Thursday, April 30, 2015

Google's Adsense responsive ad appears to be getting better.

I have to admit the first time I put one of Google's Adsense responsive ads on one of my sites it looked terrible. Far too big and in your face. However I've just been doing some testing and I think the responsive ad is now usable. It isn't perfect, but it is usable which is a lot better than it was.

The problem with the Adsense responsive ad is it doesn't resize property as the screen size changes. What makes it usable is if you reach a page, the ad is shown correctly and that's way beyond what it was before.

If you'd like to test and see how the ad changes and adjusts to the screen you're welcome to check it on my site www.SEO-Company-Melbourne.com.au. First test the page on the desktop. As you narrow the page you'll notice the responsive ad from Google doesn't adjust property whereas the rest of the page does. If you press Refresh then the page will now display the ad in the correct size. I suspect most people simply browse and when they reach the page they'll see it correctly for the current size of their browser window. To me that's usable.

On a mobile device such as the iPhone if you flip from portrait to landscape you'll see the small size ad is kept. If you start in landscape and flip to portrait you'll see the ad is too wide. Press Refresh or reload and you'll see the ad is the correct size. Not perfect but again usable.

At last I feel we can probably use the Adsense responsive ad. The hope is Google continues to improve their code in the background so that later without us doing anything, and even unknown to us, the responsive ad starts to behaviour exactly as it should.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

An SEO story I thought I'd share.

Around nine years ago I organised an SEO consultant to give a talk at a local networking group consisting largely of small home based businesses. The SEO business had a good presence on the internet, so I asked how much time each day do they work on their presence. The answer was hours each day.

Therein lies the problem. Do you have hours to spend on your internet presence?

As soon as the next person or few people put in more time than you do, your presence will most likely go down. Retain the services of an SEO consultant and will they put the same number of hours into your business as they have to get a presence for their business, most likely not as it simply isn't practical. Even if they do put in the same number of hours of effort for your business can you afford the cost and if you stop paying, then what happens?

As part of my testing I've created the site www.SEO-Company-Melbourne.com.au for the keywords SEO Company Melbourne plus a few others. After a month the site is ranking quite well being on the second page of Google's search results, which is very good considering the highly competitive nature and strength of the SEO industry.

But when I check out the businesses listed first you can see they've amassed links back to their sites in the hundreds of thousands. Not tens, or hundreds, but hundreds of thousands. They've also got the advantage that if they do work for a large company they get their branding and links back to their site. Who's giving you links.

JustLocal is a breath of fresh air. Designed to help local businesses to be found by locals and other local businesses. My desire is to get local businesses to help each other and use each others services. That's a very difficult task in a world where we're so focused on our own business survival and local business simply do not use each other. Heck it's probably been over 20 years now since any of the local shopfront businesses used my services in my suburb. It's simply easier to find someone from the other side of town with deep pockets for advertising that gets seen. The same type of business that will eventually put the shopfronts out of business because they don't have deep pockets for advertising, so some other business from the other side of town will also put them out of business. The vicious cycle continues.

JustLocal stops this type of cannibalisation of local business by outsiders with deep pockets for advertising. Only local businesses can advertise on JustLocal. It doesn't matter how big you are, if you're not local, you simply can't advertise on the postcode page.

At last there's a cost-effective advertising service for local businesses where outsiders can't gazump locals. No other form of advertising provides that protection for local business and the local community.

If you're a business and would like to help strengthen the local business community and thus the entire local community, please feel free to contact me and let's get together and make a real difference in the community.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Passionate about local. Are you?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Facebook New Features for Selling message appears at top of Facebook group.

The following graphic appeared at the top of the JustLocal Facebook I've created for JustLocal advertisers.


I decided to do a little research. The Learn More button will take you to following page.

http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2015/02/introducing-new-features-in-facebook-groups-to-improve-the-way-people-buy-and-sell/

Facebook over time will integrate more features so Facebook users don't need to go out and use other services. The most likely competitor in Australia would be Gumtree and I also noticed Craigslist mentioned in overseas posts.

It's always interesting to watch Facebook. On the one hand they don't want businesses to use Facebook to advertise, except of course they don't mind if businesses pay for advertising, yet on the other hand, they introduce a feature for selling which could be used by many businesses to sell. One wonders what Facebook might do down the track if they're successful in pulling traffic away from others sites.

Now the decision, to add the feature or not. I'll leave that up to the group to decide.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Helping local business.

Checking the punctuation for Vendor's Statement (Section 32) I noticed this important advice.

I've been doing some SEO for the terms Property Lawyers Melbourne and Conveyancing Melbourne and often when doing work for others, I see things which interest me that I later check for myself. In this case it was the apostrophe in Vendor's Statement. Should the apostrophe be there or not? It really is a tougher call than you may think.

There's three variations: Vendors Statement, Vendor's Statement, Vendors' Statement. When possession is considered tenuous as it may be in this case, the apostrophe may not be required. What if there's more than one person selling the home?

Using Search Australia, which is a search I created that limits results from .au sites, we get 1,330, 5,440 for the first two variations respectively, but unfortunately I was not able to obtain a result for the third variation. That's OK because the third variation appears to have less use. Searching did reveal an additional variation which is Vendor Statement. Searching also revealed that even the government sites are not consistent.

At this stage I'll have to reserve judgement. However if in doubt, perhaps it's best to simply use the term Section 32.

As for the advice, here's a snapshot of the screen. For those doing their own conveyancing if something goes wrong, the conveyancers have professional indemnity insurance, whereas generally people doing it themselves wouldn't. I do wonder if that makes any real difference. It is important to consider the risk in this situation. Sometimes it's simply easier to leave it to the professionals.



Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au
Preferred Australian English spelling add-ins for Microsoft Office,
Internet Explorer and Mac OSX.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

SEO review of test site shows it is performing better than expected.

If you think about it, it's a pretty crazy thing to create a website guiding people about SEO when you know you need to compete with a whole industry that's been in place for years making money from SEO. I don't think you could get a tougher area to try to get a site to rank well.

Much to my surprise however the site www.SEO-Company-Melbourne.com.au that I created as a test site and to share my unique approach is ranking very well. When creating the site I checked the keywords people use. The obvious is to start with SEO which has 355 million results returned in Google. Not going to get traffic just starting so not a good idea at the start to go for such a short term. Next you get SEO Company (37 million results) and we're at the second level. Then at the third level we get the keywords such as SEO company Melbourne where there's 782K results returned in Google. Still a considerable amount of sites appear, but I thought let's see how this goes.

The site was created and that night the site appear in Google in after the 10th page of results. The next day it moved up and now around a month later the site is on the second page of Google for a variety of keywords.

The aim of the SEO Company Melbourne site is to test one aspect of SEO, but also to provide useful content for those who find the page. I share an approach which should help people ensure they receive value from an SEO consultant. So many people report spending large amounts of money for little to no return ,so hopefully the site helps to inform people.

The site is a good example as it shows what can be done using SEO techniques. Within a month the site is now positioned so it could in theory start earning money over the next year. That however wasn't my purpose. I use my SEO skills for my own business, my clients and to assist advertisers on JustLocal. The page wasn't designed to produce income.

If you're looking for an SEO consultant or agency, check where the business appears for the various keywords relating to SEO. Surely it's their business to rank well for the services they're selling others. If they don't, and I can rank well in around a month, it really should be a red flag.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Alert: TMA Accountants in Robina Queensland blog spamming to promote their practice.

Yet another business blog spamming my blogs to promote their business. TMA Accountants in Robina Queensland is the culprit in this case. When will these business learn it is not wise to pass on their SEO work to others without asking what they'll be doing. If an accountant takes no care with their suppliers, are they really an accountant that you'd want to use. I certainly wouldn't.



Blog spamming is where one business writes a generic comment on the blog of another business for the sole purpose of self promotion. There's no interest in the actual content, just self interest.

What was unusual in this case was the blog spammer (or some automated software) wrote comments on two blogs 44 seconds apart. I've not seen that before. Here you can see a the same IP address was used to visit both blogs.


You can also see another person isn't too happy with the blog spamming.


However Ken in this case is wasting his time. This blogger profile is unlikely to be legitimate and the IP address in the log above shows the comment was left by someone (or a process) based in the Philippines. A total waste of time leaving a comment on their profile. They wouldn't care at all. Totally agree however that blog spamming isn't an honourable practice and as such I wouldn't consider it ethical either.

What companies like TMA Accountants don't realise is just how much they damage their reputation. Don't blog spam. If you do outsource your SEO activities (Search Engine Optimisation) make sure you ask the questions and even ask for a list of sites you business will be listed on. This conduct is totally unprofessional.

If you're getting blog spammed I'd suggest writing a post on your blog to let others know the companies involved. In this case the accounting firm and their supplier, or even perhaps a chain of suppliers are all at fault. Exposing this activity may help stamp out blog spamming. Australian companies should not be participating in blog spam.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Ethical, honourable, local advertising.



A new SEO Consultant Melbourne page added to the SEO site.

The aim of the SEO site www.SEO-Company-Melbourne.com.au is to provide information to help people select good SEO consultants and avoid the unscrupulous ones. I've now added the page www.seo-company-melbourne.com.au/seoconsultantmelbourne/, which is where I share some insights about SEO consultants.

The SEO Consultant Melbourne page is meant to assist by providing common situations where businesses may be tricked, or led to believe they're getting value for SEO services when they're not.

Whilst most people will blame others for ripping them off, really we all have responsibility for our own actions and performing due diligence on suppliers. Yes there are many companies that will rip us off if we let them, but with an appropriate level of research you should be able to find an SEO consultant that brings value to your business.

If you feel you've been tricked by an SEO consultant and have a lesson you'd like to share with others, please feel free to let me know. I can only share what I've seen, but I'm sure there's many lessons others have learnt the hard way.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Google's mobile-friendly test returns "The requested URL is disallowed by robots.txt."

If you perform Google's mobile-friendly test and you get the message "The requested URL is disallowed by robots.txt." then you should check the robots.txt file on your site.

To see your robots.txt file type in your website address into your browser followed by /robots.txt. The robots.txt file will be displayed. If you see the following this is telling bots not to crawl your site and thus your site will not appear in search results in sites such as Google.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

If you'd like Google to index your site you should review your site and determine what you'd like the robots to crawl. In my case I know all the content in my sites and generally I'm happy for robots to crawl all the content on my sites. If there's content I don't want robots to crawl then I'd put that content in a password protected folder. However if you use one of the content management systems there may be a reason the robots.txt file has been set up to stop robots from crawling your site. In this case you should contact your support person and ask for their advice.

If you're in business and want people to find you in search sites such as Google, you definitely don't want your robots file set up to stop them crawling the pages you'd like people to find.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Google search results all over the place on different computers at Westfield Doncaster.

The other day I decided to do some testing for the site Fun Date Ideas. For the testing I wanted to use computers other than mine so off I trundled to Westfield Doncaster. There's a number of shops with computers so I popped into the Apple store. That was where I got a bit of a surprise.

The site www.fundateideas.com.au for me appears on the first page of Google usually around position six (pat on the back for my SEO assistance) but I got a bit of a surprise. The site didn't come up as expected. I tried another computer and still no site. This was so weird. Off to JB Hi-Fi. OK. This time they've got their own filtering software loaded but at least the site was in position 10. Not around the middle as expected. So off to Myer. At last the Fun Date Ideas site appeared where I'd normally expect to see it.

I trundled back to the Apple store as something was definitely not quite right, but I couldn't put my finger on it. After quite a bit of testing I found the Apple store computers were set as though they were based in Sydney. At last I'd found the reason. Google's search can be set for a location and if for some reason it gets it wrong, or location for the device has been set to something unexpected, the results for two people in the same location could be vastly different.

Whilst basing the results on the location can be quite useful, I've found whilst travelling this can give totally unexpected results. In Greece my first challenge when I visited the Google site was to change the language from Greek. That was unexpected. Sometimes for me what Google is doing makes sense, but at other times makes no sense at all. I suspect it took around an hour of testing to work out what was going on as this is an option I'd never seen before. Such a waste of time, although I can always do with the exercise.

I thought I'd share this story so that others know that under Tools section in Google there is now the ability to change the location. Of course this offers a great opportunity for practical jokes on fellow offices workers, but seriously, if the results you aren't seeing aren't what you expect, check the location. Often unexpected results are a sign of malware and the browser being hijacked, but in this case it is what software developers would call a feature.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Helping local business to be found, consistently in the same way every time.

Alert: Margaret McDonald Clinical Psychologist using blog spam to promote their businesses.

I really do wish businesses would take responsibility for who they get to promote their businesses. It really isn't good enough they simply get a web developer or someone else to promote their business and not ask how it will be done. Using blog spam to promote their services is just downright rude. Don't use companies like these.


Blog spam is not a way to promote your business. They have no interest in the blog and are just writing rubbish to promote their business. Avoid blog spam at all costs as it can damage your business and your reputation. If a web developer or digital marketer uses blog spam dump them. They're using tactics that can damage your business.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Helping local businesses to advertise ethically.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Alert: Mobilegeddon is being pushed to scare people so others can make money.

Be careful of those promoting mobilegeddon as it is only a marketing exercise to scare people to sell services. Don't get tricked.

There's two schools of thought with Google's coming update on the 21/4/15. Google has stated mobile friendly will be a ranking factor.

Now of course as per usual with Google there's a lack of information and people are using this as an opportunity to scare people into spending money, perhaps unnecessarily. There are two schools of thought.

1. The first theory is Google is simply making mobile friendly a ranking signal. This means sites that are mobile friendly will rank better and thus sites that aren't mobile friendly will rank lower. Sites in this case will not disappear.

Logic here is Google are unlikely to simply discard highly ranked sites because they're not mobile friendly. A good test is to check the Bureau of Meteorology. The Bureau of Meteorology site is not currently mobile friendly.

2. The second school of thought is that sites that are not mobile friendly will simply vanish from Google search results when people search using their mobile phone. This is where people are being scared.

How likely really is it that Google will simply drop every major site because they're not mobile friendly. Not very likely, in fact very unlikely, but it is possible.

We've left some of our sites so they're not mobile friendly. One site gets around 15,000 visitors a month. We've also recorded a list of sites. So let's see what actually happens.

Make a note of those businesses who promote using mobilegeddon. Then you'll know who is prepared to use scare tactics if scenario 1 happens, but if scenario 2 happens, well you know they got it right.

Honestly at this point I don't know. I believe scenario 1 is most likely, but I've seen the major players do things which affect millions to hundreds of millions for their own interests, so really with scenario 2, I'd never say never, just not likely. Happy to be proved wrong, but my approach is to test so I will be testing. The knowledge gained through testing to me is the best way to support and assist clients. Not scare tactics.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Update 22/04/15: Google Australia confirms my suspicion about with the mobile-friendly ranking signal update. This is unusual to see such a comment so it looks like their update may have been causing a lot of angst and misinformation in the marketplace. This wouldn't be good for Google when that happens.

http://google-au.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/mobilegeddon-were-going-for-mobiletopia.html

The mains points are:

1. This is a ranking signal. Being mobile friendly is just one of 200 such ranking signals. Interesting the number is stated as one of 200. Is there really exactly 200 ranking signals?

2. Sites won't just disappear and they may still rank highly. I look at it this way. Being mobile friendly is one of 200, so it still represents a small percentage even if it was given a higher influence, it would still only be part of the signal which enables a site to rank.

3. This update is just for mobile devices. Not tablets, not notebooks. This has been stated before. Although there is no reason for this not to change. I say this because this is also about Google moving the focus onto their ecosystem which means Android and the Play store. Android tablets could easily be the next target, although given the quite small market share, that may be some time off.

4. The guide for taking a day or so to fully redesign a 10-20 page website to be mobile friendly, is certainly underestimating the work and cost this change is placing on businesses. That type of misinformation doesn't help anyone.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mobile version of Mapz now easier to access.

To make it easier for those with a mobile phone using Mapz, I decided to create a landing page which will enable people to more easily select only the mobile versions of the maps. The following is the address of the mobile landing page.

https://www.mapz.com.au/m/

At the bottom of the mobile and desktop pages for Mapz you'll find a link to take you to the alternate page for Mapz. The desktop maps for Mapz are great when you have plenty of screen space and would like to see a larger map showing the locations. The mobile version is great when you want to see the five closest locations for the sites marked on the map. The nearest five locations can also be very useful for desktop users. Whether you select the desktop or mobile version, it is now easier to get to the other version.

For those who have just found Mapz site or looking for the site, you can find it at www.Mapz.com.au. The site is designed to be mobile friendly but the desktop maps are more suitable for desktop users.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Making it easier to find local. 

When is Australia Post delivery times being reduced to less days?

As a result of media hype and misinformation a number of people believe Australia Post has already reduced the number of delivery days each week. This was first flagged as being proposed mid last year.

However when I heard about reduced delivery days and priority mail being introduced it made no sense at all. How could you have a priority service delivering every day and not have deliveries every day?

I found the following on the Australia Post site. The deliveries of mail it appears will continue to be five days a week which makes sense. Extending the time of delivery of mail for standard mail is something that can be done and costs reduce. The general public will end up paying the same price for lower level of service. If they wish to have the same level of service as current, they'll end up paying a premium price. Although it does make you wonder how they'll end up splitting the two groups of mail, but that of course is Australia Posts problem.

https://conversation.auspost.com.au/national?tool=qanda#q3838

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Will Google's mobile friendly change on the 21/4 affect your presence on the internet?

There is no doubt if you're getting business from the internet, which is a result of Google searches, then anything Google does will affect you.

On the 21/4/15 Google is rolling out an update which will see search results on mobile devices affected. How much is hard to say. What I suggest to clients is to review their data. For example in my own case one site has less than 10% of traffic from mobile, so to lose traffic wouldn't be a big deal. Another site has around 40% of traffic from mobile so at first it would appear to be a big deal. However to complicate things the second site is a web app and generates a small income based on ads. When I updated the site to be mobile friendly the income went down 80-90%. Mobile income for the site is around 20%. So even though it may at first appear logical to make the site mobile friendly, it doesn't make sense financially.

What this means is you really do need to review your own information and base your decision on what you're doing. Even perform some tests.

In general however keep in mind that whilst the change is purported to be providing better search results for mobile users, ultimately Google will have their own financial reasons for making the changes. Reading the article on the Moz site alludes to some of those reasons. It states that in time making your mobile site mobile friendly may result in a higher ranking, but because of Google's own services the income from traffic may reduce. To see this effect now on the desktop, type in "movies" into Google search. First you get the ads and then you get Google's own version of information for movies. If you click on Google's movie information you get movie information (locations, times, trailers) without ever leaving Google. Now the presentation is basic, but still it means you stay in Google and that helps Google and people don't leave to go to the actual sites. In essence the Moz site is saying Google will display it's own information first and the organic sites will appear off the screen, which is also called below the fold, making it less likely to get traffic.

The following is a link to the Moz article. (http://moz.com/blog/9-things-about-googles-mobile-friendly-update) We have to keep in mind they don't have inside information and not everything stated will be correct.

For example there's an inference that if a site isn't mobile friendly it won't appear in the mobile search results. That's hard to believe but it may end up being true. I suspect Google will fudge the results so that high ranking sites still appear. For example the Bureau of Meteorology site is not currently mobile friendly. Let's see if that site disappears after 21/4. It may. Who really knows except Google.

I found three were also some interesting points in the Moz article I thought I'd share. We'll steer clear of the issues pertaining to Google's own interests as we can't affect those. Let's just focus on our interests as site owners.

1. There's a real concern and even possibility sites will simply disappear from mobile devices if they're not mobile friendly. That's possible. (I have a site I'll be testing before and after the change.)

2. If sites do disappear then that could mean if your site is mobile friendly you may go up in the ranking. Yahoo. But as others update their sites that advantage could be short lived. (I'll be testing a before an after to see if this is the case for one of my sites.)

3. There's a big push towards "responsive" websites by those creating websites. Keep in mind there's multiple ways to have a mobile friendly presence. There's a mention of the m. sub domain and in theory there's a couple of ways to let Google know you have an alternate mobile-friendly website.

4. Being classified as mobile friendly is supposedly quite quick. The real problem is if your site isn't crawled for a month, then Google won't know. There's a couple of ways to make this quicker.

5. At this stage this does not affect sites designed for the desktop and also supposedly tablets. Just mobile devices.

6. There may be different results for Android as compared to iOS users.

7. Part of the push appears to be to encourage app development on the Android platform and giving an improvement in ranking for Android app developers.

No matter what the change brings, what is important is to review your own situation. If traffic ceased tomorrow from mobile devices to your site how would that affect your business. Review your analytics data for your site and make a decision based on real facts and not a knee-jerk reaction that something needs to be done. In the near future there will be a lot of marketing by digital agencies/web developers telling you, you need a "responsive" site or mobile-friendly site. Using the data your site already provides you, will let you know better than anything or anyone else the best path forward.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Alert: New commitment invitation - Namailu

I received a couple of "New commitment invitation" email a couple of times tonight supposedly from different users of Namailu. Since they're to public email addresses and one which is not given out to people, but can be harvested, then these email are unlikely to be legitimate.


Checking the email shows links appear to be OK except for the Unsubscribe link, which goes to a different site. I suspect that link may end up at a malware site.

You should delete these emails.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Free for community use advertising to be removed from JustLocal.

When I started JustLocal nearly 10 years ago I decided to build into JustLocal my way of helping the community. I set aside 5% of advertising of the JustLocal service and any time involved. This is not about receiving anything in return, but fitted in with my belief to give as I go.

However perhaps this wasn't such a good idea. It really is great to help others, but small businesses don't have deep pockets and any time and resources given to others directly reduces the ability for the business to survive. It would be lovely if those organisations receiving help from small businesses gave back in some way. A link from their website, letting their members know and encouraging them to use the services of those businesses that help them to survive and serve their members. In nearly 10 years I've only ever seen this happen once.

The bigger picture of JustLocal is to help small local businesses survive. With business in the local area comes employment or self funded income. Money that can be spent in the local community. A reduced impact on our environment with a reduction in travel and associated energy and infrastructure costs.

I've decided to take the hard step of removing the free for community use section of JustLocal. If JustLocal is to succeed then I need to become very focused and use my time more wisely. It really does feel good to help promote local events, but lets face it, there's plenty of people and taxpayers money both locally, statewide and federally that is already spent in that area. Very little if any is effectively used to help the small local businesses, particularly those working from home.

This for me is a really tough decision, however I feel it is a necessary one if I have a chance of achieving my goal with JustLocal.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Eltham Rural Group's 60th Annual Paddy's Market

For those interested in the Eltham Rural Group's 60th Annual Paddy's Market, the following information on the event was provided today by the president of the group.

The Eltham Rural Group Inc is the 2015 Nillumbik Shire Community Group of the Year. For sixty years ERG has been raising funds to assist local community groups and services. Over $1.25m has been donated to CFA Brigades, Riding for the Disabled, Royal District Nursing Service, C.A.V.E, Araluen and special schools. On the first Saturday of May every year we hold our Annual Paddy’s Market. It has consistently been our major fundraising event. As we are a volunteer not-for-profit Group with no Administration costs we would really appreciate you placing the details of the market on the JustLocal website.

It will be held on Saturday May 2 2015 at the Scout Hall, Youth Road, Eltham (off Diamond Street) from 10am-1pm. Items for sale include gourmet cakes, slices, biscuits and quiches, chutneys, sauces and jams; rare collectables, homewares, picture frames and tools; handcrafted gifts, bling and linen; clothing for everyone and toys for kids; books, vinyl records, audio-cassettes, CDs and DVDs; locally grown indigenous and exotic plants, herbs, fresh veggies and fruit. There is also a sausage sizzle and home-made morning tea. www.paddysmarketeltham.com.au.

You can also find a link in the free for community section at the bottom of the 3095 postcode page www.JustLocal.com.au/3095.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Service update from Gumtree.

I received an email with the subject "Service updated from Gumtree" and thought I'd check to see whether this was a scam email or not. The problem with sending notifications like this is so many people have or will use Gumtree in Australia and so the volume of people that may be tricked is very large.


Interestingly I never knew there was an issue or charge editing Gumtree ads. Given I've only ever created a single ad for testing purposes it makes sense I'd not seen this as an issue.

Checking all the links they all appear to be legitimate so the notification is legitimate. However always keep in mind it would take a scammer very little time to duplicate this type of email and include links that could be...let's just say not the best to click on.

Even when you receive emails from well known suppliers you use, you should always assume the worst and the email is a scam. Don't click on links but instead go to the site and log in. It only takes a second to clink on a scam link and the cost to in time and money can be considerable.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0145 910 703 for IT support.

Does property lawyer in Melbourne use the standard contract or one they've created themselves?

I often wonder if a property lawyer in Melbourne would use the standard real estate contract of sale or whether they'd create their own one. I don't know and probably won't know until I purchase the next property. What I do recall however is when the privacy legislation was introduced, the standard contract used by real estate agents was updated to enable the sales data to be collected. This was the contract real estate agents used at the time.

As a professional you would think a real estate who is retained to represent the vendor wouldn't tolerate the privacy of their customer being affected in this way. I often wonder why real estate agents don't simply put together some money and have their own contract drafted that is in the interests of their client.

When I find a contact I'm not happy with I have the contract modified. I learnt my lesson when I joined a chartered accounting. There was a clause in the contract that if I left I'd pick up any shortfall in the company car. As this wasn't the norm I questioned the contract and the personnel manager assured my they'd never enforce the clause and never have. As I'd now received verbal reassurance and led to believe a verbal contract was also binding, I signed. As they say, a verbal contract is not worth the paper it is written on. A very costly and naive experience on my part, but I accept one of the lessons of life. If one of the more professional groups in our society (a chartered accountant firm) can't be trusted then you really do have to look after your own interests.

You should check contracts and make sure the contracts don't have clauses that shouldn't be there, or where you give away your rights unwittingly.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Helping local business prosper.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Aldi garlic bread loaf placed behind wrong price shows staff aren't aware of Aldi's confusing shelf pricing.

I've always felt that Aldi's shelf pricing rather confusing. All other supermarkets to me are pretty straight forward, but with Aldi, you're always wondering if you're looking at the right price. When I mention this to others they also say they get confused. Is the pricing above the product or below the product. Sometimes I actually think this is a strategy to get us to buy the more expensive product by mistake. Yes, call me a cynic.

However the other day my wife asked me to pick up the bigger garlic bread from Aldi as I'd previously said it was much cheaper than Coles. Turns I was completely wrong. OK, cheaper by one cent accordingly the latest catalogue.

But here's went things went astray. I was expecting to pick up the garlic bread for around $1.70 so as you can see in the picture at $1.69, I thought I was buying exactly what I wanted.



Picked up the bread and proceeded to the checkout at which time the lady rang up the price $2.79. I asked the checkout lady if that was right. The price I said was a $1.69. She asked if I read the price below or above the item. I said below. She said that's where I'd made my error as you have to check the price above. OK. I accepted I'd made an error.

Then I started thinking as I left the shop. Wait a second. That garlic loaf was on the bottom shelf at the right next to the wall. There's no other product that could possibly be below the item. So I returned. To the left were three boxes of twin garlic bread with the price in front of the middle box. There was only one row of garlic bread loaf with the price as you can see directly in front. The packing staff had placed the items and the tags in the reverse of what they should have been. It was so well done it was hard to spot there was an error since everything lined up with prices in the middle, but totally wrong.



Now that also meant the checkout lady had no clue as to how the prices are labelled on the shelves at Aldi. I decided to investigate the pattern. On the fridges where you find the cooler items, the labelling is in front and below the item. On the shelves where you find items that don't need to be refrigerated, the prices above and behind. Who does that? Who in their right mind designs a pricing system where you have prices labelled in two different ways so that even staff don't know what they're doing.

Call me a cynic, but retailers know exactly what they're doing when it comes to placement of product and pricing. But in this case an error was made, but to compound that a second staff member incorrectly advised me when I challenged the incorrect price.

I must admit I was quite surprised to see there was only a cent difference in the price. Aldi has a reputation for low prices. However on a previous price test where I compared Coles, Aldi, and a green grocer for fruit, Aldi only had around a third of the prices cheaper and were more expensive than Coles and the green grocer for the other two thirds. So do shop around and check your prices. Don't get tricked with the marketing and advertising. Do your own research.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Alert: FBI warn WordPress sites to patch their sites.

It's a pretty bad sign when the FBI starts warning WordPress users to patch their sites.

www.theregister.co.uk/2015/04/08/supercache_goes_ballistic_word_press_is_atrocious/

Every day in my logs I see probing where the links fail but they would appear to be targeted at WordPress sites and add-ins. I don't use WordPress but you see the 404 errors for page not found.

The problem with WordPress is it is free and many people with minimal IT skills install WordPress and add-ins and then simply don't keep the site updated with patches. This isn't just end users, but I've seen many sites hacked which have been run by others.

At JustLocal I'm happy to connect to a site provided by the business. The site can be a website, a social media site, or even a page within a directory. The aim of JustLocal is to help promote local business and as long as they have some form of presence on the internet, that is often sufficient to start assisting them. The number of sites that we've seen that were infected were quickly resolved.

If anyone does find an infected site please let us know. We can then advise the business owner and redirect the link until the site is no longer a risk to anyone.

If you do have a WordPress site keep in mind it is not set and forget. You need to be the IT person. You need to keep the WordPress software, the operating system software and all add-ins patched. Just as importantly make sure you have a working backup in place so you can recover if necessary. People are often unaware this is not included as part of their hosting and is often an additional charge, if it is available at all.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Helping local business to prosper.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The SEO Company Melbourne test site is very interesting to watch.

I set up the SEO Company Melbourne test site to enable me to perform some testing. One interesting initial observation is how quickly the site appeared in Google's search results as a result of my approach.

When I checked a couple of hours after going live (around 9 pm), later that night the site was already at position 104. Over the next few days the site moved up settling around position 40. I'll be performing various tests to see what does and doesn't affect the positioning. Being in the highly competitive SEO sector I expect it will be hard to move up further. There's tough competition from people in the field. I noticed one business I referred a client to around 7-8 years ago. In the past I've noticed time to be an important ranking signal in printed media and I expect that may have carried over to the internet.

Just as interesting is checking out how the SEO businesses have gamed the system for themselves before Google tightened up some of their requirements. Go to Google maps and start typing in "SEO company" and you'll see a number of businesses appear with the title SEO Company or a variation. You can't do that today with Google to my knowledge, as you have to use your business name. In time I suspect these sites will get reported and Google will remove them and that's probably a good thing for everyone, except of course those that have benefited from gaming the system.

Whilst the site www.SEO-Company-Melbourne.com.au is a test site, it is also a live working site. I've shared information which I believe will help others protect themselves from the many unscrupulous SEO businesses. It amazes me how many people get stung by SEO businesses simply by not putting into place a measurable result and making payment based on result. The SEO businesses are very good at making what they're doing appear legitimate and often charge a high monthly fee and do nothing for the money. Hopefully the site will help a few people.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

PS. I consider SEO to be simply an additional service I can provide to clients. However since it is not possible to always guarantee an outcome, the fee is based on an agreed result. In IT consulting a fee is charged on time and there result is always delivered. With SEO Google has the control which means it is always possible a result may not be delivered. In that case a client should not be out of pocket.

Google Analytics appears to be down.

I saw a post on Facebook from about 30 minutes ago asking if anyone else had noticed Analytics not working. I see messages quite often when using Google's sites stating the sites not working and try again shortly, so I thought it was one of those momentary glitches.

However on checking I now receive the following message.

The main page is accessible which means it will appear to work on mobiles, but since mobiles can't access the analytics information (or at least I don't know how it can), then mobile users will think it is still up.

Quite unusual for Analytics to be down like this.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.


Monday, April 06, 2015

IP address look up now a keyword in JustLocal search.

When people talk about IP, often there's two things they talk about. If you're looking an Intellectual Property Lawyer (IP) then you're probably looking for lawyers like JJ Legal. In IT when we talk about IP, often we're talking about an Internet Protocol address.

It is the the Internet Protocol address or IP address that has now been added as a keyword to the JustLocal search facility and the range of Search engines available at www.SearchAustralia.com.au. Now if you'd like to find out further information about an IP address all you need enter into the search field is the keyword IP Address. You can then enter the IP address and find out more about the location of user who is using the IP address.

The IP address is very useful in determining where a user is located that has accessed your site, or perhaps purchasing from you. Another use is to check the country where an email has been sent from.

The IP address of a user is a very useful piece of information that can assist in a number of ways.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

An unexpected SEO horror story.

I thought I'd share this story which illustrates just how bad a name SEO has for a lot of businesses.

Last year I went to Port Douglas for a holiday and when I arrived I was greeted by a very friendly host and his wife. They managed the property. The manager was super keen and had even checked out my site based on my email address. My consulting site is www.OnlineConnections.com.au. The manager explained there's a shortage of good IT support in Port Douglas so was more than happy to push the benefits of moving to Port Douglas.

We stayed at the hotel for around 14 days which in itself was a sizeable purchase. Every day there was a friendly greeting and exchange of conversation. Around the 10th day I spoke to the wife as I needed some help with some testing I was running. I made it clear there was no money involved. I simply wanted to test if I could improve their presence from the 4th page in Google. I'd recently improved an accommodation site in Victoria that was on the fourth page of Google to the second page. I was keen to perform another test and simply needed to work with a business at no cost to them.

During the conversation the husband walked in and heard the words SEO. At that point the entire conversation went down hill fast and their approach to me became quite aggressive. I'd never seen such a reaction before. It was pure hate and anger. I was now seen as the worst of the worst since I'd mentioned SEO. Even though there was no cost, no thought or suggestion of charging, that didn't matter. Not even that fact that I was a customer paying a reasonable amount of money factored in. All I was asking was permission to test if I could give them a better presence which would in turn assist me we my testing.

I completely understand the person's reaction. Over time I like many other businesses been approach by SEO businesses promising the world. I've seen clients use SEO consultants with no return on the money they spend. Not even an improvement in their Google position. I get it.

To help businesses not avoid getting ripped off by SEO business I've created a site called SEO Company Melbourne. On the site there's an approach I suggest people use to lock down their SEO service provider. There's also a calculator which shows an estimated value a position in Google may be worth to their business.

I hope others find the site useful.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Alert: Dwyer Law promoting using blog spam.

It simply amazes me that professional such as a lawyer or a vet would use blog spam to promote their business. Here is an example of some blog spam that was posted as a comment on my dictionary blog today.

Skylar Mitchell wrote: 

It is so interesting to see the difference between these two words! I always assumed they were the same person, but it appears that they are quite different. It is good to learn that a lawyer can help in just about any area of the law. Now I will be aware of this if I ever feel like I need help with the law. Thanks for this clarification, it was really helpful to learn more about the difference between lawyers and solicitors! http://www.dwyerlaw.com.au/get-to-know-us.aspx

Note: The active link has been removed. The person posting the link was at the IP address 97.75.177.146. They were located in Provo, Utah in the United States

Blog spam is where another business promotes their business by putting a link on the site of others. There's no real intent other than promoting their business.

I've had many businesses post blog spam this over the years and I regularly see blog spam on other sites. The reason is the business I suspect has usually handed off their website development and promotion to another business. A business that is not held to the same ethical standards.

Don't blog spam. It affects your business reputation. The web developer, designer, SEO consultant, or whomever you use the services from, only stands to lose your business. Their reputation is not affected. You stand to lose business or many potential customers. Whether you're a vet, lawyer or any business owner, for goodness sake ask questions about how your business will be promoted. It is your business, your reputation at stake. It is your responsibility.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Helping businesses to advertise ethically.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

SEO Company Melbourne site now has a video showing how to value a position in Google.

I've updated the SEO Company Melbourne site to now include a link to a video I created, which provides a couple of examples of how to value a position in Google. Whether you are doing your own SEO or getting and SEO consultant to do your SEO for you, knowing how to determine a value is vital.

So many people get ripped off by companies providing SEO services and really there is no reason people should get ripped off. If you know how to estimate a value and pay only on the agreed result being achieved, there is no risk. Pay up front, or monthly and not measure the result or know the value, then you're probably going to get ripped off.

SEO is not a dirty word. SEO is an invaluable approach to improving your position in Google. Knowing what that means in terms of value to you can save you time and money.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.