February 17th, 2010SEO
I’m going to be doing a short presentation at the latest #BrightonSEO event, this coming Friday (17th Feb 10), and am planning on doing it about SEO Goal setting with clients, KPIs that I often (rightly or wrongly) find our SEO results measured by and talk through some of the ways to manage expectations of clients when engaging with an SEO company.
It’s starting at 2pm in the Quadrant in Brighton, and I’m hoping to make some new friends, meet some more people that I speak to regularly on Twitter, and see some folks that I’ve met before and not seen for some time.
So, hope to see some of my readers there! I’m writing this now, and tomorrow night, so if anyone has had any paticularly interesting goals or KPIs set for them, or has had particular challenges with managing people let me know in the comments, and I will see if I can work some of those in too.
I very rarely speak in public (my last was a best man speech), so hope everyone bears with me!
I’ll probably do a write up of the presentation on the Vertical Leap search marketing blog at some point next week if I can fit it in!
October 6th, 2009SEO
Sigh -I’m not going to dignify the fella with a link back to his website, but somebody no-one I know has ever heard of spouts off some controversial linkbait drivel with:
“Search Engine Optimization is not a legitimate form of marketing. It should not be undertaken by people with brains or souls. If someone charges you for SEO, you have been conned.”
First of all this is absolutely nonsense – SEO is important, because frankly time and time again web designers don’t pay heed to what search engines need, whilst also paying attention to their users.
I’ve got a few examples from this week already, I have some really good web developers who do some really good work, but forgot to take the noindex,nofollow tag off site wide before the website re-launched – it was of course an accident, but if I hadn’t been looking at the reason for why new pages weren’t indexed, I wouldn’t have found it. From an SEO perspective there aren’t too many things that I needed to look at changing on this site, but this doesn’t mean that things don’t get missed!
Another item is duplicate websites – I’ve been cleaning up a web of sites that area all the same at work lately, and nearly every website I ever start working on has a duplicate website when I start that work. Why? Because a web developer suggested that they should put the same website on lots of domains – the more places this content appears, the more chance that there is of it being found right?
I suppose that could have made sense (I certainly did it before I knew any better, more of which I will cover in my next Path to Search Engine Enlightenment post) – but this isn’t going to help your marketing for any of these sites all that much – it might work a little bit, with various different search engines drawing in small amounts of traffic, but nothing like a single, well optimised site can potentially draw in.
Web designers make websites, but that doesn’t mean that they know how to market them, how to look at the analytics data and interpret what it working here, what can be improved – identifying those new opportunities is vital? Most designers that I know create a site and hand it over to a client – what does the client do with it then without the guidance of an SEO?
Perhaps its from my experience of managing website SEO campaigns, and the type of client that my company works with most of the time – but for the vast majority of these folks, they have a great product, that they can sell fantastically well in an offline environment, but do they have the knowledge and tools to do the same online? Usually not, which is why they come to internet and search engine marketers for assistance.
A lot of SEO is fairly simple and logical, as the guy that prompted this post has said – it’s no more difficult than many other things in a digital age – but that doesn’t mean everyone knows how to do it – or in fact needs to know how to do it – they instead hire in the appropriate assistance.
However, his link bait did work – he now ranks on page 2 for SEO, on Google.com – no mean feat indeed – VL sometimes ranks on page 1 for SEO in Google.co.uk (darned everflux mind), and I know that this has taken a lot of work to get there, unlike this guys rant (which is why I am not going to link to it and feed his ranking further).
Controversy does generate links, and this in turn helps rankings, helps traffic to a site – I don’t know what his conversion is mind! Maybe I am just a bit too nice to try to employ this type of link bait for myself!
October 3rd, 2009SEO
My name is Peter Handley, and I am a search engine marketer. This blog series will explore my journey into the search engine optimisation world.
I’ve been interested in computers for as long as I can remember – starting out with my Spectrum in the 80s, moving on to an Atari after the tape deck died (and I was happy to learn that they are remaking Carrier Command as I spent a lot of hours on that when I was younger, some old pics are on Wiki, though they look terrible now), before moving on to a “proper” PC a few years later, using DOS and Windows.
My first experience of the “the web” was using AOL in the mid 90s and this was my first exposure to the term “keyword”. I talked in Internet chat rooms, searched for information on these keyword, looking for information to help with school projects, and even built my first website with a few friends, a site dedicated to the joys of cheese (sad I know, but we were only just teenagers and still hadn’t found booze then).
I quickly came to realise that AOL was at the time a very closed system – it wasn’t all that easy to find the “real” web, and it was all through their rubbish proprietary browser, and although AOL did have a wealth of information, it quickly felt restrained.
I feel lucky to have grown up in the age of the computer, and the Internet revolution. I see the difficulties that some people that have come to technology late have with doing things on computers or the Internet, but most of what I have to do comes naturally. Then again for years in my circle of friends I have been the expert “go-to” man for all things computer.
Throughout the years, I’ve supplied free tech support to plenty of folks, but I’ve always tried to educate at the same time, to prevent similar problems and maybe to prevent being phoned up again to come fix the same problems.
This is something that I have brought into my working life with clients as well, there is no point being mysterious about what you doing, and it helps to engender trust in what you are doing if you can explain how and why this is going to help.
Having come from a family that has always done hard physical labour, I’m glad that computers have helped me to escape that kind of graft. When I was younger I worked at my dads concrete making construction business, and part way through education was offered the chance to potentially take it on in the future, but it was something that was never going to appeal to me. It was only a few months after I turned down this opportunity that my dad sold the business and moved on to being a gardener, so I wonder if I did him a favour here saying no!
I went through school, where the IT facilities were terrible (and ironically in a school that is now a specialist in IT), and did ok, but messed up college the first time around, partly due to breaking an ankle. This led me to taking some really shitty jobs, like Asda’s and the Co-op, and working for a company that refurbished computers that were shipped off to Africa. I tried and nearly succeeded in getting a job with IBM/AT&T, but was told that they would only take on a graduate, and at that stage I didn’t have grades good enough to get me onto a degree.
This is what made me in life, as it made me re-evaluate what I wanted to do and got me back into education.
So, I went back to college, ended up getting on ok, and got grades that got me into University at Portsmouth, studying Entertainment Technology. I started messing around with HTML and Dreamweaver whilst here, and made a few websites whilst there. The degree also consisted of graphics, animation, music & radio production with some video thrown in too, but I was always interested in the web based elements, and the surrounding project management theme.
At this time I got my first paid work as a web designer, working for some local music producers. I also managed to use this as extra credit on my degree, which was handy. I remember at the time that the lecturer marked me down on the project because the proposed domain name was too long, although looking back on it now, it would have been a great keyword rich domain.
This is also when I first installed a tracker on a website, although one of those horrible hit counters, and in hindsight, supplied me absolutely no useful information at all – but hey I didn’t know better, and thought it was great to be able to see how many people had visited the website.
It was at this stage that my interest in search was first apparent, as I was baffled at how to actually direct traffic to the website that I had built.
The first website that I ever built that went live was made entirely of images – so none of the text was readable for the search engines – I didn’t “get” at this stage, that they needed the words to be in text to be able to read them, though it seems so obvious now!
So, I stuffed the Meta Tags full of things that they probably should have ranked for, as well as spammed it to death with a list of every keyword that they would want to rank for. I didn’t know any better, so set a pretty useless sitewide Title and Description too!
I pretty much killed this websites chance of ranking for anything, and although it did get some visitors (that hit counter did keep going up), I think that they were mostly direct visitors.
That’s it for part one of my path to search engine enlightenment – part 2 will be coming soon.
Morning guys and gals – been way too long since I last wrote a blog.
Since then I’ve been off on a stag do that I organised for my good friend Ben, been playing lots of resident evil 5 (god I hate those guys with Chainsaws) and have been working hard at the office to keep on top of everything.
This morning I managed to get my “vanity” facebook URL – I’m www.facebook.com/ismepete – a strange name “ismepete” I’ll grant you, but its been a name that I have been using for years, and its not something that anyone else seems to use – I’m ismepete on lots of sites, its my PSN id, my twitter name, used to be my MySpace name (before I got bored of it and joined the legion of people leaving the place), so at least I am consistent. Not quite sure if there is any real point in getting one, but hey ho, why not eh?
So, I’m up early this morning and I am working on my best man speech now that the stag is done and dusted. Or rather, I should be – I’m not as I am writing this blog instead. I thought I had made a really good start on this when I started thinking about it a few months ago, but having just typed up my notes I’m a bit disappointed. 3 paragraphs is all I have written, and I thought I was about 3/4 of the way there – big exageration!
I’ll get there though, and this weekend too – as it needs to be translated for the spanish folks that are attending! Wish me luck
I’ve also decided that I am going to try and get a 32GB iPhone next week – getting to work early and gonna head down to town for 9.30 when they start to go on sale. Hopefully there wont be as much demand for these, as I desperately need a new phone! I’m no iPhone fanboy – I just want a decent media phone, and there is still no release date for the n97, so enough is enough, I’m going to bite the bullet and get a new machine.
Finally, the bane of my life this week is something that I wrote a blog about over at work – Strange US search results mixed in with the normal UK Google searches.
Why Google are doing this, I do not know – for lots of search terms, this is destroying the credibility of the engine, as the results being shared with users just arent as relevant as they have been.
With Bing pushing strong to improve it’s market share (Bing is the new name for MSN’s rebranded search engine), I think that these poor results are really coming at the wrong time for Google – and I really think that they should do better than this, as Google have always said, another search engine is only ever 1 click away. All it takes is a few searches with poor results and people could switch over to another engine in an instant.
I dont really think that Google’s dominant market share is in danger at the moment, but I dont think that these are improvements to their engine – quite the opposite in fact, and something that Google should be fixing as a priority!
Over and out for now – I’ll try not to leave it so long until I blog next – maybe next week when I’ve had a chance to play with my new phone (fingers crossed I can get one).
May 9th, 2009SEO
I’ve decided to relaunch my website as just a blog.My name is Peter Handley, and I am a search engine marketer.I first created this website a few years ago as a test bed website for the search engine optimisation work that I was learning the ropes about at the time.As a result of this work, I’ve achieved some pretty respectable Hayling Island Web Design based rankings, which has surprisingly delivered a lot of leads to my website.I work full time as team leader of the Search Engine Optimisation team at Vertical Leap – a portsmouth based Internet Marketing company. The company has grown and grown in the time that I have been there, and any time that I might have once had to design some websites gets quickly gobbled up – so I decided it was time for a change.If you are looking for a local web designer, a good friend of mine runs a Simpli Design, web designers based around Hayling Island area – so you might want to go and check them out.I’m just not enough of a designer to be able to continue having a website advertising web design services.Looking back at the last 2 websites that I designed, they are thoroughly broken in some newer versions of browsers, and I don’t have the inclination to work out the problems. Fortunately they seem ok in IE – and their webstats show me that over 90% of their traffic comes from these browsers, so they are both happy. Both sites were designed for close family and friends though, so I am sure that they will convince me to fix them if they ever notice.I’m going to concentrate this blog on my life as a search marketer – I probably wont be blogging about anything specific with SEO techniques etc – I have to write a couple of blogs a week at Vertical Leap, so wont be saving any of the juicy stuff for this website when it will help that website more.I’ll also be using this as a log of various things coming up in my life. I’ve just been told I have tickets to see Pearl Jam at the o2 in August, which I am really excited about, and am due to be the best man at one of my oldest friends wedding in June too. I’m pretty excited about that too, but someone intimidated too, and I need to finish my speech pretty soon, as it needs to be translated into Spanish for half the guests as my friend is marrying a lovely Spanish lady (although I doubt Sandra will ever read this flattery!)