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Mobile First. Google Prioritises Mobile over Desktop.

With desktop browsing decreasing and mobile browsing taking over, Google are switching their emphasis to the mobile version of your site as its primary source for content and ranking signals.

More web browsing takes place on smartphones and tablets than on desktop computers, a shift which is set to see Google using mobile content for all search ranking data.

Desktop Versus Mobile Versus Tablet

StatCounter gathers data from 2.5 million websites across the world and reports that in November 2016, mobile took over from desktop as the most common method to browse the web.

Google Mobile First

 

Whilst the UK still favours the desktop overall, it will only be a matter of time before the pendulum swings in favour of the mobile on our region too.

 

Google Mobile First UK

Google, well aware of the rise of the mobile, have been talking for some time about switching their emphasis from analysing desktop versions of websites to mobile website as their primary source of ranking signals. Aptly named Mobile First, Google have been experimenting using Mobile First for some time in their search results.

What is Mobile First?

Google will use the mobile version of your website as its primary source for content and ranking signals of your website.

Your website’s mobile content will be indexed and used for Google’s search engine listings for both desktop and mobile users.

If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, Google will revert to your desktop website.

Aodhan Cullen, of Statcounter warned;

“This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not.”

What Should You Do?

The Mobile First index has not yet been rolled out. In fact Google have suggested that this will be rolled out in phases, probably throughout 2017.

If your website is responsive, meaning the content is the same across mobile and desktop, you should be fine, but if your website content is different across mobile and desktop, you should think about making changes.

Next Steps

If you’re unsure whether your website is ready for Google’s Mobile First index, get in touch with our SEO team for a free consultation. We’ll review your website and help you understand whether you need to consider making changes to your website.

5 Social Video Tips to Promote Your Business

 

Social Video

 

Social video is big business with Facebook and Snapchat fetching over 8 billion daily video views. We must not forget YouTube’s 1 billion plus viewers who are also viewing hundreds of millions of hours of online video every day.

Making the best use of Social Video to promote your business can be simple and does not require a degree in film or a professional video team to make it work. If you are a small business owner with an iPhone, there’s an opportunity to make video work for you.

Any business that’s not utilising social video and promoting it on social media is missing out on a huge opportunity. Our guide ‘5 Social Video Tips to Promote Your Business’ will help you better understand the concept and where it will fit into your marketing plan.

1.Tell a story

One reason why video is so effective is because humans historically prefer storytelling when sharing information. The advantage of using video, enables you to have much more freedom in telling a visual story as opposed to using single photos. You will have a lot more content to work with by adding sound or visual copy.

2. Share Natively

We often see people using the same URL for a video across all of their various social channels, and while that may seem efficient, its actually not the best approach. Since native content hosted within the platform you are on – is always prioritised and optimised, you want to make sure that you’re uploading videos natively to all your different platforms, whether its You tube, Facebook, or Twitter. videos that are uploaded natively perform better than any other kind of content.

3.Use Text

One of our top tips is to make sure you use copy in your videos. It’s the best way to grab people’s attention when they scroll through their feeds, and can be effective even when your audience has the sound muted.

4.Be Part of the conversation

Timing is critical for social media. We often see great campaigns come about because their creators were able to respond quickly to something that was trending and contributed to the conversation in a timely manner. Stock imagery and video (like those from Animoto partner iStock by Getty Images) can be your secret time saving weapon in creating your video, so you can focus your efforts on telling that great story quickly rather than trying to take a bunch of photos or videos yourself.

5.Engage the Customer

People are more likely to share video campaigns that they feel involved in. An example of this happened in 2010, a response campaign was created by Old Spice to capitalise on the success of a previous video campaign. They worked alongside the production team and actor and after spending a couple of days responding to real viewers in video form, generated 40 million views, 1 billion impressions, and increased sales by 27 percent. A good example of how powerful a video campaign can be.

Use these 5 handy tips to kick start your video campaign and embrace the power of Social Marketing to promote your business.

 

10 Interesting Emoji Facts

Emoji facts

 

Those little smiley faces and symbols that we send to our friends and families via our mobile phones to convey our emotions is a widespread practice that has been around for a very long time. There are many different Emoji’s that we use in social media channels, however where do they originate from and how long have they been around? Here are 10 interesting facts about the Emoji.

  1. Emoji are now integral in the digital vocabularies of not only individuals, but also by companies.
  2. The Emoji originated in Japan, created by Shigetaka Kurita who worked for the mobile communication company DoCoMo.
  3. Emoji were originally created to be used as a means of communication through pictures to save on data usage.
  4. Apple noticed the potential in Emoji and launched the first Emoji Keyboard in 2010.
  5. Emoji became standardised by Unicode which allowed images to be recognised on all devices.
  6. Emoji faces are far more detailed and represent a wider range of emotions more so than Emoticons.
  7. In 2015, Emoji was named the fastest growing language as well as named the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year.
  8. Coca-Cola was one of the first companies to use Emoji as an effective marketing tool.
  9. Coca-Cola were also one of the first corporate giants to launch an emoji domain name.
  10. Coca-Cola used a branded Emoji to set a new world record for the “Worlds Largest Cheers”

So there we have it, share with your family and friends our 10 interesting facts on the Emoji  J LJ

Google to Rank Mobile Websites

Google to Rank Mobile Websites

Google have recently made another search related announcement. Reacting to the fact that most searches are conducted from mobile devices, search results will be ranked according to sites’ mobile content.

Google have announced they have begun experiments to make its index mobile-first. This emphasises that mobile searchers are more important than the rest and with the recent splitting of mobile and desktop indexing it comes as no surprise that webmasters will have to make the mobile versions of their website as compliant as required.

Google has stated that it will be gradually introduced over the coming months. The ranking algorithms will ultimately look to the mobile index to determine how results should be ordered.

Google has stressed that desktop users are not going to be abandoned.

Google summarised the change in the following statement:

“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.

Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices. We understand this is an important shift in our indexing and it’s one we take seriously. We’ll continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale and we’ll ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience”.

So has this current change been on the cards since the introduction of mobile geddon early last year. Only Google can answer that question.

One thing is for sure, mobile usability on all websites will be updated very quickly now it has been announced that it is a ranking factor.

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Google Penguin 4.0 Update Is Live

Google Penguin

 

Google has recently confirmed on their webmaster blog that they’ve began rolling out the Penguin 4.0 update.

The last confirmed Penguin update (3) was just under two years ago in October 2014 and this latest announcement will be the last time Google confirms a Penguin update again. Penguin will now become part of Google’s core algorithm running in real time so recovery from issued penalties will be quicker .

It’s important to remember that updates like Penguin are just one of more than 200 signals Google use to determine rank.

These are the key changes you will see now the Penguin update is live:

  • Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google’s algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we re-crawl and re-index a page. It also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes.
  • Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.

The waiting game begins now for webmasters and SEO’s alike to see what impact this latest algorithm will have on their websites.

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Is Your Website Secure?

Secure online payment icon - green bar with ssl and browser

When you are next browsing a website, ask yourself a question, is the site I am on secure? How do you know and how can you find out?

Google Chrome is committed to helping users browse the web safely. When browsing their pages there is an icon in the address bar indicating the connection is secure.

In the past Google Chrome has not labelled HTTP connections as non-secure. However as from January 2017 Chrome will mark HTTP websites that transmit credit card details and passwords as non secure and this is the start of a long term strategy to mark all HTTP websites as non-secure.

A neutral indicator currently indicates HTTP connections in Chrome. This doesn’t really provide a true reflection of security for HTTP connections. A website loaded over HTTP potentially allows someone else on the network to look at or modify the site before it gets to you.

To combat this security flaw, a substantial amount of websites have made the transition to HTTPS and usage is consistently increasing with more than half of Chrome desktop page loads now served over HTTPS.

Google stated in their HTTPS report on February 12 that more of the top 100 websites have changed their serving default from HTTP to HTTPS. Their studies showed that users surfing the web do not always see a “secure” icon as a warning and they become oblivious to warnings that occur too frequently.

Google plans to label HTTP sites as non-secure in a clear and concise way. This process will take place gradually and will be based on a stringent criteria. Their advice however is to move to the HTTPS platform now rather than later and states that it is easier and cheaper than ever before.

The move to HTTPS will enable the best performance the web can offer and offers powerful new features that are too sensitive for HTTP. For details on how to make the transition to HTTPS check out Google’s setup guides on how to get started.

What is AMP?

AMP

What is AMP we may ask?

The following article will explain what AMP is and how it will affect your website. Mobile websites are expected to load pages instantly although on occasions it has been known to take a number of seconds. The fact is that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

The new Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is an open source initiative to improve the mobile web experience for all users. Accelerated Mobile Pages are HTML pages that prioritize speed and provide a faster experience for users by loading content almost instantaneously.This feature will encourage website owners to adapt this new initiative to improve their page loading speeds.

The sites who have created Amp will later in the year be rewarded with expanded exposure across the entire Google Mobile Search results page. For example travel sites recipe sites, entertainment and e-commerce sites will experience the benefit of having Accelerated Mobile Pages.

The AMP format is supported by a wide variety of platforms, including Google Search. If a web page listed in Google’s search results has a valid version, Search may direct mobile users to the cached AMP.

More information on creating Accelerated Mobile Pages for your website can be found in Google Search Console.

Hedgehog Digital have adapted Accelerated Mobile Pages to give their users the ultimate mobile experience. Hedgehog Digital produce stunning, modern website designs for organisations of all sizes, spanning pretty much every industry you can think of. What we do is simple, quick and easy. We won’t blast you with jargon, we’ll just aim to exceed your expectations with the minimum amount of fuss.

We’re proud of our reputation and we are easy to find and we’d love for you to get in touch for a friendly chat about your requirements. We will produce a quick, free, no obligation quotation based exactly on what you need.

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New Page Layout for Facebook

Facebook

The world’s most famous social media platform ‘Facebook’ have developed a new page layout on their website.

The new page design incorporates a new navigation section,prominent call to action button, cover images and ad free pages.

Although all of the same features have been retained, Facebook has reorganized them in a more appealing and efficient order.

Profile pictures will no longer appear on your cover image and will instead appear at the top left of your page above the new navigation section.

Below your profile picture and page name you’ll find a new navigation system for friends to look at different sections of your Facebook page, about, videos, photos, posts, and events.

You will have the option to customize your navigation section depending on the type of business you run. You can now create and connect tabs to show content from your other social media channels like Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

With profile pictures now displaying on the right side, your profile picture will no longer interfere with your cover image. Facebook cover images will still remain the same size at 828×315 pixels.

There is a new blue prominent call-to-action button beneath your cover photo. This button will allow you to invite your Facebook friends to take an action on your website.

Another change that will appeal to some users is that pages are now entirely ad free where as in the past ads have appeared on the right side. This change will be welcomed by public users more than business users.

So will users like the new layout changes, one thing is for sure Facebook will continue to dominate the social media platforms regardless of changes in page layout.

 

How to Download Google Maps

Download Google Maps

Have you ever been on Holiday and have used up all of your mobile data trying to download a Google map to take you to your destination?

GPS systems on mobile phones are excellent for guiding us to our destinations if you have a 3G/4G or WIFI connection. However the good news is you can download your Google Maps prior to your holiday and be able to use them without an internet connection.

The charges for using mobile data abroad can be high and as we all take our phones on holiday with us, the temptation to use them regardless of cost is prolific.

Google offline maps have been around for a few years but have only recently been available to quickly download to your iPhone or Android phone. Using these maps offline will restrict you from the usual features available such as finding restaurants and stores and you will also be unable to select cycling or walking directions but you will be able to get driving directions to an address or postcode.

It is advisable to download any map you require before you set off on your trip to avoid high data plan charges. Although Google has a limitation on the size of the map you can download which currently stands at 120,000 square kilometers which should be enough for most trips.

Here is a guide on how to download google maps that can be used offline for navigation.

Downloading Google Maps

Follow these easy steps to download a map.

  • Open the the Maps app on your smartphone with GPS. To check if you are signed in tap the three horizontal bars to the left of the search bar and it should display your name or email address. If not there is a Sign in option.
  • On the same menu, you’ll see offline areas. If you tap this you’ll probably see ‘Recommended areas’ and your Home location.
  • Depending on the density of the roads downloads can use up to 500MB, but rural areas can use up to ten times less. There’s no limit on how many downloads as long as the internal storage on your phone can cope with the downloaded data.
  • You need to search for the place you intend to visit or simply scroll there on the map. When you find the place go back to the offline areas menu and tap the big blue + button. You can zoom in or out – the app will tell you if the area is too large or not.
  • On occasions there’s a limit to how much you can zoom in – don’t worry if you can’t see individual roads as they will still be downloaded. Just tap the download button when ready.
  • Some areas are unavailable to download because of restrictions, but on the whole you should find you can download what you need.
  • You must leave the Maps app open until the download is finished and keep checking on its progress by going back to Offline areas.
  • Tap the cog icon at the top of the Offline areas screen and you can choose whether to have those offline areas updated automatically or not, and whether to download map data over WI-Fi only or also with mobile data.

Deleting a downloaded map

  • A good point to note is that downloaded maps expire after 29 days so don’t download your map for your trip too early.
  • To delete a downloaded area, tap on it in Offline areas and you’ll see the Delete button. Here you can also rename it.

Navigating a downloaded Google map

  • Navigating your offline maps involves the same process as if you were online.
  • Tap the turn arrow in the blue circle near the bottom of the map and search for your destination in the search bar.
  • You can get driving directions from your current position – or you can choose a different starting address.

Has Anybody Seen My Website?

Google

You have had a modern well presented website built for your business but are you wondering why nobody is clicking on your website?

Statistics show that websites placed in the lower realms of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPS) will not get viewed as much as sites placed on page 1 or 2 of the Search Engine Giant.

When you ask that question ‘Has Anybody Seen My Website’ unless you have applied ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (SEO) to your site then the answer will be no. Your website may look good but the overall health or behind the scenes factors could be affecting your chances of ranking well in the SERPS.

There is no need to worry, Hedgehog Digital can provide your website with a one off full technical SEO audit to identify the changes needed to ensure your website is meeting Google’s requirements for a high quality website.

This report will be unique to your website and niche.We can produce a clear and concise report within 5 working days focusing on the changes you need to make to allow your website to attract a good flow of organic traffic from the SERPS.

Our detailed Audit will analyse the following areas:

Indexing
Robots.txt
Preferred domain
Sitemaps
Broken internal links
HTTPS
Mobile-friendliness
Google PageSpeed
Real page speed
Internal link structure
Broken external links
Duplicate titles & descriptions

From our analysis, we (or you) can optimise your entire site to industry standard best practices. To generate a clear and concise list of errors we have to analyse and sort through a lot of data.

Take advantage of this one off deal and get a complete SEO Audit & Website Analysis Report for £300

 

 

HEDGEHOG DIGITAL LIMITED

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