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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

 

 

Facebook Live Video

Facebook Live

Facebook’s introduction of live video to their popular Social Network platform gives users increased functionality in creating and sharing new content.  

The new feature was launched in mid-2015 and by early 2016 was available to all Facebook users.

Facebook Live video enables you to use your phone to capture and share a moment instantly with friends and family. This allows the user to post instant responses to comments and allows you to see their reactions.

A spokesman for the Facebook company commented on how well things have been going since the launch. “Since launching Facebook Live last summer we’ve been surprised and delighted with how people are using live video to connect and interact with each other all over the world”.

Some examples of interaction were explained:

  • People are letting their friends discover their hobbies.
  • Parents are using it to share moments in their kids’ lives with their extended families.
  • Athletes are giving people a window into their training.
  • Chefs are bringing their fans into their kitchen.
  • Journalists are hosting global conversations on topics they care about.
  • Aspiring musicians can now put on a live concert for their friends.

New updated features to Facebook live have recently been released.

Live for Groups and Events

This feature allows you to go live with people in your Facebook groups and events. You can broadcast live to just the people in your group and also share events you are staging live with family, friends and the general community who share your interests.

Live Reactions Android

Live filters, interactive options, live reactions and replay comments are all new features for users to react live to each others broadcasts. Animations used show up on top of the video giving the broadcaster an idea on people’s feelings during the live broadcast.

Live Creative Tools iOS

Users can personalize their broadcasts. There is a set of five live filters which will allow the option to draw and annotate on your video when it’s live.

Video Home iOS

So you don’t miss out on live World exclusives, Facebook have dedicated a spot on their mobile app allowing you to search live and non-live videos from around the globe.

Live Map

Live Map gives you a visual experience to explore public live broadcasts from around the world for desktop users. Sixty Countries now share Facebook Live Video and the live map gives you an instant view of what is going on in the world.
Facebook have confirmed  “they are committed to creating the best experience for everyone who wants to create, watch and interact with live videos on Facebook and provide the best ways to broadcast, interact with, and discover live video”.

However can Facebook live video pose a serious challenge to established video platforms Snapchat, Meercat and Periscope? Only time will tell.

 

 

Google Local Business Cards: A Quick Guide

Google Local Business Cards

Google Local Business Cards, What are They?

Here is a quick guide to what Google are looking to achieve with these ‘ Local Business Cards’.

Google have recently been experimenting with Local Business Cards in Search Results. The new card carousel test has involved a number of businesses specifically chosen for the trials. Content has been carefully created for the purpose of the tests and has not been extracted from Google My Business or similar sources. The Local Business Cards will include animation and GIFS which have previously not been allowed on the search results page.

The aim of these business cards is to allow local businesses to promote their specific content allowing it to be shared directly from the card carousel and displayed near the top of the search results.

Google has confirmed these tests are genuine and will be using the same functions that were used on the Candidate Cards that were launched a few weeks ago.

The creation of these Local Business cards were specifically aimed at mobile users however they will display equally fine for desktop users. For the desktop user Local Business Cards will appear immediately adjacent to a section known as the Knowledge Panel which will feature that business. On the mobile platform it’s displayed below the Knowledge Panel equivalent.

Similar to the Candidate Cards, the intent is to allow a business to communicate specific content directly in the search results. Content can also be shared directly from within the Card Carousel.

With regards to Local SEO this could be quite a significant feature. It has been made apparant that Google has not made a decision yet to roll out Local Business Cards on a broad scale or whether to introduce it initially to Large National Local businesses. Whatever Google decides to do it will not be announced until all of their tests are completed.

Security Alert: Do Not Use These Passwords

SEO Cornwall

In 2015 Splashdata released a list containing 25 of the worst passwords. Splashdata are a password management company and compiles this list annually from 2000 passwords leaked online each year. Below is a list of the top ten. For a full password listing go to: https://www.teamsid.com/worst-passwords-2015/

Rank Password
1 123456
2 password
3 12345678
4 qwerty
5 12345
6 123456789
7 football
8 1234
9 1234567
10 baseball

 

Morgan Slain CEO of SplashData said: “We have seen an effort by many people to be more secure by adding characters to passwords, but if these longer passwords are passed on simple patterns they will put you in just as much risk of having your identity stolen by hackers”

SplashData offers 3 simple tips to keep yourself protected online.

  1.       Use passwords or passphrases of twelve characters or more with mixed types of characters.
  1.     Avoid using the same password over and over again on different websites.
  1.    Use a password manager such as TeamsID to organize and protect passwords, generate random passwords, and automatically log into website.

Remember, when you are next setting up a password for an account follow Splashdata’s guidelines to ensure you are secure from threats to your security.

 

Hedgehog Digital Bedford

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