If you are thinking about hiring an SEO consultant, such as myself (hello!), then you are looking for help in the promotion of your website within search engines and possibly to increase the number of site conversions too. In reaching […]

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There are services across the web for photographers, professionals and amateurs both, services like Flickr, Instagram, TwitPic and Facebook Camera. But not many of them can be truly optimised for search and being found for work. It is for this reason wedding […]

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SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the practice of increasing your search performance using techniques such as creating quality content, creating great urls and using clean code (amongst many other things). But before we get into a bit more detail […]

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It can be overwhelming for a newcomer to the web to fully understand SEO. There are lots of resources and articles on search engine optimization, but most of them focus on advanced techniques that are well out of the reach of beginners. Including this Starters guide to SEO on SEOMOZ The following are a few tips for those new to running online or websites.
A Beginners Guide to Understanding SEO
Do not be afraid to ask questions when it comes to SEO. There are a lot of things that you can learn. The first thing you have to do is commit yourself to the process and be patient. It is not a one-time event, so it takes a while to come into effect. There is also the fact that search engines change their algorithms frequently, so you always need to be updated on the latest tips and tricks.

It will take a while to see results. This is especially true to newcomers. The web is huge, and making a splash will take some time. You may want to make use of web analytics from the beginning to track your progress. Having clearly defined goals is important to track your SEO efforts.

There is a lot to learn at the beginning, but you should not let that distract you from making a great website. Always keep your audience in mind, and design something that you would want to visit. Make it easy to browse, offer light but excellent graphics, use the latest accessibility tools, and most importantly, post great, interesting content. People will come to your website, above all else, for the content it offers.

You should develop your SEO strategy by keeping that in mind. Make use of SEO-friendly URLs, include a site map page – basically do anything that compliments the content. You should also do keyword research to truly understand the market you want to cater to. Additionally, use unique and relevant titles, as well as Meta descriptions to help drive visitors to your site.

There is a lot to learn when it comes to SEO. One should never stop searching and asking questions, for he/she will truly understand the true essence of SEO once discovered. The above will get you started on your quest to truly understand search engine optimization.

Recent Testing on SPYW and How Personalised Search is Developing

Search Plus Your World (SPYW) recap.

A normal search on Google is conducted in open search (http://) . When you are logged in to any Google product, and you conduct a search, (https:// ) this search is then conducted in a secure search mode. This secure search mode has been called Search Plus Your Wolrd. Google has also described this as a personalised search.

The personalised search results are based upon your search patterns and people within your circles. This is still being worked on by Google as the results are still very different from what their promotional clip promised.

I personally like the theory behind this, but the drawback to a search in SPYW is the results not being available in Analytics because it is conducted in a secure mode (https://).

For a business owner, SEO company or marketing company, the question is how can we gauge our websites true performance. Google does say that this can then be found within Webmaster tools, but I have yet to see the data matching to the analytics shortfall.

At the moment i have seen some “not provided” data in analytics but as Google Plus grows this will be more prevalent in Analytics results.

Search Plus Your World (Google+ and Search)

Search Plus Your Results

As mentioned above, results are quite different to the promotional clip, but they will eventually be as relevant and functional as the clip.

I searched for SEO, bear in mind this is a direct result of your activity on Google Plus and your Circles, so if you are a Solar Energy Supplier then your activity will increase your search visibility.

SEO searched Logged Out:

Search Plus Your World (Google+ and Search)

SEO searched Logged In:

Search Plus Your World (Google+ and Search)
The first 2 positions have remained the same, but position 3 has been replaced by a result that one of my circles posted, +1’d. Position 5 has also been replaced by one of my circles sharing the site.

The moral of this story is that as a Google Plus user you are able to influence the SPYW results, purely by creating circles within your area of business.

Recent SPYW Testing

Recent testing by Google (22 Feb 2012) has given a sneak preview on how your search results may start to look when searching on Search plus Your World (SPYW)

This was caught by +Chris Lang, when he searched his name (we all do from time to time, admit it !). He posted to Google Plus and it was very evident that this was some testing as it was not showing on google.co.uk, only on google.com.

What Google seemed to be testing was placing a block of the most recent conversation that the person had on Google Plus.

Search Plus Your World (Google+ and Search)

This was tested as far as we can tell for a couple of hours and we have not seen it since. If this gets rolled out we can assume that a search results would have perhaps 5 search results on very active pages. The Green Google Plus button was also live and active, so if you hovered over it you had the drop down “add to circles” option. The potential for small and large business to gain this additional exposure just by having and actively using Google Plus is phenomenal.

Google Plus is 8 months old, what will 12 months bring ?

One of my favourite SEO conferences is LinkLove which are organised by Distilled. This year LinkLove 2012 London looks set to be amazing with great speakers, great listeners (like you and me) and awesome party events all over the place.

One thing I want to highlight about all Distilled Events is that the speakers are “invite only” this means no speak pitches to the team for a conference they are invited by the team to talk about a particular thing. This means you don’t end up with 5 people who can’t speak and 2 who can… they are all awesome speakers and all experts on the topic which they speak. Past speakers include Rand Fishkin (of SEOMOZ), Matt Cutts (of Google) and Tom Critchlow (erm, yeh VP of Distilled) – see awesome people speak at Distilled events.

Here is what a few past attendees said about distilled events.

And if that isn’t nice enough to hear, take a listen to these awesome distilled SEO ProTips, it’s Tom Critchlow – told you he is awesome.

If that’s not inspired you to buy a ticket yet do take a look at the distilled blog – which is awesome.
See You @ Link Love London 2012 LinkLove 2012 Share the Love

The newest player to the Social Media group of empires is . It started with a rock road, telling businesses that it was a “no go area” for them, months later Google opened it’s doors to business profiles – though they acted just like human profiles, and still do largely. Google+ is still on the small side, its take up in the UK in general isn’t huge but it still has a big effect on business and search marketing. So there is no question that you should be using it for business but what is the best way to do this right now?

Google Plus and Your Business Making it Work

As of this second my advice is to do 2 things;
1 set up a personal profile and 2 set up a business page from this.

Run content side by side for each, but try to encourage use of your Google Plus business page where possible. That of course is on the basis that you are not an individual and you are wanting to promote a business and not yourself or just your work. If that is the case simply have a personal profile.

has more limitations than most social networks, but it also has some great features and more on the way we are told. For example Google Hangouts are an awesome way to have a small group communication and meeting or to launch a video podcast from… or a town hall meeting, such as what Obama has recently.

Here are my 5 tips for effectively using Google Plus to Market Your Business

Treat Google+ Like Facebook and Twitter
Google Plus although primarily a place to post and talk about your news right now is also a place for communication.  This for the most part will be between your community (circle) members but you should also get involved. Be part of the community you create.

Get Connected – with Everyone!
Google have made it amazingly easy to connect (circle) friends and family – take advantage of it’s ease and add people to your circles, lots of those you circle will circle back … and get your post as you post it. Tip: use the groups and create more groups to categorise those you circle, if you don’t you will get flooded with so many posts its scary… categorisation saves you time and effort and of course makes life easier in the long run.

Understand Your Audience
Right now, most of Google Plus user base are mid-level or above employees or business managers, they are not your average Facebook user – don’t expect hundreds of comments but expect a few carefully thought out ones. The difference in audience means you also need to take more care in how you say and introduce things, you aren’t talking to teens and twenty somethings for the most part, these could be business owners and certainly if they have circled you have an interest in what you are saying – so be nice, be clear and be refreshing.

Complete Your Profile
Google Plus has an interesting effect on search results, your profile picture can sit next to your sites, your articles and of course items you +1. This means you need to complete your profile fully and with some twists to make it work best for you. Rather than me explaining how to do this I advise you take a look at this post by @ajkohn about optimising your google plus profile. I also advise you take a read of a guest post from a few weeks ago by regular poster Ben Greenwood explaining what the fuss is about with google plus.

Like Pinterest, Don’t be Selfish
In a recent post about I explained that etiquette has it that you shouldn’t just promote your own work and goods. Why because you look like a jerk and people will just unfollow you. The same rule stands for Google Plus, consider it a share and share alike service  – post only the kind of thing you have seen shared before. And if you like something of course hit +1 and share, the more you do it the more likely others are to with your posts.

BONUS TIP: Use the Tools on Offer
This sounds obvious but ensure you have the Google +1 buttons on your site and articles in a prominent location to your content (for instance my own are to the left floating, always on screen – feel free to click it!). If you have a blog  or own a news outlet with multiple authors ensure you are assigned as the publisher and the authors as authors (this can be done with a simple link to their profile on Google Plus). If you have a Google Plus page for your business have a widget in the sidebar, if it’s just you also have a widget … make it clear you want people to circle and add you. But remember this is a different audience to Facebook, your community won’t hit hundreds over night unless you are a huge company like Pepsi or Ford – slow steady growth which is maintained is good and not to be frowned at.

If you want to share your tips for marketing using Google+ please do leave a comment below.

And don’t forget to hit +1 on the left of this article and Add to Circles from the widget on the right Google Plus and Your Business Making it Work


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One of the most common questions I ask is why I have used a certain colour for a certain logo of certain part of a design. The answer can be as simple as ” its what your style guide says i MUST do” but thankfully it’s more often the start of a communication that can take a good cup of coffee!

Colour’s evoke emotions, most of them you will know consciously, some not so. The graphic below shows some of these ideas but lets start with a few simple ideas about colour. Blue for example says cool, calm and fresh. Green for example evokes freshness, floral and get going. Red on the other hand can mean stop, emergency or danger.

Once you have finished looking at this wonderful infographic there is a little task for you to do with your new found knowledge.

The Psychology of Color in Design

Task: With you new found brilliance in design using colours, revisit this infographic and analyse the colours which they have used for text, backgrounds etc … think about whether the colour entices you to believe the message or feel something in particular. Once you’ve done this exercise you are ready to move on to the next step, look at your own design and use of colour, from your twitter background to images around your home or office. Let colour take over your life, Love colour, Love Design.