Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ Category

Outstanding: The Crisis of Credit Visualized (via)

Viz now has a website that’s even slightly less shit than before, which makes me very happy.

Some kind (and really quite true) words from Ian Appleby leading into the antics of the Indy and their bad habit of pretending to accept comments when they’d really rather you shut up and went away. It could be a simple case of poor housekeeping, but I’ve watched entire comment threads disappear from the Independent website; they’re as bad as many of the tabloids on most fronts. More newspapers have been willing to try the comments-lite solution since the public face of blogging was taken over by a bunch of comment cheats. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

The new and renewed Daily Mail Watch is about to loom on your horizon. You have been warned.

Via Carl comes news from (and of) another jolly useful site from the good people at
FOI Request re: Mark Thompson’s trip to Israel for talks with Ariel Sharon

The Sun didn’t really discover Atlantis via Google Earth. I can tell by that look on your face that you’re totally shocked by that.

And now, some things you can see from Google Earth that The Sun would rather you didn’t.

(So is The Sun spending most their budget on watching Jade Goody die and filling in any blank spots with stuff they found on Google Earth? It certainly seems like it. And if you don’t mind me saying so, it’s this kind of clever newspapering that makes Rebekah Wade long overdue for a promotion.)

Iain Dale’s somewhat misinformed view on Star Wars reminded me of Starcrash, the world’s greatest space adventure movie ever, ever, ever. It’s even got a hairy-chested Hoff. Watch the whole thing here, if you like.

Speaking of hollow imitations dressed with shiny lights; here’s what the pollsters are saying about Sarah Palin’s future.

On the subject of Google-bombing YouTube, here’s a result you might enjoy (screengrab)

And finally, some good news from the land of we-don’t-do-torture:

AP Newsbreak: CIA destroyed 92 interrogation tapes
The Times – Britain admits rendition of terror suspects
Guardian – UN attacks Britain over torture claims
Septicisle – Rendition flashback
Justin McKeating – David Miliband and Jaqui Smith: something to hide, something to fear

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 23, 2009

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

Sorry that this took so long:

I also didn’t mean for this silly footage of a wild-eyed lady to out-rank this important footage featuring another wild-eyed lady, but it’s all temporary, and sure to be sorted once Google becomes aware of the glitch.

And on that note, the more overt I am about this, the greater the chances that Google will take steps to fix it, so… something something something Paul Staines darrrrk siiiiide.

Instructions are here if you want to play.

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 17, 2009

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

[Note – A Googlebomb is something that (a) typically involves Google, and (b) making something that has no textual relevance to a keyword or keywords respond to that query regardless of this by external influence (typically, linking to a target page using those same keywords).]

I found out recently, quite by accident, that it is possible to Googlebomb YouTube.

Syndication and/or the reputation/maturity of may be a factor here, but from where I’m sitting only a single link in a single post is needed.

I found out about this after I linked to this ‘Ninja Cat Fail’ video in this post, using that nice Mr Draper’s name in the linked description. The next day, I was looking for a clip of the man, recognised the 2nd-to-top result (screengrab), and realised immediately that I alone had artificially/externally provided the only ‘relevance’ to this query.

– Rather than keep this YouTube glitch to myself (and maybe slap a fancy name on it and sell it as a ‘viral marketing’ service like some people I could mention) I thought it might be better to point it out in a very public fashion so it can get fixed.

– Speaking as someone who has been maliciously impersonated on Blogger and advised by Google that I should email myself in an attempt to reach the person pretending to be me, I can say with some confidence that simply emailing Google is likely to be a futile gesture.

– So I propose that we overtly play with the glitch until Google wakes up and fixes it.


Yes, I said ‘we’, white man window licker comrade.

Here’s how easy it is; I linked to a video when using the name of not-very-good-lawyer Donal Blaney today, and within 12 hours, YouTube presented a far more amusing top search result for his name:

I really liked the way this one looked; the Simpsons’ colours are bright and immediately recognisable, as are most of the characters in that series… so here is the approach pattern I’m prescribing for this little project, if you want to join in:


1. Choose a personality (or even a nobody/wannabe) from the world of British media, politics or blogging

2. Link to a fitting YouTube-hosted Simpsons clip with their name

– like this… Nadine Dorries

– or like this… Alex Hilton

3. Tell your friends!

4. Check in as soon as you have a result.

[Psst! I was going to include myself in this post, but couldn’t find the clip of Ned Flanders berating Lisa Simpson for being “Springfield’s answer to the question nobody asked.” Ditto for Phil Hendren, but I couldn’t find a clip of Comic Book Guy retreating to his store “where I dispense the insults rather than absorb them”.]

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 28, 2008

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

My new search engine optimisation seminar Google 4 Grown-Ups was very well received on its first outing, and I’m looking to do another one in partnership with Thoughtbubble very shortly.

Click here to find out when the next Google 4 Grown-Ups seminar and workshop will be held.

The following is a run-down of the content, my personal take on the way the seminar was seen and received, and how that might impact on future presentation and delivery.

But for starters, here are some of the nicer things that some people had to say about the first event:

“Tim Ireland is a very enjoyable, entertaining speaker.” – Gareth Herincx, GMTV

“A good overview, with good examples and learning that you can take away and use.” – Kimberley Slack, Findel Education

“Tim is an excellent presenter and manages to keep people involved and entertained.” – Angus Robertson, AMC Network

“The ecosystem analogy is very elegant and easy to relate to.” – Justin McKeating, Greenpeace

“Great people, presenter, content and delivery. An extremely insightful, well planned and creatively delivered event. From the pre-event publicity to the materials on the day, Tim and Thoughtbubble went way beyond most technical seminars, bringing the content to life and making an enjoyable educational day for anyone with an interest in Google and SEO.” – Xavier Adam, Managing Director, AMC Network

The idea when writing the seminar was to develop new, efficient and enjoyable ways in which to cover the following points, and it certainly looks like I’ve succeeded:

Google is the Daddy

Google is the Daddy!

Why search engine optimisation should be a priority for any business or body with a web presence; search engines are the source of the majority of web traffic and, in most countries *one* search engine is the source of the majority of web traffic. No prizes for guessing which one…



An early look at how search engines do work from the perspective of how they don’t work; some of the mistakes most of us have made when addressing SEO for the very first time. I need to work on extracting audience experiences in this section and the next; many people are too embarrassed to admit to things like cupboard love (e.g. thinking that spending money on AdWords will have a direct and positive impact on organic performance in the main database). They need to know why pencils have erasers and other cliches.



Why the next step (hiring someone else to deal with it) can also fraught with peril and why many of the little and large deceptions in the SEO industry exist. This time we look at how search optimisation works from the perspective of how it doesn’t work. Just one example: “Solve your SEO problems with PPC!” is like saying “Solve your cheese problems with chalk!”

Primary School

Primary School

A back-to-basics exercise where we take a look at how search engines have evolved so far and, crucially, why. Future success in search engines relies on your understanding that search engines continue to evolve in a clear direction where actual relevance and a genuine reputation matter more as each year passes.

Secondary School

Secondary School!

The meat in the sandwich for many people; in this section we take a look at issues involving indexability and the concept of coordinating your relevance behind a generic keyword strategy that is scaled in a way that earns you traffic now, and stands to earn you even more traffic as your reputation improves.

Flight School

Flight School

This section aims to demystify link popularity and give you a better understanding of the different ways in which web users influence search results. The case studies involve websites that have successfully used viral, community and/or weblog marketing and link generation techniques in pursuit of queries that earn ten thousand, a hundred thousand and a million searches each month in the UK alone.



I’ve found in the past that the most productive part of a seminar can be any period where I shut up and allow questions; Google 4 Grown-Ups has a whole *afternoon* dedicated to specific questions from members of the audience about their website, their optimisation and/or their overall online marketing strategy.

What you should walk away with after the event is not only a better understanding of search engine optimisation, but the ability to better explain your needs and goals to others.

In terms of specific skills, the event also teaches you:

– How to form a keyword strategy that will last for years

– How to deploy that strategy so it brings in immediate returns

– How to structure that strategy so it brings in ever-increasing returns, with link popularity being your only variable

– What to consider when deciding the best method of link generation for your website

Now, some concepts within the seminar are more difficult to grasp than others, but overall the only confusion arose from minor but occasionally vital specifics that an old pro like me takes for granted, so the one thing that’s going to be different about the next event is the availability of a glossary.

I’m also tempted to run as a trial a ‘clicker’ system that lets me know immediately when people in the audience are confused, but does not overly disrupt the flow of any given section. Party clickers used to sell at 20p an item, but they appear to have gone out of fashion and returned as dog-training clickers at a pound and 20p an item, but all the same my mind keeps taking me back to a lecturer I knew who used these to gauge (click-click) when he should provide a little extra information here and there, and (click-click-clickety-click-click-click) when he should go back and explain something very, very carefully.

Other than that, it appears that the only thing that can improve the event is the same thing that gets you to Carnegie Hall; practice, practice, practice.

And with that in mind, I’m very much looking forward to the next event so I can make it even better.

Click here to find out when the next Google 4 Grown-Ups seminar and workshop will be held.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 6, 2008

Category: Christ..., Consume!, Gordon Brown, Search Engine Optimisation, Updates, US Presidential Election 2008

1. Peter Mandelson: It must be a big tent if it’s got room for this clown in it. The Sun managed to amuse by taking this corrupt individual and essentially saying with their Saturday headline (“I’m Behind You”) that your main concern should be that he might bum you when you’re not looking. For reactions to the reshuffle and other local developments in the past few days, see Septicisle.

2. Sarah Palin: Now that the VP debate is over and I have a few moments, I’d just like to say that I find it enormously comforting to know that when the chips are down and a crisis is at hand, when she is called upon to do her best, that Sarah can, when given a week of preparation, studying and coaching, bluff her way through. Boldly. (Psst! To be filed under ‘Inches, Yards & Miles’: The question “Can I call you Joe?” asked by the woman who knows she has “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” already lined up as her solid-gold zinger. You may also want to have a peek at this manifestation of the Comparing Candidates meme.)

3. Moult-Watch: The first Yahoo Image results appeared late on Friday, and MrTrilby wins a prize from the shelf! (Sorry, Ciarin. Close, but no banana. You must be heartbroken after all the effort you put into your picture.)

4. Prizes! So the following people get their choice of prize from the prize shelf and – somewhat crucially – they get to choose their prize from this selection in the following order:

– ‘Kate’ who contributes under comments here and elsewhere (and has already been notified, just in case you’re wondering if this is you) wins first pick – ever! – from the prize shelf, for her stoicism in the face of disappointment (she received an over-hyped ‘prize pack’ from Iain that was, in her words, “a massive let-down”) and for unknowingly and unjustly being the target of some rather ungentlemanly conduct from Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines.

(‘Kate’ happens to share a name with my wife, and this post is the only mention of that on this blog since… well, maybe one mention a long time before OTT right-wing idiots like Chambers, Staines and Hendren made it a good idea to keep even that basic level of information to yourself. In short, Paul revealed a creepy level of interest in my private life and a striking level of paranoia… while taking a rare break from calling me a paranoid stalker.)

Jim Barter, who scored the first relevant Julie Moult search result in Live Search

Beau Bo D’Or, who revealed under that same post that he had taken control of a top Google Images result for variations of ‘the daily mail’

– MrTrilby, who scored the first relevant Julie Moult result in Yahoo Images (see above).

Google is still distracted by the profile noise at b3ta (a href=””>more), but this delay can only make the eventual victory of true relevance that much sweeter.

With luck, we’ll be able to return to the prize shelf within a few weeks.

5. Big prize! The winner of the SEO Seminar free ticket giveaway is…..

(drum roll)

Mat Bowles

MatGB calmly, karmicly and comprehensively ticked all the boxes by:

– Having great potential on the SEO development/use front
– Refusing to beg
– Showing not one but many useful networking connections that started with a search result. (I won’t go into details here, because there’s at least one stalker reading this, and this post goes out in the middle of a weekday afternoon, so he’s probably drunk, too.)
– Pointing out that he had already converted to my religion years ago.

It’s a busy week as I do my final prep for the seminar, but if Kate, Jim, BBD and Mat would care to check in via email, I’ll get prizes out to recipients ASAP.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 3, 2008

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

Don’t forget to get your entries in for the SEO seminar ticket giveaway. Deadline is midnight on Sunday.

(You are a pack of lazy beggers, I’ll tell you that for nothing. There have only been email entries so far, and some pretty pathetic begging. In short, this competition is still wide open.)


UPDATE (28 Oct) – A report on this first event has now gone live here.

Click here to find out when the next Google 4 Grown-Ups seminar and workshop will be held.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 1, 2008

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

You might remember a few years back that we had a period of financial difficulty that followed 9/11 11/9. In the 6 months that followed, I noticed a sharp rise in a particular type of spam; it was obvious from the cookie-cutter nature of the spam and the common sites, products and affiliate schemes they were promoting that someone, somewhere was getting rich selling ‘money making’ packages to desperate people everywhere.

Not long after, I wrote and published The Porn Report.

The intention of the report was to show budding porn salesmen that the typical porn-oriented entrepreneurial experience involved a fast path to disappointment, not riches.

We are now entering a fresh period of financial difficulty, and I’m confident that any time now we can expect a fresh batch of desperate people to:

– Look at the small amount of money they have to hand
– Wonder how they might be able to turn it into a future mortgage payment or two
– Seriously consider wasting their time (and yours) by having a go at making money from selling porn online ‘just this once’.
– Start this journey by entering a word or three into a search engine

Ladies and gentlemen, I humbly submit to you the following community service from Bloggerheads:

[post continues after the fold]


Posted by Tim Ireland at September 30, 2008

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

Google 4 Grown-Ups is a search engine seminar with a live afternoon workshop, written and presented by yours truly:

Google 4 Grown-Ups
SEO Training Seminar
9am – 4pm Friday 10th October, 2008
Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel, London UK

The short version is that I’ve taken everything I’ve learned over the past 10 years (my first SEO experiments began in the day-long summer of 1998) and have carefully distilled it into a brand new seminar with something useful for everyone from beginners up, including these crucial aspects:

– How to form a keyword strategy that will last for years

– How to deploy that strategy so it brings in immediate returns

– How to structure that strategy so it brings in ever-increasing returns, with link popularity being your only variable

– What to consider when deciding the best method of link generation for your website

And after we’ve covered all of that, we’ll sit down for a tasty lunch and a chat, then reconvene for a workshop where we’ll address specific issues relating to the websites of audience members.

Even an expert can walk away from this seminar with something new, even if it’s ‘only’ the ability to finally explain what he does to laymen. (This is more important than you might think, because generally it’s a layman signing the cheques.)

So…. by now some of you will be wondering how you’re going to get your hands on that free ticket. Well, let me tell you about the three potential paths to freebie-land:

(Deadline for entries: 12 midnight, Sunday October 5th 2008)

1. Beg privately via email

Couldn’t be easier, or more demeaning. Just send me an email with the subject header ‘g4gu: begging for tickets’. Put what you like in the body of the email. Just make sure that you beg.

Begging privately via email = 1 chance in the draw

2. Tell a tale of search engine serendipity
(requires use of a weblog)

The role of search engines in the formation of networks should never be underestimated. I know of several long-time readers of Bloggerheads who first arrived via a search engine or search engine experiment, including Tom Watson. Most readers of weblogs will have at least one story in them about how they met a close friend/associate via a search engine and/or weblog… now is a good time to tell that story and (maybe) cash in. Once you’ve blogged it, drop me a line and send me a link to it.

Telling a tale of search engine serendipity = 5 chances in the draw

3. Convert to my religion and/or testify
(requires use of a weblog)

I’ve been trying to score a top search result for ‘religion’ in Google for years; last month I came tantalisingly close as I quietly slipped in and out of the Top 10 for the first time. With just a few more converts, I can finally take this long-term experiment to the next level. Click here to begin the conversion process and make sure that you let me know once you have converted.

If you have already converted (and many readers have) simply tell your readers why you did this and when, then send me a link to that post.

Converting to my religion and/or testifying = 10 chances in the draw

By now you may have noticed that web users with weblogs have a distinct advantage over those who don’t:

1. There will be no charge for this free lesson on How Teh Internets Work

2. Of course this competition is rigged! What do you take me for?

Once the deadline for entries has passed, I’ll draw a few items from the pile at random, and then choose one of my mates as the winner. Simple as.

(OK, I kid. The free ticket will go to the one reader of Bloggerheads that I regard to have the greatest need and/or the most potential. So choose your method and manner of entry wisely.)

The winner will be announced Monday 6th Oct, 2008.

Click here to find out more about Google 4 Grown-Ups.

UPDATE (28 Oct) – A report on this first event has now gone live here.

Click here to find out when the next Google 4 Grown-Ups seminar and workshop will be held.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 29, 2007

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

Google Webmaster Central – A quick word about Googlebombs
SearchEngineWatch – Googlebombs Defused
Big Mouth Media – Google defuse the Google bomb

1. It’s a shame that the ‘liar’ result has gone; that started at Bloggerheads and it was one of my favourites.

2. It needs to be noted that the ‘liar’ bomb wouldn’t have worked if there weren’t a *lot* of people who thought it to be true – and important – information. There *is* a democratic process at work in Googlebombs, easily seen in the battle between left and right to make either George Bush or Michael Moore (and, later, Jimmy Carter) the top search result for ‘miserable failure’.

3. Despite Google’s denial on this front, I’m not sure how much of this is the direct result of an algorithm change. In fact, I think I smell a manual fix in the works, based primarily on a list of Googlebombs that used to be published on Wikipedia. A mirrored version of that list is here. (Interestingly, the lead ‘bomb’ on the list is not a bomb at all… and also something from Bloggerheads. The Anne Milton microsite became the top search result for ‘anne milton’ in all major search engines within a week because it was hosted at a site with an established reputation. This one example should provide bloggers who are in it for the long haul with one very good reason why they should consider getting their own domain name… but that’s for a later post.)

4. I suspect a partially manual fix because a few bombs not on that list (a couple of which are mine) are still functioning, and many of these appear to have link-patterns typical of a Googlebomb.

5. Oh, and Google are asking you to report such anomalies, so they can continue with the manual fixes further improve their algorithm.

6. Previous to this, I suspected that Google already *had* a mechanism to detect and defuse obvious Googlebombs; if you were the lead bomber, the quickest way to piss on your own fire was to brag about early results in a detectable way (i.e. by using the G-word next to your bomb or linking to the relevant search result from the same site that started the bomb).

UPDATE – See also:
Tribble Ad Agency – Google announces Agency of Record for George Bush and Tony Blair
Google Blogoscoped – Googlebombs Defused?

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 25, 2007

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

Blast! Plugged this, but forgot to blog it;

Which French Stereotype Are You?

Words by me, illustrations by the most-excellent mushybees. Sure, it’s work… but it aims to raise a point, and some laughs. Enjoy.

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