It appears that 2018 has started with an avalanche of Spam e-mails from self professed SEO Experts, Marketing Consultants, Promotional Analysts.....and various other surreal titles that these people dream up. And the content of these mails all contain serious warnings.
The mails usually emanate from the Indian subcontinent, and for reasons best known to themselves these individuals will be doing business under some ludicrous pseudonym like Buck Rogers, Rhett Butler, or Troy Tempest.
Their modus operandi is basically to panic you by forecasting imminent doom for you and your business due to multitudes of technical problems with your site! And they'll know all this just by getting the e-mail address off it! Because that is all they've actually done!
This approach can be viewed as an unethical and misleading practice designed to take advantage of end users who don't understand the technical aspects. Or maybe they're just that inept that they believe it themselves. Either way, they want your money.....and they'll tell you anything to get it.
Their usual sales pitches, based on total fiction, go along these lines:
1. Your site can't be found on Google. Call me cynical, but I don't think they've thought this one out very well. Because if you can't be found on Google, how did they find you? Crystal Ball? Ouija Board? The Voices in their Head?
2. No metatags on the pages! These are the keywords that can be put in the header of each page.....visible to search engines only. Problem is they've actually been obsolete for over 10 years!
Just see what Google said back in 2009: Google does not use the keywords meta tag. So putting in metatags is irrelevant! Nobody can see them and search engines don't use them! But these "experts" are quite happy to charge you to put them in anyway.
3. Not enough Keywords! These are still relevant today but in a contextual and natural manner, and used in moderation. Don't look to jam them in wherever you can or you'll end up getting penalised for poor quality content.
Simple rule to follow: Deliver information on your site in a natural manner as if you were speaking to somebody face to face. As an example, if you are an estate agent in Spain would you actually stand in front of a prospecive client and say something like this? "Property for Sale Spain, Best Spanish Property, Spanish Property Costa del Sol etc etc". Of course you wouldn't.....so why do it on your website?
Google has analysed your site as a human would since 2015.....using it's Artificial Intelligence System RankBrain. So just write for humans because that's what Google wants. Jamming keywords will only diminish your credibility as far as Google is concerned.
4. A specific type of website application is better for SEO! Totally wrong! Google doesn't care whether you use Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, or even basic HTML. They are only interested in the end result.....which is whether you have a quality site that delivers value to users. The actual software application that is powering it is irrelevant. So somebody using this pitch will be trying to get you to order a new website from them by dangling the carrot of SEO enhancement.
5. You don't have enough H1, H2, H3 tags on your site! While it is still good practice to use them if required, the practice of stuffing them everywhere has no bearing whatsoever. And may even be viewed as spammy in some cases.
Basically, it's the quality of the content covered by the tags that is evaluated.....not the tag itself. Start putting them everywhere with insufficient depth of content to warrant it sends a clear signal to Google. And not a positive one.
6. Social media likes and shares boost search engine rankings! The simple act of liking or sharing has no bearing on your site's search engine positioning at all. If it drives traffic to your site then that is a different matter and is viewed as a positive signal. Social media activity is highly recommended to get your business and brand directly in front of potential clients ......thereby eliminating them searching on Google where your rankings may not be so good. There's more ways than Google to generate business these days.
But selling you Social Media promotional services under the guise of it somehow enhancing your presence on Google is incorrect. You'll only enhance your presence on the Social Media channels....nowhere else.
So what is the Reality?
The reality is contained in Google's Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. What they stipulate as essential requirements are Page Quality, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, Supplementary Content, Quality User Experience, Functionality, Mobile optimisation, SSL Security, and Page Loading Speed. Remember that there's a wealth of articles on this site that cover these areas.....and all with links to Google for validation.
As I always say, we do not provide SEO services......we just build websites properly based on Google's guidelines! Nobody elses's!
We follow their directives and then implement those processes in the best way possible for your business.
So what Buck Rogers says, what a Kiddie Blogger says, what the man in the pub says, or what a friend of a friend who knows about this stuff says......they're not relevant to me! Don't let them be relevant to you either!
Is your Business worth a cup of Coffee a week? Because it seems that many site owners out there don't seem to think so!
And unfortunately for those people, Google are now telling their site visitors exactly how much value they actually place on it.
I'm talking about SSL encryption! Because for the past few years Google has been telling people how important it is to have SSL security encryption on their websites. We first brought it to your attention over two years ago in SSL for SEO.
Since that time we've updated you on the increased importance that Google (and other search engines) have been applying to it. In fact Google has even gone as far as to confirm they are interpreting the presence of an SSL certificate as a criteria in search engine positioning.....as we announced back in July 2015 in GOOGLE AND SSL SECURITY.
Now things have moved on again! In the past Google were giving incentives for site owners to put this in place. Now they're potentially penalising insecure sites by warning users that it could be a risk to their personal security. Effectively they're saying "We've given you two years to put this in place.....you haven't bothered, so now you're going to be penalised".
They're doing this by showing a warning icon in the browser address bar if SSL security is not in place. Prior to this, it was just a fairly innocuous blank icon of a page.....but now it's a large "I" denoting important information. Here you can see the difference between safe and unsafe sites:
As you see, WebSpain is in green with the padlock displayed, while the insecure site has the "I" icon. And when the user clicks that icon they are told "This page is not secure".
We didn't even notice that this system had been put in place! It was only when a client contacted us about one of their customers being reluctant to fill in an online form due to the risk of data theft, that we became aware of it.
As we've covered before, SSL encryption protects you and your clients from the risk of data theft and phishing. It also gives you potentially improved search engine positioning, while enhancing professionalism and client confidence. Additionally, you are protected from anybody else on the server getting the shared IP address blacklisted.
Ultimately it's your choice on whether you choose to implement it......we are just making you aware of the direction that things are headed. Taking this further, if they decide to redirect straight to their full page insecure message then users will see this:
Personally, I wouldn't bet against them putting an "Unsafe Site" warning in the search listings as well. Be aware that this isn't going to go away! If anything, they'll up the ante even further! So I would suggest that you address this issue now.....before your business starts getting disrupted.
Look at the benefits of SSL encryption......and balance that against the cost! It isn't even 2 Euros a week, which basically equates to a cup of coffee! Our businesss is most definitely worth a cup of coffee a week......is yours?
There's been a marked escalation of Brute Force Attacks aimed at popular web applications recently!
First let's establish what is a Brute Force Attack?
Essentially it's a number of remote computers who control thousands of other infected computers that bombard your site with hits from thousands of IP addresses. Their target is the Administrator login area in an attempt to get access.
Besides the risk of them getting access, there's also the knock-on effect of this extreme volume of traffic on the server itself. This sort of scenario can bring a server to a complete halt with all sites going offline as a result. But in the case of recent attacks nobody else was affected.....only the actual site that was under attack. And we can thank Cloud Linux for that!
So what can you do about this very real threat?
The only solution is the installation of a commercial firewall on your site BEFORE an attack happens! I'm not going to openly divulge what it is and what it does for obvious reasons....but it works!
Be aware that if you do come under Brute Force attack without the firewall then Cloud Linux will just take your site offline till the attack subsides. That way no other clients are affected.....just YOU! How long until it comes back online again? That depends on how long the attack is sustained for......the last one was hitting the server from 8500 IP addresses, so it's not as if we can blacklist 1 IP and be done with it. If only it was that simple!
When the attack subsides we will then be able to access the site and install the firewall to prevent any further disruption. But until that point we're limited in what we can do because the attacks are coming in thick and fast from thousands of locations throughout the world. So if you're the next target be prepared for some downtime if you don't have this firewall in place ready.
One thing I can confirm though.....no sites were compromised in any way and nobody got access. We're proud of that because it's a testament to what we already have in place! But with the site firewall as an additional security layer we'll then be in a position to pick them off en-route.....well before the stage where the site goes offline. If you want business continuity, then this is the way forward.
Effectively, the bar has now been raised in terms of security threats. So to counteract this we've got to offer additional commercial security applications installed into the sites (not the server) to protect our clients' interests. We're certainly not burying our heads in the sand! If you choose to bury your head in the sand then that's your choice....but be aware it's only a matter of time before somebody else becomes the next victim. Really, the only question on my mind is "Who's Next?"
Are you really Driving Your Business? Or are you a passenger just going along for the ride?
Because the landscape of business promotion and marketing is always changing, so you need to adapt to those changes to be able to stay relevant within your industry!
What am I talking about? Well think back to late last year when I told you about RankBrain.....Google's Artificial Intelligence (AI) system for search engine positioning evaluation.
Since then it's got much more efficient in it's processes because it has the ability to learn as it goes along. Consequently Google is now applying more importance to it's recommendations! It's purpose could best be described as the "translator", because it instructs the algorithm what to think about the content....with a view to making the search results more relevant to the user.
RankBrain has the ability to "humanise" the assessment, and is able to interpret the "intent" behind a user's query rather than just give a result based on matching words. Therefore you need to be delivering high quality relevant information by means of supplying answers, recommendations, and solutions to users' queries.
What we have now is three areas in the SEO process.....RankBrain, Content, and Links. When I say links I mean the number of quality backlinks on high authority sites that are pointing to yours.
So what is a "high authority" website? Essentially I'm referring to sites like Governmental, Educational, national newspapers, international news portals, multinational corporations etc. We're talking major league players here.....not a useless backlink on your mate's website for Jock Strap repairs that he made using a DIY sitebuilder. Links of that nature will see you dropping like a stone because you're grouping yourself in the same category as nonentities.
While we're on the subject of links, do NOT exchange mutual links with business colleagues. Reciprocal linking will get you both canned in double quick time as it looks like you're trying to cheat the system. This is not 2005! The only backlink worth having is one that you've earned on a high profile website! Quality not quantity is what counts, exactly the same as with the content that you publish on your site.
You cannot cheat your way to the top of search engines! Anybody who tries to convince you that they can guarantee high search engine positioning is just misleading you. Simply because you're now dealing with a system that has an artificial intelligence! Think of it as a robot in some respects. It has the ability to learn as it goes along, and is able to ascertain exactly what users are looking for in terms of their "intent". At that point it instructs the Google algorithms on how to make the relevant assessment.
RankBrain is geared to reward websites that deliver high quality content and offer a mobile friendly experience. Without both you have no hope whatsoever if your business is competing in a large, competitive business market like property, vehicles, tourism etc. Conversely, the knock-on effect of delivering a great experience on those factors, means there is more likelihood of you earning links on a high authority site which will help you even more.
Once again.....there is no "magic bullet". There are no shortcuts that can be taken! There is no way of cheating! It takes time and commitment to build up an extensive content base of high quality articles on your site that actually deliver value to users! I've been doing this for years, and I'm still doing it now. Hence our permanent placement at top spot on Google for "Web Design Spain".
Ask yourself why the businesses offering additional "SEO services" don't have the level of dominance that we have? After all, we don't even offer SEO services! The reason, quite simply, is that we practice what we preach by continually delivering quality unique content. And we then market it via Social Media! There is no mystery whatoever.....we just do what we advise you to do.
Now all this has nothing to do with Web Design (which is what we do), but it has everything to do with the promotional and marketing initiatives that are an integral part of your business (which is what you do).
There's no reason why any of you can't achieve the positioning that we have. We all use the same software, and nothing has been done technically on our site that hasn't been done on yours. The only difference is the content......or more specifically, the quality of the content, and what we do with it.
What do we do? If you're reading this article, there's your answer! We continually publish quality unique content that delivers value, which is then marketed across all Social Media channels! We hope you'll find these articles to be of help to you, but ultimately it's up to you whether you choose to act on them.
If you do, you'll need to do it on a permanent and ongoing basis. It's hard, and sometimes I wonder whether anybody even reads the articles! But what motivates me is I know who does read them.....and that's Google! I make sure they index it within an hour, and then it's one more star to add to my report card.
This sort of initiative can be classed as just one aspect of driving your business! And you know the old saying....."If you're not driving your business, then you'll be driven out of business".
I'm in the Driving Seat! I've always been in the Driving Seat! Are you?
We all know that over the last decade the technology that we use has advanced beyond anything we ever imagined!
But along with this increased sophistication comes increased danger. I'm talking about cyber crime!
Now before you dismiss this as another paranoid rant about something that's not relevant to you, just take a look at this......because what you see there is happening right now: Live Cyber Attack Monitoring Service.
I've seen attacks in excess of 5 million per day taking place, it's literally a battlefield......and you're in the middle of it. Every day!
What can we do to protect ourselves? Firstly you need to understand that we can never be 100% impervious to cyber attacks, because if governments and giant multinational corporations can be taken down, then what hope do we have?
But realistically the elite level operators who commit acts of that magnitude are not interested in you and I......they want the big fish! And invariably they get them......as nearly 300 million records were leaked and over $1 billion were stolen in 2015.
The lower levels of hackers would certainly be interested in us though. To some it's just a game (and there are online games going on where they score points for defacing sites)......or to some it's personally motivated. By that I mean people with a grudge, or competitors who would like nothing better than to take you out of the game.
What makes it more dangerous is that the entry level for attackers has now been lowered considerably. You don't need to have any skills or knowledge whatsoever, you just pay for access to one of these online cyber attack service portals and you simply click a few buttons. The cost is minimal for basic services, but the more you pay then potentially the more mayhem you can create. Yes.....we now live in a world where you can go online and order whatever services you want in order to commit internet crime.
All we can do is take the necessary precautions......and take security seriously! The server software is always kept current, and whatever security measures we can deploy are always in place for your protection. But that counts for very little if your site software has become end of line and has had no security updates for some time. Because someone could potentially get access without raising any alarms, and the first you'll know about it is if your site gets defaced or thousands of e-mails get sent out supposedly coming from you. Obviously the content contained in those e-mails is not going to be pleasant, and will no doubt result in your domain name getting blacklisted right across the internet.
I would strongly recommend that you don't go down this path of outdated site software.....it's not going to end well. It will result in complete disruption, loss of business, and a degree of diminished client confidence.
As far as our clients are concerned, we always make people aware if they're in that situation, as we believe in complete transparency and keeping people informed. But ultimately what they choose to do is up to them.
I would suggest you now go back and check the Live Cyber Attack Monitoring Service and see how the daily figure has risen since you started reading this article. And if you're knowingly running outdated site software, then go and check your site to make sure that you haven't become Just Another Victim!
Let's talk FACTS! The reality is that there are many good web designers in Spain who you could choose for your new website, and there's also some who may deliver a less than stellar experience. So how do you know who to choose? Well in my case, I'll actually suggest the ones I know who are totally professional. Like us, they've been around a long time, and have an excellent reputation. We're quite open about this, and despite the fact we're all doing the same thing, we're generally using different platforms and systems to do it.
It may be the case that one of them would be a better fit for you than us.....and if so we'll give you all their details. No designer can be all things to all men, so beware of any that claim that they are. Simply because a project emanating from a knowledge base that is one mile wide and only one inch deep is never going to deliver the experience that a specialist can.
It's in your interest to check any potential designer's work, and always take up references from existing professional clients. Any experienced Pro will have a lot of them, not just one or two from a couple of very low key projects. You can see some of ours HERE!
Now whether you know this or not, it's a fact that you're going to need ongoing help and support after you've taken delivery of your website. If you get a site from a "sell it and forget it" type of operation then I guarantee that it's not going to end well.
I know because of the number of people who get referred to me when a serious situation occurs with their current designer.
It can get very messy indeed involving loss of money, loss of site, loss of domain name etc.....so do your research. If you make a purchasing decision based on the cheapest you can find, and without practicing due diligence, then be aware there could be a trainwreck up ahead. And you're going to be in it!
We've always felt that the level of after sales service and ongoing support that we provide is outstanding. And our clients think so too! After all, we have over 500 of them.....and there has to be a reason for that. Here's some facts for you to consider:
1. A client contacted us with a problem on Xmas Day. They got a two minute response and five minute resolution. FACT!
2. Contact your current web designer at 11PM on a Saturday night and see how long before you get a response. If you're a client of ours it'll be 5 minutes. FACT!
3. Unlike many others who only run reseller accounts from web hosting providers, we run our own Dedicated Servers in London and Chicago. Essentially, we are the host, there's nobody else involved apart from the on-site technicians within the respective datacentres. The only people on our servers are our web design clients with the sites that we built.
We don't provide web hosting to outsiders simply because we don't want anything introduced onto the server that could have a negative effect on our business clients' sites. Yes.....we turn away hosting business on virtually a weekly basis so we can have a clean house. FACT!
4. Every site has a remote monitoring system connected to it. So if a site fails to load we'll have a notification within 5 minutes.....and we react immediately to get it running again. If your site is running on a reseller account with another designer then you'll be the first one to notice it.....and maybe it's been down for days and you didn't know?
At that point you'll need to contact your designer and wait for them to respond to your mail. Unfortunately it doesn't end there, because then they have to wait for their hosting provider to respond to their support ticket. Timescale? Your guess is as good as mine on that......but it certainly won't be the five minute action that we provide. FACT!
5. Site backups? Most people don't think twice about this, and if you're one of those, you'd better start now because your business may depend on it. Our system is that we use the commercial R1Soft Backup platform. This makes 10 incremental backups over the course of a month: At 1AM on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the application copies all your data to a remote server. So think of it like the Windows restore points on your PC......the site can be rolled back to a previous date.
That system takes considerable investment in both time and money to operate, plus we have to pay for the additional 1TB storage space that it needs. But that's what we do, and it's there for your protection! FACT!
6. Every site has an additional database backup every night at midnight. This actually gets stored in a secured folder under our WebSpain domain name account so it's instantly accessible by us at anytime. That's a database restore in minutes! FACT!
7. Every site that we build has security updates applied to it through the lifetime of that particular version. As a rough guide, each version will run for about 3 years before it becomes end of line. During that time we could have updated it up to 25 times to keep it as secure as possible. Cost to the client? Zero! We do it because that's the professional way things should be done. We do not compromise on Security! FACT!
8. We monitor server logs and security alerts throughout the day. If there's any potential malicious activity occurring then we'll know all about it, and take appropriate action. If you are hosted on somebody else's reseller account they'll never even see these notifications because they don't have root access. So our level of vigilance is considerably higher than most! FACT!
9. Sometimes E-mails can't be delivered because there's a problem on the recipient's server! We let you know if this happens, so no more disappearing mails and possible loss of business. We cover all of that as part of our service! FACT!
10. We do not sub-contract any of our work to third parties......never have and never will. In rare circumstances we do bring in a specialist coder if you have bespoke requirements relating to XML property imports, but we'll put him in contact with you direct. You pay him, and unlike many others, we don't add any additional charge to that. Everything we do is completely transparent! FACT!
There's actually many other elements to our service that you'll never know about until you become a client. But you'll see that some of them are mentioned in What The People Say by our clients. The point here is that with us, the response, interest, and level of personal service don't cease to exist after purchase. If anything, it gets better. We've got many clients who've been with us for over 10 years now, and in our industry that's pretty remarkable. What does that tell you?
If you're comparing web designers......then compare on a like for like basis! We've listed above some of the things that we bring to the table.....so go ahead and check how many of those aspects that other web designers actually deliver!
It comes down to this: Back in 1998 my goal was to build a business that would last a lifetime.....rather than some cowboy outfit that wouldn't even last a lunchtime. And in that respect I've succeeded.....because WebSpain will outlive me for sure! Now that's a FACT......and who else can say that?
So who's the Best Web Designer in Spain? If you search on Google they seem to think it's us! But Google are wrong......we're not!
And I'll tell you who else it isn't.....the man in the pub! I'm sure you know the type: Been everywhere, done everything, knows everything, and in a former life was allegedly a mover and a shaker in big business. Use people like this at your own risk......we've seen the aftermath of these trainwrecks and it's not a pretty sight.
The reality is that if you think using professionals is expensive, just wait till you go down the amateur route. I would advise you to do your research carefully, and look for a longterm, proven, and verifiable track record in the industry. And it goes without saying that you need to take up references. These are some of ours: WebSpain Clients......and all the other pros will be able to show you something similar.
So who is the best? First we need to establish how the industry works. Generally the pros will specialise in a particular application or framework. Essentially, we're all doing the same thing but with different systems and on different platforms. We've worked solely with Joomla (and it's predecessor Mambo) since 2001, while others may be working with WordPress or Drupal, or perhaps they do bespoke sites with their own systems. And there are some who only work in specific business areas.....like Real Estate for example.
As you can see, there is a major specialisation and segmentation occurring here, and that makes comparisons very difficult. This specialisation doesn't occur with the man in the pub of course! He'll throw anything together with anything that comes to hand that happens to be free.....and you'll pay for the dubious privilege of being his guinea pig. Your choice!
What about Review Sites? You'll see these all over the internet, particularly for web hosts. These are not real review sites, they're paid ads.....and you can pay for any of the positions. Obviously if you want number one then that's the most expensive option, and the price then drops incrementally for the lower slots. We were approached a couple of years ago for a "Spain Web Designer Review" fiasco. Our position is we've never paid a penny for advertising in 18 years, so we're not going to start now! Particularly in a deceptive way like that.
To anybody who's considering working with a web designer, I'd suggest that you search on Google and speak to a few of them. Get a feel for who they are and how they do things. You need to find one that's a good "fit" for YOU! Remember that it's not about them.....it's about YOU.
So who is the best web designer in Spain?
We may be the best web designer for some people, but given the specialisation and fragmentation I listed above, it's not possible to be all things to all men! Unless you're the man in the pub of course! That guy is multi talentless on all levels.
The simple answer to this question is there isn't one! There's only the web designer that's best for YOU! It may be us.....or it may be somebody else. But one thing I can guarantee is that the "somebody else" is never going to be the man in the pub!
What I want to do in this article is hopefully give you some ideas on how you can make your life so much easier......while being much more efficient. I know that some of the options may not be what you want to hear.....because the older we get, the more resistant we become to change. But over the years I've made these changes, and it's made a big difference in the way I work.
1. Stop using Windows! Though if you happen to take some perverse pleasure in paying for an operating system that compels you to battle with your computer in an endless cycle of computer crashes, registry errors, defragging hard drives, and battling viruses and Trojans......then ignore this!
Me, I can live without all that angst.....and I have done for 10 years by using Linux. None of those scenarios ever occur, it just works. And even better, the operating system is free forever.
I know some of you will say......I'm too used to Windows! Actually you're not! Because if you own an Android phone, a Tablet, or a Chromebook, you're already using Linux! Android is a Linux based system. The servers that run your websites are Linux, 95% of the world's supercomputers run Linux, and even NASA and the International Space Station run on Linux!
Seeing a pattern here?
2. This one actually goes hand in hand with my first point. If you stop using Windows then you can kiss Outlook goodbye.
But if you're one of those masochistic types who feel that they can't live without the misery-inducing trauma of a Windows system.....then just get rid of Outlook. You wouldn't believe the number of clients I've seen over the years lose all their data because they insisted on clinging to this application. And you also need to be worried about Ransomware (where you have to pay €350+ to get your computer unlocked), along with malware sending out thousands of hardcore mails.....in your name.
So that's your credibility gone, along with your domain getting blacklisted all over the internet of course. There's better options!
3. Internet Explorer....and whatever this ludicrous new Windows 10 browser is called! Stop using them! I've seen enough virus infestations and browser hijacks over the years that can be traced back to IE to know that you don't go there. There's better options!
3. We all use E-Mail......it's a critical tool for us. So why are some of you still storing it on your computers via something like Outlook? This isn't 2005....we now live in the mobile era so you need to be platform and computer independent. Instant access to all your data wherever you are and whatever device you use is now a critical part of moderrn business. The key to all this? GMail.
Hands down it's the best tool for the job! If you use the Chrome browser (which is what I recommend) then you have so many extensions available that allow you to tweak it to exactly what you want. And remember you can set up your business mail address as an alias, so as far as everybody is concerned it actually came from your private mail account. The power of having every e-mail you've ever sent, along with full contact details of all your clients in the palm of your hand is a revelation.
You don't need to be detached from your business communications and all your data.....just use Gmail.
4. Of course when you store all your data within GMail contacts it becomes accessible via other mobile applications......in particular, Whatsapp! Free calls to anybody in the world opens up a whole new world of business opportunities, so make sure you get both Whatsapp and Skype details from all new contacts. You now have an easy way to keep lines of communication open for business, and remember that if you don't do it......your competitors will.
5. This one is common sense.....but I doubt many of you reading this article actually do it! And it's backup the data on your PC's every week! Plug in external USB, copy the data from your documents folder, then disconnect from the PC. Do not leave it connected. In my 28 years in IT I've known businesses go under because they failed to listen to this advice.....so take this very seriously.
Now here's the bottom line! You can continue to pay for commercial software that complicates your life.....or you can use free open source applications that will make your life easier. The mobile era has completely changed the game! But have you changed with it......or are you still clinging to the way you've always worked?
My way of thinking is if you're still stuck in the 2005 way of doing things, then maybe it's time to move on?
Do you remember Jackanory? Most of us will I'm sure......but did you know that you can still enjoy stories of total fantasy like we heard when we were children?
Because Once Upon a Time the internet was invented, and story tellers finally had a platform to make themselves heard.
And even better, it was a safe place where they could hide behind a keyboard or change identity when they got found out. So let's recap some of the best "wondrous stories" from recent years.....predictably most relate to SEO!
We will get you the number one position on Google.
Nobody can guarantee anything......all you can do is influence.
We will get you ranked on the first page of Google.
As above.....though this could be possible by getting you found for some ludicrous search string that nobody would ever use. In which case it's of no use to you whatsoever. For example, if you're an Estate Agent on the Costa del Sol, do you think getting a high ranking for a term such as "Pink villa in Calle Centro Marbella with a rock garden of gnomes holding fishing rods" is really going to be a game changer?
(Within an hour of posting that ludicrous search string I had the Google number one position for it. So do you see how easy it is to get high rankings for ridiculous terms? Getting them for key search phrases is a different matter of course).
Your website can't be found on search engines!
So how did they find you? Crystal Ball? Ouija Board? The Voices in their Head?
We know Google’s Algorithims.
Nobody does.....not even the senior executives at Google.
We know people at Google, so we can get you to the top of the list.
I know somebody in the RAF.....but that doesn't get me a free plane.
The more pages of content you have, the better.
Content is critical, but it's the quality that counts not the quantity.
We'll build 10,000 backlinks to your site!
Backlinks are still relevant today......but not quantity of links, only quality of links! So 10,000 backlinks on things like Bolivian jock strap repairers or seedy Korean link farms are actually going to harm you.....because you'll be seen to be keeping bad company. Be very careful when it comes to sites that link to you.
We've tested your site, it has thousands of errors, so you're doomed unless we fix it!
If your site had thousands of errors it wouldn't even load. What these people do is run an automated program that analyses all the processes within the site.....then send you a report that everything is wrong. Run one of these tests on Wikipedia and you'll get a similar result.....so why is it they end up on virtually every internet search that you make? One reason only......and that's content.
We'll optimise your MetaTags to get good positioning!
Meta keyword tags are hidden key words contained at the top of web pages. Years ago they were part of the evaluation because search engine algorithms were very basic. This is no longer the case, and Google doesn't even look at Meta keyword tags in it's indexing process. We still include them out of habit, but their relevance is now zero.
We have 250 in-house experts ready to work on your project.
Basically this can be translated to "We'll take any old job.....irrespective of whether we can do it. Then we'll sub-contract it out to somebody else....who hopefully knows a bit more than we do". This happens a lot....particularly with agencies who claim to do everything. We don't sub-contract anything out to third parties because we only work within our specialist area.
A bloke in the pub said........
I lose the will to live hearing this one! If you're going to recount what somebody has said then I need to see what prior accreditation they bring to the table. Are they world renowned industry influencers? Larry Page or Sergey Brin at Google perhaps? Mark Zuckerberg at FaceBook maybe? No.....he's more likely to be the bloke who cleans your swimming pool. Now I'm sure he does a good job of that, but he's no more qualified to offer advice in my field than I am in his.
Show me a verifiable track record of success in web technologies and I'm all ears. Heresay and verbal claims of prior greatness carry as much weight with me as they would with a court of law.
Your website will never need upgrading or updating!
This one is the most ludicrous of the lot. Really, words fail me on this.....it's totally surreal that people could be so gullible and naive! OK.....try and get your head around the concept of buying something that never ages. Because what they're claiming is that you could buy some software today that will somehow morph itself into different entities to take advantage of new technology that gets introduced as the years go on. Presumably it will automatically patch itself to close security loopholes as well.....before those vulnerabilities even exist.
If you feel there may be some merit in the statements that they're making then you need to go to your nearest car dealer and ask to buy a model that will never age or deteriorate. One that will run on any fuel source that's ever going to be introduced in the future! But just make sure that if hover cars are ever introduced then it already has the capacity to float through the air. After all.....you wouldn't want to be caught out would you?
So the message here is just be aware that not everything is what it seems to be on the internet! Talk is cheap! Some "businesses" tend to make everything as technical and complicated as possible in order to put up a smokescreen around the actual reality of the situation. Blinding you with science in effect.
We've always taken the reverse approach where we advise and then give a real world analogy to illustrate what we mean. We're totally transparent, and more often than not, what we say differs greatly from what others say. But we deal in reality, nothing else. Reality may not be what you want to face, because many people still believe in this mythical "Magic Bullet" of SEO, but reality is what it is.
So when you come across spurious claims regarding anything that is web related, just stop and think whether you would invest in any other product or service in the real world based on some of the assertions that these people are making? Evaluate internet based activity as a related aspect of your everyday life where the same rules apply.....not as some parallel universe where logic and common sense have been completely thrown overboard.
As 2016 goes on, keep your eye out for more "Wondrous Stories" appearing. And if you want to Live Happily Ever After......don't waste your time with fantasy!
This relates to the most important aspect of what we do.....Security! Because it's estimated that there are millions of outdated and totally obsolete Content Management System websites still in circulation. And they're all playing Russian Roulette!
Besides looking very dated.....which isn't going to inspire potential customers, the majority are not even mobile compatible. Consequently they're unlikely to get any business through mobile searches as their sites will not render correctly on different devices. And when you consider that the majority of internet searches now come via mobiles, then it's obvious that their potential target audience is going to be severely restricted.
Obsolete websites can be a business killer in terms of your credibility, but there's more to it than that.....there's Security!
We covered this in some depth nearly a year ago in The Life of a Website and it holds just as true today. Nothing has changed except the obsolete sites have now become even more vulnerable. Essentially, the stakes have been raised!
If you have an outdated site (and you will have had notification of this) you are potentially at the mercy of site vandals, script kiddies, activists motivated by current political events, and more organised groups that will take advantage (in a very clinical manner) of any weaknesses. This is usually accomplished by injecting malicious scripts into sites followed by a redirect for visitors to something like the Neutrino Trojan exploit kit server. Find out more about this HERE!
Therefore your visitors will be compromised by this weakness as well......making your site a danger to everybody, not just yourself.
The main target for that particular exploit (and there are many others) is WordPress content management systems.....which we don't use. In fact we won't even allow these sites on our servers. Not that it's a bad CMS by any means, but there are just too many poorly built and outdated WordPress sites out there done by hobbyists and amateurs, and they represent a security risk to everybody.
So while the risk you face isn't as severe as those people, the risk is still there. All we can do is make you aware of it.
If you choose to continue with the insecure site, we will just migrate it onto a Legacy Server that still supports the obsolete and deprecated server side scripts that these applications need.
Obviously running outdated site and server software is not exactly the ideal scenario for you or us. So moving these sites onto another server so as not to prejudice the status of current up to date sites is what we have to do. Remember that the longer it goes on the more the risk increases to you and everybody else. So don't play Russian Roulette with your business website........because one day you may get the loaded barrel.