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Media Release, 20th June 2011

(By Kyogle Group Against Gas, forwarded by Keerrong Gas Squad)

Border Ranges National ParkLocal residents have raised serious concerns about the proposed Metgasco gas pipeline from Casino to Ipswich, with fears that it will damage both agricultural land in the Richmond Valley and the World Heritage Border Ranges National Park. The pipeline will extend for 145km.

“Metgasco plan to run this pipeline along one of the steepest and windiest roads in the region, the Lions Road through the Border Ranges NP, and we simply do not believe that is possible without causing serious environmental damage” said Kyogle shire resident Boudicca Cerese.

“The environmental record of Metgasco has raised alarm bells – if they can’t even properly remediate a water storage pond near Casino, then how can they be trusted to drive a major gas pipeline through a World Heritage area?” she said

“Lions Way is renowned as being a high slip area, which has been closed for weeks at a time after rainy periods due to the road literally falling away.  This is an extremely sensitive area which will be severely damaged by the proposed pipeline,” said Rural Fire Service volunteer Thorsten Jones.

“Construction activities may include blasting with explosives through rock and will lead to serious impacts on wildlife and vegetation from heavy machinery operation, noise, dust and erosion” he said.

“Further south from the Border Ranges, our local watercourse, Lynches Ck, is one of the most pristine in the region and this will be placed at risk from sedimentation and erosion where the pipeline crosses the creek” said Leah Hobbs, resident of Lynches Creek.

“We are also concerned about clearing adjacent to the creek.  Dairy farmers in the valley rely on this pure water to produce quality milk that is consumed throughout the region.

“We are calling on both state and federal governments to reject this pipeline.  Not only will it do direct and irreversible damage, but it will open up the entire northern rivers to a massive expansion in coal seam gas production.  Our local communities intend to fight this every step of the way,” she said.

An information session about the proposed pipeline will be held at the Kyogle Town Hall on Tuesday 5th July from 6.30pm.

Information or comment:

Boudicca Cerese on 0266337196 or 0431513546

Leah Hobbs via email at leah2604@gmail.com

SEO Periodic TableHere’s a little something I found over at Search Engine Land. It’s a clear, easy to understand Periodic Table of Search Engine Optimisation Factors useful in navigating the sometimes confusing SEO world. Enjoy.

The Road by Cormac McCarthyI recently read The Road by Cormac McCarthy and then watched the film not long after. I loved them both but wish I’d left it a bit before watching the film: I couldn’t help comparing them.
The post apocalyptic journey across America of a man and his son, it was horrific and poignant. The story moved from human brutality, frailty, and despair through determination, love, and hope. And everything in between.

In the cold, desolate, poisonous landscape the two main characters (father and son) travel hopefully on toward the coast, in search of some place safe. They encounter few, usually hostile, humans along the way and are forced to scavenge through the burnt countryside for whatever food and water they can find. They are in a constant struggle for survival.

Being a father of two boys myself, I really got absorbed by this book. The tenderness and love between the father and his son in the midst of such horror really engaged me. McCarthy’s writing is just so engrossing. I think anyone who can read such a bleak tale would have to agree that despite its dark themes it’s a deep, authentic, subtle story of humanity at its best and worst.

As an example of the beauty of McCarthy’s writing here’s a small excerpt from  the end of the book that I found so beautiful I learnt it by heart.

“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”

The Road
Cormac McCarthy

Funny Spam

Hi all, sorry I haven’t finished my SEO series yet I’ve been a little busy with one thing or another (see my latest sites – jamspeak.com, organicwool.com.au, percussiongarden.com.au ) and haven’t had the time. I will do my best to get that finished soon.

Anyway this post is on another topic altogether: Comment Spam. I was cleaning out some spam from one of my newish side projects and I just couldn’t bring myself to delete some of it. It was just too good. Maybe good’s not quite the right word, I’ll let you be the judge.

So before I take it out the back yard and set fire to it, I have decided to share some of these eloquent pieces of literary genius with my loyal readers. Both of you.

To lay the groundwork, all this spam comes from a single WordPress site I put together a month or so back as a kind of experiment in the world of internet marketing. It lacks any real substance and certainly does not merit any kind of praise for it’s content. It’s just a simple review site with affiliate links to a bunch of amazon products.

But it would seem there are some out there who would disagree. I’ll let the Spam do the talking…  Enjoy.

Sample One:

“High-quality dialogue here. I want to join with you by giving my comments for your internet page. Initially, your web page and design of your web site is so elegant, it’s attractive. Also, in explaining your opinion and other news, frankly you’re the supreme one. I’ve by no means met other person with special abilities in my working environment. By using this comment web page, you’re nice to present me opportunities for announcing some events. Secondly, I’ve checked your web site in search engine result page; a few of your website pages have ranked very well. Additionally, your topic is relevant with my desired one. Lastly, if you happen to don’t mind, may you join with us as a team, to be able to develop website, now not only total web web page, but also many express web sites we must create for our missions. Sometimes, we, I and my team have nice role so that you can develop that.”

“…the supreme one.”  So true.

Sample Two:

“I intended to compose you one very small remark in order to give many thanks as before for your personal pretty knowledge you have shown in this article. It has been quite extremely generous with people like you to allow unhampered precisely what a few people might have made available for an ebook in order to make some cash for themselves, and in particular now that you might well have tried it if you decided. The good ideas also served to become a easy way to fully grasp the rest have similar passion just like my very own to know a lot more with reference to this issue. I believe there are several more fun occasions ahead for people who read carefully your blog.”

A very small remark might have been a better idea.

Sample Three:

“Serious experience is never tranquil.”

Then again maybe not.

Sample Four:

“I dont know what to say. This weblog is fantastic. Thats not truly a really large statement, but its all I could come up with soon after reading this. You know so considerably about this subject. So a lot so that you produced me desire to find out a lot more about it. Your weblog is my stepping stone, my friend. Thanks for the heads up on this subject.”

No worries, glad to be of assistance in your quest for ever more knowledge about home entertainment equipment.

Sample Five:

“I dont know what to say. This is undoubtedly among the better blogs Ive read. Youre so insightful, have so much actual stuff to bring to the table. I hope that a lot more folks read this and get what I got from it: chills. Excellent job and excellent blog. I cant wait to read a lot more, maintain em comin!”

It really is great to be able to bring my stuff to the table, so to speak, and give my readers chills.

And finally (there’s more but I won’t put you through it. I know you both have other stuff to do)

Sample Six:

“I was just searching for this information and facts for some time. Right after 6 hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your web site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this type of informative websites in leading of the list. Usually the leading websites are full of garbage.”

Mmm after six hours of continuous googleing (or is it googling) I suspect any old drivel would suffice. But thanks.

I just love the way none of them broach the subject of what my blog is actually about.

 

 

Before I launch into a series of SEO related posts I thought it would be a good idea to cover the basics, so we’re all on the same page.

So, to begin…

What Exactly Is A Search Engine?

A search engine (like Google, Yahoo! or Bing) is a software program that gathers information about web pages and their contents, indexes them according to some kind of ranking system and serves (or attempts to serve) the most relevant pages to those who use it, when they make a search.

Search engines all use different methods, so the same search query typed into Google will return different results than those returned by Bing or Yahoo. But despite their differences they are aiming to provide you with the same thing: the most relevant result for the search terms and phrases you type in to the search bar.

How Do Search Engines Work?

Without going into too much detail, search engines perform three main functions. Crawling, Indexing and Ranking.

Search engines use “spiders” (special software agents) to crawl the web in search of new content.

When they reach a page they compile a list of the words on the page and note where they were found eg. in the title or the sub-title? In the main body of text? In a link? Were they part of a meta tag? and so on…

Each word and phrase is then ranked according to a set of (usually secret) rules that exist to ensure only relevant results come back when you make a search, and that the MOST relevant results show up first. So when users search for ‘dogs’ for example, they get pages about dogs. Not pages about elephants or sandpaper. And, your nephews dodgy homemade site about his pet dog ‘Rusty’ shows up after a professional, fast loading website full of informative content about dog breeds, care, training etc.

And, in very simple terms, that’s about it.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) lately and one thing that’s been repeated over and over again is that you don’t just want to attract lots and lots of people to your site. You want to attract people who are going to buy your stuff, or if you make your money from running ads alongside your content, you want to attract people who will click through and buy their stuff.

I don’t know about you but I used to think the more traffic the better. But there are a few reasons why carefully targeted traffic is really what you’re after:

1. too many unnecessary visitors can slow down your websites load time making it more likely that potential customers will move on to another faster loading site,

2. depending on your plan, it can help you save on your monthly hosting costs,

3. it uses more energy to serve up your site to more people and that means more carbon emissions.

So, to increase you sales, save money on hosting and minimise your website’s carbon emissions, use SEO techniques that attract the right type of visitors, not just anyone.

For more information about Search Engine Optimisation, watch this space, I’ll be posting more about it soon.

We’re also launching a new SEO and SEM service over at Little Green Web in coming days to help you get your website noticed by the people who are looking for your products or services so stay tuned.

Green Search

Google on a Commodore PET

With the ever growing awareness about climate change and other environmental concerns (toxic sludge, radioactive zombies etc), eco-friendly businesses and their websites are popping up all over the place. As a consequence we’re seeing some innovative new search engines with a green twist.

One that I came across the other day is Ecosia, a search engine that uses ad revenue from sponsored links to fund environmental projects. They also offset the carbon emissions from each search, in much the same way we do for our small business websites, so in my book they’re definitely on the right track.

Ecosia is powered by Bing and Yahoo. Bing supplies the dynamic search results (identical to those you’d get if you just used Bing) and Yahoo supplies the relevant sponsored links. Each time someone clicks on a sponsored link, 80% of the money earned by Ecosia goes to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and their work in the Amazon. So far they’ve donated US $160,000 and it’s only their first year.

My only criticism of Ecosia is their use of the Bing search engine instead of Google. They claim this is because Google doesn’t allow for ad revenue to be transferred directly to a third party (in this case the WWF). I’m guessing that’s a problem because double handling the cash, getting ad revenue from Google AdWords for instance and then passing it on to a third party, would mean more bank fees. If that’s the case, then fair enough: the more money raised to keep the lungs of the world alive the better.

But I did find a alternative of sorts that is powered by Google: Green Maven, a green website directory with a million pages of approved green
content, from ecommerce sites selling organic socks to little aussie
start ups that build carbon neutral websites. Another shameless plug, I know. But somebody’s gotta do it.

It’s not an all-round search engine like Ecosia, so you wouldn’t use it to find a good local oil refinery or mining group; they probably won’t be listed. But it’s great if you want to find products, services and information with a focus on the environment and social justice.

Green Maven uses Google’s Custom Search technology to return search results from it’s ever growing pool of editor approved green websites, and getting your site listed is fairly easy if it meets their criteria. It must clearly demonstrate green values on the home page and be of an acceptable quality by current web standards. A third party green certification or two will improve your sites chances too.

I applied to have Little Green Web listed and it was approved within a day or two. So if you think your site might be eligible apply here. Or if you just want  a great way to search the green web, bookmark Green Maven or Ecosia now and make every search count.

Happy New Year! I hope you haven’t been too silly over the silly season. Did you make any new years resolutions this year? Have you broken any of them yet?

I have mixed feelings about new years resolutions: on the one hand, giving yourself something to aspire to can be a useful tool, it can keep you focused and on the straight and narrow so to speak (unlike these guys); but on the downside it can sometimes be tempting to set yourself personal goals that aren’t that realistic, then if you don’t succeed you may end up feeling deflated and like you aren’t capable of succeeding at other things (which is of course not true, we are all capable of achieving much more than we think).

I was encouraged this year though when I happened to find an old notebook with last years resolutions in it.
It contained three new years resolutions: two of which I think I brought to fruition and one whose results could best be described as umm… not happening. Still, pretty good I thought:)

But interestingly, the two that I did well at, I had articulated in more general terms and the one I didn’t even do, let alone do well, I had been quite specific about.

I know a lot of people say setting clear and specific goals is the only way to succeed, and this may be true in business, but on a personal level, seeing the gains I have made this past year in terms of last years resolutions gave me a sense of achievement.

So my advice to you: make your resolutions really vague, so you’ll definitely succeed:)

Have a great year, hope it’s better than the last and worse than the next.

Today I have some little green XMAS SPECIALS and a way to make some money when you tell people about Little Green Web. I’ll point you at some great green gift ideas and I’ll give you a quick run down on the latest from the UN climate change conference.

OK let’s get started.

Tell Your Friends About Little Green Web And Earn Rewards

If you know someone who could benefit from a beautifully designed, standards compliant, carbon neutral website let them know about Little Green Web and you could both stand to be rewarded.

I’ll give them a $25 discount off any new website package just for being a friend of a friend, so to speak, and I’ll give you a $25 finders fee when they pay for it!

There are only three conditions: 1) You must be a subscriber to the Little Green Web Monthly Newsletter to get involved (it’s OK to subscribe and then start spreading the word). 2) The people you tell ( and you can tell as many people as you like and get paid each time) must pay for a new website package between between 16th of December 2010 and the end of January 2011 OFFER EXTENDED TO THE END OF MARCH 2011. 3) When they buy their site they must name you as the person who told them about the deal.

Already Got A Website But Want To Make It Green? Order Before Jan 31 And Get 10% Off

If you already have a website but would like to make it carbon neutral we can help from as little as $5/month. And, until the end of January 2011 we’re offering a 10% discount for the first year to all subscribers to thank you for your support. Feel free to forward this email on if you know someone who you think might want this.

Get Some great Green Gifts For Xmas!

It’s easy to point the finger at others when it comes to climate change and the environment, but that can be a disheartening and often fruitless approach. However making better choices in your own life will not only create real and tangible environmental benefits but can also be a positive and empowering experience.

With this in mind I’ve compiled a short list of eco-friendly online businesses for you to peruse at your leisure. Enjoy.

The Latest From the UN Climate Change Conference

According to Earth Day Network the results from the recent COP16 Climate Change Conference held in Cancun Mexico, are mixed.

THE GOOD NEWS: “Over 190 countries agreed on aid to the world’s poor who are coping with climate change impacts such as malaria, drought, and extreme weather. These leaders also agreed on programs that promote clean technology and rainforest conservation. “

THE BAD NEWS: “we still don’t have a fair and effective solution to stop climate change. We are disappointed that world leaders don’t grasp the urgency of this crisis nor the opportunities that clean energy solutions provide. “

With so many different agendas on the table it’s no wonder our world leaders find it hard to come to an agreement about climate change. But by keeping up the pressure and showing them we care about the environment (you’d think it’d go without saying) I believe we can bring about the changes we want.

Show your support for a comprehensive climate change solution here.

Well that’s it for now. Till next time, have an awesome silly season and a fruitful new year!

Today I’m gonna share three really simple ways you can reduce the carbon footprint associated with your online activity.

  1. By using SPAM protection on your blog
  2. By making some easy changes to your Facebook settings, and
  3. By unsubscribing from newsletters you no longer read

So without further ado, let’s get started.

Protect Against Comment Spam

If your business has a blog then you’ll know that most offer visitors the ability to post comments. This is one of the really great features of blogging as it lets your visitors engage in a conversation as opposed to just being a passive observer. Unfortunately allowing people to comment on your posts has its’ down sides, one of which is comment spam.

But before you decide to give up on blogging altogether and get back to your real job, let me introduce you to a little piece of software that could really make your day. If you’re using WordPress like me you probably already know about it. It’s called Akismet and it’s made by the folks at Automattic the creators of WordPress. Akismet is really easy to set up and once installed will automatically remove SPAM from your blog or CMS (content management system).

This is good for you and your visitors, and it’s great for the environment too. According to a recent report   published by McAfee, the sending, receiving and hand-deleting of email spam alone accounts for 20 million tons of greenhouse gases annually. That’s a lot of black balloons!

Change Your Facebook Settings

Do you have a facebook account yet? Have you noticed how many emails they send you? It’s a lot! So many in fact that when I first got an account I gave them an email account that I never used so I wouldn’t have to trawl through them all, ’cause let’s face it, none of them are important if you use facebook regularly. They only notify you of activity, status updates etc, that you’ll get as soon as you log in to your account anyway!

There is something that can be done about it though. Just log in to facebook, click on the account tab at the top right of the page and select account settings from the drop down menu. On the next page click the Notifications tab, this takes you to a REALLY LONG LIST of notification options that you can select or deselect as you see fit. By default most, if not all, of them are selected. Trust me, you can deselect every single one of those options and the sky will not fall in, AND you’ll get a lot less unnecessary clutter in your mailbox.

Unsubscribe From Newsletters You No Longer Read!

My own business Little Green Web uses email marketing, so I can’t believe I’m writing this, but let me explain…

Emails take energy to write. They take energy to send. They take energy to receive. And they take energy to delete. They really do, I’m not just making this stuff up. And as much as I want to be the next self made millionaire, I really don’t want that at the expense of the environment. And I’m sure you feel the same way.

I’m not suggesting you all start wearing kaftans and eating brown rice, or anything crazy like that. And, by all means maintain the subscriptions that you actually read and find useful.

But if you are subscribed to a bunch of newsletters that no longer interest you, or that you find you simply don’t read anymore, unsubscribe from them. And when you’re finished, give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it!