SEO Blackhats with Daniel Somers

December's SIMS will be about Blackhat SEO. ‘Blackhat SEO’ is the term for actions that violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines. This SEO antic is used by businesses to try and stimulate traffic to their websites in the easiest way possible.  Blackhat is bad in SEO terms, it can kill your business, brand and website overnight if (or when) you get caught.

Knowing about Blackhat SEO is relevant to your business if you are looking to hire a third party company to optimise your SEO campaigns, or if you already pay someone to do it. You should know what Google is looking out for that would blacklist your website, and what questions you should be asking.

But some website owners are making an absolute killing out of Blackhat and they stay in business for a very long time. A lot of the well-known brands still play in the naughty world of Internet marketing but the truth is you simply don’t know about it. Companies make a lot of money out of the term ‘rank and tank’…. You may think that Blackhat is about flooding the Internet with spam, but quite frankly some of it is genius although it will destroy your company when you get caught.

This talk will cover:

  • How Blackhat is more than just a few spammy links
  • You may already be Blackhat, you just don’t know it
  • How you can rank nearly anything within a very short time period
  • How affiliates are taking your sales
  • Amazon & eBay are even in on it
  • Social Blackhats – lots of them

Find out more about SEO blackhats and how they affect your business in December's SIMS (15th December, 7pm at UCS) with our guest speaker Daniel Somers.

If you'd like to see more details for this event, here's a link to our SIMS Meetup page and SIMS website

We hope to see you there! 

Podcasting by Professionals

Award-winning UK podcasters, Kathryn Bryant and Julian Illman from the Changeability Podcast took the stage at last night’s SIMS as they enthusiastically discussed the basic and complex aspects of Podcasting in a night filled with ideas and valuable information for small businesses. 

We heard it from the best

We heard it from the best

We hope that Kathryn and Julian inspired you to take on Podcasting and discover how it can positively impact your business. As they mentioned, the podcast industry is still growing and there are definitely more topics to be covered. A quick run-through some of last night's notes:

  • Having a podcast helps you "develop your personal brand"
  • Podcasting can help you create networks and build a good relationship with you audience
  • Podcasting is useful for content marketing
  • Your listeners willingly choose to listen to your podcast.
  • Your podcast can reach places you wouldn't even imagine.
  • Easy to start up and can be monetised long term. 

If you'd like to get in touch with the speakers or ask about anything about podcasting, you can visit We'd like to thank everyone for another successful and enjoyable SIMS event. Get news and updates about SIMS at our newly-launched website,, where you can also find Max's round-up for this month's SIMS.

Here are some photos from last night's SIMS, you all look great!

Max's Round-up From September's SIMS

Every month at SIMS, Max provides a brief run-down of just some of the tech-related news that may affect small businesses, and agencies that work with small businesses and we post the links here. If any of these catch your interest, but you're not sure how they would affect you, feel free to get in touch and ask!

While we were away for the summer break, Google became a different company:

Windows 10 sets Edge as the default browser and, with it, Bing as a default search engine:

Andrew was asking about GTM, this is a little technical, but useful for non-devs:

Android Pay is now live (although I think it may be US only for now?), along with an updated version of Google Wallet both for Android and iOS.

I've linked to this before, but they have a new website:

There have been a lot of AdWords features, a huge number of which are related to mobile and eCommerce. If you're interested in the specifics, I recommend some time reading the Inside AdWords blog. If you pay someone else to do your ads, speak to them about how to implement these features.

Google are now allowing advertisers the chance to upload lists of customer email addresses, and advertise directly to them:
“Customer Match allows you to upload a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns and ads specifically designed to reach your audience. Users can control the ads they see, including Customer Match ads, by opting out of personalized ads or by muting or blocking ads from individual advertisers through Google Ads Settings.”

Google's inbox-based email ads are now available to all advertisers:
“ advertisers can manage native Gmail ads right in AdWords by setting up a Display Network campaign and creating a Gmail ads format in the Ad gallery.”

You (or at least someone you pay) can make 360-degree video ads:

“360 degree video ads let you engage your audience in an entirely new way. Available today in Chrome and the YouTube app on Android and iOS, viewers can explore every angle of your videos by dragging their mouse or moving their phone to shift their POV 360 degrees – up, down, left or right. Thanks to the ability simply to move your phone to see different parts of the video, 360 video ads are a truly mobile-first video ad product.”

Contactless limit is now increased to £30 - this includes Apple Pay. There are some imaginative uses of this technology already.

Analytics updates have been technical, but if you're feeling analytical, dive in to the releases for July 2015 and September 2015.

Content blockers are here, they are in iOS 9.

Google My Business app gets an update. Android only for now. iOS coming soon.

Another step towards Facebook Messenger becoming it's own platform. Facebook M.

Last mentioned back in May, tweets are now a full-time, first-class citizen in search results:

Industry Round-up from June's SIMS

Every month at SIMS Max gives a round up of what's new in SEO and on the web. Here's this month's update which includes the latest revision of Search Engine Land's SEO periodic table and news about Apple Maps which might matter to your business. Any questions, get in touch.

Google have announced a new tool to help you know what data they store for you.

Stripe are now powering 'buyable pins'. Great if you sell things that do really well on Pinterest.

On a similar note to the above link, Google are now showing Pins in the mobile carousel.

Android Pay is coming. It's like Apple Pay, but with more Google

It's like your normal inbox, but more confusing.

Mobile search now represents the majority of Google searches in the UK & Ireland.

iOS 9 updates maps heavily, can now browse for businesses by category rather than just showing them as random red dots.

If you, or your client's, site relies on ad revenue, this is big news. Safari on iOS is a massively popular browser and this has huge implications.

How do you prevent your business listings from being run by people that don't bother updating them? If you're Google, you un-verify the page owners after six months of inactivity.

We reference the original version of this card a lot, so here's the 2015 version.

If you are a content publisher (or your clients are) then Apple's news runs on RSS, which you may already have so you might want to take a look at how you can be part of their offering when it's launched in iOS 9.

No update on referral spam.

June's SIMS - Social Media with Linda Rumbold

A very nervous Linda took to the floor to speak to the SIMS this month. I only learnt recently that Linda isn't a fan of speaking to very large groups (something we have in common!), but as I predicted she was great! Linda is a person who teaches the fundamentals of social media and draws in other marketing disciplines to teach business owners how to take control of their online profile to help their businesses grow. She empathises what we're try to teach at SIMS and we hope she'll be back soon.

There we more lovely comments which can be seen on our page. 

This month's meetup ended with some news about changes starting this Autumn. From September, we will have a slightly different format and we want to take some time to get it right.

It's been a busy year so far at SIMS. We have been lucky enough to have heard from some fabulous speakers and continued to learn helpful tips and get advice from experts who know what they're talking about. Our numbers have grown every month and the feedback we receive is always positive. 

Here's how happy SIMS makes people! :)

Here's how happy SIMS makes people! :)

The new format aims to help even more novices and beginners learn how to work effectively online. We will cover a topic per month, with more than one speaker and include a few offline solutions. Our aim is the same, to up-skill Suffolk businesses, start-ups and pre start-ups with digital knowledge but more than that we want to help Suffolk businesses to grow, to meet experts who can help them, to learn from each other and network and generally to make Suffolk more successful!

In Other News....

Ruth Cheesley's new group IMEx which launches soon and will be aimed at website/SEO experts developing better skills. You can sign up for updates on their website

May's SIMS- Brand Authenticity with Helen Oldfield

Another amazing meetup this month and we have to say a huge thank you to Helen Oldfield from Affinity PR for her talk. Helen's talk was about “Brand Authenticity”; the business case for conveying your genuine values and personality online. Helen told some hilarious tales from her years of experience (none of which were to leave the room), and generally shared tips with an enthusiastic audience. 

Have a look at some of the lovely comments at SIMS - Suffolk Internet Marketing Specialists account.

Next month we have Linda Rumbold from Linda Rumbold Marketing coming to talk about Social Media.

The Digital Legacy Conference 2015

Jack Rooke

Jack Rooke

The event was sponsored by DeadSocial as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2015 and was hosted by hilarious comedian Jack Rooke - go and see him if you get a chance, he's a naturally funny guy who has found a comedic niche in a no-so-funny area.

Max and I travelled down to London for the very first Digital Legacy Conference, to hear some amazing speakers explore how the internet has changed the way we will remember and grieve forever. They also examined how our digital footprint will ultimately help determine both our legacy and our digital legacy.

These are obviously areas we care a great deal about at Echoleft, where development is continuing on our memorial website. We have been lucky enough to work with the team at St Nicholas Hospice Care in Bury St Edmunds where they have been processing donations in memory of their patients. One family has been working hard and has already reached £1k in memory of Zena Butcher. Please donate if you can.

Sam annoying Dr Mark Taubert

The more we have worked on Echoleft, the more relaxed I have become talking and listening  about death as a subject. The speakers were so varied and cover ancient memorials to end-of-life planning, digital estate planning and how people mourn online internationally. It was truly fascinating, I will certainly be going next year.


The Digital Legacy Conference also hosted the RSVP Funeral Invitation Exhibition

April's SIMS - Website Building, How to Avoid the Horror Stories

April’s SIMS meetup saw our very own Max Shelley giving the SIMS the value of his many years of experience and helping the audience bypass all the usual pitfalls to make the most of their online presence. Max’s talk got some amazing feedback, sadly I think some people spotted the mistakes as ones they had made but, as Max pointed out, knowing about it means you can make it right.

Max’s main advice was to make sure you have clear, easy to read contracts and project agreements which explore any likely outcomes, including the bad ones. He also explained how important it is that you, or your business own the rights to your website and all the ensuing data.

As always with SIMS, if you have a question about your own website please feel free to come along and ask one of our experts. 

Up Periscope!

We also Persiscoped (is that the right verb?) Max’s talk and got some love hearts from the audience. It was also recorded by the lovely people at Red Cliff Productions and will be available to view soon.

Next month's at SIMS we'll have Helen Oldfield from Affinity PR talking about Brand Authenticity, sign up and RSVP here.

March's SIMS - Largest Audience to Date!

If you run a business in Suffolk and have ANYTHING to do with Facebook, it's highly likely you've heard of Daniel Somers from SEOmers. Daniel is a highly respected SEO expert and is renowned for giving great advice to businesses of all sizes who want to know more. 

Dan kindly came to give a talk at our March Meetup, we thought it would be popular but we didn't realise quite how many people would be drawn to hear from Dan. His talk was informative, concise and most importantly spoke to all of our audience, from novices to experts. Dan is passionate about helping businesses get the most from their websites and his enthusiasm shone through. Thank you Dan, we really appreciate it.

Redcliff Films kindly filmed Dan's talk and here's a small segment (more to come soon).

Topics covered by Daniel are:
* What SEO is and should have always been. * Why you must understand the basics of SEO. * Why Google hates you. * Why Google loves your competitors. * Why you can do better than the number #1 spot.

February's SIMS - Sucessful Email Marketing with Justin Bowser

At February's SIMS we were happy to welcome Justin Bowser, Chief Operating Officer at Ipswich based HTK, giving his insightful talk about email marketing. Sam first heard Justin talk at a Digital Drive talk and knew he was a perfect match to talk at a SIMS meetup, and she was 100% right!

Justin's funny and relaxed talk was not only entertaining but contained some marketing gems. The feedback from Justin's talk was amazing and we will pester him to come back again soon.

SIMS sponsor, Carol Gant, arranged for Redcliff Studios to film Justin, which will follow soon.

Max gave his usual SEO round up, you can find his list of helpful links here. Max also gave the 10 minute takeaway talk about SSL encryption. This is all second nature to Max he explained what online security means to Suffolk online businesses.

If you'd like to know more about SIMS, visit our page and join our group for updates.



SIMS Industry Round-Up, February

Each month Max gives his industry round up at our SIMS Meetup and posts the links to interesting articles and must reads for Suffolk Businesses who want to stay a head online.

Here is February's list:

I mentioned it a couple of months ago, now Google has finally brought the ability to send money via GMail to the UK. Could be useful to provide customers and clients a new way to pay their bills.­
Web push notifications are now a real thing, get in early if you have a valid way to use them.­
It's been a long time since Tweets showed in Google, but they're back. Will be interesting to see how they handle this.

Tweetdeck has been an official Twitter tool for quite some time and if paying for Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Buffer etc. isn't for you, then this new feature could be ideal.

This could be great for clients that don't sell online and only want leads via the phone.

If you're Webmaster Tools data has been slow to update lately, it looks like you're not the only one.

Google now let you specify which photos appear for your business listing. Change your presences in Google My Business.

SIMS Industry Round-Up, January

Every month after Max has given his industry round up to the SIMS - Suffolk Internet Marketing Specialist's Meetup we post the list here so you can go through the articles at your leisure. Since we didn't meet in December it's a long list, but still worth a read if you want to stay ahead.

Windows 10 is here. If you're interested in search then it's worth looking at how deep the Cortana integration runs through the entire operating system on all devices. If you're interested in the web, then it's worth paying attention to Spartan (http://www.theverge.c...­) the new web browser they announced.

Group DM's come to Twitter along with Vine-esque 30 second videos direct from the app).­
Analytics implements a way to recover things you've deleted like filters. Very handy!­
An official chrome plugin to help you pull data out of Google Analytics and into Google Spreadsheets. There are some videos of how to use it at:­

Technical, but if you're more technical, here is a guide to microdata/rich snippets.­
They buried it in a generic blog post, but enhanced eCommerce is now out of beta.­­
Shopify now have a podcast. Their range of resources for store-owners is growing and it's available to all, even if you don't run your shop on their platform (although obviously all their content is somewhat pro-Shopify).­
Facebook's tutorial videos are either awesome or weird. This one shows how to block someone.­
Typecast, a tool to help design fonts, spacings, colours and more is now free.­
Wordpress 4.1 is here. As usual, you should update for security as well as the new features they are offering (which are listed in this blog post).­
Someone asked Sam on Facebook about Beacons (iBeacons if you're using Apple's terminology). This manufacturers site has some good examples of how they could be used, and a short video showing the setup procedure at­ - Note: these are for developers rather than plug-n-play devices, but they give you an idea of usage as more consumer-ready versions will appear.

ETC (Estimated Total Conversions) is US-only but worth watching, they're helping track phone calls, visits (yes, using location data of your customers) and more for AdWords customers.

Pinterest are customising their search results by gender.

For the larger (200+ orders per month), or more technical eCommerce sites that use Adwords. Google Trusted Sites is now apparently easier to sign up for. This article -https://econsultancy....­ - runs through some of the pro's and con's (athough Google do claim to have simplified the process since then).

Google added more filters to restaurant searches in Google maps. Make sure your details are up-to-date in Google My Business.­
Following on from me recently saying that Google are pushing mobile-friendly sites as a high priroty, here's a tweet clarifying what they mean by ‘mobile friendly’

Many of the services that Google are linking to make it really easy to get clients up-and-running with a pretty great web experience (we use Squarespace and Shopify and love them both). Whatever you think of Google, there are some pretty not-great domain name providers out there, so having another company in the mix that has the resources to provide the service without ripping customers off is not the worst thing.

Google have re-written their reCaptcha service and for many visitors the new version will simply involve clicking one checkbox rather than deciphering some weird squiggly words. Details of how to implement are linked on that page.

New structured data testing tool.­
The Analytics team are dropping support for IE9, so for those of you with clients that are running old Windows Vista machines and you're trying to get them to look at their stats, they may experience issues.­
A technical list, but this site audit a good starting point for working with your developers.

January's SIMS - Anne Gould, Vlogging for Business

January's SIMS meetup saw Anne Gould from Workingwordz Media giving an introduction to her training session 'Vlogging for Business'. Anne explained why having a video presence matters to your online profile. She told us how easy it can be with just a smartphone and some relatively inexpensive tools.

We can't thank Anne enough for taking the time to come and share her knowledge with the SIMS, the feedback was great and a number of people told me it had inspired them to pick up their phones and get talking!

If you'd like to know more about SIMS, visit our page and join our group for updates.

SIMS Industry Round-Up, November 2014
Google now offer an alternative to ads for content sites. Allow you users to opt-out of ads and pay you directly for the content. Similar to services like Patreon, but integrated directly into Google (and AdSense/AdWords).
EU VAT Policy is changing and it has some huge ramifications if you sell (or may sell) digital products to customers in the EU. Lots of reading to do at the links above.

Lots of guides provided by Google over the festive period on the Adwords and Analytics blogs.
You can now show ‘promotions’ (voucher codes, offers etc) in your product listing Google ad's.
Microsoft Office free on iOS devices.
Firefox drops Google as default search engine. I have a feeling this may hurt Firefox more than it hurts Google, although it is something to be aware of.
This is the third or fourth step that Google have outlined about this recently. They are hammering the point home.
Black Friday is bigger than ever in the UK, make sure you're ready with your deals for customers looking to buy!
Every monday, for one hour. Some good advice and thoughts from people on the slightly more technical side of the SEO/eCommerce industry.
Keyword planner becoming even more useful for those that have good data.
Potentially useful for all you vociferous tweeters. Competitor reviews with the searches is especially useful.
If your clients have apps, they may be interested in putting them on their wrist.
This is currently just for people, not businesses, but always nice to see they're working on this.
A reminder to keep an eye on the search results page for clients in different sectors.
Yet more hints from Google how seriously they take mobile.
Update Wordpress. Seriously.