Mobility Scooter Song

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Just a quick one. So, I’m doing some website design and promotion work for a local business that provides mobility scooter hire, repairs and sales services and it brings to mind a song by North West comedy folk group, The Lancashire Hotpots.

As the promotion work for the business is relatively serious, a comedy song featuring mobility scooters is probably not appropriate for use.

Well, as I haven’t posted on here for a while, I thought I’d stick it here instead.

Shopmobility Scooter by The Lancashire Hotpots

If you’ve never heard of them, you should really look them up. Enjoy!

This is one of their slower numbers though, so don’t judge them by it. Check out the fantastic “Chippy Tea”, “Bitter Lager Cider Ale Stout” and “He’s Turned Emo” as well.

And if you ever get the chance to see them live, get the’sen along sunshine!

Why does Google not index my page titles properly?

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Aaaargh!! I hate you Google! For the love of all that is sacred, would you please stop arbitrarily deciding how page titles on my websites should be indexed?

Web Designers such as myself spend ages setting up pages with the correct keywords, title, h1 tags et al…

…and it is so frustrating to see you override them nonsensically, resulting in the page slipping into ranking obscurity on page 12 of any given search.

Yes, we’re fighting with everyone else to get our website recognised for the most potential searches, but when the pages are labelled well and match the unique content within, why has Google just taken to ignoring our efforts completely?

I think we’ll use the <h1> tag?!?

So, I’ve got page with a <title> tag as follows: Fiona Wills Accounting Services Ltd – Mobile Accountants Lancaster / Bookkeeping Lancaster / Payroll Services Lancaster

The content of the page has information relating to accountants, payroll, book-keeping and importantly the town Lancaster.

What does Google index? The <h1> tag!

Now obviously we’re not going to create a <h1> tag with the above mouthful in it and we don’t want to have to create separate pages for Accountants Lancaster, Payroll Services Lancaster and Book-keeping Lancaster.

The resulting website would be enormous and creating suitable unique text would be near impossible.

For that reason, we have chosen a shorter <h1> tag of “Accountants, Lancaster”, which nicely sums up all of the above.

But that would be useless in a search…

Indeed it would! Hence the reason it is so annoying that Google has selected that as the page title.

So come on Google, sort your act out and index our pages in the way we label them. And which you’re at it, do the same for the Accountants Garstang and Accountants Preston pages too!

Additional

Is is a few months since I created this post and Google is now not playing ball with another of my sites.

Google, for pity’s sake the <title> tag reads Apex Scaffolders – Scaffolding Hire Lancaster / Scaffolding Contractors Lancaster / Scaffolding Lancaster. Please index it as so!

It is ridiculous that I need to put a link in a blog to try to get you to look at the website properly.

The Farce Continues

The frustration is incredible. You create a page to match a search term and Google are arbitrarily opts to index it incorrectly and serve up something less appropriate in the search results.

I would like the following page to display as created please Read Mobility Workshop – Wheelchair Hire, Sales, Powered, Second Hand, New, Wheelchairs – Blackpool, Fleetwood, Thornton, Cleveleys, Poulton, Lytham, Kirkham, St Annes, Garstang NOT in the way you have opted for!

Why can’t they just use the <title> tag they’re given? How is it that Google thinks it knows what you want your page to be called? If the tag doesn’t reflect the content, then fair enough, don’t index it or reward it, but if it does, then why change it?

A tax on you know what?!?

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Its getting near the time of year when small businesses like myself turn their minds to financial matters and go in search of accounting and bookkeeping services to submit their annual tax returns.

So, following on from my Accountancy vs Lion Taming post, I’d thought I’d share another Monty Python sketch, this time devoted to matters of taxation.

Taxation?

Yes, and not just any form of taxation, but the ultimate in taxation.  Enjoy!

I included the longer version as it leads nicely into the sketch in a typical Terry Gilliam / Python-esque manner.

That couldn’t happen… …could it?

Well, to be fair it is unlikely, but daft taxes are not unheard of. For example, window tax which was tried several times in the British Isles and elsewhere, leading to the owners of a considerable number of larger buildings bricking over perfectly good windows to save money.

And the Catholic faith has managed to hold sway over the unmentioned act for many years!

Less tax policies = more tax revenue

For an interesting reflection on tax, take a look at the following short article: Why Income Tax and Other Daft Ideas?

Accountants I’ve spoken to have said very similar things, but of course, were the ideas in the article to be put into practice, they’d all be out of a job!

And then what would comedians write about?

Funny Garage Door Videos

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And the challenges just keep on coming… Last month accountancy and now this month I’ve got a customer who installs garage doors.

Ooh, now there’s an interesting subject to discuss. NOT!!

You’d think I’d be in real trouble wouldn’t you? Thankfully though, YouTube to the rescue…

The Budget Garage Door Solution

I’m not going to ruin this video with any intro, but just to say that some members of the fairer sex may not approve of this particular garage door solution. Hilarious though!

The Classic Just For Laughs Clip

You can always rely on Just For Laughs for funny clips involving the public. This one’s not bad, but it doesn’t feature as many funny reactions as they normally do. Although I do like the guy who tries to run up and stop the garage door with his hands.

The Specsavers Kid Garage Door Advert

One of a number of great adverts done by Specsavers featuring their advertising slogan, “Should’ve gone to Specsavers”. The basic premise of each advert is a funny situation where the protagonist mistakes one thing for another because they can’t see properly, hence they “Should’ve gone to Specsavers”!

In Conclusion?

Challenge accepted. Give me an awful subject matter and I’ll cover it.

Bring it on!!

Accountancy vs Lion Taming

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So, here’s a challenge, how to write a blog that makes reference to accounting services?

Hmmm… Tricky… Y’see, accountancy is a very boring subject.

Listen to an accountant talk about tax loopholes for even a few seconds and you will quickly feel your life force draining away as your brain fights with your eternal soul for the right to shut down.

Monty Python to the rescue…

Due to their extremely dull nature, accountants have over the years been the butt of many a comedy sketch, the masters of which were and always will be Monty Python.

And the best Python sketch featuring an accountant has to be Vocational Guidance Counsellor:

Did you enjoy it?

No?!? What’s wrong with you? Are you an accountant? Right, off you go, you’re not even a proper woman!

A necessary evil

All joking aside though, accountants are very definitely a necessary evil. From supposedly simple book-keeping and self assessment tax returns to VAT returns, statutory accounts, corporation tax and payroll services, the world of taxation is a minefield.

Combine that with risk of severe penalties for mistakes (even innocent ones), it’s little wonder that self employed individuals like myself would much rather get on with the day job and earn the money in the first place!

That way, the accountants in question will no doubt save them enough time and money to allow them to spend the evening watching their favourite Monty Python clips.

Many thanks to my accountant!! We love you really…

There’s more if you’re interested

For more thoughts on the pitfalls of running a business, take a look at: This time next year Rodders, I DON’T want to be a millionaire…

Google Instant Test #1 – Emergency Scaffolding North West

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Well truthfully, it’s the third test, but you’ll only know that if you’ve also read my I Hate Google Instant!!! and recent Google Instant vs Internet Explorer posts.

Y’see I’ve become rather obsessed with the pointless refreshes that Google makes to display unwanted search results before I’ve finished telling it what I’m actually looking for.

Obsessed?

Okay, so I am eating normally and going outdoors every now and then to soak up some vitimin D, but it does really annoy me. Read my previous posts if you want the full details.

Anyway, I’m determined to find out what the maximum number of these pointless screen refreshes might be when looking for a legitimate search term. The last posts revealed 11 and 8 respectively, but I’m sure we can beat that!

Here we go…

We’re going to search for ‘Emergency Scaffolding’ in the North West of England. How long before Google gets there I wonder:

  • E – gets me E! Online, an American entertainment news site featuring celebrity gossip and pictures. Hmm… Great, but will it hold my house up?
  • Em – pulls up Empire Magazine, a film review publication from the UK. Yeah, I need scaffolding as my exterior wall is looking like it might collapse after a fire. Not sure I want to read a review of a remake of Towering Inferno thanks…
  • Eme – now I get Emeli Sandé, a singer apparently. Oh good, now I’ll have something to listen to while I wait for the scaffolders to arrive!
  • Emer – brings up Emerald Publishing Group. Er, sorry no!
  • Emerg – results in a Wikipedia definition for the word Emergency, just in case I wasn’t sure…
  • Emergency – gives me a list of emergency tax codes from HM Revenue & Customs. Nope!!!
  • Emergency S – and now I get the Wikipedia page for the emergency services. They’ve already been thanks…
  • Emergency Sc – gets me Emergency Scotland 2011. WTF?!?
  • Emergency Sca – over to a forum page about getting an Emergency Pregnancy Scan. Nooo!!
  • Emergency Scaf – appears to get me what I want as the top result is a scaffolding company in Manchester that operates in the North West, but wait a minute… Under that are several London companies and national companies. Where are my other local solutions?
  • Emergency Scaffolding Nort – well, we’re in the right zone. We’ve got scaffolders, but now they’re in Northampton. Keep trying…
  • Emergency Scaffolding North – excellent, back to scaffolders from (North) London. Oh, and one from North Wales…
  • Emergency Scaffolding North Wes – and we’re finally there!

Just one letter off what I’d have to have typed if I’d done it in full and after suffering 12 unecessary screen refreshes. I’ve eventually got what I wanted though i.e. Emergency Scaffolding North West

Did you say 12? Yes, indeed I did. A new record methinks!

In Conclusion

Why not have a go yourself and see if you can beat it? No prizes I’m afraid, just the kudos of knowing you’ve outsmarted (ahem) a search engine?

P.S. Sorry Google, but it’s too late! Whilst faffing with screen refreshes my wall has collapsed. Off to a bed and breakfast for me tonight…

Google Instant vs Internet Explorer

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Well it’s now nearly nine months since my I Hate Google Instant!!! post and things are no better. In fact, if anything, it seems to be getting worse.

I’ve now given up trying to use Internet Explorer (IE) to do Google queries as I’m sick of having my browser freeze up completely as Google tries to constantly update my screen with interim premature results that have no relevancy to what I’m looking for.

No IE bashing follows…

Now, I know the populist view might be to blame Internet Explorer as an inefficient browser, but I’m sorry to disappoint you all by telling you that it works fine with everything else.

You’d almost think it was a conspiracy though. Are Microsoft trying to force me onto Bing or is Google trying to get me to use Chrome? Well, I’m happy to disappoint both of them. I’m now on Firefox using Google, which still slows to a crawl unnecessarily, but at least doesn’t hang completely.

Sadly, like many other people I can’t ditch Google as despite its recent pointless and irritating improvements, it is still the best search engine for results. Sorry Bing, but you need a lot more than a new name if you want us all to switch.

But what is it for?

Exactly! As per the last post on this subject, we return to the question that has been on everyone’s lips for quite some time, “what exactly is Google Instant for?”

If I wanted the results for half the word or phrase I’m looking for, then surely I’d only be typing half the word or phrase in the first place?

For Example

Let’s take the role of a potential customer for the company of Swap yer for a driveway? fame. So I’m looking for someone who does concrete driveways in the Blackpool area. Here goes:

  • C – pulls up Currys. Er, no I don’t need any electrical equipment thanks..
  • Co – brings up Comet. Hmmm… Didn’t I just say I don’t want any household electrical items?
  • Con – gives me Congestion Charging. Well, it might be useful if I ever go driving in London, but right now I’m in Lancashire..
  • Conc – results in Concorde. A Wikipedia definition? I know that the cost of a new driveway might be equivalent to what it used to cost to fly on Concorde, but I hardly see how it is relevant. Keep trying Google…
  • Concr – after a brief screen freeze, I get the Wikipedia definition for Concrete. Well, we’re getting somewhere I suppose. Did you know that the word originates from the Latin word “concretus” (meaning compact or condensed)?
  • Concrete D – gets me one of those awful internet directory sites promising to get me the best pattern imprinted concrete installer in my area, whilst bombarding me with Google AdSense adverts…
  • Concrete Driveways – I now get Paving Expert, a very interesting site with a forum, faqs and more about paving and pattern imprinted concrete created by former installers who now do consultancy work for large urban projects. Not much use for my humble dwelling!
  • Concrete Driveways B – and next is  a local patterned concrete supplier for the Bristol area
  • Concrete Driveways Bl – and finally Blackpool! Wahoo! We’re there.

Okay, so that’s eight wholly unnecessary screen refreshes before I get to what I was after, namely Concrete Driveways Blackpool.

And was it faster? Nope!! In fact, the slow down and occasional freeze means that it takes longer. So what’s the point?

No better than spam…

And here’s a thought. Spam (unsolicited email, not the meat of Monty Python fame) gets a bad name for a number of reasons, one of them being that worldwide it accounts for significant unwanted network traffic, making servers work much harder for no reward.

Well, could Google not be said to be doing the same? We’re not talking about advertising here, but worldwide, Google Instant must be using exponentially more bandwidth than is necessary and for little result.

Even customers I’ve spoken to whose browsers do not freeze have said that they largely ignore what’s happening on the screen until they’ve finished typing!

No solution in sight…

And after all this time, and the internet awash with blogs posts like this one, Google still hasn’t taken the hint and provided a foolproof way to disable it.

It can be disabled using Google’s settings screen, but that means it gets stored in a cookie which is lost as soon as internet savvy individuals like myself clear down their temporary internet files. i.e. every time my browser closes.

C’mon Google, please, please, please either get rid of this useless irritating gimic or give us a querystring value that we can pass to turn the damned thing off.

And relax…

Right, rant over. Time to get back to work.

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