Latest Digital News – November

Latest Digital News – November

This month, we have seen a number of interesting little changes to Facebook, including some new features, metrics and plugins – alongside a couple of Google updates.

Google will now feature icons for PDFs and PPTs in search results

This is a subtle but useful change from Google, showing labels on search results for raw PPT and PDF files uploaded to websites, so the user will know what type of content will open when they click on the link.

It’s clean and consistent with other Google labels, it will only appear if you are linking to a direct PPT file, not one that’s embedded onto a web page. It has the potential for increasing click throughs if people are specifically looking for this type of content – such as people looking for evidence or reports.

Facebook releases a new Messenger Chat plugin for websites

This month, Facebook revealed details about its latest version of the Messenger platform – featuring a customer chat plugin for business websites.

The move was after huge demand, with businesses wanting to reach their customers in new ways – customers are already using messenger, so companies want to speak to their customers in the environment that they are already present on.

The plugin will allow businesses to continue conversations seamlessly between their website and Facebook Messenger without losing any of the chat history.

You can find out more about the messenger plug in on the Search Engine Journal.

Facebook introduces a simple polling feature – including GIF functionality

This month, Facebook rolled out a new feature to both business pages and personal profiles, allowing users to post simple polls and include GIFs to make them engaging and stand out in news feeds.

The polls are simple, they will include one question and a choice of two answers. They are found by creating a status update and scrolling to the bottom of the menu to find the poll option.

I think this is something we will start seeing a lot of on our Facebook feeds!

Facebook inform publishers of the pages who have shared their videos

Another new bit of Facebook news this month, Highlighted Shares. This feature gives brands, publishers and creators more information about who is contributing to their video views.

It’s done via a tab on all pages that will list the top 5 pages that have shared your videos on Facebook. This new Highlighted Shares metric will be accessed through video insights.

It’s hoped that this new ability to see who is engaging with your content the most will encourage businesses to then in turn share their content, creating a network of businesses who engage and share with each other’s content – helping each other grow their audiences.

A really helpful metric, and certainly something worth including in your regular monitoring.

Make sure your site is secure & ready for next Google update

Make sure your site is secure & ready for next Google update

Google is now prompting all users clicking on unsecured websites to be careful, as they are about to enter data into a potentially ‘unsafe’ website. But what does Google count as an unsafe website?

To Google, an unsafe website is one that has no encrption – one that doesn’t have an SSL certificate or (more simply) HTTPS at the beginning of the URL (instead having HTTP – which is the standard protocol).

The SSL in SSL certificate stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is a very high-level encryption standard. SSL enables a secure connection between the client and the server for which information is sent over. Google (understandably) wants everything on the web to be travelling over secure channels, so now they will flag any unencrypted websites as not secure whilst using their Chrome browser – displaying a red ‘X’ over a padlock in the URL bar.

This change means that Google is making it very clear that it believes the internet should be surfed securely, wanting all sites to be served using HTTPS. HTTPS is basically a secure layer on top of the usual HTTP web protocol.

It’s a move that is welcomed by companies and tech experts, noting that the change is a strong idea. Right now, HTTP is still common place, however it isn’t secure and presents a potential danger to website users and brands.

Encryption has been encouraged on websites by Google since 2014, with HTTPS contributing to their ranking algorithm.

If you would like to learn more about security on your website, drop us a line at [email protected]

Is your website mobile responsive? Now it needs to be for Google Rankings.

Is your website mobile responsive? Now it needs to be for Google Rankings.

The SEO blog

We all know that Google is one of the (if not THE) biggest considerations for directing traffic to your website. We all need to keep up to date with how Google is updating its algorithms, making sure to keep our website in line with the changes to maintain those all-important search rankings – and there is one big change coming. The Mobile-First Index.

A study from earlier this year found that 55% of all web traffic comes from mobile and is continuing to rise.

What this means is that Google will begin to index your mobile site first. In plain English, Google will now be looking at your website’s mobile performance over desktop, when ranking it for search results. Google already put a lot of weight behind mobile, but soon it will not take desktop performance into consideration at all.

So, the question that should be on everyone’s mind right now – is my website mobile friendly? If not, what do I need to do?

According to a recent article on Search Engine Land, to be seen as responsive, your page needs to have the same content on mobile as it does on desktop. If you are removing content on mobile to streamline readers experience this will score negatively as Google doesn’t want to see your users not getting the full package on your website.

So – key points to look out for on your site:

  1. Make sure all content is the same on both desktop and mobile – if they aren’t equivalent then it’s not responsive.
  2. Have one URL that is responsive across both desktop and mobile, don’t use 2 different sites as even when the mobile version does come into the ranking considerations if there are any differences between the two then tip number 1 comes into effect.
  3. If you do have a mobile site, make sure you have all of your desktop content on there!
  4. Pop ups – most people find them annoying anyway, and turns out so do Google! They see them as a negative user experience and will now be penalising them.

Some good news – if you have content hidden behind drop-down boxes (accordions) or separate tabs in the hope that it makes the user journey easier on mobile, now this content is being taken into consideration by Google – so you can chunk up the content to help with readability.

Wrapped website on laptop Wrapped website on phone

So, when will this change come into effect?

Right now, it’s really important for you to have a  responsive website, optimised for mobile. It is already taken into consideration by Google, and let’s face it – if 55% of your customers are viewing your site like that, then you should be wanting to help them out anyway. However, we don’t have a confirmed date yet for when the mobile-first index will come into play. It’s said to be early 2018, but we don’t have a definite deadline.

But, early 2018 will be with us soon, so if you want to talk to someone to check whether your site is responsive, or ask about how to make your website responsive – drop us a line either using our live chat or email [email protected] and our digital team can help.