– this is the kind of site I think is great

I don’t normally plug other sites, but this one looks like a good one for businesses in NZ –

My biggest like is the tone it seems to have of a great place to be; lots going on, plenty of information on businesses, people and events.

The other cool aspect is the social side of things.

Not only is the site itself a social networking experience, they have also made the effort to integrate the site into other social networks. You can link to your Facebook profile using Facebook Connect, you can also attach your blog to your profile and use RSS to bring in your latest posts.

A possible suggestion is to something similar to Twellow, where they offer integrations to a larger range of other networks including Twitter, Flickr and more.

They even have blog plugins to provide an easy way to share people, businesses and networks with others via the blog. Here is one to my profile: [business:Deepweb]

So a great place to get listed and connected with other businesses in NZ.

Give it a go.

Speed Dating using Skype?

Well where there is idea there is generally a website.

Currently in Beta, Skyecandy offers Speed video dating using Skype, their tagline reads “The whole world can speed date for free”

But why start a service without looking for where the money is going to come from.

Well a look at the costs under the About Us, tells us that they will be charging for sms messaging and also unknown future enhancements:

including Matching and VIP Services that will enhance the skyecandy experience but only cost a little bit.

Ooh, what does that really mean?

What’s the chance that the basic speed date will not be much good, and these optional extras will be the only way to make it work?

We’ll have to see won’t we, you can sign up for the Beta test now?

Google Profiles – Another Great idea or breach of Privacy?

Google is expanding the Google Account to become profiles.

Logging into the Knol section of Google (a kind of knowledgebase) allows you to create your profile.

Here are a couple of links to instructions on how.

Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineLand

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Round Table

(Update : 23 Apr – Be aware that the Profiles are having a few problems at the moment)

One of the recent changes is that these profiles can be returned in search queries, so it may make sense to get one.

However, something that has already been highlighted, is that verification of your profile requires you to either provide Credit Card details or via a cell phone.

Now I have provided my credit card details to Google for Adwords, so that isn’t a problem, and I have given my phone number to them to verify my Business Listing, so it doesn’t really worry me.

However, there will be others who will want this facility and not have to give over these details.

Is this too much to give? Will they want a sample of my DNA next?

Are you happy to provide this detail so you can get your own profile into the search results?

NZ included in Googles new Keyword Tool

Good news for NZ businesses, Google is now including New Zealand in it’s revamped Keyword Tool.

The tool can be found here:

On the Official Adwords blog, Google says:

we’re happy to announce that the tool is now available in Australia, Canada, China, Japan, and New Zealand.

So this gives a much better picture of keyword data from more specific countries than before. Perfect if you have inbound visitors from those countries. Tourism businesses in New Zealand need this specificity to identify trends in search from target markets around the world.

Google’s search algorithm changing to combat spammers

As reported in Webpronews, Google look to be set to change their algorithm to combat a new wave of spammers using black hat seo techniques to elevate their pages to the top of the rankings.

One of the major differences seems to be the more dangerous destinations these spammy links are pointing to.

Rather than just ad supported, content scraped sites, people are now being redirected to scareware, malware or virus ridden sites.

With this more aggressive and harmful aspect to the spam links, the stakes have been raised. People will now be driven away from Google if it can’t rectify the situation quickly enough.

However, is this really big news? Google is always reacting to new trends in the search space, from link buying, link farms and other black hat seo techniques.

Possibly the threat to Google is more than before. It would take some serious issues to make me stop using Google, but I have read comments that are showing people are already starting to chnage their searching habits.

I personally havent found any of these links, possibly because of the pre-filtering that Google does on a geographic basis, NZ searchers are being protected to some measure, and so it may be a mainly US / Europe phenonemon.

Have you found any of these links?

What would make you change search providers?

Can you do link building with Twitter?

I am relatively new to Twitter and some of the marketing concepts I have heard of don’t seem to make sense.

Then you hear of companies using Twitter heavily to build brand awareness and engage with their customer base.

When it comes to link building, I think it may be a combination of the above ideas.

While adding links to Twitter is a great idea, due to the URL shortening that goes on, plus the fact you only have 140 characters anyway, means that you need to be smart in the way you go about it.

I think there is possibly more traction with link awareness. Using Twitter as a viarl marketing tool to share links to content that support your business.

It could be something you have recently released, adding volume and velocity of the visitors.

Alternatively, it could be links to reviews or discussions of a product, service or concept; driving people and engaging them in the discussion.

You could even consider Twitter to be “PR on speed”

Volume of visitors and engagement of people in a concept or product will generate links, it will also generate other forms of content supporting it too.

I just don’t think Twitter is built for link building in the form we currently use.

What results have you had from Twitter?

I think I have found the Word of 2009

Twitter has been talked about plenty in the last few days. With Ashton Kutcher and CNN going at it to reach the 1 million followers mark (of which Ashton got there first) Twitter has been getting plenty of airtime.

Here is a post from the great site Mashable, with the Youtube videos of Ashton’s interview with Oprah

So I think I have found the word of 2009 – Democratisation


the action of making something democratic

Social media is being talked in places as the democratisation of the internet, where everyday people have the same kind of opportunity to get their message out to the world via great apps like Twitter, Youtube, Digg etc

It is a great platform for people to get information out. Twitter for more immediate, bite size chunks of news, Blogs for more in-depth reporting and discussion.

Another contender for word of the year is Twam, or Twitter Spam, I got my first one yesterday, an system email from twitter about someone who has started gollowing me, once I had a look at their profile, all it was there for was to sell a domain name for $8000.

Abuse of these things is inevitable, a shame really, but that’s human nature.

So, do you have any “Words for 2009”

Share in the comments.

WP Greet Box – some pretty cool use of Ajax :)

I cam across WP Greet Box, looking for some kind of Twitter integration (of which it isn’t really)

Anyway, looked like a great way to interact with visitors and from a social point of view a great way to encourage others to network via RSS, Twitter, Facebook etc.

By default the following are covered

  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Stumbleupon
  • Technorati
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • Live and MSN
  • Blogmarks
  • Blinklist
  • Diigo
  • Facebook
  • Furl
  • ma.gnolia
  • Mister-Wong
  • Myspace
  • Newsvine
  • Reddit
  • Simpy
  • Plurk
  • LinkedIn

There are other you can activate including Youtube, WordPress, Tumblr and more.

It will be interesting to see what come of the change, if it drives more social interactions.

I’ll report back as to it’s success or otherwise (By the way, once I installed it, got three new Followers on Twitter, coincidence? mmm)

SEO for Ecommerce Sites

SEO has been around for ages in it’s alway evolving mish mash of jargon, link building and algoriths. While the tactics and techniques are the same for all sites, ecommerce sites seem to seen as too big and complex to do well.

Relying on the shopping cart software to do your SEO for you has until recently been a hopeless task. Now shopping cart sites have become more SEO savvy and allow for more complex computations of keywords, descriptions etc.

This is video from Webpronews that talks about Conversion Optimisation.

Conversion Optimisation is not about increasing the people visiting your website, but increasing the purchases of those who do visit.

In the video, they talk about conversion rates of just 0.5% (Thats only 1 in 200 visitors purchasing something)

Whenever I am workiing with a client or running an SEO / Internet Marketing seminar, I talk about the importance of converting visitors to purchasers.

Obviously, no visotrs, means no sales, but once the you have a steady flow of visotrs, focussing on conversions can make more sense.

Have a look at the video, there are some great things to think about.

Let me know your stories about your e-commerce package, does it work well, how good at search engine opimisation is it? Do you focus on conversions or getting more visitors.

I’ll talk a bit more about split testing in a later post.