Monthly Archives: September 2010

Onwards and Upwards – jumping from the frying pan to a new fire!

Hotels.com

Bye bye

Today is my last day working for Expedia Inc for the Hotels.com brand. As of Monday I am taking up a larger all in-compassing search marketing role for the Thomas Cook Group.

I know that a fair few colleagues and some of my team read my blog – so I guess this is a public thank you for your hard work, your support, your creativity, loyalty and some of you, your crazyness that has made us all laugh when we had tough times to navigate through.

I am very fortunate to move from one massive OTA to another. Each have their own challenges and opportunities (and sure frustrations). I will miss Hotels.com and other EI businesses, both here in London and around the globe.

It is a bit of a strange time to leave, but you have to jump when an opportunity presents itself.

Especially after some massive projects, the hey-day/honeymoon period has only just started. But I am a sucker for punishment and moving to a ‘start-up’ in ecommerce for a massive household brand.

In the last couple of years there have been some big SEO topics to plough through and I can say I am proud of many of the my personal and the teams achievements. Here are just a couple of highlights.

  • Trying to demystify SEO to the wider business
  • Installing a fact & evidence based approach to SEO, plus some funky dashboard reports
  • Tidying up the legacy & sometimes accidentally piecemeal evolution of >10yr old on-line business
  • Many wholesale organisations changes, to survive and grow from
  • Institutionalising SEO into every possible aspect of the business
  • To get the technology down the gym (and to a single platform), to tone it up. Plus some re-hab after lopping off gangrenous limbs
  • To make the IA work as hard as it can to leverage a mature and well loved domain name
  • A real domain strategy, as the public front end to a truely global business. As part of this and in SEO terms, one of the biggest risks of >75 domain migrations
  • But, my toughest challenge….. to get a PR team to understand what a real link is. You know who you are ! 🙂

I have learnt a lot here and even made some good friends here. So, with some regrets I say Goodbye to some smart, clever and passionate people. But I know that as of Monday I will be working with a new set of dynamic and focused crowd.

If you are a new colleague, watch out as of Monday !

Hello TC

Hello TC

While I was away on holiday!

I took a (well deserved) week off and went to Turkey for a all-inclusive holiday with the family. And while I was gone Google decided to launch a new product. So, back in the office there are a barrage of questions from marketers, management and analytics folks about Google Instant and the impact it might have on our search marketing.

First of all here is a photo across my pool to the sea. I can also say that my internet usage was minimal (was hard, think I am an online addict). Oh and we learn’t to sail.

The view over the pool to infinity and beyond!

The view over the pool to infinity and beyond!

OK, back to Google instant. I think the jury is still out to start with. This is essentially a autosuggest front runner as another layer to personalisation. It may kill the long tail and it may force up PPC bidding to hit the head terms for the users that stop when they get some answer rather than the longer more precise answer. It also might change the order SEO’s optimise pages to hit the exact matches of the type in. Or even make some short-termist to change the optimisation of pages to game their sequential load order. Or it could be just another ‘flash-in-the-pan’ product that doesn’t get full rolled-out. We will see and then make any alterations to our long term strategies.

And in-case you wish to find your way to that hotel/resort, here is a map.
[googlemap lat=”36.98649427898108″ lng=”27.552316188812256″ align=”undefined” width=”630px” height=”440px” zoom=”16″ type=”G_HYBRID_MAP”]Turkey[/googlemap]

Bing’s webmaster tool – todays opinion

Bing bong

Bing bong - Sites gone

I am wanting Bing to be good and then be able to convince the consumers to enable a more competitive, less Google dominated world.

They make large leaps forward, then fail in a few things. As of today I only have 6 pages of this site in the Bing index. My site is relatively small and is like therapy to me, so not that important really, but I use it to test the benefits and putting verification of my employers sites into a future release. So, what were todays woes?

Verifying my site

I logged in with my Hotmail account, added my account, clicked the right buttons etc. Added this site to the list >> downloaded their XML file >> Uploaded it to my server >> Pressed Verify >> FAIL.

After reading a few forums, the best advice seemed to be to delete the entry and add it again. Then woe behold it instantly could now find its own BingSiteAuth.xml file. When you are in there, its not too shabby. It has most of the features of Google’s own webmaster tool including crawl, errors reports, traffic summary and my favourite “Index Explorer”. Will play some more in due course. And even more if consumers start to use Bing for their daily quantity of searches.

So, I am now in. But I need to work on…

Indexation

If you don’t have your site/page in the search engines index you don’t even have a chance. So, I have 6 pages, that is only <5% of my pages. This kind of quantity is about the same for my employer, and we have >1mm pages worthy of inclusion. There is a a neat little tool called “Index Explorer” that in a directory drill down view, shows you all the pages they have found at some point. And you can filter by status code, date etc etc. You can also submit URLs manually, but only 10 a day and up-to 50 a month! My next line of enquiry was where to submit my sitemap. I could not find this information inside the tool at all. I found it via a Bing search on their log-in page. And for convenience here is how to do it.

How to submit your sitemap to Bing

Step 1: Copy and paste the entire URL below as a single URL into the address bar of your browser:

http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?sitemap=www.YourWebAddress.com/sitemap.xml

Step 2: Change “www.YourWebAddress.com” to your domain name

Step 3: Press ENTER

So, I pasted

http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?sitemap=www.adrianland.co.uk/sitemap.xml

… and now I wait

Bing are so close to helping webmasters, then hopefully their index will actually update!
And then users will consider them relevant aswell as aesthetically pleasing. Keep going Team Bing, not much longer to wait now!