All That Glitters Isn’t SEO Gold

Posted on September 12, 2015 under SEO

This is a cautionary tale for every siteowner thinking of getting their website refreshed or redesigned.

When the designers are called in to refresh the site, and it goes beyond a basic refresh of the skin, you as a site owner should be aware that you can seriously harm the rankings and performance of your website. Proceed with caution.

Remarkably this happens more times than you’d think, new designer comes in, does his magic, rips the site apart and pulls the rug from underneath. It’s gutting to see a site that you’ve worked on be massacred by a design team that have no idea of even the basics in page titles, internal links, site structure, 301 redirects or simple on site SEO.

no google analytics tracking code shows a dip in traffic

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Google Adwords Mistakes Part 2

Posted on August 21, 2015 under PPC

What seems like a very long time ago I wrote an article on my own AdWords mistakes. Most of them still apply. 7 or 8 years later here’s a follow up with a few more.

1. Limited by Budget

If you are running on a fairly small budget or your cost per click is high relative to your budget then the ‘Limited By Budget’ warning can be fairly common. Sometimes this is very difficult to work with, particularly if it’s a small client dipping their toes into Adwords and they aren’t prepared to up their budget. They usually have a low budget and a high cost per click.

If the daily budget is £10 per day and your clicks cost you £1, then when you get 10 clicks your ads will stop showing. If your budget runs out at 5pm then your ad no longer shows.

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Google’s New 3 Pack for Local Listings

Posted on August 9, 2015 under local search

Google seems to have rolled out a new look and layout for local listings and cut the 7 pack down to a 3 pack.

The last few months or so I’ve noticed Google has been experimenting with a different look and layout for local listings. It now seems they have rolled this out across the board. vets Belfast 3 pack

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SEO Thoughts July 2015

Posted on July 15, 2015 under SEO

Exact Match Domains

Do Exact Match domains still carry any ranking value in 2015?

I think it’s too simple to say keywords in domains no longer hold value.

I certainly still think they do, they certainly do in folder names and file path, absolutely no doubt about that.

I also still see plenty of keyword rich domains that rank highly, and the keywords are a contributing factor.
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Google My Business Update Goes Wrong

Posted on June 20, 2015 under local search, SEO

This morning I noticed a big big change in a particular Local Business market I would monitor fairly regularly.

Something has happened to the Google My Business local rankings for ‘web design’ related businesses. These have always been a law unto themselves and only recently started to show again after Google had pulled them.

I keep a close eye on the local rankings for ‘web design Belfast’ terms and the 7 pack seems to have changed overnight.

Google My Business update

So from these results here’s how to rank locally:
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Which Drops a Suspended Site Quicker?

Posted on June 19, 2015 under local search, SEO

Which drops a suspended site quicker? Google My Business or Google Organic?

hosting suspended dropped from google's index

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Google Adwords Request Features

Posted on June 15, 2015 under PPC

I’ll add more to the list but here’s a couple of kick off with.

1. The ability to add annotations/comments. This is long overdue. Having to write notes in a Google Doc and refer back to these is time consuming.

2. I’d like to have the date picker that’s in Google Analytics, it makes it very easy to compare this year with last year’s performance. You can run comparisons in Google Adwords, though arguably they aren’t as easy to read/digest.

3. Ad scheduling at Ad level, so that I could create different ad text for different times of the day.

4. Being able to group select Broad Match Modifier keywords.

5. Being able to set different ads to display 10%, 20%, 50% of the time.

6. More flexibility & common sense with mobile ads, seems a nonsense to have to run a separate mobile ad campaign with the same keywords and decrease mobile settings by 100% in the original desktop/tablet campaign.

7. I’d like to be able to simply click a button and restore an account to a previous date, rollback functionality. I rarely use the undo changes feature, and backing up an account and restoring would be too time consuming everytime you made significant changes.

8. Being able to review and assess Quality Score for keywords over time.

9. I’d like to be able to get an email notification sent straightaway when the daily budget runs out, and not have to go through the current process of setting up rules to run at certain times to check if the cost has exceeded a certain amount.

Have you got any?


SEO Thoughts May 2015

Posted on May 30, 2015 under analytics, PPC, SEO

Google Adwords v Google Adwords Express

Below is a quick comparison table I’ve drawn up between Google Adwords Express & Google Adwords.

Google Adwords Express Google Adwords
Easy to setup and admin Much harder learner curve, much more complex, and ever changing
Automated Management, enter your service and service area and Google will get things up and running for you You choose your own keywords, set bid prices and structure your account, you adjust bids, deal with quality score issues, poor performing keywords and ads.
Google Analytics stats and figures aren’t impressive Google Adwords has better integration with Google Analytics and can give you a clearer picture of what Adwords visitors do on the website
Reporting is simple Detailed reporting, you can drill down into everything
Adwords Express doesn’t support the advanced features that Google Adwords does. Google Adwords allows to you use many of the more advanced features.

For instance you can run callouts & site links that many of your competitors are running.

Remarketing and advanced advertising formats are available (read what remarketing is).

Google Adwords support Youtube ads.

Google Adwords Express may work for small businesses without the time and knowledge who want to run ads, but if you’re running campaigns spending hundreds of pounds a month, and your competitors are running Google Adwords campaigns with all the features then it is certainly worth considering running the full package even if that involves hiring a Google Adwords professional. You’ll need to look at your costs to see if it’s justified.

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Thoughts on Google’s Mobile Search Update

Posted on April 22, 2015 under SEO

So Google as promised started rolling out their mobile algorithm

As yet there has been no widespread panic and I haven’t seen any dramatic changes and this will no doubt take a while to kick in.

Couple of points to note:

“While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.”

Will Google sacrifice sites that have great content, simply because they aren’t mobile friendly? It appears from the statement above that mobile won’t be the sole overriding factor, and that non mobile friendly sites may still rank on Google mobile search.

Once your site becomes mobile-friendly, we will automatically re-process (i.e., crawl and index) your pages.

Unlike Penguin or Panda updates that have been run periodically, get your site mobile friendly and any drop that it’s been hit with could be corrected the next time your webpage(s) are crawled and indexed.

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Google Adwords & Analytics Training

Posted on April 4, 2015 under analytics, PPC, SEO

I’m happy to be tutoring the ‘Introduction to Google Adwords and Google Analytics’ training course on the following 2015 dates.

1st April (Completed)
13th May
8th July
9th Sept
4th Nov

The training sessions will have a maximum of 6 and will take place at the BigRockDesigns training suite at the Wellington Park Business Centre on the Malone Road.
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Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced web developer based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own web design company.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 225729 or use the contact form.

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