With Chrome coming out on the Mac I’ve moved away from FireFox at home and work, it’s just too slow and does have the odd crash. There is still no extension support on the Mac version but these all work with no problems on Windows XP SP3.

chrome billboard
Photo Credit – iVinay

Chrome Flags by josorek – https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/jhejngphiacapbgllhagbpdkkdieeaej

PageRank by kalehrishi – https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/pneoplpmnpjoioldpodoljacigkahohc

Firebug Lite by andrei.pervychine – https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/bnbbfjbeaefgipfjpdabmpadaacmafkj – Or use the one built into chrome Ctrl + Shift + I

IE Tab Classic by josorek – https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/miedgcmlgpmdagojnnbemlkgidepfjfi

No Follow Checker by Dan – http://www.chromeextensions.org/webmaster-seo/nofollow-checker/

Anyone else with any good extensions for chrome?

I’ve seen in the past scraper sites cause problems for sites in Google and this blog is currently been scraped and outranked sometimes by brokencontrollers.com. A quick spam report to google and the offending site soon goes away. But it seems that the page to report spam to google has been removed recently and you can only report spam while signed into a Google account…

The page used to be located at http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html known as the “unauthenticated” you could report spam anonymously, so no ties to your Google account which links to your site.

google-report-spam-result-form

That page now 301 re-directs to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport?hl=en which does load up the form but only when logged in to a Google Account with Webmaster Tools.

The landing URL from the natural ranking for “report spam” takes you just the dashboard of webmaster tools which is pretty useless, guessing they haven’t added the correct re-direct.

google spam report serp

This seems a strange move by Google as this may decrease the number of spam reports.

1. Not everyone has a Google account.
2. Even if you have a Google account your might not have Webmaster Tools.
3. You might not want to report on an webmaster tools account that contains your site if you use any black hat methods. E.G. reporting your competitor may draw attention to your site.

Google’s best method of detecting spam and paid links are reports from webmasters, SEO’s and users. This move to to remove the unauthenticated / anonymously report method may have made their jobs a little harder?

Back in the office for the new year and I noticed a new name advertising on the term “SEO” – BT.

bt-seo-advert

There’s been a few posts recently about how you get what you pay for with SEO services, so it doesn’t look great for BT’s new SEO service know as SearchSmart which starts at a chirpy £74.99 a month. There’s a £100 set up fee and also a minimum 3 month contract.

For £74.99 I’m guessing that the key phrases selected are long tail and local.

It sounds pretty much an automated service (bar the audit doc) with tight control on any phone conversations with a consultant. If you need extra consultancy time it’s £100 an hour, a little expensive for the UK, with Los Angeles Social Media Agency you will have the management of each marketing boost possibility.

It’s hard to judge the service, so far they have only got one testimonial Brand X PR who haven’t implemented the work and guessing haven’t had any link building as they have no links according to YSE. But a quick check on the BT site and they don’t rank for their own content.

bt-seo-ranking

So they have a duplicate domain “http://www.latitudeorganic.com” which is strangely owned by “Scott Sargeant” who works for the Latitude Group.

In conclusion is BT SearchSmart Any Good? Well it’s seems it’s just SEO by Latitude.. If your going to resell at least do a good job of separating ties from the company who are going to do

EDIT – Article from SEOCO about this too http://www.seoco.co.uk/blog/bt-now-offering-seo-ppc-services/

Posted in SEO.

Another strange result from Google with the Wikipedia result for Sherlock Holmes (currently on at the cinema).

The listing has a address which expands to a map centering on Matt Barker Road in Kentucky USA. That should be centred on 221B Baker Street, London, UK.

sherlock holmes Kentucky

Google grabs thats data from the Wikipedia page.

As long as Google continues to use user generated content they’ll continue to produce poor results.

I’ve blogged about problems with Google maps with see tickets spamming. This morning I found another strange result on a map search for “Blackpool Pleasure Beach”, next to Blackpool Pleasure beach is Lightwater Valley, which isn’t in Blackpool.

blackpool pleasure beach-light water valley

How do that get there? Easy.

Click on more information on the map pop up and under the user content section there is a custom map by Srab. Remember you can make a custom map on anything and position anything anywhere.

custom-map

Go to his map and you’ll see that he’s put Lightwater Valley in Blackpool, it’s actually near to Ripon in Yorkshire.

blackpool pleasure beach-light water valley custom

Nothing major but it’s a little dangerous for Google to be using custom map data in a product people use to get directions from A to B.

PHP Weby is a Free Directory script that can create a SEO friendly directory for you. It’s prety SEO friendly but it does lack an XML sitemap generator. So I’ve brushed off some PHP skills last used a few years ago and I’ve made a script that generates an XML sitemap for PHP Weby Directory.

All you need to do is add in your database details, the URL of the site and upload the php file. This then generates sitemap which you can then submit to Google and reference in your robots.txt.

For instruction and to download the file follow the link

PHP Weby Directory XML Sitemap Generator

I’ve blogged in the past about linking offline TV campaigns with online search, there have been some success and some failures. The last week I’ve noticed a campaign by Stella Artois (Mother London the agency behind the ads) who’ve used a slightly different slant on the ‘search online’ technique.

Rather than asking viewers to search online, Stella Artois asked them to search on YouTube. Different to the easier ‘search online’ used in the past but an idea that could deliver a better conversion with less chance of the user ending up at the wrong result.

Visibility

To gain visibility Stella have a PPC and a number one ranking on the natural SERP for ‘recyclage de luxe’, the PPC also shows for related searches such as ‘stella advert’.

search-for-recyclage-de-luxe

At the bottom of the 1st page is the video from YouTube. That should rank in the main SERP’s soon.

video-result-for-recyclage-de-luxe

On YouTube they have a the number one spot for “recyclage de luxe”.

you-tube-recyclage-de-luxe

Execution of Natural SERP

So it seems like a well executed plan. Why? – the page was published before the TV ads started to run.

The web page appears to be first indexed on 09/08/09. Find to find this out search for the page with the option dates set between 09/08/09 and 09/08/09.

Picture 3

Having the page up early gives it time to achieve the ranking. In this case the search term in question ‘recyclage de luxe’ had no previous competition but getting the page up early ensures the number 1 position. It’s hard to tell if this was planned by Mother London.

The video was placed online later, November 22, 2009, so just before the TV ads started. Ranking on YouTube is slightly different to the natural SERP’s you don’t need to have the video live for long to get it ranking in the search results. It helps but as there is no competition on YouTube for ‘recyclage de luxe’ putting it on late worked.

The Results

Nothing so far on Google insights, there should be a spike in searches for ‘recyclage de luxe’.

On YouTube the main video has 3,164 views, a 4.5 out of 5 rating from a total of 26 ratings. From the 25 comments so far 10 are positive, 5 neutral and 10 negative, so split down the middle.

However one comment did sum up my first reaction to the campaign;

“got told about this but it was real hard to find. Its very cool”

Which may be due to having to remember ‘recyclage de luxe’ which is a French phrase. The ‘search online’ query needs to be something memorable and easy to spell. Past campaigns such as the Orange ‘I am’ or the Monsters V Aliens ‘MVA’ failed on too generic phrases but this campaign may fail due to the complexity of the ‘search online’ query.

Learning points to take from this campaign.

  1. – Nice idea for search YouTube, this could diversify to Vimeo, Facebook, twitter etc
  2. – Having the SEO page up early helps to get the ranking
  3. – Use a range of key phrases for your PPC campaign, not just the ‘search online’ query
  4. – Don’t ask the viewer to search for something too complicated e.g. a phrase in a foreign Language
Posted in SEO.

This week Matt Cutts confirmed that natural search will start to look at the speed of your site as ranking factor. It’s something thats been in the pipeline, and an obvious change if you’ve been following the “let’s make the web faster” drive from Google.

fast-bolt

I think it’s a great move, there’s nothing more frustrating than a slow Internet connection or a slow site. If you head over to the “let make the web faster” from Google there are instructions to how to make your site faster some are a little complicated such as compressing JavaScript and CSS, HTTP caching, minimizing browser reflow etc.

If you know what your doing then thats great but if your an average webmaster here are five simple tips to speed your site up for Google and users.

1. Optimizing Images

Optimizing images is a simple process, there are two methods. Reduce white space, rather than giving your image a boarder or space crop the image tight and then use CSS to create boarder and positioning.

Save in the correct format, rather than using JPG’s GIF’s can be sometimes reduce file sizes for logo and simple images. Using “save for web” setting on programs such as Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop will enable you get the best size while not compromising on quality. To get old images into a compressed format use a bulk process, remember to keep the file names the same and if changing extensions add re-directs to preserve image rankings.

2. Don’t use tables

When making the HTML output of pages don’t be tempted into using tables to display data. With a bit of skill you can recreate the same thing in CSS. A great article gives 13 reasons why CSS is better than table the number 1 being faster load times.

3. Navigation

Two points with navigation, a) how many items in the navigation can effect load time. Listing every single category and subcategory in some sites would create a huge navigation over 100+ items. Only link to the top levels on every page and other relevant pages, a good example of this in action is the BBC site, go into the sport sections to see..

b) Coding of the navigation is also important. Using Flash or JavaScript (all the code) is a no go, using css with a little JavaScript can create efficient drops downs, even better don’t use drop downs just a plain navigation will keep load times down. Remember that navigation is on every page so improving navigation improves load time on every page in the site.

3. Reduce loads form external sites

Each http request adds time to the load of your site, this includes loading items from a different site. Where possible host images on your own site, don’t have multiple tracking codes, try not to pull twitter / RSS feeds into every page.

4. Move External JavaScript and CSS to external files

By placing the JavaScript and CSS in an external file users and search engines don’t have to load it on each page load. You place the code in a file either .js or .css and link to in the head of the page e.g.

5. Get a decent server

Yes it costs money but if you’ve spent time on the last 4 points they might have no effect if your server is slow. To get a good indication of speed ask the company for some high traffic example site and go on them at peak traffic times. Ask if any are “digg proof” and the specifications of the server.

Over all these 5 points might make a difference but the objective is to make improvements to lots of different areas, added together they will make a difference to the speed of your site.