Monthly Archives: August 2011

Was Google’s acquisition of Motorola a good idea?

Earlier this month, Google announced it was acquiring Motorola Mobile for $12.5 billion. Everyone in the technology world pretty much agrees this was a bold move by Google, but whether it was a sensible decision remains open to debate.

In the world of online search, Google is by far the dominant force, with 92% market share in the UK and 65% in the US.

In the world of mobile operating systems, however, they remain very much overshadowed by Apple. Our own research on UK mobile Internet traffic gives you an idea of the balance of power; 75% of all mobile web traffic in the UK comes from iPhones and iPads, whilst devices running Google’s Android OS currently account for 14.6%.

Google are also competing with Microsoft in both search and mobile, as well as other areas such as Google Docs versus MS Office.

The acquisition of Motorola Mobile, then, is clearly an effort to respond to the challenges presented by rivals like Apple and Microsoft. Google wants to position itself as the undisputed heavyweight of the technology world. But have they just taken a big step forward on that journey, or does this headline-grabbing acquisition represent an uncharacteristic lapse in judgement?

The good

• The acquisition of Motorola will strengthen Google’s patent portfolio, enabling them to “better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies,” according to Google CEO Larry Page.

• Owning a hardware company may enable Google to unify Android, moving away from its current fragmented state. This would reduce the amount of coding and testing developers have to do, and help to make it a more secure and reliable OS.

The bad

• Some analysts have suggested the value of Motorola’s patents may have been substantially overestimated. The company is already in legal battles with Microsoft and Apple, and this adds additional risk to the Google deal.

• Google has no experience of hardware manufacturing, and now has thousands of people on its payroll who may not fit into the existing corporate culture.

• Google has created a situation where it is competing with its own partners. It is possible that manufacturers currently producing Android handsets, such as HTC and Samsung, could move to another OS if Google’s new hardware division starts undermining their position.

At this stage, we can only speculate on how this move will pan out. When writing a cheque for $12.5 billion, there will always be an element of risk, but this is most likely a gamble that has been carefully calculated by Google. If Android ultimately becomes more stable and more integrated with the hardware it runs on, that will be good news for developers and users alike. Whether that will come at the expense of choice for consumers remains to be seen.

Comments Off | Posted on in Apps.

‘Retweet,’ and ‘Woot’ Enter the Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary is often a great indicator of how language is evolving in line with trends and social habits. The latest edition is a great illustration of how we’ve adopted Twitter and its lingo with two new additions (of the 400 or so new entries) in particular catching our attention.

‘Retweet’ and ‘woot,’ are now in the dictionary! For anyone who has successfully managed to evade the Internet powerhouse that is Twitter over the last few years, the dictionary explains it pretty well:

Retweet: (on the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user).

Now, ‘woot,’ isn’t a word I personally use all that much but the definition is, as you’d expect, spot on:

Woot: (especially in electronic communication) used to express elation, enthusiasm, or triumph.

As a bit of a self-confessed word geek (I do get out as well, I promise) I’m always fascinated by the evolution of language in this way. The way we interact online has changed a lot since the verb ‘Google’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006 and this is reflected by the most recent additions.

So congratulations, Twitter. Surely an influence over the Oxford English Dictionary must feel pretty good.


Comments Off | Posted on in Search.

SEO – Why Bronze, Silver and Gold Just Don’t Work for us

It’s not particularly uncommon for us for us to be asked about our ‘standard SEO packages’ or whether we have a ‘gold, silver, bronze’ type set up we can quote based upon. The short answer is ‘no.’ At Tecmark, we simply don’t entertain the idea of a bronze, silver and gold standard and generic pricing model. But this isn’t a post about the horrors of this type of SEO. It’s not a post about what ‘not to look for’ in a SEO agency. This is a post about why that type of pricing doesn’t work for us.

Generic vs Bespoke SEO

For us, SEO should be bespoke. No two campaigns are the same and as such, the pricing cannot possibly be the same. We don’t quote a standard priced based on a certain number of keywords because no two keywords are the same either. The resources and budget required to achieve rankings for a certain keyword depend upon:

  • Your domain – its age, existing link profile, Pagerank etc.
  • Your website – how much needs to be done to your site to optimise it for certain keywords.
  • How many competitors you are up against for that keyword
  • The level of active SEO in and around that keyword

So a generic pricing model just doesn’t make sense.


Ultimately, SEO shouldn’t be a cost. It should be an investment that provides a healthy return. As such, each campaign has to be formulated in such a way that this can be achieved. This, again, leads to variables that make standard pricing impossible:

  • Value of a visitor to your site (which in itself depends upon your goal, the nature of your business, value of your products and services and the cost to deliver them).
  • How many people are searching for the products and services you sell and thus how many qualified visits it is feasible to drive to your site.
  • The conversion rate (rate at which your website converts visitors into sales or inbound enquiries) at present and how much could be done to improve it.

The SEO strategy put together for each campaign has to ultimately meet a set of objectives – invariably the ultimate one being ROI. And in order to achieve this, a bespoke solution simply has to be applied.

For us, SEO isn’t just about rankings. It’s not just about picking out keywords and chasing positions in search engines. Rankings will generate traffic but only if:

  • The keywords are right, based on relevance and volume
  • The keywords are relevant to your services
  • Your rankings are incredibly high

Then there is more to consider still:

  • Is the traffic delivered by the rankings proving to be qualified?
  • Are users interacting with your site?
  • Are users ultimately making a purchase/enquiry?

Not unless all of that is so, will rankings result in ROI.

Bespoke SEO

With all that in mind, it would simply be impossible for us to adopt a gold, silver, bronze model of pricing SEO campaigns.

It doesn’t work for us. It would not allow us the flexibility to build a campaign based on facts, research and a set of clear objectives tailored to each client.

That was the long answer to, ‘Do you have gold, silver and bronze packages?’ I guess the short answer is simply, ‘nope!’

Comments Off | Posted on in Search.

Comment Spam is NOT SEO

Comment spam is undoubtedly the bane of the life of anyone managing a blog. Particularly a WordPress powered blog. For all the plugins and verification methods you can employ to try and prevent it, one will slip through. I get a LOT of spam both through comments on various blogs I manage and contribute to and by email. One such email recently offered me:

“Cheap SEO services for your clients. You send me $15 I put comments with my bot on all blogs I find.”

Now, as someone involved in SEO, to have it belittled as nothing more comment spam is pretty irritating. I let the individual know, in no uncertain terms, that his services were of about as much interest to me as having all of my teeth pulled out with a pair of pliers or having my eyebrows removed with sandpaper.

He never responded.

Comment Spammers

They’re getting more and more unusual, comment spammers. As soon as I feel like I’ve seen it all (from the generic, ‘great advice’ to the ‘which WordPress theme do you use?’) along comes another of a sort I have never come across. Equally as poor, equally as unlikely to ever get approved on any self-respecting blog and equally as annoying.

Some of the more recent ones I’ve encountered on this very blog include:

“I don’t know what to say to be good. Everyone can to have an oppinion, i say just our oppinion is not the same.”

That one was a comment by someone calling themselves ‘TV Online.’

We also had the audacious:

“I need links. Post my comment please.”

Not to mention the frequent offers we receive via blog comments for erm, medical enhancements of various descriptions.

Comment Spam isn’t SEO

Comment spam is spam. Plain and simple. It’s not SEO – it’s not even an effective link building method, particularly when attempted in the automated way.

Blog commenting (done properly)  is a valid means of engaging with bloggers and, yes, driving traffic to your site. But the spam of the sort we encounter is just plain spam, the dregs of the internet.

It’s certainly not SEO.

/rant over.

SEO and Google Infinite Scroll

The rumour mill is buzzing with talk of a forthcoming Google search engine feature – infinite scroll. Infinite scroll would essentially mean that when users search for something, they would not be restricted to just ten results on the first page. In fact, the first page would be the only page. As happens presently on Twitter, when a user reached the ‘bottom’ of the page, more results would load up – thus the user is able to continue to infinitely scroll through results.

As a Google user, I think this is an excellent feature and I really hope it’s implemented.

From a SEO perspective though, I am still undecided as to whether I’m happy about it or not.

What Will Infinite Scroll Mean for SEO?

Quite frankly, we simply don’t know for sure until it’s rolled out and we can start gathering and analysing data. But here are a few likely consequences:

  • Click through rate from results 4 – 10 will drop drastically!
  • Achieving position 1, 2 and 3 will therefore offer a more noticeable jump in CTR
  • Titles and descriptions will have a larger impact on CTR to your site, as users will be able to ‘browse’ more results in a shorter space of time.
  • You will start to see a wider range of keywords for which you are not ranking in the top 10 (and that you are perhaps not even targeting) referring small quantities of traffic to your website. Positions 11-30 in particular, I believe, will enjoy an increase in traffic.

If infinite scroll rolls out (and lets face it, we’re highly unlikely to get any real notice and are in fact much more likely to just wake up and find it there one day) then I believe it will be a hit with users. I believe it will be of particular benefit mobile users who rarely (even more rarely than desktop users) ever go beyond the first 10 results. There’ll be mixed reactions from SEOs… but then again, isn’t that the case with any Google update?

Comments Off | Posted on in Search.

Yahoo Natural Results to be Delivered by Bing

Yahoo was, once upon a time, a reasonably successful search engine. But it didn’t make it into the dictionary, did it? And, maybe it’s just me, but if someone said to ‘Yahoo’ something, I would think they were suggesting I should stand on a chair with my arms above my head waving and shouting as though something really good had happened…. And if I did get that they meant I should search for something online, I would go to Google….

Anyway, irrespective of the fact that Google has a 92% search market share in the UK, there are other search engines (shock, horror?). And from today, one of them, Bing, will be delivering the organic results for Yahoo as well, effectively meaning there are now just 2 major(ish) search engines in the UK.

What this means is that any search made on Yahoo UK will deliver Bing’s results and, as such, rankings should be identical across both Bing and Yahoo. Thus any SEO work you carry out to optimised specifically for Bing will also affect the results people see across Yahoo sites.

Yahoo sites in France, Germany and Spain are expected to make the same switch today as well.

Comments Off | Posted on in Search.

UK Mobile Internet Statistics – August 2011

uk mobile internet statistics august 2011
In January 2011, we released version 1 of our own analysis into UK mobile web traffic.

The data illustrated a massive 4000% growth in the proportion of UK web traffic accounted for by mobile devices, the number having jumped from 0.02% in September 2009 to 8.09%. We also found that Apple far outperformed Android and Blackberry and anticipated a further increase in mobile web traffic in the coming months.

6 months is a long time in mobile and we have revisited the data and updated our findings up to the end of July 2011.

The Data

We used data from the same sources as in version 1. The figures are taken from Google Analytics, from several different UK websites in several different niche areas. This gave us between 1.5 million and 2.4 million total web visits (the vast majority of which were UK) to work with.

This quantity of data gives us a in depth insight into how quickly mobile web traffic is growing and in addition, the different web devices accounted for this growth.

Key Mobile Web Traffic Findings

The complete PDF is available to download at the bottom of this post. But here are the key points.

  • Mobile now accounts for 12.59% of UK web traffic.
  • This figure has increased month on month since March 2010 – 17 consecutive months of growth.

uk mobile internet statistics august 2011

  • Apple still accounts for the lion’s share, with 58% of mobile visits coming from iPhones and an additional 17% coming from iPad devices.
  • Android has experienced quick growth in terms of the proportion of web visits it accounts for. In January, Android made up just 10.6% of mobile web visits. This has since increased by over 37% – in July 2011, 14.6% of mobile web visits were accounted for by Android devices.
  • Blackberry is experiencing a decline. In January, it accounted for 6.1% of the web visits in our study. In July 2011, this figure was just 3.5%, illustrating a decline of 42%

Mobile Internet Statistics

You can download the complete PDF here: Mobile and UK Web Traffic August 2011

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