Combating Ransomware

Combating Ransomware

There are a growing number of tools available to combat ransomware at the endpoint, but the truth is, it’s vital to stop ransomware before it gets to the device level.  As rampant as ransomware is today, there are some concrete steps that an organization can take to effectively prevent an attack.


Email Protection
Email protection is paramount as email continues to be the primary launching mechanism for ransomware.  Ransomware distributers use embedded links and attachments to entice unsuspecting users to click these and launch malware deployments.  Today’s email security solutions must do more than just stop SPAM.  An email security solution today must also block and eradicate viruses, malware, infected attachments and links to malicious websites.  Besides ransomware, an email security solution will also protect your users from phishing attacks and BEC attacks.

Web filtering
Users can inadvertently download ransomware by visiting a malware launching site or by simply browsing a drive-by website.  Many sites are infected with ransomware installation files that have been deposited there by hackers.  A modern day web filtering solution protects the Internet sessions of your users in two ways.  It first blocks access to known malicious or malware infected sites.  Then it filters all web traffic through a gateway antivirus.

Patching and Updating
Keeping your operating systems, applications and web browsers patched and up to date is imperative.  Had enterprises simply installed update (MS17-010) on its non-supported Windows devices, they could have escaped free of the damage that WannaCry inflicted to so many networks with legacy Windows devices.  There is a reason why vendors regularly release patches and updates for their customers.  New zero-day vulnerabilities are continually being discovered, forcing developers to release patches to combat these as quickly as possible.  Patching and updating is probably the most important routine task for any IT team.

3-2-1 Backup Model
Backing up your data is a critical function in the protection of your data.  It is important to follow best practices when conducting regular backups of your data to ensure that your backups can be properly restored if that fateful day ever comes to fruition.  The 3-2-1 model simply transcribes into the following practice:

Retain 3 copies of your data
Utilise 2 types of media for them
Keep 1 copy offsite / offline at all times

Following this proven model will allow you to quickly restore corrupted or lost data in the event of drive failure, disaster recovery, and of course, malware encryption.

Benefits of Embracing Internet Marketing

Benefits to Business of Embracing Internet Marketing

Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed a revolution that swept across the world. It was the revolution of the Internet and all its accompanying features. From social media to the rise of Facebook to e-commerce marketing, the internet has not only transformed the way we live and socialize, it has also changed the way businesses should view marketing forever. Gone are the days when businesses could only market to their local area. Today, with the entire Internet available to billions of people, the potential to tap into these customers is incredible.

In today’s tech-driven world, no business owner should even think to ignore internet marketing. We can’t just accept the fact of internet marketing, we need to fully embrace and take hold of all the benefits it can bring. The truth of the matter is that internet marketing provides any entrepreneur with a size of audience so large, it would be impossible to ignore it.

To get an idea of how essential internet marketing is to any business, this article will take a look at statistics and quotes from the leaders of the business world, in order to help you get a picture of why internet marketing should be fully embraced.

1. Most Customers Research Online Before Buying

According to a study by Interconnected World, they found that 61% of customers research products online before making any purchase.

This means that 61% of your target audience is actively searching online for a business or product like yours. They are out there, right at this moment, scouring the web for a service that can provide them with what they’re looking for. In fact, eight people join the Internet every second.

If that’s hard to wrap your head around, consider this stat: 4 billion searches are made on Google each day.

Even if you could tap into the tiniest slice of those 4 billion searches, your revenues would skyrocket. The Internet has become an integral part of the consumer’s daily life, and before purchasing anything, the majority of customers today research online for the best brands and products, as well as reviews, experiences of others, and so on. This means that you should have an active presence on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as a solid SEO foundation so that they can find you on Google.

Moreover, if you own a business, consider making a Google My Business account. This ensures that your business will get visibility on the right hand side of the search results, giving your business an extra boost in search results.

2. SEO Is More Important Than Paid Advertising

Yes, while PPC advertising is one of the most versatile forms of advertising (helping you deliver your business to the world quickly), about 70% of search users click on organic links rather than the paid results.

This means that integrating SEO into your daily marketing routine is essential for the survival of your business on the web. PPC advertising is still a worthy marketing option, but it can be costly for small businesses and doesn’t offer a long-term solution for those who want a continual stream of traffic to their website. It also helps to note that most customers click on organic links first, and many paid links are often ignored. On average, the click-through-rate on a standard paid link is 2%, so only 2% of searchers end up clicking on one of the paid links. This is a very poor CTR, considering that the first few organic search results have CTRs of 10% to 30%.

Yes, while PPC advertising is still a viable option, it may not be a solution for the future, and by having a solid SEO campaign set in place and always ongoing, you’ll always be furthering your site on the search results and this will lead to more clicks and traffic in the long-term.

3. Social Media Marketing Is Essential

Social media marketing can generally be likened to positive word of mouth for your business. By actively taking part with your customers on Facebook or Twitter, you’re creating a ripple effect, since your customers may share your posts, and those posts will generate yet more likes and comments.

While social media marketing may not be considered a direct form of advertising, it definitely helps your brand’s image and keeps your customers continually engaged with what you offer.

In fact, on average, people spend about 4.6 hours per week on social media. This is the highest amount of hours spent on average for any online activity. Social media has become an integral part of our day to day lives, and by placing your business on these platforms, you’re continually pushing your business to the forefront of your current customer base and further.

In fact, over half of US SMBs have said that social media plays an important role in generating business and sales.

As if that weren’t enough, many business owners have said that by taking part in social media marketing, their PageRank has increased as a result (45% of businesses said this), as this has helped drive inbound links to their site. So by embracing social media marketing, you are also helping your search engine results get a boost also.

The effects are shown in these statistics, but if you think about them, it makes sense, because so much of our lives is absorbed in the social media world. Much of your news is gotten on social media, also, and by placing your business out there on the virtual sphere, you’ll have more exposure as a result.

Social media can also keep your current customers. If they buy from your site and enjoy your product, they just might return again and if they become a fan of Facebook, they’ll be able to enter competitions, see announcements and buy from your site again.

Conclusion

Not only will the Internet help bring customers to your website, it will also help you retain those customers. With a solid SEO base and an SEO-friendly website (with plenty of content), you will have a strategy in place to help people find your website. With social media marketing, you’ll be able to gain more customers and retain the current customers you have, as well as enhancing your brand’s image.

So why not get out there and start working on internet marketing? The results will be extraordinary.

Fighting Review Spam – A Guide

Fighting Review Spam – A Guide

What is review spam? A false review is one that misrepresents either the relationship of the reviewer to the business, misrepresents the nature of the interaction the reviewer had with the business, or breaks a guideline.

Here are a few examples:

> The reviewer is actually a competitor of the business he is reviewing; he’s writing the review to hurt a competitor and help himself
> The reviewer is actually the owner, an employee, or a marketer of the business he is reviewing; he’s falsifying a review to manipulate public opinion via fictitious positive sentiment
> The reviewer never had a transaction with the business he is reviewing; he’s pretending he’s a customer in order to help/hurt the business
> The reviewer had a transaction, but is lying about the details of it; he’s trying to hurt the company by misrepresenting facts for some gain of his own
> The reviewer received an incentive to write the review, monetary or otherwise; his sentiment stems from a form of reward and is therefore biased
> The reviewer violates any of the guidelines on the platform on which he’s writing his review; this could include personal attacks, hate speech or advertising

All of the above practices are forbidden by the major review platforms and should result in the review being reported and removed.

What isn’t review spam?

A review is not spam if:

> It’s left directly by a genuine customer who experienced a transaction
> It represents the facts of a transaction with reasonable, though subjective, accuracy
> It adheres to the policies of the platform on which it’s published

Reviews that contain negative (but accurate) consumer sentiment shouldn’t be viewed as spam. For example, it may be embarrassing to a brand to see a consumer complain that an order was filled incorrectly, that an item was cold, that a tab was miscalculated or that a table was dirty, but if the customer is correctly cataloging his negative experience, then his review isn’t a misrepresentation.

There’s some inherent complexity here, as the brand and the consumer can differ widely in their beliefs about how satisfying a transaction may have been. A restaurant franchise may believe that its meals are priced fairly, but a consumer can label them as too expensive. Negative sentiment can be subjective, so unless the reviewer is deliberately misrepresenting facts and the business can prove it, it’s not useful to report this type of review as spam as it’s unlikely to be removed.

So why do individuals and businesses write spam reviews?

Unfortunately, the motives can be as unpleasant as they are multitudinous:

Blackmail/extortion

There’s the case of the diner who was filmed putting her own hair in her food in hopes of extorting a free meal under threat of negative reviews as a form of blackmail. And then there’s blackmail as a business model, as this unfortunate business reported to the GMB forum after being bulk-spammed with 1-star reviews and then contacted by the spammer with a demand for money to raise the ratings to 5-stars.

Revenge

The classic case is the former employee of a business venting his frustrations by posing as a customer to leave a highly negative review. There are also numerous instances of unhappy personal relationships leading to fake negative reviews of businesses.

Protest or punishment

Consumer sentiment may sometimes appear en masse as a form of protest against an individual or institution, as the US recently witnessed following the election of President Trump and the ensuing avalanche of spam reviews his various businesses received.

It should be noted here that attempting to shame a business with fake negative reviews can have the (likely undesirable) effect of rewarding it with high local rankings, based on the sheer number of reviews it receives. We saw this outcome in the infamous case of the dentist who made national news and received an onslaught of shaming reviews for killing a lion.

Finally, there is the toxic reviewer, a form of Internet troll who may be an actual customer but whose personality leads them to write abusive or libelous reviews as a matter of course. While these reviews should definitely be reported and removed if they fail to meet guidelines, discussion is open and ongoing in the local SEO industry as to how to manage the reality of consumers of this type.

and of course, “Ranking manipulation”.

This posting is taken from the online SEO journal, MOZ and to read the complete article visit their website.

Ransomware Spike Blamed on Malware Builders

Ransomware Spike Blamed on Malware Builders
The BBC are reporting that Security experts say a sharp increase in ransomware attacks is in part a result of how easy the malware is to acquire. Researchers at Cylance and AlienVault were able to find off-the-shelf ransomware using a normal search engine, which could then be used to lock victims’ computer files and blackmail them.

BBC News is taking a close look at all aspects of cyber-security. The coverage is timed to coincide with the two biggest shows in the security calendar – Black Hat and Def Con. To follow this news story visit the BBC News website.

Promoting Luxury Bathrooms & PT Ranson

Luxury Bathrooms from PT Ranson

Direct Submit are pleased to announce they are continuing to work with PT Ranson luxury bathrooms. A North East based company specialising in the supply of luxury bathrooms and designer bathroom materials to an ever expanding customer base, and with a large showroom you can view the bathroom before you buy.

Partnering with manufacturers as far afield as Italy, Germany and the United States, PT Ranson offers a selection of flamboyant, unique and eye-catching designs and delivers solutions that are anything but conventional. They are suppliers of baths, showers, designer bathrooms, Matki, Fiora and Hansgrohe showers, plus a lot more and include Free UK mainland delivery.

If you would like to know more about how Direct Submit could help you market your online business then give us a call to day on 0845 2722350.

Effective Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Website

Effective Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Website

By improving the quality of your website, Google will perceive your website to be authoritative and user-friendly. Your website will rank highly on the Google search results pages, as a result, and this means a constant stream of traffic. In 2012 and 2013, Google unleashed their Panda and Penguin algorithms. You may have heard of businesses who collapsed after these algorithm releases. These algorithms severely reduced the rankings of websites that were “low-quality”, in terms of Google’s eyes. Most low quality websites lost all their traffic overnight.

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In the future, having a high quality website will help establish trust with Google and will ensure that all your online marketing efforts will reward you with much traffic and customers. It’s certainly fundamental to know that by having a high-quality website, you’ll set a solid foundation that will be easy to build on in the years to come.

1. Lots of Text In Your Content and Pages

When Google bots are scanning your website to be indexed in the search results, they scan the main keywords and phrases. This means that the more content you have on your pages, the more words the Googlebot will be able to scan through. Google likes to see pages with lots of text (even a few paragraphs per page is enough), because it displays that you want to serve the user with as much helpful information as possible. If your pages have lots of pictures and little text, the bot won’t be able to scan anything, and your website will be viewed as a low quality website.

You don’t need to be writing pages of text, but a few paragraphs per page is sufficient. If you run an ecommerce store/business and have pages with product lists, you can include a few paragraphs at the top of the page about the type of product.

2. Avoid Ads “Above The Fold”

If you have placed ads on your website, either through Google AdSense or with another platform, avoid placing them “above the fold.” This basically means the first screenshot the user gets of your website: ie, when you arrive at a website and don’t scroll any further. By placing a lot of ads in this area, Google will think that your sole aim is to have people click your ads and then leave.

Avoid popup ads and ads that take up large spaces.

3. Provide High Quality Content

When you are writing content for your blog, make sure that it is above 600 words (ideally, keep it above 800 words) and that it contains helpful, useful information for the reader. If you just write blog posts in order to gain traffic, but your articles aren’t informative or useful, your website could be penalized as a result.

Avoid rehashing material that already exists on the web. If you are writing about a heavily-written topic, try and add your own personality and flair to your writing. Include statistics or fun facts, in order to add an entertainment value to your reader. If pictures and video can help enliven the user experience, you can add those, too.

Above all, avoid writing short (550 words or less would be considered short) articles that provide little value. To start attracting more backlinks to your site, you need to create “linkable” content, ie: content which people want to link to.

4. Avoid Black Hat/Grey Hat Practices

Some SEO companies or websites may encourage “Grey hat” practices. This might include creating doorway pages, keyword stuffing (adding hundreds of keywords to each page), cloaking (hiding keyword stuffing by making the text the same colour as the actual webpage) and buying links. These practices are finally outdated and they can get your website penalized heavily. If you avoid these practices, the Penguin and Panda algorithms will ensure that you’ll stay in the search results.

Conclusion

Having a high quality website establishes trust with Google. Once you’ve set a solid foundation, your website will continue to grow and prosper. Once you make a habit of creating high quality blog posts, focusing on giving your user a great user experience, your website will be on the path to total trust with Google and continuous prosperity.

Promoting HW Global Partners

Promoting HW Global Partners

We at Direct Submit are pleased to announce another new client, HW Global Executive Search and Professional Interim, whose practice areas include Executive Search and Professional Interim in the Consumer, Financial Services, Business Services, Industrial, CFO, CIO, Chair & NED sectors. We will be working with the company to increase their online profile and improve their search engine listings.
With offices in Leeds, Manchester and London, their focus is on the senior talent needs of a broad range of dynamic organisations from small capitally invested start-ups through to publicly traded multi-nationals. We have a significant breadth of functional and cross industry expertise that incorporates both local and global geographies.

On the HW Global website they state that “as a true client partner HW work tirelessly to ensure that we genuinely appreciate the intimate detail of every search we undertake. We believe in providing healthy challenge and honest feedback through each phase of the assignment, tackling potential issues collaboratively whilst offering constructive solutions throughout”.

If you would like further information on how Direct Submit could your business work harder for you then why not give us a call on 0845 2722350 or visit our SEO Services website today.

 

 

Good Keywords for Any SEO Project

Good Keywords for Any SEO Project

Keywords are integral to the amount of traffic your website can potentially receive. If your website isn’t embedded with money-making keywords, it won’t receive as much traffic as it could potentially receive.

Good keywords can help your website attract customers in the long term, and it’s essential that you target the right keywords when carrying out SEO. In this article, we’ll check out what “good keywords” mean and how you can conduct vital keyword research for your website. Keyword research will lay a solid foundation for your website, helping it attract traffic and customers for years to come.

Why Do I Need Good Keywords?

Each keyword is searched by a certain number of people each month. So the keyword “gardening tools uk” is searched by less than a thousand people per month. The more people search for that keyword, the more traffic the first website ranking for that keyword receives.

Websites are ranked in order of how relevant they are to the keyword. This means that they might have the keyword in their title, in the web content, and in other relevant parts of the page. If the article answers the question or addresses the keyword in an informative (or entertaining) way, it will rank higher in the search results because the bounce rate would be lower and the time on site would be much higher. (Google also factor user experience metrics into their rankings of websites in search results.)

Therefore, your website is actually targeted around a certain group of keywords. However, are they profitable keywords? We aim to check this out.

To see how many people search for a certain keyword per month, you can see this in the Google Keyword Planner (www.adwords.google.co.uk). There are many guides online which show you to sign up for the Keyword Planner. If you have an AdWords account, you will be able to access the planner quickly.

Type the keyword into the keyword planner and you will find monthly search estimates for each keyword.

If your website is targeted around a keyword which isn’t searched for by many people, there is no way that you can receive a lot of traffic.

Instead, target your website around keywords which receive a lot of monthly searches. Ideally, for a small business, this should be around 2000 to 5000 monthly searches if you’re just starting out, and for larger businesses, you might be able to target keywords with higher searches.

However, with local keywords, there comes an exception. If you’re targeting a local area, the monthly searches would naturally be a lot smaller. For example, “gardening tools durrow” would receive a lot fewer searches than “gardening tools uk.” It might only receive a hundred searches each month, but it’s still profitable because these are a hundred people who are highly interested in buying from a gardening shop in Durrow. These people are more interested in visiting a local shop in Durrow, than buying from a well-known gardening shop anywhere in the UK.

Check Your Competition

Once you have found keywords which relate to your website and get a sizeable amount of monthly searches, you need to check your competition.

The competition basically includes all the websites which rank for that particular keyword in Google’s search results. So the top ranking websites for “gardening tools uk” include Homebase, Fiskars and Argos. A small business would find it difficult to compete with these websites – so perhaps, they could try ranking for local keywords instead.

If the competition contains a mix of middle-competition websites (websites that are not very well known, but still have a Page Rank of 2 or 3) – you should try to rank for that keyword and beat that competition.

Where To Put Keywords?

Once you have a handful of keywords selected, you need to start creating content around them so Google will associate your website with these keywords.

You should place these keywords naturally into the homepage (where it looks natural, remember!) such as in the title tag, in paragraphs, in menu navigation and in sub-headings. However, don’t place too many of them into content, because it will look shady and you could be penalized! A good rule of thumb is: Use them where you would naturally use them.

You can also write blog posts about these keywords and create high-quality content about them that will genuinely help a reader. This includes how-to’s, tutorials, infographics, informative articles, list-based articles, and so on. Not only will you start ranking for these keywords, but you’ll also attract much traffic from social media, too!

These keywords are classified as “good keywords” because of the following:

  1. They receive a sizeable amount of traffic each month, which means that potential customers are continually searching for this keyword each month. That means a constant supply of traffic.
  2. The competition isn’t too high, meaning you can try and get to the first page using other content marketing and SEO strategies such as linkbuilding.
  3. These keywords are embedded naturally into the title tag, articles, web content, and “About Us” pages.

Summary

At first glance, keyword research looks like a complicated science, but in this article, we’ve broken it down into key, fundamental steps. It’s not that difficult once you actually break it down into a series of steps.

To summarize these steps once more:

  1. Make a list of keywords related to your website.
  2. Check for their monthly searches on the Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
  3. Identify keywords with a few thousand monthly searches if you are a beginning website or a small business that has only been online for a few years.
  4. If you are a local business, identify local keywords with a few hundred monthly searches or less (or more, depending on your local area).
  5. Check for competition. If your keyword is dominated by large-name, well-renowned websites, it would be difficult to compete with them.
  6. Start creating content around these keywords.

Conclusion

Keywords are the foundations for your website and they are the main piece of content that Google scan through when indexing their website. If you aren’t targeting profitable keywords, you won’t be able to receive as much traffic as you could potentially be receiving, so make sure to cast your net wide and search for keywords which are profitable and easy enough to rank for. This shouldn’t be difficult, thanks to the AdWords Keyword Planner.

Arktek Combi Boilers & Boiler Replacements

Arktek Combi Boilers & Boiler Replacements

Direct Submit are pleased to be working with Arktek Heating, specialists in Combi Boilers & Boiler Replacements. A North East based Gas Safe accredited installer and emergency repair company specialising in premium boiler installation and all aspects of maintenance and repair work, ranging from routine annual servicing to 24/7 emergency breakdowns. They offer a carefully selected a range of boiler brands and models that meet the company’s high standard of service delivery based upon, quality reliability, service support and length of warranty.

All of their boilers are A-Rated energy efficient boilers and come supplied with a manufacturer’s warranty, which ranges from 2-10 years, which covers any breakdowns, repairs or full replacements for the duration of the warranty. They understand the importance of maintaining a reliable heating and hot water system in your home and, should you have any problems, are there to help you 24/7, and 365 days a year.

They can also help you extend the life of your central heating system and protect your investment with servicing and maintenance by their team of professional, fully qualified engineers. Unlike many gas installer and service provider, you don’t even have to think about servicing as they will call you to remind you when your next service is due and arrange a suitable time, day or night to complete your service.

For further information about the range of replacement gas boilers available or the landlord emergency repair and maintenance services, please call 0191 516 6911 or complete the online form. We will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

How RankBrain Impacts on SEO

How RankBrain Impacts on SEO

So what is RankBrain? RankBrain uses a form of machine learning and is used by Google to process unfathomable amounts of qualitative data (written content) into quantitative data (mathematical entities), vectors that the algorithm and other computers can understand. I5% of all queries that Google processes are new, so it’s common for RankBrain to encounter a query or phrase it hasn’t seen before.

Using previously processed data in vectors and shards, RankBrain looks to make an intelligent guess based on similar queries, and similar meanings.

Simply put, RankBrain:

> Interprets the user query
> Determines search intent
> Selects results (items) from the databases

RankBrain was launched in a dozen or so languages ranging from English to Hindi, and its sole purpose is to help Google provide more accurate results and an overall better search experience for users, satisfying their queries.

The main difference between the pre and post RankBrain world is that before RB, Google’s team of software engineers would amend and alter the mathematical algorithm(s) that determine search results and rankings, and this algorithm would remain constant until an update was made. However, Rank Brain is a part of the core algorithm and is used by Google for all searches (as of 2016), meaning that there is constant change and fluctuation. This means that search results are now reactive to real world events, as well as a lot more volatile outside of the big algorithm update announcements.

If you want to know more about RankBrain then visit the Search Engine Watch website and view the complete posting.