Update on the Beta Sandbox

As a small update on the new sandbox – I have been running this in the background this morning to give a better picture of what Google suggests will be the search rank of ‘Dublin hotels’ if the sandbox formula was inherited. The list shows that at the top the changes are, in the main, minor – but only in comparison to some of the violent swings seen in the outer reaches. The real points are that some sites have disappeared completely from the top fifty and others have shot to fame. Take The Hilton website, it doesn’t currently exist

Big Search Results Changes

Google have, seemingly, been working feverously in the background for the last few months on a ‘few modifications’ to its search engine which they have made available. These search results modifications are currently in a beta and can be viewed here. The explination as to the changes can be viewed here. They have made alterations to the way in which some sites will rank in their “new modified search engine results”. And they quote that: The new infrastructure sits “under the hood” of Google’s search engine, which means that most users won’t notice a difference in search results Won’t notice

Irish Broadband Penetration

Broadband penetration, according to the OECD stands at 65% of all households. This leaves us behind the Euro 27 Average at 67.3%. Our near neighbour penetration rate stands at over 80% and top slot is taken by Korea (shout I’d assume) at just shy of 100%.   ComReg (data to Q4 2012) on the other hand give us a myriad of stats. We have 1.6m active internet subscriptions. 727k of these are DSL (copper wire to the great unwashed), 306k on Cable broadband, FWS firms at 64k, “Other” which might be satellite etc at 12k and 554k for Mobile subscriptions.

Used Car Websites and SEO

If you’ve been away, and I mean somewhere completely devoid of communications, then you missed the ‘crises’ in the car industry. New car sales have hit rock bottom and its been the worst year in recent times. In January alone new car sales were about 35% of the previous year’s level of sales. So, if the new car business wasn’t moving, there was (or is a growing) demand for second hand cars and seemingly an even bigger demand for cars within certain emissions categories which have the effect of reducing your overall running costs as well as the car tax.

A ‘Tender’ request for help

At one point yesterday, about lunchtime, I got a massive attack of boredom… So I decided to see what the policy of Tender Me was either conservative or “publish and be dammed” It’s the latter, well it was momentarily. The ad removed not too long after posting.

Facebook coupons: Hot and not so hot

The words “Starbucks” and “coupons” would have to be predicated with the adage “once bitten..”. The reasons for this are legend and well documented. However it’s good to see that they seemed to have learned their lesson and, in a recent promotion, they teamed up with Facebook to offer their customers a chance to sample one of a range of new ice-creams. Facebook users simply (a little over exaggeration) used a widget to claim one pint of ice cream. The widget allowed them to download a coupon delivered through Coupons.com. This coupon is then redeemed at the counter of your

More on Twitter or Twitterature

I have a real issue with Twitter in the respect that it’s hyped as ‘the next big thing’. This ‘other’ next big thing is without a sustainable (or any) business model, cash or purpose, bar celebrity voyeurism. This week has shown the application to be multi faceted. On one hand the world was kept abreast of activities in Iraq through the site. On the other, we had femme fatales spewing more bile about each other via the site too: Whilst its ability to inform the world in real time has to be applauded, I feel that it is increasingly becoming

Blogs and some simple SEO tips.

Here are some basic steps in trying to optimise your blog posts to be crawled and indexed by search engines and also how to ‘sell’ your posts when they are seen in search results. When you write a post, the two main ostensible factors are the post’s title (or headline) and the body copy of the post. Left to their own devices, these two elements would automatically deliver information about your post/blog to the search engines. This raw information may not be the information would prefer to be the public face of your blog so you are afforded plenty of

Search Terms

In 2006 there was an unfortunate incident in AOL when they spilled the results of 20m search queries on to the Net – by mistake naturally. Its showed the search queries of AOL clients during March 2006. The searches are an insight into the minds, individually and collectively, of searchers. The data is still available online and you can query the 20m terms at www.aolstalker.com. Key in a search term and you will be given the id numbers of the people who broad searched that term. Click on their ID and you will be given his/her full search history that

Polish Websites

With a little inspiration from Hitwise, I had a look at quick look at the trends for large Polish websites in Google trends, but searches from Irish IP addresses. As you would expect, this trend has a southward feel to it as many return home again.  The largest of these sites being visited form Ireland was www.nasza-klasa.pl, the largest polish social networking site, keeping you in touch with friends both home and abroad. From a high of 20k daily visitors in July 2008 to half that now it really shows the rate of decline the speed at which people decided

Regional Papers Websites

I was looking at offerings of some of the regional web sites and, in general, how they try and market themselves through the web (for both print and online). It’s was an interesting exercise and some of my observations are posted here. The print edition of any of the regional newspapers is bounded by its franchise area. Some manage to get a little further than that, maybe even as far as the news stand in Easons on a weekly basis. But it their information franchise, their local information franchise, extends much much further. Look at the Irish/County Diaspora – they

independent.ie internet figures

Nice to see some updates on the electronic side of some of the media with Independent Digital giving stats for their properties for March 2009. In the chart the blue line is independent.ie and the red are, collectively, the other sites. The average for the month was 113,256 the newspaper site and 26,800 for the others combined. I would point out that the figure for March 7th look a little spurious, but it’s the one published in the report. The spike on March 23rd can be put down to primarily to a sporting weekend of the Grand Slam and the

Mobile and Radio Promotion make a good fit.

Here’s a really good example of merging mediums, there are plenty, but I liked this one for its simplicity and a small bit of ‘wonder would that happen here?’ A Taco chain in Florida Taco Maker reported a 21% increase in Q1 sales, crediting a promotion it ran between radio advertising and mobile handsets for the increase. I don’t think there are many companies that can boast a 21% increase in sales, let alone double digit in Q1. They developed a new character called Juan Maker, and Mexican-American character that made radio appearances to chat about his freebies. These were

Twitter – Cop on To Twitter!

Personally, I think that, for many companies, it junk – pure and simple. Companies investing time, effort and presumably money to put up 140 characters at a time of absolute inane rubbish. Where’s the ROI – how is this being measured and, more importantly, why are you doing it? Someone told one of the big chiefs that it’s the ‘next big thing’ and so someone else dived on it. I could spend a lot of time on this – but I don’t have it handy – so I will have to accept the fact that companies are going to participate

Mobile Sites for Newspapers

In the last ground of electronic ABC figures there were some extra interesting stats furnished by the Guardian. They launched a mobile site earlier this year and they gave a first look at some of the data.  Overall they had 27,324,309 unique users to its site in April – making it the most visited site out of all the UK morning papers. But the mobile site attracted 101,000 and 2.1m page impressions during the month. More interestingly, two thirds of that traffic came from either an iPhone or iPod Touch. “The Web” seems to feature very high on the agenda

Mobile Phone Numbers

This morning, Vodafone delivered their annual results. Overall, pretty healthy on the surface as they turned €41b and EBITDA was €14.5b. But they had a charge against that of nearly €6 (impairment charges) ‘primarily in respect of Spain’ – and said no more on that. Its wasn’t the only lack of transparency, possibly as they are Preliminary results, with more details to follow? As a  Nation we are now, bundled into ‘other Europe’ so its impossible at this stage to get comparative numbers about our usage etc against our compatriots around the world. All it reveals is that, as of

Offline Drives Online Traffic

I sometimes get the feeling that business are all too willing to abandon their “heartland” (traditional media) in favour of the new holy grail (new media). I would hurriedly say that I believe that a business will not prosper in today’s climate without an online presence. But, it’s the marriage of both that critical. Your offline presence can, and will, drive your online traffic. So, how you project yourself offline should be carried through online. I did some work for a company and one of the areas I looked at was their web traffic and where it originates. By way

Marketing Mobile Coupons and Mobile Tickets

Dominos (www.dominos.com), in the USA anyway,  have taken a real leap forward in my opinion with their new mobile coupon offering. For some time now, Dominos have encouraged customers to ‘opt-in’ to their mobile medium i.e. give details of nearest store, mobile number and permission to be contacted via text. They have partnered with www.air2web.com/ who look after the mobile coupon marketing for them. Opt in customers then receive ‘mobile coupons’ which they can use when they are buying online or online via dominos mobile site. As dominos know the geographic location of customers (because of the store location) they

Coupons, Coupons and more coupons

With the R word abound, coupons are resurgent but their route to the consumer is changing. Some time back, I worked in the Directory business. Our core product was print and we were constantly battling against a rising internet tide. Instead of building boats, we were trying to build dams and continually sought ‘hooks’ to get households pick up the print edition. One of the enticements that worked particularly well was a section of printed coupons. Testimony to their success was the fact that renewal of the coupon business was near 100%. So the advertisers were getting a satisfactory return

Localised Search

Google gives you every opportunity to make sure that your business not only appears in its search engines, but that it also has a ‘local’ dimension to it. Some companies seem to throw their hat at the whole search scene as they feel that, in the greater scheme of things, they, as a local business, won’t be found. But the search engines and SEO in general really do place an emphasis on companies being locally found. In the USA it’s a tad more sophisticated with Google primarily using the searchers IP address to ‘geo-locate; US IP’s are in general much