11/22/11
The Technophobes Guide to Websites and Internet Marketing

Getting to grips with SEO, PPC, Google Adwords & Adsense, Google Analytics, Blogging, and Content Managing your Website through WordPress.

Computer FrustrationIf the headline and it’s subtitle appear to be total gobbledegook and fills you with dread, then stop, take a deep breath and read on!! It might appear daunting at first but the learning curve is easier than you might think and will not give you an attack of vertigo!! My story is that of a technophobe who was able to embrace the new technology and now wonders what all the fuss was about!! My story acts as a testament to the adage “that where there is a will, there is a way” and will hopefully instil you with hope and the faith to take up the internet mantle.

Two years ago in November 2009 I was made redundant from a lucrative Marketing job, like many in recent years. By terminating my employment, clearly my employer did me few favours, but what he had done in the previous six months was to enrol me on a series of free Business Link seminars on all aspects and facets of Internet Marketing. This was actually the biggest favour and present that he could have bestowed upon me, because it destroyed the myths and fears I possessed with regard to  the Internet. In the intervening two years since being thrown to the wolves of recession and the cold winds of austerity, these seminars stood me in good stead. They gave me the theory behind SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation ), PPC ( Pay Per Click )/Google Adwords and Google Analytics and all the other IT jargon that we are all subjected to. All I had to do was hold my nose and take the plunge and put the theory into practice!!

Having been made redundant, I decided that I wanted to set up an online public relations / press release writing service. LandingNet built me a basic website, using WordPress and it cost far less than I imagined it would. The key to using the WordPress model is that it allows you to content manage your own site, without relying on other parties, which is imperative because constantly adding content to your website is a must. And with a WordPress driven website it’s so easy, you would not believe it. In terms of rising up through the search engine rankings ( especially Google ), content is king.

Online Marketing MixSearch engines like Google reward websites for constantly adding new, fresh but importantly unique and original content. So constantly add new content to your website and the best way of doing this is through a news section or blog. Whatever you write, make sure you that you liberally sprinkle the article with keywords that your prospective customers will be inputting into Google and the other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Aol etc. This is what is meant by making your website SEO friendly / SEO orientated. However a salutory word of warning. Make sure your website content is original – do not plagiarise text from other websites as Google will recognise this and ignore it.

Over a period of time you will drive increasing traffic to your website organically through continually adding new content. However if you wish to speed this process up and short circuit the process, you can subscribe to Google Adwords PPC ( Pay Per Click ), where you pay for sponsored listings in a prominent position on Page One for your chosen keywords that your prospective customers will use. If someone clicks through from your Adwords Advert / Sponsored Listing, a cost will then be deducted from your Adwords Account. The cost varies and depends on the popularity of the search term ie estate agent, hairdresser, taxi / cab firm will be more expensive per click than astro physician or neurologist. This is also an excellent way to see which keywords are going to convert into actual business and you can then create more unique content based around those keywords to help you pick up on free traffic that you will know will work for you.

Once your website is established, ask a company like LandingNet to set up a Google Analytics account, which will give you a breakdown of all your traffic statistics, in the most comprehensive and minute detail. If this sounds as dull as dishwater, it’s not. I promise that you will become addicted to tracking traffic sources as a vindication of all your hard work adding all that new content to the website on a regular basis!! Believe me if a “technophobe” like me can become hooked, then you will.

Finally once you have built up a reasonable volume of relevant traffic, it might be worth adding a marketing tool called Google Adsense, whereby the Search Engine will add adverts to your website that are appropriate, compatible and complimentary to the nature of your website, it’s products or services. However be careful that you do not end up with a conflict of interest with competitors advertising on your website!! I recommend that you contact an internet marketing company like LandingNet for more information and assistance, they will talk to you in a language you understand and rather than treat it like a dark art they will empower you to make informed decisions yourself and develop your own online marketing strategy.

I hope that this has helped dispel many of the Internet myths and welcome to the IT Age. Embrace the IT Revolution and learn to enjoy it – it’s here to stay!!

Guest Article written by Simon Sterland who’s company Rhetoric offers marketing services for SME’s

11/09/11
Google Vs Facebook – Clash of the Titans

I’m sure by now you have heard about Google+ and you may well have signed up to it. But it is hard enough trying to keep up with your ever increasing Social Media workload without adding another network into the mix.

Google Vs FacebookWhether or not you should jump in and embrace it is a matter of some debate. Although I have a google plus account I am not investing much time into it at this stage but am trying to keep abreast of the latest developments so that I am well enough informed to make a decision to invest more time in it when I feel the time is right. Let’s face it Google have had their fair share of failures and have touted a whole manner of services as being ‘the next great thing’ – Google Buzz or Google Wave anyone?

Google makes a living out of data but they must have looked at Facebook and been a little bit irritated that the likes of facebook gather a massive amount of marketable data without even trying. People volunteer information about their likes and dislikes, music, films, holidays etc without even being prompted so it is understandable that Google wanted ‘in on the act’.

But Facebook are in an incredibly strong position with 30 million users in the uk alone. One social network is more than enough and most of you reading this are probably using two already, Linkedin and Facebook. There is no way I have the time or the inclination to become embroiled in another so the only way I can envisage moving allegiance to Google is if my current network of friends move with me. I like to keep friends and business acquaintances fairly separate as the tone of my communication with both groups is different. But of course nothing is that cut and dried and there is a definite overlap with some friends being business associates and many business associates becoming friends over time. The way we could look at this is like a venn diagram. Now if only Linkedin and Facebook could be merged together – cue Google+ circles!Google Circles Explanation

Of course you can arrange your friends into groups on Facebook although in my opinion the way that operates is a damn site more clunky than Facebook. Google are trying to combine the best elements of Facebook with the best elements of Twitter to expand your network beyond people people that you physically know as you can on Twitter so you can follow the status updates of people in your industry for instance – cue Facebook subscriptions!

Google have got it all to do and Facebook can ride on the back of their work. When Microsoft rolled out Microsoft Bing, Google were just rubbing their hands. Bing knew they couldn’t compete in the short term on the quality of their search so what they concentrated on were all ‘the bells and whistles’ that would give their customers a better experience. So Google just sat back and integrated any of the nice knew bits from bing that they felt appropriate into their own product.

Facebook are now able to do the same. Their customer base is fairly safe as long as they keep moving so they can now just sit back and cherry pick the Google innovations that they like and integrate them into their own platform.

But you can rest assured that Google will be making Google+ a priority so it isn’t going to fall by the wayside in the near future. They have to make it a priority, with Facebook search being powered by Bing and Facebook being the starter page for so many online sessions (48% of 18 – 34 year olds check facebook as soon as they wake up) Google stand to lose a substantial market share despite the low quality of Bing search results – convenience is everything!

The final problem that Google face in this battle is the fact that Google plus already has and will continue to have SEO benefits. Well surely that is a reason to sign up to Google+ I hear you say. Well on the one hand it is but the biggest problem they face is that it is open to abuse. Within the first few weeks millions of false profiles were set up. They are trying to address this but ultimately a Social Network has to be about real people!

One thing is for sure though. These battles can only be good for us. Facebook can no longer be complacent, they need to listen to what people want and keep innovating. I don’t keep the comments open on this blog at the moment but why not join the conversation on our on our facebook page.

10/28/11
The Importance of Setting a Preferred Domain for SEO

Firstly if you are not using Google Webmaster Tools to help you manage and maintain your site then you need to get it set up straight away. When I sat down to write this I thought about the title and the only thing I could come up with was ‘url canonicalization’, but this is just jargon and means nothing to the layman.

The Problem

In short depending on how your server and site are set up you may find that you have multiple versions of your site indexed by the search engines the www version and the non www version. If you can put http://yoursite.com into a browser and http://www.yoursite.com into a browser then you have a problem. For the more geeky readers you you can read Matt Cutts explanation but basically the search engines will see duplicate content and this will affect your rankings and any work you do to try and get your site to rank higher will be diluted and can split the link juice between pages. Damn there goes some more jargon but rather than reinvent the wheel here here is a brilliant explanation of link juice.

The Solution

Log into Google Webmaster Tools click on Site configuration and then click on Settingswebmaster tools preferred domain and where it says Preferred domains set to either display urls as www.yoursite.com or just yoursite.com. I always go with www but the important thing is not which one you choose but that you choose one. As you can see a very simple step but the benefits can be very far reaching although it will take time for these chamges to perculate.

Lets not forget although we have done it in Google Webmaster Tools there are other search engines out there, and therefore you should also set up a redirect. You can do this by putting the following 301 redirects into your .htaccess file (replacing landingnet.co.uk with your own site name).

www version

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.landingnet\.co.uk$
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.landingnet.co.uk/$1 [R=301,L]

non www version

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^landingnet\.co.uk$
RewriteRule (.*) http://landingnet.co.uk/$1 [R=301,L]

If you feel confident enough to do this yourself then ‘bobs yer uncle’ and the net result is to redirect your whole site to your preferred domain (type http://landingnet.co.uk into a browser you will see it redirects to the www version).

If you would like help with any of the above then you can call us on 0843 289 0120 or email us