Another Google Update

Google my Business

Last week there was a lot of talk across the SEO network about changes to results for Google Maps/Places/Google MyBusiness.

Some businesses seem to have suffered massively impacted by the changes. 

The way that it works is that a business sets up their GMB account and lets Google know of the areas that they service and so, when a Google user searches for a local business, Google looks at where the person in searching from and displays businesses based on those that are located in an (approx) 10 mile radius of the searcher although competitors up to 60 miles away might be shown.

This latest update now seems to have reduced the radius to just 5 miles with competitor activity limited to 17 miles.

There appears to have been some “bounce”, some businesses dropped out totally but a number then subsequently recovered as Google tweaked the algorithm although the tweaks now seem to have ended so where you are is where you will remain.

It would appear that the number and quality of reviews are not having an impact and the update affects all business sectors.

What can you do?

Not a great deal. Just make sure that your GMB profile is as complete as possible and make regular posts/updates and if you are unhappy about the outcome you can complain to Google using their “Business Redressal Complaint Form

And if you want to discuss this, or any other SEO/Google Ads, issues please don’t hesitate to give me a call on 01793 238020 or email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk or make contact via Twitter or Linkedin

How Google’s BERT help catch a cow fishing

Google logo

I know, I know, you can’t really catch a cow when you go fishing, can you? Well, you can when you realise that a cow is actually another name for a large, striped, saltwater game fish.

And BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a major update to the Google search algorithm that has nothing to do with Transformers films or toys.

What does BERT do?

Google has been consistently trying to understand the context of the words used in Google searches. In the early days of Google they just searched on the words used in the query without attempting to understand the context. So, if you wanted to go on holiday to Majorca and wanted a hotel with a swimming pool you might search using “Hotel Majorca Swimming Pool” for example.

However, your results might include the Hotel Majorca on Swimming Pool Road in Lowestoft or a hotel on Majorca Avenue in Andover or other results based on any combination of the words without understanding the real nature of your search.

Next up came semantic search which was Google’s first attempt to understand context of searches but my experience was that it wasn’t really that much of an improvement on what went before.

And this is where BERT comes in, BERT is a “deep learning algorithm that is related to natural language processing” and it helps a machine to actually understand what the words in a sentence mean, and can take in to account all of the nuances that are included in human speech.

Roger Monti of the Search Engine Journal was looking for a search phrase that he could use to demonstrate how context was interpreted and settled on “how to catch a cow fishing”.

Before BERT, Google returned a lot of results based on livestock and cows in particular. However, following the BERT roll out Google used “fishing” to understand the context and the same search ,conducted by Roger, at the end of October was full of striped bass and fishing related results.

A striped bass being held by a fisherman
A Striped Bass

Do I have to do anything on my website?

Not really. You just need to make sure that you continue to deliver quality, focused content and continue to use synonyms where relevant and appropriate.

BERT is currently rolling out globally and so may not have reached a Google Server near you, yet,

If you DO need some help with your website, search engine optimisation and/or your social media and email marketing you can always get in touch for a chat – 01793 238020 or andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk

What does your email address say about you and your business?

Getting the right email addressI’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now and was reminded again about the message your email address sends when I was following a trades-person’s van recently. The van was sign written [good], carried a large phone number [good], web address in significantly smaller [not so good] print http://www.jobbingtrader.co.uk and an email address,  not just any email but a Gmail address [awful], jobbing-trader13@gmail.com [names have been changed to protect my health].

This is wrong on so many levels.

First off – a Gmail address, really! In fact any free email address, such as one from Hotmail, Outlook, Yahoo, Virgin, BTInternet or AOL to name but a few really does send the wrong message!

Secondly, it also shouts I don’t understand. It’s far easier to remember an email address when the bit that goes after the @ is the same that goes after the www. You are getting twice the chance of people remembering your contact details

Thirdly, you are missing out on so many opportunities to better manage your email. You can have multiple addresses, info@, sales@, accounts@, enquiries@, myname@ to name just a few. You can set up folders in your email program for each address and easily create rules which automatically route incoming emails and move them to the relevant folder.

With each part of your business having a unique email address everything is a little easier to prioritise and manage. As an example, you could look at sales@ first because these might be new contracts, accounts@ next because these relate to money and myname@ last because these are more likely to be personal in nature.

All of the above can be easily achieved if you have your own web address because each web address can usually have more than one email address and most email programs enable you to set up folders and create rules.

Managing your emails in this way will help you to present a more professional look to the outside world and enable you to be more effective when it comes to managing your emails and the way that you act, save, delete and back them up. You do back up your emails don’t you?

If you have any questions about your email services then get in touch blog@enterprise-oms.co.uk [did you see what I did there?] or give me a call on 01793 238020

Where do you get your pictures from?

You need pictures for your website, your blog or your email marketing. Pictures helps make it look nice, showcases your products and services, breaks up your text, helps with your SEO and each picture is worth a thousand words, according to the old Chinese proverb.

And Social Media demands pictures. I’m not just talking about Instagram and Pinterest but Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc because using pictures helps you post stand out from the crowd. Does anyone even read a “boring” text update these days?

But where do you get your pictures from?

Do you just go to Google, do a search, filter it by images and look for those that appeal? Do you look at other websites and think “that’s a nice picture, I’ll have some of that”.

Google Images selection of fast carsBelieve it or not, some people still believe that you can use any picture that you find on the internet. It’s OK because it’s there, on the internet, so it’s there for anyone and everyone – isn’t it? Do a Google image search, browse the web, find a picture you like, right-click and choose “Save As” and the picture’s yours to use in any (and every) way you see fit.

That’s the attitude that was very common in the early days of the internet. It wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now.

sketch on a napkinEvery picture on the internet has been taken by a photographer or created by someone, frequently with a particular purpose in mind. As soon as the image has been created the copyright is automatically assigned to the creator. They don’t have to do anything, they don’t have to register it anywhere, mark it in some way or declare that it’s copyrighted. The mere process of creation automatically creates the copyright at the same time. Even a sketch on a napkin.

So where can you get pictures from

Google Image Selection Tool

Well, you can still use your Google Image Search, you just have to be a little selective.
Instead of just choosing the first picture you come across, you can filter the images by “usage rights”. Click on the “Tools” button and a fresh line of navigation appears. Click on the “Usage Rights” and choose “Labeled for reuse”.

It is still advisable to check the rights that the publisher has attached to the image but at least you’re looking at images that should be OK for re-use.

But why use a picture created by someone else or a photograph taken by someone else? Far better to create something of your own. That way, you can be sure that it won’t appear on any other website. Use the camera in your phone, use your digital camera if you have one. Just make sure that your pictures are in focus, well lit and focus on the subject.

Alternatively, if your budget can stand it bring in a professional photographer or use a graphic designer. You’ll be sure to get unique, high quality content and the cost may just be a lot less than you expect. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

Of course, there are large libraries of stock images where you search for a picture that suits your needs. When you find one you’ll have to purchase a license to use it. Probably the most well known image library is Getty Images, a vast repository of high quality stock photography – but it’s not cheap. Shutterstock is another – and there are several more.

However, if you are working to a really tight budget, there are a number of stock photo sites that have a wide range of images that are actually free to use – here’s a small selection of ones that I turn to when the need arises

What happens if you get caught

All of the big stock photography libraries have software tools that are always crawling the internet. They are sophisticated enough to be able to tell whether you have cropped an image, flipped it left to right or carried out other forms of editing designed to hid the origin of the image – even if you have renamed it.

If you are caught using an unlicensed image you will be sent a letter from the copyright owner’s solicitor demanding payment. There is no way around paying; they will hound you remorselessly, like the Terminator. The demand will be based on how long they think you have been using the image so it could go in to the thousands of pounds. I have known people who have managed to negotiate the fee down, but they have never managed to negotiate it down to zero.

The whole tone of this email exchange in this regard can be very aggressive and unpleasant. Not good if you’re looking to keep your stress levels down.

Even if you “borrow” the image from a website you’ll never know. They may have bought a license to use the image but you haven’t – so you’ll have to pay up.

What’s the solution?

Ensure that you know where every single one of your images has come from and that you have the appropriate rights to use the picture and if you need any help – just give me a call on 01793 238020 or email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk

What is “bad” SEO

SEO writing on a windowThe Art/Science/Discipline (delete as you see fit) of Search Engine Optimisation, aka SEO, has many branches. However, the first decision is whether you are going to use best practice or try to “game” the system, aka cheat, to get the search results you need.

The SEO practitioners who cheat are known as “black hatters” or “unethical” whilst the good guys are “white hats” or ethical.

Which you choose is up to you, however the impact on your business, if you make the wrong choice, could be disastrous.

How long does SEO take to have an impact on your website?
SEO takes time, months not days, not weeks but months. However, sometimes there are ways to “game” the system that can deliver results far more quickly. The downside is that doing this will be going against Google’s Best practice guidelines & will attract penalties from them.

Yes, your website might rocket up the search engine results but, once your site has been identified as using unethical techniques,Google will apply a penalty.

Google Penalties
Remember, Google does not have to list you anywhere, it’s of no real benefit to Google to have you in their listings and if you go against their guidelines you will be penalised.

Google is constantly checking results to make sure that the right sites are listed in the right place, to make sure that sites are not gaining unfair advantage and making sure that sites are not cheating the system.

In my experience, when caught cheating Google has three levels of penalty it can apply, depending on the seriousness of the “crime”.

  1. If it’s a relatively minor digression then Google may simply stop monitoring your site. Any updates that you apply to your site will be ignored. This means your site will just slowly drift down the pages until your site effectively disappears.
  2. A more serious misdemeanour will see your site actively demoted, perhaps by 5 pages (for example). With only 10% of Google searchers EVER going beyond Page 2 of the results, if you are on Page 5 you may as well be on Page 100.
  3. Total deletion from the Google database. Remember, Google is under no obligation to you.

Google Search ConsoleThankfully, most issues tend to be (1) and (2) and Google will let you know before a penalty is applied and give you time to put a remedy in place. They do this through the Search Console. You do use the Search Console, don’t you?

If you click on the “Security & Manual Actions” link in the Search Console’s left-hand navigation menu, Google will have posted any penalties that it is looking to apply. You have about a month to resolve any which means that you need to be checking every fortnight, giving you a good 2 weeks to resolve any issues.

How to overcome a penalty
If Google advises you that you have done something that goes against their guidelines and that they are about to apply a penalty you need to put a solution in place.

The first step is to identify what has caused the problem. Contact your SEO company and ask them what they have done and instruct them to undo it, PDQ! If you have done it yourself then you need to undo the dubious SEO tricks that you have applied to your site.

If Google don’t tell you, how will you know that you have been the subject of a penalty
Over the 20 or so years that I have been doing SEO I have fielded a number of calls from business people (not clients of mine) which all went in the same direction.

“Hi Andy, I don’t know if you can help but yesterday my business was on Page 1 of Google search. Now I can’t find it, and I’ve gone to Page 20. What’s happened?”

What’s happened is that they have been hit, and hit hard, by Google and have likely been deleted from their database.

Another way to tell is through Google Analytics, if your web traffic falls off a cliff, for example – as shown in the Analytics screen grab, below.

Google Analytics graph hit by a Google Penalty

 

If you receive notification from Google that they are going to apply a manual penalty then you have time to reverse the activity that was the cause of this warning.

If, however, you are like the people that have called me, and your site has simply disappeared it might be better to bite the bullet, buy a new domain name, build a new site and start again.

In many previous cases, I have worked with businesses to identify what went wrong, put corrections and rectifications in place and then tried to convince Google to relist them. When, after 6 months, there had been no change, my recommendation was to start again.

However, the last time I did this was a couple of years ago so things could have changed

Types of Black Hat Activity
Cheating has changed over the years. Back in the (very) early days of SEO, all that was required was to add keywords multiple times in the Keywords Meta Tag and repeat them multiple times on the page itself. So you’d have a page of content and them across the bottom of the page you’d see the keyword repeated many, many times.

Keyword, Keyword, Keyword, Keyword. Keyword, Keyword

The search engines spotted this and didn’t like it & the web developers realised that this looked bad so they changed the font colour to match the background so the visitor couldn’t see the text but the search engines could.

The search engines soon spotted this and didn’t like it so Black Hat SEO people simply made the font size 0. The text disappeared from the page, but was still visible in the HTML that could be read by the search engines.

The search engines spotted this too and didn’t like it so the SEO folks went for keyword “stuffing”. Cramming the keyword in to as many keyword places that they keyword possibly keyword could

The visitors didn’t like this and went elsewhere.

Next came Link Building and Link Farming. Buying back-links from websites that simply published lists of websites on thousands of pages, for a fee. These pages effectively looked like a phone directory where the only content was links to websites.

But Google didn’t like this and link farm users were likely to find themselves deleted

The next technique was cloaking. Your web-server can differentiate between you and I visiting a website and a search engine. Black hat SEO folks learned this and created content that was precisely what the search engines were looking for and only showed this content to the search engines. It was a bit like putting a honey pot at the end of the garden to attract the wasps when you’re having a picnic in the garden on a sunny day

But Google didn’t like this & users of cloaking were likely to find their sites deleted

How can you tell the difference between White and Black Hat SE Optimisers
If someone approaches you, offering to do your SEO and they guarantee to get you on Page 1 then I’d be inclined to avoid them. Nobody can guarantee this unless they are either

  1. Running a Google Ads campaign – but they should tell you this
  2. Running a Black Hat campaign.

If you ask an SEO agency how they will optimise your site, they should tell you what they will be doing. They should also tell you that they can’t guarantee results, just that they will use their skills and experience to move your site higher in the search results.

Avoid being hit by a penalty and do your SEO the right way. Give me a call to discuss ethical, White Hat SEO for your website on 01793 238020 or drop an email to andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk

How clean is your keyboard?

One of my earlier posts was about the cleanliness of your phone, that’s your mobile rather than the phone on your desk, if you have a desk and still have a phone on it, that is.

If you do still have a desk there’s a good bet that it has a keyboard on it, either a laptop or regular desktop keyboard. I just hope it doesn’t look like this one.

Turn your keyboard upside down and give it a little shake to see what falls out. For a lot of people it’ll be a mix of the following

A very dirty keyboard
  • Dust
  • Dead skin
  • Breakfast
  • Snacks
  • Lunch
  • Sometimes dinner

Grossed out yet? You might be after you read this.

Consumer group Which? tested keyboards at its London office found keyboards regularly carrying bugs that could cause food poisoning

They tested 33 keyboards by taking a swab and sending the swabs of to be biologically tested for bacteria Four of the keyboards (12.2%) were regarded as a potential health hazard whilst one of them actually had five times (yes 5 times) more germs than one of the office’s toilet seats.

Even more disturbingly, tests from a survey carried out by the University of Arizona found that the average desktop actually has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat and, apparently, women’s desks were worse than men’s.

Chicago’s North-western Memorial Hospital found two deadly drug-resistant types of bacteria (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)) could survive for up to 24 hours on a keyboard, while another common but less deadly bug (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) could survive for an hour.

One of the microbiologists said “your keyboard was often a reflection of what is in your nose and in your gut”………

How to clean your keyboard

It’s a good idea to give your keyboard a regular spring clean (and not just in the spring). Start off by shutting down your PC. Don’t put it to sleep, or stand-by, you’ll wake it up when you start.

Some keyboards are waterproof – if you are lucky enough to have one of these then just pop it in to the dishwasher……BUT CHECK FIRST

If not but you have access to a can of compressed air, then use that to blow debris out from between the keys. If you don’t have a can of air you can just turn your keyboard upside down and give it a gentle shake to get all the crumbs out.

Now get a cotton bud and dampen it with water or rubbing alcohol and use it to clean between the keys.

You can also use silly putty

Finally, gently wipe your keyboard soft, lightly damped link-free cloth and finally, finish off by disinfecting with alcohol wipes.

Alternatively, you might be able to pop the key-caps off and wash them separately. However, make a note of where the keys go first. I can remember the time when a former colleague decided this was a great way to clean his keyboard so he popped all the key caps off and washed then in a bowl of warm, soapy water. Once clean he left them to dry and then was faced with a lot of little places where the key-caps belonged……..but he didn’t have a clue which ones went where so ended up buying a new keyboard anyway

Suddenly it makes sense to keep a packet of alcohol wipes in your desk drawer

Obviously I can’t help you with the cleanliness of your desk and keyboard but I can help you with the cleanliness of your SEO, Social Media and other forms of digital marketing so if you’d like to talk about your online marketing then just pick up your phone (wipe it first) and give me a call on 01793 238020 or email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk

How clean is your phone

Hands texting on a smartphoneI’m not talking about any dodgy apps that you might have, nor any “adult” websites that you might have bookmarked but I’m talking in a hygiene sense.

According to research the average person touches their phone nearly 3,000 times A DAY and the heaviest users touch their phone over 5,400 times, each and every day.

After all, our phones are with us for up to 24 hours a day. At home, at work, on the street, in the car and, ahem, in the bathroom/toilet. Now think about all the things you touch during your average day. Let’s start at home with door handles, who else has used them? Did they wash their hands? Are they well or unwell?

Now let’s go to work. You pop your phone in your pocket or handbag – what else has been in there? It’s dark, warm and humid, a lovely breeding ground for bacteria.

You might open your car door or get on public transport. In the case of the latter, what do you touch in the station, on the bus/train/taxi?

You’ve arrived at your office and casually pop your phone on your desk. A desk which, according to a study by the University of Arizona, has hundreds of times more bacteria per square inch than an office toilet seat. And this could be your smartphone’s home for  40 hours a week,

Now it’s time for your morning coffee so you head off to the kitchen….who has used the kettle/coffee machine, coffee jar, sugar jar etc.

Toilet with the toilet seat upHow about a comfort break – who has opened the toilet door? Are you one of the 61% of people who regularly scroll while on the toilet (report from the Daily Infographic) because 1 in 6 phones are contaminated with faecal matter? 

Who opened the door to leave the toilet, were they unwell? Did they wash their hands properly? You may as well not bother washing your hands after that visit.

And as if that’s not bad enough, there’s everything else you could touch during an average day, cash machines, PIN entry pads in shops and filling stations, keys, door handles, pens, credit/debit cards, coins, bank notes – how clean are those? Where have they been? It’s almost enough to make you go cashless isn’t it!

Finally it’s the end of the day and time to head home. You put your phone on the kitchen worktop. This should be clean but how about your dining table, your coffee table, side table and bed-side table? How clean are they?

At any time of the day your phone might ring, or you want to make a call. You take your bacterial soup of a phone out of your pocket/bag and hold it to your face transferring bacteria that could give you spots, or worse. It might even touch your mouth and some of the bacteria could then transfer orally, getting inside your digestive system.

A microscope's view of bacteriaAccording to a study published in the journal, Germs, your phone is up to 10 times dirtier than your toilet seat, TEN TIMES! You always wash your hands after going but do you wash them between touching your phone and eating food?

This is a major issue because few of us bother to really clean our phones (wiping the screen doesn’t count). The germs keep building up. 

Studies have found serious pathogens on smartphones, E-Coli (great for upset tums), influenza, Streptococcus and MRSA (cause of rashes and skin infections) – which is a type of bacteria that is resistant to several antibiotics. 

So, the next time you have a spot or rash on your face or go down with an upset tummy or the flu, don’t look at who you’ve been in contact with recently, take a long hard look at your mobile phone.

What should we do? Well, you can buy anti-bacterial cleaning packs specifically designed for electronic devices, or you could use standard rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth or paper towel. Use cotton buds to get in to those nooks and crannies and, finally, don’t forget to take your cover off and clean that too.

Now, I can’t help you with your phone hygiene but I can help keep your SEO nice and clean so why not get in touch, 01793 238020 or andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk and we can have a chat about SEO, Social Media or any other form of digital marketing.

How to Use Twitter Lists

Twiter logo heading up a post about Twitter lists

Twitter’s great isn’t it? Really good for keeping in touch with your Followers, for keeping up with the latest news, raising awareness of your business, demonstrating that you know your stuff and acting as the starting point for conversations that could lead to business.

But……….if you’re following more than 100 people it can become quite a challenge to find Tweets from people that are of particular interest due to the speed your Twitter news-feed fills up with new Tweets.

But there is a solution that makes things so much easier – and it’s called Twitter Lists

What is a Twitter List

Simply put, Twitter Lists are like filters. You add people you follow (and you can add people you don’t follow too – more on that in a bit) and when you only want to see their Tweets, you simply choose the relevant list and all the Twitter noise from everyone else is immediately filtered out, just leaving you with updates from people on your lists.

Types of Lists

There are two types of list, public and private. A Public List is one that all Twitter uses can see and a Private List can only be accessed by yourself.The types of lists that you could have include

  • Current Clients,
  • Previous Clients,
  • Suppliers,
  • Prospects,
  • Affiliates,
  • Partners,
  • Influencers,
  • Local Community,
  • Friends,
  • Family,
  • Topics of Interest,
  • TV Shows

If these were my lists then I’d set the business related to “Private” so that my competitors can’t easily see who my clients are etc.

Now, when I want to interact with my clients to see what they’ve said, and to add my own thoughts/comments all I have to do is click on the relevant list and the rest of the Twittersphere goes away.

Making your First Twitter List

Create a new Twitter list

There are two ways to make a list. The first is to navigate to the drop-down menu you get by clicking on your image or avatar at the top right of your screen and selecting the “Lists” option. If this is your first list you’ll be presented with a “Create a List” option.

Give the list a name and write a brief description (if you want to add a description). Then you choose whether to make the list Public or Private and click “Save List”

Now Twitter will show you a box which will enable you to add people to your list. Conduct a search and when you come across someone you want to add you simply click on the three dots and choose the “Add to list” option and you’ll be shown all of your lists and you can choose which list or lists that you would like this person added too.

Adding People to your list from your news-feeds

When you are reading tweets and come across someone that you’d like to add to one of your lists, all you need to do is click on their Twitter name to go to their profile and click on the three dots menu by the “Follow/Following” button and use the “Add or remove from lists” option

How do I see what people on my lists are sharing?

All you have to do is head back to the drop-down menu that you get from clicking on your image/avatar and select “Lists”. You’ll be presented with all of your lists and you just click the list you want to see.

See, it’s easy and a really useful way to manage your Twitter followers

Shadow Lists

When you follow someone they receive a notification that you have followed them and so they might follow you back and you might not want them to know that you are keeping an eye on them. So don’t follow them, just add them to a list, and make it a Private list

Look at other Twitter users LIsts

Andy Poulton's Twitter feed

If you look at someone’s profile you’ll be able to see how many they have simply by clicking on “Lists” – you can see that I have 33 lists and if you click on any one of them you’ll see an option to “Subscribe” in the top left – click this and you’ll be Following the list and you’ll also be able to see all the members of the list.

What’s Next

Go away, set up some lists for yourself, add some people and have a bit of a play to get the hang of the way they work. You can thank me for saving you lots of time later.

Joking aside, if you do need any help with Twitter, Social or SEO just give me a call on 01793 238020, email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk or share your question with me on Twitter or LinkedIn and I’ll be delighted to assist.

How secure is your password?

Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ)- where the UK spooks provide signals intelligence to the UK’s government, military and Military Intelligence and the Department for Digital, Media and Sport (DCMS) carried out their first UK Cyber Survey and the results didn’t make for great reading.

Apparently

  • 42% of us Brits expect to lose money to on-line fraud
  • 23.2 million worldwide victims of cyber breaches used 123456 as their password
  • 15% say they know how to properly protect themselves from harmful on-line activity
  • 33% rely on friends and family for help with their cyber security
  • Young people are the most likely to be cyber aware, privacy concious and careful of the details they share on-line
  • 61% of internet users check Social Media daily, 21% say they never look at it
  • More than 50% use the same password for their email that they use elsewhere
Hacker Inside

Dr Ian Levy, NCSC Technical Director said “Using hard-to-guess passwords is a strong first step and we recommend combining three random but memorable words. Be creative and use words memorable to you, so people can’t guess your password.” whilst Margot James, DMCS Minister said “We shouldn’t make their (cyber criminals) lives easy so choosing a strong and separate password for your email account is a great practical step. “

Most Regularly Used Passwords

RankPasswordTimes UsedPasswordTimes Used
1.123456 23.2mashley432,276
2.1237567897.7mmichael425,291
3.qwerty3.8mdaniel368,227
4.password3.6mjessica324,125
5.11111113.1mcharlie308,939

It’s a shame that the top password list hasn’t really changed for at least 10 years – it shows how complacent a lot of us are with our on-line security.

I used to have 3 passwords, a simple one that I used really casually for newspaper sign-ups etc – name123 (not my real passwords, merely examples) a medium security one that I used on shopping sites, n@m3123 and a more secure one, used for banking etc – c3ler0n! (and all of the ones that I used feature on the Have I Been Pwned list).

log on box

About 5 or more years ago I switched to a Password Manager. I have 801 log-ins and 801 different passwords. All of them are at least 16 random characters long and comprise upper & lower case letters, numbers and symbols (where permitted).

My Password database is stored securely in the cloud and is replicated on my PC, Phone and Tablet and accessible from my Chromebook too. I use LastPass but others exist and here’s a review of some of the top ones.

As you can see, I do my best to stay on top of my security but if you feel adrift, or need some help, just give me a call on 01793 238020 or email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk for a free chat.

You’re thinking of PPC Advertising – but where should you place your money?

In my experience, when thinking about advertising on the the web, most people think of Google and Facebook Ads and that’s about it but there’s a wide range of Pay per Click (PPC) opportunities available and the key to success is deciding which are the platforms most likely to deliver the best results.

In this post I’ll be looking the top 8 platforms that you should think about,

  • Bing Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • Google Ads
  • Linkedin Ads
  • Pinterest Ads
  • Twitter Ads
  • Yahoo Ads

Bing Ads

Run by Microsoft, Bing is the search engine that seems to be forgotten but is in daily use by millions of people. My experience is that clicks are cheaper than those from Google and frequently of better quality. It gets better because if you have a Google Ads campaign, Bing Ads have a tool that will import all of your campaigns at the click of a button.

Bing also powers the Yahoo Ad network so you’ll have the added benefit of your Ads appearing across Yahoo too.

Look hard and you’ll also be able to take advantage of £100.00 credit to get you going (there are terms, of course but essentially, it’s free advertising)

Facebook Ads

Facebook, largest Social Media platform on the internet. 2.2Bn users worldwide and about 32m in the UK so why wouldn’t you want to advertise here. Well, if you have something to sell to consumers then you should give it some thought. You can have image ads, text ads, video ads, sponsored updates and much much more. 

Not only that but you can target specific audiences and markets through the demographic data that Facebook hold, making it a far more targeted campaign than other platforms.

However, if you are in the Business to Business market, Facebook may not be the ideal platform for your ads.

Google Ads

Not the longest running Ad platform but certainly the most well established, the most popular and the one with the greatest reach, with more than 3.5Bn searches taking place on Google every day!

Google ads can be placed on Google, YouTube, the Content Network as well as Google Search Partners.

You can have simple text ads, image ads as well as responsive ads targeted at mobile phone users.

Google Ads is also a great way to waste money if you don’t think carefully about where your Ads are displayed, to whom they are targeted and the way your search words are formatted and used. Campaign management (either in-house or outsourced) is essential to get the most from your Ads investment.

Linkedin Ads

Linkedin is home to over 520m professionals and so if your business is focussed on selling things to, or providing services to, a business market place than Linkedin is the natural home for your ads.

You can focus your ads on almost any of the demographic metrics that Linkedin collects, whether geographically, job title, seniority, job role and much more.

Traditional ads are shown on the right hand side on your Linkedin home page and across the top whilst promoted posts appear in the newsfeed and hate works best are hints, tips and white papers.

Pinterest Ads

Pinterest is quite new to the paid advertising market but is rapidly catching up, as demonstrated by it’s initial valuation before going public on the 18th April 2019 at $19/share valuing the company at $12.7Bn.

With more than 200m active, monthly, users who are researching trends, looking for ideas and inspiration it’s an ideal place to sell “things” – especially if your target market matches the key Pinterest demographic with 70% of Pinterest users being women and 40% earning more than $100,000 or more

Twitter Ads

Twitter is used by 330m people every month and is recognised as a key source of breaking news. 

Unlike a lot of the platforms mentioned here, Twitter ads stay on Twitter and so can be particularly effective and remain fully under your control. Your ads can be simple text but photos work better and videos are event more effective.

Yahoo

Yahoo was one of the original sellers of search ads and was the model that Google based Adwords on. Yahoo still stumbles on as part of the Oath network (Yahoo, AOL, Huff Post and Tumblr). 

Yahoo has a partnership agreement with Bing which means that your Bing Ads will also be displayed on the Yahoo network (and vice versa) and your ads can be simple text, images, video and any other supported media across the network

Conclusion

There are numerous Ad networks fighting for your advertising spend. My advice is to start small, test AND measure. If, after a couple of months, it seems that one of the platforms isn’t working for you then stop and switch to a different one until you find the right platform for your business.

And, if you need any help, I’ve been doing this since 2003 so give me a call on 01793 238020 or email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk for a free, initial chat to see whether I can improve your existing campaigns or help you launch something new.