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.

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.

As this blog is about SEO I suppose I should blog about changing jobs. For the past 2 years 10 months I’ve worked at Just Search. The role at Just Search was my first in SEO and I don’t think you could get a better start in the SEO industry. Having a degree in Computer Science and also running the website odd site helped me get into the swing of things. For anyone looking to get into SEO having a Computer Science degree really helps but is not essential, some of the best SEO’s out there have hardly any qualifications.

My job role originally was SEO Account Manager but morphed into Senior SEO Advisor which was basically was doing SEO on the fly during client’s contracts, with some report writing and consultation. It was great fun and most importantly dealing with 100′s and I mean 100′s of sites really helps to build up experience.

The best part of Just Search was the people I’ve met so off the top of my head a BIG THANKS TO Neil, Paul, Gary, Dave, Martin, Caroline, Ahmed, James W, Phil, James S, Adam, Simon R, Adam L, Sadie, Sam, Mark, Rik, Will, Carl, Vip, Daz and loads others…

From Monday I’m going to be working in Manchester City for a company called Amaze.

Best update some profiles over the weekend!

Google recently have been working hard on developing tools and new methods to combat duplicate content. 301′s remain the best fix and prevention is best done with robots.txt blocks and nofollow, but the new tools are great if you can’t get access to redirect or block.

duplicate-cat

Duplicate content causes a split of page rank, can cause some pages to be filtered from rankings but big websites seem to not care about the issue. If the big site’s don’t care about it, why should a site for a small business concentrate on often making lengthy changes or spend time on re-directs that some sites don’t even bat an eyelid at the issue?

Let’s have a look at some examples.

BBC

On the whole the SEO on the BBC is good but they do have a duplicate content issue on the site. I first pointed this out in a post back in February. The problem seen was two URL’s for each page.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/arsenal/7831046.stm

You also have a second URL, the difference it’s in the folder sport2 and not sport1

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/a/arsenal/7831046.stm

On top of that there is also the low graphic version of the page.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/low/football/teams/b/blackpool/7831046.stm

And under the sport2 folder

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/low/football/teams/b/blackpool/7831046.stm

Facebook

Another post I did a while ago where your profile can be loaded up on two URL’s

http://www.facebook.com/johnpcampbell

and

http://en-gb.facebook.com/johnpcampbell

Also some profiles now appearing with ?_fb_noscript=1 after the URL’s. That example above isn’t indexed but these two are http://www.facebook.com/wgardner69 and http://en-gb.facebook.com/wgardner69?_fb_noscript=1 some random person!

LinkedIn

Spotted by a work colleague of mine Neil Walker (follow him on twitter @theukseo) he noticed LinkedIn had a duplication problem with two URL’s for his profile.

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/neil-walker/4/41a/793

http://www.linkedin.com/in/internetmarketingoptimisation

Travel Supermarket & Virgin Media

Another spot form Neil was a very strange duplication on Travel Supermarket & Virgin Media. This time it looked like they have duplicated content on a sub domain rather than having two URL’s for one page of content.

Twitter

Can’t remember who spotted this (please comment and I’ll link) but twitter has a https duplication problem and a mobile sub domain duplicating.

m.twitter.com/johnpcampbell

twitter.com/johnpcampbell

https://twitter.com/johnpcampbell

Looking today there is also explore.twitter.com/johnpcampbell indexed but they have a fix in place in the form of a 301 re-direct to twitter.com/johnpcampbell

Should you still care about duplicate content?

In all these example due to the size and the power of the sites it’s not really having an adverse effect on their overall performance (like throwing a dart at godzilla! he’s not going to feel a thing). Google seems to be able to work out which is the correct URL to display. It would be nice to know the effects of correcting this as these sites have so many pages.

Just a little fix to stop duplicate content on twitter would cut the crawling time of Google allowing the search engine to spider more pages. Unfortunately we’ll never know but I’ll keep on fixing site-wide duplicate content issues.

Do you thing big companies need to sort out duplicate content issues? Add a comment

A huge part of being a good SEO is digesting news, blogs, views, reports, whitepapers and filtering out the crap. He’s a list of 25 companies in the UK offering SEO services who are publishing some content that isn’t crap. They range from the small to the large but all tend to push out good content on RSS.

Links to Site in alphabetical order

Amaze
Base One
Big Mouth Media
Branded3
Bronco
Data Dial
Distilled
Fresh Egg
Further
Green Light
I Crossing
Just Search Ltd
Lake Star Media
Latitude
NorthSouthMedia
Push On
Receptional
redsauce
SEO Consult
SEO Optimise
Site Visibility
Stuck On
The SEO Company
Verve Search

RSS Feeds in alphabetical order

Amaze
Base One
Big Mouth Media
Branded3
Bronco
Data Dial
Distilled
Fresh Egg
Further
Green Light
I Crossing
Just Search Ltd
Lake Star Media
Latitude
NorthSouthMedia
Push On
Receptional
redsauce
SEO Consult
SEO Optimise
Site Visibility
Stuck On
The SEO Company
Verve Search

Twitter Accounts – 18 account 6 missing (Branded3, Data Dial, Further, Push On, redsauce, The SEO Company)

amazeplc
baseonegroup
bigmouthmedia
bronco
distilled
freshegg
Warren_Cowan
icrossing_uk
justsearching
lakestarmedia
Latitude_Group
northsouthmedia
Receptional
seoconsult
seoptimise
SiteVisibility
StuckonSEO
LisaDMyers

Follow all in one click with http://tweepml.org/25-UK-SEO-Companies/

Missed any off ? Then please add to the comments and I’ll add them on the post if they are any good!

EDIT A few to add from comments from people

Verticle LeapRSS @verticleleap

MediaEdge – No RSS – @MECmanchester

MediaVest – No RSS – @mediavest_leeds

Ayima – No RSS – No Twitter

If you’re an avid reader of any UK SEO blogs you should have noticed posts about the recent shift with foreign (predominantly American) sites, outranking many UK sites on certain search terms. The problem has been seen under a wide selection of search phrases from many SEO companies / individuals in the UK. There have also been some indicated of the problem reserved with UK sites ranking well in Australia search results.

So what have we seen?

- 1st / 2nd page can seem unaffected with no movement at all.
- Around 10-30 sites rank from the 2nd / 3rd page thus pushing rankings 2 to 3 pages down.
- Domains are .com and hosting in foreign country or have a country specific TLD e.g. ww.domain.be

What should you do?

- Continue to add relevant unique content to your site be that news or a blog
- Continue to build links to the site, don’t increase this rate rapidly.
- Read SEO blogs to track the changes.
- Clean up any errors showing on Google Webmaster Tools, doesn’t have any effect just something to take your mind of the problem.
- Don’t panic and sit this problem out, Google should* reverse this problem.
* Nothing is guaranteed but with so much talk about this problem in the UK Google has to rectify this problem.

The issue seen by many UK SEO companies is that when Google makes a change such as the one seen you can’t really do much to rectify it. Clients will be annoyed about this stance but you can only sit it out and wait for the Search Engine to update, explain the issue to clients and keep them up to date. Most importantly you can’t really complain about Google, for all we know they could shut down tomorrow and there is nothing we can do about it!

An Idea

I do have one idea that could help thanks to Bing. Collective pressure from UK SEO companies on Google to either publically acknowledge the problem or get a fix in place. The only way this could succeed is by getting the issue in the public domain, on the BBC, ITV, Sky News etc. This then forces Google into doing something to prevent losing users to Bing, which is actually succeeding in being decent alternative to Google for UK public.

If you want to read up more on this or need proof to see that this isn’t an isolated case then here are 11 articles on the problem.

Google American Results Conspiracy – Fresh Egg

US websites ranking in Google.co.uk an example commercial laundry equipment – A UK SEO

Google uk mixing in us based queries – SEOptimise

Big Geo Problems Still Exist in Google UK Serps – PPC Blog

Google UK Serps Com On Down – North South Media

Have you noticed Googles shift from UK to US? – Argo IBC

The mystery of the UK SERPS – updated – Search Cow Boys

Will the Real Google Search Results Please Stand Up – SEO Design Solutions

Is Google’s Geo Targeting Off In Web Search? – Search Engine Round Table

UK Ranking Problems – UK Business Forums

Poor State of UK search today – Andrew Girdwood – Big Mouth Media

If you have any more, add them into a comment below and I’ll add them to the above list. Do you think collective pressure would get a responce from Google?

Search Engine Rankings move, they move a lot and there’s pretty much nothing you can do about it but keep on the track of building content and links which should reduce the movement.

How much can they move? Well in the matter of 12 hours my Blackpool FC blog move from 3 to 9 on the first page for the key phrase “blackpool fc“.

So happy happy, joy joy with a number three ranking, the official club site takes up number 1 and 2 spot so no room for improvement. That was about 11 last night.

bfcblog-ranking-3

This morning at 11, whammy all the way down to 9 on the bottom of the first page. I’m signed out of my Google account which can skew the results.

bfcblog-ranking-9

An increasing issue facing some webmasters in the UK seems to be Google not ranking sites in google.co.uk. The trend seems to be that sites that have a non country specific top level domain e.g. .com .net .org etc struggle to rank in google.co.uk for key phrases, yet the site will rank for the same key phrases Google.com when searching from a UK IP address (Which is different to Google.com searching from a US IP).

It can be rather frustrating for webmasters as they might have a perfectly working site with a good amount of inbound links but Google’s made the decision that the site isn’t 100% focused to a UK audience so Google will class the site as a US / international site thus excluding from the google.co.uk results.

So if you find your site in this predicament then you should take you site through this flowchart to make sure you’ve done everything possible to advise Google that your site is based in the UK.

google-uk-rankings

Remember more help can be found over at the Google Webmasters Help.

In business not everyone gets along, generally in SEO were a friendly bunch but I’ve been in the middle of arguments between clients and ex-web designers. The disagreements are usually about payments, missed deadlines or lost contracts.

stewie_evil

I’ve seen on three occasions web developers get their own back by making little changes to stop sites ranking in Google.

  • 301 re-direct just for the search engines to a porn site
  • Added the noindex nofollow tag to all pages in the site
  • On Google Webmaster Tools setting the preferred domain to without the www’s, when there is no site there.
  • So what can you learn, give all third parties a temporary FTP access to the site, when they finish work delete the account. Check after work your htaccess file and for any Google Webmaster Tools verifications (either a html file or a meta tag in the home page).

    The only way to avoid any problem is not to be a dick and annoy web masters or SEO’s!

    Posted in SEO.

    This week Google released a starters guide to SEO, it’s a great read if your new to SEO and also great for experienced SEO’s to back up the work they have been doing.

    It reiterates most of the advice Google have given out via various sources but bringing it all together in one document certainly helps.

    I’ve found the guide useful already with a client who refused to to add any fresh content to their site. The client insisted that adding new pages to their site would have no effect on their rankings and we were only insisting that client added content as it gave us time to find out the ‘real’ problem with the site.

    It wasn’t until the client read the guide (page 12 & 13 about content) they decided to add some new pages of content to the site. Sometimes clients won’t take notice of the advise you give them, they will sometimes need an “official” point of view to take a suggestion in.

    It’s good to see Google acknowledging the desire of webmasters and SEO’s looking to make improvements to their sites. It also give business who are looking to hire an SEO company some material to test SEO”s to see if they really know what they are doing.

    The guide can be found over at this blog post.

    Posted in SEO.