SEO Blog

Posted on: 14/08/2014 - 11:08 | Comments:3

Dear Client,

As many of you know, over the last few days, a new conversation has been taking place in the SEO world regarding the announcement by Google of a new ranking signal.

It is very rare for Google to come out and actually announce one of the 200+ claimed signals that they use to decide what position your website should be in the Google index. So, we have to sit up and take note when this does happen.

Well, on the 7th of August, Google has announced that in their drive to a more secure and safe searching experience, they will now use HTTPS as a ranking signal. Although admittedly, a very light one to begin with, they do stress that this could increase with time.


What Is HTTPS: ?

When you look at your website address in your browser you will most probably see the following:  . that “http” bit stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol which is, in very basic terms, a protocol (set of rules) that defines how browsers and web servers communicate. Google now wants you to move to where “https” is the same as http but with the added Security.

How does HTTPS: make the web more secure?

In one word, Encryption. It encrypts all data that your browser is sending to the web server so that if anyone is “listening” in between those two points, they won’t be able to make any sense of the data making your data you send (credit card info, personal details, address etc.) private.

Is that it?

Well, it seems that Google has done some cross section tests and has found that it is more likely that the site is of authority, reliable or professional when it uses https: Also, the cost/extra work associated means that that its less likely that a spammy or “churn and burn” type site will use this protocol. Taking all of that into account, it does make sense that a site with https can be considered more “trustworthy” and as Google only wants good quality sites to be displayed for its searchers, it makes sense that they will give the site a small ranking bonus.

How do I get https: for my site?

You will need to purchase an SSL certificate for the site. This can range from around £50 all the way up to £250 / year depending on the type you require. This can be bought from your web host and in most cases, they will also install it for you for a small fee. There are several types of SSL and Google does not mention if some are better than others but they do mention that it should be of the 2048-bit variety (most are these days but double check).

Should I get https: for my site?

Well this is a very difficult question to answer in this email purely because each one of our client’s has different requirements, history and external variables that may affect our decision. If we strongly believe that your site should move to https: then we will be contacting you in the next few days to discuss. Please remember that this is only a tiny signal at the moment affecting 1% of all search queries so you should not rush into any decisions just yet.

If it’s a positive signal, Is there any reason NOT to do it?

Moving to HTTPS is a move that you should not take lightly. As far as search engines are concerned, when you change your http to https, it’s almost like moving to a brand new domain/address. It involves building a permanent redirect from the old url to the new one (http:// -> https://). There are also consequences that may outweigh the small positive gain you may get from this move. For example, all of the incoming links pointing to the current http version of your site will now have to go through the redirect to find your site. This has been proven to reduce some of their effectiveness and may in itself cause a drop in ranking. So in a perfect world, you will also want to try and get as many of your incoming links changed to https which is not an easy job.

There are lots of other considerations that are beyond the scope of this blog. If you do have any questions or queries regarding your own website, please feel free to contact either me anytime via email or phone. I will be more than happy to help in any way.

Posted on: 03/07/2014 - 11:14 | Comments:0

Nominet have today anounced that the new .UK top level domain has reached the milestone 100,000 registrations since its release only 3 weeks ago. This is great news for the uk domain market which has not seen such levels of registrations since the year 2000!

If your current site is on a, you have automatic rights for the .uk. Will you make the move? Afterall, its inevitable that the .uk domain name will take over the current as the extension of choice for uk targeted businesses. Some major sites such as the NHS and Govermental sites have already made the move to the shorter, more attractive extension. However, some other British icons such as the BBC are still showing no sign of any impending shift to the .uk domain.

What is holding you back?

Posted on: 10/01/2014 - 17:53 | Comments:1

Over the last few days, we have observed some strange behaviour from Google on the logs of approximately 20 - 25 sites. Ok, its a small fraction of the sites we monitor on a regular basis but undeniably there is an increase in activity.

The behaviour consists of many non-existent pages being crawled or pages that have long been removed being re-examined by the Google spiders. These often manifest themselves in strange entries in logs and sometimes they can be seen on Web Master Tools as crawl errors that have no 'Linked From' source.

An increase in "chatter" on the now legendary "Google Updates and SERP Changes" thread over on the Webmaster World Forum is also always a reliable measure of things that may be approaching.

Normally, this type of behaviour pre-empts a sizeable algorithmic update of some kind, and, as the last Penguin update is well over 3 months old now, it could well be the beginning of the next iteration of the black and white aquatic flightless bird. 

Watch this space for further updates...


Posted on: 11/10/2013 - 14:15 | Comments:0

Yay... yet another Penguin update seems to be upon us. Confirmed on the 4th of October, we have now analysed it thoroughly using data from over 30 of our present clients. Nothing new here really. Just a tightening of the rules which we predict will continue to happen with every iteration of this algorithm.

Just to recap - If you have a suspect link profile, you have either already been hit or will be soon enough. If you have not been hit now, we would strongly advise you start the cleanup now before its too late. A blog post with some tips on how to do that will be added very soon. Stay tuned.

Posted on: 23/01/2013 - 16:45 | Comments:0

Very recently, I had a new experience. I lost a potential customer to another online marketing company.

Normally, once I follow an online enquiry, carry out preliminary research, exchange a few emails and finally talk to the customer, I tend to, without blowing my own trumpet too much, get the contract.

I am not a salesman and I have been known to waffle on at times, but, like most SEO guys who are worth their salt, I know my stuff and am able to convey that quite clearly, earning the trust of the person I am dealing with. Obviously, this time, this did not happen. The funny thing is that we actually went the extra mile with this customer. I felt that he was nervous about making a bad decision (and who can blame him?) so I actually offered him something that we have never offered any other client before. We offered him a sample of our service. We actually sourced 3 excellent links for his site, ranking one of his selected key phrases completely for free. At time of writing, this keyword is sitting firmly at number 6 on purely from the work we carried out.

In truth, I don’t actually know why he decided against using our services. Maybe it’s because I was not too happy accepting his request for a document detailing our strategy; after all, surely showing him the results first hand by giving him a sample of our services should speak much louder than a piece of paper full of promises? Besides, we are in a very competitive business and we need to protect ourselves from rival businesses snooping around.

Thing is... it’s annoying. Not annoying because I was desperate for the work (Although we can always do with more work right?). Not annoying because it hurt my ego (yes, it has a little). And no, not annoying because I spent time and effort to really demonstrate our abilities. No; none of those. The genuine, bottom of my heart, pure truth is: I am annoyed because in 2 or 3 months time, when I will undoubtedly check his progress, I know what I am going to find. Yes, that whiter than white, clean link profile will be full of those majestic black dots that anyone who uses Majestic Explorer will recognise as pure spam. So yes, even though a true business man would chalk it down as a lost client and get on with it; I know I won’t. I will check in a few months time this lost client’s site and, I fear, I will grunt and sigh as I go through his newly acquired link profile built by his, in my honest opinion, wrongly chosen SEO company.

Let’s hope I’m wrong and that this SEO Company will deliver on their promises and provide him with good quality links. Then at least, I might just be able to put this to rest. Unfortunately, experience tells me otherwise.