champion blogger, then it maybe worth setting up a Fan site on Facebook. Before a fan or a competitor does it for you!

The majority of these fan pages are public which means (with focus on SEO) that people could find the Facebook Fan Club in the search engine result pages, visit the Facebook page and then visit your site.

Another bonus is that you can add links from the Fan page into your site (although no optimised link tags can be added).

Should you be lucky enough to establish a database of registered users on your Fan page, then you can use the group to send out updates to fans ie; changes to your website, add new products. The big bonus is that you are in control of the page, and to an extent can control the information.

Making this page before a fan is therefore key, as you want to be able to control the information to some extent.

The Bonus: When someone joins your Fan page, it is published in their News Feed for all their friends to see (unless they have this turned off). Spreading viral messages..

Its free and takes minutes to set up.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Google’s Europe Market Share Update

Google have recently supplied me with data on their Market Share in Europe, sharing information with you

Point to note: Google are unable to locate any recent data regarding the Google Market Share in other countries. They don't actually carry out research related to the search market share themselves. Therefore, they do not always have access to the latest figures. The studies are usually carried out at a country level by companies such as Neilsen, MediaMetrix and CommScore.

Overall, Google reaches 89% of all European Search Engine users (March 2007). The breakdown across countries is as follows:

The below review relates to March 2007 (most up to date!) data on Google’s Search Engine Market Share in Europe and notes (where stats available from Sept 2006) whether there has been an increase or decrease in search engine market share by country.

I await Google market share on the Rest of the World.

United Kingdom
25.3M unique Google users
74% search referral share (interestingly no change)
79% Google reach


3.8M unique Google users
93% search referral share (increase)
79% Google reach

2.4M unique Google users
90% search referral share (increase)
75% Google reach

2.1M unique Google users
95% search referral share (increase)
74% Google reach

984K unique Google users
80% search referral share (increase)
69% Google reach

7.7M unique Google users
74% search referral share (decrease)
69% Google reach

1.5M unique Google users
77% search referral share (increase)
55% Google reach

2.6M unique Google users
94% search referral share (increase)
68% Google reach

2.9M unique Google users
60% search referral share
23% Google reach

3.9M unique Google users
86% search referral share (increase)
71% Google reach

16.7M unique Google users
83% search referral share
75% Google reach

20.9M unique Google users
84% search referral share (decrease 1%)
80% Google reach

27.6M unique Google users
86% search referral share
74% Google reach

14.9M unique Google users
94% search referral share
85% Google reach

2.9M unique Google users
90% search referral share (5% increase)
77% Google reach

Monday, 5 November 2007

Green is the new black

Have you been on MSNs new Green Channel yet ?

They are offering environmental news content from conservation & environment orgs and useful tools & quizzes to access how environmentally friendly you are, or not as the case may be.

Green really is the new black, I have been advising clients where possible, to explain their Eco-stance on their websites. Following the increasing trend of consumers looking for green information to assist in their decision making process (at the shopping basket).

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Trend Spotter Alert !!

This will be a quick post, just to outline, how you should really delve into Web Site Analytics.

It is important to be curious, asking the "Why?", never jump to conclusions and when looking at peaks and troughs, always have an open mind.

It is after that exercise that you can pull out your marketing plan, and say oh, it is because of my Yahoo Banner ad, that I had more conversions, or it's due to that article I submitted to XY directory. But don't look at the plan, until after your 1st review, as you may miss something rather interesting, with the question: Why ?

When on the search for trends (Google Alerts is a good one), look cross industry and notice the changes in customer expectations on and offline. When did X site realise that a helpful online assistant would be essential in their transactions.

I am noticing lately that the social, in social networking is on the rise, with industry experts posting articles on their blog, about their home lives. Connecting in a personal manner is the new way of doing business (Quote: "Sarah G"), it is knowing where to settle which is the issue (Quote: "Sarah G")

My advice and sure would be others too is to not just look at your competition, look outside, get inspiration from everywhere, and do something totally different from the one in which you are next to in natural search or sponsored listings.

Generalising is the key. I will be back with my generalisations shortly....

Sarah G

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Something new in Analytics

The "Big G", Google have announced that in the next coming weeks that they will be adding some new features for its users.


Site search: Find out what people search for on your site

Interaction: Allow you to find out how users on your site interact/engage with Ajax, Flash and Multimedia (to give clearer picture of page view metrics)

Where visitors go: Looking at whether they have clicked on any outbound links on your site – this is an interesting one !

Launched in Beta to review outgoing links.

For more information, see the blog post from Google themselves:

Friday, 19 October 2007

Facebooks getting personal

The Wall Street Journal posted this article about Facebooks plan to launch a new advertising system which will target ad delivery to Facebookers based on the profile information they submit.

It is aimed that in the near future the system will even be able to 'predict' (Minority report stylee: "How's your sweater") what they are interested in, trawling other information on the page, even before the Facebooker submits their interests.

Although Facebook has a higher advertising rate, than other search mediums (aka:Google) it is thought that via enhanced targeting, upmarket facebookers, that this advertising avenue, will definately be one to watch, as right now my thought on the subject is that, it seems logical that Facebook will provide attractive conversion rates.

Interesting times are ahead, could Facebook become the new Google, when looking for and generating customers. Or will Facebookers flock elsewhere if the commercial nature becomes too rife. Already we have flyers along the side and seeing ads being displayed within the new feeds sections.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Optimising content & links

These are all steps I've known about in the search engine world for over 5 years, now putting finger to keyboard and sharing with you.....

Search Engine Optimisation steps to take:

Step 1:

You need to review target audience, what are their needs, optimise site around these needs. Look for online studies for demographic information, visit other sites, social communities where audience reside online.

Step 2:

The selection of keywords should be based on campaign strategy, competition, products & volume. We research keywords using, tools such as WordTracker, Overture keyword checker (currently offline) & data from Google & Yahoo search marketing accounts. E-consultancy reported (2006) that over half of the online audience now use phrases that are 3 words or longer in their search queries, this further indicates need for key-phrase analysis to determine the most appropriate. Studies have highlighted that it is important to note the different themes used in search, when choosing appropriate key phrases:

Search themes (courtesy and thanks sent to e-consultancy) include:

Comparison: compare hotels
Price: cheap holidays
Intended use: family holiday in September
Product type: package holiday
Product spec/feature: Hotel with spa facilities
Brand: Seymour Hotels
Location: Hotel Jersey
Action: Book Hotel Jersey

Google’s keyword tool is a great way to generate synonyms and variations of your existing keywords. It also predicts monthly search volume on Google for previous month, based on campaigns locaiton and language settings, and gives indication (if interested in PPC) of the number of advertisers bidding on each keyword across all of the Adwords.

With regards to competition analysis, the below tool could be used to identify the most common key-phrases listed on each page of competitiors sites, showing 2nd, 3rd and 4th most popular key-phrases.

We also use the advanced search syntax for competitor benchmarking in Google and identify pages that perform well through googling [“keyphrase”].

Step 3:

Base site architecture and navigation on the audience & keyword research in step 1 and 2, ie: If site sells Shampoo, consider how could categorise so people find what they are looking for in natural search, ie: are people looking for Shampoo for Coloured Hair or are the searches more brand related. Set themes, as this will assist with setting future objectives, performance, and ongoing optimisation. For example for retailers themes would be based around product ranges, categories and subcategories.

Structure of the site is also about labelling content in the most appropriate way & making link journeys relevant for spiders and humans with this in mind place appropriate keywords in filenames.

Step 4:

Make sure the website is suitable for users and search engine spiders. Spiders are unable to fill out forms, read JavaScript links, and they sometimes have trouble with Flash. We can use these areas, as long as we make sure that we provide alternative HTML links in the navigation. Ask E-scape Interactive about the document (in continual progress) titled ‘code considerations’ document for more details.

Step 5:

Where possible you should look as every link as an opportunity, and be descriptive (within reason) with every link, be it general more information ‘on subject’ link, link to image, video clip – it is important that using Alt & Title attributes that we let the spiders know what they can expect at the other end of the link . The online sitemap should be given close SEO attention.
We have experiene in optimising both videos and images, ask E-scape Interactive for details.

Step 6:

Search engines need to read keyword rich text to help them determine what the website is about. As mentioned before the copy produced should be based on the chosen keyword phrases and the sites target market needs. Looking at generating a keyword density of 3 – 7%. (No more than 10%) within the text.

Step 7:

Place the important and page relevant keyword phrases into each pages unique Title Tag. Typically between: 10 to 15 keywords (60 – 70 characters). The information you place in this text will appear as clickable link in search engines. Also make sure that the meta description is focused on the page content. Remember that just 15-20 words (approx: 150 – 180 characters) of the meta description are visible within the SERPS of Google. Keywords in the meta data are now not deemed as vital, however useful for engines which use meta crawlers. Use 5 to 8 keyphrases maximum otherwise there will be a dilution effect which will decrease keyword density

A good example of keyword density can be found by Googling, Yahooing, or Live searching for Cycle breaks Jersey: There are 266 words on this Seymours page (which ranks 1 or 2) 10 of which are the keyphrases, giving a keyword density of 3.75%. Which is about right for number of words on the page, note also the link off the page.

Step 8:

All the search engines place weight on the sites overall link popularity when determining the natural search engine placement. With this in mind it is important to make sure that the site is link worthy ie: is it full of useful information, updated content. Then people will link to the site without asking. Another way of creating links is contacting directories (relevant & quality ones), increase reach in Blogs, Forums, niche portals, and if e-commerce site shopping portals (ie: Froogle & Ebay).

Hint 1: You can find people to link to by putting this into Google "niche word""add url" or "niche word" "add site".

Hint 2: You can find all links to your site by putting this into Google to exlude internal links put in, and to find niche directories put in: intitle:"word directory".

Link building is an important practice, as with all other steps, relevancy is key. Steer away from link farms and be selective in who you decide to create link partnerships with.

The best way to assess links in is to use the Site Explorer tool at Yahoo, placing relevant code within your meta data.

This is your basic list - next step is integrating your results with your sales & marketing strategies.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Ebay Optimisation

Useful Ebay stats

  • Ebay was founded in 1995, Ebay UK was launched in 1999.
  • Ebay has a global consumer base of 244 million registered users (as at 10/9/07)
  • At any given time ebay UK has 3 million items listed and growing.
  • Ebay UK is the 2nd most popular site in the UK with 2.51% market share.See:
  • The most expensive item sold on eBay to date is a private business jet for $4.9 million.
Two strategies for using Ebay

1. Sell products

2. Use as a customer acquisition tool, and sell products at minimal profit, grow customer base.

Making Ebay a customer acquisition tool

Advice is to include a link to the off eBay website in the: “About me” page. You can also place on opt-in form in there to collect people’s e-mail addresses, so you can build relationships with customers and promote products to the customers in the future. The “About Me” page is the most important area, some do’s to use this page properly.

1. Include link to the off ebay website in the ‘About me page’ – and encourage visitors to see other products.
2. Include an opt in form on the page, to encourage sign up add promotion, newsletter, something free.
3. Also in the auction listing encourage people to visit the ‘About me’ page. Possibly ask them to read FAQ – about shipping & delivery.
4.When someone does buy something from ebay, important to get in the habit ofsending out a ‘thank you for your custom/order’, if available invite them to sign up tonewsletter, so that you can then get this customer on the ‘opt in’ list. Important tonever email, without ‘opt in’ as the customer could complain and ebay will close theebay shop.

Make sure you follow the ebay rules:

  • Don't include any links to your off-eBay website in your auction listings.
  • Don't include any links to your website in your eBay store or custom pages.
  • Don't include an opt-in offer in your auction listings or eBay store.
  • Don't automatically add your auction customers or visitors to your opt-in list.

Basically the above means don’t try and send people off eBay or collect their information for marketing purposes on your auction listings, your eBay store or any of your customer pages.

How do you take advantage of eBay?

1. Recommended: Selling Manager Pro

Monthly fee – this application will: automatically list and re-list items for you plus:
Inform buyers by auto notification
Let you know when payment has been received
Tell you what items you have shipped
Provide Auto feedback upon buyer payment
Allow the scheduling of items
Offer Reporting
Allows you to Design Professional Listings
Restock alerts

It also allows client to create professional & business like listings which are similar to company website. Mimic the company website for integrated brand communications. Example of company using Ebay as a successful sales and customer acquisition tool:

Ebay shop example - good integration from ebay shop to site

About us section
Public website

EBay Shop set up – four quick steps via Ebay

1. Build and customise shop (Your online marketing agency can assist with this)
2. Manage listing and sales
3. Promote shop
4. Track shop traffic & sales.

Useful Ebay Firefox Addon

Understanding social media & social network marketing optimisation

It is important to think beyond Google, Yahoo, MSN (main road) as traffic drivers to your site (via search engine marketing) and to consider the potential of the social side streets (new neighbourhoods).

Hitwise (June 07) state:

“Social networking has firmly established itself as one of the most popular online activities, with the top 20 social networks accounting for 4% of UK Internet visit, up 79% year on year”.

This growth has increased the amount of traffic that they distribute to commercial websites as Social networks are not just about finding friends, they are also about sharing interesting content. Businesses can take advantage of the networks by listening to what their target market is saying and engaging them with relevant content.

Social marketing is about making your data/messages available to potential site visitors no matter where they are on the web (ie:YouTube, Directories, Flickr, Image search). It allows for the design of more targeted messages to groups found in online communities.

For further information on implementing social media into your marketing strategy read on:

Social Marketing Optimisation

The main goal in social marketing optimisation should be, to deliver the right message to the right people and for those then to pass the message onto others. That is known as viral. An additional benefit of Social Marketing Optimisation is increased presence in the search result pages & increased traffic into your website. Two tactics for optimising social media are listed below;

*Create Compelling copy that people want to pass on.
*Optimise on Text, Images and Videos by tagging and indexing them properly.

Words of advice for people new to social media

Before you can determine social media goals it is important for you to:

*Go online without an agenda and listen to conversions – especially those around your brand.

*Participate in conversations

*Comment in blogs

*Set up own blog, group, community based on popular themes or possibly missing themes.

*Start to use social media sites that will be useful for you: such as Digg or, Stumble upon.

*Consider how social networks can be matched to your target audience ie: for SEO audience Sphinn better than Digg.

*Consider how much time you can invest to communicate to your target audience.

*Don’t jump straight in and promote your company in the networks, this is bad practice, it is important to pay attention to the ongoing conversions, spend time their, build up your authority to ‘related or unrelated to your brand’ answers. This will provide you with credibility & trust which on click on link through to your website, will lead to improved ROI.

*Note that in the terms and conditions on the majority of social network sites, it states that profiles made are for personal and non commercial use only, so strong word of advice: make sure you don’t directly sell and are using it for the objective to increase awareness and traffic to your site.

Interested in social media optimisation steps to take

Seek help as to why you need to move into social media and how it could benefit you. Link the social media planning into the goals in which you are trying to accomplish within your own marketing campaigns. For example should you wish to promote your brand then YouTube (engaging videos) may be the most successful place for you to send out a viral message.
Alternatively if a major focus is that you wish to generate more links and increase your reach then creating content that can be promoted on a social news-site could be best. As well as compelling text it is also important to make sure that all the social media campaigns are optimised for search engines.

Should you be running an E-commerce site, then note that several recent studies have indicated that word of mouth has the greatest impact in purchase decisions. If a customer can see on/off your site what people with similar interest and needs are buying then this is likely to sway their decision.

In summary it is important to:

*Identify where your influencers are online
*Create the right content
*Let the consumer take control.

Create your own network

The biggest opportunity within the social network arena is to build a community within your own site, so your visitors can share their experiences and if applicable shopping lists.

Word of advice would be to set the tone right for your target market, to make sure you reach out to those people who have a particular admiration or enthusiasm for your product or service.

Should you be running an E-commerce site then you will know that consumers no longer just shop, but they also share insights into their shopping experiences and purchases. This has been named ‘social retailing’. Social retailing on or off your site can be used as an information gathering tool. Example of social retailing on a site could be: “Save products in your locker, share you locker with a friend or someone who is interested in same products as you”.

To entice this activity provide a reward scheme, where they receive points for contributions and best answers. Possibly you could provide incentive if reach X amount of reward points.

Should you run a social network off your site then it is important you make sure you follow the rules (T&Cs) at the social network sites, as several state that use of page can be for personal use only meaning no direct selling.

Did you know ? that Expedia have a Myspace page – in which they invite customers to share their travel experiences with the opportunity to win a holiday. Travelocity & Priceline also have MySpace pages. I wonder which page has the most friends……

If your social network site / page has a non commercial focus, make sure on launch you invite your readers/visitors to let you know what they would like to see on the group, whether an application (Facebook) would be useful and whether they have any ideas. Get the community involved, create a dialogue and build a relationship. Never sell directly, but do engage and build trust.

Spread the love

Best practice to spread links in the social marketing arena is to create compelling copy that people would want to share and discuss. Consider the potential of creating a simple way for your readers who have other Web sites to easily syndicate your content on their own pages.
Also if creating your own social network remember that constant innovation/something different is key to capture and keep your target.

Developing a social media plan

*Learn what people are looking for online and give it to them.

*Understand about the different target markets in social networks, ie; how does Facebook differ from Myspace & Bebo.

*Identify who are the major social influencers in social media in your industry.

*Consider creating an index, feedreader to track what they are saying. Utilise Google Alerts.

*Consider that these influencers are additional targets to reach.

*Develop a plan should you fail to deliver and people comment on poor service /product. Make sure all acknowledgements are dealt with promptly & honestly.

*Consider creating an internal blog for your employees, they can share tips and ideas on how to grow the site and consumer base.

Challenges in measuring the success of a social media campaign

*Instead of tracking page views, engagement has become the new buzz word in social marketing ROI tracking.

*Review whether visitors arrived from a social network? Which network?

*Review whether there been an influx of visitors 3 months after posting RSS news story on company.

*Review any interaction with marketing messages on and off the site?

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Less search bang for your buck !

At the end of last week Google Adwords announced that they are changing the rules re: Top ad placement criteria.

This is to take effect in the next few weeks. The wording they have supplied to explain the change is pretty confusing: How the formula for ad placement is changing

It my quest to understand it further, making a note of where we currently are and where Google are taking us, plus my thoughts on the change.

At this present time the top position is determined via a combination of quality score relevance of ad text to page – (rule which was brought out about this time last year) and your ‘actual’ CPC.

The new formula takes into account the quality score (criteria I like as relates to relevancy and customer journies) and the maximum CPC.

Google imply that this is a positive change stating:

“Actual CPC is determined, in part, by the bidding behavior of the advertisers below you. This means that your ad’s chance of being promoted to a top spot could be constrained by a factor you cannot influence. By considering your ad’s maximum CPC, a value you set, you will have more control over achieving top ad placement”

However I am viewing this change (and could be wrong) that it gives the larger companies who have more funds assigned to Google PPC more chance of appearing at the top spot. (Big plus for the big players).

This was against Google’s grass routes, who originally said that their system allowed everyone with a chance for stardom in the top tables, even in paid.

I’m not overjoyed at this change, as believe larger companies will place in a larger budget and let ads ride (without tweaking ads).

It also stops current control over PPC activity by smaller companies within FMGCs categories.

There could be more chance for you appearing if you have a niche product ie: ECO bags.

But with larger firms diversifying all the time and being more up to date with consumer trends (with social network uptake and realtime consumer research) will their be any room in the top listing table for smaller players. I think not.

Possible impact of this is that the smaller players will now have to rely on recommendations in social networks, (this thought warrants another post).

Google originally were looking for quality and relevancy in paid search. Now they are looking for quality and ££££££££££.

As I am struggling to find a positive, I will be looking out for other peoples thoughts on the above and will post here.

I will also be viewing my Google accounts to see whether this has an impact, and looking at Yahoo which has always had a lower CPC, and as Yahoo is on a steady increase since 2006, could be one to watch.

Incidently this practice reminds me of Tescos - their large 24/7 store and then Tesco Express as your corner shop - I wonder if this off line activity will echo now in paid search and we will loose our local shops from Google paid forever !!

(Note to colleague: Thanks Julia for the Tesco thought)

Go to the Tesco Store Locator put in Bournemouth and you will see 14 Tescos in the area. Where are the local convenience stores ! there is no room....

Possibly Paid search will be a place for the larger brands and natural to give chance to the smaller niche brands.

Another thought is that people could go to Yahoo (more in touch with networking with answers) and find their smaller players in sponsored results there.

Time will tell......

Disgruntled with Google Sarah

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Exploring Yahoo Site Explorer

Yahoo Site Explorer

I never really saw any point submitting to Yahoo Site Explorer, as Yahoo spiders search the web and will find the site. However an old search colleague informs me that it is worth while tool to use and good way to manage website. Especially if one of the main aims is to increase in links to the site. Which for new sites, this is a must, and would be nice to have a tool, which has most authority to do the job.

So aim to test it.

Features include the normal list of ‘inlinks’ to the site, which are regularly cited as being a more accurate picture of your links in regards to the ones reporting by Google. (which from experience is well off the mark).

Lets you know last time the Yahoo spider visited / cached the page/site, so good for reporting impact of SEO changes.

Tells you all the subdomains it is aware of at the site.

Apparently gets websites indexed quicker !

Allows you to submit a feed – and finds your feeds quicker.

It also makes sure Yahoo knows the correct language of your site, not sure what the steps are though if states you are talking Double Dutch !

All you need to do is place a new Meta Tag with Y!Code on the sites home page.

Will watch out for impact with interest,


Monday, 30 July 2007

Understanding Duplicate Penalties

Duplicate Penalties

Penalty in the search world means that search engines will punish a website for violations against the search engines terms of service. The punishment includes removal of the website from the search engine listings.

There is a ‘duplicate content penalty’ for content that is duplicated with little change on a single site. There is also a ‘mirror penalty’ for content that is more or less duplicating another single site.

Swings and Roundabouts

Should your content be reproduced on another site, you will not incur a penalty as Google look at a lot of other factors beyond just the content of the page, ie: links. however should that site have a higher page rank than your site, it is likely that link to the article on the other site, will be listed higher than our own website.

However by adding a link, you can increase your chances of receiving visits to your site by adding more entry points.

Targeted traffic

Allowing customers or people with a common interest to your proposition toplace blog feeds, or place your articles on their site, will increase the number of targeted visitors to your site. Also if the article is posted on a relevant to your proposition site, then the links from this will increase your search engine listing position.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Local Search coming to a neighbourhood near you

Your Local Search listing

An increased number of people now use local search engines to find businesses online.

Indicating that presence in a local search engine would be a positive move to increase your traffic and links to your site. Due to Google’s launch of Universal Search, which integrates vertical search networks into the results, there is an increasing need to build presence in local search.

Google Maps was launched in 2005 as a development off their local search service, which linked in with the Yellow pages listings.

It has recently been enhanced further as they now offer businesses with the opportunity to add more detailed information, such as: extra contact details, logos, images, business descriptions, payment mentions etc. You can also post promotions on the site which users can print out bring along to the shop (if you have one!).

The thought is that as local search marketing and the vertical networks grow in importance, and when mobile search services develop then the need to have placement in local listings will indeed increase.

Is this the end of the Yellow Pages?

Do you search locally? Hotel in Jersey, Flowers, Plants from Jersey, Cheap DVDs Jersey,
e-Marketing Agency Jersey. I am sure you do.

More and more people now turn to the internet to help with their local searches. As well as appearing in local search engines, forums, directories you should work at making your websites location friendly, so that it is responsive to search queries which have a location basis.
You can do this by letting people know where you are based within your content and title. Where possible you should also add your site to local directories, forums where people go to find your products.

Online submissions

The main local search engines with map technologies include:

Google Maps – Can add listings via local business centre

Yahoo Local! – Powered by Info Serve

MSN live search – will be made live with link from ThomsonDirectories / Thompson Local (see below)

You can also submit to:

Yellow Pages - £360 a year.

Info Serve - feeds Yahoo Local and City Visitor plus a range of local search engines

Thomson local - free, Live Search buy the data from Thompson Local and put on their site, there is no obligation on their part to add each and every listing ie: they are allowed to be selective. From submitting to Thompson Directories it takes 4 to 6 weeks for it then to be on Thompson Local, then around 2 months to appear on Live Search (who buy the data).

192 - costs start at £192 - this also provides free entry onto - however currently only UK focus (Not the Channel Islands)

UK Top local listings - Local directory - costs min £8.99

The most local one for Jersey I can find is a Directory site with a Jersey section here:

NB: At this present date Google Maps service currently cover United States, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, the UK, China, and Japan. Jersey is indeed a part of the UK, however not all of our 12 parishes yet are listed, however I have a nudger at Google, and have you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your letters to get Jersey firmly on the map. My quest here continues.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Word of Web Marketing – is the new Word of Mouth Marketing

The Word on the Web

Building networks, contacting people in a similar mind/social set is what social networks are all about. There are trends indicating that people are moving away from distracting media sources and embracing those which embrace user generated content.

The challenge for companies is to know how to strategically place your company in the social network arena for commercial gain.

As User Generated Content grows, we can predict that more people will aim to find out about the product creator before purchase. Q: How many people have you Googled? Before a meeting?

Upon finding you in a social network, the consumer feels that they have more direct contact, and if you set the tone right, builds familiarity and trust with your brand/s.

Along with the offer of customised features & page design, MySpace offers a multitude of ways to contact/attract your potential consumers via: groups, forums, messages, events, blogs, videos, and classified advertising

Your profile should focus on the most remarkable aspect of your brand/proposition. Make sure your story is a persuasive one, which will not only appeal to your target market but that will compel them to find out more and support you by buying your products.

Focus should be given to tone of page, images, message, and your profile header. You can send your viewers/friends Bulletins on your new offers, invite/encourage them to tell others about you by including something for your readers to pass on, funny videos, unique pictures etc. (Remember word of web)

Recent statistics from analysts at comScore Media Metrix found that the most dramatic growth in the use of social networking sites was occurring among 25- to 34-year-olds, and the number of users aged 35 and older had grown by 98 per cent between May 2006 and May 2007.

Due to the above we are in direct contact with the social media giants as we continue our personal quest to discover their full potential.

For more statisitcs on social networks see the links from this story at the Independent:

"The Big Question: What is the point of sites such as Facebook, and should you join up?"

Plus below articles:

AdAge: Would You Let These People Friend You?

Adweek: Facebook Spawns Ad Networks

Newsweek: Facebook Grows Up

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Search Timeline

History of search

1995 - AOL got people on the Internet

1999 - Yahoo Organised it

2003 - Google made it searchable

2007 - Facebook made it socialable

e-Scape Interactive envisage that the future of search will be focused around the power of the new social networks, with consumer decisions based on other peoples opinions/recommendations. We envisage that search engines of the future will display information based on: Personalisation (Vertical search & social book-marking) and intent (to buy/order/rent etc). It’s just a thought, and builds of the martini effect, anytime, anyplace, anywhere – by adding what do you want it for, what do you want to do with it. We would be interested to hear your thoughts on where you believe the future of search will be and what your ideal search engine would look like, so if you are passing by, feel free to comment:

Google / Facebook / MySpace / Someplace else ?

Writing articles is a great way to drive traffic to a website

Why article submission

As well as being a good source of PR, I heard on the grape/webvine that article submission is a quicker way to build links, in comparison to contacting directory editors submission times.

Article sites generally make the article live with the company link straight away, as they are keen to get fresh new content on their pages.

It makes sense.

Another advantage of article submission is having them republished in some other persons blog (in theory this should related to your proposition). This will help increase visitors to your site, create new links, which in turn will assist your placement in the natural search engine results pages.

You can stumble across a few issues with article submission as several of the article publishers don’t follow the same rules:
  • Some won’t add links (wasted effort for SEO, good for PR)
  • Some sites need HTML coding – although don’t state that (unfortunately sometimes find out after submission, when link is shown as not a live one)
  • Some offer article templates which are great for bulk submissions as you can copy and paste some sections ie: Category & Author.

Tips: Place article in Dream weaver the view source and copy and paste the code. or add the code yourself and place in own tags

ie:Bold anything you want in bold should go between 'b' tags
italic anything you want in italic should go between 'i' tags
and you can create a Href link to your site with name of choice. YourWebSite

More tags can be found here:

A lot of the article sites, state that you are free to republish the articles as long as the links to article site and the author/site stay with the article. I am currently collating a list of Article submission sites, and struggling to find those UK focused article submission sites, should you be reading this and have any links, happy to receive.

Tip: When writing articles – provide an introduction filled with unique keywords, and finish off the article with some keyword filled comments.

Interactive Mobile Marketing

Mobile Marketing

I aim to keep up to speed with the Interactive Mobile Marketing medium and its capabilities. Reviewing how mobile can engage customers:

Big players in UK include the below:

Response Mobile
Sponge – UK market leader in mobile marketing applications.
Dennis publishing - Head here focused on integration of the medium (Background in Multi Channel Business, Mobile, Digital, TV, Kiosks and Messenging)

Quest to get data on

Which handsets drive consumer service adoption?
What is the demo profile of users of video services?
Music services ? News and info services ?
What market trends in mobile will open up new business opportunities ?
Mobile = Interactivity, Content, Sales Promo (Get sample, brochure), Advertising (TXT/AD -118, MTV) Direct response, Customer service & CRM (Remind me of flight – Orange Wednesdays, Gym Membership, Tickets)

Managed services would include

Some companies charge a one of platform fee, others a by application fee. Expect to pay between £2K to £10K

Expect to pay between £500 - £1500 a month
Dedicated short codes will cost additional £1K

SMS – 6p outbound message
MMS – 30p per outbound message (less than 30kb)
WAP Push – 9p each.

Bespoke costs:
Creative copy, solution design, database creation and management, WAP site design and build, Project management

Tasks in setting up a mobile campaign

Setting up a keyword and short code combination

Creating or receiving a file of unique codes that appear on the product, Creating a validation process that will check such codes when receivd.

Creating a bounce-back message of messages and associating them with known incoming words (B this includes establishing misspellings and variants)

Database creation and profiling (inc: Capturing ongoing permission when appropriate)

Capacity planning (esp where volume ‘spikes’ are expected and/or known)

Testing (all known outcomes and timescales within Service Levels)

Performance monitoring

Close down and reporting

Vertical Networks

Targeted categories: Will search engines be focused on these in the future ?

If I think of any more will add below:

· Automotive
· Business & Finance
· Computers & Internet
· Conservation
· Eco Warriors
· Education
· Family
· Fashion & Apparel
· Films
· Food & Drink
· Gadgets & Games
· Gambling
· Gay & Lesbian
· Health & Fitness
· Hobbies
· Home Improvement
· Humour
· Kids & Teems
· Legal
· Marketing
· Men
· Mobile Communications
· Music
· Parenting
· Pets & Animals
· Politics & Government
· Recreation & Sports
· Relationships
· Self Help
· Travel & Leisure
· Web Development
· Women
· Work
· Writing & Reading

Get to grips with the Gartner Hype Cycle

The Hype Cycle (Gartner's 1995 model)

Basically, the hype cycle measures the buzz as well as the adoption rate.
It doesn't necessarily relate to the long-term utility - or success - of a phenomenon.
That is something that only time will tell.

For further information see:

WikiPedia link
Introduction to the 5 phrases to 'hype cycle'

5 phrases of the Hype Cycle taken from

1. "Technology Trigger"The first phase of a Hype Cycle is the "technology trigger" or breakthrough, product launch or other event that generates significant press and interest.

2. "Peak of Inflated Expectations"In the next phase, a frenzy of publicity typically generates over-enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations. There may be some successful applications of a technology, but there are typically more failures.

3. "Trough of Disillusionment"Technologies enter the "trough of disillusionment" because they fail to meet expectations and quickly become unfashionable. Consequently, the press usually abandons the topic and the technology.

4. "Slope of Enlightenment"Although the press may have stopped covering the technology, some businesses continue through the "slope of enlightenment" and experiment to understand the benefits and practical application of the technology.

5. "Plateau of Productivity"A technology reaches the "plateau of productivity" as the benefits of it become widely demonstrated and accepted. The technology becomes increasingly stable and evolves in second and third generations. The final height of the plateau varies according to whether the technology is broadly applicable or benefits only a niche market.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Reviewing Success of a Blog

Blog Analytics

In reviewing strengths & opportunities of a clients non commercial Blog (links into e-Commerce site), I identified that review should not be on traffic alone, and should be based on several other factors these are listed below:

Don’t review apples with bananas!

Links to the client’s Blog have been optimised via increased appearance in Blog directories and answer engines. The directories have been seen to have an impact on the rise in traffic. One Blog page in particular drives the most traffic to the site, and I seek to find out where this traffic comes from (organic, links, paid search, rss feeds).

The fact that one Blog post (new or old) can have a big impact on traffic to site, bothers me. In that it becomes difficult to state X happened because of Y. Possibly it could be something on the news previous evening that spurred an interest in a particular field. Due to the above influx, it is important to also identify other factors when reviewing Blog performance. Factors which I propose for Blog review outlined below:

Influential inbound links

In the Blog world quality comes from influence. A small group of the right people (Martini effect), reading and linking to your Blog can have a huge impact on your influential stakes, by web users and search engine spiders alike. The challenge will be finding a way to break into these groups and using analytics identifying who they are. Blog & site review sites will be of benefit to promote your site to the right people, publish your status, as a Blog that is here to stay.

One link on an influential Blog (with lots of links off page & in) is better than 30 odd links on random Blogs that no one links to, especially if the links on the influential Blog are centred around propositions similar to your brands. It will also be of benefit to increase the amount of links from key social networking sites including Dig it, Del.ici.ous.

At this present time I am unsure as to whether RSS feeds will be listed in analytics tracking as an RSS feed or whether we will see a website which has the RSS feed embedded as a referrer. Finding out (will report back here).

On the clients Blog, we currently have the opportunity for people to social bookmark, however is everyone aware of how to use these tools ?

Will be proposing that we provide advice area on social bookmarking to help increase these links in.

Reviewing Blog position

I have highlighted to client that for the Blog to appear on the first page of natural search results focus needs to be given to products and core proposition. At the same time it should be noted that the Blog is there to act as a companion to the e-Commerce site, so we don’t appear to have timeshare tactics and more of ‘fruit & veg first in the supermarket’ approach. Is the blog appearing for brand related terms, if not need to build further.

Appearing highly in natural listings will:

Provide the Blog with a status that your Blog is indeed influential

With influence and ranking status more people will link to you, from you.

Allow you to exploit your status by providing readers ways to advertise your site (link criteria and logos).

Reviewing Blog brand name position

As well as having a product focus it is also beneficial if your Blog ranks highly for keywords associated with you brand. Reviewing position with regards to company name, your tag line, your personal name. This will indicate how much search engines notice your Blog in general.

Tone of the Blog

Showing the readers your passion for your proposition is of great benefit. You should be speaking to your customers in a way in which they can gain respect from you and your business.
Propose that where possible build on advice aspect (place links to Blog in answer engines) and provide your readers with more timely information ie: Event dates.

Reputation Management

Consider sponsorship – publish in Blog.

Consider who else could contribute to your Blog – another influencial blogger?

Create posts on topical discussions that relate to your brand

Add links to brand related associations & express interest in these
Increase useful content: To link from Answer Engines

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Social Network Marketing Trends listed July 07

Recent 2007 trends include:

Face book overtaking MySpace in share of UK Internet searches - (reported by Hitwise)

Growth of Podcasts

Uptake of photo sharing software

Google bought You Tube & now offer web-wide video search.

Microsoft are going to launch a service similar to You Tube

Yahoo’s ‘Flickr’ added multilingual capabilities

Rumour that Yahoo are keen to buy Bebo, the UK’s leading social network site (as the mo), which would increase their presense in the UK market.

You Tube launched nine new international sites

Google now offer web-wide video search on Google video

e-Marketing on the move: MSN recently launched mobile portal, Google mobile and Yahoo! One search.

WebTV / Apple TV / surf in the living room TV.

Search Statistics July 07

Stats from: e-Consultancy
Report title: UK Search Engine Marketing Report 2007

Respondents included: Agencies and companies from Retail: Financial Services; Travel; Publishing.

Interesting that 44% of responders to this survey don’t track paid search and about 64% don’t track SEO ROI either. Companies with over 1 million turn-over likely to outsource SEM – less than 1million majority conduct SEM in house (and with agency)

Search Engine usage: 87% Google – 45% Yahoo – 33% MSN – 11% Miva – 6% Ask. Google outperforms on other factors – however Yahoo & MSN score well for quality of visitor (even though low traffic).

Google's Radical Update May 16th 2007

Did you notice?

Have you ever noticed the boxes/links which appear above the Google Search box (where you enter your keyword), do you use them ? In general many people don’t, however for your reference these additional areas are known in the Web World as ‘vertical search engines’, where you can search a specialised area ie: Images, News, Maps, Product, Groups, Scholar, More>

Google noted their lack of use and made a radical decision on May 2007 to integrate all their vertical/specialist search results into our regular search results. This update was named by Google as ‘Universal Search’.

What does this mean to you?

Well if you search Google for ‘Simpsons movie’ or ‘Hotel in Jersey’ you will get the general idea, results in the main search result pages now show links to blog articles, news stories, image, video links, and where relevant local map information and book search links. It is providing users with more information and providing you with increased opportunities to increase your exposure online. Search is getting personal.

For your interest you may like to visit this search engine, which displays results in a vertical/specialised manner and with regards to search getting personal check out which only shows sites that have been book marked or voted by people on social bookmark sites Digg, Delicious, Reddit – thus as well as being relevant to query, they also deemed important by the searchers themselves.

Exciting times are ahead in the ever evolving world of search engine marketing.