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Google+ set for early shutdown following bug discovery

Social network Google Plus (stylised asGoogle+) will now be shut down earlier than planned, following the discovery ofa bug affecting more than 50 million users.

Google+ waslaunched in 2011 as an attempt to launch a social network competitor to Facebook.The platform was integrated with other popular Google services, includingYouTube. Although Google+ attracted some initial interest, user engagementquickly dropped and has remained consistently low ever since.

In October 2018, Google announced that the social network would be shut down, following a Wall Street Journal report which found that the company kept quiet a security breach first identified in March, which potentially exposed the personal data of half a million users. An anonymous source speaking to the Wall Street Journal claimed that senior Google staff had not disclosed the vulnerability due to concern about reputational damage, new regulation and CEO Sundar Pichai being required to testify before Congress (despite Google’s best efforts, Pichai is due to address Congress today).

Yesterday, Google announced thatit had identified a second bug during regular testing, following a softwareupdate. The latest bug, which affects a Google+ API, affected approximately52.5 million people and lasted for six days. Much like the previous bugdisclosed, this could have allowed developers to access private profile data, includingage, occupation, username and email addresses.

However, Google has reassuredusers that there is no evidence that the bug was exploited or even noticed bythird parties and that the bug did not expose users’ passwords or financialdata.

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The importance of understanding intent for SEO

Search is an exciting, ever-changing channel.

Algorithm updates from Google, innovations in the way we search (mobile, voice search, etc.), and evolving user behaviour all keep us on our toes as SEOs. The dynamic nature of our industry requires adaptable strategies and ongoing learning to be successful. However, we can’t become so wrapped up in chasing new strategies and advanced tactics that we overlook fundamental SEO principles.

Recently, I’ve noticed a common thread of questioning coming from our clients and prospects around searcher intent, and I think it’s something worth revisiting here.

However, you might not have your own internal research team, leaving you to analyse intent and the impact it has on your SEO strategy on your own. Today, I want to share a process we go through with clients at Page One Power to help them better understand the intent behind the keywords they target for SEO.

Two questions we always ask when clients bring us a list of target keywords and phrases are:

  1. Should your site or page rank there?
  2. What will these rankings accomplish?

These questions drive at intent and force us, and our clients, to analyse audience and searcher behaviour before targeting specific keywords and themes for their SEO strategy.

The basis for any successful SEO strategy is a firm understanding of searcher intent.

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Microsoft partners Mastercard for digital identity solution

Microsoft and Mastercard are partnering for a new digital identity solution which offers internet users the option to dispense with multiple passwords and verify themselves instantly online.

The software giant announced it was joining forces with the payments provider to develop a decentralised identity product that will alleviate the burden on individuals when it comes to providing digital or physical proof of identity as part of the online verification process.

Announcing their strategic collaboration today, Mastercard and Microsoft said they would be working together to give people a secure, instant way to verify as well as enter, control and share their data “with whomever they want, whenever they want”.

The eventual product will help consumers create a single, reusable digital identity that can help people interact with e-commerce merchants, banks government agencies and other digital service providers with lower cost and less friction.

It is also envisaged that a single digital identity could help tackle payments fraud and identity theft.

More >>
http://www.fstech.co.uk/fst/Microsoft_Partners_Mastercard_For_Digital_Identity_Solution.php

6 powerful tips to get more clicks with optimised descriptions

When your website is listed on the first result pages, it’s important to get the link. Optimised descriptions help you to increase the number of clicks that your listings get.

How to influence the description

Google displays a short description of the listed page on the search results page. Google will create its own description of your page if they find that the meta description of your pages is not good enough.

For that reason, it is important to create good meta descriptions. The meta description is the description that is listed in the meta description tag in the head section of your web pages. It looks like this:

1. Keep your description short
2. Answer questions in the description
3. Be emotional
4. Tell the website visitors what to do
5. Use different descriptions on different pages
6. Try to get listed as a rich result

Let us optimise your web pages now….

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Best Online Sales | e commerce for Christmas

Internet Retailer is forecasting another banner e commerce Christmas and retailers have the opportunity to have their best online sales season ever. Even though many retailers are in the throes of preparing, small tweaks can still be made that can have a big impact on the bottom line.

78%
Nearly 80% of retailers surveyed say they will increase spending on e-commerce technology this year, and the top reason is to attract new customers, according to an exclusive Internet Retailer survey.

614
More than 600 Top 1000 retailers market a loyalty program. While seven merchants offer free shipping when a shopper signs up for a free loyalty membership, 28 additional retailers have free shipping associated with various paid membership.

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Facebook is Changing Chatbot Permissions for Subscription Messaging, Effective December 31st

Facebook is making changes to subscription messaging permissions that will affect chatbots.

Permission to send subscription messages will have to be granted at the Page-level rather than at the app-level.

Chatbots that send subscription messages have until December 31st to transition from app-level to page-level permissions.

If you have a chatbot that sends subscription messages then these changes are important to be aware of.

These changes do not apply to chatbots that only send standard messages.

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Sneaky Types of Duplicate Content

1. Scraped content
2. Syndicated content
3. HTTP and HTTPS pages
4. WWW and non-WWW pages
5. Dynamically generated URL parameters
6. Similar content
7. Printer-friendly pages

Duplicate content is a big topic in the SEO space. When we hear about it, it’s mostly in the context of Google penalties; but this potential side effect of content duplication is not only blown up in importance, but also hardly the gravest consequence of the issue.

Don’t let Google penalise your Business Website for Duplicate Content >>

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Study confirms brands’ worst fears about unsafe content

Ads placed in front of or beside unsafe content triggered a range of negative consumer reactions.

Brand safety has been an issue since the beginning of the internet. However in the past several years it has gained more importance and urgency, with incidents and advertiser concerns growing.
A new study from brand safety platform CHEQ, media agency IPG Mediabrands and automaker BMW aimed to quantify the risk to brands that appear next to “unsafe” content. In short, the study found being associated with unsafe content had a significant, negative impact on brand perceptions, consumer trust and intent to buy.

Not just a survey. The study’s methodology makes makes its findings more credible than if were simply the product an abstract survey of consumer sentiment. There was an initial screening survey, then participants were exposed to ads beside negative or unsafe content. Then there was a follow-up survey to measure brand sentiment:

The full process is described as follows: “We displayed 4 different types of content alongside the ads ranging from safe to generally unsafe, brand averse and vertical averse . . . We displayed BMW and Hulu brand video ads to the test group, while the control group was shown various PSA ads. . . We displayed the content on both desktop and mobile to make sure we captured and reflected consumers’ genuine ad viewing experience.”

Consumer sentiment declines across the board. The results confirm brand marketers’ fears. Below are some of the summary findings:

• Consumer perception of brand quality declines by 7X vs. the control group not exposed to the unsafe content
• There’s a 2X decline in purchase intent for those exposed
• Consumers are 50 percent less likely to recommend the brand
• Consumers are 2.8X less interested in associating themselves with the brand
• Consumers are 3X more likely to believe that the brand isn’t “in the know”

There are additional findings in the report, consistent with these negative perceptions and sentiment. For example, many of the study participants assumed the placement of the brand ads near negative or unsafe content was intentional. They also view these ads as an “endorsement” of the unsafe content.

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Start-up cyber security: What simple mistakes leave you at risk?

As cyber threats intensify, small businesses must make sure that careless mistakes aren’t leaving them vulnerable. Tayo Dada, the founder of cyber security firm Uncloak, looks at how SMEs can protect themselves.

Cyber-crime is on the up. A survey by analyst Ovum found that 60% of companies saw an increase in cyber-attacks in the past year. Meanwhile, Uncloaks’ own research suggests that the number of cyber-attacks in 2017 was up an incredible 400% year on year.

The costs of cyber-crime are high, both financially and in terms of the devastating reputational damage done to businesses that fall victim – yet 96% of businesses in Europe feel they cannot justify the cost of a cyber security expert. The reality is that the threat affects businesses of all sizes, yet cyber security is a poorly understood area for many businesses, and most simply wait to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Of course, cyber security is a complex and ever-changing landscape, but there are simple things we could all do to reduce risks. Take a look at these common mistakes, and you might spot some straightforward things you can do to reduce your chance of being hit by a hacker – because prevention is always better than a cure:

Don’t think that it won’t happen to you

Despite the growing threat, many SMEs still believe they won’t be affected, or that they’re too small to be a target. But whatever your size or industry, your business has data that is valuable. And an attack can be fatal to a small, unprepared business.

Protect yourself today >>

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10 Paid Search & PPC Best Practices for 2019

Another year is quickly approaching.

That means now is the perfect time to review current PPC best practices to start improving your performance.
There are opportunities to revisit the dependable PPC best practices but even more opportunity to implement new ideas into your program.

Get ready to rock PPC in 2019!

1. Review New Features in Google Ads
Another year, another Google deadline.

2. Test New Platforms
OK, PPC marketers, listen up!

3. Mobile Preference
For years, we’ve seen the usage of mobile devices for search increase.

4. Test New Features
Earlier in this post, we see a few new features you should consider testing in Google Ads 2019: Promotions extensions and Outstream video campaigns.

5. Audiences Integrated with Search
For quite some time we were limited to the keyword in search engines.

6. Learn to Use Scripts
PPC managers can learn to automate repetitive tasks in their Google Ads accounts using scripts added to the account.

7. Voice Search Preparation
You might not be getting a large quantity of voice searches yet. Most advertisers aren’t.

8. Budget Review for 2019
Some advertisers get stuck in a rut and forget to review and re-evaluate the distribution of their budgets.

9. Re-evaluate How You Report
Have you been using the same old report for years?

10. Seek Collaboration
If the PPC wheels keep spinning, going nowhere, it’s a time to step back and seek out friendly resources and second options.

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Paid Search PPC

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Tips for optimising content for voice search, virtual assistants

Voice search is coming. Here’s what you can do today to get ahead of the curve.

Just about everyone has had the experience of searching by voice, using Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana or Siri. And with pundits predicting that anywhere between 20 and 50 percent of all searches will be voice-initiated by 2020, it’s important for SEOs to start thinking about best practices and techniques for optimizing content for voice search & virtual assistants.

Featured snippets for your site. “This is good in traditional search, and critical in voice search, the world of a single answer where most of the responses Google provides come from featured snippets,” he said. Enge has mapped out a process for getting featured snippets for just about any type of content:

• Identify common questions in your market sector.

• Determine which of those are most interesting to your business.

• For each “target question” you select, develop a set of closely related questions that users are likely to also be interested in.

• Write content addresses target and related questions in a single cohesive article.

If you need help with your voice search contact us today >>

Search Engine Optimisation SEO in London

Six Reasons Why Website visits are Down

There are times when web traffic changes. Sometimes for the best. Sometimes for the not so best. It’s not difficult to diagnose why traffic changes. Below are the top six most common problems that we find and fix for our customers.

1. Mobile Paradigm Affects Traffic
2. Change in Consumer Habits
3. Indexing Issues
4. Non-Secure Website
5. Hacking
6. Google Updated the Algorithm

If you need help with the above or any other Google listing problems, please feel free to contact us today.

Search Engine Optimisation SEO in London

How Secure Is Your WordPress Website Against Hackers

Did you know that you can lose all the hard work that you put into your site in an instant if your website got hacked?

WordPress is pretty secure, but there are many other ways a hacker can gain access to your site.

Over 30,000 websites get hacked every day. I want to make sure your website is never part of that.

Securing your website is complicated, takes too much time or requires skill.

Get the Ultimate WordPress Security from LK Web Media

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Online grocery shoppers want more deals and personalised offers

48% of all respondents—including 70% of millennial parents—say they would be more likely to shop for groceries online if they could use more coupons.

A recent survey suggests that strategies grocery retailers use to attract and keep in-store customers are likely to work online as well “Consumers want deals, convenience and a personalised experience,” says Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer at media and marketing services company, which surveyed more than 6,200 consumers May 15 through June 15. Those fundamentals, he says, do not change as consumers try out additional shopping options, such as buying food on a computer, smartphone or voice-enabled device.

The survey responses back that up. For example, coupons—one of the oldest sales tools in retail—remain incredibly popular with grocery shoppers. According to the survey, 93% of all respondents are interested in finding coupons, coupon codes and deals for groceries. And 48% of all respondents—including 70% of millennial parents—say they would be more likely to shop for groceries online if they could use more coupons online.

Millennials as consumers ages 18 to 35.

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Google: Low Traffic Does Not Mean Content is Low Quality

Google’s John Mueller cautions against removing content from a website simply because it doesn’t receive a lot of traffic.

As far as Google’s algorithms are concerned, low page views is not an indicator that content is low quality.

Therefore, site owners should not remove web pages due to page views alone.

Page views is a metric that can assist site owners in identifying low-quality content, but it’s not an automatic indicator that a web page is not valuable.

Google’s algorithms don’t even look at the number of page views. Rather, they try to understand the value a piece of content provides to those who may be searching for it.

This is something most SEOs are already aware of, but clearly it bears repeating every now and then.

More info >>

LK Web Media | News and Blog

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Search Engine Optimisation SEO in London

10 Steps to a Technically Perfect Site in 2018

Here at LK Web Media, we talk about off-page SEO a lot. Building, managing, and auditing your backlinks is a critical aspect of SEO, and it keeps getting trickier.

On-page SEO is a hot topic too; particularly now that Google’s increasingly shifting to semantic search, and the old-school tactics don’t seem to work as well as they used to.

No doubt those are very important aspects of SEO, but there’s one thing we tend to forget about. SEO isn’t either off- or on-page. The technical part of the process is just as important; in fact, if you don’t get the technical foundation right, your other SEO efforts might bring no results at all.

1. Review your sitemap.
2. Check indexing.
3. Make sure all-important resources are crawlable.
4. Amplify crawl budget.
5. Audit internal links.
6. Check on your HTTPS content.
7. Test and improve page speed.
8. Get mobile friendlier.
9. Ask search engines to re-crawl your site.
10. Just let us do it all for you.

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Google clarifies the Speed Update only impacts the ‘slowest sites’

With Google’s Speed Update, I asked Google’s John Mueller to clarify what he meant when he said the update will work at “more of a gradual scale.” In a recent webmaster hangout, he told participants that “the faster you can make your pages the more we can take that into account. And it’s not so much that it’s like it’s too slow or it’s faster.”

That seemed to contradict the original announcement where Google said this update “will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users.” So I asked Mueller about this one on Twitter.

He reiterated the earlier guidance that “this only affects the slowest sites” adding that “those can incrementally improve” but went on to say that “ideally, you’d significantly improve the speed.”

He also confirmed that Google is “still aiming for this month” for the rollout. Mueller also explained once again that “if your site is reasonably fast, tweaking won’t change things.”

So, in short, if you have a fast site, making it faster “won’t change things” with your rankings (at least due to the Speed Update), but if your site is slow, even incremental changes might help.

Need help to speed up your Website?

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User eXperience (UX) and SEO

Optimising websites is not just about getting those visitors to your website. It is also about serving them the best user experience and keeping them on your website. Or even better, seduce that visitor to subscribe to your newsletter or buy your products.

Get ready to optimise your site’s speed, write awesome content and improve the accessibility of your site. Make sure your site is mobile friendly and don’t forget to analyze the results of your efforts.

And there’s more.

Contact us today about how we can improve your site’s usability.

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