This weekend I officially began the move to change all my companies services under one umbrella, that of SEO Andy – rather than Andy Kinsey Designs. The move came about for a few reasons, primarily for consolidation to make the offerings of […]

Well at least for now the winner of the battle within search engines for which has more effect on ranking is links. The source of this information to me is both through talking to other people in the industry and […]

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Pinterest is fast emerging a very profitable and powerful social media tool for numerous businesses to drive the traffic onto their websites. If you are undertaking lots of valuable efforts to market your product on this particular social networking website, […]

Once again I have been lucky enough to be featured in .net magazine. Last time I took part in the design off section of the magazine. In issue 230, this time, an article I have written about how user experience […]

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Those of you that know me will read that title and think “What the hell is Rich talking about? He spends all day online, why is he saying it doesn’t work?”, some of you will be thinking “I bloody knew it, I told you facebook and twitter is all about what people had for lunch and finding out which celebrity has just come out of rehab…” and those of you that do well from Social Media will be saying “He’s absolutely right!”.

You see Social Media really isn’t about selling, it’s about building relationships. Relationships with your customers, clients, service providers to name but a few.

My name is Rich Brady, I’m Ecommerce Manager for Denbigh Army Surplus and over the last 18 month my role here has evolved from simply web design to Marketeer, for want of a better word.

I communicate all aspects of our business through various Social Media Channels; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. The same message will be broadcast across these channels, but that message will be tailored slightly as the one audience is not the same as another and that’s the first thing you have to consider, not what you want to say, but what people want to hear.

We had a Facebook and Twitter account for a long time, before it grew in popularity. Once I’d realised that the majority of people interacting with us via Social Media were poeple interested in the outdoors (mountaineers, mountain bikers, bush craft enthusiast, etc) we made a concious effort to focus our conversation in that direction. The introduction of DAS Resilience, our monthly orienteering competition, that excites anyone that likes walking in the hills was the best decision we ever made. Which leads me to my next point…

Talk about real life, day to day goings on within your business, encourage fans to get involved with activities and events that you’re part of and create a buzz. Don’t fall into the trap that because people are talking to you via the internet that they’re not prepared to get out of the house.

A constant stream of “buy this”, “buy that”, “these are on offer” isn’t adding any value to your fans lives. If you use Social Media socially, do you really want to read a steady stream of sales pitches? No… you want to ask questions and may be answer a few, ultimately have a laugh and enjoy yourself.

Are you company that is prepared to invest time into having a conversation with someone and building a strong relationship with people that perhaps are not in the market for any of your products or services at this particular time? If not, then Social Media is not for you.

Going back to my original point, Social Media Does Not Boost Sales. On the face of it it doesn’t and measuring ROI is very difficult, which is often why it’s hard to justify the time. However, in the last 10-12 months, since embracing Social Media and understanding our audience more; we’ve featured in more newspaper articles and website posts then ever before in our 24 year history. We run a successful monthly competition that sees individuals travel 100s of miles to be in with a chance of winning some free gear and we’re shipping product every day, all over the World, when the competition is struggling…

Top 3 Social Media Tips

Find out what your fans/followers want to talk about

Get them excited and involved in real life events

Don’t sell. Promote and encourage conversations

Be engaging, if you must talk about a product or service then have an opinion poll, do a video or get some existing customers to write a case study. Don’t get hung up on how many people are following your accounts, identify who is most active and get to know them. The oldest and best form of promotion is word of mouth that hasn’t changed, only the medium in which it’s communicated.


You can find Rich on , Twitter @richmbrady and on

When I wrote about I looked at Pinterest from the view point of someone wondering why they should use Pinterest for marketing at all.

Today I want to take another view point, that is of someone who is already using Pinterest but wants to optimise Pinterest for both click through’s (to their own website) and optimise for search in general.

5 Ways to Optimise Your Pinterest Product Posts optimisation

Pinterest is an addictive tool, it pulls you in by showing your pretty things and lets you share them with your friends. It lets you and work you’ve found and you feel good when someone clicks like or re-pins your post … because you feel good you go back and do some more Pinteresting things.

Pinterest is an amazing utility tool for any business, but it is a fantastic small business SEO tool. Whack a product on that looks amazing, add a keyword loved description and a price tag and with a click or two you’ve not only a buyer but someone who has shared your item with their friends and possibly even more buyers! But that description, that price, that link are all key to the small business SEO and it’s where the bigger companies will miss out – they may upload every product but they won’t upload a great description showing a passion and they probably won’t include the price and they probably won’t be shared … boo hoo  for them… lets get to work, lets Optimise Your Pinterest Product Posts.

How to Search Optimise Your Pinterest Posts

Link Well
Linking well comes naturally to Pinterest, you add a pin via a URL and it will automatically link to that location – job done. But if you upload manually, remember to add a link, it can be as deep (as many layers down and long) as you wish and Pinterest will only show the first part of the link
(eg will become …
and yes if you are an affiliate linker this means you can use affiliate links

Be Descriptive
Pinterest search is based on your description of a product and the keywords it see’s you using (for both e product and the board it’s on, thus pinning to an appropriately named board is always good). Also Pinterest is open, to some extent, to search engines, so make sure that you remember content is king. Write about your product and show your passion for the subject at hand.
Tip: Include your price (eg £5) and it will appear as a ribbon across your image everywhere, and it will appear in the gift sections of the site.

Organise Your Pin Boards
It sounds odd, if I hadn’t mentioned it above, but you need to really organise your pins. Don’t just upload a product photo and description and attach it to any board (say a Baby Clothing into a Landscape Photography board, i’ve seen it!). Think about what you are doing and why. If you organise well your products are more likely to be found both in search and by people just surfing pinterest.
(also you boards are categorised to make them easier to find so don’t mess around with it).
Tip: If you notice it’s in the wrong category or you’ve forgotten some detail you can edit pins, hover over the image and in the top left you will see edit.

Use Common Tagging Conventions
Pinterest as with , and use tagging conventions, such as the # Hashtag and @ namespace.
The hashtag (#) will pin that product to that keyword in a search (you can use lots or none or just one, hint hint). Using the hashtag will greatly increase the likely hood of you being found the the Pinterest search, though it is unclear of any impact in general search.
The namespace (@) will connect your post to another person you are following, you only have to follow one of their pin-boards to do this. If your product is designed by this person it’s a great way of saying “hi look we posted you information here” and they will hopefully re-pin and gain you lots of traffic, if not a credit shows some authority for your give product and subject matter.

Promote Your Pins Well
This is pretty standard convention on the web, if you blog or post photos etc but I just want to reiterate the importance of sharing what you post. Ok you’ve shared something on Pinterest but unless it gets some interest there it may not be found else where. So you should share it on Twitter, on Facebook and Google+ … drive traffic to your post get a conversation started on any platform about it and immediately people will go and visit your Pinterest post. Pinterest has a huge click-through rate so use it to turn potential into real customers. Which brings me onto 5a) link to pinterest on your website just like any other social media account and get people to follow you. Look its over there in my sidebar (oh and now below this point).

These are my top tips for optimising your pinterest for search. If you have any tips leave a comment below.

Also leave a comment below telling us why you use Pinterest & tell us your username on pinterest so we can follow you 5 Ways to Optimise Your Pinterest Product Posts optimisation

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) guest

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) guest

SEO searched Logged In:

Search Plus Your World (Google+ and Search) guest
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, only on

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) guest

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 ?

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 brand

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 brand


Img Src 

Following feedback on my recent post about , my friends at told me they wanted to know more about Twitter how they can begin to use it for business growth.

Twitter have a massive userbase across the globe. It comprises of all kinds of people, men women, adult child, artists zoo keepeers and many more! As such a common question is can Twitter be utilised as a marketing tool for a given product or service?

I think the title of this post answers that, yes of course twitter can be used for marketing. Indeed, Twitter is one of the best marketing tools on the market today, from simple exposure of a product to direct selling – Twitter is Amazing for Marketing.

Although there are many ways to use twitter optimally I want to today concentrate on just 5 techniques for getting to most from Twitter as a platform for communication. These ideas are based on an assumption that you have completed your account description, have a good handle, have a brand-led profile image, have your web link in the profile and have a background that is consistant with your brand. For an example of this see my own account and compare its design to

Follow Your Idols, Friends and Similars
When you start on twitter you will be a blank canvas. Twitter will say follow these celebs, don’t bother, search for other artists if you are an artist, other designers if you design etc – follow your friends and idols. These are folk you are likely to get some kind of conversation with, speaking of which…

Start Conversations 
Once you’ve followed people, and hopefully you may get a few follows back – start a conversation. Talk about what you are doing, why you are on twitter … ask for advice on getting started from others you follow. If you are a crafter there are hundred of crafters and artists online, they maybe in the same niche market as you but most are in another area and therefore will be only too happy to help you get going. Twitter is a friendly place where businesses help one another. Give value to your readers and followers by engaging with them. The more you talk with people the more people will talk back and the larger your audience will grow … people follow others based on conversations they have.
Tip: do not self promote intently at this point, twitter is about creating conversations, from this comes promotion in time but it should not be forced.

Connect Using Media
Twitter is fantastic at sharing media. For instance you can post images and video, audio and text – all the key media in one place. Ok you may have to use an extra service like youtube or twitpic as a connector service but having media on your account (say a half finished piece you are working on for a new exhibition) can be a talking point. You talk about it, others will ask about it and share it. Media has a way of connecting with people beyond simple text, it lives longer in a memory and so can reinforce you and your brand.

Promote Your Business
Having just given you 3 steps to promoting yourself using twitter this is a bit of an odd title you may think. But here is what you are up against, some 75% of accounts on twitter are in some way a business account, a tiny proportion of them talk to others and and the rest just straight promote or link out and tend to be seen as spambots. The good thing is that because there are so many you can promote your business with links, pictures and videos and talk about your brand without fear of it being too spammy and annoying. So do it! Talk about your industry, ask for feedback, ask for questions and ideas. By doing this you can begin to establish yourself as an authority in a market and niche – your followers will grow and so will the conversations.

Enjoy Yourself
Promotion on Twitter is like no other. Your account should not just be business, though some would advise it is, your account should be a person who can talk and communicate, engagement is what twitter is about. It is your job to engage, and away from business you have a life, talk about it… when it’s friday show your relief for friday being the end of the week. On a monday if you have the monday blues talk about it. Mid week talk about the weekend. Show what you are doing, if you go to an exhibit that you love talk about it and show pictures, engage with your community.

If you have any comments on these tips or would like to share your own tips leave a comment below. Using Twitter to Grow Your Business brand

And don’t forge to tweet me Using Twitter to Grow Your Business brand @andykinsey

It’s hard to believe that Stumble Upon one of the first real social bookmarking sites is still so popular. But statistics show that with a Facebook almost 400X that of Facebook and Twitter, Stubmle Upon is here to stay!

Most people thought that Facebook links have longevity, they don’t – they have a few hours of virility but little in terms of life. Where as Stumble actually has a longevity of not just hours but days and weeks (months in some cases). From this study it looks like maybe we should all be using Stumble Upon a little more!

Stumble It, A Half Life almost 400X of Facebook? optimisation

Back in 2005 social media was the new buzzword, MySpace was doing the rounds and so was Bebo, each taking on the world and sharing things with friends. There was whispers about this new network called !

Fast forward a few years and MySpace and Bebo suffered a huge downfall following the rise of Facebook, with all its wonderful apps and ability to seemlessly connect you without too much effort. Basically they won because the concentration was not on your wall or your profile but on the aggregation of feeds which you wanted to see – allowing you to engage and see the world. Well that’s the simplified version, that plus Facebook knows how to use the data it collects and does it amazingly well… Google say they know what you want before you do, if thats the case Facebook knows what you want, need and puts it in front of you before you’ve even thought about wanting it. 

If you are interested in the new rise of MySpace as a music based service, check out my article on .

So with the meteoric growth of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ the question is why do people share so much about themselves? Why do businesses sink so much time and effort into social media? plus many other questions.

To answer this I was about to write a nice long article about Why Social Media is NOT a Waste of Time, but instead I stumbled across this lovely infographic which tells the story. This infographic is based on Nielsen research results in america only, but it applies across the world especially in the UK where the statistics shown are broadly similar.

Why Social Media is NOT a Waste of Time optimisation


is an online pin board for photos and graphics of things people love and are passionate about. What Pinterest is not is a marketing tool for self promotion, indeed point three of the  asks you not to purely use Pinterest for self promotion. So in essence Pinterest is a social platform for sharing photos of things you love, from the to a or a . But its not for self promotion, so How can you use Pinterest to Market Your Brand?

The answer is indirect brand marketing strategy, sounds complicated but it isn’t really. The idea is that you can talk about your amazing products for 5% of the time, the remaining time you spend talking about and liking other peoples products, photos or designs – you become part of the Pinterest community, this of course the secret of Internet Marketing through Networking.

To help you along your way here are my top 5 tips for marketing your brand and products using Pinterest.

Audience Specific Pinboards
Whether you are a person who knits, bakes cakes, designs logos or sells sports gear create boards around these topics, so design, build and output (or just output if you so desire) and post other peoples work that you admire and love. Basically the key is to show your passion by posting amazing images and in your description showing your appreciation for the piece of work. Don’t  post your own work here, but perhaps open the board for others to contribute and maybe they will post your work and say they love it – build a community around a pin board.

Use Pinterest for Market Research
Pinterest isn’t (at least right now) being used by hundreds or thousands of businesses, and most of the businesses that are there are small businesses looking to market their company. That means the overwhelming majority of users are consumers, they may well be your target market, if you are a craft or design person you can get feedback and improve your products by looking at other products and in the 5% you post your stuff ask for comments.

Cross Platform Promotional Contests using Pinterest
It sounds odd that as much as social networks think of themselves as walled gardens (aka you and I should only share what we share with our friends and on that network) they really aren’t. What I post to AK Designs on Facebook is tweeted, when a blog from this site is published it gets tweeted, facebook shared, google +1′d etc … people don’t do the walled garden concept which is why cross platform promotions work. In the audience specific custom pin board section I mentioned allowing contributors to post to your pin board. For one competition you could ask users from facebook or twitter to post to your custom pin board with a winner choose at random or the winner being the one with most re-pins or likes (telling them they must link to your account in some way)… For another you could ask people to share your profiles across each media, each time they do they get an entry to a prize draw for a gift of some kind. The ideas are endless but the key is to get people engaged by jumping from platform to platform and promoting your brand name in the process.

Add Pinterest Pin It Buttons to Your Website or Blog
A bit like the buttons to the right of, Pinterest offers which you can put on your website around images or videos (oh I forgot you can post videos to Pinterest, so if you create how to videos or podcasts use Pinterest to Promote them!). One thing to note is if you have a blog, remember to have at least an image on the page worth Pinning else don’t have the button, don’t waste your time or bandwidth. One click and it’s shared.

Direct Marketing using Pinterest
Having just told you not to direct market on Pinterest here is a secret… knock yourself out but don’t do it by uploading your stuff yourself. Ask others to do it, ask others to follow your Pinterest and from there ask them to visit your website or other social accounts. Further to this create exclusive bundles of products and exclusive coupons only available on Pinterest etc.

So there you have it 5 tips for using Pinterest to promote your brand online easily and without a fuss.

Now feel free to Pin this article (look a Pinterest logo for you, or my face, Pin My Face … I dare you How Do I Market My Brand on Pinterest? brand

Oh and follow me on Pinterest –

– UPDATE: NOPIN for Blocking Pinterest

Since writing this post Pinterest have given way to some companies concerned about copyright infringements. In the USA they already had the lovely DMCA and it worked well… but some companies wanted more. Some companies (for some reason I can’t yet figure out) wanted to be able to block users from Pinning their content.

If you are one of these companies you may want to reconsider your position, if you still want to block Pinterest simply use this code in your

If someone then tries to pin it will simply display a message saying that your site doesn’t allow pinning.

I must advise you against using this strategy, it will be a loss of traffic, a loss of audience that you wouldn’t other wise have and it’s a loss of promotion channel. If someone is abusing your content and claiming your work to be theirs, send a DMCA its easy to do.

If you are concerned about your latest work only being pinned you can use this code just on one page which is more advisable than a blanket cover.