Month: February 2008

What Skills to Look For When Selecting an SEO Company

By Dave Haygarth   February 28, 2008  
I stumbled accross this old-ish article (2004) from Shari Thurrow, a leading SEO consultant and director of US SEO and web development company Omni Marketing Interactive, regarding the skills to look for when selecting an SEO company.In a nutshell, these are:design development programming search engine optimisation web analytics usabilityClients will often hear me go on about how you will not find the requisite skills to build a great website in one person so I recommend avoiding having your website built by a single freelancer.To generalise (perhaps slightly unfairly, but hope you get my point): designers tend to write bad code. Coders tend to do horrible designs. Its a left/right brain thing: different skills need different people.We set up Reverse Delta to help combat bad web code. We are predominantly a technical company, but we know to outsource our design work to great designers who really understand the web, and not just the printed page. We also know not to let them do the coding!We see web development as a production line. We start with architecture. Our architects understand both technology and marketing. We do keyword research to understand what words the target market are typing into Google. This influences the pages that we have on the site, and hence the navigation between those pages. We then get our graphic designers involved. They work in Photoshop to craft good looking websites. We then get our developers to build clean, standards-compliant code. Our Search Engine Optimisers are involved at every stage, ensuring their requirements are built in from the ground up. It is so much easier to build SEO into the foundations of your website than to try to "retro-fit" it. We have often been asked to optimise a poorly architected, poorly coded and poorly designed site. We have to explain that once you re-write the code, re-do the design and re-write the copy, there really is not that much left of the original site and it would be easier to start again from scratch.As Shari quite rightly says, very few SEO companies have the right combination of marketing and technical skills. I am proud to say, I believe we are one of those few.

Microsoft fined a record £680m in EU war on monopoly

By Dave Haygarth   February 28, 2008  
After a long, drawn out battle, Microsoft have been fined a record £680m by the European Union for restricting competition. An amazing precedent and a clear signal to other corporations that Europe is serious about competitive opportunities.A similar battle in the US fizzled away when George Bush came to power bringing with him more freedom for companies to do as they wished. The EU's message is refreshing in the circumstances.EU Commissionare Neelie Kroes said "In plain English, Microsoft continued to abuse its powerful market position after our March 2004 decision requiring it to change that practice....We don't want talk, we want compliance. If you cheat the rules, you will be caught... Read more on...TechspotInfoworldThe StatesmanGuardian Unlimited

Add to Basket! Click Here! … and other Calls to Action

By Dave Haygarth   February 25, 2008  
In a way, it's the simplest bit of marketing you can do on your website. You've got the punters there, now get them to do something! The 'Call to Action' can be very obvious on some websites ('Buy Now', 'Apply for this Job', 'Get a Quote'), but so often it's something that can get missed in the ml©e of website design.Calls to Action come in all shapes and sizes and you don't often know when you're looking at one. This is One for example (HTML text in anchor tags - 'click here') Text links like that are also essential where Search Engine Optimisation is a consideration - they are useful for search engines, which can 'read' the text held in anchor tags and help them understand the 'context' of a link (search engines can't understand an image 'button).Buttons, however, do have their place. Sometimes, the call to action is so simple and clear that a well designed graphic is essential. This could range from an all-singing, all-dancing Flash advertisement banner, to a simple, 'Add to Basket' button.Read more about Calls to Action in this great blog article.
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Ranked Hard – SEO Comic

By Dave Haygarth   February 18, 2008  
I know it's Monday morning and these things are bettrer saved for Friday afternoons, but I somehow came across this SEO cartoon strip today which fellow SEO folk will relate to... Ranked Hard - SEO Comic

Yahoo! rebuffs Microsoft’s takeover bid.

By Dave Haygarth   February 11, 2008  
Yahoo formally rejected Microsoft's unsolicited $31-a-share takeover bid today, claiming the offer  which values Yahoo at around $41bn (£21bn)  was too low.Following on from our news last week confirming the rumours of the bid and reporting Google's views on the matter, we're not apologising for keeping this story running - it's fascinating - not just in our industry - but maybe in yours, if this takeover came off.Google's domination of search in the UK and worldwide sometimes gets taken for granted, but it's balanced on a knife edge. This fascinating video report, for example, shows us how internet trends in China - and the massive growth rate - seem fairly immune to Google's domination. Here's the latest on the Yahoo! takeover bid anyway. In the mean time, if there's any customers out there who think that $44.6bn is inadequate for their business, please get in touch.Yahoo Formally Rebuffs Microsoft's Takeover Bid Los Angeles Times Video: Yahoo Formally Rejects Microsoft Offer AssociatedPress Yahoo considers Microsoft offer VNUNet.com Yahoo: Microsoft offer not good enough CRN Australia

Google’s take on the Microsoft Yahoo Takeover Bid

By Dave Haygarth   February 4, 2008  
Interesting opinion piece on Google's blog from a senior Google official -- would a Microsoft takeover of Google inhibit competition by using their desktop dominance to tie users into their portals?http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/yahoo-and-future-of-internet.htmlOr perhaps Yahoo and Google will join forces to defeat the evil empire?!http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSN0362915520080204

Microsoft offers $44.6 Billion for Yahoo

By Dave Haygarth   February 2, 2008  
Microsoft has offered $44.6 Billion to acquire Yahoo -- a deal that has been rumoured for the last few months has been confirmed.Yahoo and Microsoft have been falling behind market leader Google in search and online advertising for some time now, so it not entirely a surprise.Most industry experts feel this is more to do with Microsoft getting a slice of the booming online advertising space, currently dominated by Google.I think it will be good if Google has a serious competitor: monopolies are never good for customers or for innovation (as we know from our experiences with Microsoft ironically!)More here

Great New Web(2.0)mail

By Dave Haygarth   February 2, 2008  
If you have a few email accounts and would like to be able to access them on the go, then I can recommend GMX -- the rich Web 2.0 interface is so similar to using Windows (Outlook) and you can set it up easily to collect emails from a number of POP accounts, as well as Yahoo, Hotmail and GoogleMail.Its a great example of what people are calling Rich Internet Applications (RIA) which aim to eventually replace desktop applications, and also shows what is possible using "Web 2.0" technology such as Ajax.www.gmx.com