GoCompare No Longer Ranking for their Brand Name. Again.

This morning I saw that Patrick Altoft on his search engine optimisation site had mentioned that GoCompare had been penalised again.

Patrick had previously mentioned a penalty after he looked at paid links in the car insurance vertical.

The latest article points to an email published on Red Cardinal showing how GoCompare requested some of their links.
Continue reading “GoCompare No Longer Ranking for their Brand Name. Again.”

WordPress Hacking – Client Side Vulnerabilities

I had a hosting client call me recently telling me the site wasn’t working in Chrome. I duly checked and saw a warning given that the site contained links to malware.

Initially I thought that the WordPress install had been compromised in some manner, but I knew that the code base was the latest as I use a cron job based on this update WordPress script and the plugins were minimal and again up to date.
Continue reading “WordPress Hacking – Client Side Vulnerabilities”

Seven Things You Don’t Know About Me

… unless of course you’ve already seen me answer something like this on facebook, 43things, etc etc…

Our favourite bonobo Richard Dewick of Makak Media kindly invited me to participate in the meme.

The Seven Things:

  • I’ve worked in banking, as a COBOL programmer, an assembler programmer, music retail, games development and web development.
  • I was born in Neath, Wales of an Irish father & Welsh mother.
  • I wrote the official solution to the games Abe’s Oddysee and Quake amongst others.
  • Sergeant Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) is probably the best American comedy ever. I would slap Steve Martin with a wet fish until his nose bled for the travesty of his movie remake.
  • I am (or at least was) a Reverend Doctor. (Internet style). No, I can’t marry you – at least not to another person.
  • I don’t drive and I sold my motorbike years ago after nearly killing myself when drifting in thought as I rode the thing into on coming traffic.
  • I spend a good proportion of each day making random bass noises.

Who’s Next?

The Meme Rules

  • Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged.

Bookmarklet to Quickly Check If A Site Has Been Hacked

Occasionally I hear of sites being penalised by Google and quickly dropping out of the SERPs. This can often be the result of spammy links being injected into the site’s template.

Often the links are hidden from everyone apart from the search engine spiders, so a quick normal visual check won’t reveal the problem.

In those cases a site search at Google for the domain name + a spammy term can show the infected articles.

The following bookmarklet will take the domain you are currently visiting and search Google for site:domain and add four common spam terms. Each Google search is opened in a new window giving you the original site plus four new tabs for each of the searches.

Occasionally I hear of sites being penalised by Google and quickly dropping out of the SERPs. This can often be the result of spammy links being injected into the site’s template.

Often the links are hidden from everyone apart from the search engine spiders, so a quick normal visual check won’t reveal the problem.

In those cases a site search at Google for the domain name + a spammy term can show the infected articles.

The following bookmarklet will take the domain you are currently visiting and search Google for site:domain and add four common spam terms. Each Google search is opened in a new window giving you the original site plus four new tabs for each of the searches.

javascript:(function(){ window.open('http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&num=100&q=site:'+encodeURIComponent(location.hostname)+' viagra'); window.open('http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&num=100&q=site:'+encodeURIComponent(location.hostname)+' payday+loans'); window.open('http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&num=100&q=site:'+encodeURIComponent(location.hostname)+' cialis'); window.open('http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&num=100&q=site:'+encodeURIComponent(location.hostname)+' ringtones'); })();

To install the bookmarklet, just drag the button below to the bookmarks bar in your browser. To use, click it when you are visiting a domain you want to check for spam. It’s that easy!

Site Spam Hack Test



When I shared this bookmarklet on the SEO Book community forum, Aaron Wall mentioned the Blogstorm post, “How to use Google Alerts to find out if your site gets hacked” as an alternative for constantly checking your own sites.

16 Web Design Tips for Higher Sales

Improving Conversions With Informed Design Choices

The following sixteen pointers provide an overview to improving the conversion rate and general customer satisfaction with your businesses website and landing pages.

  1. Focus on what’s in it for THEM using clear benefits and your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
    1. USP must be unique and specific
    2. Example of weak USPs: using lowest or best price (no longer credible)
    3. Example of great USPs:
      1. Fed Ex: “Get it there overnight” (was unique when they first used it)
      2. Domino’s “30-minutes-or-free guarantee”
      3. Strongest reasons why buying from you is best FOR THEM
  2. Headline packed with specific, measurable benefits (not features)
    1. The more specific the more believable
    2. Improved headlines can increase sales by 400-1000% or more
  3. Up to two sub-headlines with the second and third strongest benefits
  4. One-click navigation
    1. No more than three clicks to order – two is better
    2. Navigation in the same place on every page – left side or top only
    3. Buttons must be clear on what they do
  5. Use all your strongest benefits above the fold
  6. Have a clear “Call to Action” clearly telling visitors what you want them to do
  7. Establish Credibility
    1. Use Testimonials that include:
      1. Specific, measurable results
      2. Use first and last name
      3. Web site address
      4. At least the state and ideally city and state
      5. Photo of person
      6. Use 1 minute video clips for the ultimate testimonial
    2. Explain why you’re qualified to help them or solve their problems
    3. Show that you’re “just like them”
    4. Make it interesting – tell a story
  8. Place Your List Opt-in offer above the fold on every page.
    1. Writing Your Offer
      1. Make it compelling
      2. Emphasize the benefits of joining
      3. Use a clear Call to Action
      4. Link to your privacy policy
      5. Request first name, last name, and email address (other sources recommend first name and email address only)
    2. Following Up
      1. Use your list to build relationships over time.
      2. Send a free monthly newsletter
        1. Information with a strong benefit
        2. Entertaining or informative
        3. Highlight the contents in bullet points at the top
        4. Generate back-end sales with member only discounts and special offers
        5. Include link to privacy policy
        6. Include unsubscribe information
  9. The Sales Copy on Your Site IS Your Sales Person
    1. Long copy is best if:
      1. You sell only one product
      2. You sell a service
      3. You have one type of product with limited variations
      4. Use separate sales letters/pages for multiple products
    2. Short copy is best for sites with many products
  10. Transfer Ownership by writing your site as though they already have the products/services offered
  11. Remove the risk
    1. Compelling, powerful “no risk, 100% money back” guarantee
    2. Do not limit the guarantee to 30 days – 60, 90 or one year is best
  12. Create added value for buyers with free bonus items such as e-books
  13. Create Urgency and encourage immediate sales with:
    1. Limited time discounts and offers
    2. By rotating free bonus items regularly
  14. Make it easy for customers to contact you in multiple ways
  15. Use effective formatting techniques
    1. Scannable
    2. White space
    3. Limited number of fonts and colors
  16. Consider using Hover Ad technology for:
    1. Opt-in mailing list
    2. Contests
    3. Surveys
    4. Last minute offers
    5. New product announcements
    6. Coupons
    7. Time limited offers

Written by PPC Think and reposted with permission.

Analytics Adds Accounts Overview Giving At A Glance Data

Google Analytics have added an overview to both the accounts view and to the reports within an account. This allows you to quickly and easily gain a sense of the traffic trends on domains and within grouped domains.

Amongst other recent Google Analytics changes such as the new data segmentation features, the accounts overview may appear as a fairly small addition, but this lets you quickly and easily see changes to your sites and accounts for day, week, month and year periods without having to drill down into individual sites. This feature can therefore can alert you to any problems or unexpected successes far earlier than your regular analytics schedules might allow.

Here we’ve displayed the “all accounts” overview, from here you could then get an overview for individual domains within the account. This overview can be so useful that it might be wise when building new sites to theme the analytics accounts to contain sites with similar content or revenue schemes into groups.

Within each account, you are now presented with a similar overview but for each of the individual websites. Again you can display the data in day, week, month & year views. Data is displayed for visits, average time on site, bounce rate and completed goals which can be selected as the percentage change.

Benefits of the Accounts Overview

  • Theme similar domains into content, geographical or revenue groups
  • Save time keeping an “eye on things”
  • Use the daily figures to spot domains with problems
  • Quickly spot emerging trends with weekly view
  • Get a deeper feel for the traffic levels throughout your portfolio
  • Spot low traffic domains with potential that otherwise get ignored.

Using this data you can quickly see the changes to individual sites without having to visit all the separate domains specifically, any emerging traffic trends you spot can be developed or countered quickly.

Are there other uses for this presentation of the data that you’ve discovered? Please do comment and share.

Using Google Analytics Segmentation To See Value of Existing Customers

Recent changes Google Analytics added include segmentation amongst other features and further increase the benefits for SME e-commerce sites to implement it as an information source.

To select the segmentation click the drop down in the top right of the dashboard, “Beta Advanced Segments” which is initially defaulting to “All Visits”. Here we’ve selected both “New Visitors” and “Returning Visitors” which combined still provide the “All Visits” data so that too remains selected.

The dashboard updates and includes the three visitor types in the traffic seen. Here you can see “all visits” in blue, the “new visitors” in orange and “returning visitors” in green.

With the overview of the visitor types we can quickly see, for instance, that returning visitors visit, for this site, half as many again pages as new visitors.

Selecting the Ecommerce panel from the left hand menu will display conversion rate data for the three segments, All Visits, New Visitors and Returning Visitors. This is both graphed for the selected period and various aspects of the data is displayed below.

You can instantly see that returning visitors convert at a much higher rate than new visitors, and from the segmented data below you should notice from the Average Order Value and other sales data that they not only convert at a higher rate but also spend more money and purchase more products.

This data gives an incredible insight into the value of your exiting customers. If you maintain the customer lifetime value then you will already be aware of the hidden value of your existing client base. With these graphs we can instantly see that the returning visitors provide 50% of the revenue from 28% percent of the site’s hits.

From this analysis, you might decide to concentrate more on retaining customers and increasing communications with them, as their interactions with the website are more valuable than a new visitors. However, knowing the value of your existing client base should help your PPC campaign bidding as you gain a further insight into a clients lifetime value to your business. You may therefore decide to bid for more than just the initial ROI on the opening visit and sale. Afterall, extending your customer base will increase the number of clients who can become repeat customers for you.

Have you found any other uses for the new segmented data from Google Analytics? Please feel to comment below.

SEO & SERPs Bookmarklet

This is the first in a few of SEO and bookmarklet tools, this version works entirely from javascript and no information is sent to my server other than the delivery from the server of the CSS & images to appropriately format the results. The bookmarklet will provide an example of the Google result for your page, and provides a quick overview of the most important on-page elements for ranking.

UPDATE 2016-06-16
I’ve developed a new version of the bookmarklet, which is now over here. The new version uses the Bootstrap theme for a contemporary look and feel. It also has a useful textarea box so you can quickly copy and paste the on-page seo elements into another document.

You’ll also get a preview of the site’s new theme!


Install the SEO bookmarklet tool following the instructions on that page – you just have to drag the big link there to your bookmarks toolbar.

To use it just click the bookmarklet when you are visiting a page.

  • It will open a new page with a “quick and simple” overview of the on page SEO.
  • An example of the Google SERPs and
  • An overview of the important content on your page.

This is the first in a few of SEO and bookmarklet tools, this version works entirely from javascript, your complete privacy is assured as no information is sent to our server other than the delivery from the server of the CSS & images to appropriately format the results and mimic a Google SERPs result.

Here you can see an example of what the page’s Google serps would be and following that a breakdown on several of the on page factors for SEO and conversion.

The SERPs Result

Consider the expected result from Google

  • Does the SERP grab the users attention?
  • Does it provide enough appropriate information about the landing page to encourage the user to click through?
  • Once they’ve clicked do you actually keep the promise made in the SERP and satisfy their need?

Use the tool to test various title and description options to tailor the result to best reflect your page to a potential visitor whilst still maintaining the appropriate keywords in the title for ranking benefits. The SERP should encourage clickthrough, whilst the landing page will be tailored to getting the necessary conversion.

On Page Elements

Look at the list of heading tags knowing that visitors often skim the text on the page and only see the headings:

  • Do they supply enough information to your prospective visitor?
  • Do they work independently of the body text?
  • Do the headings alone encourage them to take action?

Following the work on headlines do the same with any emboldened words, do they provide enough key information on the pages content for readers skimming through your page?

If you can, please take a few minutes to leave your comments or ideas on the SEO Bookmarklet below so we can continue to improve this tool.

Bookmarklet Example