New Google Analytics

A post on the Google Analytics blog informed all that Google was going to change the information that it reports in the referring URL when search results are clicked. From their example of the new referring URL they gave a string, which when it is laid out and the ampersands removed, contains like this. There is no definitive source for the meanings of all of some of these parameters, speculation at best on many of them: sa=t source=web ct=res cd=7 & rct=j q=flowers usg=AFQjCNHJXSUh7Vw7oubPaO3tZOzz-F-u_w & sig2=X8uCFh6IoPtnwmvGMULQfw However the parameter  “cd=7” looks like it’s the part that tells you

Adspend 2009

Looks like another bad say at the Ad office in 2009. New forecasts by Zenith Optimedia suggesting that worldwide Ad spend will be down by 7% – a drop of almost $31b to $453b. To put that $31b in perspective, it’s about half of the planned total Irish Government expenditure 2009. The only winner is online growing about 8% overall to $54b (display down, search up). The big losers are newspapers declining by about 12% nearly neck and neck with magazine advertising falling 11%. Unless the traditional media (all formats) actually begin to ‘hunt the money’ and go after the

New Search Engines

Two relatively new search engines to have a look at. One looks like a mega spam fest and the other, while narrowly focussed, is very interesting. is the first and I think it really has a short life span. It allows registered users to submit sites then other registered users vote these sites it up or down the search results! As I said – spam heaven. I registered and searched for ‘Ireland’ where there were four, yes 4, results returned; “Dublin” returned no results at all. Whilst I wish them luck in the venture and as much as I

Multivariate Testing

I listened to a great presentation during Search Marketing World recently given by Russell Sutton of Conversion Works and his thoughts and insights on Multivariate Testing. This allows you to test the effectiveness of different page designs/layouts on traffic retention. If some of your landing pages have high bounce rates then you could well do with looking for clues as to why the rates are so high. As Google point out, visitors will leave a web page within a couple of seconds if they don’t find a compelling reason to go deeper into your site. If that compulsion is lacking

SEO and Hotels/Accommodation

I did some work on the area of Hotels and Accommodation recently. As the JNIR report pointed out so clearly, the accommodation business is really driven by internet search with 51% of Irish respondents saying that they used the internet to look up travel information in the past 6 months. Furthermore some 324,000 Irish people had booked hotels or accommodation in the past six months online. So, for a hotel or any business offering accommodation, internet search is simply too important to take lightly. But I question whether businesses are responding to changing search queries? A great piece of research

JNIR 2009

The latest JNIR arrived showing the web audiences of the participating websites. It shows that, out of the websites surveyed, Yahoo was the highest placed. Universe 3,526 100% 635 18 413 12 206 6 154 4 Golden 147 4 140 4 132 4 132 4 102 3 99 3 94 3 52 1 33 1 23 1 18 1 15 0 At least the JNIR (whilst not perfect) does go some way to try and get some demographic data into the area of Irish

Public Relations Firms and SEO

For a business that extols the virtues of publicity, the PR industry as a whole is a little shy in self promotion. I had occasion to research a small fraction of the industry some time back and I found it seriously lacking in the search engine results. I looked at some fairly standard industry public relations keywords to see how individual firms rated against them in results. Now, I would like to state that whilst the industry may seem in the face on it fairly generic it’s actually quite fragmented. Some firms specialise in specific narrowly focused areas and therefore

Google Search Results Related Searches.

Late March, Google announced that it was going to make two variations to its search engine results, the first of which I will deal with here. Herein, at the bottom of the results pages, Google will give you ‘more useful related searches’ to the expression that you have just searched for. They quote that their algorithms “understand” the search term and can therefore throw up some useful, related search expressions. It’s a handy feature and it would be interesting to know more about the relative strengths of the ‘related searches’ to the original search. For example, I searched the term ‘Bebo’

Localised Keyword Spelling – Whiskey

There is no such thing as "Irish Whisky", there is, in fact, only "Irish Whiskey" – to the purist! The Irish and American spelling of the liquid fermented from grain comes with an ‘e’, whereas all the other countries brewing the liquid, like Scotland and Canada, drop the ‘e’. This may seem a little trivial or something that only comes up only in a pub quiz – but it has other knock on effects. Here are the keyword volumes for derivatives of both terms. The volumes are for February:   Approx Search  Volume Worldwide Approx Search  Volume USA Scotch Whiskey

Page Titles

The ever present debate on title tags and what is deemed its acceptable face. The agreed wisdom is that the title tag of a document will only be displayed to roughly 66-68 characters in Google. Other engines have their own set of rules. For example Yahoo will display strictly 120 characters. I blame it squarely on the pixels. Somewhere, someone in each of the search engines has decided that the amount of title displayed in a search result has to be no more than X pixels in length. The number of characters displayed will then depend on the sentence structure

2D Barcodes

I’ve been a fan of QR Codes (2D Bar codes) for some time, looking at them first to see if I could utilise the technology to issue unique WAP links for various products. I could (and may still) and the technology is excellent in that respect, but the real problem was with their adoption, which was, well, lacklustre and fragmented. The technology allows you to capture a 2D code image with a mobile phone camera which is subsequently converted to one of a few (pre) chosen options. The QR code could be pre coded to be a URL for the phone’s browser; it could be text, an SMS or