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What Does This Recent Update To Google’s Algorithm Mean To You

With the balance of internet users now turning to mobile devices to complete their online searches, it can be no surprise that Google is now turning more attention to those users.

Whilst Google constantly updates its algorithms to try and produce the best possible results for its users, a recent change has the potential to be significant. This change is known as the ‘mobile Googlefirst index’.

What Is the Mobile First Index?

What better way to explain than to let Google have their say –

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Haven’t Google Made Moves In This Direction Before?

Google have made moves into the mobile search market before, most notably with their ‘mobilegeddon’ updates in 2015 and 2016. Both of these were designed to reward websites which were Googledesigned with mobile usability in mind.

Whilst Google is currently focusing on ensuring that webmasters take at least some efforts to ensure their websites are ‘mobile friendly’, it is certainly worth taking the time to go that extra mile if possible.

Please Note – You can find out if your website is mobile friendly by clicking on the following link and entering your URL – https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly

Basically, our take on this update is that if the desktop version and mobile version of your website differ greatly, Google will now view your mobile version as the first choice website.

What Do We Recommend?

The good news is that at Footprint Web Design, we design all of our sites to be fully ‘mobile friendly’ and therefore no major changes are required.

Below are a couple of methods that we utilise to ensure this is the case.

  • Use Responsive Web Designs – This type of web design technique will ensure that your website displays and works perfectly on all devices.
  • App Development – Although Google’s new ‘mobile first’ index is focused on mobile based websites, the development of a dedicated app for your business can lead to a great user experience

For more on Footprint Web Design and our app development services, please click here.

Further Information

If you’d like to speak to us regarding any of our services, including our WordPress web designs, please give us a call on 01883 372488 or contact us via Facebook and we’ll be happy to talk you through your options.

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By | March 15th, 2017|Google|Comments Off on What Does This Recent Update To Google’s Algorithm Mean To You

How To Create a Google Webmasters Tools Account

Google Webmaster Tools offers you an easy-to-use way of keeping track of how successful your site is.

It offers the capability to do the following plus significantly more: Google Webmaster Tools

  • Identify some of the phrases that visitors are using to find your website.
  • Identify broken links on your website, which can then be corrected.
  • Keep a health check on your website. This will help you to ensure that your website is clean of malware and viruses.

These few simple steps will help you set up your own Google Webmaster Tools account in no time at all:

  1. Go to www.google.com/webmaster/tools/ and sign up using your google+ login details (set out in a previous blog)
  2. Add your website URL to get started (e.g www.yourwebsitename.co.uk)
  3. Verify your site – Google need to make sure that your site belongs to you. You’ll be given a number of options of how to do this, but the easiest is verify via Google Analytics.
  • Use the same login details as used for your Google Analytics account
  • Ensure that your website contains the relevant Analytics code within its header (we will explain more about this is a future blog)
  • Select the ‘Verify using Google Analytics’ option
  • Click “Verify” – done!

(N.B. If this method doesn’t work for you, you can also verify your site by inserting a “meta-tag” into the code of your home page. Click that option on the Google Webmaster Tools page – copy the whole piece of code given – login to your site’s admin panel – click to view the code of your home page – paste the code in here, after the first </head> tag and before the first <body> tag – then back to Google Webmaster Tools to verify.)

Please be aware, the code you have uploaded (or copied and pasted in to the home page) must be kept on your site for the duration of the time you require Google Webmaster Tools. If it is removed, Google will be unable to communicate with your website and, therefore, will be unable to run diagnostics or retrieve information.

You are now ready to use Google Webmaster Tools!

Further Information

Footprint Web Design don’t just design bespoke websites. We also provide a number of tailored SEO services for clients looking to either move up Google rankings, or promote their online presence. If you don’t have time for the above, we can do it for you!

Contact us, either by phone on 01883 372488 or by email on info@footprint.co.uk, and see how we can help you take a step in the right direction.

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By | July 4th, 2016|Google|Comments Off on How To Create a Google Webmasters Tools Account

5 Things You Did Not Know You Could Use Google For

Without Google, the world would be a very different place. Its ability to as a search engine is well known but did you know that simply finding the results which are best suited to your searches is not the end of Google’s capabilities?

The world of Google can be a weird and wonderful place sometimes and below we have dug out some of more unusual uses for this brilliant search engine.

Exploring The Stars

Are you curious about what lives out there beyond the stars? Google will let you explore a well known distant planet, and if you’re lucky, even have a chat with an alien!Google Webmaster Tools

The Mars Feature on Google Earth 5 allows users to explore the surface of the red planet.  Simply type “Meliza” into the search box and watch as you are transported to a secret part of the planet where you can have a char with a local alien. We have our suspicions that it may not actually be a real alien, so let us know what you think!

Learn To Fly

Ever wanted to be a pilot? Why not give this a try to see how your skills measure up! Visit Google Earth, press CTRL + Alt + A (Command + Option + A for Mac), choose your aircraft, and fly!

You can even simulate flying an F16 Fighter Jet. Click here to learn the flight controls.

Are You a Trekkie

Star Trek is one of those timeless shows that it popular throughout the generations. It is also a show that its fans take very seriously! If your second language happens to be Klingon, your luck could be in. Try using Google’s custom Klingon search. It’s a fun way to put a new spin on Google. It will even correct your grammar! And if you don’t speak Klingon, don’t sweat it. Google has their own Klingon translator and dictionary to help you out.

Take a Trip Back To The 80s

Were you an 80s kid? It may sound odd, but typing a random string of letters into Google Translate, then hitting the listen icon will prompt Google to beatbox whatever you wrote down. Try it yourself by copy pasting “pv kkk pkkk pvpvpv ppkk pddd  bschk bschk pv zk pv bschk pv pv pv bschk bschk bschk kkkkkkkkkk bschk bsch” into Google Translate and giving it a listen. Or click here and try!

Follow Your Flight

Just enter the desired airline and flight number into Google’s search box and instantly see the arrival and departure times in the results. Now you can keep up-to-date with any flight without having to constantly check the airline’s website.

Further Information

Footprint Web Design have been at the forefront of web design and development for nearly 20 years. If you are looking for a website that truly represents your business, or advice on how to make your site stand out, then contact us today on 01883 372 488, or via email at info@footprint.co.uk.

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By | March 9th, 2016|Google, Google Maps, Uncategorized|Comments Off on 5 Things You Did Not Know You Could Use Google For

AWSTATS v Google Analytics – Which is the winner?

In our quest to provide the most accurate reporting to our clients, the monthly figures play an essential role. However, this is not quite as easy as we would like it to (or believe it should) be.

For many years we have used a combination of Google Analytics (reports produced from Google) results and Awstats (visitor details pulled directly from the server) to produce a comprehensive overview for our clients.

The world of Google can be a very cloak and dagger place on occasion though and a previously Google announced some big news for website owners. google-485611_1920Going forward, when a search is made through the Google search engine (which in February 2014 was approximately 89% of all searches) and the result clicked, the search term would no longer be passed to the destination website. Instead, these visits would simply be grouped together in Google Analytics under the keyword “(not provided)”.

Whilst this does not affect the tracking of visitor numbers to a website (a key indication of growth and the success of an SEO campaign) it now makes it impossible to track which term a user typed in to find the website.

For example if you found our website by searching for SEO Oxted on Google, when you clicked on the link to visit our website, our unique visitor numbers would increase by 1 but we would not be able to identify how you found our website. Annoying isn’t it!!

What Made Google Do This?

A great question! On the surface, the official reason was that this was done in the name of privacy. Google is suggesting that those searching using their general services would not want their search term to be passed on to the destination site.

However, some people have other ideas regarding this……

To further clarify the situation, we recently contacted our hosts for their take on this issue and this was the response that we received.light-bulb-1002783_1920

“This is unfortunately a known issue with Google not passing referrer data from searches under certain circumstances.

Awstats parses information directly from Apache’s domain logs- which are the raw web server access logs. These logs contain various pieces of information (see the samples below), one of which is the referrer- i.e. the site the user was visiting prior to coming to yours. If the referrer is a search term, Awstats is intelligent enough to detect this, and also detect the search terms the user had entered in.

Unfortunately Google have been taking steps for a few years now (in the name of “privacy”) to restrict the visibility of these referrers. Initially this was only for users who were signed into google when they performed a search. Now, it seems to be that any search done over SSL (i.e. https) doesn’t pass the referrer over to the site. I’ve provided an example below based on my own testing:

To test this I searched for “footprint web design” on Google and Bing and then clicked through to your site. Here are what the raw access logs recorded:

Google:
83.223.125.4 – – [26/Jun/2014:10:27:47 +0100] “GET / HTTP/1.1” 200 96724 “
https://www.google.co.uk/” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/35.0.1916.153 Safari/537.36”
Bing:
83.223.125.4 – – [26/Jun/2014:10:29:46 +0100] “GET / HTTP/1.1” 200 96724 “
http://www.bing.com/search?q=footprint+web+design&go=&qs=n&form=QBLH&filt=all&pq=footprint+web+design&sc=1-20&sp=-1&sk=&cvid=738cf01f67bd4d7b8f8f3e0d2b52f6d0” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/35.0.1916.153 Safari/537.36”

Notice the referrer (the sixth field) in the first line only reports “https://www.google.co.uk“. The actual referrer should be:

https://www.google.co.uk/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=0uqrU9qCKsfX8ge9tIDYAw&gws_rd=ssl#q=footprint+web+design

Because this is the URL of the page I was performing the search on. If this was the referrer Google sent, Awstats would pick up on the “q=footprint+web+design” bit at the end of the URL and record a search term of “footprint web design”. However, as Google doesn’t send the actual referring URL, Awstats can’t report it.

I hope this makes sense- unfortunately because this is a problem with the way Google are passing referrers there isn’t anything we can do at our end. I understand this will affect the SEO work you are doing as you won’t have visibility of many search terms.”

As you can see, whilst we are continually looking for an alternative method of tracking how visitors find our customer’s websites, this information is currently unattainable.

Some Good News Though!

Whilst the information provided by Awstats pay be incomplete (through no fault of the host server), the visitor numbers to your website are guaranteed to be accurate because these figures are generated directly from the server and cannot be altered in any way.

 

By | December 15th, 2015|Google, Uncategorized|Comments Off on AWSTATS v Google Analytics – Which is the winner?

Will Google’s New Service Change The Internet?

Whilst Google’s intention to offer a new wireless service to its customers is planned to operate initially on a significantly smaller scale than established competitors such as Verizon and AT&T (in the USA), the implications are still enormous.

Google revealed at the beginning of March that it would soon be “experimenting” with wireless services and how their customers may be able to use Google-Mapsthem. Whilst this may seem like a fairly innocuous first step, Google experiments have ultimately often found a way of becoming something far bigger and this is something that should be kept in mind when Google starts dabbling with something that may impact the infrastructure that drives the internet.

The Wall Street Journal reported the following:

“However small Google’s entry, the move by the creative and well-capitalized technology company is likely to send ripples through a business long controlled by Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc., Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc.”

“It is a strong signal that Google’s ambitions extend beyond selling advertising and services over the Internet to influencing how Internet access is delivered.”

For more on this story, please check out the following link – http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-confirms-plan-to-offer-wireless-service-1425308552

Expanding Coverage

As time passes by, there is every chance that Google may look to expand the scope of its ambitions as a wireless carrier, in a similar fashion to the work it has done with Google Fiber (it’s super high speed landline internet service).

However, perhaps a more important point here is that there is a strong possibility that Google’s experiments, may help to push the rest of the market in the same direction. The market is already moving this way thanks to other notable tech names, including mobile carrier T-Mobile, mobile chipmaker Qualcomm, and serial Silicon Valley inventor Steve Perlman, who recently unveiled a faster breed of wireless network known as pCell.

Initial Goals

Initially, Google has said that its goals are to create effective ways for phones to more easily move between cellular networks and WiFi connections, How Many Times Do You Think Google Is Searched Each Year?possibly even offering the ability to juggle calls between the two.

Other companies such as T-Mobile and Qualcomm, are thought to be working on similar services but with the leverage of Google’s own Android mobile operating system and general internet clout, Google has the ability to push things significantly further than many of its competitors.

Eventually, Google may even drive the market towards new kinds of wireless networks altogether, networks that provide connections when you don’t have cellular or Wi-Fi—or that significantly boost the speed of your cellular connection. Exciting times are certain to be ahead.

Despite the fact that Google’s initial steps into wireless technology are focused on the USA, if successful, it can only be a matter of time before they turn their attention to other areas of the world and the UK is sure to be near the top of the list.

For more information about how Google may be able to assist your business, please contact us on Tel. No. 01883 372488.

By | May 11th, 2015|Google|Comments Off on Will Google’s New Service Change The Internet?
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