The Power of Thor is Live!

At Tecmark, we’ve been working in collaboration with the Picture Production company on an augmented reality app that puts the Power of Thor right on your smartphone!

The Power of Thor has been developed for Paramount Pictures to support the launch of their latest blockbuster film, Thor. It combines video, animation and special effects with your smartphone’s camera to let you unleash the power of Thor’s hammer and open a portal to another world! You can then upload the snaps to the Power of Thor website and share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

We’re delighted with the finished product, which is now live and available for free download! You can get the Android version here and the iPhone version here!

Comments Off | Posted on in Apps, News.

Business Blogging and Search Traffic

We’ve been barking on about blogging for quite some time and since Google’s Panda algorithm update, which rolled out internationally in April, websites with an effective blog strategy have been visibly rewarded. But the rewards have been there since long before Panda.

Why Bother with Business Blogging?

A blog has a host of benefits for a business, including:-

  • Offering you a platform to communicate (often in a more conversational manner) with your clients and potential clients.
  • The ability to share your opinions on news from your industry.
  • The ability to share your knowledge about your wider industry, thus proving yourself something of an ‘authority’ on it.
  • Enhanced traffic through long tail searches
  • The potential to garner natural links back to your website from other websites, which in turn can benefit you from a SEO perspective.

An Example of Blogging Increasing Search Traffic

Back in November 2010, we decided it was about time to start practicing what we preach. We set aside time to update our own blog regularly. Since then we have seen the number of different keywords referring traffic to our site more than double.


Here are the figures for the number of keywords referring traffic. Brand keywords refer to searches for anything with ‘Tecmark’ in them while non-brand includes anything else!

Month Total Keywords Brand Keywords Non-Brand Keywords
April 2010 147 30 117
May 2010 137 17 120
June 2010 135 19 116
July 2010 134 15 119
August 2010 141 19 122
September 2010 140 22 118
October 2010 143 19 124
November 2010 312 32 280
December 2010 258 28 230
January 2011 341 41 300
February 2011 432 36 396
March 2011 752 40 712

Our Google Analytics data shows us that the majority of our increased traffic from search is down to the blog. We’ve also acquired links to a number of our posts from other websites who are quoting our research or the data we share here.

So yes, it’s worth it! Whether you allocate resources in house or use professional business blogging services, ensuring the addition of content to your website is absolutely beneficial from a search engine optimization, traffic generation and online brand awareness perspective.

Comments Off | Posted on in Search.

We’ve Moved!

Tecmark’s Manchester office has moved! Our Manchester team is now enjoying rather spectacular views from the 15th floor of 111 Piccadilly (just by Piccadilly Train Station).

We’re not totally finished with the setup yet…. but here’s a sneak peek of our shiny new home!

We’re rather enjoying the view….

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The Cost of SEO

We’re asked a lot in this industry about the price of SEO. Unsurprisingly, those of you not familiar with the industry, pricing variation across the market and the cost of campaigns in general is a bit of a mystery. So we thought we’d clear up the most common questions we’re asked here.

The Word “Cost”

This isn’t a question per se, but more a note. While we’re asked a lot about the cost of SEO, the fact is that your campaign strategy should be such that, after an initial period (which will again vary industry to industry) SEO isn’t costing you at all!

The objective of SEO is to generate a healthy ROI, rather than to continue to be a cost burden indefinitely. So perhaps the word “cost,” would be better changed in this context, to “investment.”

However, for the purpose of answering the most common questions we come across, we’ll stick with the lingo!

How Much does SEO Cost?

Honestly, it’s like asking the length of a piece of string. You will find some agencies with a standard pricing model and for me personally, that’s always been a bit of a mystery. How can you put a standard price on a SEO campaign before you even know anything about it? Here are just a handful of the factors that can influence the cost a SEO campaign:-

  • The industry your website operates in
  • Its preferred target keyword
  • How old your website domain is
  • How many other people are actively doing SEO in your area/for your chosen keywords

So setting a standard price really isn’t possible. Every single SEO campaign is different, has different objectives, different requirements and thus different costs associated with it.

Unfortunately, that means the answer to ‘how much does SEO cost?’ is a simple, ‘it depends.’

Why Have Some Companies Quoted Much More/Less for the Same Campaign?

If you seek out SEO quotes from five different agencies, I’d be incredibly surprised if even two of the quotes came back the same. There may be minor differences or, in some cases, major ones. There are some agencies who’ll quote prices at the £100.00 per month mark while others might be ten times that.

But there’s a good reason!

The cost of a campaign to an agency depends entirely up in its method of delivery. The core requirements of a SEO campaign (at the very simplest level) are:-

  • Ongoing ‘on page SEO.’ This involves someone continually making recommendations for changes and improvements to your website itself. Some agencies will quote based on them actually implementing these changes for you, while others might literally just send the recommendations for you to arrange implementation of.
  • Off page SEO (link building). The links pointing back to your site play arguably a bigger role in where your website ranks than your website itself does (though good on page is essential to make progress). Link acquisition can be done in a number of ways and some of these do incur costs. For example, there are a number of very good directories your site could benefit from being listed in… and some of them cost more than £200 per year to list! So as well as just the cost of someone’s time in acquiring links to your website, there is often a physical spend associated with this element of a campaign.
  • Reporting. This in itself can be a time consuming process but is absolutely essential to analysing progress made, where the campaign can be improved, how it can be improved, what’s been achieved and, most important, the return on your investment.

The more competitive, in SEO terms, your keywords are, the more time and money will have to be spent on the campaign by your SEO agency.

Because different agencies will invest different levels of time and money according to their own methods, prices are bound to vary.

Why Does SEO Require an Ongoing Spend?

SEO is generally not just a one off cost and that’s because all of the above need to be continually done.

You could stop your SEO campaign and perhaps enjoy the rankings you have gained for quite some time after stopping. A week…. two weeks… a month…. maybe more. It all comes down to what your competitors are up to and what the search engines are up to as well.

If you operate in an industry where your competition are acquiring new links and updating their site each month, then in order to maintain any kind of positioning, you need to be doing as well.

Google also makes frequent updates and changes to its algorithm, which means your SEO campaign will often need to change accordingly.

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25 Things We Learnt About Our Website Visitors in April 2011

It’s that of the month when SEOs have their heads buried in Analytics pulling out the vital statistics for client monthly reports. We analyse our own website traffic in detail each month as well. So here are 25 things we learnt (thanks to the 8th Wonder of the World – Google Analytics) about our April 2011 website visitors:

Where in the World Did They Come From?

  1. 68.3% of you were visiting from the UK
  2. 13.56% of you were visiting specifically from Manchester
  3. 12.35% of visits originated from London

This all makes perfect sense to us. We are a UK agency with a domain and strong UK search engine presence. We have offices in Manchester and London and these two cities accounted for more traffic than any others.

How Did They Find Us?

  1. 65.09% of our traffic came from search engines
  2. 19.59% of our web traffic arrived at our site after clicking a link to us from another site (referral traffic)
  3. 15.31% arrived direct (i.e. by typing our URL into their browser or by using a bookmark they had stored)

Referral Traffic

  1. Our referral traffic arrived at our site from 65 different websites
  2. They included,, and

Search Traffic

  1. Google referred 97.09% of our search traffic
  2. Bing accounted for 1.20%
  3. Yahoo accounted for 0.97%
  4. 23.99% of our search visits arrived after searching a brand keyword – i.e they searched something with ‘Tecmark’ in it. Examples include “Tecmark,” and “Tecmark Manchester.”
  5. There were 48 different brand terms that referred traffic to the site in April
  6. 76.01% of search traffic searched for a ‘non-brand’ term i.e. a generic search term with no direct relation to the Tecmark brand. Examples include “SEO Manchester,” and “mobile internet usage statistics.”
  7. There were 635 different non brand keywords that referred traffic in April

Mobile Users

  1. 6.95% of our website traffic came from a mobile device

Of our mobile users:-

  1. 47% of them were using an iPhone
  2. 2% of them were using an iPod
  3. 24% of them were using an iPad
  4. 24% of them were using an Android powered device
  5. 2% of them were using a Blackberry
  6. This means that a whopping 73% of our mobile visitors using an Apple device. We’re feeling the love for Steve Jobs!
  1. The proportion of our users using a mobile is still below the average discovered in our mobile usage statistics research. We think this relates to the fact we’re a B2B agency and most of our users are likely to be searching from their place of work during business hours.

April 2010 v 2011

  1. In April 2011, our traffic was 220% higher than in April 2010.
  2. In April 2010, just 2.01% of our traffic came from a mobile, compared with 6.95% in April 2011.

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How hackers exploit search trends to drive traffic to malicious sites

This bank holiday weekend, there were a couple of major stories in the news. On Friday, people all over the world celebrated the royal wedding, then, on Monday, we were told Osama Bin Laden had been killed.

Both events, despite their stark contrasts, had strange parallels. Both sparked outpourings of national pride and flag-waving, and both were seized upon by cybercriminals using ‘SEO poisoning’ tactics to manipulate search results and spread malware.

So what is SEO poisoning exactly?

SEO poisoning refers to a range of techniques used by hackers to get malicious content to appear above legitimate sites in search engine results. In some cases, SEO poisoning is used to generate visits to a specially-built malicious site, but legitimate sites can also be compromised through ‘cross site scripting’ (XSS) – a tool that lets hackers insert client-side script into web pages viewed by other users.

The most common objective of SEO poisoning is to spread ‘scareware’ – users get a message warning them their computer is infected, and are prompted to download a bogus anti-virus program which is in fact a malicious package.

Because of the amount of traffic associated with ‘trending’ news stories, search terms related to those stories have become a favoured target for those behind SEO poisoning attacks. The attacks are usually recognised by search engines quite quickly, but hackers can simply move on to the next big news story, using automated systems to keep an eye on the most popular search terms.

IT Pro Portal reported that Osama Bin Laden’s death “sparked a series of phishing and malware attacks mounted by hackers” and the Naked Security blog reported that many of the image results for searches on the royal wedding were located “within malicious SEO pages” which, if users click through to them, “redirect to a rogue web site.”

What does all this mean for users?

Users should be aware that there’s a chance they’ll come across an SEO poisoning attack if they’re searching a topic that’s recently had intense news coverage. Sites that aren’t well known should be approached with caution, and sites that fill the screen with pop-ups should be avoided completely. Similarly, users should be vigilant about which sites they allow to run dynamic content such as JavaScript or Flash. Anyone using the Internet should have anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed, and operating systems should always be kept up to date. In general, if a site looks dodgy, it probably is!

What does this mean for your organisation?

In order to protect your company website and avoid becoming a vehicle for SEO attacks, it’s vital that web servers are monitored and secured. Whilst some attacks will redirect visitors from your site to a malicious one, there is also a risk that hackers will insert irrelevant keywords or meta data into pages on your site, giving the impression that you are the ones engaged in ‘black-hat’ (unethical) SEO practices. That could lead to Google and other major search engines imposing penalties (downgrading your page rank, for instance).

What does this mean for the future of search?

There is a growing sense that black-hat SEO has become so advanced that the search engines are themselves being undermined. Ultimately, search engines will only continue to prosper as long as they are seen by users as trustworthy organisers of information. That means they will continue finding more sophisticated ways to root-out and penalise the black-hat techniques used by cybercriminals and unscrupulous businesses.

Comments Off | Posted on in News, Search.

3D Wallpaper Pro for iPad and iPad 2!

We’re thrilled to have launched 3D Wallpaper Pro for iPad. Developed by Tecmark for Ltd, the application offers 8 distinctive, high resolution wallpapers for iPad and iPad 2 apps, with the ability to purchase more through in app purchasing.

Without a doubt the finest looking wallpapers we’ve seen, all designed by Kevin Wolstenholme of

You can download the application for £1.79 here!

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Being Rewarded for Original Content

We’re forever banging on about original content and the recent Panda update seemed to confirm its importance as part of a sustainable SEO campaign.

It’s not just about ‘unique’ content. It’s about original ideas. Simply rewording somebody else’s article or blog post doesn’t really cut it. One of the ways in which we’ve been encouraging clients to create original content is by sharing some data or research and we decided to practice what we preach.

In February, we put together a research paper on UK mobile internet usage statistics. We published this on our blog on March 6th and, without doing any link building, saw the post indexed and ranking for a number of related keywords very, very quickly:

mobile internet stats rankings

mobile stats rankings

mobile stats rankings

In fact, it turns out we are ranking very well for a whole host of related keywords. Let’s take a look at the Analytics from the date the post went live (6th March) to the end of yesterday (26th April).

The Stats

The blog post has enjoyed, in the 7 weeks since it has been live, 1,131 views, the vast majority of which are from search. Not bad for a blog post that we did little to promote! But what’s most interesting for us is the sheer quantity of keywords that are referring traffic from search directly to that blog post – 412 so far to be specific.

Here’s just a sample of the referring keywords:

referring keywords mobile

And for those of you interested in what the rest were, here’s a spreadsheet with all 412 – just because we’re generous like that.

Now, for us who go on and on and on about the value of content in driving traffic through search, this is a nice little case study. No, we’re not talking millions and millions of views – but by the same token nor did we do anything explicitly to promote the post.


Producing something like this is time consuming. Granted. But it’s proven worthwhile. Google ranks us incredibly highly for all manner of searches relating to UK mobile internet stats and that is generating traffic and even a few natural links.

Comments Off | Posted on in Search.

Ranking for Your Brand Terms – Yes, it’s Essential!

We all know that the old adage, “build it and they will come,” really is a load of waffle when it comes to getting traffic to your website. Perhaps it would be more suitable to suggest build it, market it a lot, build a presence in the search engines, get yourself engaged in social media, keep your content fresh, say something different and give people a reason to share it with their friends and then they will come – if you do it particularly well.

But they might not come directly.

Even after someone finds your website, visits it and decides they will return, they might not return “directly.” Even if they know of you, there’s a decent chance they’ll return via a search for your brand term, rather than by typing your web address into their browser’s address bar.

Here’s some traffic source data from our site(taking data from 1st April 2010 – 31st March 2011) where:-

  • Referral traffic is traffic to the site as the result of clicking a link to our site on another website.
  • Direct traffic is those typing our web address into their browser (or using a bookmark stored in their browser) and coming directly to the site.
  • Brand organic relates to people searching anything specifically related to “Tecmark,” into Google and visiting the site that way.
  • Non-brand organic is traffic that came as the result of someone searching a keyword in a search engine that does not contain our brand name, for example, “SEO Manchester,” “ipad developer london,” or “app developers.”

brand organic traffic

  • Over the 12 month period we took data from, 22% of the Tecmark traffic came direct – i.e. people typing our web address into their browser’s address bar.
  • 23% came as the result of “brand organic.” That is to say they found us in a search engine by typing one of our brand terms in, e.g. “Tecmark,” or “”

We invariably see a similar pattern across client sites as well.

Essentially, more of the people who were looking for us online went to a search engine to find us than came straight to us.

There are likely to be all manner of reasons for this. Some people may not remember or know the domain name off the top of their head. Others might be looking for some specific information about us and want the search engines to present the relevant page or another website that might have that information. But let’s not also forget that we’ve become very accustomed to letting Google and the other search engines do the legwork for us. I’m guilty of searching a brand in Google even when I know the domain, just to save me the “hassle,” of typing the web address in!

Which Brand Terms do People Search?

There were all manner of Tecmark related brand terms that referred search traffic over the 12 month period analysed. Some of the more common ones include:-

  • Tecmark
  • Tecmark Manchester
  • Tecmark Systems Ltd
  • Tecmark Apps
  • Tecmark UK
  • Tecmark SEO

There are also commonly searches for various names alongside “Tecmark.” Again, we see similar patterns across all the websites we deal with.

Ranking for Your Brand Terms

If someone types anything to do with your brand into Google, you want the first website they see to be yours. What you don’t want is for other sites, whatever they are, to be outranking you.

If you manufacture goods that are then sold by other retailers, you may find people competing with you on brand searches. You may find other companies across the world with the same or a similar name outranking you on some searches too. You could find other companies with a similar name “competing” with your search terms or you might find yourself up against forums, directories or blogs.

If you have a comprehensive SEO campaign in place, you will generally find your obtain rankings for your brand terms efficiently. But it’s worth keeping an eye on traffic to your site from your brand terms and keeping an eye on rankings, particularly for your secondary brand terms.

By not ensuring your presence for your company name and similar searches, you could be losing potential clients who are already looking for you, to your competitors.

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We Love Panda

google panda algorithm update ukWe posted a while back on Google’s February 2011 algorithm update. Known as ‘Panda,’ the update rolled out in the US in February, followed by the UK and the rest of the English speaking world just a couple of nights ago. This April 2011 rollout has given Google 2 months to incorporate some feedback as well and essentially tweak the algorithm further.

Google rolls out hundreds of algorithm updates in a year but only ever announces the biggest. Panda had already affected rankings and search visibility on 12% of websites in the USA and a similar impact was anticipated in the UK.

Any major update, no matter how prepared you know you are for it, leads to bated breath. So yesterday, we spent some time running in depth checks on a lot of our clients and were thrilled to find a host of improvements across many. We haven’t been stung by Panda and it has, in fact, been a great thing for us.

What’s it About?

Well, we discussed a bit of this in a bit of detail in our previous post on the topic, but to sum it up it’s essentially about content. It’s a clichéd and overused statement and but the old “content is King,” adage is one that Google really wants to make us believe with this change. The algorithm punishes not only duplicate content, but just generally low quality (perhaps even ‘unoriginal’) content.

Why I  Love Panda

I’ll be honest. My relationship with Google is love-hate at times. There are things the search giant does that really get my goat (like Google Instant, which slows my browser down and is impossible to turn off in Firefox). But I love Panda. Undoubtedly, that’s the work geek within me appreciating a bit of recognition for webmasters I know put a lot of time and/or money into creating unique quality and keeping their site fresh. But in addition to that, as a search engine user (and not just a SEO) I want to see high quality sites delivered. I don’t want to have to sift through twenty rubbish results before finding something decent irrespective of what I’m searching. Now, this update by no means eradicates spam. But what it does do is rewards high quality content thus incentivising people to create more organic, natural and thought out content – essentially to start catering to their human audience in their content and not to over-focus on the search bots!

The Winners and the Losers

Yes, we love it. But in any update there are winners and losers and some big name websites have featured on the lists. This post on Searchmetrics is a great summary detailing those hardest hit and those who benefited the most in the update.

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