SEO Advice For Business Owners and Marketers

Standout SEO Advice For People Like You

Ok, so you have your web domain. It’s hosted on a fast platform and you have a cool funky site, great! Now what?

The Google of today looks at many aspects of a domain when deciding how to rank it.

Page Speed is Important

Make sure that your content loads fast and use a tool to assess this. If it isn’t, then make it so, through on page changes and solid hosting.

Mobile Friendly and Useable Across Devices

Make sure that your content renders across devices in ways that users will find useful and useable. Use the mobile friendly page tester to ensure that your site meets the requirements. Strongly consider looking at an AMP (accelerated mobile page) version of your site and seize the opportunities that this presents.

In addition to page speed and user experience, being relevant to the query is the biggest factor in its decisions I could get super granular and break it down further but confusion isn’t the aim.

Being Relevant to the Query


Well duh, who’d have thought that people will actually want to see stuff that’s related to what they searched for! So how does it all work?

In short, you could break it down in to two distinct camps. What you show on the page and what happens off the page.

What you show on the page is…Onsite SEO

When you create a piece of content that you are looking to rank in Google or Bing, you should (in most cases) be in the habit of researching your subject and ensuring that you have an audience that actually searches for what it is you are about to write. You should do this via keyword research, using a tool like Google Adword’s keyword planner. You can get an idea for what it is that people search for, in what volume and where, along with related phrases that you can weave in to your copy.

Research your intended audience

Keyword volumes are a handy way of gauging the potential traffic you’ll receive and enable you to make better investment decisions around the products you are looking to sell or the ideas you are looking to promote. They are the corner-stone to success, as without them, you are shooting at fish in a pond in the dark, and why would you want to do that?

Assess the competition and be realistic

You also need to gauge the likelihood of success – To quote an extreme example, there’s little point in being Joe Bloggs the insurance agent on main street and seriously expecting to be able to rank for ‘car insurance’ simply because the level of competition for such phrases is insane and is targeted by multi nationals with weekly budgets larger than the probably value of your entire business. So take a considered view on what it is you aspire to and be creative in how you are going to target it.

You might have a particular angle for your locality perhaps and you might well have enough local understanding of issues and the landscape to get your content picked up by local news outlets or shared on social media which may then appear in Google in related tweets.

Look at people who you consider to be the competition in your space, see what they rank for, look at the type of content they create, note who shares it, take notes and emulate the best aspects of their strategy, dig deep and see what applies to you.

Put the right pieces in the markup at the right places

The code that outputs your pages is often referred to as mark up – mark up encompasses a multitude of html tags that are interpreted by the browser to display your content and informs the way in which Google and Bing and other properties may output their search results.

If we think of document relevancy and how search engines decide what is and what isn’t relevant we find that some html tags have more weight than others and that the placement and incidences of words throughout them can have a substantial bearing on how relevancy is interpreted.

In the <head> of your documents. ensure that your page contain your aspired to key phrases and ensure that yourdo the same.

In the <body> of your content use <h#> headings to head up your copy with headings that work closely with your target key phrase aspirations and ensure that what you write in your copy also contains mentions of your target phrase, along with semantic variants where possible. Write naturally, don’t force it, and don’t ‘keyword mention’ spam.

Some folk will talk of italicizing certain words, or bolding certain phrases. Others talk of using different font sizes to tell the search engines that some words are more important than others. Like most things, there are sensible things you should do and things that you shouldn’t. If it feels right to play with font sizes to make things stand out, then do so, but don’t expect any direct search benefit as a result.

If you look at how many standard content pieces are written, you’ll pretty much see that most ranking documents use a wide range of methods for displaying what they say. Don’t waste your time trying to reverse engineer some secret sauce, because it doesn’t exist. Just write for your users and pepper your content with a liberal dose of words that make sense to your reader, reinforcing the core of what it is all about.

You can read more about how to position your page content here, from Google itself.

Create keyword relevant urls

Make sure that the urls you create contain your target key phrases – this might be achieved via /filename-with-keyword-phrase-alone.html or use a directory type /key-phrase/related-branch.html approach. It doesn’t really matter which, but it’s important that you use one or the other as to not include the core aspect of your target phrase may well hamper your ability to rank for your aspiration.

Through using keyword rich URL’s you not only give your users a good indication what the page is about should the link be shared in an email, but you may also increase the incidence of keyword diversity when such links are shared as urls.

Use hyphens as a separator, not underscores, partly because that’s what Google used to advise (some Googlers say it doesn’t matter anymore) but also because if shared as hyper links, the underscores can be missed and can create confusion in type in scenarios, whereas hyphens are clear and unambiguous.

They also appear in the search engine results page and act as a re-enforcement in the users mind when submitting their query. Google often emboldens words that match the query, so it’s a good thing to do.

Use a logical navigation structure on your domain with useful anchor text

Make sure that your users will have some insight in to the pages that they are clicking through to.

Don’t use words like product 1 or service 2, be specific, in your menus and site navigation be sure to think about the types of things that users search for and inject these into your structures.

Use solid tried and tested practices that users like and reinforce these throughout.

Consider the use  of bread crumb trails to enable the user to see where they are in their journey and reinforce the message to both people who read it and the bots that will spider and index your content.

Home > SEO Services > SEO Consulting > Local SEO Advice

Is infinitely better than nothing or something that was devoid of links or product/service mentions. Shows your users where they are, adding context and meaning.

Think about how you name your files and images

Similar to using target key phrases in your URLs, you should also consider how you use and name imagery or files within your content. An image named image1.gif isn’t very useful to bots or people, whereas descriptive-file-name.gif is. This will increase the likelihood of your images appearing in image search and may also have a direct ranking benefit too.

Images should also contain descriptive alt attributes and it certainly doesn’t hurt to use the title attribute too. Be sure to be sensible avoiding the urge to be spammy or ridiculous.

For the more technically adept there’s of course a whole host of other considerations to be had too which will enhance how your content appears across search and other platforms.

Ever wonder how some results in the SERP (search engine results page)  have stand out extra graphical elements? These are commonly referred to as rich snippets. Here’s an example of them in action.

Rich Snippet Mark Up

Rich snippets are pieces of code that often generate enhanced search displays, making your content more visible to your target audience. They do this through the use of structured data standard called microdata. There are a range of different types:


To quote one example, “events” are often seen in the SERPs, and they might look a little like this. We can produce an example of a fictional event, showing both the markup and the visual representation.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 19.21.32

The guys at verve search have an excellent run down of the considerations involved so do check out their post.

Twitter MarkUp

Ever noticed how some tweets seem to have an image associated with a shared link?

That’s twitter cards in action and it’s a very simple addition to do.

We can see how it works with this page here – when the page is shared on Twitter, it receives an enhanced preview.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 19.01.04

The code that makes that happen can be viewed below

<meta name=”twitter:titlecontent=”Plan your travels from Bayeux France to La Rochelle France” />
<meta name=”twitter:cardcontent=”summary_large_image“>
<meta name=”twitter:sitecontent=”@distantias” />
<meta name=”twitter:creatorcontent=”@distantias” />

<meta name=”twitter:imagecontent=”” />

You can read more about adding Twitter cards here.

Facebook Open Graph Code

We’ve all shared content on Facebook and seen the previews created as we do. The cool thing is, you can actually control how your message is presented and display a custom image to fit.

The code that makes it happen is this.

<meta property=”og:title” content= “Journey Planning From Bayeux France to La Rochelle France “/>
<meta property=”og:description” content=”Plan your travels from Bayeux France to La Rochelle France Create friendships, Earn points , Book Hotels and more”/>
<meta property=”og:site_name” content=”Distantias” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=””>
<meta property=”og:image:type” content=”image/png”>
<meta property=”og:image:width” content=”100″>
<meta property=”og:image:height” content=”70″>
<meta property=”go:image:height” content=”70″>

When shared on Facebook, this produces this.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 20.01.30

HREFLANG – Calling International SEO

Some companies target international audiences. You can use hreflang to target different geolocations and languages.

The implementation is too lengthy to go into detail here, but if you’d like to know more than you can read all about it here or hit me up and I’ll walk you through it.


What Happens Off the Page is…Off Site SEO

So, in the previous part we took a quick look at various on-site or on-page factors that help influence ranking and page performance, this being just one part of being “relevant to the query”.

In this part, we are going to look at the off page factors and talk about how things work and what you can do to influence your domain in the best most effective way.

As previously discussed, Google use a variety of signals to determine relevancy.

In addition to what they say on the page, websites can boost their perceived importance and score through obtaining citations from across the web from other websites through using a variety of anchor texts (the text used in a link to reference other pages on the web).

The facts of life are that for many queries, in terms of the content contained within the pages that discuss them, there is often more than one relevant useful page for a query.  So, when faced with this predicament, the algorithm uses external citations (effectively votes ) in an attempt to sort it all out and decide who should be shown and who should not.

The idea being, that if a page has more links to it around a topic and those pages are adjudged to be authoritative on the topic,  then that’s a good signal to use when sorting any wheat from the chaff.

How to determine authority from linking pages

So, this begs the question of what IS an authoritative page and how should you get them to talk about you?

In the old days, people would talk of the concept of PageRank. PageRank was once a a publicly accessible metric displayed by google in its toolbar. Various tools  used this number to assess link acquisition worthiness. It was a useful, easy to understand metric.

Google eventually took this number away from the public domain, mainly because it was no longer necessary for public relations purposes and it was used and abused by people seeking to influence its algorithm.

The breach was filled by companies like, MajesticSEO and SEOMoz who effectively reverse engineered aspects of how they believed PageRank  may have been calculated and so, developed scoring systems of their own. Domain authority for Moz and Trust and Citation Flow for MajesticSEO to use similar principles to that of PageRank. Not prefect and devoid of other factors used for ranking, but an indicator nonetheless and, in the world of understanding the machinations of black box technology – they are therefore, useful.

Competitor analysis

You should have already identified a handful of competitors and gained an understanding of what they rank for, what they write about and generally assessed their abilities via some kind of SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)  These would have helped inform your content production decisions and given you a pretty good idea of the kinds of things you need to be doing onsite.

Additionally,  they should also have informed you on some of the other reasons why they were succeeding via an analysis of the linking domains to their website.

This post from Koozai looks at the variety of tools that exist that help you to do this and there are many of them. SEMRush is my current favourite as it’s highly flexible, and gives you a  lot of insight that is actionable in simple easy to understand ways.

Obtaining links

So you’ve done your analysis and you have a hatful of linking opportunities.

If you are thinking of emulating link profiles (think mixed competitor mashup) then you’ll need to asses the likelihood of obtaining those links and ask yourself a few hard questions.

Will they link to you? Are they a direct competitor perhaps? Why should they link to you? What value do you offer to their readership, what’s in it for them?

If you think about those questions first, you’ll be better placed to succeed in your request.

If you are thinking of emulating ideas, then look at how successful those ideas were and do some leg work in investigating why. Use tools like BuzzSumo to evaluate those social shares and take note of who shared and why.

Here’s a couple of other things you should do when link building

Don’t go in cold, take the time to build a relationship.

If they are a blogger, then read about them, find out what motivates them, look at how they write and what they write about. Follow them on social media perhaps, engage with them a few times, retweet their stuff. After a period of time, send them a little email or if you are great on a phone, pick up a phone and talk to them.

Talk about how you can help them, think about how you can help them, in fact make that your focus. If you do that (genuinely) then they’ll be far more receptive and you won’t have to work that hard to get them to like you and talk about you.

If they are operating in the same business sphere as you, then think about partnerships. Talk to them about how you can help each other, focus on the mutually beneficial aspects of the web and your brand and your products and use these to make your case.

If they are a community like a forum, then take the time to contribute, but do so in a way that adds value.

Here’s a couple of things you shouldn’t do when link building

Don’t just send out a boiler plate shitty email, saying your site is great, here is my link, please link to me. That’s lame of course, but don’t think that by tarting it up with sophisticated language that it’ll be any less so.

Don’t pick up the phone and call cold and tell them the benefits of  how linking to you can help them.

Don’t go on forums or other places related to your niche and spam the hell out of them. It’ll bite you on your bum if you do. Don’t just expect to be able to rock up and leave your deposit on someones manicured lawn.

In Conclusion

There’s many things that influence ranking, and it’s often an ever shifting thing that you need to watch and refine. You should ensure that you look at your site analytics and webmaster tools daily and keep up to speed with change and innovation in your space. Failure to do so, could cause all manner of downsides for your business, a lot of which can be avoided through regular assessment. I hope this has given food for thought and is of use to you!

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Breaking News: Google Continues Cannibalising Search Results

So the recent change in how Google displays its ads on its search engine has already pulled up a number of interesting outcomes with agencies that manage large accounts reporting a number of standouts.

An increase in CTR of 16% across SERPs should be pretty concerning to folks in the organic space, and frankly to advertisers as well. I’m not saying these results are instantly stealing 16% of traffic from organic results, but there’s certainly been a migration as a result of this change; however significant or insignificant is yet to be seen. Aaron at EliteSem

That’s quite a big chunk and is echoed by what icrossing saw too with big increases in CTR for the new ad slot.

  • Positive click-through-rate impact for top positions (+5%) and PLA (+10%), as competition at the top right has been eliminated.

  • Negative click-through-rate impact for positions 5–7 (-8%) as they moved from top right to bottom of the page.

  • Negative impression impact for positions 8–10 (-69%) and click impact (-50%). However since this segment accounted for a very small percentage of impressions in the “before” period, their loss doesn’t represent a significant impact.

There’s no doubt a slew of these across the web. Look at any account with a large enough dataset and you’ll likely see similar patterns.

But what does this really mean for organic? It’s pretty obvious what it means for PPC. In the short term, for competitive queries the new position four ad slot seems to be doing a sterling job at stealing organic click share. If CTR’s are up across ad slots, then it follows that available click share MUST be down for organic, even if we account for the loss of side ads, right?

I was talking with a client yesterday about conversion rates on site.

We had all been a little perplexed in how conversions rates had dropped off of late and had tried a variety of things to identify and reverse.

We looked at the usual suspects of onsite changes, page speed, competitor activity, sector innovations etc and were doing a degree of head scratching trying to establish what was going on. Most channel traffic was up, organic especially. The view was that maybe rankings had decreased for competitive head terms (nope) or that direct and referral traffic had increased due to PR activity and that was impacting conversion rates due to lower buyer intent (a fact, but also nope)

The client noticed that the conversion problem had occurred around the 22nd of February, which funnily enough was around the time that Google rolled out its new land grab. Aha! The smoking gun.

What was really interesting (but surprising) was that the inclusion of this new ad spot, appears to have impacted the click through on high converting pages for competitive search terms. Effectively, for every competitive position attained, visibility has dropped by an order of at least one position.

Is it really the case that people collectively have jumped the shark and no longer care about ads in google as they once did? Has Google created such a neat and compelling ad product that users are now more drawn to the ad than they would be the organic result? Are the ads more relevant today even? Is all that SERP diversity of images, videos, knowledge graph, news results and the like just a massive pain in the Goolies? Are ads the quicker route for commercial intent!? Maybe!

Of course, I’m surmising and using the data witnessed from one account. It may not necessarily be the same for every commercial query and determining what is and what is not a commercial query isn’t a walk in the park either. Just because a query doesn’t have ‘buy’ or ‘book’ in the string doesn’t mean that it’s an informational intent type query.

It’s only when you begin to dig in to your conversion data locally that you’ll even begin to notice, and even when you have your aha moment you’ll be none the wiser as to how to fix it.

In short, the only fix that matters is, to gain increased visibility for your commercial intent queries, and the only way you are going to do that in “Google Four Ad slots” is to buy ads.

Sure, you can up your activity in your other channels and up your efforts targeting queries of lesser commercial intent and create more wow moments in your PR and general marketing efforts but make no mistake. Those organic opportunities are continually diminishing as Google seek to eat more of that organic pie.

For those interested, it might also be interesting to take a little look at CTR generally and look at a few of the tactics Google has taken over the years.

Looking at CTR historically

If you look at click throughs around positions over the years you’ll see that it’s an interesting picture. Many of us will have read the various click through studies  detailing how pos #1 gets x % position #2 y% position #3 z% tailing off the further you go down the SERP.

Here’s an old  graph from Internet Marketing Ninjas showing the optify data

This is old of course and came from the days when there was a max of two ads above the fold at the top.

However, it does show the general picture and variations over the years show similar curves and it’s pretty safe to say that with the advances in PPC ads since (smart links, stars, better ad copy, blah blah) that those numbers and their respective share has likely diminished since as ad clicks, knowledge graph type distractions have gained click share.

Eye tracking and clicks

Heatmaps show us that generally, much of our attention is taken by the space above the fold.

A page loads, we scan it, see what we need and click it and many of the studies produced have helped inform ad placement, nav placement, button placement and the like.

This eye tracking study below shows the google of old 2005 and the google of  2015.  The golden triangle versus the um…red guy with no arms and legs.

2005 versus 2015

What’s really interesting is the whole background colour change in the ad slot in the image to the right. Note the background is some kind of distinctive yellowish colour.

Do a search today, and that colour distinction is no longer there. The only differentiator is the word “Ad” and that’s diluted by other distractions like ad links and gold stars.

four ads hotels in london
four ads hotels in london

Many of the features that Google used to show for its organic results, user rating stars for example are now seen in its ads, but increasingly, not in its organic results.

It would seem that increasingly in the organic portion, attention is taken away at every opportunity. One could be forgiven for concluding that Google sought to confuse the consumer by continually shifting such features around and blurring the lines between organic and paid. After all, we aren’t stupid are we? We don’t need to see the ads with a clearly defined different background colour, do we.

Some might say that it would appear that if it’s commercial and you monetise it, then the Google of today wants you to pay for those clicks.

For businesses looking to seek visibility for commercial queries, they are effectively a pay for inclusion engine today. If you want visibility, then they want you to pay for it.

It’s a risk laden strategy. Altavista did the same in 1998 and killed itself.

Users didn’t want ads shoved in their faces and users left in droves, enticed by the thing that was all Googley.

Google aren’t stupid and have learnt from the mistakes of their predecessors. They do lots of testing and use feature creep to change things. Revolutionaries they are not.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions around the bait and switch tactics and overlaps of paid serps versus organics. There’s no reason why they’d seduce users with rich snippets, only to snatch them away and leave them hanging around in their paid results, no reason at all.

If you are seeing similar things in your campaigns, decreased conversions whilst organic traffic has increased, and it fits in with these date ranges, do let me know in the comments.


Just to be clear, I didn’t personally identify the reason for reduced conversions. A team member at the client put forward the hypothesis and the whole 4 ad slot scenario seems to fit. I’d love to say who that is, but client confidentially and all that stuff… Hat tip Nick!


New Year – New SEO Products – Links, Audits and Reviews

Hello – I’m excited to announce the release of some really useful SEO products for 2016.

The products are aimed at marketers and business owners and lazy SEO’s who’d rather not do the work themselves.

Presently, there are three four to choose from but I’ll be developing more as time allows.

It’s a bit of a departure from the usual SEO product suite announcement in that none of these products are produced via automation or some clever backend api integration.

The reports created will of course use a suite of the best tools in the business. For starters most will use a combination of Kerboo, MajesticSEO, SEMRush, Google, Bing and Moz – we also use a few other top-secret ones too but if we told you what they were then we might have to tickle you to death.

The nature of the type of reports produced means that you’ll have to wait at least a few days for whatever you buy. Sometimes you’ll have to wait longer dependant upon what you’ve ordered and the number of others waiting for the same. Look for the status update on the product pages for the latest turnaround times.

As I said, there are 3 4 new products.

A manual link report product, an seo site review , a content marketing module and a bells and whistles audit and strategy report.

The products are all different and tailored to the specific client that requires them. There’s no template, no fluff, no sausage machine in action.

To go too much in to the finer details of each would be to spoil the surprise and delight of your purchase.

What I can say is that I love what I do and have been doing it for quite some time now (20 years OMG).  I’ll provide you with actionable insights that will make a difference to your understanding of your business and niche. I’ll give you ideas and inspiration and will show you how to fix any general silliness you’ve managed to find yourself doing. I won’t tell you about anything you know already and I won’t kill you with charts and lists and intangibles.

You’ll find phraseology like – “This part of your site is sub optimal and my recommendation is that you change this line of code to this line of code” or “An analysis of your market shows that you have some major content opportunities at hand, my advice is that you do X Y and Z as a priority…”

I hope not to have to write stuff like “The majority of your backlinks appear to come from a suburb of Afghanistan, whereas you aspire to rank in the bustling community of NYC…” I’d prefer not to work with numpties if I can avoid it, so if that’s you then erm…sorry.

There are rare occasions when it’s clear that there’s very little to say or add.

If you are one of these fortunate people then accept my apologies in advance as I decline your request. Why not go spend your cash on nice holiday or give it to charity instead?

That’s it! Happy 2016 to you!

Ps For the referral minded among you, there’s an affiliate program full of half decent commission for completed sales.

PPs. For a limited time, enter BoxMeUp at the checkout for an additional 20% off

What should you do if your website traffic falls off a cliff?

“OMG Our Search Engine Rankings Have Died!!”

First off, it isn’t funny, at all.  It’s totally traumatic.

If you’ve enjoyed months or years of traffic for keywords relevant to your business and it’s switched off overnight, then it’s truly going to impact you and your business. You have bills to pay, staff salaries to maintain and the loss of traffic is often truly devastating.

Second, they were never really yours anyway. They were always going to be subject to the actions and whims of another for profit entity.

Unfortunately, when it comes to dumb algorithms, there’s little kindness involved. If your website hits the thresholds that say rank this domain lower then you need to take action to reverse those aspects that may be contributing to your misfortune.

The search engine guidelines set out what is and what isn’t acceptable. Hidden text, spammy links, keyword stuffing being 3 top level well known no no’s. There are however a myriad of other no no’s which are often fuzzy and hard to pin down. We need to understand that ultimately, search engines (generally) don’t earn money from sites that use effective SEO so it’s no surprise that they’d make it all a little bit of a minefield. It’s easy to say “Make the best site for your users” but with only 10 spots available to have for each query, it’s understandable that companies and site owners will push the envelop a little to get ahead. It’s this process that often trips folks up which can often lead to ranking catastrophes. FUD is a powerful tool in dissuading the allocation of marketing budget

It’s important to differentiate between penalties and algorithmic shifts of course. Penalties are manually applied  whereas algorithmic shifts like Penguin  and Panda are changes to the way pages are scored.

What to do if your search rankings have disappeared overnight?

If you know what you are doing then it’s pretty academic. Why are you even here reading this?

If you don’t know what you are doing then don’t waste your time trying to figure it out.

You. Will. Drive. Yourself. Mad.

Employ an experienced seo specialist to look at the situation for you.

Algorithmic Search Engine Penalties

They should know if there has been a recent major algorithm change and will look at your website analytics to see if your traffic fall coincides with an algorithm change. If it does, then it’s usually either due to a Penguin or a Panda update.

If your website has been affected by Panda, then it is perceived to have a page quality issue. These might be due to spammy or thin content issues, or machine generated content that is considered to be of low quality.

Your appointed specialist should be able to honestly appraise your site and be frank enough to tell you that it’s lacking in quality.

If your website has been affected by Penguin, then you have a so called back link quality issue.

A backlink quality issue relates to the quantity and quality of the number of links to your website.

Sites that have acquired many links at once for example might be seen to be manipulating their link profile. Sites with lots of so called ‘money’ keywords in their anchor text might be another.

In the circumstances outlined; you’ll need to begin the process of fixing your sites on and off site issues.

The good news is that your appointed specialist will be able to help identify these and help you with a way forward, the bad news is that you’ll often have to wait until the algo has updated or refreshed before your site reappears for your keywords. Even then, there are no guarantees as with penguin for example, the link cleaning process may even remove links that offered value whilst retaining those that hamper. It’s critical therefore, to ensure that you use someone who has experience with these and the tools that help identify them

Manual Search Engine Penalties

In some cases, websites receive so called ‘Manual‘ penalties. These are applied by search engineers for what would be in their view egregious manipulation of the algorithm. There have been many cases of these over the years for all manner of organisations. They are a good PR tool for search engines as they send out the message that they are watching for exploitation of their resource and will punish those who try it on.

The good news is that you can clean things up and submit a re-inclusion requests whereby a search engine will review what you’ve done and reinstate your domain in search. The not so good news is that they may refuse it and ask you to try harder.

A friendly suggestion on the way forward

Finally, regardless of whether you have or have not had an issue; perhaps it’s time to take a long hard look at what you do and really ask yourself some honest questions around your content marketing efforts.

The web is only going to get more competitive, to rely on big profit driven corporations for non paid for sustenance is a little bit mad really.

The proliferation of platforms that are taking market share will only continue to grow. People are using an ever increasing level of device and apps to access information. Desktop PC’s, Laptops, Phones, Tablets, Phablets, Watches,  TV’s – Search engines are cannibalising content to keep users on site, social media platforms are doing the same pulling folks away from search engines in the process, maybe it’s time to act like search engines didn’t exist even; become the destination for your niche, be the best.

Good luck.


Adding links to the copied user clipboard text and appending a link to the text – JavaScript – MySql – Ajax –

Add links to user Selected Copied Text

Tynt’s a great product, I like it it has a cool stats page and overall I think it’s a great innovation. Check it out if you don’t know what it does.

I wanted something similar that wasn’t dependent on a 3rd party service that I could play with and tweak and do so privately outside of the view of an external organisation like tynt. My starting point was this which I’ve tweaked a little to serve a purpose or two.

I wanted something that I could modify to my own needs and vary aspects that I considered important.

One of these was link building and another was to see what users were copying to gain additional insights that I might use to improve a project or two.

I wanted to give myself an option to help people share my content in ways that added context to what it was they were writing about or citing the content for and to enable an easy visual way for people to quote the source. Both by URL and a relevant hyperlink.

The methods below help me achieve these objectives.

Quite a few webpages have long page titles that might include brand at the front or back, and probably contain a phrase that’s important to what they’d like to rank for or how they’d like to be linked to.

In this regard, we might have a page that has a page title of “Great Hotels In London – Check out this fab resource of well priced places to stay in London from Hotelprovider”

A user copying a piece of text from a page like that, which employed the system below would, in addition to any copied text see a read more and source option when they pasted the copied text into word, or their blog, or facebook or twitter or email or wherever else it was they were using the copied info.

copied text
Read More:Great Hotels In London.

We’d achieve this by using a hyphen or “-” as a stop word in the pattern aspect of our addlink() function below.

In this regard everything after the “-” would be truncated. We simply replace “wordintitle” in the function below with “-“.

Where a page title doesn’t have a hyphen, then the whole page title is used instead.

This is where it’s important to know your site structure and of course, desired outcomes.

We also include a #tag or anchor in the embedded url.

In the example I use #copied which I can then reference in my logfiles or other analytics packages.

If you use GA and you don’t want to or can’t go the ?UTM_SOURCE route, then you can enable # anchor tracking and even disable clicks that came from folks using internal anchors. You just got to mess around with your GA code a little.

Step 1 Put in Footer before closing Body tag

&amp;lt;? $permalink=$_SERVER[REQUEST_URI];?&amp;gt;
&amp;lt;script type=&amp;quot;javascript/html&amp;quot;&amp;gt;
function addLink() {
var mytitle=document.title;
var pattern =&amp;quot; wordintitle &amp;quot;;

/*whatever word you put in the var pattern above will be the text 
that'll form the words in the pasted link 
so if wordintitle was 'horse' then everything before 
the word 'horse' would be used for the anchor text,
 else it'll use the full string of document.title */

mytitle= mytitle.substr(0, mytitle.indexOf(pattern));

if(mytitle === ''){
var selection = window.getSelection(),
pagelink = '&amp;lt;br /&amp;gt;&amp;lt;br /&amp;gt; Read More:&amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;'+ document.location.href+'‪#‎copied‬&amp;quot;&amp;gt;'
+ mytitle +'&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;&amp;lt;br /&amp;gt;Source:' + document.location.href,
copytext = selection + pagelink,
newdiv = document.createElement('div'); = 'absolute'; = '-99999px'; = '‪#‎ffffff‬';
newdiv.innerHTML = copytext;

window.setTimeout(function () {
/* only need this if you are putting the info in a db comment it out if 
this is not the case */

//alert('Text Copied For You');
 /*uncomment the line above if you are not using the ajax 
shareTxt function */ 


/* you can create a hidden div and put a fadeout notify message
 telling the user that it was copied to the clipboard i'd use
 jquery but it's not mandatory to show a message, 
could do stealth if it suits - if you do not have 
jquery or are happy with a simple alert then comment the 
toggle line out or remove it */

}, 100);
document.addEventListener('copy', addLink);

function shareTxt(){
/* this function sends the data copied to your database for
 later reference */
var ajaxRequest;
// Opera 8.0+, Firefox, Safari
ajaxRequest = new XMLHttpRequest();
} catch (e){
// Internet Explorer Browsers
ajaxRequest = new ActiveXObject(&amp;quot;Msxml2.XMLHTTP&amp;quot;);
} catch (e) {
ajaxRequest = new ActiveXObject(&amp;quot;Microsoft.XMLHTTP&amp;quot;);
} catch (e){
// Something went wrong
alert(&amp;quot;Your browser broke!&amp;quot;);
return false;
var texti = window.getSelection();
var queryString = &amp;quot;?sharetext=&amp;quot;+ texti +&amp;quot;&amp;amp;ref=&amp;lt;?=$permalink;?&amp;gt;&amp;quot;;;quot;GET&amp;quot;, &amp;quot;shared.php&amp;quot; + queryString, true);

function toggle(d)
/* this function shows your hidden div and then hides
 it after 800ths of a second */
var o=document.getElementById(d);'none')?'block':'none';

Step 2 Run this PhpMyadmin or  SQL interpreter and create table

The page that the ajax sends the variables to firstly needs a MYSQL table for the data, so here is some sql below. Place this in to your sql interpreter in phpmyadmin for instance and it will create the necessary table for you.

`ref` varchar(255) NOT NULL,
`textshare` varchar(255) NOT NULL,
`ip` varchar(32) NOT NULL,
`opsys` varchar(255) NOT NULL,
`zackmo` varchar(30) NOT NULL,
`hash` int(25) NOT NULL,
UNIQUE KEY `cid` (`cid`),
KEY `ref` (`ref`)

Step 3 Create a text file and name it shared.php

You’ll need some PHP to process the data and put it into the database. Enter your db credentials in the connection script and save it as shared.php then upload it to the root directory of your site

/* create a file and call it shared.php */
if($_GET[ref] and $_GET[sharetext] ) {
@ $db = mysql_connect(&amp;quot;localhost&amp;quot;, &amp;quot;dbuser&amp;quot;, &amp;quot;password&amp;quot;);

$txt= mysql_real_escape_string($_GET[sharetext]);
$ref = mysql_real_escape_string($_GET[ref]);
$insert=&amp;quot;insert into copyshared values ('', '$ref', '$txt', 
'$ip', '$opsys', NOW(), '$hash')&amp;quot;;
$qry_result = mysql_query($insert);

Step 4 Place in Footer after Javascript closing tag above

If you want to show a message div saying ‘copied to clipboard’ for your users then you can add a div that fades out like this.

&amp;lt;div id=&amp;quot;copytoclip&amp;quot; class=&amp;quot;ctc&amp;quot; style=&amp;quot;padding:3px;position:fixed; display:none;
 bottom:15%; height:auto; margin-left:15%; margin-right:auto; vertical-align:top;
 z-index:5000; vertical-align:top&amp;quot;&amp;gt;
&amp;lt;div align=center&amp;gt;
&amp;lt;img src=&amp;quot;someniceimage.png&amp;quot;&amp;gt; 
&amp;lt;span style=&amp;quot;position:absolute; bottom:25px; left: 0; max-width:100%; color: white;
 font: bold 18px Helvetica, Sans-Serif; letter-spacing: -1px; background: rgb(0, 0, 0);
 /* fallback color */background: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.7);padding: 10px; &amp;quot;&amp;gt;Copied to Clipboard&amp;lt;/span&amp;gt; 

It has been tested (and works) on an ipad, a pc and an iphone. I’ve tested it with ie10, firefox, chrome and safari with no issues. I haven’t tried it with a droid phone.

If you decide to use the fade() function then you’ll need to have the jquery library installed (most domains use it these days so you shouldn’t have an issue with it)

Ultimately, there’s nothing to stop people removing the link created or the url, so it might work for good link building and it might not.

The good aspect for me (and this is where tynt might just be an easier option for you) is that I can periodically review what kinds of content snippets people are grabbing and then gain any insights presented.

Install Recap

To install, you need to create the table in phpmyadmin with the sql referenced above and upload/create shared.php on your server and place it in the directory of the domainroot.

You also need to open up a footer file or include you have that goes sitewide and paste the javascript referenced above along with the div content just before the closing body tag.

If you don’t want to do the ajax or db route thing then follow the instructions I’ve put in the code removing or commenting out the div aspect and the shareTxt() function.

That’s it.

Paying to Play in SEO

The Bad SEO  Rep Thing

SEO as an industry has for a long time now suffered with a terrible rep. The web is littered with case after case of burnt individuals recounting stories of being mislead at best and defrauded at worst – An examination of a lot of these tales will often reveal a well trodden path of company promised one thing whilst delivering another, usually in the form of not very much at all, or in extreme cases a nice page 6 ranking penalty from the Google monster.

Top 10 is it then Len?

I think it’s interesting that this happens, despite the wealth of info out there.  Google even publishes a guide to SEO, which for the DIY brigade, is a good little reference point. Yet the reality is that whatever way you dice it, there’s only ever really 10 organic spots to be had and unless you’re above the fold, you might as well not be there.

Sure, there’s Local,  Universal and Social and all that blah blah blah but let’s face it, if you aren’t ranking at positions 1 to 5  in a clean non obfuscated SERP then…need I state the obvious?

Continue reading

Just Another Social Monitoring Tool?

Not just another social media monitoring tool

I’m writing this post on an iPhone whilst watching Arsenal trail 2-1 to Stoke, a testament to the interconnected world we inhabit today. A world where we can interact w/ our networks from virtually anywhere, a world where the old constraints of modems and hard wired cables in a phone socket are but a bemusing memory of a place left alone in the roadmap of time.

Back then we usually had to wait before reading a response to a post or a comment. Facebook and Twitter, the proliferation of other nkotb like foursquare, gowalla, brightkite et al were just twinkles in the eye of their respective founders. Today all are becoming a mainstay of the online world, acting as sharepoints for the herds that flock to the power of their distributive connectivity; full of people chattering and networking, discussing themes and topics of their everyday lives. Lets face it, it’s nothing short of a technological social revolution; the web how it should be, as envisaged by the technerd visionaries striving to push it all that little bit further.

As a result of all this, quite a few of us have got excited by the opportunities that this activity presents. Never before has it been so easy to connect w/ people in their ‘moment’ never before has it been possible to identify so very quickly, people who are talking about you, your brand or topics and products important to your interests. The whole proliferation of listening tools that have sprung up is testament to the hunger and appetite for finding new ways of measuring, interacting and building relationships w/ those of import. Continue reading

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