Last week I wrote about the full launch of Google’s Social Search facility and the positives and negatives of ‘results from your social circle’. Not long after publishing that post I was contacted directly by a few of you voicing concerns about just how far Google intends on going in terms of violating a persons right to online privacy. This got me thinking, and it is only really when you take time out to think about Google that you realise they know a hell of a lot about us. Perhaps our online privacy has been completely lost, but in all honesty it’s a little too late for us to bolt the stable door.

On one hand we love the Internet for its freedom, and whether the latest leaked document on U.S. operations by Wikileaks or the exposure of a celebrity involved in a nude act, the fact is Read more

Internet Marketing Services Rub Palms As ‘No Anonymity’ Policy is Prophesized

If you don’t want you private life shared on the internet then you clearly have something to hide, either that or you are doing something illegal that the government should know about. That is, according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who when speaking with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC recently, explained:


“People who have something to hide shouldn’t be doing things online that might potentially expose them if law enforcement seeks access to their search histories. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”.


Google has already run into rocky ground in Europe where such big brother information harbouring and sharing with government authorities is viewed by most a violation of civil rights. In the US, Google hides behind the patriot act and its duty to supply the government with information on any person who poses a potential threat to society. The definition of “potential” remains loosely defined. The fact that most of us simply don’t want internet marketing services getting hold of our details and plaguing us with emails, mail-shots and pop up adverts doesn’t seem to cross Mr Schmidt’s mind.

Speaking yesterday at the “Techonomy” conference in Lake Tahoe, California, Schmidt went one step further with his controversial remarks and explained just how easy gathering intelligence on people is:

“If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use Artificial Intelligence,” Schmidt said, “we can predict where you are going to go. Show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think you don’t have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You’ve got Facebook photos! People will find it’s very useful to have devices that remember what you want to do, because you forgot…But society isn’t ready for questions that will be raised as result of user-generated content”.

“The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity. In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a verified name service for people. Governments will demand it.”


Internet marketing services will be rubbing their hands together after hearing the search engine master speak his prophecy of ‘no anonymity’. Consumer transparency enables better targeted advertising.


Evidently Schmidt is losing a grip on reality. In his world everyone might view the internet as ‘real life’ and the saviour of humanity, but for many it serves as big brother’s obeying little brother and is nothing more than a controlling force in a world monopolised by power hungry organisations. Some people like their privacy; they have nothing to hide yet nothing significant to share. Privacy is an individual choice and individuality is what makes the world special. Perhaps retirement is looming for a man who has spent the majority of his life in a digital bubble.

google waveThe internet has once again proved to be the true liberator of choice. Users have rejected Google Wave and sent it back with the tide whence it came. Two years in development for little return, surely someone must have been wrapped on the knuckles for this giant failure.

Google were majorly excited a little over a year ago when beat version invites were selling for £55 on eBay. At the time they were quoted as saying:

“After months holed up in a conference room in the Sydney office, our five-person “startup” team emerged with a prototype. And now, after more than two years of expanding our ideas, our team, and technology, we’re very eager to return and see what the world might think. Today we’re giving developers an early preview of Google Wave.

A “wave” is equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more”.

google wave screenshotCEO Eric Schmidt insists the development work has not been a waste of time, stating, “We liked the user interface and we liked a lot of the new features in it but it didn’t get enough traction, so we are taking those technologies and applying them to new technologies that are not announced, we’ll get the benefit of Google Wave but it won’t be as a separate product.”

As previously discussed in other posts on this blog, the one stop shop isn’t necessarily something internet users want. The enjoyment of the internet is freedom to choose and place loyalty in different corners of the web, rather than being bullied into using one service for all aspects of internet life. Complexity is also a consideration, although we are an internet savvy generation, many people are easily stressed by technology and Google Wave was, at a first, daunting to say the least. Google has its roots firmly set in SEO, search engine marketing and advertising. Therefore, aside from Google mail everyone associates Google with search which is perhaps another reason Wave was ignored.

Whatever the reasons, Google Wave is to be developed no further. Google confirmed this with the following statement.

We were equally jazzed about Google Wave internally, even though we weren’t quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication. The use cases we’ve seen show the power of this technology: sharing images and other media in real time; improving spell-checking by understanding not just an individual word, but also the context of each word; and enabling third-party developers to build new tools like consumer gadgets for travel, or robots to check code. But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects”.


With a few billion in the bank, I am sure Google will get over this hiccup and get back to SEO, search engine marketing and advertising, yet when you have that much money it isn’t always about the money. In the case of Google Wave both pride and image have been dented, for now at least.

Last week we explored the new Facebook Questions application which is newly built in to the wall of your user account. I received a few emails after the post asking me whether Facebook Questions would be searchable in Google. Understandably clients wanted to know how effective this would be for website business marketing. Naturally I presumed the facility would be searchable, but surprisingly it isn’t.

A Facebook spokesperson made the following statement:

“Currently, search engines cannot access questions and answers through our Questions product. That may be something we consider for the future but have no current plans to allow it”.

This comes as a surprise and a small blow for website business marketing, yet it seems strange that Facebook would want to ignore all this traffic. Facebook is currently avoiding the search engines by only allowing logged in users to access questions and answers. Perhaps Facebook is concerned with not allowing the facility to become simply a base for web site promotions.

I did a quick search of a within Google and only a few results came up, none of which linked straight into any questions or answers. See the results below:


Considering that 62% of Yahoo Answers upstream traffic comes from Google there must be a tactical reason Facebook are ignoring this traffic stream initially. Don’t be surprised if this policy changes suddenly in the near future.

It’s not all bad for web site promotions though; you still have 500m users to target which should keep you very busy.

The developers over at the Tweet Camp have responded to the historical difficulty of securing a good network of industry suited or personality matched followers. Many people end up quitting Twitter after just a few weeks or even days because they can’t find enough interesting people or Tweets to hold their attention. Initially one follows people back out of courtesy, only to be followed by more and more affiliate marketers and Online marketing services with nothing inspirational to say except “get rich, leave your day job and retire 2m”. If only…

Twitter is all about networking but many find themselves retreating back to Facebook, tail between legs for some familiar friendship bonding that does more for the soul than sell or quote Einstein, Gandhi or Socrates all day.

Enter the Twitter suggestion tool. This neat little function will soon be appearing on your “find people” toolbar and will suggest users you may be interested in. Amongst other things, suggestions will be made on who you currently follow and who follows them, quick! I hear you gasp as you rush to clear out all those annoying persistent marketers plaguing your tweetdeck every day. But it works both ways. The new suggestion tool will come as a pleasant addition for Online marketing services who will be able to carry out more targeted marketing with suggestions rather than having to trawl the Twitter database for victims. The image below shows how the tool will; there will also be a mini suggestion version in the top right hand side of your home page.


seo-outsourcingHow are your website marketing strategies going? Judging by how much the phone has been popping off this week I am guessing not quite as you had hoped. My tip of the week for all those struggling is quite simply to start building quality backlinks. The emphasis here is on the word quality. Don’t get stressed building hundreds of links with no improvement to your SERPs, think logically – 1 PR6 link is easily worth 200 non-ranked links. It’s that simple, so stop wasting your time and try the following.

Create 1 link a day, 7 days a week. That will mean 365 quality backlinks in a year. Document every link you make in a spreadsheet and track your progress. Now I know what you’re thinking, you can’t wait that long for the links, but believe me, by the time you get 20-30 high quality links you will already see a drastic improvement in your popularity within the SERPs.

If you honestly can’t wait or don’t have the time, then consider SEO outsourcing. Just let your provider know exactly the quality you want and the sort of sites you need to be associated with. Try a mixture of classifieds, local business listings, forums and .gov and .edu sites. I know many forums are set to ‘no follow’ for URLs, but traffic is still traffic so don’t simply ignore the chance to place a link based on not getting any link  juice out of the site.

Building quality links isn’t easy, and it does get annoying when all the SEO professionals are saying “just build better links”. It takes time and effort, which is why SEO outsourcing isn’t a bad idea; there are plenty of other areas of your web marketing strategies you could be getting on with whilst the SEO professionals handle that area of your campaign.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke about the benefits of the new Yahoo Answers search facility as an internet marketing solution. YA search allows you to search via keywords related to your industry and get a daily notification email so you can be reactive. Yahoo Answers announced it had reached 200m users in 2009, and they probably thought they had the whole Q&A thing locked down, that was until Facebook unravelled their latest plans.

With 500m people already using Facebook, the new Facebook Questions facility could make Yahoo Answers look a little shy on followers. Then again, as internet marketing companies know all too well, quality beats quantity every time. It’s all good having 500m potential users, but just how many of those users will ditch a game of Poker or Farmville or even an IM to ask a question on Facebook?

When Facebook Questions is rolled out to users the question facility will be on the wall page as follows:


As you can see, “your question will be visible to everyone”. This is a smart tactic to ensure people know the facility is there and that others are using it. Facebook automatically tags the question using words from your post. Your question is then freely available for the community to answer

Once the question has been posted you have three options that only show up after the initial question has been posted:

  • Add description
  • Add photo
  • Add poll options

This adds another internet marketing solution to the armoury of SEO soldiers. This facility will work nicely as a freebie alongside Facebook PPC. No doubt internet marketing companies will be focussing heavily on this feature over the coming months to monitor its performance against Yahoo Answers.

Obviously the social aspect of Facebook is where it has a distinct advantage over rivals. Okay, Yahoo does have a friends’ network but the familiar “x has just answered a question”, or, “x has just asked a question”, will promote interaction amongst friends and drive the popularity of the Facebook Questions facility.

The question herein lies, do we as the consumer want a one size fits all website, or do we like having different pockets for different activities. Personally I feel the latter suits my personality. Facebook for global friendship updates, questions at Yahoo, analytics at Google and videos at YouTube. What do you think?

Yesterday I posted about the negative impact the Google Panda changes are having on all sorts of websites, and with each day that passes, more webmasters are realizing they have been affected by the black and white bear of search. I thought it might be useful to offer a few tips on how to fight back for those sites that have been affected. Please bear in mind (no pun intended), that these tips are based on general research and my experience of the changes.

Eliminate Spammy On-site Links

If you have spammed your footer or sidebar with longtail keywords in an attempt to gain extra “Google points” then you may well have felt the force of the panda. Unless these links are linking to relevant and visible pages in your sitemap, then this could be a reason for Read more

web promotionWebsite owners often only concern themselves with analysing the last click, i.e. the conversion. In an excited state they want to know the ad clicked, the keyword responsible and from where the user was referred. But this is actually a bad place to start. The likelihood is that the person who made the purchase had been to your site a few times beforehand, perhaps they stalled on the sale checking out the competition, or perhaps they forgot completely and were prompted by a second advertisement to come back again. It is rare that a person buys straight away, and for that reason the picture is usually bigger than it first looks. Read more

search engine optimisationHow important is off-page optimisation compared with on-page optimisation? I get asked that question a lot and whilst it’s a good question I am reluctant to answer it because I feel it isn’t the right question. What we should be focussing on is how rankings are weighted between the two rather than one being more important than the other. On the face of it, off-page is more important because 70% Read more




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