Author Archives: Dave Fielden

What to Do When Your Webmaster Leaves

One of our clients had their webmaster leave recently.webmaster: the world on a computer screen

As in many small businesses, this webmaster had a senior role in the business. Webmaster was just one of the things he did – in whatever spare time he could find. It was an amicable parting, and he showed the others how to use their CMS, so they could continue updating the site.

However, nobody thought about all the webmaster logins, those things that don’t need attention very often.

By far the most important is your domain, e.g. bluetree.co.uk. If you do nothing else when your webmaster leaves, make sure you get hold of your domain management login name and password. This is important because,

  1. You rent the domain, paying in advance; if you fail to renew it, you’ll lose it – and your on-line brand into the bargain;
  2. A hacker could steal your domain and used to promote porn, terrorism and other unspeakable things – with subsequent damage to your reputation and the cost to restore it.

All this prompted us to write a new resource page: What to Do if Your Webmaster Leaves.

 

Local Search Marketing Threat: Apple Maps

Well! Apple Shot Themselves in the Foot!

(We still think it’s worth signing up for Yelp. See below)

It seems that Apple Maps has delivered the company a bunch of problems they could do without! Places on their new maps that no longer exist, businesses in the wrong place, cloud-covered towns and who knows what other daft problems?

This picture of the Clifton Suspension Bridge appeared yesterday in the Western Daily Press and many other newspapers.

Clifton Suspension Bridge as it appears on Apple MapsNeedless to say, Apple promised to fix all the problems soon.

No threat to Google then! At least, not this week.

This update was added 21/9/2012. Read the original post below.

New Apple Maps

From now on, all new iPhones and iPads will ship with Apple’s new operating system, iOS6. Its new mapping system will displace Google maps on these devices. The change will also affect existing devices when they upgrade to iOS6.

Apple’s new offering, “May just be the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever,” or so they claim.

Whilst the system uses Apple’s own mapping software, its map data is licensed from TomTom.  It uses the business directory, Yelp, to respond to local searches.

Apple Maps

Naturally, Apple Maps has some superb features. These include interactive, 3D, highly-detailed, vector graphics maps, turn-by-turn directions, and real time traffic information.

great detail in Apple's Maps

Great Detail in Apple's Maps

It’s all fully integrated with Apple’s unique Siri, the intelligent speech recognition / activation system. Now it actually works in the UK!

There’s more information here.

Google’s Answer

Google has responded by announcing its “Ground Truth” project.

google example annotated with local data

Google example, with local data e.g. traffic restrictions and road names

Instead of relying on licensed maps, around 2008 Google started to build a whole new system – from the ground up. This combines its original map data with a huge amount of local data collected from Street View – still the best way to take a virtual tour of your destination.

Google claims that owning all the data is key, and without control of its licensed map and local data, Apple Maps will find it hard to compete. Some pundits predict Apple will return to Google Maps within two years.

So what?

With 40% of local searches performed on mobile devices, and 55% of those on Apple, this is likely to hit Google’s search market share.

Your Google Places page impressions could drop by up to a quarter, damaging your local lead generation activities.

So, with Apple Maps business data coming from Yelp, now’s the time to claim your business in Yelp’s directory. It won’t take long. And even if most iOS6 users switch back to Google Maps, it’s not a wast of time.

NB: We still recommend claiming your Yelp business listing, despite Apple’s gaff.

Don’t use exactly the same words in your Yelp entry as you do in Google Plus Local, use it to support your Plus Local page. Make it similar, perhaps with some different or extra business facts or differentiators.

Don’t have a Google Plus Local page? It’s easy. Find out how.

 

SEO Start

SEO Start Point

search engine start button

Search Engine Start

It’s hard to believe, but our website hasn’t changed much since 2006! We finally have a new, more mobile-friendly design and it’s time to introduce it to search engines.

Mid-August, 2012. This is the datum for our progress to SERPS (search engine results) page 1. Right now we’re nowhere: not visible anywhere on Google’s first 10 pages.

Our keyword targets are modest: website design or SEO or, maybe, website maintenance in our local area. We serve businesses around Portishead, so that’ll do to start with.

Our website has history from way back that means Google doesn’t see us as we now are: a website design company. More on this later perhaps.

SEO Research

We also want to treat this as an R&D exercise. We follow a set SEO procedure to get clients’ sites onto the first page in search results. Google is focusing more and more on quality content, so this time we’re going to change the sequence of the steps we follow. We’re starting with content, which our clients update themselves. Then we’ll address the more technical aspects, for which we earn a fee.

The Start

So, we really are starting on the back foot. Wish us luck!

Help Google Find Your Business

Local Internet Search

Rapid growth means Portishead is filling up with business people. With young families and demanding jobs, they tend to be cash rich and time poor.

local search result pointer "A" on unfolded mapWhen such people want something, Google is probably their first port of call.

They may well search using a mobile phone or tablet. Tablets are becoming more popular with businesses. These devices announce their location to search engines, which list local results higher, when appropriate.

Google Places

With Google Places you can promote your business using a free web page. It doesn’t take very long and it’s easy to make your business stand out from the crowd.

On your Google Places page you can,

  • describe your business and your unique selling proposition (USP);
  • display up to ten photos of your products, people, shop, anything really;
  • state your opening hours and payment options.

More important, you can choose the categories in which your business will be listed. Google will list your business whenever someone searches for them around your location.

Get Started

It’s dead easy: go to the Google Places home page and log in using any Google account. If you don’t have one, we’ve more advice here.

Keep the Internet Free

In one week, January 18 2012, the English Wikipedia site will be blacked out for 24 hours. Other gobal sites joining in the protest include Reddit, Google, and WordPress.

This action is taken in protest against legislation proposed in the USA, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), both of which will restict freedom of speech on the Internet.

Read more about it on Wikipedia, at  http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/English_Wikipedia_anti-SOPA_blackout.

You can go on strike for a day in protest at http://americancensorship.org/.

Or sign this petition: here if you’re outside the US, or here for American users.

Let’s keep the Internet free.