Puttluck features alongside Fifa and Tiger Woods as one of the best iPhone sports games of the year!


During 2011, one of the many apps launched by Tecmark was Puttluck, a gyroscope based golf game.

The app was widely praised, featuring as Pocket Lint’s app of the day and scoring a respectable 4/5 on their review. It was also covered by Loaded, the Mirror and featured on the Gadget Show, amongst others.

And as the year draws to a close and the ‘best of the year’ type round ups start appearing, we’re thrilled to see Puttluck featuring! Pocket Lint has featured Puttluck on its ‘Best Sports Games for iPhone’ roundup alongside Fifa, Tiger Woods, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and others.

If you haven’t tried Puttluck for yourself yet, you can download it from iTunes.

seo is not dead

Anyone working in the SEO industry or any of the companies and websites who continue to depend on organic traffic to generate a large proportion of their revenue will be sick to the back teeth of hearing cries of ‘SEO is dead!’

Contrary to these ridiculous remarks, the corpse of SEO is not roaming a graveyard somewhere or making cameo appearances in zombie horror films. And as industry professionals, we’re not about to pack up, go home and sob into our pillows.

Here are 20 reasons I feel SEO is well and truly alive and kicking based on a combination of statistics, common sense and thought!

The Internet Continues to be CRITICAL

  1. The Internet accounts for just under 8% of the UK GDP (as of Nov 2011) and this is growing.

We STILL Love Google!

google logo

2.  There are 3 billion searches per day globally on Google

3.  Google accounts for 92% of the UK search market – a good reason that, for the moment at least, most of your SEO resource should focus on it. Let’s not take our eye of the ball with Bing though.

…and We STILL Love Organic!

4.  70% of all searchers will click on an organic result!

We Don’t Like Scrolling…

5. 60% of all organic clicks STILL go to the top 3 natural listings

Or Going Beyond Page 1

6. Fewer than 2% of searchers ever go beyond the first page

Mobile Gives SEO a WHOLE NEW Lease of Life

mobile facts from google@manchester

Touted by some as what would be the final nail in the coffin our supposedly dying friend, SEO, mobile actually makes it more important:

7.  Almost a year ago, mobile accounted for 15% of Google searches and this is likely to be notably higher now, with some reports suggesting there are 690 million mobile Google searches every single day.

8.    Mobile searchers are even less likely to go beyond the first page, meaning that as the number of smartphone users grows, so too will your need to be sitting pretty in the first couple listings on page

9.    1 in 3 mobile searches, according to Google, has a local connotation – those are likely to be people out and about looking for products, services and shops around them.

10. We don’t go to app stores to search for the solution to our problems or for products and services we’re looking for from our phones – we STILL go to Google!

11. Click to call means users on mobiles don’t even have to go beyond the results page to convert to a call. When mobile users in particular are focussed very much on those first few results, it makes it easier than ever for them to call your competitors instead of you if you fail to rank – making SEO even more important still for mobile searches.

12. Mobile commerce will be worth £19 billion annually across the world by 2022. People are shopping on mobile and they are using search engines to find the products they want.

Search is Improving for Users

The users – the whole point of search and SEO! And why would users ever stop searching when the quality of the results is improving?

13. Google Panda was a giant leap towards cutting back on thin affiliate websites or sites with poor quality and duplicate content. Panda’s subsequent updates throughout this year have improved the algorithm. Google is only getting BETTER at judging the quality of content and this in turn means the quality of sites that users find first is improving.

14. Integration of trust signals within the SERPs. More integration of reviews (yes, we all know this is open to abuse) means users can find out the general public’s views of products or services right from the SERPs in many cases. With all the information right there in Google, why go anywhere else?

15. Social integration. Google knows that we’re more likely to take on board the recommendations of our friends than the recommendations of big corporations and advertising. So what is it doing? Personalising search results for signed in users so you now get to see the faces of your friends right next to any result they have previously endorsed socially. Those results will also appear higher up for you! That’s social proof right there in the SERPs.

google plus

16. Schema has standardised micro data across the major search engines. It also means that more information can be easily displayed in the SERPs for users, such as contact information, reviews, event details etc. This means Google SERPs are presenting ever more facts right there on the results page giving users less reason still to go anywhere else for information.

17.  Local result integration continues to improve as well. Google doesn’t always present Maps for the most relevant of searches and, let’s face it, sometimes they’re not particularly reliable. But users (and mobile users in particular) benefit from the integration of local results. They don’t have to go to any company website necessarily to get their address. They can get it from Google without ever going beyond the results page.

18. Speed of delivery. New results are being indexed quicker than ever before. Caffeine is the Overlord of indexing. You can post something and have it in the index within minutes. This means users are getting fresher content.

If search continues to improve for users, the users will continue to search and SEO continues to be crucial.

Common Sense!

19. The speed at which new information is hitting the web is increasing. The only logical way to sift through it? SEARCH! Which means SEO will continue to have a critical role to play in marketing.

20. Google, clearly the search engine Overlord, is evolving with new technologies. It has no intention of losing its users or of becoming redundant. And while there is Google there is search.

SEO isn’t a static process. It’s evolving with technologies, with user expectations and with the world around us. And while we all talk about Google when we talk about search, let’s not forget Bing (which now supplies organic results for Yahoo). While Google boasts 92% of the UK search market now, who’s to say that will be the case years from now? However, whichever engines are powering search, I truly believe it will become more and not less important as more of our purchasing power is invested online.

One important mobile milestone in 2011 has been the launch of Google Wallet, which in partnership with Mastercard PayPass presents the first real entry into the world of NFC-based mobile payments – the technology that allows shoppers to “tap to pay” with their mobile phone, replacing the need for cash or cards with a fast new payment process.

mobile payments

In the US, Google Wallet is already accepted at many major retailers including Macy’s, Toys R Us, Bloomingdales and Walgreens.  In the UK, Google Wallet may be launching before Summer 2012, possibly in time for the London Olympics.

All of the signs point to 2012 being the year of mobile payments. But which companies will control this hugely important new technology?  If NFC-based mobile phone payments begin replacing a significant proportion of the millions of small cash and card transactions made each day around the world, the amount of money involved will be truly colossal.  Wise to this, all of the most powerful mobile, internet and payments companies are now implementing strategies to become the major players in mobile payments.

The state of the industry is like a global game of chess with many pieces still on the board.  Google has made the first daring move, but a number of powerful players are biding their time, watching and waiting. Very soon the real fight will begin.

In the US, a major threat to Google Wallet is ISIS, a joint venture between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.  While Google Wallet already has Mastercard on board, ISIS has crucial agreements in place with all four of the major card companies: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.  Furthermore, the ISIS technology will operate in a different way to Google Wallet, passing control of your digital wallet (or electro-purse if you prefer) from your device to the SIM card stored inside. The ISIS system may not have its own payments app like Google Wallet, instead opting to embed its technology inside other trusted apps (most likely the official app for your bank).  This alternative approach may see ISIS emerge almost from nowhere and suddenly become the standard in mobile payments.

Similar to the ISIS collaboration between the major US mobile operators, here in the UK the three biggest networks have also joined forces.  Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere are planning “Project Oscar”, a new venture with similar aims to ISIS that also presents a significant competitive threat to Google Wallet.

Visa, the leading credit card provider, is creating its own system, due for launch in 2012, as is PayPal.  RIM, Telefónica, Carphone Warehouse and many other global companies are also making moves in this direction.

When Will Apple Enter the Mobile Payments Arena?

One company touted as a potential leader of mobile payments that has been silent on this issue thus far, is Apple.  The NFC technology required to participate in the “tap to pay” game has been present in many of Nokia’s mobile phones for several years, and more recently the majority of new Android devices from Samsung, Google and HTC have also included NFC.  Rumours have speculated that each of Apple’s last few iPhone releases would include NFC also, but interestingly Apple have decided not to enter the NFC arena just yet.

The momentum building behind NFC would suggest that Apple’s NFC-enabled iPhone is surely just around the corner.  Whether Apple plans to compete with Google Wallet or work in harmony with ISIS and other operator-controlled ventures remains to be seen, but Apple has a few competitive advantages over Google Wallet. Most importantly Apple already has the credit card details of over 200 million users, which Steve Jobs claimed to be the biggest database of credit card details held by any internet company.  iPhone users are much more comfortable purchasing apps than Android users, which is clearly demonstrated by the sales of apps on Apple’s App Store when compared with the Android Market, where developers have struggled to sell apps in the volumes achieved by the top apps on Apple’s App Store.

When Apple inevitably enters the NFC mobile payments game, they will bring with them millions of users that are probably more comfortable using this type of system than any other group of mobile phone users, and therefore the adoption of mobile payments on iPhone could be far faster than any of the competing mobile payments providers will be able to achieve.  Reseach by Retrevo suggest that more users would trust Apple to provide a digital wallet than any of the credit card companies, mobile operators, or other internet companies, including Google.

Personally I’m looking forward to the day when my phone can be used to make rapid purchases in most shops, without the need for cash or chip-and-pin.  When the lock on my front door is also NFC-enabled, the routine of picking up my keys, wallet and phone before leaving the house will be greatly simplified.  However, with this efficiency and regained pocket space comes a dangerous consequence:  lose your phone and you are well and truly screwed.

google schemer

Google announced Schemer last week (not to be mistaken with Schema, of course). Rather than trying to explain it myself, I’ll just share Google’s overview of it:

“In Schemer, users create, share and do “schemes.” A scheme is any activity that can be done in the world, whether it’s ordering a favorite dish at a restaurant or snorkeling in the Caribbean with sharks.”

At the moment, it’s not specifically targeted at users outside the US. But being as nosey as I am, I couldn’t help but have a go. Besides, the experience I have so far is that very few ‘Schemes’ are location specific.

However, what I am finding confusing is the point of it all. I can sort of understand sharing your favourite activities with those in your Google+ Circles. But I’m struggling to understand what Google will get out of this in the long term. They’re partnering with businesses already, but the early adopters on board seem to have little interest in the commercial offerings as I have so far been able to tell. I also came across a comment on Schemer’s official Google+ page from a user who sums up my initial impressions reasonably well:

google schemer

So far on Schemer, I’ve told people that I have learnt the very basics of Photoshop and that I want to learn Swahili. Are people really interested? Well, it seems so. I can’t really understand why though.

To sum up, I’m not keen at the moment. With that said, I don’t think Schemer is that keen on me either…

google schemer

Charming, Schemer... just charming.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I just can’t see the purpose behind it right now or why it would need to be separate of Google+. Why couldn’t it just be a feature of Plus?

Of course, I was also a Twitter cynic three years ago and now I’m close to addicted. So, perhaps it’s just something I need some more time to experiment with.

mobile growth

Smartphone uptake has been phenomenal in recent years. As a society we’ve simply become accustomed to having the Internet in our pockets. We expect it. We expect to be able to check train times, look up cinema times and even shop on our mobile devices, wherever we are and at whatever time of day we choose to do so.

In fact, it is estimated than ten years from now, mobile commerce will be worth £19 billion globally.

An interesting statistic that came out of the Google@Manchester event we attended last week was this:

Only 17% of UK businesses have a mobile website – but 45% of consumers use their smartphones in the shopping process!!

Something doesn’t add up there.

Our own mobile research indicated that, by July 2011, more than 12% of web visits originated from a mobile device. More recent figures suggest this has reached closer to 20% and the rate of growth is phenomenal.

Mobile Search

Google’s own keyword tool enables you to see search data from both desktops and mobile devices and this can be used to illustrate the growth. Let’s take a look at three of the most competitive UK keywords.

The search volumes here are based on an average of the previous 12 months.

mobile searches

While the figures for mobile search are significant, they are still dwarfed by searches from desktops. But when you look at the rate of growth, this is where it becomes staggeringly obvious that mobile is only going to get bigger and that it’s going to happen quickly. In December 2010, the mobile search volumes (of course, some seasonal fluctuations, particularly in holidays, will apply) were:

  • Cheap holidays – 12,100
  • Car insurance – 12,100
  • Loans – 9,900

Figures aren’t yet available for October and November 2011, but we’ll update this when they are.

A Mobile Site is Essential

Wherever you get your website traffic from, whether it’s SEO, PPC, social media or other forms of advertising, there is a cost involved. This investment in generating qualified traffic to your site becomes less valuable if 20% of your visitors can’t navigate your site properly and are just going to leave and find a competitor who does have a mobile solution.

As consumers, we’ve come to expect an easy browsing experience. If we’re looking to buy something online, we want an easy purchasing experience. If we have to work at it, we’ll go elsewhere.

A mobile website isn’t something that’s just ‘nice to have.’ With the number of smartphone users growing and mobile web visitors making up a fast increasing proportion of web traffic, failing to cater to your mobile visitors could effectively mean losing out on the possibility of ever engaging 20% (or more!) of your audience.

google@manchester evene

I was able to attend a Google hosted event in Manchester last Thursday in the form of Google@Manchester.

It was a really amazing event with some incredible speakers and the content of the talks was very forward thinking. You know the sort of events that leave you buzzing with ideas when you leave? Well, it was one of those. I’m still mulling the numbers over and thinking about how I can action some of the things talked about to even further improve our clients’ campaigns.

I Tweeted a lot of the key stats on my Twitter channel during the event but 140 characters only allows you to say so much. So here is a (much lengthier) summary of the main takeaways from the event.

The Speakers and the Sessions

google@manchester event

We were fortunate enough to hear from some great and well informed speakers, with the sessions including:

  • It’s All About You – Mark Howe, Country Sales Director, UK, Google.
  • The Video Revolution – Ben Faes, Managing Director, Media and Platforms NACE, Google.
  • Connected TV – A panel with Ben Faes, Tim Elkington (Director of Research and Strategy at IAB) and Phil Fearnley (General Manager News and Knowledge, BBC)
  • Who Wants to be a Millionaire – Shane Cassells, Online Conversion Specialist at Google UK and Ireland and Andrew Barke, the agency Industry Head at Google.
  • Mobile – It’s Not too Late to be Early – Amanda Rosenberg, Business Development Manager for Mobile at Google
  • Full Value of Search – Shane Cassells
  • Hanging out with the G+ Crew – Many of the G+ team (included a live Hangout with product Director, Dennis Troper, from Mountain View, CA).
  • Bringing it all Together – Dr. Patrick Dixon, Chairman of Global Change Ltd

The Main Messages

I’ll try and summarise 4 hours of data packed sessions here into the quick points:

  • The Internet is a ‘good news story,’ accounting for 7-8% of the UK GDP and continuing to grow
  • Google’s future lies in ‘Solomoco.’ (Social, Local, Mobile, Commerce)
  • Mobile ‘bridges the gap between the web and real life,’ and (as we knew!) it’s only growing! We were also treated to the UK’s first live demo of Android 4.0 though that will be a blog post in itself (coming soon!).
  • Marketing online isn’t just about a desktop or a mobile. It’s about marketing seamlessly across all devices and verticals. Your desktop audience is also your mobile audience

The Key Facts, Figures and Thoughts

One of Google’s biggest assets is its data and they were happy to share facts and figures (both their own and those from other sources) in their droves at the event. The main ones:


mobile facts from google@manchester

  • 1 in 3 mobile searches have a local element to them
  • Only 17% of UK businesses have websites optimised for mobile but 45% of consumers use smartphones while shopping.
  • Mobile is “the bridge between the web and real life.” (Mark Howe of Google)
  • 10 years from now, mobile commerce will be worth £19 billion globally.
  • Click through rate for banners served on Apple is twice as high than on Android! (Apple users more likely to click on ads!)
  • Mobile users are twice as likely to click on a banner on their mobile after 7pm as they are at 7am.


video google@manchester

  • Youtube now has 800 million users, 200 million of which visits every day.
  • Youtube accounts for 20% of all UK and US internet bandwidth
  • Netflix accounts for 25% of the US Internet bandwidth
  • Youtube is a not a competitor to broadcasters and content creators – it’s a distribution platform.
  • There is the equivalent of 18 years worth of ‘engaged views’ of Youtube Trueview ads every single day on Youtube.


google logo

  • 70% of clicks from search engine results pages are on organic results.
  • Of the organic clicks, 60% go to the top three results.


google plus

  • The Google +1 button is now being served around 5 billion times per day.
  • Users are more likely to read blog posts in the morning and Tweets in the evening (via Dr. Patrick Dixon)
  • 94% of the US top 100 companies now have a business presence on Google Plus.

Conversion and Tracking

  • 52% of conversion journeys are multi-click, yet 90% of Adwords advertisers attribute the conversion to the last click.
  • 40% of consumers will research online then purchase offline.

These were the key stats and facts but it would be impossible to summarise the whole event. Instead, I’ll be blogging in more detail over the next couple of weeks about various things discussed at the event and what they might mean for businesses in real terms!

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