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A New Year, Some New Ideas, and My Time for Free!

Posted in: Clients,Keywords,Link Bait,Search Engine Optimisation by Richard Hearne on January 7, 2007
Internet Marketing Ireland

Well even though I’m still on my extended vacation I think it’s time to blog a bit again (just in case Google thinks I’ve given up!).

Happy 2007

It’s a new year (don’t they go quickly?). I’m not a big resolution person, but I do think the coming year is going to fantastic for Search Marketing both globally, and, more particularly, here in Ireland. I think more businesses are going to realise that ignoring Search Engines is a strategic error, and that a deeper appreciation of Search Marketing will be manifested in on-line marketing spends.

Some Fresh Ideas

Some of the projects I’ve been asked to look at have fantastic potential. (BTW I decided some time back not to identify future projects publicly). I’m really keyed-up for some of the projects I going to be working on this year.

I’ve also been doing quite some thinking about widgets and web services, which I think offer a great means to promote your site. I think we’ll be seeing quite a lot of new widgets this year (decent widgets can serve as great link bait).

Some of my vacation free time (almost an oxymoron) has been used up with keyword research – one tool I use has turned up some great keyword phrases with decent volumes that have mapped well to domains (and Google’s private domain registration services for $10 have me totally sucked in :mrgreen:). Ill be working on a few proprietary projects in the coming months whenever client work allows.

Finally a Freebie Offer

I post quite a bit over on the Google Webmaster Group (‘Red Cardinal‘) trying to help out others who have issues with Google. It’s all voluntary, and I get great satisfaction from just a little bit of typing.

It makes a lot of sense to thank the people who have read my blog and taken the time to comment. I really am grateful to everyone who’s been in touch or just dropped by. So to give something back here’s a little new year offer for you guys:

If you leave a comment with your URL I will do my best to respond with a review of your site complete with some free advice on how to rank better.

I’ll keep this open for a week or so (as I type this I’m a little worried no one will take me up – go on it’s free!).

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  1. Don’t worry Richard – I don’t want to steal any of your precious free time :) I am sure that you will get *plenty* of offers though!!

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the great posts. I have no idea where you find the time to work, blog and be so active around the boards though. Maybe you should start a sideline in time management techniques ;)

    I’m not keeping up with the blogs much these days but I try to drop by yours whenever I can as I always learn something interesting. Keep up the good work and best of luck with all your projects. :)

    Comment by janine — January 7, 2007 @ 12:04 pm

  2. No problem Janine. I’m quite happy to tell you that I *have* to spend a lot of time on-line to keep up as much as possible with what goes on in the search marketing world. I learn more about SEO over at the Google Group than anywhere else (that’s why I post there alot, my feed reader is a very close second). Believe it or not the work itself is not as time consuming as many think TBH (if you’re cute like me :mrgreen:).

    I worked as a consultant but I can honestly say that my time management is absolutely crap – I excel in momentary solutions and crisis management (I’m a Libra so find it difficult to plan for things).

    On vacation now and only realised after posting this that today is Saturday :shy: – wont get too many takers on the offer today!

    Now I want to know where you get all the traffic to your blog – you’re always hovering around #10 on irishblogs.info?

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 7, 2007 @ 12:33 pm

  3. Happy New Year Richard
    Any opinions on .com or .net for a new project
    Doe it always have to be .com

    Comment by Pat Phelan — January 7, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

  4. Hi Pat

    From a Search Engine perspective there *should* be little difference between myDoaminName.com and myDoaminName.net all other things held constant.

    However, if I could choose only one, I would go for the .com everyday of the week as people are much better conditioned to someDomain.com than someDomain.net. If you do take the .net you can be sure that some visits will be lost to the .com equivalent via type-in errors. If both are available then grab them both and redirect .net onto .com.

    (In fact I would advise you secure as many TLD versions of your chosen domain as possible – cost is negligible and it can save you a whole lot of trouble in the long run. You can also easily redirect to your primary domain so you gain any type-in traffic.)

    Now if you are going to be targeting a particular country you might be better off going for the ccTLD (e.g. .ie for Ireland). You could of course simply host your site on an Irish IP (regardless of TLD used) for the same SE benefit, but from a pure marketing perspective I think Irish people are probably going to have slightly more positive attitudes toward .ie domains.

    If the project might target multiple geographic areas in the future I would try to secure as many relevant ccTLDs as possible now (you never know and it’s a small investment). Of course if you can trademark the domain name then the .com would probably suffice. (John McCormac over at blog.whoisireland.com would be Ireland’s resident expert on domain issues – you should check out his blog or drop him a mail. I’m sure he will have a view on this :grin:)

    I’m not sure if the above is helpful to you – If this isn’t what you were looking for then let me know what the target geographic area is and whether you are going for generic keywords in the domain name in question.



    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 7, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

  5. How can i resist free! :)
    Happy new year.

    Comment by Alan O'Rourke — January 7, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

  6. Hi Richard,

    After 2 years of having a dormant domain, I’ve decided to take see if I can get it going again and start to get listed on search engines and get some traffic.

    I’m just wondering if you have any tips for me. Is it important to have back links and worry about getting them ? Or should I just worry about the content and then worry about getting links ?


    Comment by paul — January 8, 2007 @ 3:42 pm

  7. Paul

    I’m in airport right now but will try to respond tonight or tomorrow.



    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 9, 2007 @ 3:01 am

  8. hi richard,
    alas, that traffic did not take much skill to get! :) i just got lucky in google with a few trivial posts on popular things. in fact, embarrassingly, i would say that the majority of it is *still* down to the epic (in terms of comments, not my quick post) virgin digital band picture post! http://www.janinedalton.com/blog/archives/…find/
    i thought that was a fantastic viral at the time, but even i did not predict that it would still be going strong over a year later! it just shows you how much momentum these virals can build.

    Comment by janine — January 9, 2007 @ 1:30 pm

  9. Alan

    I marked your comment as not spam, but alas Askimet still doesn’t seem to like you at all :(

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 10, 2007 @ 3:56 am

  10. Hi again Paul

    I try to give some of my thoughts. Unfortunately I have to start with a phrase I’ve had to use a lot recently – it all depends…

    I’m assuming the following:
    1. the domain was registered by you 2 years ago and was never dropped (i.e. you have been the owner for those two years in the whois info);
    2. the domain carried no content previously.

    The important thing for the SEs is to look as natural as possible. Backlinks are important but you need content first. I would add unique content that targeted your specific niche with well chosen keywords (email me if you would like a keyword list). Then I would look at creating the most natural looking backlink profile. Without backlinks it is unlikely that your content will even be indexed by the SEs, let alone ranked well for search phrases. Try to get just a handful of links from on-theme websites. If you know some bloggers in your niche then ask them for a link. The best links will be within natural looking textblocks (e.g. a blog post) on themed webpages/websites.

    So, unique, quality content first. Then natural backlinks (quality not quantity). If you cant get quality links then try submitting to human-edited directories – there’s a tonne of free ones or if you have the budget then pay for submission to the quality paid directories.

    Being a 2 year old domain should also help somewhat with the trust factor.

    Hope this helps :grin:



    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 10, 2007 @ 4:07 am

  11. Hi Richard,
    First of all thanks for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it !

    As for your assumptions, I created the domain in 2000 and I’ve had it ever since then. The domain had some content at different times, but for the last 2 years it just had a link to another site of mine, that was unrelated. It still had a pageranking of 3, because of the current number backlinks I guess.

    I will send you an email for ideas on keywords, thanks for the offer.

    Also I have a question about links from domains. Does more than one link or more than 10 links eventually cancel out the value of having a link, i.e. I link my domain on every page of a forum, so there would be in the region of 2000 to 5000 links for this domain ?

    Thanks for the tip about getting some mentions in relevant blogs, I would never have though about that.

    Anyway I’ll fire off that email now.

    regards once again,

    Comment by paul — January 10, 2007 @ 8:37 am

  12. And that’s before you mention the basics like ‘make sure you have a Google sitemap’ and ‘ensure that keywords are in the page title’.

    Comment by Paul Browne - Technology in Plain English — January 10, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  13. Hello again Paul (#1)

    2000 domain – do you want to sell it :mrgreen:
    But seriously, you should be able to get away with a lot more than any new domain.

    The value of 2000 links from one domain is going to be limited. Probably only going to count as one vote in Google if we’re talking a footer link. I think Google has been proactively de-valuing site-wide links via algorithmically. Will get you that keyword list ASAP.

    Hi Paul (#2)

    Keywords in all the main page elements! And I have been looking more and more at the page title and description snippet displayed on SERPs to better optimise those elements for conversions.

    I like sitemaps, but they do have their pros and cons. Seen some interesting debate about whether to use sitemaps or not (I’m a believer).

    Best rgds


    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 10, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

  14. Hi Richard,

    Thanks for your help, both here and via email. You sure do now what your talking about ! Hopefully implementing your tips will help me to bring more visitors to my site.

    Let’s see how 2007 goes for me.

    Thanks again,

    P.S. 2000 domain isn’t for sale (not yet anyway)

    Comment by paul — January 11, 2007 @ 1:10 pm

  15. My pleasure Paul

    I’m sort of stuck out in the wild in north Thailand for today and tomorrow and it’s not straight forward to get your keyword lists. I haven’t forgotten and will send them on to you in the next few days.

    Best rgds


    ps thanks for the props :mrgreen:

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 11, 2007 @ 1:44 pm

  16. Richard,

    Not an SEO question a such , but what plugins do you use to give the ‘follow by email’ and ‘share and enjoy icons’ on your site?



    Comment by Paul Browne - Technology in Plain English — January 11, 2007 @ 1:44 pm

  17. Hi Paul

    Two plugins requested:
    subscribe to comments – +http://scriptygoddess.com/
    sociable – +http://www.maxpower.ca/bookmarking

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 11, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

  18. [...] Update 2: Thanks to the suggestion of Richard from RedCardinal , we now have the Sociable (bookmarking) and Subscribe to Comments (Email) plugins enabled Bookmark this pageThese icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

    Pingback by Google Sitemap Tool for Wordpress …. - Technology in plain English - Dublin Ireland — January 11, 2007 @ 10:30 pm

  19. Is it too late? (The studios, not the marketing) ;)

    Comment by Dave Davis — January 13, 2007 @ 11:18 am

  20. How can I help Dave?

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 14, 2007 @ 4:54 am

  21. I give you a choice Richard.
    weddingsbyadam.com could benifit from your critical eye or if you are a GAA fan sheepstealers.ie :)

    Comment by Alan O'Rourke — January 16, 2007 @ 8:22 am

  22. @Alan

    No prizes for guessing where your post went :( If you ever post and I don’t de-spam it please send me a mail (you have my email).

    I’ll probably cast a gaze over the former as I’m no great GAA man.

    Will get back to you :)


    @Dave RFS – have you changed your mind :mrgreen:

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 16, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

  23. No. But if you care to drop me some advice on RFS (Apart from the horrendous copywriting that is being worked on as we speak) that would be great. Fresh pair of eyes and all that.

    Comment by Dave Davis — January 16, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

  24. Alan

    A couple of points:
    1. You (not you personally, weddingsbyadam) suffer from the canonical URL issue. The site can be accessed via both www and non-www URL. So any linking benefit *may* be split between the two (Google sees them as two different sites). Fix this with a 301 redirect in your .htaccess file.
    2. In page_header->h1->span you have hidden text. That’s a big no-no and could get a penalty. Same for the h2 span element. Hmmm… You’re doing this all over the place. Stop it now and go and stand in the corner. Seriously, this is a very dangerous ploy. I strongly advise you fix it ASAP.
    3. H3 element might have a little too much in it (just an opinion – unlikely to affect SEO-wise).
    4. I am sending you a 70k ‘wedding’ related keyword list. Multiply the count column by ~24 to get the estimated search count.
    5. Off-site you have only 10 links showing in Yahoo! Your in quite a nice niche and it should be relatively simple to get some nice Irish/wedding related links from directories and the many wedding sites out there – I’m sure you’ll come up with some nice ideas for wiggling a link or two. I would also target Irish bloggers in the style/lifestyle arena. Check the keyword list for the best anchors to use. I would consider ‘wedding planning’ and ‘wedding invitations’ as two key targets.

    As per normal, the site looks nice. If I could fault it at all it would be that the homepage is a little busy for the audience targeted and the font a tad small. I think sites like this need to spell out the ease of use instantly – the target tend not to be tech savvy and need to see that in just a few clicks they can save a tonne of time (and money if appropriate). The example image is a little too small and could be put elsewhere to free up real estate. The spoiltchild stuff could be relegated to the bottom (would it make you more likely to sign up?).

    The ‘how can wedd.. help me’ might be better placed above the ‘what is..’ Consumers will buy the solution rather than the detail IMO. I would also add a sign-up link right after the ‘how can’ so that you follow the offer with a distinct call to action.

    Sorry, perhaps I should stick to the SEO stuff. Hope some of the above might be helpful. Will email you the keyword list :grin:


    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 17, 2007 @ 3:21 am

  25. [...] Originally Posted by blacknight Which seo report? And how do I get one??? As my mother would say, tough titty. Where were you? A New Year, Some New Ideas, and My Time for Free! | Search Engine Optimisation Ireland .:. Red Cardinal If you could turn back time what would you have asked about? __________________ .: Search Engine Optimisation Ireland | Catering Company Dublin :. [...]

    Pingback by Small design job - Update My Business Cards - Irish SEO, Marketing & Webmaster Discussion — February 9, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

  26. Sorry I missed the free SEO report.
    Is this gonna be an annual thing?

    Maybe you could put me on a mailing list and remind me if it is. ;-)

    Comment by Michael — February 11, 2007 @ 6:36 am

  27. @Michael – we’ll speak more.

    @DaveD – I haven’t forgotten. Actually I had forgotten but I’m taking a look. The following 404′s are the first thing I see:
    +http://ocaoimh.ie/ [no connection]

    Are you using internal redirects for something? I see a lot of your pages redirecting off-site to authority sites like +www.php.net (seems to be from dev/joomla/)

    Now here my completely biased first impression view – if I visit your site I don’t quickly know what benefits you’re selling me. The one thing that I know grabs attention is site thumbnails. Could you include a thumb of each new site? I’m pretty sure it would grab the view attention. You have a lot of text and I find it more difficult to read due to color #565656. The hover color doesn’t work because no one has any reason to expect this behaviour. I would also think the font size could come up a pixel or two.

    Of course that last paragraph is purely my extremely biased view :mrgreen:


    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 11, 2007 @ 1:20 pm

  28. Hi Richard,
    We have done all our best with this website, http://www.nobelcom.com, meaning on site optimization (content, URL rewrite for our product pages, H1 tags, titles, etc.) and off site optimization (articles, directories, building back links). Our main targeted keywords are “phone cards” and “calling cards”(both plural and singular).
    We are now at a point where we feel like we ran out of “tools”. Maybe you can give us a “push”, a fresh idea :)
    Thank you.

    Comment by Alex Bichicean — March 22, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

  29. Hi Alex

    I’m really sorry but free consulting was for for a very limited time only (last Xmas). It’s just not something I have time for at the minute (bad week), and my clients come first.

    I will say one thing – you have multiple duplicate content issues. I could find 4 versions of your homepage straight away (and I only spent about 7 seconds on your site).

    Best rgds

    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 22, 2007 @ 4:44 pm

  30. Hey,
    Thank you very much for taking your time and checking out my website. Maybe when you free a little bit, and if you remember me amongst all your clients/projects :), we can chat a little more.

    Good luck with your work!

    Comment by Alex Bichicean — March 22, 2007 @ 4:51 pm

  31. Any feedback would be great!
    Its done through google apps using one of there templates.

    Comment by Julia Eden — August 21, 2007 @ 10:17 am

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