SEO & Social Media: A new workshop approach

Are you a business owner or manager who thinks you should be using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to improve your website’s search ranking? Or do you wonder if you should be using Social Media to help improve your business? Does the mere mention of these terms fill you with dread? Or do you just feel blinded with science? And are you just a tad apprehensive about finding the right person or people to help?

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media agencies and consultants in the market. The overwhelming majority of these do a first class job for their clients, but there are always a few who fail to deliver what they promise, leaving their clients both dissatisfied and even cynical about the industry as a whole.

There are also plenty of clients who, if pressed, would confess that they actually know very little about Search Engine Optimisation, or Social Media. Similarly they have no idea how to use these channels and opportunities to benefit their business. Ironically, this lack of understanding can itself hold clients back. And it can also be a contributory factor to the breakdown in the client / consultant relationship.

So I’d like to do something different, by offering a workshop based approach to SEO and Social Media. I’ll sit with you, the client, and not only demonstrate how these channels and techniques can be used, but actually action and implement recommendations with you. This approach not only arms you with a greater understanding of SEO and Social Media, but gives you practical advice and guidance in how you can actually do it yourself.

My SEO and Social Media workshop sessions are individually planned for each client. No two sessions are ever the same, because every business faces different challenges, and every client has a different level of knowledge and understanding. What’s more, my workshops can help you decide how to best take advantage of the opportunities available – and whether you need more help.

A workshop for your business could cost as little as £399. A small investment that could both save you money on expensive agency or consultant fees. And an investment that could generate handsome returns.

To book your workshop session, please contact me or give me a call on 07827 806722

Pickles announces help for small business owners

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has announced this week that small businesses will find it easier to get tax relief and cuts as Government form filling rules are to be scrapped to help increase take up.

Small Business Rate Relief has already been doubled this year, but the Government also wants to help as many small businesses as possible to claim the discounts they are eligible for.

The new changes in the upcoming Localism Bill will end the legal requirement for ratepayers to fill in an application form first. Councils will be free to administer Small Business Rate Relief in a way that best serves local businesses and local needs. Legislation will also ensure that all eligible businesses automatically have their discounted bills calculated using the small business multiplier.

There are also proposals to look at ways for Local Authorities to keep the business rates they collect locally – which would give councils incentives to promote local economic growth. In addition, councils will get the power to set local discounts on business rates – enabling councils to respond to local circumstances and encourage new start-up enterprises.

Virgin announces magazine for iPad

Virgin’s Richard Branson has announced that Virgin will unveil its custom-built iPad magazine in New York next week. The publication, referred to as “Project” is being billed as a paperless “revolutionary multimedia” publication designed specifically for the iPad.

The battle to exploit the popularity of tablet computers in the wake of the huge success of Apple’s iPad is hotting up, with Virgin’s news following in the wake of News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch’s announcement of a daily newspaper geared specifically for the iPad called “The Daily”.

Virgin’s project will be more entertainment and less current affairs focused than the Daily. It is being spearheaded by Branson’s 29-year-old daughter Holly and editorially led by Anthony Noguera, former editor of Arena, Zoo and FHM. Its content will lean heavily on entertainment, design, business, travel and international culture.

The enormous success of the iPad, with sales expected to hit almost 13 million this year and 20 million in 2011, is being heralded as the possible solution to the riddle of how to make money on the back of digital information. The belief is that consumers are more amenable to paying for news through iPad apps than they are to accepting website paywalls like The Times and Sunday Times.

iPad magazine subscriptions on the horizon

Following the news of the upcoming Apple and News Corp subscription-based iPad newspaper The Daily, speculation is rife around when Apple will announce the launch of its iOS 4.3 update that’ll bring with it iPad magazine subscriptions.

Apple’ iOS 4.2 is only a day old, but according to MacStories the rumours have started that Apple is planning a mid-December release. The exact release date was apparently supposed to be December 13th, but this may be delayed because iOS 4.2 itself fell behind schedule.

Last week James Murdoch confirmed that News Corp. was working on an upcoming tablet-only publication, a “very exciting” project that was set to be released “soon”. Three days later, Rupert Murdoch himself told Fox Business about the app, called The Daily:

“News Corp. has spent the last three months assembling a newsroom that will soon be about 100 staffers strong. The Daily will launch in beta mode sometime around Christmas, and will be introduced to the public on the iPad and other tablet devices in early 2011. It is expected to cost 99 cents a week, or about $4.25 a month. It will come out — as the name suggests — seven days a week. The operation is currently working out of the 26th floor of the News Corp. Building on Sixth Avenue in a space that looks like a veritable construction zone. The staff’s permanent home will be on the ninth floor, and they’ll move down once it’s ready.”

Together with details revealed by Fox Business and WWDMedia, the Guardian reported The Daily was the result of a “collaboration that has been secretly under development in New York for several months” between Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch.

MacStories speculated that Apple’s involvement in the project might be the first step towards the implementation of iTunes recurring subscriptions for apps. MacStories also say that Daring Fireball’s John Gruber (whose sources are usually spot-on) has confirmed that “this initiative is going to launch with a press event, with Murdoch (and perhaps other newspaper and magazine executives) joining Steve Jobs on stage”.


The rise and rise of Facebook

It seems that Facebook is in the news on a daily basis, whether it’s new functionality for users, new opportunities for advertisers, or new concerns regarding privacy and data. In fact even this week Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has joined the debate, criticising Facebook and other social networking sites for limiting the web’s openness.

At the same time, more and more commentary focuses on Facebook’s potential threat to Google’s dominance of the internet. With Facebook’s user base expected to top 30 million in 2011 here are some stats from Hitwise* which demonstrate how far Facebook has now developed:

1. Facebook is the second most visited website in the UK after Google, accounting for 6.89% of all visits from UK Internet users in September 2010
2. Facebook is by far the biggest website in the UK for page views. 16.40% of all page views during September this year went to a Facebook page.
3. Facebook now accounts for 1 in 6 page views in the UK – twice the number of page views received by Google.
4. Facebook is not surprisingly the most popular social network in the UK, accounting for 55% of all visits to social networks.
5. Facebook is also the number one search term in the UK. 3.69% of all searches typed into Google, Yahoo! and Bing are for ‘facebook’.
6. Taking into account variations of Facebook with abbreviations and misspellings such as ‘facbook’, ‘fb’ or ‘facebok’ this figure increases to approximately 6% of all searches in search engines being for facebook.
7. Facebook accounts for 9.58% of all upstream traffic to other websites in the UK.
8. Nearly 10% of Internet visits come immediately after a visit to Facebook, making it second only to Google in traffic generation.
9. Visits to Facebook have quadrupled in the last three years. Facebook has grown by 17% in terms of UK Internet visits in the past year
10. Facebook has also increased its downstream traffic to online retail sites by 12% in the past 12 months

These numbers, together with some smart acquisitions and partnerships, not to forget the development of multiple revenue earning opportunities certainly support the widely held view that Facebook is a very real commercial threat to Google’s dominance. Google’s trump card is still its dominance in the search space – so it will be interesting to see whether Facebook’s collaboration with Bing can cut any ice in the search market.

I’ll be having a closer look at some of the opportunities Facebook can offer businesses in the coming months.

*Source: Experian Hitwise October 2010

Rupert Murdoch and Apple to launch iPad-only news publication

Rupert Murdoch and Apple are reportedly set to launch the first iPad-only news publication: “The Daily”.

According to Mashable, the joint digital “newspaper” will launch in the US and will have no website and no print edition; just an iPad application. The publication should launch in early 2011 with each new edition costing $0.99 to download.

It’s believed that News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch has hired approximately 100 journalists who are preparing for the publication’s launch next year. The venture is thought to be led by Jesse Angelo, the former managing editor of The New York Post (another News Corp publication). However it’s Apple’s involvement that’s really interesting – they have reportedly offered News Corp technical assistance to make the publication far more than a newspaper formatted for the tablet, incorporating video content and other aspects of the iPad’s technology.

According to Mashable, Murdoch believes the iPad will be a “game changer” ever since he read studies that demonstrated people were more engaged with content on their tablet devices than either traditional newspapers or the web.

Getting British Business Online Breakfast

I attended a business breakfast this morning, originally promoted as part of the Getting British Business Online initiative led by Google, BT, Enterprise UK and e-skills UK.

Although the session wasn’t quite what I and my fellow attendees had expected, I think the general consensus was that most of us got some value from the session.

We kicked off with a speed networking session, pitching our businesses and services to each other in under 5 minutes. Most of us were unprepared for this, but it certainly gave us all an opportunity to meet each other and ‘sell’ our proposition.

My fellow attendees were all keen to know more about online marketing, and search in particular, so I took the opportunity to deliver an impromptu ‘Introduction to search marketing’ presentation – which seemed to go down well.

Many thanks to Alison Pinney for seting up the event and thanks to everybody I met during the course
of the morning – as promised I’ll add your links here.

If I’ve missed anyone it’s because I haven’t got your card – or your site’s not up and running yet!

UK launch for Apple iAd mobile advertising platform

Apple’s iAd mobile advertising platform will launch in UK next month.

The iAd service offers advertising inside mobile apps on devices including the iPhone and iPod Touch and is being touted as a next-generation service that will finally open up the advertising potential of mobile devices, promising to “combine the emotion of TV advertising with the interactivity of internet advertising”.

iAd will launch in Europe with commercials from clients including Unilever, L’Oréal, Renault and Louis Vuitton. Apple first unveiled iAd in June with claims that it had already secured $60m in pre-bookings for campaigns – a figure that would represent 50% of the total forecast mobile ad spend in the US for the second half of 2010. Apple the year. The company estimate that the actual iAd revenue could be more than 20% of the total US mobile ad spend this year.

The UK launch will be followed by France next month and Germany in January.

Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad

The iPad now has a genuine competitor in the tablet space with the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab which is being considered the first Android tablet that is a genuine threat to the dominance of Apple’s tablet

Check out the video below for a side by side comparison:


Congratulations to William & Kate

I just wanted to add my congratulations to Prince William and Kate Middleton. I wish them every happiness for the future and really hope they can enjoy a long and truly happy marriage.

I also hope that Kate Middleton (or the future Queen Catherine) doesn’t have to live in the shadow of the mother-in-law she never met, but is likely to be compared to by certain sections of the media. Today’s media coverage has naturally featured Princess Diana and her failed marriage – but there is already evidence that parts of the media want to draw comparisons with Diana. In fact direct questions regarding Diana today left the Prince’s fiancee looking a little uncomfortable – and looking to her future husband for support.

But away from the media frenzy let’s look on the (other) bright side. I’m sure David Cameron’s cabinet colleagues were banging the table in delight. There’s nothing like a Royal Wedding to boost the national spirit, and hopefully the national coffers, as the world joins the celebrations. The souvenirs are already hitting the shelves – and the web.

And arguably this will be the first Cyber Royal Wedding – imagine the huge surge in tweets and video posts on the big day. Perhaps we should already think of this as the Royal Twedding?!