Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Power of Links

You may not know this but links have become one of the most important weapons in the armory of the SEO specialist, why you may ask, well here is an example I have been using for a few years now.

Search for the term ‘click here’ in Google, and you will find the 'Adobe Acrobat' download page as the number one result, even though the page doesn't mention the phrase 'click here' or the words once. This is because many websites use PDF downloads with a link to Adobe Acrobat - usually saying to download Acrobat Reader 'click here'. So how does this happen and what does it mean.

There are two parts to this. Firstly the text click here is used as the link, referred to as link text and used by Google to match the link text to the content of the website - taking the Wooden Toys company I consult for as an example I have used the words Wooden Toys as the link text. This will hopefully help Google to determine that the website is about Wooden Toys and should be ranked highly for this phrase.

But this doesn't explain the click here scenario as there is no mention of it on the Adobe Reader website. For years people have spoken about the value of content, so if the Adobe Acrobat website doesn't mention or talk about 'click here' why is it ranked first?

Here's how it works. Someone once described the internet as one big voting system, the more votes you have the more popular you are, see links it to your website as a vote and you can see that the more links you have the more popular you are. Google likes popular websites so ranks them higher than others for specific phrases even if the website doesn't have the content on their website.

Now unless you know millions of website owners who can put a one way link to your website with the link text of your choosing, it will be a little more difficult to get rankings purely on link text alone - it has been done for terms such as miserable failure for the White House website when George W Bush was president and is often reffered to as Google Bombing.

Links are very powerful, there is little doubt about that. However at the end of the day, if the content of your website isn't useful (Adobe Reader), or the subject of interest to a large number of people (George W Bush) then you are unlikely to have enough people to vote for (link to) you to make a difference.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Form over Function

It has taken some time to come up with a new post that isn't just a new twist on something someone said recently, or in response to another article in the media about this or that - so here it is.

Don't be fooled, this is nothing new or ground breaking, but I was today reminded of something I have being saying for many years, especially about the company I used to co-own. There are very few agencies, either fully integrated or pure digital, who can both design to a very high standard and also build technically competent and well thought out websites.

I came across a company who have built a number of high street chain websites who claim the following "As one of the most technically capable web agencies in the UK, [name removed] has delivered countless solutions...". And there in lies the problem, the websites they produce are technically very good, but unfortunately are incredibly uninspiring from a design point of view. They may be technically brilliant - although I have to say one of the websites they have produced is one of my all time pet hates for poor functionality!

A great design and well formed navigation / usability / functionality will always win over some technical innovation in my opinion - this from an ex-developer...So to the point, form over function. Everyone has an opinion on design and this will probably never change, websites and software etc just have to work - don't they?

Friday, 26 June 2009

The 80/20 rule comes to Twitter

According to recent research at least 80% of all tweets (maybe even as high as 90%) are posted by only 20% of those who are registered.

A large proportion of users sign up and post once or not at all before giving up.

The only way people will get the benefit of site like twitter is if they engage with it. That means searching for people who post about things you want to read, posting things other people want to read and passing on things that other people have tweeted.

This way you will follow and be followed not just by the people you know and already engage with on a regular basis, but also new people who you may have never met or thought about speaking to in the past.

Let's see if more people get involved themselves, rather than just reading about a certain Mr Fry in a lift.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Cool Website / Game

Well I think it's cool, but then I probably would as I directed the development, design and idea generation for it!

Brother Europe commissioned McCann Erikson Manchester to develop a game to tie in with the launch of the Ghostbusers game on PS3. The idea was for a retro '80s game theme, merging a PacMan style grid and a Doom style 3D walk thorough.

The best bit is there are prizes to be won every week with the top score over the next 6 months winning a trip to New York!

Visit the webiste and play the game here

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

In the begining... made the internet, then the world wide web (yes there is a difference!) then filled it up with websites no-one has ever seen.

Man then made Google so that he could find what he was looking for.

Man keeps on filling the internet up with websites that no-one can find unless they pray to the god that is now Google, in the hope that they get first page listings for the products / services they are selling.

As one leading digital marketing consultant once said "if you can't find something on Google or Ebay it doens't exist, does it?"