Tai Chi World Record in Essex and Kent

Really looking forward to this Sunday.

I’ve been studying Tai Chi for about nine months now and have just got to grips with the basic form for Yang Family’s Grasped Sparrow’s Tail.

Now I have to add in all the extra layers.

As a long-term student of martial arts, more specifically, Karate, I have found Tai Chi to be extremely educational. Somehow my teacher, David Puncher, managed to encapsulate everything that my Karate instructors had been saying for the past few years into language that I could understand.

I’m not saying that I’m any good at it (I’m not!) but, with all my injuries, I am still able to do some training and, at the same time, get to grips with so many theories which had eluded me in the past.

It definitely helps that my whole posture has changed in the year since I began doing yoga every day and I think one of the reasons I couldn’t understand so much of my Karate training was because my body was misaligned and there were several crucial neural connections missing.

Anyway, when I heard that Gavin and Steve at Shikon were putting together a morning of Tai Chi to run simultaneously in both Essex and Kent on the morning of Sunday 25th July, I jumped at the chance to participate. The idea is to hold the world’s largest tai chi class. The event is open to everyone, whether you’re a beginner or have been studying for years and the proceeds will go towards the cancer charity, Breakthrough.

I would love to see some of you there 🙂

"tai chi Essex"

What Does Google Like?

Content, Content, Content!!!!

If you want your site to rank well with Google, unique, well-written, keyword-rich content is King.

This is your on-site search engine optimisation.  Looking at all your pages and ensuring that you have done everything to attract Google’s attention.

However, too much information in an unstructured environment is going to confuse your readers.  So, you have to find a template for your website that will please your readers and still appeal to Google.

These days, the concensus is that Google loves unique content on a WordPress site.

But the Big G also likes links… but not too many too quickly.  Which means that you have to take things slowly and work with appropriate sites.  You need to make it look as if your site is building relationships like a human would.  There are all sorts of automated tools out there which will give you hundreds of links within a couple of hours.  And it may work for ranking in the short term but this will flag up your site pretty quickly as being ‘not quite right’.  So, you need to strike the right balance.

In the past, SEO experts have relied solely on these two.  However, in June 2010 Google changed its algorithm and, in the last week or so, the buzz has been all about Caffeine, its new web indexing system which provides  results for web searches that are 50 percent fresher than their previous index.

And a third requirement has been added in to the equation when you try to work out the answer to what does Google like.

So many of the super-duper, whistles and bells, singing and dancing websites that you see are static.  I know what you’re thinking:  Yes, they do move.  All those flashing elements, designed to get your attention are for your benefit, they do nothing for Google.

What Google wants to see is activity.  A site that is continually changing with fresh, new content and useful information. But it also wants human visitors.  Physical manifestations of interested traffic.

You can have the most beautiful, expensive and sophisticated website but, if no one knows that it’s there, was it really worth the money?

These are the Holy Trinity of Ranking – Content, Links and Activity.

Get a copy of the Perpetual Traffic Report!

Brett McFall

Can I just BIG UP Brett McFall?

At a time when a lot of people are complaining about the lack of value given by many gurus, he is one of the nicest and most helpful guys you could ever meet.

And he just keeps giving.

Once you are a member of his group, you remain so for life. Gray and I went to a free seminar in London in January. Three days of speakers with information and presentations.

It was awesome and I got to meet Jo Dodds, a lovely lady who was one of the ‘crew’ and now has her own social media business teaching local business owners how to use all these confusing new traffic generation strategies.

Organic Listings

“So what is it that you actually do?”

Hmmm. I’ve heard that question a lot recently.

Basically, most businesses spend a lot of money on advertising in media that has been around for a long time. Strategies that they understand. Physical directories in book form or local newspapers. It’s expensive but, historically, it’s had a relatively good success rate.

Over the last few years, these traditional methods of advertising have experienced strong competition from online services which offer a similar product on the internet. Again, it’s expensive, but if someone comes round offering to provide you with your own website and the marketing to go with it, if you don’t understand computers, you bite off their arm.

However, whilst these companies can be very successful in getting your company ranked on Google, they are in it for themselves, not for your business.

This means that, in many cases, the Google juice acquired from the website that bears your name actually goes to the advertising company. The data relating to ‘your’ website is, often, either too generic to give your company any real help or actually drives the Google spiders towards their website. A lot of the time, this is because the people designing those websites don’t understand how meta data or keywords work.

Another way of advertising is to use Google Adwords. Specific keywords that relate to your business and which are given a monetary value that you agree to pay every time someone clicks on that link.

"organic-listings"So, on the Google search pages, the top two or three returns will be ‘paid’ or ‘sponsored’ links. As will all those in the right hand column. If anyone clicks on them, the companies to whom they link pay Google the agreed amount, a figure which varies depending on how high up the listing you want to be. The url at the top will have agreed to pay the most money every time that link is clicked.

The other links on the page are known as organic listings.

These are sites that the Google spiders, scouring the internet on your behalf, have decided are the best match to the terms of your search.

In days gone by, the sponsored links would get as many as 30% of any clicks on the page. However, recent data shows that only 2-3% of searchers actually click on the paid listings at the top of the page and only 1-2% for the column on the right-hand side.

Averaged out this means that if you’re spending as much money as you possibly can advertising on Google Adwords, you’re still only able to get 4-5% of the available clicks on that page.

This is because the general public are becoming more internet-savvy. We now know about the composition of the page and that the person at the top of the paid listings might not be the cheapest or, indeed, the best. More and more, we are turning to the free organic listings which are decided through popularity.

As a website owner with a site optimised for a specific keyword, you want your business to show up in the top ten results on that page.

The site at position Number One will get as many as 45% of any available clicks.

Position Number Two will receive between 11 and 18%.

7-15% of users will plump for the url situated at Position Number Three.

Sites ranking from 4th to 9th will get 2% of the clicks – equalling the performance of the best paid rankings at the top of the page but without any monetary input. That’s right, they get the same number of clicks for free.

Curiously, because people ‘scroll’ down, the site in 10th place is better placed than the six sites ranked above it, achieving 3% of the page’s interest.

So that’s what I want to achieve for my clients – front page ranking for their chosen keyword but, better still, getting them slotted into the top three or tenth spot on the free organic listings.

And, I tell you this for nothing, I’m a hell of a lot cheaper than Google Adwords.

I Don’t Speak Geek

"i-dont-speak-geek"It’s no good, I have to admit it.

Despite aspirations to the contrary, I find computer technology really difficult.

I just don’t speak Geek with any fluency.

Being a woman, I am not necessarily the most logical of humans. Being this woman, I find it extremely hard to try to translate what a techie is saying from Geek into English.

As I explained to the computer guys at my new hosting company, who are busy writing manuals to assist new users, you have to remember that newbies are not only not competent, they are actually more likely to be incompetent in terms of working with computers.

When producing a help guide, you have to write in words of one syllable and never take any level of understanding for granted. Even down to logging in where necessary.

And then, after you’ve proof read your document, you need to find a non-Geek to work through the instructions and test that they can be followed.

Most software manufacturers do not do this. And I have fallen foul of their inability to explain clearly on numerous occasions since I first started to become involved in Internet Marketing.

I’ve spent two days now trying to change a site from one hosting company to another. That, in itself, would not have been too difficult. What’s causing the problem is that I have a lot of sites that I want to put on one account – I’m far too thrifty to consider shelling out for separate hosting for each of my sites when I can get them all together for one smaller payment plus a bit of techie work on my part.

The guys at the hosting company did offer to do it for me but the problem with that is that you never learn from that arrangement. It’s not that I want to become a techie, just that I want to have a better grounding than I do currently – so some bloke can’t tap me on the head, patronisingly, at a future date and try to blind me with science – as plumbers and electricians have done regularly on the domestic front.

I guess, at the end of the day, that I want to be able to offer a properly rounded service to my clients. Sure, I will learn how to delegate those things that I’m not so good at in order to focus on my strengths.

But I also think it is very important to have a working knowledge of all areas so that anyone I employ to help me cannot ‘extract the proverbial’…

Anyway, with my usual tenacious determination, I will persevere and, by the end of the week, I will understand how the new WordPress template works with multi-users… and, as a result, I will have improved my understanding of the platform generally.

Onwards and upwards… with a few frustrated curses for good measure.