FACT: WordPress is Secure – but only when YOU pay attention

WordPress gets bad press about being insecure and hackable.

The truth is that historically, when WordPress was a humble blogging only platform it wasn’t the most secure – but that was over a decade ago and it’s now old information.

WordPress is inherently safe – since its launch in 2003 it has undergone a massive metamorphosis and now WordPress powers nearly 30% of the world’s websites from sole traders to major international corporations. With an average of one CMS update per month for security and enhancements, it rivals many leading software organisations. The standard admin password on setup is a thing of the past and even user passwords need an administrator to agree to use what WordPress will highlight as an insecure password.

WordPress is only as secure as YOU!

Like the operating system, applications, anti-virus and malware on your laptop, WordPress needs your attention to keep it running properly and to remain secure.

Poorly managed WordPress websites are the most attractive to hackers according to Securi. Neglecting WordPress security can be disastrous. Following 5 simple security steps ensures that any hackers that try to breach your site will move on and find poorly secured, easier to hack websites.

As the recent worldwide  Petya cyber attack proved, as well as the UK’s NHS, global advertising giant WPP and the Ukrainian National Bank were hit – a graphic example that no matter what size organisation, if you’re not paying attention to required security updates can be disastrous.

5 Ways to keep WordPress secure

  1. Pay Attention

    Simple to say, but if you don’t pay attention to setting up and maintaining WordPress, then it will become out of date and the hackers will rub their hands with glee as they eye up your unmanaged site. But very simple to achieve by just checking the WordPress Dashboard Updates Screen regularly and you’ll be prompted to install important updates.

  2. Pay Attention and Backup

    We’re all only human, so while your best intentions are to pay attention, you may take your eye off the ball – holiday, new baby, big contract, any number of things can distract you. So make sure you implement a solid and secure off-site backup so that if the worst did happen, you can ‘roll back’ the site to restore it to a previous safe version. It may be missing a few updates that you made, but at least it’s working and an online presence. Check out Updraftplus and backup manager BlogVault, which also has a very simple restore feature.

  3. Remember the themes and plug-ins

    WordPress’ most important feature is the ability to search for a plugin, install it and add a new feature or function virtually instantaneously. Three key points to remember:

    1. Only use proven themes and plugins – they will be maintained and more secure
    2. When WordPress is updated check for theme and plugin updates – these often get updated to remain compliant with the new CMS version and with updated security
    3. Delete any unused plugins – if they are still on your WordPress server they could be an unwitting route in for security breaches.
  4. Reduce Risk

    Like AV on your laptop you need security on your CMS to minimise security risks. There are numerous security plugins on the market and the top vendors have a free and premium paid for version, with the free version normally providing everything you need. Take a look at All In One WP Security & Firewall or WordFence Security for WordPress both solid security solutions.

  5. Users!

    Back to us as humans again.

    1. Don’t give every user administrator rights to the website. WordPress has multiple levels of security from subscriber up to full blown administrator, only give website users the abilities they need – give them full access and guess what? They’ll play, we’re all inquisitive and it can be so easy to install a dangerous plugin without realising.
    2. Keep passwords secure – yes I hate entering passwords that look like algebraic formula, but much better to force people to do that than let them change their passwords to their pet’s nickname Kitty or first son’s name Dominic – you can bet these appear somewhere on social media, so easy to hack.

So remember, WordPress isn’t normally at fault… as humans, we are, but when you know that you can take preventative action!

Enjoy your secure WordPress website.

Building High Quality Sites – Google shares SEO secrets

google-algorithm-lg

Everybody wants to know exactly how Google ranks a site and how its complex algorithms calculate your site’s score so you can capitalise and push your site to number 1.

While Google will never give away all its trade secrets they are very good at guiding us and on their Google Webmaster Central Blog they list some of the key factors that go towards ranking your site.

So what counts as a high-quality site in Google’s eyes?

Google’s site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find high-quality sites – in doing this they reduce the rankings of sites with low-quality content. In a blog on the site Google explains some of the ideas and research that drive the development of their algorithms.

Their approach is to pose the questions that answer their algorithms. They aren’t disclosing the actual ranking techniques used in their algorithms but answer all these questions and you will be much closer to getting into Google’s mindset and more importantly right up there on page 1 rankings:

 

  1. Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  2. Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  3. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  4. Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  5. Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  6. Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  7. Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  8. Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  9. How much quality control is done on content?
  10. Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  11. Is the site a recognised authority on its topic?
  12. Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  13. Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  14. For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  15. Would you recognise this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  16. Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  17. Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  18. Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  19. Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  20. Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopaedia or book?
  21. Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  22. Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  23. Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Get the answers to these questions right and you’ll be well on the way to a top ranking.

Ranking techniques – where to get help

Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and techniques: How to be found in Google Searches

Do you know how to set up SEO?

How to set up SEO

How to set up SEOIt might sound like a strange question when we’re the ones offering SEO services! But we exhibit at lots of business and networking seminars and in talking to visitors about SEO, when we ask that question we often hear the answer:

“It’s all right, I know how to set up SEO – leave it with me!”

But all too often their knowledge is just outdated. Lots of people have content managed systems (CMS) to manage their websites and see the section called ‘SEO SETUP’ which has a few fields to enter information such as META TAGS, META DATA, PAGE TITLE and URI. They quite rightly enter these details and then assume that’s all there is to SEO and away they go expecting their sites to be ranked on the first page the next day. If only it was that simple!

SEO management covers a whole host of areas, is an ongoing activity and needs to really inform the search engines about every aspect of your website and your business:

  • detailed analysis of how you want to be seen;
  • how on-page content is related to underlying website SEO information;
  • how to create a unique focus on the information on each page;
  • the correct way to submit your website to each search engine;
  • updating information regularly;
  • ensuring videos are managed correctly to avoid down grading by search engines;
  • image tagging for performance and recognition;
  • site structure levels and the money pages…

There’s so much to do to setup and then manage regularly to get that search ranking and to maintain it.

SEO Top Tips – Download this guide now

The list of activities and requirements is extensive and is more than just entering the scant data into the SEO fields that may be available to you. So we’ve put together some SEO Top Tips to get you started that touch on some of the key areas to look at when starting out on SEO.

 

Creating online brand loyalty needs more work

Work harder nad smarter to create an onlien brand

Work harder and smarter to create an online brand

To retain online customers you need to work harder and smarter than an offline business.

Think about it – when you need that new gadget, new website design, or lipstick, do you automatically go back to the site where you purchased the last time or do you go straight to Google and search for the site that can give you the best price/service/delivery/support? If you opted for the second answer you’re not alone:

♦  66% of online shoppers buy because it’s cheaper,
♦  75% because of special offers and
♦  80% for the wider choice

Big business and retailers knew this and when the only option was to walk past their office or shop they needed to stand out – outside they had big metal corporate business signs or retail posters and sandwich boards. Inside it’s the environment – music, heating – or for business, that busy office combined with that friendly customer service, special offers and after sales service.

And it worked – as buyers we remembered that friendly sales person who explained the plethora of choices, the new special offer sign in the window or the ‘thank you for selecting our services’ letter with a promotional offer.

The essence of any shopping experience is front of mind and it’s still visual memory that drives buyers. Online you need to work so much harder to create and retain that image – but you have so many more tools. We all know that SEO is crucial to ensure people find your site and click to visit, adwords can entice buyers and online adverts provide endorsement and awareness. Getting people to purchase is your next challenge when they visit – clear information, interactive sites, lots of interesting activity (but not too much!) – guiding them through to what they need and that final buying decision.

But after they have made that first purchase the greatest challenge is to get them coming back – repeat purchases are the most profitable, you’ve already convinced them you are good to do business with, you just need to convince them to come back for more – again, and again, and…..:

  • Be intelligent – categorise your buyers, then communicate regularly with offers that influence them – if they are part of the 80% looking for a broader choice then don’t keep telling them that you are cheaper.
  • Keep reminding them a) that you are here and b) about what’s new
  • Use different marketing channels to excite them – keep sending them text messages every hour and they’ll soon forget you
  • When you send out links, make sure they go through to a new/special page – when your customer has made that clickthru decision if they see the same (tired) old page it’s a massive turn off
  • Entice them with offers when they buy and when they don’t – if they look at your site and don’t follow thru, chase them! Something got them there so find out what stopped them and turn it to your advantage with a tailored offer – but be quick about it, they’re in buying mode now! You can use Google remarketing to help automate this.
  • Let people contact you how they want – offer all options, just because you don’t like twitter doesn’t mean that they don’t – 47% said their customer experience was better when their supplier used social media

Most importantly you need to give your buyers a mental ‘shopping picture’ of your business – the massive office/store front with bright lights/impressive business signage, the warm memory of a great buying experience and the long term value from taking your advice, your offers and your after care service.

Buying has changed dramatically for both business and consumers. The online web tools are here to make you a smarter supplier. Next time they buy make sure your customers have an image of your website at the front of their mind.

Online brand loyalty – Where to get help

If you would like to find out how we can help you generate brand loyalty amongst your prospects and clients, please get in touch.

 

* Shopping trends from Lab24: “How People Shop Online”

Fact: Our website is #1 on Google and SEO only cost us $99!

That was the comment I was confronted with when I went to see a client recently.

“See this? See this!” said my client. “There we are, our website is right up there at number 1, and it happened overnight after I paid my $99. How simple was that? And I have a cast-iron guarantee that it will stay at that position for that single payment!”

Now I had two options here:

  • Hit him hard with the facts i.e. there is no way you can go to #1 overnight

or

  • Let him down gently and explain what’s happened and that he’s just wasted $99

I have to admit I was so annoyed that he’d gone off and done this that I wanted to take the first option, but I decided that our long term relationship deserved more than that – my annoyance is my problem!

How Google indexes websites

So I explained that when you type your own website url into Google search, Google will return all instances of the pages it has indexed. So yes it appears to be number 1 (and 2 and 3 and 4….). And yes every time you do that it will be the same, but actually that’s not what he wants or needs – if someone knows his url then SEO is not needed, people will just go straight to his site anyway – a fact that he had forgotten during the sales pitch.  I expanded on ‘real’ SEO and what it meant, what people search for, how his competitors are defined and how to set up his USPs. We talked about all the different areas that needed to be considered, from search terms, on-site content, domain authority, meta data, video and PDF optimisation through to Google Search Console, articles, blogs and on and on. It was then that he realised just what a mistake he’d made.

#1 on Google for $99? No way!

Don’t waste money on the wrong sort of SEO

Next, I showed him how it worked for any website by entering website urls at random. He saw that they were also #1 and the penny dropped big time – yes he’d been duped. What came next was more embarrassment for him and shock for me. He’d been so impressed by what he’d seen that he’d paid out another $199 to do the same for his site on Bing (because, as the sales pitch went, “Bing is so much more complicated to get to number 1 than Google”). He’d also paid out $248 ($49+$199) for 3 other sites he runs plus a general overrider fee of $499 for a whole host of secondary search engines that “we can get you to number one on as well”. So in total he’d handed over $1,491 for absolutely nothing.

Giving SEO agencies a bad name

While I am fuming that there are con artists out there that play on the innocent (and give real SEO agencies like us a bad name) I was more annoyed at his naivety – but part of me can’t blame him. Everybody (and their dog!) must get the same emails that I do “$99 to be #1 on Google with instant SEO techniques”. These emails scream that they can achieve the impossible. But when you want to drive people to your site it does seem attractive and low risk. To give him his due, he then said “OK – I was stupid” and proceeded to give me an order to carry out ‘real SEO’ for him – I just wish it didn’t have to come on the back of wasted money.

SEO – where to get help

My plea to anyone reading this is – don’t be duped and fork out money for nothing. The old adage is worth remembering more than anywhere else at this time:

“When people expect to get ‘something for nothing’ they are sure to be cheated.”

By PT Barnum (that great showman who knew a thing or two about convincing people to part with their money)

I rest my case.

If you’d like help with your SEO and want to work with a white-hat (ethical) SEO consultant, please get in touch.

Find out more

Please click to find out more about our SEO service.

The top 3 Google Analytics stats you should check regularly to keep your website on track

google-analytics-icon

Get stuck in to Google Analytics and you could be lost in there for hours – don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing because understanding more about your website and what drives visitors to view your site and understanding more about what interests them is a must. But let’s face it, you still have a day job and half a day of Analytics activity doesn’t pay the bills!

So that’s it then – I won’t waste my time looking at Google Analytics. WRONG!

You still need to track what’s happening, but if you can look at just three key items regularly then spending a little time lets you stay on top of your site activity analysis and makes sure that your site is getting some pick-up in Google. Let’s look at the three key areas you should track:

number1SEARCH QUERIES

Check your search terms against your traffic. Analytics will track how your site has been found. We do this for our site and can easily see what are the top search terms that find our site.  To check this in the Analytics dashboard, select: Acquisition, Search Engine Optimization, Queries*:

So for example we need to be found for SEO, web design and CMS website with local searches for Bracknell and Berkshire being just as important as national pickup. Looking at our Queries report we can see the terms our site visitors used in Google search last month, as well as our page impressions, number of clicks etc. Dive into this report and you can find out so much more.

analytics-acquisition-queries-display

The key information here is what Query visitors entered, using this and also working with the Google keyword tool in AdWords so you can increase the strength of your SEO by modifying site content. In this report check for keywords that are important tor your business and see how many impressions you are receiving from these. If the numbers are low then you need to work on your site content to enrich the site so that Google will present your site for relevant search terms.

* To ensure you can view this information you need to make sure that your Analytics dashboard is set up correctly and linked to Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) to show the tracking information correctly. Google will walk you through this process, but in essence if you see the message ‘This report requires Webmaster Tools to be enabled.’ Click on the displayed Setup button, check all the settings and before clicking save, click on the edit link in the section ‘Webmaster Tools Settings’ at the base of the page and ‘Enable search console data in Google Analytics ‘ for your site, save the settings, return and save the ‘Webmaster Tools Settings’. Data will start to be displayed after Google has started collecting.

number2

LANDING PAGES

Head down the same menu to ‘Landing Pages‘ and you’ll see where your visitors are entering the site. Ideally you want a good spread across your key pages – this indicates that Google sees value on your important pages and is serving these to relevant search terms. This report shows valuable information including the number of impressions each page is receiving, the number of clicks, average ranking position and click-through rate:

landing-pages-in-google-analytics-june

 

google-analytics-tooltips-helpAnd again Google is good at telling you what each of these measurements means with handy help tips displayed by hovering over the question mark next to each heading:

 

To understand the value of this report you need to cross-reference it with the queries report. Then you’ll see that your most popular keywords are generally the ones driving traffic to your top landing pages, enabling you to tweak the poorer performing pages and capitalise on the top performers.

number3

Geographical summary

Geography is the final piece of this jigsaw. Selecting Geographical summary from the same menu option shows you visitors split by region. While it’s nice to be able to shout about receiving 20,000 visitors from France – if that’s not your target market and you can’t service French companies then as they say it’s ‘vanity not sanity’ or ‘Looks nice but doesn’t help your business’. With this information combined with the Landing Pages and Queries keywords you can start to see what attracts visitors to your site and you can maximise the content that will bring the right visitors from the correct locations to increase your business opportunities. This report from one of our client sites highlights where their visitors are coming from:

geographical-visitors-in-google-analytics

 

Keep your website on track with these three regular report checks

Google Analytics is a very powerful tool, provided free to help you develop your site into an informative, helpful and productive business environment. The three reports above are just the tip of the iceberg, both in information available from Analytics and in what you need to address to boost your site. But as I said at the beginning, if you keep on top of these areas you can focus on your day job and help your site along.

 

To see other areas of website SEO check out these links:

Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and approaches: How to be found in Google Searches

Why Social Media is so important to SEO and Google: Using Social Media Profiles for SEO

Google+ but not as we know it and how the G+ break up affects your SEO

google-plus-breaking-up-2015Going, Going, Google+ Gone

Since Google+ was introduced it became one of the must haves to help boost your SEO. G+ and YouTube from Google gave website owners the optimum resource for search engine optimisation. No matter whether it was personalised search results you were looking to improve or gaining increased organic reach G+ was a key driver to get Google on your side and to build on SEO for your businesses. Anyone searching for terms would see posts in Google+ being posted in top spots and YouTube helping with video promotion was also part of the social move by Google. But all this is set to change with Google’s change to G+ and its reorganisation into:

  • Communication
  • Photos, and
  • Streams

The three new areas were announced by Bradley Horowitz, the new VP in charge of the changing face of Google social media. In a recent Google blog on 27th July, Bradley commented:

“When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life. While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink. So over the next few months, we’re going to be making some important changes.”

And these changes are still in an embryonic stage and include:

  • A more focused Google+ experience
  • Moving Google+ Photos to the Google Photos app
  • Putting sharing into Google Hangouts
  • Using Google without a Google+ profile (hurrah!)

The move makes perfect sense because since G+ was installed in our mindset the general concensus was that it didn’t quite hit the mark of knocking Facebook or Twitter off their respective pedestals. It had some nice features, some confusing features and a lot of irritating features like not always being able to access other Google products without a G+ profile. With photos becoming increasingly important (e.g. Facebook acquiring WhatsApp and Instagram) the move makes sense and Google+ has seen a lot of pick-up in the image area. Google Hangouts has had a solid following and the move to breakout Google+ into streams signifies that Google has recognised that it has strengths but not the overall Social Media clout it thought it might achieve.

Changes to your SEO activities

Q: Should I ditch my Google+ business page?

Definitely not! You should keep your business page (and if you haven’t got one, then set it up now!) The “Google My Business” section of Google+ is still key to search results and allows you to add and verify business listings – these are the details that appear in organic search results and in Google Maps. You should ensure that you manage this business page to enter all correct business details, add up to date photos and videos – and to make sure that you stay on top of, and respond to customer comments.

 Q: Is it time to split my YouTube & Google+ accounts?

Again, not yet. On YouTube’s own blog they say:

“Do NOT do it right now or you’ll delete your YouTube Channel!”

Google+ has been a good tool for locating people with similar interests but in its new guise it will help ensure that the people are actually using it, and where useful, should help it thrive. Your activity on Google+ has been sharing itself across the platform and once the separation occurs (G+ split from YouTube) comments will only appear on your YouTube channel. This is great news as it should raise engagement on YouTube. At the moment comments include Google+ activity and these tended to go to the top of the comment section, which discouraged interaction as the comments just listed the activity of a video being shared – not a lot of meaningful feedback. Keep an eye on the split as you’ll need to make a positive change to split your G+ & YouTube channels to take advantage of the SEO gains of a focused YouTube offering.

 Q: How do capitalise on the changes?

Reading between the lines of the announcement and the focus on ‘Photos’ the clue here is that Google are still placing a major importance on imagery. This means ensuring that you are using images liberally across your website, when they add value and when they are relevant – just posting holiday photos on your business website doesn’t hack it with Google search! But also make sure that the images are setup correctly, tagged correctly and pushed to Google search with Webmaster tools and if used in a blog use blog posting indexes. So if you are moving to a new generic/vanity TLD you won’t have a loss of SEO – but remember Google needs to know what’s happening, just moving without following the SEO rules WILL upset your current ranking. You can read more about getting on top of Google SEO with our guide

To see other areas of website SEO check out these links:

► Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and approaches: ‘How to be found in Google Searches

► Why Social Media is so important to SEO and Google: Using Social Media Profiles for SEO

How Google is handling SEO for new top level domains

Great News! New Top Level Domains (TLDs) avalable to boost your marketing – but what happens to your SEO?

top-level-domains-and-google-seoSince the new extensive list of TLDs (gTLDs) were announced there has been rumour upon rumour that Google is marking down your SEO if you use a vanity TLD or in one blog post that I saw, “Don’t use a new vanity TLD as Google will remove your site from SEO search and give a zero ranking!” Really? Will implementing a new TLD upset Google that much and kill your SEO?

In a recent blog John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google posted a comprehensive Q&A to put the record straight and to squash some of the more ‘outlandish’, scaremongering rumours. Here are the key highlights of the blog on new TLD’s and the impact they will have on your SEO… or not!

“With the coming of many new generic top level domains (gTLDs), we’d like to give some insight into how these are handled in Google’s search. We’ve heard and seen questions and misconceptions about the way we treat new top level domains (TLDs), like .guru, .how, or any of the .BRAND gTLDs, for example:

Q: How will new gTLDs affect search? Is Google changing the search algorithm to favor these TLDs? How important are they really in search? 

A: Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.

Q: Will a .BRAND TLD be given any more or less weight than a .com?

A: No. Those TLDs will be treated the same as a other gTLDs. They will require the same geotargeting settings and configuration, and they won’t have more weight or influence in the way we crawl, index, or rank URLs.

Q: How are the new region or city TLDs (like .london or .bayern) handled?

A: Even if they look region-specific, we will treat them as gTLDs. This is consistent with our handling of regional TLDs like .eu and .asia. There may be exceptions at some point down the line, as we see how they’re used in practice.

Q: What about real ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) : will Google favor ccTLDs (like .uk, .ae, etc.) as a local domain for people searching in those countries?

A: By default, most ccTLDs (with exceptions) result in Google using these to geotarget the website; it tells us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country. Again, see our help center for more information on multi-regional and multilingual sites.

 

So if you are moving to a new generic/vanity TLD you won’t necessarily have a loss of SEO – but remember Google needs to know what’s happening, just moving without following strict SEO rules WILL upset your current ranking. You can ensure your SEO is not hit by following these four basic steps:

  1. Prepare the new site and test it thoroughly
  2. Prepare a 301 table from the current to the corresponding new
  3. Configure the server to redirect from the old to the new ones
  4. Monitor and track the traffic on the associated URLs

 

Aside from TLDs you can read more about getting on top of Google SEO with our guide

To see other areas of website SEO check out these links:

► Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and approaches: ‘How to be found in Google Searches

► Why Social Media is so important to SEO and Google: Using Social Media Profiles for SEO

Google Penguin 2.0 is Live – are you ready?

Google Penguin 2 - is your website ready

Penguin 2.0 – is it relevant to your website? Well, if you are interested in keeping your website at the top of the Google rankings then you need to make sure that your website is ready for Google’s Penguin 2.0 to – the latest and major update to Google’s search algorithm.

Google-Penguin-2Matt Cutts, Google’s Search Engineer and key spokesman for all things Google, first announced that there would be the next generation of Penguin in March. He officially branded it Penguin 2.0 in tweets earlier this month and earlier this week he said it was rolling out late Wednesday afternoon on the channel “This Week in Google”.

“It’s gonna have a pretty big impact on web spam,” Cutts said on the show. “It’s a brand new generation of algorithms. The previous iteration of Penguin would essentially only look at the home page of a site. The newer generation of Penguin goes much deeper and has a really big impact in certain small areas.”

In his blog post , 22nd May 2013, Cutts added more details of Penguin 2.0, saying that the rollout is now complete and affects English language queries, and that it affects non-English queries as well. He said:

 

We started rolling out the next generation of the Penguin webspam algorithm this afternoon (May 22, 2013), and the roll-out is now complete. About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice. The change has also finished rolling out for other languages world-wide. The scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more webspam will see more impact.

This is the fourth Penguin-related launch Google has done, but because this is an updated algorithm (not just a data refresh), we’ve been referring to this change as Penguin 2.0 internally. For more information on what SEOs should expect in the coming months, see the video that we recently released.

What does Penguin 2.0 mean to your website?

The main thrust of this release is to clamp down on ‘spammy’ backlinks i.e. links that have been bought or add no value to the ranking of your site. Backlinks must adhere to key rules, they must not:

Come from sites built exclusively for the purpose of SEO
Use overly-optimised anchor text throughout
Come from adult or other “bad neighbourhood” websites
Come from sites that are irrelevant to your own site and its content

Download the key features overview of Google Penguin 2.0

And if you are not managing your website SEO – email us now to discuss how you can ensure your website is adhering to 2.0 and previous Google guidelines to manage your visibility on Google search results. Or call us on 0843 289 3060.

 

Sales Prospecting Gets Smart in Outlook/Gmail

Sales Prospecting Gets Smart - Sales Crystal Ball Shows and Tracks Prospect Activity

Sales Prospecting Gets Smart Crystal Ball Approach Shows and Tracks Prospect ActivityJust imagine … that you had a sales prospecting crystal ball. (No, not the ‘dreaming one’ that shows you how you are going to be rich and famous through amazing sales feats!) But a crystal ball that works like a two way mirror, so that you see what your sales prospects are doing right now and just how interested they are in your company and services.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

Well technology just delivered a sales prospecting crystal ball. Now you can stop ‘wondering’ if prospects are interested and know that they are ‘real’ and not time wasters by showing you exactly how they responding to your email proposals.

With the market pressure on most companies (even without a triple dip recession!) sales leads and prospects are still high on the agenda. Reacting to hot prospects, ignoring time wasters and staying ahead of the competition is crucial. Well actually it’s essential as illustrated when Forbes ran a survey of 10,000 companies and found that:

Companies don’t respond fast enough to sales leads

And the main reason sales people (and these days, no matter what your role, we’re all sales people) don’t follow up fast enough is because we don’t really know, for each prospect, when is the right time. When is it too fast to follow up and upset your prospect? When is too slow and you have to start all over again?  And when is it too late to continue your sales prospecting because have you missed the boat? Or worse your competition followed up at the ‘right time’ and closed the deal!

It’s a problem that I’ve seen time and again while working with companies of all sizes from a one person sales company to sales teams of 50+. Forbes results are 100% right, in sales prospecting, timing is everything in closing the cheap car insurance toronto ‘deal’.

So when I ran across a company called ContactMonkey that provides an app for Outlook and Gmail that gave me my own ‘sales crystal ball’ and told me…

  • when a prospect opened an email
  • where they were when they opened it
  • what device they opened it on
  • and how many times they opened it

 I got very excited!

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Suddenly I could see immediately when a prospect opened the proposal they’d asked for. If I send the email at lunchtime and they open it straightaway on their mobile, then again a short while later on their desktop, I know they are interested. I can follow-up in the knowledge that the sales prospect is real and they are actively reviewing. What better time to make contact?

Some of the great things that got me excited!:

  • I can focus on active prospects to maximise ‘the sales moment’. If I have 10 prospects then why waste time with the 7 that haven’t opened the email? Much better to focus on the 3 ‘real’ leads that are reviewing my proposal.
  • I can quickly prioritise ‘hot prospects’ by filtering the display to only show prospects that have opened the email several times
  • Knowing when an email is opened means I know when to call to make contact. No leaving voicemails when they are out. I see when they open the email with display bubble. I know how long it will take for them to get a feel for the contents of my proposal and then I can strike while the proverbial iron is hot.
  • ContactMonkey is integrated directly in my email so I can handle everything from one place.
  • Clicking a ContactMonkey alert takes me straight to the email so I know which email they have read, and can call with all the information right in front of me.
  • All email opens are integrated with my CRM so I have historical and sales tracking
  • It’s really a no-brainer when it means I am ramping up the effectiveness of my sales prospecting cycle.
See ContactMonkey in Outlook
See ContactMonkey in Gmail

As Forbes highlighted in their survey report:

The Internet is shortening our attention spans, but sales teams still have absolutely no idea how fast they need to respond to inquiries to be effective and they don’t have the technology to help them do it.

With ContactMonkey I have the technology and the information to know how fast and when to respond. That just leaves the rest to me and gives me a major advantage over my competitors in sales prospecting.

How marvellous that technology can deliver my very own sales crystal ball to my email. Dreams do come true after all!