Here is a brief plug for my friend and colleague, Tim Ireland. Tim was born in Australia and spent 10 years as a nightclub DJ creating a show based on music video and other forms of multimedia. He claims that this is where he learned the basics of marketing. He soon accidentally stumbled upon the internet, where he has chosen to dwell ever since. In 1998 he moved to the UK and took part in the 'dotcom' era. His most notable successes resulted from his participation in the development of Tesco.net and Tesco.com. He is now best described as a marketing consultant/guru and his main focus is Search Engine Optimisation, particularly in Google. As an SEO engineer his main job is to research and compile sets of keywords and make recommendations to the relevant design team about placement. He got into weblogs because it helped with SEO and his involvement into politics stemmed from his interest in communities: "I found a voice and quite a few things to give a damn about". About Blogs: Tim feels they are not for campaigning alone - they are for communication. The more MPs there are who blog for the right reasons, the better this system will work. His aims for the future and vision: He would like there to be increased engagement between MPs, constituents and the general public that would - rather than being a drain on resources - actually benefit any given MP and democracy in general. So, over to Tim and his latest report on our performance in search engines - see link OK, here's how it works: 2-7% of web users have their own website or weblog. Due to the influence of link popularity, it is this 2-7% that largely determines what major search engines like Google present as their search results. (That may not sound very democratic, but there's a level of community-led accountability built in and if you have a problem with the whole thing, perhaps you should start a weblog of your own.) Not a lot of people know that there is also a historical aspect to Google's ranking algorithm. Sites that take control of certain top search results for a long period of time are difficult to unseat quickly without some serious inbound link activity and/or a lack of updates on these dominating sites. So, for the first 6 months of operation, Boris's weblog climbed no higher than the 3rd search result in Google for 'boris johnson' - largely because the Boris Johnson Fan Club and Boris Watch had been in operation longer. But no longer. From today, Boris is the top search result for 'boris johnson' in Google and the new MSN database. Yahoo is still pending. But wait... there's more. I have this little example I like to use in business meetings when trying to show clients or potential clients the difference between creating something of interest to the weblog community and integrating fully with it. That example is Tom Watson. I begin by explaining that when Tom first came online, his site didn't appear on the front page of any search engine for his name, because there was a golfer by the same name with a 20-year career under his belt. Profile, news and tribute pages for this individual dominated the search results. So I then show them the weblog and how it works. I pop over to Technorati and show them the 'buzz' around his weblog. I show them the difference between static links (such as a blogroll link) and transient links (such as a individual posts) and make it very clear that the former is much harder to earn than the latter. Then we go to Google and search for 'tom watson'... this is the point when most people get it. Because of his integration with the weblog community, Tom Watson the MP is seen to be the most relevant 'tom watson' there is. He is the Tom Watson that is more accessible and whose website is the most highly regarded. Then we search for 'labour mp'... this is the point when most people see the potential. Because of his integration with the weblog community, Tom Watson the MP is seen to be the most relevant 'labour mp' there is. He is the Labour MP that is more accessible and whose website is the most highly regarded. I guess you know what's coming... Yes, while it may come and go in the first few days (as many fresh results do), today was also the first time that Boris Johnson acheived the top search result in Google for 'conservative mp' Boris Johnson - the first Tory MP with a weblog - has the more dynamic and most accessible site. His site is more highly regarded than the websites of other Conservative MPs. He is therefore the most relevant 'conservative mp' there is. At least, according to Google he is. MSN and Yahoo will take a while to catch up.