Google Confirms Algorithm Update Occurred Last Week

Google Confirms Algorithm Update
Google confirms algorithm update occurred Last Week, some sites may see drops or gains in rankings as a result of the changes that occurred, which Google says is normal. It sounds as though rankings will fluctuate according to how pages should have been ranking prior to this update.

”There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.”

Should you notice rankings drop following this update, Google notes there is no particular “fix” other than to continue “building great content.”

Understanding the XML Sitemap

Understanding the XML Sitemap
Any website needs to be indexed in order for a search engine to read or crawl through all the information the website has. A search engine needs to access a sites data in order for it to acknowledge it as a live site. This does not necessarily affect the Search Engine Optimisation or its ranking but the sitemap needs to be there for the rankings to happen.

XML stands for Extensible Markup Language and is a newer development on the older HTML version. It is now the preferred format used by administrators and search engines.

An xml sitemap is basically a map of a website. It tells the search engine all of the data the website has and where to find it. The better the sitemap is the easier it is for the search engine to read the data and crawl the website intelligently.

A link to the sitemap can usually be found on any website and the link usually leads to a list of URLs and data. The data is often listed in order of importance (e.g. homepage first) and also includes the site content and when it was last updated.

Reasons why you need a sitemap include:

Search engines love URLs as they enable them to crawl the site and understand its layout.

All of your wonderful content will become irrelevant if your site is not indexed and this will ultimately have an overall effect on your Search Engine Optimisation and rankings.

XML also allows the user to inform a search engine of other content such as videos, images, news updates and features like mobile information.

The sitemap is at your beck and call meaning you can access it whenever you need to. This means you can adapt your URLs so nothing gets overlooked giving you a strong website.

It is essential to your website; it acts as a foundation to the build of the website which essentially leads to the ranking result.

Google Algorithm Update Chatter & Signals

Google Algorithm Update Chatter & Signals
The SEO community are seeing a bit of chatter around a possible Google algorithm and ranking update. The chatter is somewhat limited, definitely not at the levels of an old fashion Panda or Penguin update, also not at the levels of Fred or Maccabees but still, some chatter is going on about SEOs and webmasters complaining about ranking drops.

The search engine forum ‘roundtable‘ are rating the level of chatter or intensity of those SEOs noticing this. “I’d rate it a 4 out of 10. Panda or Penguin would be a 9 out of 10, Fred would be a 7 out of 10 and Maccabees would be a 6 out of 10. This is based on seeing more than average complaints on Twitter, social media, the Google official forums and WebmasterWorld but still not at the levels of a larger update. I am thinking whatever this was started around Tuesday, February 20th. The last time we reported on a possible Google update was about a month ago.”

Google to Move Some Sites to Mobile First Index in Coming Weeks

Google to Move Some Sites to Mobile First Index in Coming Week
Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed that a significant number of sites will be migrated to the mobile-first index in the next month and a half. Illyes announced Google’s upcoming plans for the mobile-first index while on stage at Pubcon in Austin, Texas.

The last official word we heard from Google regarding mobile-first indexing was this past summer, when Google’s John Mueller mentioned it was being rolled out to individual sites that are ready for it. Since then, we have published a help article with Google’s advice on getting ready for the mobile-first index.

The company initially planned to have all sites migrated to the mobile-first index by early 2018, but it doesn’t look like that goal is going to be met. Moreover, Google has said it will not tell us when migration to the mobile-first index is complete.

However, following Illyes’ keynote at Pubcon, we have learned that the new index may never be fully rolled out to all sites.

The mobile-first index is Google’s attempt at looking at the web and indexing and ranking the web from a mobile-first perspective. This means that if you have a mobile-friendly version of your website, instead of indexing the desktop version, Google will first index that website’s mobile version.

 

Young Brits ‘Lack Cyber Security Awareness’

Young Brits ‘Lack Cyber Security Awareness’
More than 52% of Britons aged 18-25 are using the same password for lots of online services, suggests a survey. By doing so they make it easy for hackers to hijack accounts, warned the UK government’s Cyber Aware campaign.

The danger was acute because of the sensitive data people typically send via email and other accounts, it found. About 79% of the 2,261 respondents of all ages said they had sent bank details or copies of passports and driving licences via messaging systems.

“Your email account is really a treasure trove of information that hackers won’t hesitate to exploit,” said Det Insp Mick Dodge, national cyber-protect co-ordinator with the City of London police in a statement.

The danger of identity theft was significant, he said, because many people who sent personal information via email rarely deleted it. Bank statements, electronic copies of signatures and other important documents could all be sitting in lists of sent emails, said Det Insp Dodge.

“You wouldn’t leave your door open for a burglar, so why give criminals an open invitation to your personal information?”

Reusing a password helps cyber-thieves because they try to use login names and password combinations released in data breaches on many different online accounts to see if they get a hit.

While operators of large online email services try hard to protect login credentials, smaller firms are less prepared for hack attacks which can mean reused passwords go astray.

On average, the survey found, people regularly used at least six other online accounts covering everything from social media to online shopping. Some said they had as many as 21 other accounts they logged into frequently.

The survey suggested that younger people were most likely to use their email password on other accounts. Across the whole sample of respondents 27% reported that they reused the key identifier that unlocked their email.

In response to the findings, the UK’s Cyber Aware campaign recommended that people use a strong and separate password for their email accounts. It also suggested that people should not use the names of children, pets or a favourite sports team for their password. Such details can be easy to gain from social media accounts, it said.

Wherever possible, said the awareness campaign, people should use two-factor authentication which added another layer of security to online accounts.

Dr Hazel Wallace, a GP and an ambassador for the Cyber Aware campaign, said the start of a new year was often a time that people tried to “reset” their lives by dieting or getting fit.

“When you’re making a lifestyle reset it’s also important to make a reset to your online health as well,” she said. “Hackers can use your email to access all of your personal information by asking for a reset to your passwords for other accounts.”

Using Page Speed in Mobile Search Ranking

Using Page Speed in Mobile Search Ranking
People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible, studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, and Google have announced that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.

The “Speed Update,” as Google are calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.

On the Google webmaster blog they are encouraging developers to think broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics. Although there is no tool that directly indicates whether a page is affected by this new ranking factor, here are some resources that can be used to evaluate a page’s performance.

•Chrome User Experience Report, a public dataset of key user experience metrics for popular destinations on the web, as experienced by Chrome users under real-world conditions

•Lighthouse, an automated tool and a part of Chrome Developer Tools for auditing the quality (performance, accessibility, and more) of web pages

•PageSpeed Insights, a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimisations

Ask Google to Recrawl your URLs

Ask Google to Recrawl your URLs
If you’ve recently added or made changes to a page on your site, you can ask Google to (re)index it using the Fetch as Google tool. The “Request indexing” feature on Fetch as Google is a convenience method for easily requesting indexing for a few URLs; if you have a large number of URLs to submit, it is easier to submit a sitemap. instead. Both methods are about the same in terms of response times.


You can request indexing using Fetch as Google only for a fetch that meets these criteria:

•The fetch must have a complete, partial, or redirected fetch status.
•The fetch cannot be more than 4 hours old.

Google crawls and indexes the URL content as served when Googlebot accepts the request, not from a snapshot of the Fetch as Google results.

Ask Google to Recrawl & Reindex your URL:

1.Perform a fetch (or fetch and render) request for a URL using Fetch as Google, or choose a recent fetch on the table that satisfies the requirements above. Make sure that the page appears in the fetch as you think it should; if the page cannot be reached by the fetch tool or doesn’t display fully to the fetch tool, it might be misclassified or not crawlable by Google.

2.Click Request indexing next to the fetch in the fetch history table. If the request feature does not appear next to a fetch, the fetch didn’t fulfill the requirements listed above.

3.Select whether to crawl only that single URL, or that URL plus its direct links: • Crawl only this URL submits only the selected URL to the Google for re-crawling. You can submit up to 10 individual URLs per day.
•Select Crawl this URL and its direct links to submit the URL as well as all the other pages that URL links to directly for re-crawling. You can submit up to 2 of these site recrawl requests per day.

4.Click Submit to queue your request.

5.Recrawling is not immediate or guaranteed. It typically takes several days for a successful request to be granted. Also, understand that we can’t guarantee that Google will index all your changes, as Google relies on a complex algorithm to update indexed materials.

Promoting Tint Brow Bar

Promoting Tint Brow Bar
Direct Submit are pleased to announce they are working with the Tint Brow Bar in Newcastle to help promote their range of beauty services including eyebrow tinting, eyebrow waxing and eyebrow threading.

An independent pop up brow bar located in the city centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, the salon is managed and run by Jessica Brent who has experience working for a major beauty brand for the best part of 10 years. Tint offer a bespoke brow treatment that involves custom blend tinting, reshaping through a combination of waxing, threading and tweezing to create brow perfection.

For more information visit the Tint website or call 07931 784894 and book your appointment today.

Reporting Cyber Security in 2017

Reporting Cyber Security in 2017
The online cyber security company Malware Bytes have produced an end-of-year report will look at the tactics of infection, attack methods, and changing development and distribution techniques used by cybercriminals over the last 12 months. The report looks into the exponential increase of malware volume and severity year-over-year, (and which malware types are experiencing decreases), as well as trends in high-impact threats, such as ransomware and cryptomining. What the report ultimately shows is an evolution in cybercrime that’s sure to lead to even bigger bad business in 2018.


Here is a summary which provides key points for businesses and consumers.

Ransomware volume was up in 2017, but is trending downward
The last year made it clear that, for attacking businesses anyway, ransomware was the tool of choice. Our telemetry shows that in 2017, ransomware detections increased by 90 percent for business customers, climbing the charts from last year to become our fifth-most detected threat. Ransomware saw a banner year among consumers as well, with detection rates up 93 percent over 2016.

Despite such a high-profile year of high-volume outbreaks, development of new ransomware families grew stale. Closer to the end of the year, there was a significant change in distribution, with many avenues known for ransomware drops diversifying their payloads with banker Trojans and cryptocurrency miners instead.

What they can’t hold for ransom, criminals will steal instead
With ransomware slowly going out of favour, criminals pivoted to banking Trojans, spyware, and hijackers in 2017 to attack companies instead. These types of malware are used to steal data, login credentials, contact lists, credit card data, distribute more malware, and spy on a victim for information about the business or how to dig deeper into the network. We saw an increase of 40 percent in hijackers and 30 percent in spyware detections in 2017. The second half of the year also marked an average of 102 percent increase in banking Trojan detections.

What is Mobile Optimization

What is Mobile Optimization

Have just been approached by a client asking “What is Mobile Optimization”? To try and keep this brief, here is a shortened version of a post published by MOZ the online SEO blog.

Every year people spend more and more time on their mobile devices and tablets, but many websites still aren’t designed to account for different screen sizes and load times. Mobile optimization takes a look at site design, site structure, page speed, and more to make sure you’re not inadvertently turning mobile visitors away.

Site design for mobile
Mobile devices are simplifying and revolutionizing the ways sites are designed. “Above the fold” no longer has meaning in a world where we scroll endlessly

Don’t use Flash
The plugin may not be available on your user’s phone, which means they’ll miss out on all the fun. If you want to create special effects, use HTML5 instead.

Don’t use pop-ups either
It can be difficult and frustrating to try and close these on a mobile device. This might lead to a high bounce rate.

Design for the fat finger
Touch screen navigation can lead to accidental clicks if your buttons are too big, too small, or in the path of a finger that’s trying to get the page to scroll.

Mobile Optimization
Mobile optimization is the process of ensuring that visitors who access your site from mobile devices have an experience optimized for the device.

What is Mobile Optimization?
Every year people spend more and more time on their mobile devices and tablets, but many websites still aren’t designed to account for different screen sizes and load times. Mobile optimization takes a look at site design, site structure, page speed, and more to make sure you’re not inadvertently turning mobile visitors away.

Mobile SEO Best Practices
If your site is already well optimized for search engines, there are only a few additional things that you need to think about when optimizing for mobile.

Page speed
Because of hardware and connectivity issues, page speed is even more important for mobile users than desktop users. Beyond optimizing images, you’ll want to minify code, leverage browser caching, and reduce redirects. More information on page speed can be found on our SEO Best Practices for Page Speed page.

Don’t block CSS, JavaScript, or images
In the old days, some mobile devices couldn’t support all of these elements, so webmasters of mobile sites blocked one or all three. But for the most part that’s no longer true, and the Smartphone GoogleBot wants to be able to see and categorize the same content that users do. So don’t hide it. These elements are also critical to helping Google understand if you have a responsive site or a different mobile solution.

Optimize titles and meta descriptions
Remember that you’re working with less screen space when a user searches using a mobile device. To show off your best work in SERPS, be as concise as possible (without sacrificing the quality of the information) when creating titles, URLs, and meta descriptions.

Use Schema.org structured data
Because of the limited screen space, a search result with rich snippets is even more likely to stand out than on a desktop. Read more about Schema.org structured data.

Optimize for local search
If your business has a local element, remember to optimize your mobile content for local search. This includes standardizing your name, address, and phone number and including your city and state name in your site’s metadata. More information on local SEO can be found here.

Mobile site configuration
Probably the most important decision you’ll make when setting up a site is deciding whether you want to use a responsive, dynamic serving, or separate site configuration. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Google prefers responsive design but supports all three options as long as you have set them up properly.