Author Archives: Ben

House of Fraser Product Ads #superfail

Earlier tonight our Dyson Ball decided to give up the ghost and fall apart – not bad really for over 4 years constant use; but it obviously meant it was time to buy a new hoover. Being the super SEO type that I am, I turned to none other than my trusty Google SERPs.

What I found was… interesting. I clicked on a House of Fraser Product Ad (the PPC ads that look like shopping results) and ended up at a dead end. It was a URL I hadn’t seen before, and assumed it was a error on Google’s redirect/tracking URLs:

So I clicked back to the SERP, selected a different ad and ended up where I expected; and then did the same again a second time with the same result. Clicking on the HoF ad still sent me to the “native_url” 404.

So I did a new search, this time for [white bedding]. Sure enough, there was a HoF product ad over on the right hand side, and sure enough it again sent me to a similar dead tracking URL.

The question is – is this a Google issue (unlikely) or is this a fuck up by HoF or their agency instead? If it’s the latter then that’s a lot of wasted click spend before somebody rocks up on Monday morning to notice the error. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in THAT meeting!

Update (01/12/2012): it looks like House of Failure (or Google) have pulled all of their product ads for the time being. Either way, they’ve lost a lot of traffic this weekend.

Skin Heads for Charity

Today was the big day – a bunch of us guys at HP Group had a mass balding in aid of two very deserving charities. It was organised by Patrick Hegarty and he even roped in his wife (yeah, how brave was she?!) and son to join the ranks of the follically challenged.


The two charities receiving funds are St Helena Hospice and Building Futures in Malawi. St Helena’s is very close to my heart as my sister passed away at the hospice back in 2009 – and they were absolutely fantastic both with her and the family.

All in all, 9 of us followed through with the deed (including five bald SEO’s and one bald PPC’er), and as if on cue a Royal Air Force recruitment bus happened to park outside just in time for a photo opportunity:

Army Recruits

And here’s a final bonus pic of me mid-shave getting a St George’s cross cut in (yes, very patriotic of me):

St George's Cross

SEO Sunday: Oct 16 2011

I know, I know – 3 weeks in and I already missed a couple of posts. In my defence, I’ve been pretty damn busy on a Sunday night but hey ho. As always, this entry is from a series of weekly posts highlighting a handful of interesting links I bookmarked each week(s). For the full archives visit the SEO Sunday category page.

SEO Sunday: Sep 25 2011

This post is from a series of weekly posts highlighting a handful of interesting links I bookmarked in the past 7 days. For the full archives (only two weeks so far) visit the SEO Sunday category page.

  • Engeeno
    What happens when two ex-Google spam-team engineers (@pedrodias and @ArielL) leave and create their own startup? We don’t know yet, but I’m on the list and you should probably be too.
  • 62 steps to the definitive link building campaign
    Great post on wordtracker from Mark Nunney covering everything you need to know for link building. Well, maybe not everything, but it’s a big chunk of knowledge anyhow.
  • Google News Ranking Factors 2011
    I’m too lazy to find out who’s directly behind this site – but if you have a strategy that involves targeting screen space in Google News (which you should) then this is probably one for the bookmarks.
  • Step by Step Guide to Spying on the Competition with KeywordSpy
    So this one isn’t strictly SEO – but if data on a competitor sites PPC strategy isn’t something you’d sit up and take notice of then you aren’t doing your job justice. We’ve all heard of KeywordSpy but SEER has gone the extra mile and even provided a downloadable Excel file to make sense of all the raw data.
  • Basic SEO for Facebook Pages
    I haven’t delved too much into social media profile optimisation as my focus is heavily on enterprise SEO and technical issues but this is a great starting point for anyone looking at giving it a go.
  • How to Game Klout
    Who knew Klout was so easily gamed? and more importantly, who knew that with a high Klout score you could get all sorts of perks in Vegas? time to knuckle down and then book some flights methinks….
  • Google -50 Penalty Research
    Some good discussion on WebmasterWorld of a -50 penalty dissection. Certainly worth a read if you ever have potential leads contacting you over similar issues.

SEO Sunday: Sep 18 2011

This post is from a series of weekly posts highlighting a handful of interesting links I bookmarked in the past 7 days. For the full archives (only two weeks so far) visit the SEO Sunday category page.

  • Tracking the KPIs of Social Media
    You rarely see a poor post by @randfish over on SEOmoz and this one is no different. If you’re from the agency world then you’ve no doubt had a conversation with a client who is scared of dabbling in social because “there’s no way to track it”. Rand covers some great advice on how to get a bit more insight into the impact of being friendly.
  • Using Google Docs To Generate Hot Content Strategies [Tool]
    Very nice tool from ex-HP SEO @DBSEO that takes a little bit of pain out of the process of content strategy research. This triggered a few extra ideas in my head too, which is always nice.
  • Google+ Developer Platform
    Awesome! it’s finally here – the Google+ developer API! oh… no, hold up… let me step back a second here. It turns out it’s pretty much a one-way API right now, so essentially just a data export tool. Looks like all of those spam bots will have to be put back on hold for the time being.
  • A Guide to Long Tail Link Building
    Yet another great post by the famous @rishil this time tackling how to create sub-sets of your head terms and create those all important long-tail anchor text variations. A seemingly simple guide but one I’m sure many SEOs don’t action often enough.
  • Quora: Kevin Lacker’s Answers about Web Search
    I think it was Rand Fishkin that tweeted this out originally but I’m too lazy to go and check. Anyway – this guy “wrote search algorithms at Google” so he knows his shit. There’s some really interesting answers that any hardcore SEO will enjoy reading.
  • Introducing Twitter Web Analytics
    About freakin’ time. Twitter finally launch an official analytics tool. Well, I say launch but it’s still closed to a selected beta group for now. Hopefully it will roll-out more widely pretty soon.
  • Blekko Web Grep
    Blekko certainly get the kudos for empowering the modern SEO with decent tools. This one does exactly what it says on the tin – allows you to essentially grep the web using strings or patterns. This could be awesome for certain niche research tasks.