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Archive for May, 2009

Wolfram Alpha- is it a Google Beater? The Real Answer

May 29, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Last week saw the official launch of a new search engine, sorry a computational knowledge engine, named Wolfram Alpha.

This new engine had no gimmick Search Mistress spokeswoman (think the former msdewey.com), or ex- Google employees at the helm (cuil.com) – just the promise of being:

“the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone.

Wow – now that’s some serious geek speak! But remember Google started with a similar vision – so the endless comparisons, whilst not entirely accurate, are understandable.

So with some serious processing power under the Hood, what is Wolfram Alpha and what does it offer the knowledge hungry user?

According to its own FAQ area: Wolfram Alpha is

a computational knowledge engine: it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links.

And there lies the key reason why it’s not a search engine. It’s potentially much smarter than a conventional search engine (depending on who you ask). It not only presents information, but performs calculations and data manipulations.

The ultimate goal:

WolframAlpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything.

So it’s quite an ambitious project – and could be the basis for an extremely valuable knowledge base given time and development.

Needless to say the launch has created quite a stir in the industry.

Recommended webpage file size

May 26, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Web page file size probably isn’t something that most of you think about in the day to day running of your website. It is however really important especially if you want the Google spider to crawl your site thoroughly.

So what is the recommended size of a webpage? There isn’t a definitive answer, but try to stick to the idea of “less is better”.

The folks over at Search Engine Journal- webpage files sizes have some myths and facts on page sizes, which I thought were worth sharing…

Myth: With fast Internet connections and “smart” search engine bots, you no longer have to care about the page size.

Fact: Huge pages (over 100 K – which is the standard established long ago) can account for a lot of user challenges and decrease the bot’s crawl rate and depth. Note: the bot works on a budget – if it spends too much time crawling your huge images or PDFs, there will be no time left to visit your other pages.

Myth: Page content should be no more than 1000 words.

Fact: There are no (known) limits to text content. I used to see very huge pages (in terms of word count) and Google seemed to index all of them. The only actionable advice here is to make text easy to read for your readers, crawls will handle as much text as you need.

In pracatice if you have more than about 500 words- why not split them in to two pages? Online readers read senatnces instead of paragarphs.

The same applies to pages. Tow is better than one.

Myth: Google can handle no more than 100 links per page;

Fact: It is still recommended to stick to that standard (in order to ensure search engines will follow all of them), however technically Google bots can handle and treat many more links than that (and it is official).

What standards do you use for your webpage file size? Feel free to share your insights with us at the Search Clinic.

Google’s study on effectiveness of sitemaps

May 21, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Google have given an insight into the effectiveness of sitemaps through a recent study.

Sitemaps are an easy way for web site owners to help search engines index pages on their web sites. Google initially announced sitemaps as an experiment back in 2005, with Yahoo! and Microsoft jumping on board not long after.

Until now, there has been little research to conclude how effective sitemaps really are, well until now that is.

The study was based around 3 website case studies – Amazon, CNN, and Pubmed.

Amazon’s sitemaps include around 20 million URLs. They also take effort to indicate the canonical, or best URL versions, of product pages in their XML sitemap.

CNN’s approach to XML sitemaps focuses upon helping a search engine find the many new URLs which are added daily, and also addressing canonical issues with their pages.

Pubmed has a huge archive of URLs listed in their XML sitemaps; however they don’t update these often (the change rate of URLs listed is monthly).

It was quite a detailed study with the final paper being 10 pages long. Knowing that your lives are no doubt too busy to read this, here is a rundown on some interesting facts:

* Approximately 35 million Sitemaps were published, as of October 2008.
* The 35 million Sitemaps include “several billion” URLs.
* Most popular Sitemap formats include XML (77%), Unknown (17.5%), URL list (3.5%), Atom (1.6%) and RSS (0.11%).
* 58% of URLs in Sitemaps contain the last modification date.
* 7% of URLs contain the change frequency field.
* 61% of URLs contain the priority field.

If you would really like to read the 10 page summary of the study, then you can find it here. Sitemaps Review. It’s available in either PDF or powerpoint formats.

If you’re not using XML sitemaps on your web site, then this study highlights the need for you to consider adding them. If you would like some help with creating or using sitemaps, then please ask Dr Search the Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic.

SEO- will search engine optimisation still exist in 5 years?

May 18, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

SEO- will search engine optimisation still exist in 5 years? Mr Google, Matt Cutts was recently asked if SEO will still exist in 5 years.

Matt kindly put his answer in a short video which you can check out here:

The short answer from Matt is yes, SEO will definitely be around in another 5 years.

Matt used the analogy of SEO being like polishing your resume; you will continue to apply polishes to your website through SEO, especially through canonicalization.

The one thing that Google hopes to change within the 5 years is for black hat SEO (or “crap hat SEO” as Matt calls it) techniques to become less productive and eventually disappear altogether.

With so many white hat SEO techniques being used, I tend to agree with Matt, I can’t see SEO dying anytime soon. What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

Need some help with your website’s SEO? Check out our range of affordable SEO solutions here.

Growing Gloucestershire Conference 2009

May 13, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Growing Gloucestershire Conference 2009- How to get the most out of yourself and your staff will be the secret shared in a motivational talk delivered by one of the key note speakers at the forthcoming Gloucestershire Professionals event on June 25.

Robin Fielder, managing director of LDL, a provider of leadership development, will address delegates at the forthcoming networking and educational event to be staged at the University of Gloucestershire’s Cheltenham campus.

Mr Fielder is the founder of LDL, a sales and leadership consultancy, whose forte is coaching people to grow and succeed. It boasts that more than half The Sunday Times Top 20 Best Big Companies to Work For use its services to develop their people.

Delegates will be getting something of a bargain as Mr Fielder can charge companies between £4,000 and £6,000 for his services.

“It is no secret we are in a difficult economic climate. Companies have slimmed down and some will have to go further still,” said Mr Fielder.

“But at the end of the day every company will have to get the most out of their people.

“We know the best way of motivating staff is to give them a pay rise. But we also know that ‘inspiration’ only lasts for about three days. And not many can afford to give pay rises at the moment.

“What works is good leadership and I usually start by defining what is good leadership. That doesn’t just mean the chief executive. Everyone is responsible for performance and is, in their own way, a leader.”

An estimated 170 delegates already signed up and almost 70 per cent of exhibitor space sold.

Growing Gloucestershire is a Gloucestershire Enterprise Network event and has become regular and popular feature on the county’s business calendar.

Mr Fielder is joined as a keynote speaker by urban development specialist Charles Landry, whose expertise is in demand around the world.

The 17 seminar speakers also include Adam Evetts, a divisional director at Cheltenham-based Chelsea Building Society, with a specialist in risk, internet expert Dr Search Simon Dye, legal expert Edward Davies, of Rickerbys Solicitors, and Ian Selwood, a partner at chartered accountants Randall & Payne.

Keynote speakers are being sponsored by Gloucestershire First and CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development).

Growing Gloucestershire is a Gloucestershire Enterprise Network (GEN) event and is sponsored by the CIPD, CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing), the Chartered Management Institute, and Business Link.

For further information and details of how to book your exhibition space please visit the conference website www.genconference.net

From the South West Business group at:
http://www.southwestbusiness.co.uk/gloucestershire/staff-Growing-Gloucestershire-Conference-2009/article-976438-detail/article.html

South West Business reviews Dr Search at the Search Clinic

May 11, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

South West Business announces that the Web Guru is graduating into Dr Search the Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic.

Simon Dye, Chartered Marketer and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing is graduating from Asking The Web Guru into Dr Search the Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic.

Having been an online marketing expert for the past dozen years, it has become clear that the ‘guru’ title was not completely accurate.

Search engine marketing is based on repeatable science, which can and is being replicated for a growing number of clients in Gloucestershire, the South West and globally.

The term guru is slightly vague and ethereal which implies an imprecise marketing process.

“When I recently saved one client 93% of his Google pay per click budget – and he is still getting the same amount of online traffic – it became clear that the science of online marketing was not being accurately reflected in my own job title.”

“So, being a good chartered marketer – I asked a few of my clients for suggestions on a new more appropriate title and Dr Search at the Search Clinic was founded.”

Over 400 websites for global blue chip companies to local SMEs are now benefiting from the Search Clinic. The Search Clinic cures business’s online marketing ailments by examining their current website (s) and improving the search engine optimisation, their pay per click campaigns and strategic online customer focus.

“There are often a lot of basic things that a website owner can do to improve their online traffic and sales. Some of them are quick wins whilst others sometimes take longer.

“We never promise someone that their website will get to the top of the search engines for their keyword phrases- though if and when it frequently happens, they are very chuffed indeed.”

* Simon Dye, Chartered Marketer, MBA, DipM, FCIM, MAMA
Dr Search- The Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic
24 Charlton Drive, Cheltenham, GL53 8ES,
01242 521967
doctor@searchclinic.org
searchclinic.org

The article can be found at:
http://www.southwestbusiness.co.uk/news/Web-Guru-graduating-Dr-Search-Principal-Consultant-Search-Clinic/article-946767-detail/article.html

Don’t let your competitors close you down on Google

May 07, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

This is a timely warning for all website owners with a Google local listing- avoid competitors being able to “close your business down” online!

The folks at Search Engine Roundtable brought this to my attention and I thought it was definitely valuable information to pass onto you all, especially with the recent update of Google Maps listings.

The problem is that anyone can make your business appear as though it has closed down on Google Maps.

Here is an example of how your listing may appear:

Google Maps closed
Now before you go all crazy with worry, competitors can’t automatically “close your business” if you have the proper barriers in place.

You need to ensure that your business is verified with Google’s Local Business Center. Those businesses that are not “verified” can easily be sabotaged, which could hurt their sales.

There has been a lot of talk about this issue lately in numerous forums and Google employee Joel H explains more on the Google Maps help forum:

I just want to reiterate: there are two types of listings with the Place Closed label, and, for each type, there’s a way to remove that label.

For claimed listings through the Local Business Center (LBC): Please sign in to the LBC and select Edit to the right of the listing. On the following page, select Submit. Within a day or two the listing will appear without this label of Place Closed on Maps.

For unclaimed listings, which are open to community edits: Please select Edit below the address and choose Restore Place.

So, you know what to do – go ahead and secure your listing. In these uncertain financial times, the worst thing you can do is make it easy for your competitors to sabotage your business’s online success.

3 Title tips which can increase your ranking

May 05, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Title tags are one of the oldest and most effective aspects of on page search engine optimization.

Your title tag is displayed as the main clickable link in search engine results and as such, has a considerable impact on how many people visit your website, as well as its ranking within search results.

The good news is, writing an effective title tag is easy and can have a dramatic impact on your search engine success. Below are 3 tips to get you started:

Company Names & Title Tags
There is often a big debate about whether your company name or brand should feature prominently in the title tag. The deciding factor here is how valuable and important your brand name is.

Unless your brand is very specific, an industry leader or well recognized in its field, it’s probably best to leave it out, or put it at the end at least.

This may come as a shock to many people, but think about it; If you searched for ‘flower delivery service’ you’re much more likely to click on a listing titled “Flower Delivery Service” rather than “Brand Name.com”.

Different Titles for Different Pages
It’s no use having the same title tag for every page within your website, as it leaves search engine spiders and humans confused! Your title tag should be individual to each page and accurately describe what the page is about.

Title Tags and Specific Phrases
It’s essential to make sure your most important keywords are at the beginning of title tags, as search engine spiders may only read the first 80 characters. The aim here is to write a title tag that contains appropriate keywords while maintaining readability for the end user.

There is no use stuffing your title tag with keywords that form a pile of mumbo-jumbo, as its unlikely anyone will actually click on your listing.

In summary, here is how to create effective title tags for your website:

1. Perform keyword analysis to uncover the most suitable keywords for your website
2. Create a short and sweet title tag that contains these keywords in a readable yet search engine friendly manner.
3. Repeat this process for all pages within your website

It might take a while to get used to, but once you have the hang of it, you should be able to cover your site in no time. Alternatively, if you would prefer to have your website professionally optimized, please just ask Dr Search