Author: Malcolm Coles


I'm a consultant - advising on SEO, content strategy and user experience for big brands and small websites. Like a busy builder who lives in a run-down house, my company website needs some work. So you're better off finding me on Twitter or my blog.

Before all this, I was editor of, the UK's most successful subscription website, with 200,000 subscribers paying £75 a year. As well as being the product managed, I ran the online editorial and news team, and have managed design and technical teams over the years.

Google and Matt Cutts are talking rubbish about Bing stealing their results

The internet has been awash this week with claims that Bing has been stealing Google's results. This claim is complete rubbish, despite the various statements by Google.


Why the Ryder Cup website sucks

Really bad company websites are organised around a business's internal structure - they reflect what departments the business has (which no one else gives a toss about), as opposed to reflecting what customers want or how they think.

The Ryder Cup site marks a new low in making your website reflect your organisation's internal structure. 


MP demonstrates zero understanding of search engines

In a surprising move, an MP revealed today that he doesn't understand the internet that well. 

According to the BBC: "Four government departments spent almost £6m ensuring their websites appeared on search engine results pages in the last two financial years, according to newly released figures."

So far, so meh. Organisations spend money on online marketing. Shock horror.


Great news: websites are completely free to run

A massive WTF moment interrupted my reading of The Observer's review of the paywall going up around the Times and Sunday Times.


AGENCIES: Please, please check your websites on an iPad

I may not be a full service number-one digital branding or content agency myself. If I ran one, though, I'd probably make sure my site looked ok on the iPad, which we should all know by now doesn't do Flash.

Here are 11 screenshots showing agency websites as seen on my iPad. These screenshots show the sites exactly as they appeared on my iPad (which was in landscape orientation). 


BP buys oil spill PPC ads: Nice idea, poor execution

BP is buying Google PPC ads as part of its online reputation management plan - it's obviously desperate to cap the gallons of bad publicity that are pumping out into the news ocean.

It's a nice idea, but it seems to have been executed with an automaton with no idea about tone ...


Dixons cocks up online execution of its exclusive iPad deal

This blog post is partly a public service to those wanting an iPad, and partly a walkthrough of how to screw up an exclusive deal by making a complete pig's ear of your website execution. 

First the public service: Here's how to find stores with iPads or ipad stock levels (note the careful use of anchor text to help Google understand the linked to pages are relevant to those words).


The proof that Facebook's reporting procedure is broken

Facebook has announced a new safety centre, claiming that "Safety is Facebook's top priority". But as I revealed just over a month ago, there are big problems with Facebook's procedures for reporting abusive content on groups, pages and forums.

And here's the proof. The content I complained about as part of that blog post is still live - comments which include racist language and false accusations of murder.


Election memo to party leaders: please sort out your terrible websites

Google searches for the leaders of the main political parties soared on the day the general election was called. Searches for David Cameron doubled overnight; interest in Gordon Brown was up 2.5 times; and people Googled Nick Clegg's name five times as often on the Tuesday as they did on the day before.

But guess what? The main UK political parties, especially the Conservatives and Labour, have made a pig's ear of their leader's online presence. If their pathetic online efforts are anything to go by, this is in no way the first digital election. Here's how they are going wrong...


What the BBC's strategic review actually says about online

The BBC’s strategic review has created a lot of fuss – especially around the closure of 6 Music and the supposed “halving” of its website.

To save you having to read the review, here’s what it actually says about the BBC’s online presence (and given the amount of confusing repetition in the report, I should be given a medal for saving you having to read it – can I suggest getting some more editors for the next strategic review?)


PC Mag slags off SEO, again (so tell me it's not selling links...)

PC Mag writer John Dvorak has written another bit of anti-SEO linkbait in which he claims that SEO "is killing the Internet if it hasn't already".

But what's that I see on PC Mag category pages? Surely they're not selling links for SEO reasons are they? Let's investigate.


What a lot of rubbish everyone is talking about Google and paywalls

The biggest load of old rubbish ever has been written about the changes to Google's first click free program. Here's a round up of who understands what they are talking about (and might survive with a paywall) and who hasn't got a clue ...