We have recently launched a new website for the British Contender Association (BCA).
The BCA is the UK class association of the International Contender Class, an international sailing dinghy. This is a fourth generation site that we have created for the class. The first was a simple HTML site, the second a Mambo site based on a standard template, which was subsequently upgraded to Joomla 1.0 with an updated template design.
This latest site is a migration up to Joomla 1.5, with yet another new template design.
Google has confirmed that its new Personalised Search is fully live.
Personalised Search has been in place for several years for logged-in users, but in December Google rolled out Personalised Search for all users, logged in or not. With the new Personalised Search, all users are tracked and their search history stored for 180 days.
This allows the search engine to use your Personalised Search history to tailor results to what it thinks the most appropriate. For example, if you search for information on say, Greece and Turkey, then search for holidays, Personalised Search will try and second guess what it is you are looking for and modify results to reflect your Personalised Search history, skewing results towards holidays in Greece and Turkey.
The results you click on will also affect Personalised Search - if you tend to click on results from a preferred site (for example Amazon), this will also be recorded, and Personalised Search will subsequently tend to show you more results from that site.
The launch of Personalised Search has had something of a mixed reaction - some have expressed concerns about privacy and a certain amount of disquiet over the amount of data about individuals being gathered by "Big Brother Google" without their knowledge (users can opt-out of Personal Search if they wish, but the process is by no means obvious), but other users find this sort of functionality very useful in biasing results towards their preferences.
From an SEO perspective, Personalised Search will throw up a new series of problems - one of our new clients was singing our praises in December about the dramatic affect we'd had on their search engine rankings - although it would have been nice to take all the credit for this, I had regretfully tell him that it wasn't really us, it was that he'd been clicking happily on his company's results, and his Personalised Search was duly giving him more of the same ... Oh, well, at least they are also seeing some REAL improvements!
RWS Independent Ltd has launched a new website. RW Surveyors are RICS Regulated Independent Chartered Surveyors, providing a wide range of surveying and professional property advisory services to trade and private clients across Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire.
The new site is a custom design, and based on the Joomla CMS system.
The Mortgage Explorer is an independent mortgage broker providing a wide range of specialist tax-efficient home, commercial and overseas mortgages.
The Mortgage Explorer has been helping clients around the world to find their best mortgage deals for more than 10 years, and this is their third website. The new web site is based on the Joomla CMS, and incorporates a newsletter sign-up using Big Response, and social bookmarking modules.
A Wordpress blog has also been added, and the overall project includes full search engine optimisation (SEO) and a range of additional marketing activities.
Google has announced that its latest update, Caffeine, is ready to go live, and will shortly start rolling out across its datacentres.
Caffeine is the first major update to Google since the Big Daddy update caused such chaos a few years ago. Caffeine is almost a complete rebuild of the Google indexing system, and is intended to improve speed; both speed of indexing and speed of delivery, and Google expects a considerable improvement in the "freshness" of results, particularly in the news sector, and this was born out in the results from the developers "sandbox" version that was opened for testing in August.
Google don't expect us to see too much change in search positions (but they said that about Big Daddy too!), but realistically we can expect to see quite a bit of fluctuation in results while Caffeine rolls out.
As always, Google is keeping things a bit quiet about what changes its made to the indexing algorithms, but results from the sandbox suggest that there is slightly more emphasis on keywords on the page, and also on the inclusion of thematically related terms, which is all good from the point of improving relevancy over popularity, but until we see results coming from Caffeine its will be difficult to assess.
Our advice is to keep your nerve and wait for the dust to settle over the next couple of months before starting to worry about changes to your positions.