Author Archive: Simon Thomas

What is Google Panda and what does it mean to your business.

For business keen to stay in Google’s favour have been asking questions about the introduction of Google’s Panda / farmer update to the UK on April 11th

“What does Google Panda / farmer mean for my website?”

or importantly,

“What does Google Panada mean for my business?”
In this post I intend to give you a quick overview of what the Google Panda / Farmer update is and how it could affect your online marketing and SEO.
 

 

What is the Google Panda Update?

The first thing you should know is that Google has a set of rules called an algorithm for returning search results. You can split it into two parts. The first part returns all of the pages that are relevant to your search term and the next part ranks them in order of relevance to your term. This is intended to return web pages that you will be interested in on the page one.

The Google Panda update is a change to the way the second stage works. Google has implemented Panda to try and make the way that web pages are ranked more relevant and so delivery better results to you when searching.

Why have Google implemented Panda?

Google was under criticism recently regarding the quality of its search results. The cause of this was Spam content in many forms and guises, most notably:

  • Duplicate content. For example, thousands of Spam pages summarising and linking to an article to boost its ranking.
  • Spam content. For example, web-pages containing a meaningless combination of words that has been specifically tailored to rank highly on search results but that is unreadable; often with the goal of making money through advert clicks.

Google is always changing their algorithm to try and make search results more relevant. The reason that Panda has had such media attention is due to its level of impact. Google suggests that the change will impact “11.8% of our queries” (a query refers to a single Google search), which is quite significant considering that Google suggested in 2008 that there were 1 Trillion unique web page URL’s. No doubt this has increased since then. I reference URL’s instead of pages because it is part of Google’s algorithm to evaluate which URLs point to relevant new content vs. repeat content.

How does Google Panda work?

Google will never tell the general public the exact working of its algorithms. All they will tell us is the effect that the algorithm is trying to achieve.

In sort the algorithm change aims to identify Spammy duplicate content. The ultimate goal is to penalise content farms and Spammed back links. Do you have an online SEO strategy that involves Spam’like or automated processes to generate back links and content? Chances are that this is the type of thing that will be penalised.

Google wants you to be creating content for humans to read, not search engines.

In some situations Google will also use information regarding the sites that users block to influence how it ranks pages.

How can I make sure my website works with change?

Don’t create Spam content to try and hit search results. Write high quality tailored content that will be relevant to what a user would want if they arrived on your page from a search engine.

If you are building back links then try to build them from quality sources that are relevant to the content of the pages that they are linking to.

Remove Spam content from your website. If you have lots of Spam content on your website then there is a chance that Google could flag the whole site as a content farm. If you have multiple landing pages with tailored content then try and make sure that each page is relevant to the user that is likely to visit it; and if possible write something small and customised for every page so that Google can see that it has unique content.

I would recommend that you take the time to read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They are very open about the standard of websites and the sort of content that they are looking to rank highly.

Is this change a good one?

This change is definitely one that I think is for the general good of the internet. It is going to drastically change the Spam building strategy that a lot of “SEO Specialists” employ and it will put a positive slant towards the SEO marketers who are gaining high rankings through quality copywriting.

I would suggest investing time into writing high quality content is the most important thing here. If you would like advice in this area then contact us at any of the points below and we will get our professional web copywriter who specialises in writing content to achieve search engine performance to contact you.

Appendices:

The Official Google blog post on “Finding more high-quality sites in search”

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/finding-more-high-quality-sites-in.html

Web index size:

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/we-knew-web-was-big.html

Questions on quality of Google results and spam:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/28/AR2011012807515_2.html

Websites that Google block:

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/hide-sites-to-find-more-of-what-you.html

Google Webmaster Guidelines:

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769

 

 Article by Andy Ward and Simon Thomas @ Toucan Internet LLP

To find out more about how Toucan Internet LLP can influence your online success please feel free to contact Simon at the contact points below.

Toucan Internet LLPt: 01279 871 694

e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2011©. All rights reserved.

Intellectual Property Rights (IP) and your website.

Intellectual Property (“IP”) affects all businesses in one way or another. In most instances it will be the website that attracts IP protection of some description. IP covers trade marks, copyright, patents and designs. In the case of websites the most likely area that will be of interest to a business is trade mark and copyright. The Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) website defines “Trade Marks” as;

“symbols (like logos and brand names) that distinguish goods and services in the marketplace.”

Trade marks can be protected in one of two ways, either by registration with the IPO or under the principle of passing off. Registration is a simple process that can be undertaken online via the IPO website and has better protection rights than passing off. Passing off is the common law action where provided you are able to show that, the mark is yours, a reputation has been built up around the mark and you have suffered loss, you gain protection. Obviously the registration of a trade mark makes enforcement much easier.

Copyright protects original work that is created using independent skill and effort and provides the owner of that work control over how it is used. Copyright extends to websites, pictures, articles etc. When creating a website you need to consider who owns the copyright. If it is created in house then the copyright is owned by the business. If the website is created by an external contractor then unless otherwise agreed contractor will own the copyright. You will need to make sure that any contractor who is creating a website for you checks the content of the website for any copyright infringement issues involving 3rd parties such as, the use of pictures or layout of the website.

Copyright only provides protection from someone copying the original works. Should it come to your attention that part of your copyright has been infringed your protection lies in the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. In order to protect copyrighted works through the Courts the first step is to show that there is access to the material in the first instance. In the case of a website this is easy to do. If the work is copied in its entirety then the proof is easy to evidence. In cases where part of the work has been copied or amended the Court will focus on the core of the material to determine whether there has been an infringement. It is a good idea to get a copy of the site you consider has infringed your copyright as it exists at the time, in most cases by printing off a copy. This is to protect against the potential for a site owner to change their site in the future.

For legal queries regarding IP, please contact the author of this article, Tim Carter, who is the
IP expert at Attwaters Solicitors.

attwaterst. 01279 638888
e: Tim.Carter@attwaters.co.uk
To find out more about how Toucan Internet LLP can influence your online success please feel free to contact Simon at the contact points below.

Toucan Internet LLPt: 01279 871 694
e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk

w: www.toucanweb.co.uk
Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2010©. All rights reserved.

Environmental Policy Published

As a demonstration of Toucan’s stance towards sustainability and the environment it has published its Environmental Policy Statement. Any suppliers to Toucan Internet LLP or Toucan eMedia should be aware of the aims that the business has with regards to the environment, and through their own activities and supplies, further support Toucan’s environmental objectives.

Toucan’s full set of policies including the environmental policy is available at http://www.toucanweb.co.uk/ti_legal.php

Thank you to Jessica Ward of Addington Consultants for her professional assistance in preparing this policy. You can find out more about Addington Consultants at http://www.addingtonconsultants.com/

To find out more about Toucan Internet LLP please feel free to contact Simon at the contact points below.

t: 01279 871 694Toucan Internet LLP
e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk
w:www.toucanweb.co.uk
Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2009©. All rights reserved.

FREE Email autoresponder for Toucan Internet clients.

As part of our service review and requests from clients we have now added email autoresponders to our list of business class services.

This autoresponder service is available free of charge to all of Toucan’s customers who subscribe to POP3 or IMAP email facilities.

The autoresponder is entirely configurable to your needs:

  • set it up when you want it
  • switch it on or off whenever you wish
  • change the responder message whenever you wish

To set up your autoresponder you just need your:

  • email address
  • email account name
  • email account password

Clients can access their autoresponder at:
http://www.toucanweb.co.uk/ti_what_email_autoresponder.php

To find out more about how Toucan Internet LLP can influence your online success please feel free to contact Simon at the contact points below.

Toucan Internet LLP

Toucan Internet LLP

t: 01279 871 694
e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk
w: www.toucanweb.co.uk

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2010©. All rights reserved.

CD Business Cards – A Powerful Marketing Medium

CD Business Cards

CD Business Cards

For over ten years Toucan eMedia has been providing CD Business Cards to progressive business for marketing and generally for the distribution of information in an affordable and high impact way.

Unlike normal repro houses Toucan eMedia is a full service organisation capable of handling every part of a CD Business Card project from concept to final delivery and not just the CD Business Cards replication or duplication. The services can include presentation design, programming, video conversions, bespoke packaging; in fact everything to make your company look the best it can to prospective clients.
Toucan eMedia have structured prices to be competitive for the high quality services and products provided which is why international businesses with household names are content with our handing of their public image.cd_business_card_wallet1

You can store everything that your customers need to know about your business, from a full company presentation to details of products, services, interactive maps, databases and automatic links to the company’s web site. You can even store music sound tracks and include a voice-over if necessary.

Whether you need just 50 CD Business Cards or 50,000 Toucan eMedia have the resources to meet you requirements.

CD Business Card replication

CD Business Card replication

Denise Thomas of Toucan says “There are a few reasons why we enjoy such success, we have a very stringent quality control ethos, we spend time with clients so they are fully informed about the design and production procedures, even to the point where our key people will liaise with their programmers and designers and we’ll entertain small orders on very quick turnarounds.”

 

 

 


To find out more about CD Business Cards and how they could be of effective use to your business lease feel free to contact Denise at the contact points below.

Toucan Internet LLP

Toucan Internet LLP

t: 01279 871 694
e: denise@ebusiness-cards.co.uk
w: www.ebusiness-cards.co.uk

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2010©. All rights reserved.

Fractional Property Deals Website

Florida Fractional Deals is an enterprise that is pioneering fractional ownership of properties in Florida, both as an investment as the market recovers and as a holiday base in one of the World’s most popular holiday destinations.

logoMr Allan Dick, the proprietor of Florida Fractional Deals, required a simple one page website plus advice on how to make it impress visitors, but on a very small budget.

He said “We needed to prove principle so the budget was tight for our chosen web developer as this was all upfront investment. Toucan Internet suggested the attractive rotating image gallery with a zoom facility, plus image scrollers further down the originally designed page and a personalised autoresponder to all enquirers.”

This budget website plus the quick logo “was exactly what my business required”, he added.

Simon Thomas of Toucan commented that whilst they typically cater for larger web development projects, smaller enterprises such as this are of interest as they can grow into bigger business with the right support.

 


To find out more about Florida Fractional Deals contact Allan Dick, see the Florida Fractional Deals website at www.floridafractionaldeals.com

To find out more about how Toucan Internet LLP can influence your online success please feel free to contact Simon at the contact points below.

t: 01279 871 694

toucan-beak-tag-150e: simon@toucanweb.co.ukw: www.toucanweb.co.uk

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2009©. All rights reserved.

Chinese Website Content for Local Coach Company

St Margarets Coach Hire of Stansted Abbotts has had their website marketed by Toucan Internet LLP and the marketing reports that came back showed a large number of visitors from mainland China.

Keen to capitalise on this, St Margarets chose to include an additional Home Page on their site in Chinese as written and proofed by Toucan Internet’s translators.

Simon Thomas of Toucan Internet says “All too often people forget the possible reach and influence of their website and if St Margarets Coach Hire start to capitalise on the large number of Chinese visitors to their site then the summer may well see them providing bespoke coach tours of the UK to many parties of visiting Chinese tourists”.

To find out more about St Margarets Coach Hire of Stansted Abbotts please visit their website at www.stansted-airport-coach-hire.co.uk

To find out more about how Toucan Internet LLP can influence your online success please feel free to contact Simon at the contact points below.

t: 01279 871 694

e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk

w: www.toucanweb.co.uktoucan-beak-tag-150

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2010©. All rights reserved.

11 factors that influence online success – Website performance markers

 

  •  Original creative design that echoes your brand
    The design should be in line with industry acceptability though pushing the norms so it’s not totally conformist. It must in every instance be immediately identifiable by any visitor as to what the site is about and have intuitive navigation whilst being avant-garde.
  • Proper Coding
    Proper coding to W3C standards means the site will be compliant with accepted world standards. Further audience specific coding is important as additional code needs to be written for “broken” browsers that have their own stilted interpretation of the standards. Bloated sites and pages stuffed with poorly optimised images and video will hurt your rankings.
  • Properly Programmed
    It’s no use using programming that is not supported by key sections of your market. If you are selling to institutions such as banking, you’ll find that their web browser security is set to “paranoid” which means it will block all but the most mundane code. Therefore any facilities on your site using Flash, Java or even humble Java Script must have fall back facilities using basic code. This is what we call degrading nicely. The majority of sites we see will not degrade nicely and in the worst cases page construction falls apart completely and the site becomes un-navigable as the menus disappear or become dysfunctional.
  • Properly Researched
    The Internet thrives on search results and king of the search results is Google providing some 80% of the worlds domestic and business search traffic. Key to success here is to use the right keywords in the right place in the right manner and frequency. Ideally research the key terms for your business by quizzing the websites of your leading providers in your sector. Then rank all the terms you’ve gleaned against real world search usage to determine the most effective. Then optimise the site using these terms. This search engine optimisation routine is a complete science in itself, but is well founded with clear rules. The basics are for you include a bare minimum of 100 and preferably 300 words per page. Make sure the prime keywords are used in the page title, meta description and titling on the pages. Cross link on the prime key words and ensure the key word density is between 4 and 8% per page. That will get you a fair way to making a reasonably well optimised website.
  • Good content
    Search engines are much cleverer now and, through what they call Symantec learning, know what constitutes a good site from a poor site and grades it accordingly. Don’t try and fool the search engines by overly keyword stuffing. A good SEO company will be able to optimise the site for both human and search engines without resorting to what are called Black Hat techniques that will ultimately get your site blacklisted. Google has expanded its algorithm that catalogues and ranks sites to include Video and PDF files so this is all valid content if used in the right way.
  • Relevancy
    This word crops up all the time in the search engine optimisation world. Keep your website relevant and on target. This strengthens the message and makes it clear to the search engines what you are all about.
  • Keep it current
    Stale websites eventually get side lined as they offer nothing new. Keep your site fresh with new and relevant articles. One way to do this with the minimum of effort is to have a blog running for all your news and take a feed from your blog to a news flash on every page. This way when you update your blog with a new article you also update every page on your website.
  • Link and Be Linked
    One of the biggest performance markers is to have a goodly number of relevant back links to your website. Backlinks are links to your site from other websites. Even a handful will noticeably improve your rankings. We invariably advocate an exchange links programme to our clients and provide visiting webmasters the exact code we want them to use when linking to us so they use our chosen keywords how we want them to.
  • Social Media Marketing Shares
    More than a complete seminar in itself is the boom phenomenon of SMM. If your clients Tweet, Facebook and alike, then add the SMM share buttons to all your pages so anyone can rebroadcast your pages to their followers. This way your interesting pages can be shared at a click with the viewers followers.
  • Correctly Hosted
    When a site has been coded properly it will use the smallest files possible so that the site can be delivered quickly and give a great visitor experience. Google monitors and rates sites for performance. All the good coding work can be undone by simply hosting on budget servers that are maxed out for profit rather than performance. There are free tools available to performance rate your hosting  for your site.
  • Marketing
    Promote and monitor your website on a regular basis to all the key search engines, the niche market search engines and directories and the local gazette sites. Use Google Analytics to monitor your site traffic and work out where improvements can be made. Use Google Webmaster to tell you where improvements can be made to your site. Test and measure all the time.

That should give some additional considerations for getting you the best advantage for your website on the net and therefore getting a greater return.


About the Author.

This article was written by Simon Thomas who has been active on the Internet since 1995 and runs a number of commercially successful Internet projects. He supports the building of clients’ websites to the correct standards, not just SEO, and maintains on-going search engine marketing for clients that value high performing websites.

For more information.

t: 01279 871 694

toucan-beak-tag-150e: simon@toucanweb.co.ukw: www.toucanweb.co.uk

 

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2009©. All rights reserved.

11 FAQs on Search Engine Marketing

Having a commercially successful website is ever increasingly important to businesses as the website moves centre stage in delivering corporate communications, be that the sale of products or services, liaison with suppliers, customers, after sales support or integration with back office systems for integrated accounts and stock handling.

However if your website is not showing highly in the top search engine results for your prime search phrases your business is missing out. This is shark infested waters for businesses looking for quality honest suppliers to provide effective and affordable optimisation of their websites so it is found by the search engines with their chosen key terms. There are companies that promise results and either fail to deliver, fail to deliver consistently or use techniques that could ultimately damage your reputation or brand online by having your web domain blacklisted.

Below are a few basic questions that are routinely asked to help you fill in the blanks when considering how to make your website work harder for you.

1. What is Search Engine Optimisation or SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It encompasses a raft of techniques and approaches to increase the readiness of your website to be understood and therefore categorised by the search engines.

2. What is an Organic listing?

An organic listing is the listing of one of your web pages in a search engine and it is included and ranked based on the search engines perceived merits of your web page and website. More and more it is apparent that the good quality websites that deliver great content and play by the rules are finding favour with the search engines.  

3. What is Ethical Search Engine Optimisation?

Ethical Search Engine Optimisation or White Hat SEO is simply the use of good optimisation techniques that brings real benefit to the possible visitors to your site. The programmes that assess your site are getting ever more cleverer about rating what is good and penalising what could be seen as trying to take unfair advantage.

4. What are Black Hat techniques?

These are techniques that can be employed to spoof the search engines into thinking that your site is better than it actually is. Whilst we perceive that good SEO techniques should push the envelope, we strongly recommend stopping short of Black Hat techniques since should you be found to have used techniques, or have engaged someone who has used such techniques on your website, it can result in your page being penalised or even excluded from some or all of the major search engines.

5. Why does my website not show in the search results?

There is a raft of different reasons when this may be the case and here are a few for consideration:

  1. You may not have a search engine optimised design. Many designers create brilliant designs, but do not team up with equivalently skilled web partners who know how to write the code that delivers the site to the web browser.
  2. The site may not be written to be adequately readable by the search engines that you want to engender.
  3. The site or web pages could have missing or incongruous elements such that the search engine is confused about the content and purpose of the site.
  4. You or your web engineer may have strayed into inadvertently using Black Hat Techniques. And the site has been downgraded in response. You may not have submitted the site adequately as part of your post launch search engine marketing. (See http://blog.toucan-group.com/?p=17 for an extensive SEM program) .

6. What is Keyword research?

Keyword research is finding the right words that will deliver the highest number of visitors to your website possible. Believe me, a single “S” going from a singular to a plural can mean a tenfold difference in visitors.

To get to the optimum keywords the routine is to start with your instinctive choices, extract key words from top competing sites, then rank all those terms in order of real world usage. Then, by applying some instinctive personal understanding of the market place, together with an eye to how much the term is contended, draw up your final list. How this list is subsequently used is down to the skills of your web coder and copywriter who should work “hand in glove”.

7. How do I get recognised or ranked for specific keywords?

Apart from putting the right keywords in the right places you have to have the right keywords selected in the first place. Once the site is optimised and launched into the big wide world it needs to be promoted and this is where a comprehensive Search Engine Marketing programme needs to be put in place so the site is promoted and monitored properly. It not only needs to be promoted to the obvious search engines but also the niche directories and local gazetteer sites.

8. What is search engine friendly design?

The way a design is converted to a web page can be the make or break of a site’s search engine performance; a friendly design is readable and an unfriendly design is far less so. Certain techniques hamper search engines from understanding your site and some can stop a search engine from even looking at your pages. This is where you need a good web construction partner who you trust to understand what can be done and also to get the best out of the creative design provided by the designer. Here you start to see that web coder, creative designer and copywriter have to work as one for a website that stands any chance of success against the every rising bar of other quality websites.

Cheap doesn’t work – no matter how pretty the design.
9. Are Meta tags useful?

Absolutely, Google may ignore Meta Tag Keywords, but the properly written Meta Description is paramount to good SEO.

10.How can I achieve a top 10 result?

Follow all the rules, do the research and keep the site current and relevant. Promote under a structured Search Engine Marketing programme and respond to the feedback that the SEM campaign gives you.

11. Is cheap hosting a good idea?

Absolutely not! Taking Google as the market leading search provider; it rates websites on performance. Performance is measured a number of ways, some will be as a result of how the site was built and some by how it is delivered. Cheap servers deliver sites in a measurably slower manner for any number of reasons and your site will be ranked accordingly. There is free software on the Internet to monitor website performance and you want to be sure that you’re not “saving” on hosting but missing out on good rankings – it’s a false economy to do so.


About the Author.

This article was written by Simon Thomas who has been active on the Internet since 1995 and runs a number of commercially successful Internet projects. He supports the building of clients’ websites to the correct standards, not just SEO, and maintains on-going search engine marketing for clients that value high performing websites.

toucan-beak-tag-150For more information.

t: 01279 871 694

e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk

w: www.toucanweb.co.uk

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2009©. All rights reserved.

So Much More than Just a Stationery Store.

We all benefit from great suppliers and sometimes it’s appropriate to spread some good news.

Toucan Internet LLP has used the services of Brown & Tiney Stationers for over ten years. The differentiator between a good supplier and an excellent supplier is the exceptional customer service received when things don’t quite go to plan; as we all know the good times take care of themselves.

Routine dealings with Brown & Tiney are a pleasure as nothing is too much trouble, their personallogoised online ordering system genuinely saves time and their special “Hot Items” catalogue of the top 7,000 most popular stationery items gives consistent good value prices all year round – not just for limited special offer periods. Alan Brown, Managing Director of Brown and Tiney said “after we’ve spoken to a new business, 85% change their supply to us as we quantifiably save them money and invariable improve on service”.

Routinely Toucan needs items in a hurry, either for ourselves or as part of a client project and Brown & Tiney have always managed to pull the rabbit from the hat. Well done guys.

Toucan Internet LLP recommends Brown and Tiney as a quality supplier that shares the same customer service ethic as itself.

More details at www.brownandtiney.com or call 01279 437710 and tell them Toucan sent you!

toucan-beak-tag-150Toucan Internet LLP
t: 01279 871 694
e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk
w: www.toucanweb.co.uk

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2009©. All rights reserved.