Posts about: social media

Managing LinkedIn: How to filter relevant discussions from LinkedIn Groups

15 November 2011

At this precise moment in time, I am a member of 44 LinkedIn Groups with one additional group membership request pending.  As someone with an avid interest in social media and who is taking time to learn new skills, it has been an extremely simple process to sign up to numerous groups and platforms. Every new lead or connection often leads to the exploration of new groups and other interesting sources of information. This is great in the context of information discovery; but it can quickly lead to information overload and a constant battle to stay on top of incoming messages.

LinkedIn Discussion Groups Experiment

On November 1st, I decided to try a small experiment.  I signed into my LinkedIn account and changed all of my groups’ settings to switch them to ‘email each new discussion’ and remove any weekly and daily digests.  The intention was to use the filters within my email client to divert the junk mail directly to my delete folder and try to achieve a more manageable email flow. However, what I actually did was set up a single filter to divert all of my LinkedIn Group notifications into a dedicated folder.

Over the course of the experiment, I discovered a number of  things:

  1. It is very difficult to set emails to automatically delete unless there is a specific subject or person that merits being avoided;
  2. I receive an average of between 15 to 20 notifications per hour, varying according to time of day and day of week;
  3. The vast majority of notifications contain links to articles, blog posts and marketing material with no commentary or additional value to warrant the use of the LinkedIn platform;
  4. There is a considerable amount of duplication across different LinkedIn groups, not to mention external sources such as other social networks, news aggregation services and monitoring tools;
  5. Closed groups are typically more valuable to me than open groups, in terms of relevant content, fewer problems with spam and more interaction.

So, what I end up with is a list of emails that looks a lot like this:

Linkedin Group Email Filtering

Sample list of emails from LinkedIn Discussion Groups

Filtering Discussion Group Notifications

At which point, it becomes necessary to employ a technique called ‘thin slicing’, which I first learned about when reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.  First of all I use the select all check box, then I skim the subject titles for key words, patterns and phrases that look like they hold some potential.  You quickly become blind to the words ‘New discussion’, which leaves only a short title to skim through. If one of the subject lines grabs my attention I glance over to the right to check which group the item was posted to and then to the left to see if I recognize the author. If the email subject looks interesting, I deselect the check box for that email and repeat until I reach the bottom of the list, at which point I delete all selected emails.

This technique allows me to filter out up to 98% of the LinkedIn Group notifications that make it to my inbox, which means that it is critical for messages to have well-written, concise and highly targeted subject lines.

One example of an email that attracted my attention was the third email in the list above, using the subject line: “Anyone know of any articles or resources that can justify the creation o…”. The primary hook being my interest in information research and the indication that this is a discussion question as opposed to a link share.  In my view, discussions on LinkedIn are worth following where there is the possibility that expert knowledge might be shared or where valuable connections can be discovered.

Clicking on the link revealed that the full subject line was even more interesting: “Anyone know of any articles or resources that can justify the creation of a branded Google Plus page? How is it different than a Facebook page? Will Google Plus be around next year?”

Linkedin Group Email Filtering 2

New Discussion Notification Email from Social Media Today Group

This is the second decision point in the filtering process: deciding whether or not to right click on the link to open it in a new tab before hitting the delete button. I will typically run through all of the emails that escaped the initial delete, before moving over to LinkedIn to check each discussion item that I have opened in a new tab. [N.B. It is useful to be logged in to LinkedIn before starting this process.] In the case of the example used above, there is no article link in the discussion posting and it generated ten comments in two days, containing some very useful links, tips and feedback.

Improving the Signal to Noise Ratio

LinkedIn have just launched group statistics, which are accessible by clicking on the graph icon on the My Groups page.  This can simplify the process of targeting group interactions; so it is possible to unsubscribe from email and digest notifications from groups, in circumstances where it may be relevant to be a member but not to have an active participation.  If we look at the activity statistics for two groups with strikingly different member and activity statistics, opting out of discussion notices from a larger group becomes a viable option, especially when the majority of postings may be duplication either within multiple LinkedIn groups or on other social networks.

Linkedin Group Statistics

Example demographics of a small LinkedIn Group

Linkedin Group Statistics

Example demographics of a large LinkedIn Group

Linkedin Group Statistics

Example activity levels of a small LinkedIn Group

Linkedin Group Statistics

Example activity levels of a large LinkedIn Group

The important thing to remember is that even though it is very easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that flows through social media networks, there is an ‘off’ switch.  As you get to know the groups you have signed up to, it is possible to reduce the pile of messages and notifications clogging up your inbox by:

  • Switching off notifications from groups that are primarily used for link sharing and direct marketing broadcasts.
  • Switching digest notifications to individual notifications, because digests typically include ‘still active’ discussion notices, which are often more distracting than useful.
  • Using a social bookmarking service to direct followers to your preferred networks and groups.

In the process of writing this post I have received membership approval for my 45th LinkedIn Group, I think it’s time to update my XeeMe groups’ page.

Update – 5th January 2012

When setting up filters for LinkedIn emails, it is very useful to set up separate filters for ‘New job’, New discussion‘ and ‘New comment‘ to direct them to individual folders. I updated my own filtering system after I reached the maximum of 50 LinkedIn group memberships and these work for me for three key reasons:

  • I can automatically delete job postings when I am not working on a specific recruitment related project;
  • I can ignore new discussion items until I have a block of time to sift through them for interesting threads. In fact, by delaying responding to a discussion item it creates a buffer effect to renew interest in a discussion item and serves to encourage more responses overall;
  • I can easily pick up on and respond faster to comments on discussions that I have already commented on or started following.

Next on my agenda is to write a blog post on how to write good subject lines for new discussion items over at

Finding More Help with Social Media

I’d love to hear from you, if you would like to:

  • Leave a comment on this post
  • Find me on through my social bookmarks on XeeMe
  • Connect with me on LinkedIn
  • Follow the #ssmm tag or my #ssmm list on Twitter for useful tips and connections

What is innovation in business?

13 November 2011

What can we lean about Innovation from Spectrum Plastics,, Salford Lads’ Club and the Working Class Movement Library? At the Innovation through Heritage event held at the University of Salford on Friday 11th November, these four organisations shared their experiences. One key lesson learned for me was that:

“Whether your organisation is a business or a ‘not for profit’ organisation, you have to continuously innovate in order to keep your organisation’s mission relevant to your prospects, audiences or visitors and your organisational heritage could be of great help in doing so!”

The Innovation through Heritage event itself adopted an innovative approach in inviting an eclectic mix of academics, researchers, voluntary organisations and businesses from disciplines including University of Salford’s Leisure, Heritage & Recreation Research Group, International project, ISOS research centre and the UK Academy for Information Systems (UKAIS).

The event began with lunch and networking, which were sponsored by the project and this was followed by eight Pecha Kucha presentations:

  • Neil Robinson – Salford Business School, University of Salford – Armistice Day: Somme, sea and sand; From Middle Earth to Salford and back again.
  • Antonio Benitez – School of Art and Design, University of Salford – The impact of an ageing population in museum audiences.
  • Stephanie Huede – Charme Graphic Design – Image and Idylle
  • Anna Catalani – School of Art and Design, University of Salford – The Yorùbá Diaspora and Museum Collections.
  • Mike Nevell – School of The Built Environment, University of Salford – Community Archaeology: Assessing Significance and Impact.
  • Carolyn Downs – Salford Business School, University of Salford – Exploiting Cultural Heritage: Mecca vs The Government
  • Jon Monk – Business Group Salford – Doing Business in Salford
  • Aleksej Heinze – Salford Business School, University of Salford – Enterprise Cultural Heritage: What is it?

The Pecha Kucha presentations highlighted the diverse ways in which both tangible and intangible heritage elements impact on our society, and offered ways in which we can use heritage to innovate by understanding our past.

The question of “Cultural Heritage – How can it open new opportunities?” was explored by Kath Doran – Managing Director of Spectrum Plastics.

T Haynes Chorley & Co. Ltd., now trading as Spectrum Plastics, is a business that has been around since 1922. Kath talked about the way that the original idea of printing on paper has evolved to laser printing on special plastic to allow them to stay current and yet maintain their heritage of printing. The printing services offered now are available on most substrates including: PVC, metal, glass, acrylics, self-adhesive vinyl, self-cling, wood – some of these materials were not around when the original printing was developed.

Learning through experience and the wealth of knowledge that has been passed down the generations has allowed Spectrum Plastic to maintain its competitive business position in printing. Kath said that one of the most important assets that the company was particularly proud of was its staff and the way that this core value remained. Because of the strong sense of belonging to the business staff take pride in their jobs.

In one example, Kath illustrated the sense of staff loyalty to the business through their suggestion to move to a four-day working week to minimise the impact of the recession. Despite the fact that the business did not have any need to do so, staff saw the reduction in printing orders and offered to reduce the working week to help the business. In another example, Kath referred to the extensive archives of all printing that was done over the years and the creative inspiration this offers to Spectrum Plastics – an exercise she felt was in itself inspired by the enterprise cultural heritage training material.

Innovation through Tools and Technology – Satisfying local needs online

Sarah Hartley talked about the community engagement project,, which re-examines the idea of local news and information in the context of a SoLoMo (social-local-mobile) to create a digital community noticeboard. No stranger to information technology, Sarah blogs about journalism, social media, local news and online communities and is a regular writer on The Guardian’s Northerner blog

Sarah discussed the increasing trend for Glocalisation – where individuals share a common interest and think globally but act locally by developing online communities. The idea itself has been around for a while – local noticeboard existed and could be said to belong to the intangible heritage of communities. Now information technology enables this idea to be made more interactive and with the addition of Social Media based principles – where everyone can share and comment on everything – this technology is enabling as well as facilitating dialogue and hence changes in the community.

We could not let go unnoticed for our event and it was great to see the live blogging functionality from the Innovation through Heritage event which was skilfully done by Sarah Hartley and Nigel Barlow and had another user by the end of the session – Erin Maochu. First impressions – almost as easy as twitter for posting and writing updates, good mobile interface – but you need to be signed in, in order to be able to read notices and updates from others. For the Desktop version, images as nice as they are do tend to take a long time to load, so going to the ‘mobile version’ makes waiting a bit less frustrating…

Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

Steven Flower and Leslie Holmes talked about how Salford Lads’ Club utilised a chance connection with the 1980’s band The Smiths – to help preserve and continue it’s 100 year legacy of providing services to young people.

Established in 1903 Salford Lads Club has had to re-invent itself from the first time it offered a camp to its members in 1904 to continue to “Brighten Young Lives and Make Good Citizens” (its moto) using Social Media Surgeries, Digital library of fans on Flickr,  Heritage Projects including Swedish Drill, Film Shoots and Location, Gigs and Concerts and a Boxing Gym amongst other ways to stay relevant to the community’s needs.

The club set an ambitious aim to realise a £1,000,000 Appeal! Salford Lads have already raised over £730,000 towards this target (July 2011). Visit their website to help Salford Lads Club reach their target.

The fourth and final speaker of the Innovation through Heritage event was Lynette Cawthra, who looked at the question of “Struggling To Get Your Voice Heard?”

Lynette has focused on maintaining quality in an age of quantity since she was appointed a Manager at the Working Class Movement Library in 2006 with a remit to ‘explore, develop, and implement methods of presenting the resources of the Library in new, more exciting and accessible ways’.

At a time of public expectation of ever-present access to digital information and yet also of severe funding cuts, Lynette is faced with the challenge of how to manage these two conflicting themes; one of the ways that technology is going to help in facilitating this is the digital archive offered by the University of Salford.

Online donations are also welcomed by the Working Class Movement Library

How can we help you to develop innovation in your business?

The four speakers demonstrated how intangible heritage, in the case of Spectrum Plastic and as well as tangible heritage such as building of Salford Lads Club and Working Class Movement Library can be used as a source of innovation.

As part of the MNEMOS project, our international team have developed free management training material for anyone who is interested in understanding how he or she could use Heritage  – by integrating it into Brand Management, Change Management, Heritage Management and Intellectual Property Rights Management training – please help us to develop this further by completing this survey and join our LinkedIn open Community!

Have you attended the Innovation Through Heritage event and would like to add to this your views? Please leave your comments below!

How Can an Online Golf Store Benefit from SEO and SMM?

1 November 2011

Adidas Strike AG Stand Bag is my Online Golf Store that has been in operation since 2004, selling items such as Adidas Strike AG Stand Bag.  When we started out on the internet, I expected to have a website built, and that people would come and buy.  A lot of time, and a lot of money invested, I now know that getting the right people to the Online Golf Store is the key to making it work.  So I decided to take on the challenge, and instead of paying out for the so called “SEO Specialists” every month, I would do it myself.

Golf Equipment Categories

When operating an online store, there are a number of factors to take into account when marketing.  Am I going to go for traffic from broad keywords such as “Golf Clubs”, “Golf Bags”, etc etc, or am I going to go for better converting product specific keywords.  With Golf equipment, there are a lot of categories to choose a product from,  such as golf balls, irons, etc etc.

Well I chose the section Golf Bags and from that, I decided to work on the product Adidas Strike AG Stand Bag.

Adidas Strike AG Stand Bag Ranking

For our online golf store, we have found that people searching for the exact product are by far the highest convertors, so the keywords I am going to work on are “Adidas Strike AG Stand Bag” and “Adidas AG Strike Stand Bag” ranked the Adidas Strike AG Stand Bag page 13th and 16th for the key phrases.

On Page Optimization for the Adidas Strike AG Stand Bag

The first part of the challenge to increase the rankings of the Golf Stand Bag in question, was to change a few things around on site, and as we are always told, “Content is King”.  So first thing was first, get the description redone to be unique.  After following the guidelines, (not giving all the tips away) the onsite changes were made.

Off Page Optimization for Adidas Strike Ag Stand Bag

Next I needed to get the off site work done.  A blog post on the Adidas AG Strike Stand Bag and a few little bits here and there, and we were waiting for the results to flow in…


Within a few days of starting to make the changes, I had noticed results.  I had increased in the Google rankings from 16th to 9th, and from 13th to 7th.  This was quite a change already.

After a few more tweaks here and there, and a few more tricks thrown in I had learnt, and i had a look again.  Pretty much 10 days since  starting to work on the item, and I was quite shocked by the results.  The main search term I was focusing on was “Adidas Strike AG Stand Bag” and for this term, I was first in the search results and so far up to 6th for “Adidas AG Strike Stand Bag”.

Well just another 600 or so products to work on; and get them to the top of the SERPS… and i’m looking forward to your comments below or via Stuart White on LinkedIn !

Social Media Marketing Basics: How many social profiles do I need?

27 October 2011

The Socialnomics video by @equalman is probably the most shared video on the economics of social media on YouTube.  This is the long version (4 minutes 19 seconds) of the 2011 edition set to music by Fat Boy Slim.

Social Context and Network Presence

Some social media and marketing experts believe that you should be everywhere.  However, it is far more important to be in the right place at the right time. Context is everything when it comes to deciding which social networks are relevant for you and your business.  Take the example of a downtown restaurant, where daily specials can be posted on Twitter and loyalty discounts can be offered to regular customers who check-in on Foursquare.  Different networks will have different advantages depending on the type of business and amount of resources available.  The trick is to weigh up all the pros and cons of each opportunity so as to not risk being overwhelmed by taking on too much too soon.

Earlier this month, the Oxford Internet Institute released the latest report on the State of the Internet in Britain, containing information on the emergence of next generation users in terms of adoption, characteristics and attitudes, use, government and politics, social networks and friendships, impact of internet use, regulation and control and digital divides. This valuable demographics and trend data feeds into the World Internet Project, which “is a major, international, collaborative project looking at the social, political and economic impact of the Internet and other new technologies”.

Most users will only actively participate on one or two networks on a daily basis, so it is important to focus on relevance and providing valuable engaging content. Unfortunately there are a myriad of networks to choose from and the top choices will vary depending on industry, geographic region and active user base.

Choosing a Social Network

If you are based in the English speaking world, the main social networks that have established social media marketing frameworks, applications, metrics and guidance on usability are a good place to start: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, and YouTube.  It is not critical to establish a presence on all of these networks and there are plenty of review sites and social media comparison charts that can help with the targeting process, such as those provided by the Social Media Guide.

The Social Media ROI video is part of the Socialnomics series by @equalman; can you tell that I am a fan?  The data is from 2009 and the music is Bob Sinclair, 4 minutes 15 seconds worth of real world examples of social media strategies that have had a clear business impact.

The key questions to ask when deciding to participate in a social media network are:

  • Why should I be on this network?
  • Are my customers there?
  • Do my customers want me there?
  • How will I engage my customers?
  • How much time and effort will it cost?
  • Will there be a worthwhile return on my investment?

By considering each of these questions in the context of the individual social networks that you might join, you will be able to decide which networks will be the best ones for you to start with.

A comprehensive UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report is compiled annually by Econsultancy, and although the full report currently costs £250, there are some useful metrics in the free sample download.

Company Names, Brands and Trademarks as Social Identities

This video is a great visual interpretation of the journey of branding from its use as property demarcation to social identification and what it means in today’s economy.  It was produced in 2011 by the MSc Brand Leadership team at Norwich Business School at the University of East Anglia.

The question of whether you need to register your profile on all of the social networks that you are likely to want to use is a good one. It is important to consider whether your company name, brand name or trademark is worth protecting from being registered by someone else, who might use the account for their own purposes.  Even if you do not wish to actively participate in a particular social network, it may be worth registering your username to act as a placeholder or a redirect to the websites and networks where you are actively participating.

A useful service to check is KnowEm, which allows you to do a quick username search on more than 550 social networks.  In my personal experience, the results are not always 100% accurate; but it is a great place to start researching for safeguarding a specific company name, brand name or a trademark.

Finding More Help with Social Media Marketing Basics

Well, a great place to learn more about Search & Social Media Marketing is the SEO Training provided by Salford University…but that might be stating the obvious!

Whichever profiles you choose to establish on social media networks, it is really important to remember which social networks you have joined and use a bookmarking service.  My personal favourite is XeeMe, which is based in the US but currently on target to set up a physical presence in Europe in the coming months.

I’d love to hear from you, if you would like to:

  • Leave a comment on this post
  • Find me through my social bookmarks on XeeMe
  • Follow the #ssmm tag or my #ssmm list on Twitter for useful tips and connections

Social Media be part of the Marketing Revolution!

26 October 2011

Social Media Marketing Revolution

Social Media – So where did it all begin? Do you remember ‘SixDegrees’ in the late 1990’s, I can’t say it was really that popular but the concept was ‘six degrees of separation’ on the basis of linking people together in terms of who knew each other, but the bulk of credit really comes down to a site called ‘Friendster’ that was launched in 2002, (this site is still active as a social gaming site after it was re-designed). Then sites like MySpace and LinkedIn followed. It was however the launch of Mark Zuckerburg’s Facebook in 2004 that really set the social media world on course.

Today Facebook and Twitter dominate the social space with other social media net working sites creating a buzz as social networking is constantly on the move. Recent trends also mean that cross platform networking has become an essential part of us expanding our social networking online. The landscape is also changing with social media application based sites like ‘Foursquare’, where they enable you to use the GPS location to ‘check in’ and show your friends where you are on the map!

This video, if you haven’t already seen it is well worth watching as the facts really hit home the enormity of social media today for instance if Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 4th largest.

Facebook penetration in the world

Some social media interesting facts for you:

  • People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  • The average Facebook user has 130 friends
  • People that access Facebook via mobile are twice as active than non-mobile users (think about that when designing your Facebook page)
  • The average Facebook user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events
  • There are more than 1 million entrepreneurs and developers from 180 countries on Facebook
  • Twitter gets more than 300,000 new users every day.
  • Twitter receives 180 million unique visits each month
  • Twitter started as a simple SMS-text service
  • LinkedIn is older than Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, having been created on May 5 2003
  • The very first video uploaded on YouTube was called “Me at the Zoo”, on 23rd April 2005

Social Media in Business

Two years ago social media was very new for companies to know really what to do with social media in their marketing strategy. Today it is still very new but we are embracing it more and we are not being so scared of it. No longer are we saying ‘Quick our competitors are doing it we must do it! NOW!!’ We are asking questions of why we want to do it and what we actually want to gain from this. Eg –

  • What are my social media objectives?
  • Do I just want to create brand awareness?
  • How do I show my ROI in terms of time and resource spend on social media?
  • How do I measure the effect of social media marketing in my business?
  • How do I integrate and manage all of my social media marketing activities?
  • How do I effectively find my target audience with social media?

These are only some of the questions that you should be asking yourself when it comes to social media in marketing and if your not – start asking!

Have a plan, build a strategy, even if your strategy is something as simple as – I want to gain more ‘Likes’ then that’s fine as a short-term strategy. This is still a brand building exercise and then once you have your followers you can build your longer-term strategy around this. Once you have a plan in place monitoring is essential to see what your customers are saying about your brand, there are lots of tools out there for monitoring social media, (not just Google social media monitoring). Radian 6, Hootsuite & Tweetdeck are just a few, this article on social media monitoring tools has reviewed some and is worth a read.

Make sure you keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, just because they are doing certain things within their marketing social media plan doesn’t always mean they are doing it well, or that that is the path for you. Keep on brand your competitors might be doing competitions or social exercises that just don’t suit or fit your brand?

The Shape of our World today and tomorrow…

These articles below are not about social media but I wanted to include them as they really made me think about the way the world is changing and how the future is shaping up in how we interact and go about our daily lives. Companies are getting smarter giving us less to do and less to think about, devices are also doing more for us – technology is going beyond anything my gran could have ever imagined! She used to be too scared to even touch the ‘Betamax’ video – incase she broke the buttons, (the buttons were bigger than the first mobile phone by the way, it would have taken a tank to do any kind of damage). All amazing stuff and where will it all end? That’s the point.. it won’t as long a we are evolving, so will social media and technology, lets not be scared of it lets get on with it! Maybe one day we will have one site that we login to that will hold every piece of information about us from medical records, our DNA to our family tree and we will login with our eye’s or finger print being scanned?

Vodafone lets customers use their mobiles to pay taxi fares.

A fingerprint reader on the Motorola Atrix allows you to unlock the phone with the swipe of a finger, ensuring can only be used by the owner, read the full article.

Have you found anything new in this blog that was useful? Please comment below, add a link to it or send the link to a friend – Many Thanks!

Linkedin: Find Angela Todd on LinkedIn

Website Marketing Companies In Stampede For University SEO Course Backlinks

21 April 2011

social media boosting website marketing at University Salford, Manchester

Internet and website marketing companies from all over the region have turned up en masse at the University of Salford as part of an initiative to combat recent cost cutting announcements.

Under the guise of an intensive training course in SEO and search engine marketing, the University of Salford is selling backlinks to companies for £2000 a pop!

Enduring several 4 hour gruelling sessions, companies specialising in SEO in Manchester and the surrounding areas are holding out until the bitter end to bag one of these highly prized links and, while complaining about the amount of homework, have been happy to part with their hard earned wonga in order to jump on the backlink bandwagon.

One Leeds SEO firm camped outside for three days to make sure of a place on this so called course and told me . . .

“We really need high quality inbound links to complete an internet marketing assignment for a company specialising in van hire Leeds and also a well known mens shoes brand so we’ll do whatever it takes”.

I have to say that I enthusiastically enrolled to ensure that I wasn’t left behind by my colleagues and competitors but very soon began to forget the prize which was waiting and became engrossed with the excellent content of the SEO course itself.

Top SEO training tips and techniques

From the ground rules for keyword research and selection through advanced link building techniques to the latest thinking in social media marketing, both the superb core team and their excellent keynote speakers really managed to get their ideas across and moved my understanding and my ability to apply my learning right across my client base immensely. High end benefits for my clients and a more effective approach by my team will really mean more business and a more enhanced reputation for my company in the dynamic and competitive world of internet and website marketing.

Not sure how ethical this backlink sale is, although I do think the Search and Social Media Marketing Course is actually extremely good and I would definitely recommend you enrol for the next sessions. Hats off though to the guys at the University of Salford, Search and Social Media Course for thinking outside the box with this innovate if somewhat extortionate way to plug the funding gap and keep themselves and their mates in a job.

As a post script I would urge you to register early for this university SEO training course as places are selling like hot cakes and there are only a limited number of backlinks available – Good Luck and Bon Voyage!

Atommedia branding marketing search

Google Panda Update – A Grizzly in the SERPs

21 April 2011

What is the Google Panda Update? How has it affected the SERPs? Which tactics might be taken to minimise the effects of the Google Panda Update?

The recent Panda, or ‘Farmer’, update to the Google search engine algorithm has had some interesting and unexpected results in the Search Engines Results Pages (SERPS). Working for the Search team at the Manchester digital media agency Fast Web Media, it is vital for me to understand the purpose, initial impact and long term implications of the Google Panda update and shape SEO strategy for our clients accordingly. Considering all that I’ve learnt on the SSMM course at Salford, I thought I’d tackle this Panda head-on.

The purpose of Panda?

The Panda first reared its head in February 2011 in the US, whilst the rest of the world watched and waited for Panda paw prints to appear in the rankings. Sites in the UK that received significant traffic from the US quickly saw if the Panda update would affect them once it was rolled out globally in March.

The Google Panda update had one principle aim:

Reduce SERP rankings for Low Quality Sites—i.e. sites with low value to users, generally containing unoriginal or shallow content.

The intended targets in the Panda’s sights? Low-quality domains which had little user trust and contributed trivial levels of information or services, such as, affiliate sites containing a high volume of content scraped from legitimate sites. As expected, such sites lost significant visibility in the US Google-SERPs at the end of February.  But what else was hit? This would apparently affect the results of some 12% of search queries. An independent SEO software firm, Sistrix, collated a lot of data and published a list of some of the winners and losers from the update (although the recent article from State of Search questions these figures and their severity)

The main losers appear to be:

  • Price comparison sites, such as travel sites
  • review sites, like
  • voucher sites,

You can see a more recent list of those affected on Pete Young’s blog (of SSMM fame!) On first look, what is similar about these sites? Shallow content? Poor structure? Prolific use of ads? Poor content and aggressive ad placement generally results in poor user engagement – you are unlikely to stay on a site for long if it’s full of inane drivel and haranguing you with pop-ups.

Google’s algorithm has previously proven capable of identifying nonsensical spam (e.g keyword stuffing) but Panda’s mission is to identify shallow-content, low quality sites. A supposed by-product of the Panda update was that it would help Google to identify high quality sites and reward them in the SERPs accordingly. Sites such as those belonging to established brands, which have their own original content, and ones which promoted high value user experiences would win over the heavily optimised affiliate site that allowed for no quality user engagement. This very interesting interview by Wired with Google engineers Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal in March 2011 outlines the Google thought process behind the update.

Bamboo-zled by the Panda

Google Panda Update - image reproduced from

[Image reproduced from please contact if you object to this image being used on this site].

Some in the Search industry feel that the Panda update was a long time coming and that “wise” SEO practices will have protected against algorithmic changes that targeted low-quality content. The side effects of this ambitious update have been quite a lot of collateral damage. It has hit legitimate sites with a lot of user-generated content, such as Review Centre (see their concerned reaction to the Panda update in a blog post on the Review Centre website).

Mahalo, an information sharing site with a large and active community, suffered heavily from the Panda update and 10% of Mahalo staff were apparently fired the day after the new algorithm took effect. Mahalo is widely viewed as a content farm and is exactly the kind of site Panda should be targeting. This interesting article about Mahalo by SEOBook discusses it in more detail: SEOBook: Black Hat SEO Case Study Nevertheless, traffic being heavily cut through these changes is a grave issue for many sites and businesses, big and small. And more recently, questions have been raised as to the possibility of competitive targeting of certain Microsoft owned sites by the algorithm changes.

Saying all that, there are many ecommerce affiliates that are still holding strong positions and all their product descriptions are duplicated. I know at Fast Web Media, we can still see 2 or 3 voucher sites ranking within the top 10 for brand specific keyword searches for a particular client. Google have removed the ability for webmasters to ask for reconsiderations for those who’ve suffered from the affects of algorithm changes but you can tell them if you think you’ve been unfairly dismissed.

What can we learn from sites like Mahalo which hold some genuine value being penalised by the algorithm? Mahalo’s content base is vast and in topics so broad that it is suspiciously vague in its purpose. It’s certainly no Hitchers Guide to the Galaxy. And what of voucher sites? They often contain many broken links, timed out deals, etc. Is it this kind of sites Google is to rid the SERPs of? It is interesting to note what happened to the price comparison site,, which was also negatively affected by the Panda update. Google bought that site last month for £37million. Why would Googly punish its own acquisition, other than to appear fair in its execution of its algorithm? Is it that valuable for Google in terms of a business for price comparison or is it a knowledge/data gathering exercise? It is likely that Google are investing in comparison websites as a way of gathering information about how people interact and use such sites. Under the current Panda update, the way content is produced, structured and shared across such sites is too subtle for the algorithm to distinguish between those more low-quality sites. This first generation Panda, although quite unruly, may evolve to be something a bit more personable and sophisticated when recognising quality content in successive incarnations.

Paws for Thought

So, what do you do if have been backhanded (or “backpawed”) by the Panda? Combating Panda at a basic level boils down to examining the structure and content of your site and being sure to eliminate duplicate or shoddy content. You can start by looking at the impact on traffic and user behaviour using Google Analytics across the different pages of the site and go from there. SEO Mark Nunney clearly outlines some more detailed steps to analyse any potential impact and steps to rectify a SERP slashing in his Panda mauling survival guide. In summary, the main things to look out for are:


  • A high level of duplicate and unoriginal content – either internally or from content being very similar to other site. Example site: Tech blogs – gadget reviews, etc.
  • Overzealous On-Site Optimisation – Poorly written content for the user – lacking semantics – continuous repetition of the same phrase or keyword.
  • Many pages throughout the site with a low amount of original content.


  • Low CTR (click through rate) from SERPs
  • High bounce rates and very low user times on the site
  • Low percentage of returning traffic to the site


  • Lots of sponsored ads – especially irrelevant ones – littering the page
  • High number of paid links from sites owned by the same brand/company/site owner for self promotion
  • None or an unconvincing Social Media presence, nor little mention from sites like as news, reviews, forums.

These are all classic SEO issues which should be addressed when implementing best practice and have been covered extensively on this SSMM course at Salford. And although we can outline what quantifies a quality user experience (high traffic, high returning traffic, low bounce rate, long amount of time spent on site, etc), just how does Google begin to identify what is “quality content”  algorithmically? How can the web crawlers scan the content on sites and obtain a substantive and accurate impression of the semantic value of that page? The easiest signals to look out for if content is quality is the amount that site is shared – linked to, tweeted, social bookmarked, etc. AKA The capital of social engagement!

The issue is that “quality of content” is a highly subjective matter. How does one define “low-quality content”? The Wired interview with Cutts and Singh mentions that they compared the Panda results using the Chrome Site Blocker (allowing users to specify sites they wanted blocked from their search results) as a case study for what qualified as “low quality content”. The intuition of the algorithm can only be so sophisticated.

“The Panda eats shoots and leaves; it doesn’t go on Masterchef!”.

Google try and collect enough information and data on user behaviour to create and apply an objective algorithm to subjective matter.

Keeping this in mind, this is where I wonder if the Panda update is a pre-emptive move before rolling out Google +1

The Personable Panda

Google has also been trying to jump on the social bandwagon of late without much success. Sites such as Google Buzz, a social messaging and information sharing site, and Google Knol, similar to Quora, have failed to crack into the social media market with any noticeable effect. Back in 2009, Google introduced Google Social Search and it has updated and improved the service constantly since then. Matt Cutts not long ago revealed that Google would start taking into account social impact of URLs in the algorithm – i.e. the more a URL is tweeted and shared on Facebook, the more gravitas that link will be given in the eyes on Google. As a result, SEO now involved more than just on-site optimisation and PPC. Social media is now the dominant force in the way internet users share and consume content, and it is playing an increasingly significant role in determining where your site appears in SERPs.

This latest update is a significant shift in the way social affects a site’s position in the SERP. Whether users are posting videos to YouTube, publishing photographs on Flickr, writing content on their blogs or just talking to their friends on Facebook and Twitter, their activity now affects a site’s authority and how it is viewed by Google.

So called “Google +1” is being trailed in American and you can beta test it on your own account at the moment in the UK. It is a way of competing with social networks, such as Facebook, but whilst also being able to glean from user behaviour what results far more relevant quickly and effectively. What is Google +1? Google will allow you to click on a +1 button next to a link as a seal of approval. And other users in your social network groups will be able to see that you’ve “+1” a link.


You can read more about Google +1 from Techcrunch and the speculations on its uses but the reason I’ve included it in this post is in the Panda update preceding Google +1. By currently being largely closed off from the social media world, Google lacks the ability to be able to analyse user behaviour on a highly social level. This is where Google +1 could act as a key to unlocking some of the data potential whilst apparently bettering the user experience of the search engine.

Allow me to elaborate: Panda has apparently hit the tech blogging community quite hard. Many of these sites are genuine hubs of collective interest. But as pointed out by Patrick Altoft in his blogstorm post, how many times do you need to hear about the same gadget review? For such forums and blogging communities, the significant drop in traffic could drastically reduce their site’s viability. Thinking long term, I wonder if such updates that negatively affect the visibility of said communities may further catalyse the way that people will interact online – less through many review sites and forums and more through social media.

Much like if someone dictated you what you could and couldn’t do at a party, you’ll probably just sit sulking in a corner or end up not even going. The Panda update is more evidence of a paradigm shift in the way that content is structured and angled more towards enabling social online. With this in mind, I was wondering if the Panda update may be pre-emptive strike that encourages websites to structure themselves favourable, ready for Google +1.


Google wants to be more than just a search engine – and its forays into all sorts of projects, most particularly with social projects such as “Buzz” and “Knol” are testament to that. Google talks about wanting to produce the best user experience possible. Why? So users continue using their services. Yet I am curious about the long term impact on social communities, such as legitimate tech forums, which have been hit by the Google algorithm by such changes. Many of the Panda victims appear to make sense, and with any algorithm change there are winners and losers. But why remove the visibility of sites that allow and foster genuine community engagement? At the end of the day, the algorithm is a scientific formula that is being applied to millions and millions of sites. It is inevitable that some genuine sites, in particular ones which do have a lot of the same content (even if it is user generated) will be hit by the update.

Under the new Panda regime, what do you do if you search for something and forums/review sites don’t show up in the top 10? You search again, you use other sites. Users navigate the SERPs more and giving Google more user behaviour data. Users may also be more inclined to use Google reviews, thus helping to promote Universal Search, etc. By hitting the review sites, I wonder if it’s not just Google trying to promote their services and in turn getting more information out of its customers. Is Panda preparing us to be more social (along with the advent of +1) by clearing the SERPs of site that had poor user engagement?

As we all well know, you cannot force online communities to be social – social sharing and communities and manifests themselves in a way that external forces can try to influence but it is often an internal catalyst which drives it and helps it take form. You can create a social space but cannot really dictate the way it is used – trying to do so often spells disaster. But social is well and truly here in the SERPs. And it will be interesting to see how the SEO community shifts and adapts strategy in the coming months post-Panda.

And speaking of being social, you can find with me on LinkedIn or @BrionyGunson

Search Engine Optimisation and Me – A True Story

7 April 2011

My recent foray into the world of Search Engine Optimisation, PPC and Social Media with the Manchester digital agency Fast Web Media has been an intense and enlightening experience. 

And the Search and Social Media Marketing course at Salford has allowed me to refresh and expand my SSMM knowledge. So I thought I would use this opportunity to share a little about my experiences of starting out a career in SEO with regards to the Salford course for those who may be considering a similar path.

Getting a taste for SEO

Prior to my role with Fast Web Media, I had, like the majority, been an avid consumer of “the internet” for work, rest and play. A Wikipedia addict, a Facebook user, a mocker of Tweeters, a LiveJournal dabbler and a Geocities resident way back when, my online world previously revolved around university work, amusing memes, stalking friends on Facebook and Googling for cheap gig tickets.

I had relied heavily, if not solely, on Google over recent years to help me navigate the digital seas; although I had rather naively shown little regard as to how search engines manufactured their results pages (as a science graduate, I look back and find lack of curiosity really rather shameful!) However, my role at Fast Web Media threw me in the deep end, opening my eyes to a brave new world.

The ever expanding Google empire, the Social Revolution…

along with the maturation of mobile technology and the digitalisation of the almost everything seem to correlate with the evolution and expansion of SEO. There is so much to learn and so much to take in all the time. To bastardise a Douglas Adams’ quote (forgive me), my initial impression was that

“SEO is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is.” 

The Foundation course at Salford allowed me to refresh the basics of what I had already learnt “on the job”, as well as gaining a general overview week on week. The course broke down all this information before my brain resembled something like a smashed bowl of petunias.

As SEO strategy is generally comprised of many smaller strategies and tactics, it is important to explore the different options and keep an eye on how existing methodologies are changing, lest you wish to fall behind the frontrunners. As any SEO will tell you, we are constantly learning all the time.

The Spice of Life

So, what do I like about working in digital media, in particular is SEO? One short-tail, high competition keyword can probably sum it up: Variety.

Variety with clients; variety in my day-to-day tasks; variety in my professional relationships. Fast Web Media has a great range of clients, big and small, which I’ve been allowed to sink my teeth into. Work can vary between Carling, Bravissimo and The Premier League (or “Beer, Boobs and Balls”, as I like to quip) in a single day. The benefit of doing the Salford course is that I have been allowed to explore the intricacies involved in the different theory and disciplines whilst then seeing and employing their practical applications on a wide variety of client work and the bespoke strategies we use.

Day to day in the office will always be different: from linkbuilding to pondering cunning new tactics for linkbaiting; from approaching new clients to constantly re-assessing existing clients and keeping them abreast of new developments in SEO. I might spend a morning getting lost in Google Analytics or stalking potential new leads on Twitter, or reading the countless brilliant blogs that make up the ever-expanding knowledge database for inspiration, advice and often educational amusement.

The main draw to the world of SEO, PPC and social media is that it allows me the chance to be analytical and creative in equal measures. And not being afraid of being wrong is pretty much the best advice I’ve had. It’s all about testing, learning, reviewing and creating.

A Bitter Taste

Being new to the industry, you cannot fail to notice the variety of attitudes towards the SEO as an industry. We certainly have a name for ourselves – the recent JCPenny fiasco has been the most recent case whereby the debates around the ethics of SEO have been fired up again. I personally find the whole Blackhat/Whitehat debate fascinating, amusing summarised in this video from SES London 2009:

I think it’s true to say that the forerunners of any industry or discipline are often the ones challenging its boundaries and pushing the limits as far as they can go. Although, please don’t take that as a commendation of such “immoral” practices – but it is the existence of such a spectrum and wide variety of methods and talent which so enamours me to the industry.

Google is a powerhouse of the internet world. It professes that it constantly amends its algorithm so as to “enhance the user experience”. It is that algorithm that SEOs are constantly puzzling over, trying to manipulate the results for various ends. Google says it has a responsibility to its users to have the most relevant content in its SERPs, and recent changes to the algorithm such as the Panda Update have seen the life of an SEO become that all a bit trickier.

However, in some ways, I see value in SEO reach beyond the financial. I think it is the responsibility of SEOs to constantly challenge Google’s algorithm since Google acts as an authority on knowledge and dictates what is relevant content. Any authority which has such power and financial, social and political influence should be questioned, challenged and held to account. Experimenting with Google’s algorithm and the SERPs is to exercise the right to question its results; Google promotes content which Google has attributed quantitative value to, and as mass consumers of this mass knowledge, we should question their methodologies and intentions. They say “content is king” – but I think it’s important to challenge the “natural order” if it is Google dictating who the monarch is.

What’s Your Flavour?

As such a colourful industry, involving so many different skillsets, I’ve been fascinated by the winding tales as to how people have ended up in the SEO/digital media world – including the wide spectrum of people on the SSMM course, from port to ponies!

After divulging a bit about mine (we can talk more here), I’d be very interested to hear more about youso, what’s the story about you and SEO?

Search & Social Media Marketing Professional course – blog post presentations

20 March 2011

Would you like to know what the delegates of the Search & Social Media Marketing (SSMM) course have been talking and thinking about for their Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media blog posts?

You are invited to attend the free blog post presentations event, which is part of the learning process designed for those who attend the SSMM course. As part of the Search & Social Media Marketing professional course delegates have to write a blog post, which applies their knowledge of SEO and Social Media to the process of writing an optimised web page. These presentations are an integral part of SEO training and Social Media training that we facilitate on the course, since we believe that the best way to learn SEO and Social Media is to practice. The presentation itself is also a mechanism to practice pitching skills, which we can only gain by participating and jointly reflecting on events such as this!

Who is this event for?

This event is aimed at anyone who is interested to meet and speak to those in Search Engine Optimisation/ Search Marketing/ Social Media Marketing and other online marketing related practices and methods. It is ideal for those who are interested to find out about the Search & Social Media Marketing course at the University of Salford Business School, since it will provide you with an opportunity to hear and speak to past delegates and industry speakers who have helped to design and deliver this course.

Who will be there?

All delegates who took part in the professional course for Search & Social Media Marketing and the industry speakers who will provide feedback on the presentations:

  • Ben McKay – SEO Director – MEC
  • Pete Young – Holistic Search Marketing – SEO & PPC Consultant
  • Richard Gregory – Chief Operations Officer – Latitude Group Limited
  • Simon Wharton – Managing Director -PushON Ltd
  • David Towers – SEO Director – MEC

When & Where?

  • Date: 21st April 2011
  • Time: from 4pm to 8pm
  • Location: Salford Business School, Salford, Greater Manchester, Maxwell Building, Room 516
  • Contact: Frances Cuthill – Search & Social Media Marketing Course Administrator Tel:+44 (0)161 295 6692,

Do I need to book a place? – YES!

Places are limited to a maximum of 20 guests, so please book in advance by the 14th April 2011to avoid disappointment!

Why does a Manchester Wine Merchant need SEO and SMM?

17 March 2011

As the co-owner of Smithfield Wine, a local wine merchant based in Manchester, I have had to deal with web developers and so called “SEO experts” to ensure that is returned in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and that the online business grows. As we specialise in niche wine markets such as:

this should be possible. – SEO case study

Our web developer offered us 6 months of free SEO if we would go with them. Sounded like a good idea so we did.

Before we launched the reworked web site had a page rank of 5 and we were on the first page of Google for the majority of our products and all of our niche categories. We now have a page rank of 3 and the restaurants and bars that we supply are ranking higher than us for our products merely by including their wine lists on their websites!

As our 6 months of free SEO was up our developer asked us to consider taking up an annual contract and offered this proposal:

Basic SEO Package Standard SEO Package Advanced SEO Package
– Basic Website Optimisation – Full Website Optimisation – Full Website Optimisation
– Monthly Reporting – Monthly Reporting – Monthly Reporting
– Free directory submission – Free directory submission
– Free social bookmarking – Free social bookmarking
– Continual SEO consultancy – Continual SEO consultancy
– Paid links
– Article Submissions
£200.00 per month £400.00 per month £1,000.00 per month

This really got our interest! I started to look at what we had got in terms of SEO over the last 6 months:

  • The online wine gift shop category did not have a page title
  • None of our 16 categories had any content
  • A number of pages had the same page title and description
  • There were over 700 Google crawl errors generated by the “bespoke” software

I decide that we needed help. I googled “manchester seo courses” and after sifting through much dross found the Salford University Business School course on Search and Social Media Marketing (SSMM).

After attending the taster evening in January we decided that this course was an essential part of our future development as online marketeers.

Having completed the four day introduction course I know that, after completing the Professional course, if we are not capable of handling our own SEO and SMM we will be more than adequately equipped to find expert SEO companies, which we know are out there and specify what we need and be able to monitor the results of our investment.

My “SEO foundation” results:

Having completed the first four evenings of the SEO Foundation course, which looked at keyword research, basic on site optimisation and off page optimisation, here are some of the observations in relation to the website:

Writing of clearly focused title pages

For example, “Vegan Wines” being the primary keyword on the Vegan Wines page, the title for this page should clearly show the reader and the search engine the content of the page. The reader will be better placed to make a decision when seeing the page title in the SERPS and the search engine will be better able to index the page in its index.

At the moment the Vegan Wines page has the title “Vegan Wine | Smithfield Wine Merchants UK | Buy Vegan Wine Online”. However, the content on the page lists Vegan Wines from around the world etc.

Using the SEOBook toolbar we can see here the Title and the Description tag of the page:

Title and description tag

Importance of keyword research

Having done some keyword research we can see what it is that the buyers are searching for; using a tool such as Google Keyword Suggestion Tool, we can see that the term “Vegan Wines” – plural of  “Vegan Wine” seems to be more popular with search engine users. By simply adding an “s” to the “Wine”, the potential number of visitor is increased by nearly 800 per month globally and 120 locally.

The keyword “Buy vegan wines online” – which is prominently featured in the current title and the description tag – has little or no traffic logged according to Google. This is a problem which many businesses can face where SEO professionals suggest that they will optimise a page for certain keywords to make sure that we are on page number one of SERP, but if this term is not used by the customers none of them will find us!

The same applies to the “Smithfield Wine Merchants UK” keyword – which is also prominently featured on the page title. The brand name of the website should really be easy to optimise for and hence there is no reason to include it on every single title page. If anything, this dilutes the focus of the web page to any other visitor who is only interested in vegan wine in the first instance. This is not to say that there should be no pages that have the brand name in the title tag.

Keyword research

A word of warning to any customer of SEO services: – check that the keyword terms selected for optimisation are working for you – if you are number one but nobody is searching for that keyword – it is not going to be of much benefit to the business although some “so-called SEOs” will be happy to point out that they did their job well!

We can also see related keywords to the primary keyword “Vegan Wines”, which are in relation to the web page that lists a number of different wines, these are:

“Vegan wine list”, and “Vegan friendly wine”. Bearing in mind that these are complementary terms, the optimised title which would target the primary keyword – “Vegan wines” – and two secondary terms – “Vegan wine list”, and “Vegan friendly wine” – could be combined into the following title text:

“Vegan wines – vegan wine list for vegan friendly wine lovers”

With this title we are still within the 62 characters that are the recommend length for a title tag.

Now, using the same keyword the META description tag for the page could be optimised from the existing text of:

“META description: Smithfield vegan wine. A stunning selction of great value fine vegan wines from around the world. Buy vegan wine online for home wine delivery.”

To something that provides a better summary of the individual page:

META description: Choose from a selection of specially selected vegan wines a vegan wine list for vegan friendly wine lovers. From Argentinian to Uruguayan we have tasted and hand picked vegan red, white and sparkling wines for you!”

The new title includes the use of keywords that we researched and summarises the content of the page with more focus on vegan wines and also removes the typing mistake of “selction” in the original description text. Although the keyword tag is no longer used by search engines, there is still some merit if only for the benefit of future SEO page maintenance to remind the editors of what the keywords were that were used to focus this work.

Use of heading on the vegan wines page

The current web page has a heading “Vegan Wines” – which is the new keyword that we found to be more popular with the search results and was selected as the primary keyword for this page. The good news is that it is clearly labelled for the visitor using heading 1 formatting.

The headings hierarchy should show to the search engine and the reader what is important on the page. Therefore, heading 1 should be used for the primary keyword only. But, in our case we can see that the website design template also uses heading 1 for “Search Our Wines” and “Wine Departments” sections of the web page. This sends a conflicting message to Google or any other robot that tries to index this page. It has to understand which text is more important and therefore the two additional heading one selections as highlighted in the following screenshot on the left hand side of the web page do not help in providing focus:

Heading 1 structure position

Moreover, heading 2 – which is the second most significant heading of the page is showing the text of “Your Shopping Cart Contains” – this confuses Google indexing bots even further, since this text sends a signal to the bot that the second most important bit of information on the page is something related to a shopping cart! Only at heading 3 level do we see the important keyword for the results of the Vegan Wines – these are the selections of wines classified by their regions. So, to improve this page from an SEO perspective and to focus on Vegan Wines it is important to re-design the website infrastructure which would de-grade the less relevant heading to a lower level and upgrade the headings that provide content to a higher level: For example in this case:

  • Vegan Wines – keep at heading 1
  • Argentinian vegan wines – could be heading 2
  • Australian vegan wines – could be also heading 2 ….
  • Search Our Wines – could be heading 3
  • Wine Departments  – could be heading 3
  • Your Shopping Card Contains – could be heading 4

The incorrect use of headings shows a fundamental flaw in the current bespoke e-commerce web page.

Another lesson learned – if you get a bespoke website it must deliver what is needed for your SEO and not only for the site graphic design!

Thematic breakdown of the website sections

The page file names are also important for SEO and the structure that is developed to help Google and other search engines to show the structure of a site give a meaning of what is important.

For example, now if you click on Argentinian wines the following web page name is used:

However, a better like naming convention, which helps to show that this one is one of many other “vegan wines”, is:

This structure would follow the category of the individual bottle of wine further down the hierarchy of the different wines, for example instead of having this page for Santa Luisa Malbec 2007:

A better file name convention would be:

This file shows the search engine very clearly that this wine is part of vegan wines from Argentina and is called Santa Luisa Malbec 2007. This naming convention could also be replicated in the page title, page description and page heading 1.

Social media optimisation

Currently at Smithfield wines we use Twitter and Facebook for communication with our customers. However, in order to talk to us on Twitter or Facebook the visitors have to leave This means that PageRank is being lost to the external websites from every page. To prevent the PageRank leakage the attribute in the link Meta tag rel=”nofollow” should be used.

Moreover, the use of social media is only maximised on the blog and not on the main sales focused website. For example, here we can see that a page can be liked by Facebook users and once they like something it automatically shows their friends that they found something interesting providing an opportunity for “viral” marketing. In the same way, the more people like a particular wine dedicated web page, the more they are passing on a recommendation to others which then helps to increase their trust and so they are more likely to purchase it. The image below shows the Tweet and Like plugin installed on the blog:

Social media optimisation

The link to the Facebook page is currently linking to my personal page and the web designers didn’t recommend changing the personal page to the company page – which is very simple to do and creates another opportunity to offer more interaction with customers.

Hmmm, what could be the strategy for the Facebook page?

Please share your recommendations below!