Category Archives: SEO

#Traverse13 – my SEO presentation slides

At the weekend, I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the inaugural Traverse Events’s travel blogger weekend down in [very] sunny Brighton. It was a busy old time, starting out on Friday nights reception which was definitely in high spirits, [many of which were served in small glasses!], followed by a full Saturday of workshops, discussions, pro-bars and a good amount of networking.  You can see the highs and lows via the event hashtag #traverse13.

It was great to talk to many of you who had entered our Biggest Baddest Bucket list competition, and to get positive feedback from even more who have, and will keep following it as the final winner is found and then travels.

Back on point. I was asked to share my slides from my workshops – so here is a slightly more workable slide-share version. I hope it makes sense without the commentary.  I am likely to publish a post about Author rank and how to setup for WordPress in a week after I get back from this weeks business trip to Spain.   Please do stay in touch via this site, Twitter or my G+.

In this presentation I try to explain

  • What SEO is today.
  • To explain the relationship between SEO, Social Media and Content.
  • To demystify what the Panda and Penguin Google updates where, and what that means for a travel blogger.
  • And, to give practical tips: 5 SEO & 5 Social media things to do today and a look future trends to prepare for.

Any comments or thoughts let me know.

Guest blogging. Good idea?

Like many topics in SEO, it comes down to quality, moderation and balance. Aim for fewer, higher quality and normally it is deemeded worthwhile and wholesome. Too many, automated and low quality = bad = spammy.

Matt tells tells us

…it can be good

…but it could be bad

Like chocolate at Christmas – apply self control and moderation and you can enjoy it!

More Google updates – Sept 2012

Here we go again.

Let’s see if the quote from Matt Cutts will be…

“jarring and jolting”

All we can do when you work for a quality content site is sit back and hope the might G see’s all the hard work.

Quick thoughts on Google’s June & July updates

I was trying to find some quick themes inside the Google’s announced updates via their Inside Search blog on their June and July updates post.

These are their published updates from June and July. I first tried to understand this post, by doing a crude, word cloud. Sometimes themes just poke their head up!

June & July Google update post's tag cloud

June & July Google update post’s tag cloud

But as you can see, this is a bit like search of old and just by being frequent, it doesn’t necessarily convey the sentiment or meaning.

So, here are some groups/themes IMHO.

  • Panda quality factors updates are mentioned a few times – so maybe more on-page factors are being refined
  • The phrase, more relevant answers from “Trusted Sites” I thought stood out. Is this for Brands (Vince) or for those who are socially strong?
  • Native languages, understanding of synonyms and context which is definitely a move to knowledge/understanding rather than just quantity of words
  • Maps, Knowledge graph and Local to be updated. I would speculate to allow even more personalised SERPs

And a number of presentational updates to

  • Site-links
  • Inline services e.g. nascar results, in-line with F1
  • Flights search and departure/arrival info
  • Autosuggest on native language

If you look at this and the previous few updates, then its more about sentiment, understanding, oh and some user experience stuff; with a massive purge on quality as an underlying assumption.

Just a few quick thoughts.

Data, Information and now the Knowledge [graph]

We knew it was coming and here is their [Google] announcement. They explain this as improving search and helping people explore. If you ask Google a questions, historically it gave you a list of possible places to find the answer. If, they understand your question, they can try and give you an answer. Or at least, throw many possible ways for you to find that answer all in one place.

Anyway, I am sure there is much more to come and many pundits to comment. Here is their video.

Index status. New in Google’s webmaster central

Google have just released another new toy inside their webmaster tools. As many of these tools they provide shapes that you need to read [like tarot cards] in context to what you have done onsite.

You can find the tool under Health and then Index Status.

I use the screen grab of this personal blog. I can see that since February Panda (coincidence?) that more of my pages have been found. I definitely haven’t produced that much extra content!

Index status inside GWMC tools

Index status inside GWMC tools

I remember the days when we would manually log this figure using the site: command in the search box.

There is an advanced view too – see screengrab below for the buttons location.

Index status - Advanced view

Index status – Advanced view

Here you will see the breakdown. Showing how many unique pages that have been crawled, how many have been taken into their database, how many not selected and how many you are blocking by robots. So, if you made a change you can see it take affect.

Lets see if it becomes useful overtime. I hope they join the data to other sections of crawl stats and more importantly crawl errors.

How does Google work?

Its a start. Google shares everything, but still doesn’t tell you much in absolutely detail, as normal. They are making SEO accessible to the masses, by explaining to the lay-man about crawling and indexation on the basics of retrieving and recalling web pages. Shame he didn’t go into personalisation and how social signals are influencing that.

Without further-ado, here is the latest video presented by Matt Cutts.

Qualities of a good SEO

What would you say are the qualities or traits that leads to being a good SEO?

As we all know you can’t go to school or do a degree in this subject, so we all come from a diverse set of backgrounds and have experiences from a range of small to big companies, from easy to incredible difficult industries or sectors. If you mix this fact that we can also report into one or more of these job titles; marketing directors, CTOs, heads of engineering or founders, we need to be able to morph into many different environments with quite different people. If you can understand your own traits you have more chance of succeeding.

Here are my thoughts on what qualities make a good SEO

  • Remember to speak to people, not companies/brands. I mean you need to be a good people person and be able to adjust quickly. Remember that people have their own needs, motivations, objectives. Then join that with…
  • Be a good listener. You need to “actively listen”, others may give you clues to a problem you have to solve, give advice, have seen it before or give you the context/release details etc
  • Be patient. Things take time, and if you need others to help. Being patient may be necessary
  • Be optimistic. People will always (mostly accidentally) break SEO, especially in larger companies with outsourced developers (not bitter promise). Staying-power and a positive outlook is essential for a long career in corporate SEO
  • Be flexible [and pragmatic]. There are always compromises to be made, and in a company with many stakeholders. Be ready to be flexible, but stick to what matters
  • Consistent. Be consistent, explain to others why you are making a recommendation, and only push when it matters

  • Be collaborative. Nobody really works alone. Get the developers, marketers, content producers, social media etc etc involved. SEO is a team game
  • Be humble – your manner needs not to alienate anyone, don’t be over confident
  • Be factual/logical – present your opinions, thoughts and recommendations in logical way. Especially important if they may upset other stakeholders, take the emotion out of all situations. Use facts, precedents and best practices

How to use them?

Try to understand your own style and personality. Try to work out the style of the person/people you need to work with. And they adjust [be flexible] to influence, persuade, receive help, work with, to ensure a win-win.

But, do exercise caution

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, consider this… an overdone strength can actually become a weakness.

Delivering on it

So, when you need to work with colleagues, clients or peers, think of your message, think of how you package this-up in a way that is appropriate to convey to message to this type of person in a way they understand. They will appreciate this. You will get what you need to do, and they will be pleased with you. That way your qualities will show through.

If you think you have a gap in your own qualities, the fact is that you can identify the gap means you can work on developing them.

How to slow down a robot

There is a flipant answer here about turning it off/remove batteries etc.

But, what do you do if you are having some server troubles or a bot is hitting you really hard. There are 2 obvious options open to you.

  1. Use your verified Google/Bing webmaster tools account and press the buttons, or
  2. To use an entry in your Robots.txt file

Option 1 is straightforward, so for the rest of this short post, lets focus on option 2. You can find some more details on the Bing community site. In short all (reputable) engines have signed up to the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP). So…

How to set the crawl delay parameter

In the robots.txt file, within the generic user agent section, add the crawl-delay directive as shown in the example below:

User-agent: *
Crawl-delay: 1

and replace as necessary if you want to apply to any specific bot e.g. msnbot/googlebot etcetera.

User-agent: msnbot
Crawl-delay: 1

What speed should I set?

They suggest no slower than 10, or it could affect their ability to stay on your site.

Crawl-delay setting

Index refresh speed

No crawl delay set





Very slow


Extremely slow

Good luck and happy bot management.