All posts by Paul Delaney

Paul is Head of Natural Search for Vizeum. The thoughts are his own and not related to that of his employers.

Apple iPad iOS4 Coming Soon, Well November | iPad Review

Ok so I recently splashed put an an iPad. I thought about which model to get and weighed up the pro’s and cons between the wifi an the wifi+3G option.

I had already decided on. 32gb model at this point.

Firstly I considered the 3G model for the web browsing, it would be good on the road at friends houses with no wifi etc but i also thought is it worth an additional £100?

I the looked into the cost of getting mobile broadband but not many options to connect to the iPad without wifi. After my research I found a mifi option with Three mobile for £69 with 3gb of data usage over 3 months. And £10 per 1gb to top up thereafter.

So decision was made get the 32gb wifi iPad and the mifi modem to surf the web. Saving me £21 and also a 3% cashback via quidco.

So after waiting for the iPad to arrive of course the courier service used left a calling card “sorry we missed you blah blah…..” so a trip to UPS Eccles to collect followed that evening.

So now I am the owner of a shiny new 32gb iPad, let the fun begin!

The OS of current models is 3.1 so no multitasking, folders et al at present but Apple have announced iOS 4.2 is coming in November and developers have already got their hands on it.

Ciao for now

Google Instant Search Now Live – A Layman's View

Ok so all the latest noise on Twitter and around the web is about the new Google Instant search results now live as of yesterday.

So i thought why not add to all the noise with another post.

On a more serious note, as an SEO i have tinkered with the new interface and to be honest didn’t help me with the SERP’s i was looking for as i tend to know what i want to see, however i have asked my wife to try it out as a general day to day user.

Her findings are quite interesting and as follows:

Just used it to search for ‘ghost walks in Edinburgh’ and then added ‘need to pre book’.

  • it was much the same as the predictive search box, if you see something come up at the top that is what you want you can click that and save time searching
  • above only useful if you are a good touch typer as otherwise you have typed your search looking at the keyboard and not whilst looking at the screen so no different than normal Google by then!
  • would be good if you’re randomly searching the internet in free time as something interesting may catch your eye but otherwise i can’t see it being much more useful than the predictive search box?

Didn’t seem to save me any time getting to what i wanted, i still typed in full search term.

Also just noticed that some of the things it suggested e.g. when i searched for ‘hen do’ it came up with Henry (hoover) before i typed the whole phrase, these are now on my history as if that is what I’ve searched for! Could be dangerous if something dodgy came up at the top of the search?!

Here is the new search function in action:

Interesting thoughts, i would welcome any other users input on the new toy from Google.

Ciao for now!

Google Advanced Search Querystrings

May not be teaching old dogs new tricks, but here is a quick post about utilising the querystring parameters in Google search. The Google search url is made up of a number of parameters, the & symbol is used to add parameters as shown in the following example: http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=football+world+cup&btnG=Search

  • hl=en – this defines the language. en is for English.
  • q=football+world+cup – this is the search query, the + is to replace spaces
  • btnG=Search – the ‘Google Search’ button was clicked to start the search

These are very basic parameter strings, now let’s take a look at how we can manipulate the result set coming back:

  • &num=100 – this will show the top 100 results instead of the default 10
  • &start=100 – this will allow the results to start from a particular position in the SERP’s

Now for a few advanced querystrings: as_qdr=x – Replace the x to one of the following to show when files had been first indexed:

  • d – last 24 hours
  • w – last 7 days
  • m – last month
  • y –  last year
  • m2 – last number of months. m2 wlast 2 months m3, m4 etc etc

So just a few ways to manipulate the results in the Google, for a full list visit the SEOmoz ultimate guide.

Google May Day Update Affects Long Tail Search Queries

A new algorithmic change has been implemented by Google, affectionately know as the May Day update as it happened around 1st May 2010. Matt Cutts explains that the change is not temporary and the update is looking to improve the quality of the SERP’s that is effecting long tail terms opposed to the head of searches.

Cutts explains that this update is independent to Google Caffeine which is preceding at pace. The update is assessing which sites are the best match for long tail queries. No human involvement in this update and it is purely algorithmic.

Is your SEO affected?

Think about your site, do you have a high quality site, good content and make sure that your site can be viewed as an authority for the search query so not matching off topic queries.

Watch the full video below:

Google "kaffein" Caffeine now live, or just an April fool?

Call me a cynic but after all the excitement of Google Caffeine update last year is this now live or an April fools joke?

The online world is buzzing about the renamed update going live, kaffein, the German spelling of caffeine, renamed due to Mormons dietry requirements this caused a little bit of upset back in ’09 as Search Engine Roundtable posted.

So with the update now “live” what are SEO’s seeing today?

There are over 100k results and you may notice Google’s search results pages use some interesting units of measurements to estimate how long it took them to obtain your search query: femtogalactic years was used in my search for Google kaffein.

My sceptic mind thinks this is a good old April fool’s joke but i will be watching on to see if it is or not.

Ciao for now!

Google Webmaster Verification Now Made Easier!

Google have now made the Webmaster Verification process a lot simpler. If you own a site and want multiple people to be able to view the WMT information of your site, you would have had to add multiple html files or multiple meta tags which would make the process quite a lengthy one and also more difficult to manage.

Google are now sharing the verification love which allows Webmaster to simply add a user to the WMT account to view the profile, this has to be a Google account email addres.

Simply login to your webmaster tools account and select the verification details link.

Then click add user and enter the Google verified email address of who you wish to grant access to the WMT account for the domain:

The long and short of it means less hassle for Webmasters!

Google Product Search – Testing Links again?

Has anyone noticed that the product results in Google have been showing images and not directly linkg through to the site?

A post from the Head of SEO  at Latitude, Andy Heaps posted back in December about how Latitude joke about Google’s money making levers – “if profits are down or shareholders unhappy they pick a money generating lever and pull it” highlighted this, and now seems that the same is going on again.

Only today have Google displayed both links and none in their product listings here is the latest of my searches:

Google Products - No links

Google Products - No links

So does this mean that Google are “pulling the levers” again or trying to improve the users exprerience?

Canonical URL – A possible solution to duplicate content

Duplicate Content Issues

The 3 major search engines, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, have just announced a new tag that can tell the search engines which URL it should have for the current page.

The issue websites have is duplicate content, the same content is indexed under different URL’s.  This is an issue SEO’s have been trying to solve for a long time.

New canonical URL tag

To help solve this problem, the 3 major engines have declared that it will recognise a new HTML tag, which, if inserted into your web page, will allow you to specify which URL you want to be the “official”, URL for the content.

The tag needs to be inserted into the HEAD section of your web page:

HTML:  <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.yourwebsite.co.uk/correct-page.html">

XHTML: <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.yourwebsite.co.uk/correct-page.html" />

This code needs to be placed in the HEAD section not in the BODY section.

Google will now count the links it has seen to that campaign tagged URL, towards the canonical URL, and not index the campaign tagged URL.

In summary, may be to early to tell if this will help webmasters as it was only announced on the 12th February 2009, but in my opinion this is handing back a little bit of control to the webmaster instead of letting the search engine’s figure out the correct URL.

Disclaimer:  The tag is aonly a suggestion to the search engine. It will probably be used 99% of the time, but they have the right to handle things their way.

Canonical URL plugin for WordPress users now available from Joost de Valk.

Twestival – Day of the Twitter Festival

So, the day is finally here, Twestival 2009!

Today is in aid of the charity charity: water and the talk on the tweet is that over $1 million is to be raised.

I’ve also read today that the BBC and Sky News are going to be covering the London Twestival, so Twitter is really making it mainstream!

My home city of Manchester is hosting their event at the Living Room and there seems to be a great buzz going round, as well as what should be a fantastic event, there are the following prizes to be won in the charity auction:

  1. A Nintendo Wii – donated by Stardotstar
  2. An iPod touch – donated by Citypress
  3. A champagne dinner for two – donated by The Living Room
  4. A pair of first class train tickets to anywhere on the First TransPennine Express network – donated by FTPE
  5. A beautiful Pandora necklace (RRP £248) – donated by McCann Erickson
  6. Dinner for two at Nui Sicilian restaurant at The Trafford Centre  – donated by the restaurant via SKV PR
  7. Two crates of Tsingtao beer – donated by Tsingtao
  8. An annual pass to the Northern Start up 2.0 (worth £350.00) – donated by @ManojRanaweera
  9. Two fantastic handpainted glasses – Twestival theme, by artist Roz Clark – donated by Realfresh.tv
  10. A pair of 3D webcams (the mind boggles!) – donated by Tangerine PR
  11. Make up and beauty kit  – donated by McCann Erickson
  12. A white North Face women’s jacket – donated by Brazen
  13. A complete ‘love’ kit – donated by Durex
  14. Tickets for two for Chill Factore – donated by Staniforth
  15. Something fabulous from Rags to Bitches – donated by Rags to Bitches

Those that are lucky to have tickets have fun!