Tuesday, 28 April 2009

National Vegetable Society

April 28 issue of the Garden News features a preview by Medwyn Williams of the National Vegetable Society's Championships which will be part of the Dundee Flower Show.

Jamieson Brothers of Annan (JBA), and in particular, Iain Barbour, have been resurrecting vintage exhibition potato varieties, such as Armour and Sherine, and are also sponsoring the event in 2010.

Good news for Callisti as Iain's potato website continues to expand and JBA are able to keep updating new and existing content for the very season sensitive market.

Free range chickens

The organic farm in Liddesdale valley now has more than a holding page for a website...

The price list for organic produce and free range chickens, beef and pork is due an update so be aware if you're ordering anything in the next few days.

Apparently home-grown hogget (2 year old sheep) is the best eating, according to farmers - I'd heard of mutton and lamb but hogget was new to me. My shame!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Search results - Organic vs Adwords

Confused? This is humanity's normal state of being.

Google organic search results seem to be influenced by whether or not Google Adwords are running. "I thought that it said in the Google Bible that you couldn't buy position in the organic search results, only in the sponsored ads section?", I hear you say.

Well, http://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/adwords/learningcenter/18911.html happily states:

"Search results appear on the left side of the page. It is important to note that Google does not accept payment to place websites or documents in search results. However, advertisers can purchase Google AdWords ads, which appear on the right side of the page, and sometimes above the search results."

What do you want me to do about it?

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Old fashioned values

Some basic SEO do's:

Think about your domain name and how information is going to be structured on your website. Use each page on your site to deal with specific aspects of your content. Try not to duplicate content but make use of anchor text links to the relevant page within your site. Visit wikipedia.

Research your web audience. What keywords are people using to find information contained on your website. Are you trying to reach a local audience who know your brand? A national audience who doesn't know who you are but wants a service that you provide? Think about it.

Don't assume that strangers to your website will know what you're trying to say. Spell it out - explain acronyms, describe your process, define your terms. You'll find that keywords will occur naturally when you write your copy like this.

Use meta tags to help categorise each web page clearly for visiting search engine robots and crawlers. The more unique and relevant the meta tags and content are, the more relevant your page will be for searches using those keywords.

Remember that search engines can't see images or videos but they can read filenames and descriptions and tags surrounding such media. Everything on your website should be considered as "indexable" in some way.

Some basic SEO don't's:

Keyword stuffing - why do this? It's ugly, unreadable and unnatural. Would you like to visit a site like this or would you be suspicious?

Overuse of bold text - see above.

Hidden links - this is ugly and suspect to search engines as they see things we don't. Websites can be penalised for shady tactics.

Link schemes - links between relevant sites are good but trying to generate millions of irrelevant links is long term bad. Links to and from your site should help enmesh your website in a relevant context of websites and related information, not background fuzzy noise.

Duplicate content on different domains - generating unique content and web copy is work and "copy and paste" can seem attractive at the time but this can dilute your pages' unique relevance to a subject and can be un-user-friendly if many pages are identical.

Google webmaster tools is worth checking out - remember what Google does shapes the way we use the web - learn what you can from their advice.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Change your face today

Your website is your company's face. What sort of expression is on that face?

Are you communicating effectively? Remember your face is being read by friends, strangers and robots continuously.

Wanna talk about it? Contact our
SEO and website management service

(Just testing the email to blog service offered by Blogger)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Time Lapse

Losing a dedicated server for 3 days due to bad service is no joke and even though the problem was unusual it still took too long to fix.

In my brain it would have been good if this whole process could have been captured by time lapse photography (this is lame, I know) so that the film of the sequence could have been condensed into an amusing video format, a byte-size chunk, if you will, for all the 3-minute-pop-song attention spans out there.

Outside of my brain, the reality would have been better served by taking a sturdy time lapse camera, along with a will to exact vengeful, indiscriminate, furious damage, to the programmed heads of the helpless drones that form the building blocks of multi-level telephone support desk systems for large companies.

But I had other stuff to do and my prolonged spitting rage was soon tempered by the frustrated, learned-helplessness of a human individual trying to interact with a system. Chalk and cheese, or maybe a 'category mistake'?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Bad website hosting

'Issue first reported to FastHosts 11 April 2009 at 15:22 BST
Issue unresolved for 3 days, 19 hours and 41 minutes'

Callisti is disgruntled and angry at the poor level of service from Fasthosts with the dedicated server hosting. The reason for choosing this hosting provider was to maximise the chance of 99.9% uptime. Right now we've got 100% downtime as the server is powered down.

All was well until Easter Saturday when a complete loss of service and connection to the network was experienced. Unbelievably this is still the case and engineers are still reported to be looking at the problem.

The current diagnosis is hardware failure of a network card which is taking 3 days to replace. Many Callisti customers are experiencing loss of service for their websites and email and we can only apologise for this.

Fasthosts have acknowledged that the problem is at their end but the speed at which they are addressing the problem is lamentable.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Google Ad variations

Callisti has been optimising adword account ad variations for time lapse photography suppliers, Lobster Pictures, and is noticing an almost immediate improvement in CTR (Click through rate) and a reduction in CPC (Cost per click).

The best way to do this is to target the ad to the most relevant content, which usually means pages on the website aside from the homepage. By using the Ad structure you can match the search string closer to the Ad title and related the keywords in the ad copy to the landing page.

This is logical as the keyword relevance in the ad should match the keywords of the landing page. Otherwise you're not targeting your Ads very accurately!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Page Rank update

Thought it was an April Fool, but noticed after some optimisation work that Google had re-cached the Callisti pages and the SEO website is now PR4. G'night...