Guaranteed SEO rankings?

SEO has received a bad press recently because of the number of companies that have guaranteed rankings to their customers when it clearly is an almost impossible thing to guarantee.

Many gullible small business owners and would-be Web entrepreneurs have been sucked in by these false claims and it hurts all of us. Because of that, many reputable SEO companies stay away from “guarantees” because they don’t want to be lumped in with those bad guys.

Rand Fishkin, has published an interesting post in which he shares some of the claims that some SEO companies have made:

Our search engine optimization software comes with the latest link popularity and web site optimization tools for helping you achieve guaranteed ranking.

The phrase guaranteed ranking is quite astounding really when there are so many variables which make up search engine marketing. The one certaintly is change and that there are no guarantees.

Ranking in itself can be open to interpretation in a big way. Nail down your provider to clarify such statements if they offer such a service. Page 1 ranking could mean many things too – I have my preferences set to 100 on page 1 of Google! That’s less hard to achieve. Top 10 listings is harder.

People are guaranteeing to optimise sites for 100 different phrases. That’s quite a niche… how to confuse a web crawler instantly. Remember, the search engines are looking for relevance – you can’t make a page relevant with 100 keyphrases on it!

Google themselves say that no one can guarantee a #1 ranking, yet still people claim to be able to do this.

The other point I wanted to pick up on that Rand makes is that even if you are #1 on Google, that in itself doesn’t guarantee you anything. If traffic for that keyphrase is minimal, you will receive little traffic, if your page doesn’t convert well – you will recieve no sales!

Read and enjoy.

Cool new PowerPoint tool

For those of you who are interested in experimenting in the Business PowerPoint world – this is very cool. A new ‘add-in’ from the little known folks at the Microsoft Office labs (who actually do really good stuff but don’t shout about it).

‘pptPlex’ is a research prototype as an exploration of an alternative method of presenting Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 slides. This plug-in allows you to arrange slides on a canvas then zoom between the slides during the presentation. You can move around the canvas and show groups of slides, individual slides, or even zoom in to show a particular section of a slide.

It was originally demonstrated by Bill Gates at the MS CEO Summit 2008.

The best way to see what it is all about is to watch the video. It’s a short 1?12? video (I just wish the presenter didn’t have a cold!)

If you like what you see, click here to download, install and play!

Cheap flights – relaunch

Price comparison sites cheap flights (UK) cheap flights (US) have relaunched with new features to make it easier to find the right deal for your personal or business travel.

You can now filter by date, price and airline and the site also remembers you last 5 searches, which is a nice touch.

Destination guides are also on the site now – always good to plan that business trip in advance.

Finally, there’s also a really useful Airlines Guide (right at the bottom of the homepage) for when you are desparate to get in touch with an airline and can’t get their contact details. They’ve pulled it all together for you here.

Happy travelling.

PS – if you want to know what cab fare you should be paying before you go, click here.

Taxi fares – be wise before you travel

So we’ve all been ripped off at some point in a taxi from an airport into a city I’m sure? Athens was my worst experience – being offered cigarettes by the driver who appeared to be from the Greek Tourist bureau he was so helpful.

It appears his meter might have been slightly faulty, as I watched the Drachma tick up and up and up and most my spending money disappear. You then have that slightly sick feeling as you ask the hotel receptionist what you should have paid.

And don’t get me started on Tokyo’s Narita airport 😉

So – be prepared – figure out what you should be paying before you leave your country of origin. You want that first bit of any trip to go smoothly. In some cities (Moscow definitely being one of them) it makes huge amounts of sense to book in advance and have a man holding a card with your name on it at the airport.

To help you get organised, this site is superb. It only covers around 20 cities – but will give you a really good idea of whether you’re being ripped off or not before you get in.