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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?

One of the Most Important Parts of SEO

We understand, perhaps better than most, that there is a wide ranging perception relating to SEO that it is complex and nearly impossible to understand.

In a constantly evolving landscape, it is easy to see why this may be the case but we would like to shine a light on some of the basics to help provide you with a little insight.

It is all too easy to get wrapped up in trying to figure out exactly what search engines are looking for and tailoring all of your efforts towards them.  However, whilst that cannot be completely ignored, the most important part of any SEO campaign is considering who you are targeting (i.e. your potential customers).

Creating The Right Content

With any website and any SEO campaign, it is essential that you make your audience your number one priority. By thinking like your audience and cms-265127_1920acting like your audience, you will be able to create content for your audience.

More than anything else, are you producing quality content? Are you getting your message across? Are you waffling on for pages when a few well chosen words would do? Are you providing a reason for people to spend more than a few seconds reading your pages?

These are just some of the questions to ask yourself in assessing whether you’re providing quality content. This is not the place to skimp since it is the cornerstone upon which nearly all other factors depend.

Tips For Creating Content

To help you along the way, we have drawn up a list of some of the most important tips to help provide the best possible start to creating engaging content for your website.

  • Spend some time making a decision on which writing style will be the most appropriate for your line of business and your audience? Informal and chatty, or Formal and serious?
  • Keep the flow of content to your website regular. Either in the form of landing pages or blogs.
  • For any blogs, enable your readers to comment on your blog. Creating the ability to interact with customers is absolutely essential.cms-265128_1920
  • Spend some time researching your competitor’s websites. Without actually lifting content straight from them, there is every chance that you will find some great ideas that you may be able to tailor for your own needs.
  • Always keep your eyes open. It can be amazing where you can find some great ideas for interesting and engaging content for your website.
  • Use links and images. No one wants to look at a page full of dry text; appropriate and entertaining images break up the flow of the blog. They also provide invaluable keyword search opportunities, if properly labelled and tagged. Links in your blog to relevant pages on your site will keep people on your website! Links to other sites, or supporting articles add a credence to your blog that is also crucial to your SEO.
  • Link your blog to all your social media channels. This will let all your followers know when new content has gone up – keeping them in the loop and encouraging them to visit your site.

To find out more about how the Footprint Web Design Surrey team can help you, please give us a call on Tel. No. 01883 372488 and we’ll be happy to talk through your options with you.

 

By | November 23rd, 2015|SEO, Uncategorized|Comments Off on One of the Most Important Parts of SEO

Why Can’t Search Engines Find Me Without SEO?

If you would like your business to be successful, the importance of finding effective marketing and advertising techniques is something that cannot be overstated. The implementation of SEO will help you to find new and innovative ways to be seen, get your message across, engage with your customers and to build those all-important relationships.

You may be aware of SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – and have a feeling it could be a positive tool to support the growth of your business, but you  don’t know really know what it means, where to start or what represents good value.

Maybe you already have a business website up and running, and you need some support to really make it work for you?

Offering a Helping Hand

Whilst search engines are incredibly intuitive, they still need some assistance. All of the major engines constantly work towards improving their structure-620304_1280technology to ensure that they generate the best and most accurate results for each search. However, there is a limit to how search engines can operate and this is where SEO steps in to help guide the search engines to your website.

It is important to note though that the correct practices must be implemented because whilst the right SEO can net you countless visitors, the wrong moves work against your website ensuring that your site becomes buried deep in the search results where visibility is minimal.

Should I Try To Do SEO For Myself?

The SEO industry is hugely competitive, and it takes a good deal of leg work to get to the top of the rankings (and stay there!). If your business is in a position that it can have someone who dedicates a large chunk of time to rankings and pushing key terms, etc. that’s great.

It is worth remembering, however, the SEO for business market is flooded with professionals; people whose primary expertise is knowing its intricacies. With that in mind, in order to be successful, it is usually more beneficial to rely on experts.

We have been providing SEO for business services for a number of years, and really understand what it takes to get your website to the top of the search rankings. We have SEO packages to suit all business sizes and can tailor a programme for your specific needs.

Click here to see what we can do for you.

Further Information

Footprint specialise in creating bespoke websites designed to help take your business to another level. We have been providing SEO Services since 1998 and if you’d like to speak to us regarding any of our services, give us a call on 01883 372488 or contact us via Facebook and we’ll be happy to talk you through your options.

By | October 22nd, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Why Can’t Search Engines Find Me Without SEO?

Understanding the Importance of SEO

By now you’ll understand just how important SEO is to your online presence – but how can you ensure you’re doing everything possible to keep your website at the top of the rankings?

There are a few common errors that people make, when it comes to SEO. They may not seem like much, but, if you can give each of them a little bit of attention, you’ll make sure that you’re dotting all the “i”s and crossing the “t”s – this sort of detailed thinking can make a huge difference to your SEO.

Location, Location, Location

Around 1 in 3 searches on Google are focused on a place or location and this number is even greater when considering searches from mobile devices – Understanding the Importance of SEOnearly a third of all searches carried out.  In order for small businesses to reach their target audiences, they must ensure that they are ranking high in these local searches.  There are several strategies for targeting local search, including:

  • Listing your business in relevant industry and geographical directories/listings
  • Creating keywords that combine your company with your physical location (e.g. “plumbers” and “London”)
  • Optimising your company’s website for mobile

Overlooking Social Media

A lack of time and resource are often the things that small businesses suffer with the most. Because of this, managing the Social Media accounts is sometimes considered a bit of a waste of time.   Even worse, small companies will set up their accounts, then ignore them, leaving a trail of empty, outdated profiles.

In fact, posting on a variety of social media accounts will afford your business a wealth of opportunity for ranking.  Not only are social media channels Understanding the Importance of SEOgreat opportunities for businesses to put out quality content, but links from social media channels are growing increasingly more important to search engine websites.

Unsure which social media channel is right for you?  See where your competitors are online, and more importantly, where your customers are.  Start with just one profile on the channel that is most applicable to your company, such as LinkedIn or Facebook.  Refresh the content often, build quality links, and as you get more comfortable, add on channels as needed.

Posting New Content

It can be difficult for small businesses to find the time to update the content on their website.  However, consistent, fresh content positively increases organic search rankings as well as user experience, which is increasingly important to search engines’ ranking factors.  Two of the easiest ways you can consistently publish new, quality content are:

  • Create a blog for you business – Many companies will start one, but as deadlines and other work crops up, the posting and maintenance will fizzle out. Commit to posting content relevant to your industry or company twice a week.  Involve co-workers, interns, and if the budget allows for it, freelance writers to help.
  • Create a news feed on your company website, and update it frequently with events or news, anything that is relevant to your business and industry, and that organically uses your keywords to help boost search rankings.

SEO – The Ongoing Commitment

A successful SEO strategy is a commitment – your work is not finished just because you’ve researched keywords and optimised your website.  Those tactics are the best first step to launch a small business’s SEO campaign, but from there, it is a recurrent process to generate content and build links to your content and site.  While it might seem daunting, keeping up with your SEO commitment means your company will have increased visibility, more website traffic – and more customers.

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.

By | October 15th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Understanding the Importance of SEO
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