Bournemouth Pier

Robert Cornelius selfie

Why Facebook is here to stay

Why Facebook is here to stay

Robert Cornelius selfie

The speed at which we can process and share information by using Facebook is second to none. At a global level we are able to share in culture and share in life together.

Yet who are we actually sharing with? 83 Million Facebook profiles are fake, which is an astoundingly high number. The majority of us live double lives; one in three people exaggerate or lie online about who they have met or what they have done. Yet even if we don’t lie on our profiles, we may only post content that depicts us in certain light.

Although the word “selfie” didn’t enter into our language until the 21st century, Robert Corneilus took the first selfie in 1839 (see his selfie opposite) With the advent of smartphones and social media, the selfie has become a widely known phenomenon, especially amongst 18-24 year olds.

The rise in Facebook may be a major factor in the generation of the #Selfie. 30% of the photos on the Facebooks of 18-24 year olds are comprised by the selfie which suggests an increase in narcissistic behaviour brought about by social media platforms.

What is also noteworthy is that one in five people would rather communicate online than face to face. This again shows how dependent we are on Facebook not only for communication but also for presenting ourselves in a way that we wouldn’t be able to offline.

Facebook, though overarching, has had an increasingly dominant impact in the work environment. Social Media can without a doubt have a positive impact on the way we work. Employees who use social media can be reached 24/7. We no longer have to respond in office hours but are able to access our working lives wherever we are. That being said, 77% of workers who have Facebook, access it during working hours. Even surpassing the distraction caused by work colleagues!

Facebook has had both positive and negative impacts on our lives and I’m sure there will always be debate surrounding this. Yet what is increasingly apparent is the very nature of Facebook pervades every part of our culture. Facebook is an integral part of modern society, it may not be eternal but for now it is here to stay.

The Facebook Conundrum

The Facebook Conundrum


Ten years since Facebook began. Ten years and the world has been turned upside down.

Facebook has 1.2 billion users, over half of which log in every day. It is an intricate part of our lives, and it is almost impossible to conceive of a world prior to Facebook. I mean, what did we even do?

Facebook is the most searched term on the internet. The Facebook revolution has changed every single aspect of our lives. Everything we speak, think and do has been influenced and manipulated by Facebook and other social media platforms. Even if Facebook were to disappear tomorrow it wouldn’t matter, as we have all been inherently changed by it.

Every minute 100,000 friend requests are sent. Society as we know it is no longer the society we know. It can be argued, on many levels, that Facebook has to an extent replaced community, intimacy and yes, society itself. Back in the days we smiled when we liked something or rang a friend to update them on our lives, we lived in community with one another. Yet now we are inexplicably caught in isolation that expresses itself as a fully fledged community. In reality, though we appear to be interacting with our social networks, we are sat by ourselves tapping away at our keyboards.

Now don’t get me wrong it’s not all bad. Facebook has allowed us to connect with a whole range of people which has never before been possible. That old childhood friend you wished you’d kept in contact with, or the pen friend across the world, these are all people you can reach at the click of a button. We have larger and more diversified social networks, we are ridiculously connected and can use social media platforms to implement real change in the world.

However it is now increasingly important to remember your organic connections. Facebook though societal in structure, should not act as a form of replacement, rather an add on that intensifies our social networks.

To read the second part of this article, click here..

Why we need to learn to love someone else’s…

Why we need to learn to love someone else’s worm

Do you think we live in a very ‘me’ centred world, where the focus is upon the ‘I’ in so much of what we say and do?

With so much attention given to being fitter, stronger, better looking, more prosperous etc etc, it’s easy for us to be that way.

But how does the ‘me’ & ‘I’ culture translate into the way we market our businesses? Are we more concerned with getting attention than giving attention?

The ‘me’ culture is perhaps most visible when businesses try to market themselves through social media.

Sometimes social media is called social networking, but true networking is often well off the agenda. Social ‘broadcasting’ is perhaps a better description.

Face to face or in your face?

Imagine a face-to-face business networking meeting where someone comes in and all they do is talk about themselves or their products and services all of the time. Rather than drawing interest and positively influencing the behaviour of the potential customers they court, their ‘in your face’ approach will very quickly turn them away.

The same can happen online. Through social media we see a world of opportunities where our marketing messages have the potential to reach far and wide with little cost or effort. But all we create is noise. No one wants to listen because we are not listening. No one wants to engage in conversation with us because we are not engaging.

It’s a bit like strawberries and worms – they don’t go together, but worms and fish do.

Fish prefer worms

Born in 1888, Dale Carnegie was the son of a poor farmer with few prospects to be successful. But Carnegie made a way for himself first through sales and then through teaching about public speaking, later leading to him becoming an author.

One of the central ideas Carnegie taught and which proved successful for him is that it is possible to positively influence other people’s behaviour towards you by changing your behaviour towards them. By following this principle online in social media and paying attention to the conversation of others ahead of our own, we can positively influence the attention we receive from others towards us.

In his best selling book of 1936, “How to win friends and influence people”, Carnegie wrote:

“I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish.”

So, yes, fish prefer worms. What is it your customers prefer? What will the focus of your next conversation be? Don’t let it be you.

We need to learn to love someone else’s worm.

What is the missing ingredient in your online marketing?

What is the missing ingredient in your online marketing?

Relationship Marketing

The business world is ever changing. It’s hard to keep pace. Yet, for businesses wanting to promote their products or services online there has never been a time where it’s been possible to reach so wide and so far. We have the potential for more connections and more opportunities than ever before.

So what next?

With all of these new possibilities, it is very easy to get caught up in technique and technology and forget that at the end of any promotional communication we make there will be a person. That person is also more empowered than they have ever been. They too have more connections. They have more choice and therefore as a buyer they can be more independent and ignorant of your online marketing messages.

Yet, there is a secret sauce, a special elixir that will give your online marketing an extra dimension and added spice and make your marketing much more effective.

Actually, to be truthful, it’s not really a secret and in case you think it’s the next new thing to hook your marketing into, it’s not new either. BUT, it is very important!

What is it?


Yes, that’s it. Was that disappointing to you? I’m sorry to let you down. When you read the headline to this article, were you perhaps a little optimistic, expecting to be given an inside track on something new to keep you a step ahead of the field?

Like I said, it’s not new. In fact, relationship been around since the beginning of time, but actually it is something that is badly missing from a lot of today’s online marketing. So, maybe, in terms of something to keep you a step ahead of your competitors, this is your missing ingredient.

We are hard wired

Relationship is in our DNA. It’s an essential part of the way we are made. We are hard wired for relationship.

Almost everything we do involves relationship in some way. Just think about your day so far. Whether you have been at home, in the office, out at the shopping centre, surfing the web or checking social media, you have almost certainly been making connections or having conversations.

Yes, of course, those connections and conversations have been on different levels. In terms of defining them as relational, some may have been close, some more distant, some even remote, but each connection you make, every conversation you are engaged in, involves you in relationship at some level and in some shape or form.

How do you feel?

Whether we realise it or not, the output of every relational connection we make provokes an emotional response in us.

How did the last one make you feel? Happy, sad, optimistic, pessimistic, confident, discouraged, frustrated, supported? Insert your own list here…

But how does all of this relate to business and in particular, how you can better market your business online?

Customer Service because customers care

In an age where consumers buying power is probably more powerful than it has ever been, a lot of marketing is focused on competitive pricing. However, a survey conducted by Oracle of 1400 online European shoppers found that 81% (that’s 4 out of every 5 people) would be willing to pay more for better customer experience.

The fact is customers care. It matters to customers, even when online, how they feel. As a result, many larger brands today have dedicated customer service departments. They have learned that customers care and what customers say and do as a result of their engagement with that company can impact their future business.

But a lot of times customer service is seen as what happens after an event, it’s retrospective, maybe dealing with how a problem is resolved. That’s not to say that isn’t important. Of course it is, but what about before the customer even came on the horizon, when in sales terms they were just a prospect? That sounds kind of cold, doesn’t it, and where is the relationship in that?

Building customer relationship into your online marketing

Just because a potential customer is remote, even a speck on our marketing horizon that doesn’t mean we should be disengaged in the way we try to reach them. In fact, with the Internet and social media, much of a customer’s connection with our business will come long before any direct connection with them. So, the better we can make that, the more relational in a postive way it is for that customer, the better it will be.

People buy from people, they know, like and trust.

That’s a saying I have heard a lot. No doubt, it’s been around a long time, but as a principle, it’s been around since trade began and it’s something that should be woven into the way we market our business online.

Opinions matter

As people we are quick to form opinions. There’s a saying that we should always trust our first impression. Whether we can genuinely always trust that, I’m not so sure. If we are truthful our first impressions of someone are often wrong, but in business, perhaps most often with our marketing, we only get one chance to influence the opinion a customer makes of us. It’s true that you never get a second chance to form a good first impression.

So, with our online marketing, it’s through the way we communicate with customers that they form an impression about our business and the seed of their relationship with us is sown. What will that mean for your business?

How does your marketing communication make your potential customers feel?

Why social media for business is broken and how…

Why social media for business is broken and how you can fix it

These days, even if you are not involved in social media, hardly a news bulletin is broadcast or newspaper published without all of us hearing some reference to the subject.

We tend to think of social media as a modern phenomenon, but in fact social media has been around a lot longer and actually the principles of the why and how of social, really date back to the dawn of the human race.

The problem is, as we look at what we call social media today it, in many cases, when we use it for business, bears no resemblance to what the market traders of old knew to mean “social”. Instead social media for business has become something we do rather than what we are and because of that much of what we call social media in this context is broken.

Social media broadcast

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and the “Uncle Tom Cobley and All” social media channel, all offer us an opportunity to engage, to converse, to share, to know and be known. But the problem is, with social media for business, many want to bypass the preliminaries and just shortcut to being known.

There is lot of talk of the importance of social media engagement, but in practice, what is seen more often is social media broadcast. It shouldn’t be that way. It’s rather like as people, when we get behind the wheel of a car in busy traffic; our personality changes. In the fast lane of social media, we forget who we are.

Let’s take ourselves out of the fast lane of the Internet for a moment and think about how we should communicate offline. Social media is often called social networking. So, let’s consider how you would behave and expect to be successful in an offline, face-to-face business networking meeting.

Rules of engagement

Imagine turning up to the meeting, dressed appropriately. Everything is set. You walk into the room. What do you see? People are talking to each other. Sharing business experiences. Listening. Learning. Making small steps to know and be known. If you are new to the group, you introduce yourself to people and make sure you are attentive to the dynamics of how people are conversing.

A guy enters the room. He is carrying a large and important looking bag. He opens it and out falls lots of his “stuff” – the things his business sells, his products and services. He’s there to meet lots of people, but he’s not really interested in joining the conversations. He pretends to listen, but he really wants to present his stuff. He wants to arrange a meeting with you. To help you solve a problem you haven’t got. He’s not listening.

It’s an awkward scenario. Everyone in the room feels uncomfortable. Many try to be polite, but everyone wants to distance themselves.

OK, I may be talking in extremes, but if you have ever been to a face-to-face business networking meeting you may have experienced something of the awkwardness when someone doesn’t follow the unwritten ‘rules’ of what it means to be social and is proven to work.

Taking this back to the online world of social media/marketing/networking for business; are we like the man with the bag? Are we fast tracking our stuff, in people’s faces promoting it all the time, but not really engaging with anyone?

This is very important…

The role of social media in semantic search

In the developing semantic web, where the connections between people will become as important if not more so than the connections between websites and web content, social media will be an essential component to marketing your business online. However, for social media to work for business in the social web, we need to learn to be better at being social online than doing social.

Author and social media speaker, Neal Schaeffer, uses the phrase, “New tools, old rules”. Social media opens up fantastic possibilities for business, but whilst the tools are new, the old rules of social engagement are as relevant today as they have ever been. Just as in the offline face-to-face networking world you earn credibility and favour as people begin to know, like and trust you, so it needs to be like that online. We gain authority within our business sector when others authenticate not only what we say as a result of the conversations we have, but also who we are. This is not one-way traffic. As we engage with others, so they will engage with us, and it is through the authenticity of our online conversations and behaviour within the ‘social layer’ of the semantic web, that positive signals are sounded both with those we network with, but also in semantic search.

Social changes everything

In the days pre-dating Semantic search this didn’t matter so much for your business. Whilst the dynamics of how social media for business worked (or rather should have worked), haven’t changed, it wasn’t as important. Apart from people clicking through to your website from links you posted in social media; your website, in the most part, ranked because of other factors such as how well optimised the pages were for keywords and how many vote-like links they received from other websites.

With semantic search, what will work has changed. David Amerland, in his book, Google Semantic Search, talks about how the Internet has shifted from a Web of websites to a Web of people where the authentication of your website and its content by Google comes from the outside.

David says that Google’s evaluation regarding the quality of a website still involves links, “but also the way those links are created in social media networks, how they are shared, by whom, what the person is known for generally, how widely they share those links, and what happens to them once they are shared.” (Google Semantic Search, pg. 112)

How you act and engage online in social media matters because it affects how the Web of people engages with you and how they come to know, like and trust you and what you have to say, not only in social media, but through the content you produce.

Social in the new town square

These principles, as we have seen, are not new. They have been played out offline in the business world ever since there was trade, in town and village squares, at least that is until the advent of the 20th century, when big brands came into prominence and the loudness of their voice conveyed an expectation of authority.

But as we enter the new age of semantic search, a shift has taken place and a new currency valued on trust has been minted. We have returned to an age where smaller businesses, and more importantly (remembering what was said above), people from smaller businesses online, can shake hands, engage and begin to make valuable connections with other people and potential customers – from anywhere.

In this new age of semantic search, a new town square of social media has been constructed and it is shrinking our world. You need to be there!

This is the third in a series of three articles on semantic search:

Google Semantic Search – What’s that?

Google Semantic Search – What’s that ?

What is Google Semantic Search?Google search is changing. Coming up is a series of articles on why being ready for semantic search is important and what, if you have a business with an online presence or you are an Internet marketer, you need to know:

  • How Google search is getting smarter
  • What is the impact of Google’s Knowledge Graph?
  • Why great website content is critical for semantic search
  • How to optimise web pages for semantic search
  • Why social media for business is broken and how you can fix it

But first, here are some questions for you to answer…

Q1. How old was the King of Rock and Roll when he died?
Q2. What’s the cubed root of 74,088?
Q3. What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?

How did you do?

Here are some links to the answers.

A1. If you are not old enough to remember or you are not a fan of the man called “The King of Rock and Roll”, then the answer is here
A2. If you are not great with numbers, then here’s the answer to the cubed root of 74,088
A3. And if you didn’t grow up with, or haven’t been introduced to the quirky brilliance of the late author Douglas Adams, then you probably won’t know the last answer which is here

If you answered 3/3 correctly, well done but unfortunately there’s no prize! Quite possibly, unless you are super clever with numbers, you wouldn’t have known the answer to Q2, but you may have been smart enough to work it out from knowing the other two.

Google search is getting smarter

The fact that the answer to all three questions above was 42 is not really significant, but if you clicked each of the links to the answers above you will have seen that for each question, Google was able to give you the answer – straight ‘out of the box’ – you didn’t even have to click through to another page.

Google says that there are over 60 trillion web pages on the Internet. That’s an astonishing number, especially when we appreciate that is the number of pageson the Internet; not the many more words, images or videos contained within them. Yet despite the astonishing amount of information available to us, the fact is that information (or just data which is what it boils down to) is only useful if you can make sense of it.

Solving the Information Explosion

As the World Wide Web has grown exponentially, search engines, like Google, have tried to keep up by serving us with useful answers to the questions and information we have been searching for. The problem is, the more the Web has grown, the more data has exploded, so the harder it becomes to mine the best answers from the ever deepening strata of information.

It’s not really the amount of information or the indexing of it that creates the problem. In the most part, Google’s index of keywords has enabled them to find information (e.g. in pages) and provide useful results to match the keywords we have entered. But until recently, there was not a way to connect that information and understand the meaning of it.

It may seem a strange thing to say, but Google search was dumb! Our reliance on Google to find the information we were looking for, was predicated on Google needing us to use the right words to get to that information. But now, the world’s leading search engine has been given a brain.

The idea and vision of the Web where computers were able to not just match keywords but understand the meaning of those words and how they interconnected was something Tim Berners-Lee wrote about back in 2001. Now, just 13 relatively short (but perhaps long on technology) years later, we are beginning to see that vision become a reality.

It is the interconnecting of information which is making Google search smarter. By their growing ability to understand the meaning of words and the interconnection of those words to other words to provide context and additional meaning, Google is turning information into knowledge. We are at the dawning of a new age of search. What is more Google is also able to understand YOUR search query which in some cases may be the same as mine (e.g. Roses to you could mean flowers, where as roses to me could mean a band – The Stone Roses) and produce different search results for both of us based on the information they know about our search history and interests.

So, what are we seeing now and what can we expect for the future on the Web?

The Impact of Google’s Knowledge Graph

Elvis Presley search on GoogleSource: Elvis Presley search from’s answer to mining the Internet’s information has been the development of its Knowledge Graph. Released in May 2012 (watch Google’s video), the Knowledge Graph is, as Google said at the time, “a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do” .

An example of Google’s Knowledge Graph at work can be seen in the question about Elvis. When asking, “How old was the King of Rock and Roll when he died?”, Google not only gives us the answer, but also provides further information that may be useful to us as it is relates to the answer.

Google’s “smartness” in processing this search result shows that it understands the meaning of the words we used and the intent of the question we asked. It then uses its understanding of our question to draw out the answer from its knowledge index – the Knowledge Graph.

Notice, we didn’t have to use the name “Elvis Presley”. Google knows, from the information it has gathered and understood, that Elvis is popularly known as the King of Rock and Roll. Google has connected those two things (or entities as they are called in semantic search, i.e. what is known about an item of data) and linked them together in its Knowledge Graph. Google has also interconnected other knowledge about him, not just the date he was born and died (and therefore is able to calculate his age when he died), but also who he was married to, the songs he sung and the movies he appeared in.

A brief, but important explanation about Entities

All of these independent pieces of information: Elvis, the songs he sung and the movies he appeared in, are entities which Google knows about, and for each it will know facts associated with them. For example, a movie has actors, a director, it can be shown in a cinema or you can buy it on a DVD. The facts about an entity can be many and varied, but by gathering the facts about an entity you can begin to make connections with other entities, for example, the composer of the movie score. Through the pathways created by the connections between related information, you can then uncover more and more information. By joining the dots, so to speak, you start to turn the collections of those facts into knowledge.

In the previous keyword-indexed web, information based on keywords alone was isolated and locked in siloes and it was up to us to extract knowledge from those siloes by the keywords we used to unlock them. In the semantically-indexed web which Google is able to uncover for us through semantic search, the siloes containing information are not just unlocked, they are removed completely, meaning that knowledge through search becomes much more accessible to us.

For a more detailed explanation about Entities, you may find David Amerland’s presentation at the SMX conference in 2013 useful.

From Strings to Things

Going back to the Knowledge Graph answer to the question we asked originally, we see that Google provides us with additional snippets of information that are all hyperlinked, so that if you wanted to drill down more, the information is right there in front of you. As we can see, this Knowledge Graph answer is just a summary of the knowledge Google is able to connect and discover for questions about Elvis Presley. Through the Knowledge Graph, Google is able to not only answer the questions we ask, but also provide us with answers to other related questions we may go on to ask or may not yet have even considered asking.

Through the Knowledge Graph, Google search is changing to what they describe as from strings to things, from a raw index of words to a rich index of knowledge. To start with, the Knowledge Graph (its semantic index) was limited to those things that Google knew most about such as “landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art”. But Google’s vision to develop semantic search means that it is steadily expanding its semantic index.

Google Search is changing. Queue your opportunity… the value of great content.

This is the first in a series of three articles on semantic search:

Footnote: Thanks to David Amerland for his book, “Google Semantic Search” and his generous help on the subject of semantic search on Google+. I encourage you to buy the book!

Good SEO is focusing on the customer not the…

Good SEO is focusing on the customer not the search engine

Let your fingers do the walking!In our last blog post on Search Engine Optimisation, we concluded that contrary to the belief held by many business owners, 90% of good SEO is common sense.

In this post, we’re looking at where the main focus of our SEO efforts should be and asking the question…

Who should we optimise our website for?

As we’re talking about search engine optimisation, that may sound like an odd question to ask. The phrase “search engine optimisation” suggests we need to optimise our website for search engines.

Rolling back the clock, the term was first used in the early days of the World Wide Web and at the time and until recent times, it was a term that accurately described what was happening. But should it have been that way? Shouldn’t the focus of our website pages be on our website visitors and not on outmanoeuvring the search engines?

For the non-SEO initiated, don’t worry, we’re not going to delve deep into the mechanics of search. Neither are we going to examine how SEO people have worked overtime with tricks and tactics to try to outsmart search engines and promote their web pages to the top of the search results. But with recent changes in search and in particular changes Google have been implementing, suffice to say the optimising game as it has been played is over.

Search today is changing. Search today is about the customer. That’s not to say that SEO is dead as some have suggested, but as Eric Enge said in a recent blog post on Search Engine Watch, “Google is doing a brilliant job of pushing people away from tactical SEO behavior and toward a more strategic approach”.

Search then: the big Yellow Book

In a sense, search has gone full circle. Do you remember back before the days of the Google and that big fat book called the Yellow Pages? It was all about search. You were encouraged to “Let your fingers do the walking!”

When we had a problem we needed to solve we would pick up the big yellow book and use it to search, confident in the knowledge that it could help us to find an answer.

Perhaps we had a badly leaking tap. Or maybe we needed to say sorry to someone. Picking up our big yellow search engine we would thumb through to ‘P’ for plumber or ‘F’ for florist.

Or maybe we were fed up with our job and wanted to find a new one. If it was a Thursday we could go down and buy our local paper and look through the job adverts. But the good thing with our yellow search engine, it was there by the phone, waiting for us to use it to search to help us find answers.

So we would pick it up looking for ‘R’ for recruitment agency and browse down a page or more of search results. Which one would we pick? Which one should we ‘click’ on? Quite probably, if our gaze fell upon an advert for an agency that said they had jobs in the sector we had skills for, we would pick that one. Or maybe if we wanted to do something different and couldn’t decide what, we would be look for an agency that could help us in that way.

Having chosen one of them, you would then pick up the phone and call. A person would answer and say something like, “Good morning, The Recruitment Agency. I’m Dani, how can I help you?”

You would say something about what you were looking for and a conversation would follow. The person on the other end would listen to you and maybe ask you a couple of questions, but they would be listening so they could best understand what you needed. Their goal would be to help you to be confident that they could help you and it would be worth visiting their agency to find out more. Their focus was on their customer.

That was search then and that is how search is changing.

Search now: How can I help you?

Gone is the big yellow book to be replaced by a desktop computer, or a laptop, a tablet or a mobile phone. We don’t even need to type these days. On our smartphones we can just say what we are looking for.

I’m not saying that the Yellow Pages was the perfect example of how search should be. Marketing has changed. Then it was outbound, pushing messages and information at us in the hope we would respond. Today’s marketing is inbound where, as Hubspot say, it is about “aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.”

But what have we often found when we search? What do we see when we click on one of those search results? Unfortunately, sometimes, maybe even often in the past, we have clicked on a search result to go to a page that doesn’t really answer the question we are asking. If it is a business, the page we visit possibly says a lot about the business, but tells us very little about whether that business can help us. When the page ‘talks’, it shows that the person who wrote it hasn’t really been listening. They haven’t asked: “How can I help you?”. Hopefully, the “how can I help you?” question is your intent when you pick up the phone to a customer. You want to undertstand what the customer wants, so you can answer their questions and help fix their problem. So why don’t we do that when we write on our website?

As I said earlier, it’s not that we don’t need to optimise our content for search and search engines, but SEO today is no longer about gaming the search engines with pages that are primarily optimised for search engines.

SEO today should maybe be called CEO. Customer Engagement Optimisation. The pages we write and the websites we build need to be focused on the questions the ‘customer’ (in the broadest sense of the word) is asking, the information they are looking for, the knowledge they want to gather. The conversation of our pages needs to engage with the customer – our website visitor – and encourage them to pick up the phone or send us an email saying “Tell me more…”

Google’s purpose when you and I search is to understand what we are looking for and serve a set of search results which will lead us to the answers and even give us additional answers to questions we were about to ask. The web pages that win in search will be pages that do just that, pages that Google can confidentially serve to the searcher with the answers they are looking for.

So when you next optimise your website and rewrite your web pages to suit, remember that good SEO must first focus on your customer not on the search engine.

In summary, good Search Engine Optimisation is about:

1) Understanding the questions your customer is asking and

2) Providing clear answers that engage with them and help them to engage with you.

You better get optimising!

SEO Dice

Good SEO is 90% Common Sense

Good SEO is 90% Common Sense

SEO DiceImage courtesy of SEOplanteIn the course of our business as an online digital marketing services company, we talk to a lot of business owners who are confused about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In fact increasingly, particularly over the last 6 months or so, we have had more conversations about SEO than ever before.

SEO is high on the marketing agenda for businesses, but unfortunately most business owners don’t really know where to start. They feel like they need to spin a dice in a game of chance in which they don’t understand the rules!

Search Engine Optimisation has been around as long as the Internet or as least as long as there have been search engines to help people search the World Wide Web.

In the early days, search engines were pretty crude tools and as such, smart online marketeers found ways to exploit them and turn the results of searches in their favour. But over time,the top search engines have become more refined and a whole lot smarter. That’s good for everyone who searches online, but for the business owner who want their website to work harder for them it seems that there is more mystery around Search Engine Optimisation than ever before.

It is true that SEO is a huge subject and there is a lot you can do to market your website better, but SEO needn’t be complicated. Of course, there are many technical elements to optimising a website, but that doesn’t mean SEO is a black art which most people cannot understand. Many SEO agencies will tell you they have the recipe for the secret sauce, but we believe they are wrong.

The truth is that good SEO is 90% common sense.

  • It starts with understanding the needs of people looking for your products and services.
  • It continues with understanding the words or phrases that those people would most commonly use to search for your ‘stuff’.

And it ends, with making sure the content (words, images, video etc) on the pages of your website, is relevant to your customer, because it is written for your customer.

Yes, that is summarising and simplifying the process of Search Engine Optimisation, but that is where you need to start.

Watch out for a series of blog posts on Search Engine Optimisation. These will be articles covering the basics of SEO that every website owner should be following to optimise the pages of their website – for their customers first. So, if SEO in plain English is what you need, then make sure you subscribe to our blog updates or watch out for them via social media. If there are particular questions you have then please send an email to and we will do our best to answer you.

Don’t be afraid to give away your knowledge

Don’t be afraid to give away your knowledge

Social media sites, such as Twitter, facebook, etc, have changed the web into a wonderful place where we can meet new people, stay in touch with friends and generally be social with the whole world. Is there more to Social Media? In a word yes! How do you find out about things?

  1. Phone a local specialist
  2. Look in the telephone directory
  3. Type your question into a search engine like Google!

More and more people are turning to the instant knowledge base that is the internet, a place where you can search for anything and almost certainly find the answer. By using social media tools, your business is able to showcase work and give out free yet valuable information about the work you do. By doing this your business can very quickly be seen as the expert in its field, and the place to come for accurate and relevant knowledge.

Why do I want to give out free information?

The keywords here are ‘Relevant’ and ‘Accurate’, search engines love, no they crave relevant and accurate information. There are millions of people out there, searching for answers, and by filling your website or blog with such information, then using your social media links to tell the searching masses where to find it, you are pushing traffic to your site, the search engines will take notice, others will tell people of the golden nuggets to be found on your site and you become the trusted expert.

Who do people call when they need help?

It’s already a given that the best form of advertising is ‘word of mouth’ and by becoming a trusted expert to many people, and backing this up using written, audio or video testimonials you’re increasing your credibility and building confidence in potential clients.

In a world where true knowledge and skill comes at a premium: Can you afford not to give away your knowledge for free?

An Introduction to SEO

An Introduction to SEO

Search Engine Optimisation – SEO

SEO is a complex balance of all the aspects within your website. Think about the different elements that come together to make your website, including the text content, images and titles through to layout, navigation and even the code that gives every page its structure. When everything that makes up a website works in harmony you have a firm foundation that will give the search engines an easy time indexing your site, and therefore you increase your chances of a high ranking.

But SEO doesn’t end there!

SEO comes in many forms which can be simplified in to two areas –

On Site and Off Site optimisation. The on site optimisation involves everything that can be done within your site to increase your search engine rankings. These are usually quite simple things that should be put in place as the site is built, and include elements like a descriptive domain name, page naming, clean code, accessibility and navigation.

Get all this right during the build and you stand a better chance of fulfilling the search engines requirements of having easy to find and relevant content for its users. Off site optimisation is all about exposure through avenues such as social networking sites (twitter, facebook, etc), relevant forums and bringing credibility to your site through content syndication (informational videos, articles, etc).

These techniques are more time consuming and take a greater amount of effort, but when used in tandem with on site optimisation they can really make you stand out from the crowd and should never be overlooked. SEO is a swirling cauldron of ingredients that can deliver you a successful and measurable strategy, but many agencies use underhand methods that can get you pushed to the bottom of the searches, or worse, struck off the list completely.

10 things to always consider when planning SEO in your site:

  1. Include the most relevant keywords in your title tags
  2. Consider professional copy, to ensure original, keyword optimised and informative textual content
  3. Fill in ALL meta, alt and description tags throughout the site
  4. When using a dynamic site, such as a CMS, always try to use search engine friendly page names
  5. Name your navigation links to match the page name and don’t over fill your navigation with unnecessary links. (See Below)
  6. Use a sitemap to give search robots access to pages not in your navigation
  7. Avoid using scripts or flash to build navigation lists, text versions are easier to optimise and for robots to follow
  8. Build reciprocal links with relevant website partners, only link with trusted sites that have a good reputation across the internet.
  9. Always name incoming links correctly and don’t link to your homepage only.
  10. If you turn to an SEO specialist understand that results cannot be guaranteed as it takes careful testing and a variation of techniques to get the results you desire

We’ve just scratched the surface of what is an endless subject. If you get the basics right you stand every chance of attaining the results you desire. Happy SEO!

Meantime, if you are stuck not being sure what to do, visit our SEO Services page to find out more.