Reviews
Saturday, 05 November 2016 09:24

HTTPS/SSL Security is Taking Over!

HTTPS Websites

HTTPS/SSL security on websites is important! I've been saying it for some years, and recent statements from Google demonstrate that it's now becoming the minimum acceptable standard......"A web with HTTPS is not the distant future. It’s happening now, with secure browsing becoming standard!"

Let me clarify that! It's now no longer evaluated as an optional addon that gives additional benefits......it's now classed as a critical indicator of your professionalism. Google is not in the business of deliver poor or potentially unsafe search results to users, so it's looking for signs that demonstrate you are a serious business entity. Basically it needs to know that you are who you say you are, and that any site visitors are not at risk of identity theft, phishing etc.

This is part of a mission that Google have been on in recent years to make the web a safer place. And it's really picked up momentum now. Here's their latest Security Bulletin where they say "More than half of pages loaded and two-thirds of total time spent by Chrome desktop users occur via HTTPS, and we expect these metrics to continue their strong upward trajectory".

Google Blog

We're now heading towards two classes of web sites......the professional and secure ones with HTTPS, and the unprofessional and insecure ones who are trying to do everything on the cheap while taking no responsibility for their clients' personal security. 
If you were Google, who would you recommend in search listings? If you're a site visitor, who would you trust to do business with?

As I've listed before, these are some of the benefits of having HTTPS/SSL data encryption in place:
1. 2048 bit encrypted connection between the user and the site giving a higher level of security for data transmission.
2. An SSL certificate also provides authentication. This means that users can be sure that they are sending information to YOU, and not to a criminal’s server.
3. Protection from Phishing, where a criminal tries to impersonate you or your website.
4. Dedicated IP address that gives you protection from any IP blacklisting of your site and e-mail caused by other users on the shared server IP address.
5. Enhanced professionalism giving clients confidence in doing business with you.
6. Trust! Browsers give visual cues, such as the lock icon in the address bar, which tells visitors that their connection is secure.
7. SSL is a criteria for search engine ranking, so potentially higher placement in searches.

None of the above is opinion! None of it is conjecture or hypothesis! It's the cold hard facts with verifiable links to substantiate them. Do YOU need it? Once again, I'm not going to give you an opinion!
I'll just let Google answer that one...."As the remainder of the web transitions to HTTPS, we’ll continue working to ensure that migrating to HTTPS is a no-brainer, providing business benefit beyond increased security. Don’t hesitate to start planning your HTTPS migration today!"

If you require any more info just contact us at

Published in WebSpain
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 10:18

Have you been Compromised?

Internet Security

Have you been Compromised? I would be pretty sure that you already have been.....but you don't know it!
Would you like to find out for sure? Then read on......because we have a simple online check for you.

You may not know, but over the last few years, millions of email addresses have been leaked, stolen and sold in hacking attacks on thousands of websites!
This is big business, because your information and data is worth money! The results of this test may well be a shock to those people who are concerned about the security of their personal information. For those who are not remotely concerned about security, and there are a percentage who fall into this category, it still won't register. Nothing ever does until they get totally blitzed.

So here is the test.....just enter any e-mail address that you use then see the results: https://haveibeenpwned.com/
If your data has been compromised (and my guess is it will have been), then the screen will turn red and you will be told where the data breach has happened. 

Your next course of action is to visit the sites that are listed and change your passwords to something very secure. You should do this now......not later!

What can you do to protect yourself in the future?
1. Your website should be running on the latest software.....not on an application that has been outdated for years.
2. Your website should have SSL Security in place.
3. Your website should be protected by a security firewall.
4. Stop using high risk webmail accounts like Yahoo, Hotmail etc. GMail is by far the best option.
5. If you have accounts on other sites under your e-mail account, then keep changing the password regularly.
6. Any passwords you use should be complex using a combination of low and upper case letters, and symbols.
7. Use professional security programs on your computers such as Kaspersky or Eset.
8. Backup the data on your computer to an external drive on a weekly basis.
9. If you're not using your computer.....then turn it off! Don't leave it permanently connected to the internet.

That's my advice.....given in good faith, and in your best interests! I can't do anything about the points from number 4 onwards. Points 1 to 3 fall into our area, but unless you're prepared to take those points seriously we've very limited in what we can do to protect your interests.

Was I compromised? Yes.....on Linkedin and DropBox, but I dealt with those issues immediately, so the risk was eradicated. But I keep on top of security issues and take it very seriously.....do YOU?

If you need any advice just contact us on

Published in WebSpain
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 17:47

Do you need HTTPS/SSL?

SSL Certificates

If you think you don't need HTTPS/SSL security on your site, then you may need to re-evaluate this opinion as things are changing.

Back in August 2014 we published an article called SSL for SEO. This related to the announcement that Google had made at the time informing webmasters that HTTPS/SSL security was now a ranking factor in search engine positioning. So what's changed since then? At first not much......but stats now demonstrate that having SSL security in place is getting very important.

Let's first look back to July 2014 prior to Google's announcement! This chart shows that only 7% of the results delivered on the first page of Google were sites with SSL encryption.

Importance of SSL

Fast forward two years.....and now the chart shows that the percentage of sites with SSL on the first page of Google is 35%.

Benefits of SSL

At the current rate of increase we're going to hit 50% earlier next year. And industry analysts consider that 50% could well be the balance point where Google really turn up the algorithmic volume on SSL. In the initial stages they couldn't downgrade sites for not having SSL because it would diminish the quality of their search results. But now the bigger players like Wikipedia, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, eBay, Twitter etc are all on board with SSL.....things are likely to change.

So what is SSL? Basically it's a a 2048bit data encryption method, and these days it comes with multiple benefits:

1. 2048 bit encrypted connection between the user and the site giving a higher level of security for data transmission.
2. An SSL certificate also provides authentication. This means that users can be sure that they are sending information to YOU, and not to a criminal’s server.
3. Protection from Phishing, where a criminal tries to impersonate you or your website.
4. Dedicated IP address that gives you protection from any IP blacklisting of your site and e-mail caused by other users on the shared server IP address.
5. Enhanced professionalism giving clients confidence in doing business with you.
6. Trust! Browsers give visual cues, such as the lock icon in the address bar, which tells visitors that their connection is secure.
7. SSL is a criteria for search engine ranking, so potentially higher placement in searches.

If those benefits are not important to you, then there is no need for you to consider SSL. However, if that's the case, I would advise you not to make statements in your terms and conditions like "We take your security and data protection seriously".....because in reality you don't. So probably best if you omit that part because you're leaving yourself wide open.

To summarise, HTTPS/SSL encryption delivers numerous benefits to both site users and site owners alike, and it's importance is going to continue to rise.
At some point it may well be that those websites without HTTPS/SSL will be viewed as inactive or dormant businesses. Or even worse, as some analysts have suggested, Google may show a message to users warning them that it's an insecure site, or actually force HTTPS through the browser. If that happens, it could have catastrophic effects on businesses without SSL security.

We've used HTTPS/SSL on our site for almost 10 years now.....simply because it was the professional way to do things. For those of you considering making the switch now, there's many more incentives to do so as I've indicated above. Because you never know, in the future it could come down to Google viewing unsecured sites as.....NOT ENCRYPTED? Then you're NOT RELEVANT!

If you have any queries contact us at

Published in WebSpain
Monday, 10 August 2015 11:19

Are you still on the plain text Web?

SSL Security

The plain text web refers to all sites that are not protected by HTTPS/SSL encryption, and more major steps are being taken to get webmasters to deploy this technology. I would recommend you to read this carefully, because if you don't have encryption on your site then you're going to be affected.

First.....let's establish what is HTTPS/SSL?
It's a 2048bit data encryption method and it's used on this site.....you can see the padlock in the browser address bar.
SSL encrypts the connections to the site giving a higher level of personal security and confidence to users. For the last few years Google has been going down the path of encrypting all their sites, along with the likes of FaceBook, Twitter, Wikipedia etc. It's now becoming a universal.

In the past we've covered the importance that Google accord to HTTPS/SSL encryption on websites. A year ago they announced that they were assigning more emphasis on this factor in regards to search engine positionong. See SSL for SEO

Recently Google stated that this ranking factor was growing in importance, and would continue to do so. Additionally, they recommended webmasters to put this system into operation as soon as possible in order to provide a better web experience for users. The ramifications were that they would assign higher value to the site based on the professionalism demonstrated. And in June there was a major swing in the results towards SSL, see Google and SSL Security.

Now there's other major players besides Google planning to move against the standard insecure HTTP transmissions used in the plain text web. The Chrome browser is making moves toward warning users visiting insecure web sites. And Mozilla (Firefox) have also laid plans to follow suit by deprecating HTTP transmissions.

What does this mean to you?
No doubt you've visited sites where your browser has warned you that it was insecure and it was a danger to proceed?
This normally happens when an SSL certificate has expired......but we could be heading towards this warning for all sites without HTTPS/SSL. If you were considering the move to HTTPS/SSL, then now would be a good time to put this into place, before these site warnings get deployed.

So are we moving towards the end of the plain text web? I wouldn't bet against it!

As always, if you have any queries just contact us at

Published in WebSpain
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 14:22

Google and SSL Security

SSL Security

Last September we published this article: SSL for SEO! It related to Google announcing that sites which had HTTPS/SSL encryption would be looked on more favourably in terms of search engine positioning. This represented a major step in their stated initiative of making the internet a safer place. 

At that time it wasn't clear how big a ranking signal it would be, and since then no major changes were really noticed....until 10 days ago! Because since then, Google’s ranking data for HTTPS pages has increased by 9.9%......which is a huge swing. You can get the full analysis Here!

But be aware that this doesn't mean that having SSL encryption on your site is some sort of SEO magic bullet, it just means that the priority given to secure sites appears to have been increased. There are numerous other factors involved in the process of search engine ranking......with content and mobile compatibility being the main ones.

Nothing has been officially announced by Google, other than changes in algorithms were coming up. And even then, they wouldn't be drawn on exactly what those might be. But in light of the massive revision in the status of HTTPS/SSL sites over the last ten days, it appears that this is the direction they're taking. 

Just to recap, HTTPS/SSL is a 2048bit data encryption method that encrypts the connection to sites giving a higher level of personal security. Essentially, users have a secure connection to the site to prevent the theft of personal and private information. In many cases the data may not be highly sensitive, but setting up a HTTPS connection ensures that no external party is spoofing addresses to retrieve information from users that they would not normally divulge. This activity is now becoming more common and a HTTPS connection safeguards against these attacks.

Strengthening web security benefits everybody, and by implementing this process on your site you'll be demonstrating to users, and Google, that you take this very seriously. Our position on this is that we certainly wouldn't want to be in the position whereby fingers were pointing at us as being responsible for the theft of users' data. Which is why we have always had SSL security on this site.

The difference now is there seems to be measurable search engine positioning benefits that you can gain from it as well. So it's a win-win situation for everybody.....except the cyber criminals of course!

If you need any advice or want to know more, then just contact us at

Published in WebSpain
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 18:28

Are you wasting your time?

Web Designers in Spain

Essentially this relates to a situation that I've seen occur at different times with different people. It refers to the scenario where people over-analyse and obsess about their site to the nth degree.......while totally missing the big picture.

The catalyst is normally their competitors are grabbing all the business.....so their only answer is to play with their website. Their mindset seems to be that because they're not doing much business.....it must be the website's fault! They believe that if they change a few words here or there, or change a photo of a tree to that of a bush, it's going to turn everything round! 

Now if you find yourself in this situation and your only business plan is to play with your website.....then the bad news is that you haven't actually got a business plan! So let's focus on real world initiatives, not time wasting exercises on your site that nobody (least of all Google) is interested in.

Examples of intiatives:

1. If your domain name is expiring in the next few months, renew it now!
Reason: Google checks the WHOIS register and likes to see a long timeframe before expiry, because they don't want to recommend somebody who may not be there in 3 months time. So put a couple of years on it to demonstrate that you're in this long term.

2. Dedicated IP address and SSL security encryption! 
I have SSL running here now (see the padlock in the browser address bar).....it shows professionalism, demonstrates security, proves your identity, and complies with what Google expect....so you get SEO benefits! Read this article for more information: SSL for SEO!

3. Google loves new content! This is the absolute cornerstone relating to how your site will be assessed.
But it's quality not quantity that's important. You need to generate unique well-written content that delivers value. And if you have great content that people want to read, then Google will prioritise you. They'll give you more respect, take you more seriously, and you'll gain credibility as an authority figure within your industry.

4. Social Media is another Google listing trigger! And I'm talking FaceBook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Linkedin, and Pinterest. You need to cover them all with quality content encouraging interaction and shares! If you leave one out because you don't like it.....then you're taking shortcuts. Ignore them at your own risk!

5. Networking....both in real life and on business networks like Linkedin. But don't waste your time by interacting with people who are not "influencers" within their respective business sectors. There is no mileage whatsoever in having a network of business contacts who are either consistent under-achievers or serial failures. Be selective!

6. E-Mail Newsletters! Sign up to MailChimp and send out e-mail newsletters to potential clients using your latest site content. If you're in business to business then research potential clients and make the first contact. If you're dealing with end users as in property sales, then start off with the mail addresses of previously interested parties and keep adding to it. 

To summarise, these initiatives are not industry specific, they are good practice across all genres, and is exactly what we do. There are no guarantees of getting more business, but you're now actually taking proactive steps to build the brand (branding is going to be the next big thing on Google), and hit a wider target audience in different ways.
This is not SEO.....it's marketing and promotional initiatives while building brand awareness. So it's not a matter of doing things on your site, it's a matter of doing things with your site in terms of presenting it to more people across all media channels and on multiple levels. But it all starts with content.....that is the driving force!

So don't fall into the trap of wasting time on things that make no difference! I know for a fact that if my site looked better than it does, it wouldn't bring me any more business. Conversely, if my site wasn't as good as it is, I wouldn't lose any business! Therefore I don't waste my time playing with it! I focus on real world initiatives.

Because the reality of the situation is that the site is not my business.....it's just a tool that I use in conjunction with my business. No more, no less!

As always, if you have any queries just email us at

Published in WebSpain
Friday, 22 August 2014 23:00

SSL for SEO?

SSL Certificates

Google has recently announced that they are starting to use HTTPS/SSL as a ranking signal within their search engine algorithm.  
The official wording was: “Over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search-ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”

So what is HTTPS/SSL?
It's a 2048bit data encryption method that previously was only ever in general use on ecommerce sites to make online payments safer, and on sites that required personal information like NIE, National Insurance, or Passport numbers to be input. Simply because SSL encrypts the connections to the site giving a higher level of security. Google has been going down the path of encrypting their own sites for some time, and now they want other sites to follow suit in order to make the Web a safer place to use.

Obviously anything that strengthens web security, online safety, and the secure transmission of personal data is a benefit to everybody. In addition, it definitely enhances a potential client's perception of you being a legitimate and professional business.....that's the reason we use SSL encryption on this site. 
Having better site security and demonstrating professionalism is advantageous on many levels. But now that Google has announced this new initiative of favouring sites that demonstrate security measures are in place, people have been given an incentive to put these processes into place.

But one important point here is that just because you have an SSL certificate in place does not mean your rankings on Google will suddenly increase to top positioning. The reality is that if your site is technically poor with low quality plagiarised content then you'll be going nowhere! Because achieving high rankings on search engines is a combination of many different factors, and this announcement just means that HTTPS/SSL has now been added to the list of website criteria that will be evaluated.

For more information on HTTPS/SSL contact us anytime at 

Published in WebSpain

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