Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't bore the search engines with duplicates

Google use canonicalization to pick the best URL when there are several choices, for example the home page may present:


Most people would consider these as the same URL, but technically they are different. Google will canonicalise a URL which means over time they will pick the one they think is the best.

You can make sure that Google picks the URL that you want them to pick, your preferred URL by using 301 redirects to tell the search engine the page has permanently moved (a 302 is a temporary move) you can also assist search engines by making sure all your onsite internal links point to the correct page.

If there are pages on your website that show identical content but different URLS due to tracking parameters, category navigation and comment parameters, then there is a way to tell the Search Engines which url you would rather them store. Within the code (behind the website) you can add a tag to specify your preferred version.

This standard can be adopted by all search engines crawling the site and URL properties such as page rank and related signals are transferred.

How this is displayed is outlined below:

link rel = " canonica l" href = " http://www.mysite.co.uk/products/Blue-Pig.aspx "
inside the section of the duplicate content URL/s:


and Google will understand that the duplicates all refer to the canonical URL:

(NB: You can also use a relative path to specify the canonical, also if you include a link in your document, relative paths will resolve according to the base URL)

The hypothetical work involved

1. You could change internal linking on logo (for example) to go to one address ie: http://www.mysite.co.uk
2. Add appropriate 301 redirects example: on the http://www.mysite.co.uk/index.aspx to the default URL http://www.mysite.co.uk
3. Update links to point to a single canonical page to ensure optimal canonicalization results

Speak to Rocktime if you need any further help with this.

Author:Sarah Griffiths

Monday, October 26, 2009

Increasing Blog Traffic

Ready, Steady, Share your Blog

A question we are often asked is "how can I increase traffic to my site" ? and more recently with the blogging phenomenon taking off "how can I increase traffic to my blog"?

Once you have created at least 3 - 4 posts on your corporate or personal (or both) blog, next step is to promote and share it further, a few simple tips are listed below:

• List your blog on a blogging directories such as Technorati (just put blog directory into Google)
• Comment on other blogs, everyone loves feedback and to know someone is reading their blog.
• Add your blog to your social network profile pages
• Make your content compelling so people want to link to it and talk about it
• Talk on real time topical subjects (appear in Google News results)
• Tell Google about your blog for blogger search (See: Webmaster Tools)
• Link to other blogs and hope for reciprocity (followers)
• Produce content for other blogs or websites or publications
• Bookmark your champion blog posts and encourage others to bookmark you to
• Tag your blog posts
• Pay for online advertising
• Add video's to increase reach further on Video search directories
• Be personal, let people get to know you - consider linking Google Sites to your blog for these pages.

It is important that the blog is not just there to participate in the blogging phenomenon but that it is related to specific business objective ie: to generate word of mouth around their company, their personal brand, encourage feedback etc.

Wondering which blogging platform to choose?

Need a bespoke blog integrated on your site? or a current of the shelf blog integrated with your site? talk to the Flashlight team or send in a general query on our contact us form.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Monday, October 26, 2009

Managing your reputation online

Are you customers talking about you?

Main stream media is becoming less influential, less important, less of an effective channel to reach your audience. Social media marketing allows for more targeting; lets your campaign stay around for longer, as all media posted online can be “remembered” by search engines and anyone interested in what you are doing, where you have been and what comes next.

In talking to our clients about monitoring their social landscape, we have found that the most effective way to get “buy in” is to show them that people are already talking about their company online. After seeing that these discussions are taking place they begin to understand how important it is to be a part of the online conversation. Whether it is thanking people for positive feedback on a micro blogging site such as Twitter or responding to a customer query found on a Forum or Blog post.

We explain: Companies will have more control of these social spaces, if they join in and play their part: being helpful, approachable and most importantly honest. 9 out of 10 times companies find that they don’t have the resource and thus look to an agency like ourselves to help them.

Rocktime's role in Reputation Management
We help companies monitor their company reputation online, inline with their corporate objectives we create a social media plan, find their target markets and help them establish their social media tone of voice. As experts in social media we know that it is important to remember that these are “social” spaces and must be respected as such: people don’t want to be directly sold to in these spaces more advised or simply answered.

Along with monitoring social landscapes for clients and talking back to customers on behalf of the client, currently the Flashlight team are reviewing the advanced Reputation Management tools (now available) which provide more detailed reports to help monitor and manage the conversations. We will of course let you know which reputation management tool or tools we choose as a comment in this blog post.

What makes us happy

We are pleased that so many of our clients have embraced the opportunity to monitor conversations on their company in social spaces, under the corporate objectives:

Retaining customer loyalty
Enhancing company moral
Display continued commitment to improve

Monitoring reputations

Right now the Flashlight Team are monitoring their clients reputations in three ways these are explained below:

Search Engine Alerts

Creation of alerts on your company, service or product names by creating Alerts within Google and Yahoo. Results sent directly to email.



Blog Search

Review of the blogosphere, monitoring whether bloggers / online journalists are talking about the company, using blog only search engines such as:





Forum Search

Keeping tabs on Forum enteries, either by using “Show options” in Google and clicking on Forums or by using Forum and 'Answer Engine' search engines such as the below:



Final tip on reputation management online

Reputation management practices help Companies not only get an edge on the competition, but it will also allow them to keep moving their business forward. Before moving into this practice companies need to be ready to participate in the conversation and be ready to address customer issues and recommendations head on. The Flashlight team at Rocktime can help you establish your reputation monitoring plan and be your voice within the networks, feel free to get in touch.

"Reputation Mangement online is becoming a more and mroe important tool in
order to access what we do line and how it impacts on our brand positioning"
Alex McCreath (Director of Rocktime)

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Top Dog at Rocktime Digital Agency

Meet Kobi the office dog

Alex doesn’t realise that when he leaves his desk Kobi get’s allusions of grandeur.

Kobi spends most of his time in Alex’s office and when no one’s watching he likes to root around our office bins.

We are not sure what he is thinking right now, any thoughts !!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Geek Video of the Month

Fantastic five minute video which explains where Web 2.0 came from !! It was created by Michael Welsh, who is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography at Kansas State University.

He explains how everything on the web is connected moving from technology into social structure, politics and art. The five minute show gives an excellent demonstration on how the Internet has evolved in connecting with others.

It is simply genius work for web fans like ourselves, we hope you like it. If there is anything that you simply don't get, then give us a call and we will explain it further.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

UK Online Audience and Social media statistics reviewed: Sept 09

Internet penetration in the UK is up 5% year on year to 72% with “the home and work active digital universe” numbering 43 million in the UK (Nielsen Online, January 2009). In comparison to the rest of Europe the UK has the most active online population, with the highest number of daily visitors (21.8m), the highest usage days per month (21 per user) and the highest average time spent on the web per month per user (34.4 hrs), (comScore June 2007).

"Online is not the medium of a new generation, but the new
medium for all generations"

The online population in the UK now reflects the demographic make-up of the UK as a whole, with a 52% / 48% male /female split. 21% of internet users are 25 to 34 years - and at the other end of the spectrum the over-50s now represent 30% of total time spent online (Source: IAB UK, 2008).

UK visits to News and Media sites are up 28% year on year and these industries are reported as having the second highest growth rate after online video (Hitwise, February 2009). These statistics further indicate that an increasingly amount of people are looking for information online. Google continues to be the most popular site in the UK (Nielsen Online, Feb 2008) and their new search features ‘Show Options’ is allowing people to be more savvy with their searching online, reviewing forum posts, news and reviews, (suddenly social media is in the main search results).

Social networks account for an increasing proportion of UK internet visits and they are also becoming an important source of traffic for other websites. People go online to socialise, to learn, to be entertained, to stay informed and to inform others and for the traditional web users they sometimes go online to buy products or services and learn about the products before they purchase or sign up. Social media and networking also encourages the building of communities: groups of people with common interests who are keen to interact with one another on matters important to them.

The Daily Telegraph reported (April 2009) that it receives 8% of its online traffic from social media sites such as news aggregators like Digg and Reddit, as well as Twitter, which is now becoming more popular with companies using it as a communication tool.

Interest in the social media tool in the UK has risen from 3% use to 49% use in just a year, (Guava UK Search Marketing Benchmark Report, April 2009). Many users of Twitter say that they find it “additive” and research has shown that the time people spend on the site has risen from just 10 minutes a year ago to half an hour now (Hitwise, January 2009), so evidence here that the audience are searching for chat/communication or for something new.

Visiting blogs has become more popular with the UK internet audience, with 41% of people in the UK visiting a blog once a month (comScore, August 09). Blogs have also performed well at driving traffic to websites: Hitwise (June 2008) reported that blogs drive 1.19% of all UK traffic, which is equivalent to one in every 84 visits to a site.

eMarketer (Jan 2009) predicts that social network ad spending is expected to reach around 4.4% of total online ad spending in the UK in 2009. This figure isn’t surprising, seeing that back in Oct 2007 social networks already accounted for 7.7% upstream Internet traffic to all other websites, making the category the second most important source of traffic after Search Engines (Hitwise Jan 2008).

All in all it is pretty exciting Autumn for search engines and social networks a like and we loving the work, get in touch if you would like us to set a social media or search strategy for you.

Author: Sarah Griffiths