What is an SSL used for?
The primary purpose of an SSL is to keep the information between a website and its users encrypted so only they are able to read it. This is important because when information is transmitted across the internet it passes through many different computers all of which can read and record it.
That means that any computer between you and the website can read credit card details, usernames and passwords. When an SSL is this information becomes unreadable to those computers.
In addition to this encryption an SSL also provides authentication ensuring that a user is sending information to your website and not that belonging to a criminal. Again, because information passes through many computers without an SSL any of these could impersonate your website and trick users into sending their personal details.
Why is an SSL needed on my website?
Ecommerce sites are required to transmit and receive sensitive information including credit card and contact details. Most websites provide administrators with the ability to edit content through a log-in area that requires a username and password to access. In both cases if an SSL is not used that information can be stolen by a third party and be used for criminal means.
Do I need an SSL if I don’t run an ecommerce shop?
There are numerous reasons why an SSL is beneficial even if your website is not ecommerce and does not have a log-in/administration area.
Google stated in 2015 that they are using the presence of an SSL on a website as a ranking signal. That is, a website with an SSL will rank above a website without all things being equal. Continuing into 2016 Google will place more and more emphasis on an SSL as a factor. Furthermore Google has plans to alter its chrome browser to show websites without an SSL as “insecure” which could serve as scare tactics pushing potential customers to a rival.
Integrity of the content you are serving on your website
Once you secure your website with an SSL certificate a third party cannot alter the content that is going to be received by the end user. Here you can assure your website visitors that the content they are viewing is the same as you are publishing. Without an SSL a third party can alter the content of your website before it is received by adding adverts or more dangerous content such as viruses.
Authentication of the Website and its content
An SSL verifies that you are who you say you are. A website secured by an SSL and verified by certificate authority means your customer can easily recognize that the information is genuine and not from someone else. This is especially important if your website contains content such as technical specifications, health, finance or other information of this nature.
A signal of trust to the user
Web browsers give a visual indicator when a site uses an SSL. While they may not be aware of exactly how it functions users know that the padlock logo that appears on an SSL enabled site is “good”. The use of an SSL tells users of your website that you consider their security and privacy to be important.
For further information please contact Wave White on 0121 766 8087 or email email@example.com
Let’s face it: Customers aren’t reading your testimonials page. So what can you put in its place?
2015 was an insane year for Local Search — especially in the latter half. We lost the 7-pack, and now the recent Google Plus update has removed all location information from business pages. Until Google rolls out another update to Local, your business listing is effectively your Knowledge Box and your listing on Google Maps. Reviews have always been important, and while they’ve lost a bit of the strength they used to carry in the Local algorithm, they’re still incredibly important to potential customers. Reviews started showing in isolated pop-ups back in 2013, but now that’s the only place you can see them. Now, I’m not going to start spouting off stats about how people trust reviews from strangers or how bad reviews will hurt your business. You’re here on Search Engine Land, so you’re likely already familiar with such information. Now that location info has been pulled from Google Plus, your reviews area is a much bigger piece of the local info pie. There’s no more business description, or photos, or categories, or anything else to distract users — they’ll only see your business name, address and phone number… and your reviews. If you’ve read any of my previous posts here, you know that I typically base my posts on recent conversations with businesses and clients. This time around, I’m jumping back on a soapbox.
Your Testimonials Page Does Nothing For You
Yep. I said it — and it’s true. And yes, I’m sure a lot of you are freaking out right now. For some reason, I’m seeing more and more testimonial pages on sites lately. Yes, reviews are important. And yes, your customers want to read your reviews. But they don’t want to read them on your site. Check your Google Analytics and see for yourself. It’s likely that the only traffic your testimonials page sees is from your own staff. If you’ve got a filter set up to remove your own internal traffic, it’s even easier to see. Customers want to read honest, unbiased reviews on third-party sites. They simply don’t care about (or trust) the reviews on your testimonials page. Still don’t believe me? I’ll prove it to you. If I came to your place of business and had a bad experience, then decided to write a scathing one-star review, would you post that at the top of your testimonials page? Of course not — and people know that. Everyone knows that a testimonials page only lists the best of the best five-star reviews, so they’re not going to read them. They’re checking out your reviews to see if there are any bad reviews… and to see how you respond to the bad reviews. Even if you post every review to your testimonials page (the good and the bad), the general public will always assume that your page only includes awesome reviews. They’ll skip the page just like everyone else.
Instead Of Testimonials, Link To Off-Site Reviews
Since customers will ignore your testimonials, you should instead create a “reviews” page that links to the various websites where customers can read the reviews they’re looking for. You’ll obviously want Google at the top of the list, since Google reviews are the most visible. Make sure to include any vertical directories that customers might frequent, as well. Include some messaging at the top of the page that lets users know that you’d like them to read what past customers have said, just like you’d include on a standard testimonials page. When you list the various links, make sure that you include target=”_blank” so that the links will open in a new browser tab — that way, your customers won’t have to navigate back to your site. Don’t forget that it’s a bad idea to link to your Yelp listing, since that’s discouraged by Yelp. Instead, do a Google search for “[your business] Yelp” and copy the resulting URL. Use the SERP link as your link to Yelp, so people will click the link, see your Yelp listing as the #1 result, and then click on it. Customers still end up on your Yelp page, but Yelp sees the visit as coming from an organic search. Instead of a testimonials page that no one reads, you’ll have a reviews page that customers find incredibly useful. If you pair the page with a postcard that you hand out to customers (like I wrote about back in 2014), it can even help you get more positive reviews from your customers.
Google Become Alphabet in a Huge Restructure
Recently, Google announced that they would no longer be functioning under the well-known brand, but restructuring as ‘Alphabet’. This will be the overriding holding company, with Google becoming a subsidiary of this.
The whole shake-up has emerged from the top, with Google’s co-founders, Larry Page & Sergey Brin, stating that the entire company will be changing, with big alterations to the structure and management; the biggest change being that Sundar Puchai will now oversee the search engine, Google.
This restructure comes as part of an initiative to give investors chance to see where their money is going and exactly what it’s being spent on. With the huge success of the search engine, it’s clear that Google, or ‘Alphabet’, can play its hand elsewhere.
The new company, Alphabet, will preside over a collection of companies, the largest of which will be Google.
All shares of Google will automatically convert into corresponding shares of Alphabet, which will continue to trade under the stock ticker symbols GOOG and GOOGL. Shares in Google soared 5% in after hours trading. The new structure is said to be similar to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which wholly owns a number of diverse holdings and has stakes in several others.
It seems that Google will continue to push the main Internet products that the business has to offer, but Alphabet will expand and increase the growing need for other products and business sectors. Statements suggest that the separation of the companies will enable them to independently market items that aren’t entirely related.
It remains to be seen whether Google will simply continue to tell shareholders to be content with their profits when it comes to some major business segments.
As you are probably aware Google are rolling out an update on the 21st April 2015 to penalise websites which aren’t mobile friendly.
The reason for this is Google are looking to improve the experience that website visitors receive when going to websites that are recommended by Google in the search results. Google feel that if they don’t provide their users with websites that are mobile friendly and provide the user with a good experience, then these users may use a different search engine to find the content that they are looking for.
Google are simply trying to ensure that their users have an optimal experience no matter what device they are using. Remember this is an opportunity to not just improve your website to meet Google Guidelines but to also bring your website up to date and provide a great user experience for potential customers that may be viewing your website.
There are more than 1.5 billion mobile Internet users worldwide and roughly 80 percent of Internet users own a smartphone and over 55% of searches on Google.com come from Mobile or Tablet Devices.
For more information about how this update can affect your website contact us on 0121 766 8087 or email your account manager.
You may have heard recently about the launch of the new UK DOMAIN SUFFIX .uk from the UK Domain Registrar NOMINET.
You may feel you wish to secure it for your company to match your current domain name(s)?
If you did, it would ensure that no other company could try to seek advantage of your company’s internet credibility, by replicating a website on your domain name(s). We feel that all of our clients would benefit from securing them.
We are currently offering a special concessionary rate and this domain name can then be directed to your main website.
For more information, please contact Wave White, our Customer Relationship Manager on 0121 7668087 or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a look at our new Social Media Packages that have been designed to work along side your current SEO Campaign.
A Social Media Package with us will enhance you websites presence across the internet as well as providing you with a source of Social Media content for your business.
Google recently asked Neilson Group to study the behaviour of people using mobiles to purchase. You can find the full report here but the main points to take away are these.
People are spending more than 15 hours a week researching potential purchases on their phones with their main method of discovering information being search engines, primarily of course, Google. The research showed that being local is the key with users wanting businesses to be within 5 miles. They also want to make their decision and purchase within an hour.
This is a clear sign that local businesses need to concentrate their attention on mobile users. Responsive design that caters to tablets and phone is no longer the purview of large national businesses. The most important driver in getting a user to your site and to make a purchase is making sure their experience is smooth and engaging. If your website can provide that optimum user experience on a mobile phone you will be well on your way to being ahead of the competition.
If you need help getting your website mobile ready call eSterling on 0121 766 8087.
Major retailers have made the transition to support mobile devices and there is a growing necessity for smaller brands and businesses to follow suit. In the last week of December John Lewis saw 75% of the traffic to their online shop being made up of tablets and mobile phones. Shoe retailer Schuh found that nearly 70% of traffic came from mobile devices over the same period.
The facts are simple. If you have a website it has to cater to users accessing the site through a tablet or mobile phone. If you don’t you will be loosing business. A website that doesn’t display correctly, is slow, has a Flash intro, or is inconvenient to navigate will dissuade users. Those users will go to a competitor due to the frustrations of trying to use your website. If you sell online then then you practically speaking have little choice but to upgrade the design of your website or face the inevitable decline in sales.
Your first new year’s resolution should be to get a refresh of your site to make it responsive and work across all devices. Why not give eSterling a call and let us see what we can do to increase the sales through your website.
According to Rap Genius they are no longer have an unnatural links penalty from Google after the search engine helpfully gave them assistance to correct their SEO tactics. During the last ten days after the penalty was applied the website couldn’t be found on the first few pages of search results even when their brand name was part of the query. Now they once again appear at the top of search results for their band name although their traffic has not returned to the levels they once enjoyed.
While it is great for Rap Genius to have their penalty lifted the actions of Google arguably show that there is one rule for big brands and another for smaller companies. A ten day manual penalty is a much shorter period of time than a small business could be expected to wait to see a return to search results.
Rap Genius didn’t find the best present from Santa in their stocking when they received a penalty from Google for using link schemes to boost their search rankings. This has resulted in their website not being found on the first page of results for even their own brand name. Instead news stories reporting this and their social media accounts are displayed. A site that saw over half a million unique visits a day has now been reduced to 10% of that showing the enormous power that Google hold in making an online business successful.
The link scheme they were penalised for was asking bloggers to join and affiliate scheme by adding a link to their website in exchange for a ‘thank you’ tweet from Rap Genius. In Google’s eyes even agreeing to exchange a tweet for a link back to a website is considered ‘paying’ for it and falls under “exchanging goods or services for links” which can result in a penalty. A link in a tweet may not have the same value to Google as a link on a website but social media still has an influence on search rankings. For Google this is about the credibility of the search results they provide and need to have these highly visible targets to penalise so as to not encourage link buying behaviour.
Critics argue that the manual penalties that Google applies are not done in a fair way as there are plenty of sites that buy links yet do not get penalised. The consensus is that Google would not be so vocal and stringent about the buying of back links if it didn’t actually work and wasn’t the easiest method to get a higher ranking.
It can be frustrating that behaviour of competitors is overlooked or even tolerated. When your competition is clearly buying links in order to improve their rankings yet do not receive a penalty and you follow Googles best practices and still get a lower position on search results it can be very tempting to follow suite. This is why gaming their SEO would have been a strategy that was seriously considered.
Most agree that Rap Genius has, in their market, the best content and is perceived to be the least spam driven lyrics site on the web. However others suggest that they couldn’t rely upon this to continue having good rankings. While they may have offered a better user experience they didn’t have the number of lyrics that other sites did. In addition while they may have built up an on-site community this would not be as important to ranking in Google as just providing the basic information people look for.
Will Rap Genius be able to return to the top of rankings by cleaning up their site and disavowing those links and will Google be seen to apply their penalties in a fairer way? We will await that news.