Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Surveys, rewards and my American Express experience



Have you ever been sent a request for your opinion via a survey form? If you do stuff on the net, order or buy anything on- or offline, you probably have.

I want to make a comment on one I filled in recently. I was chasing up a reward on a credit card and I must admit it was a good experience. I called the number on the acknowledgement letter and the guy says he has nothing on it. Gave him the reference number, no couldn’t help.

I am referred to another person. I go through the usual ID checks and well, yes, we have your rewards paperwork. Ok, so this will be passed on to the warehouse (or whatever fulfillment section) and expect delivery in a 3-4 days. Great.

I got an email asking for my opinion on the service given over the phone. Ok, I’ll fill this up in a few days, when I get the time. Back to my rewards thing.

Mind you it wasn’t quite three days, but I thought I would check to make sure I could make plans for a barbecue on the weekend. BTW, that’s what I ordered.

The guy at fulfillment, had no record of my rewards. What? Again, I go to another person at the rewards section and this time there’s no trace of my rewards claim at all. Huh? She was polite and helpful, but no paperwork. She said she would fill in another rewards claim and start the ball all over again. Wow.

And, this would not affect my existing points. I should hope not.

So, I fill in my opinion request and, of course, “not happy Jan” and I let ‘er rip.

Opinion requests are good for feedback. I particularly like filling them in to give a pat in the back for good service. And, here’s the rub, where it’s the opposite, well, I do accordingly. I hate doing it, but hey, a big company like American Express should do heaps better.

And, one of the questions in the survey asks if I would recommend American Express based on this service. Not likely. I’ve had my rant and am sharing this with you.

And, I feel better. Plus, with social media this may spread the word a little more.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ranking in search engines with keywords as domains and other thoughts

Getting to number one in Google searches is hard work. And, mind you, your ranking once achieved is not assured. After all the net is in a constant state of flux.

A few days ago, my little exercise for the words banana screens achieved number one. Wow, that a great feeling. Then a few days ago, I was showing some people about this little exercise and guess what? Down to number two.

In number one was a former client, for whom I did some work up to a few years ago. Fair enough that's how this things work.

That is why we never promise a client that his/her website will be number one. We only say that "we will get you to the front page of Google search."

And, let's face it. This is hard work.

In an earlier post, I described how I did a similar exercise for a client for the words belt scraper. The site is beltscraper.com.au. It got to page one in Google search pretty quickly.

Well, I just checked right now and this has moved to page two. Oh boy, here we go again.

Moral of the story is that you cannot take anything for granted. SEO work like a lot of things involves hard yakka.

One doesn't do search engine optimisation is a vacuum. The web is in a constant state of flux. You can take nothing for granted.

And, the thing with the above job is that while "belt scraper" is more often used in Australia belt cleaner is also the formal name. Makes life a little harder, doesn't it.

It's hard to cover both bases. But, that just the way it is.

So, head down and backside up. More work to be done.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Top at Google and other SEO thoughts

One of the things we do when we embark on Search Engine Optimisation programs for clients, is review keywords. Whilst the client will give us a list of keywords, we search those and see how often they’re used compared to similar keywords.

While not exactly an SEO study, this exercise pointed this out to me. A blog we set up for a client has the keywords “belt scraper”. Now working around that and doing a search, I noted that “belt cleaner” and “belt scraper” seem to be used interchangeably.

According to my client, “belt scraper” seems to be the term favoured in Australia, rather than “belt cleaner”.

While you may think that this is a minor detail, it isn’t. Why? Because if say searches use the former (scraper) rather than the latter (cleaner) and you target the latter as a preferred keyword, you’d be missing out on a lot of searches.

Mind you, Google sometimes uses similar words when it offers links in a search. While this will help, you can still miss out on getting more traffic, but targetting the wrong keyword.

In our SEO programs, we suggest using other keywords after we do a formal study. The client usually accepts our recommendations and we target the favoured keywords.


This may sound like a minor detail, but I think it’s an important one to remember.

And, to close on this point, I want to reiterate, that of the last look, bananascreens.com is back to number one. A former client's site beat me for a while, but now am back on top.

Note to self, keep off-page SEO going.

We cannot embark on a project as serious as search engine optimisation and just do this willy-nilly. Work is continuous and is not a just a one-off thing.

And, remember that the ranking will change from time-to-time as it may also change from computer-to-computer.

And, remember when I just got on the front page of google and later number one.

And, so the struggle (and fun) continues.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Number one on Google for a conveyor belt scraper keyword

In an earlier post, I wrote about achieving number one in Google searches using a dot com name, to help in improving search engine rankings. This exercise has see my blog reach number one in Google in a matter of weeks. (Mind you it has fluctuated to two or three, but as of the last search it was number one).

One of my clients who markets belt conveyor productivity and maintenance products liked the idea and so we are now in the process of seeing how I can get the websitehttp://www.beltscraper.com.au to number one.

Please note that my clients are mostly in business-to-business (B2B), so conveyor products is just par for the course.

Let’s take belt cleaning as a starting point. Why should anyone worry about this? Well, if you have nothing to do with conveyor belts, don’t worry about it.

However, if you are in manufacturing, mining, mineral processing and so on, where a conveyor belt is part of your plant, you literally have no choice.

Why? Simple, there’s such a thing as carryback. This happens when a sufficient amount of material is carried back along the underside of the conveyor. The material tends to adhere to the conveyor belt, fouling the return idlers and the ground below the belt.

As this material travels back on the underside of the conveyor belt, it can be shaken loose all along the belt line. Consider what happens when this material is shaken loose when it hits the idler rollers and other impact points. Then this builds up under the belt. Major disaster.

We’re talking unusual belt wear, mistracking and so on. Not to mention wasted material and a major disaster like seizing of the rollers.

Believe me this is part and parcel of maintenance on a conveyor belt line. I’ve had the opportunity to call on one for an article I wrote sometime ago and it’s an interesting exercise. Whilst I was more interested in the belt tracking side of things, I could see how carryback could be a problem.

Remember that a shutdown of the conveyor belt is costly. Delayed production, deliveries and so on. And, this can run into thousands of dollars.

In Australia, we use “belt scraper” almost synonymously as “belt cleaner”. Hence, “beltscraper.com.au” is more an Australia communications effort.

The site hopes to be the “go to” site for technical information on belt scrapers or belt cleaners.

We will be working on the site over the next few months.


So, watch this space

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Hitting page one on Google with a dot com keyword

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I got hold of the domain name bananascreens.com. It started as a bit of lark, but has helped me get some of my clients interested in doing a similar exercise themselves. This has since had another client wanting a similar effort, which I will write about in another post. But, now we can see that I have piqued the curiosity of my clients enough to let them invest on the exercise I di for myslef.

I got the domain name <bananascreens.com> to see how high I could get this on Google. I haven't really bothered with other search engines, as the exercise would have taken too much time and other resources.

A keyword or keywords as a dot com has a very high rating in the search engine ranking system because it is a high level domain name suffix.

Applying search engine ranking practices helps improve the domain's rankings, with the added plus of being the domain name with dot com suffix. How I did this is covered in a blog post I wrote shortly after I made page one on google. It's on my other blog: messagefromgarcia.net.

So, from a lark, I am able to practice some more marcomms work for clients. I will keep you posted on further results.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Who says too much movement on website is bad

Animation on websites, e.g., using flash, can help improve the website experience of your viewers.

How? Take a recently created site, we did for a client. The site has a revolving offering of the clients products and services.

And, when orginally designed, the photos moved in one direction and then reversed when this reached the end. The client was not happy with this and wanted the photos to loop.

So, we thought, why not. A continuous loop will work.

Click here, to see what I mean.

As the photos revolve, the viewer can click on each and go to a page related to the product/service.

And, to improve navigability navigation buttons are located on the top, bottom and middle.

To round it out, we've also include a search box.

When we prepare sites for clients, we try to cover all bases. It's not just a matter of making a website look pretty, but also to make it work for the viewer—and the client, of course.

More thoughts on website design in a future post.

We just liked the site so much, because of the clean look, feel, navigability, we had to refer to it.

Till then.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A dot com domain name really can give you a top search engine ranking


In a previous post, I showed how using a dot com domain name can really help you get top search engine rankings. I refer to my purchase of the domain name bananascreens.com. And, the last look showed it somewhere on the front page of Google for the keyword "banana screens".

Please note though that this is subject to change and can give different results in your computer. The browser you use, your location and any indexing done by Google recently can affect the rankings.

But, let's face it dot com is the highest weighted use of a keyword, followed by dot net. Now, of course, one has to do other things to help make sure that the website ranks when indexed by Google.

You really have to give the Google web crawlers a leg up. I will get to this at later post.

I want to tell you about two websites we set up for a client, who saw what I was able to do with the bananascreens.com site.

A distributor for Pullmaster of Canada, the client now has two sites: pullmasterwinches.com.au, and pullmaster.com.au. Now my mission is to get these two sites on the first page of google.

Bear in mind that the sites are new and have as of this writing not yet been indexed. So, with the upload of this post, I will get the sites indexed and get the job rolling. 

Watch this space for any progress and, hopefully, positive results.