Category Archives: SEO and SEM Tips

SEO Rescue: Avoid Google Penalties

Avoid Google PenaltiesWith all the new Google algorithm updates. SEO players have to respond using the correct Google guidelines. The biggest three updates that Google have produced over the past year are the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird.

These updates have required SEO experts to ensure they’re using reputable search engine optimisation techniques. Don’t believe me just ask Rap Genius, who were caught spamming links back to their site and were subsequently punished for it.

The first update Panda was made to make sure that quality content was produced and if you were linking sites to a page that had no relevant information on it Google would penalise you for it. The Penguin update was all about back-links which of course was the update that affected Rap Genius. The final update released recently is Hummingbird which picks up conversational concepts and is again built to help show quality content.

A trend which has arisen from these updates is for Google search recovery services. These will help anyone who has bad SEO or been penalised by Google to get back on track using the latest Ethical SEO techniques and re-building a positive relationship with Google.

Our top 5 techniques to avoid being penalised by Google are:

  1. Quality Content – This is key to good SEO and a positive relationship with Google.
  2. Good Linking – The links to your site need to be referred from genuine users and sources and not spammed on either your site or others.
  3. Up to date SEO – Ensure you know what the latest Google guidelines are (normally you’re fine but we think it’s better to be safe than sorry).
  4. White Hat techniques – You may be wanting more visits but if your site is good enough people will come (Don’t attempt any black hat SEO techniques as Google will flag these pretty quickly and may take your site out of their search results).
  5. Don’t Dilute Keywords – We all know keywords are a good way to guide users to your site. However, over use of keywords in page titles, meta descriptions and content can cause your site to rank lower in Google. Repeated offences can cause Google to penalise you.

Stick by these and you should be fine (while improving web content at the same time). If you feel you have been penalised by Google and need help with your SEO take a look at our SEO rescue service.

Google Analytics Tips – Setting up Annotations

Being a rather forgetful person myself I always find it’s useful to make notes, lists and illegible scribbles of reminders, (if I had my way the whole office stationery budget would be spent on post-its!).

Thankfully other Analytics users are just as forgetful as me, thus 3 years ago Google felt the must support their less brainally retentive user base with a great feature Annotations.

These are basically just little comments you can add to dates on your reports. Great for marking what may have caused peaks or drops in traffic, page views, goals, etc. where the cause isn’t instantly apparent, for example Email Campaigns, Temporary adwords Campaigns, any offline advertising or maybe your site was down for half a day!

Here’s how you add annotations to your Google Analytics reports.

Assumed Knowledge:

  • Your Google Analytics Login (if you don’t have this don’t even bother reading on).
  • Basic Google Analytics Knowledge.
  • Minimal Amount of Computer Literacy.

How to add Analytics Annotations

  1. Open the report you want to annotate in Google Analytics.
  2. Double Click on the date you want to add an annotation to.
  3. Put your annotation text in the text box that appears (max 160 characters).
  4. Click the save button, simples!

Congratulations you’ve made your first ever annotation! You’ll notice that a small speech bubble icon appears under the date on the report timeline.

Google Analytics Report Annotations

You can also add annotations by clicking the small down arrow that appears under a report then click the “+ Create new annotation” link.

Other settings you can fiddle with are whether the annotation is private (only visible to your account) or shared (visible to all users who can access that report).

But what do annotations look like in reports? I hear you ask. Short answer, not much. In PDFs the speech bubble icon appears under the date on the timeline but you can’t see the annotation text :(

Which is better SMX London or SES London?

Early Bird offers for two Search Engines London conference and training events are about to expire today.

SES London takes place later this month SMX London in mid May.

We ask simple question:

Which Search Engine Conference and Training event is better?

View Results

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Maybe these two are so different we should visit both even you have tight budget?

Any Comments?

Bullet Lists for Listings in Google SERPs

Recently I’ve seen some info from Google mentioning they did about 500 algorithm adjustments during last year to improve quality of searches.

I would say we’ve seen a lot of effort during last months whether we can call it always “improvements” or “nightmares” is up for users to judge and decide in the long term. However I must admit I was surprised they mention only 500 adjustments we could easily see about 100 visual changes in Google interface and usability and each of these brought new functionality which had impact on how search algorithm works.

Let’s concentrate on one of the recent ones – Bullet Lists.

New Search Engines Result Pages addition of bullet list on Google is extracted from website landing page. The most relevant for particular query page content is no longer string of text in some cases. Google decided now the most relevant is matching offer and inserted just under URL list of items available on this page. On the front of this list we have greyed out prefix in the form of information how many items relevant for our keyword we can expect on particular webpage.

Bullet Lists in SERPs - New Change to Google Algorithm 2011

New SERPs feature easy to spot - duplicate content from Premier Inn? Not really - Look at their prices £30 off now visible on Google SERP - Well done Google :-)

So there are some direct positives for user from this feature already. Of course if you plan to stay in London City Hotel your click is more then likely to go to listing one however this dosen’t put Premier Inn in Good light – does it? After all URL with £30 more expensive offer says “Budget” and there you go guys in Premier Inn marketing vocabulary there is £30 gap between “Cheap” and “Budget”.

Google “Bullet List Feature”  on SERPs Summary:

  • This is an important update for all ecommerce websites putting travel industry, gift shops, any kind of directories, affiliates and vertical search engines  in the spot.
  • Check your setup we’ve seen within lists <li>,<div>,<tables> – Google has them all is only one way to check which is better…
  • Onsite Optimisation of Landing pages more relevant then ever before – Google SERPs one stop shop is closer then ever before – imagine links activated on these babies.
  • SEO architecture – big changes ahead for your category pages – homepage won’t do the job the way.

How to Add Twitter’s Official Tweet Button in WordPress using TinyUrl

It’s very simple to just add the official tweet button to your site, but if you have very long Search engine friendly URLs (see any post URL on this site) it can be a bit difficult!

To implement the tweet button with a short URL I used tinyurl, as unlike you don’t need to create an account and the only data it sends back to you is the shortened URL.

The code should be implemented within the loop, you can even include it if you want to keep file sizes low.

//the url you want to make tiny
$maketiny = ''.get_permalink();

/*Initialise and set options for cURL
(this lets you transfer data between URLs)*/
$ch = curl_init();
$timeout = 5;
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, $maketiny);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT, $timeout);

//execute and close cURL
$data = curl_exec($ch);

//You now have the tinyurl stored in $tinyurl
$tinyurl = $data;

Now that you have the tinyurl stored in the $tinyurl variable, you can use it in the twitter button!

You have two choices about how to code the button, either use JavaScript or an iFrame.

For JavaScript you need the following code:

<script src=""
   <a href="" class="twitter-share-button"
      data-url="<?php echo $tinyurl; ?>"
      data-count="<?php the_permalink(); ?>">Tweet</a>

For an iFrame you need this code:

<iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"
url=<?php echo $tinyurl; ?>&amp;counturl=<?php the_permalink(); ?>"
style="width:130px; height:50px;"></iframe>

The following attributes and query strings can be used:

Query String Attribute Description Default
url data-url URL of the page to share HTTP Referrer
via data-via Screen name of the user to attribute the Tweet to none
text data-text Default Tweet text Content of the <title> tag
related data-related Related accounts None
count data-count Count box position (can be horizontal, vertical or none) horizontal
lang data-lang The language for the Tweet Button en
counturl data-counturl The URL to which your shared URL resolves to (only needs to be used if a short url is used in for the other url) the url being shared

For more information on the tweet button see the Official Twitter Tweet Button Page.

Should you Bother Using Meta Keyword Tags?

As with most SEO queries there is no straight forward answer, so I’ll just go with it depends…

Basically Google doesn’t use them any more at all!

So if you’re only worried about how you show up on Google don’t bother (unless your site search feature uses them!).

However, if you’re concerned about showing up on Yahoo or Bing they are a necessity!

Bing and Yahoo have a combined 10%* of search market share which may not seem like much first glance, however this accounts for 4.6 Billion^ searches per month in the US alone!

Yahoo has claimed in the past that they stopped indexing the meta keyword tag, however they provide advice on improving your search position including:

Use a “keyword” metatag to list keywords for each page of your website. Use distinct lists of keywords that relate to each specific page on the site. Do not use one broad set of keywords for the entire site.

Bing also provides similar suggestions in their head tag optimisation blog.

So if you care about your position on Bing or Yahoo follow their advice, but like any SEO method you will need more than just a good meta keyword tag to position well on any search engine.

*According to Net Market Share

^According to comScore December 2010 U.S. Search Engine Rankings

Finding Out the Most Popular Google Searches for Marketing Reasons

If your writing an article or engaging an online marketing campaign, you may want to to know what people are searching for. Here are the easiest ways to find out:

How to find out the most popular Google Searches Today


If you wanted to know what people were searching for at this moment in time you would need to go Google Trends. You find there a list of the most popular search terms at the moment. This informtation gets refreshed every hour. At the moment the most popular search term on is currently ‘tornado nyc’.

How to find out the fastest growing Google Searches in Popularity

Google Hot Topics are a list of the fastest growing topics of conversation over the Internet, which is a handy thing to have as you can then create content where there might not be any. For example I wrote an article targeting the keyphrase “MyView Marketing” yesterday after learning people were talking about YouView the TV internet streaming service. It has only just been announced within a few hours that service has a name change. If you are to search ‘YouView Marketing’ today, you will see this marketing blog on the first page. Hopefully it shall remain for some time.

A very important use of social media is to keep up to date with the latest trends, to predict and anticipate what people may want to search for. Google Trends can help you achieve that.