Secure Search, Rank & Finding Lost Keyword Traffic: A Conversation with gShift

Marketing is more complex today than ever. Much of this is due to the progress we’ve made in technology.

More data means more choices and more ways to interpret success. That’s why today, marketers need trusted data more than ever.

In the age of keyword “(not provided),” SEO technology companies are working hard to provide options marketers can use to bridge the gap. One such option comes from gShift.

Search Engine Watch recently chatted with Chris Adams, co-founder and CTO of gShift to talk about the state of “(not provided)” data, what SEO professionals and content marketers should be looking for in terms of data features, and how gShift is helping marketers uncover lost keyword traffic.

Today, There’s Uncertainty in Data

The unfortunate reality today as a result of secure search in terms of content marketing and SEO is that it’s hard to have meaningful conversations, Adams said, when the majority of keyword traffic data is hidden.

The “(not provided)” traffic is leading marketers to use the word “probable” all too often.

“The word ‘probable’ is bad in a sales conversation,” Adams said. “We need to arm these agencies with better information.”

Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) doesn’t provide all the answers. Adams said it’s OK to get a snapshot in GWT, but it’s not a thorough picture of what’s happening on the website. It needs additional analysis.

In fact, Adams shared 10 reason why Google Webmaster Tools isn’t a foolproof Plan B for secure search:

  1. You should be tracking multiple engines, geographic locations and local. Google Webmaster Tools doesn’t allow this and only shows average rank.
  2. You should be tracking competitors. GWT doesn’t allow this.
  3. GWT is an average rank over 90 days. New content won’t be tracked quickly nor new keyword phrases or keywords that aren’t yet ranking.
  4. GWT uses universal results. That means if your image is ranking No. 1, the data doesn’t mean that your Web page is ranking in the Top 10.
  5. GWT limits data. It doesn’t show all of your results. This would have a big impact on sites with average visitor traffic and most B2B websites.
  6. GWT doesn’t differentiate in Web presence data. Is it a video, your

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Posted in SEO

Are You Suffering From Heartbleed?

Heartbleed is the latest virus/hack issue to trend across the webisphere.

It is a security flaw which takes the form of a bug in a piece of software called OpenSSL. This software is used to encrypt communications between your computer and the web server of many of the secure sites that we log into. The BBC describes it as “a sort of secret handshake at the beginning of a secure conversation” – which made me chuckle.

But it’s a very serious business! SSL is the encryption tool used by around two-thirds of all websites on the internet and around half a million sites are believed to have been affected. You can tell by the URL which starts https rather than http or you may see a little padlock symbol in your browser.

The first advice was to change all your passwords immediately.

But then it became apparent that doing that would not solve the problem unless the site involved had actually implemented a patch to protect their system.

The advice now is to wait until you receive a notification from these sites to change your password. However, some sites still do not believe that is necessary but my judgement is that if there is an issue, you should protect yourself and make a change.

Which sites have been affected?

Mashable published a helpful list of sites that have been affected in the US

And The Telegraph gives a list for the UK.

Is my UK bank affected by Heartbleed?

From their article, it does not look as if the Government website or any of the main banks has been affected. Many UK banks have added a notification to the front page of their website to say that they have not been affected. If in doubt about your bank, you can now go check it out yourself.

Should I change my social media passwords?

Social media sites affected are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. Click on the relevant link to

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Posted in SEO

A Fabulous Birthday Lunch In Leigh On Sea

I had a day off today – for my birthday :)

And a late lunch at the fantastic Sand Bar and Seafood Restaurant in The Broadway, Leigh-on-Sea.

With Jon – a vegan!

The clue is in the title – it’s the Sand Bar and Seafood Restaurant. And my children and I made the most of the octopus, salt cod and pork on offer.

But the wonderful Louise made Jon a vegan starter and main course that had him almost licking both plates. He wrote about it on his own vegan blog here

That’s what you want from a restaurant. The ability to cater for anyone who comes through the doors, no matter what their food preference or whether they have an allergy to certain ingredients.

And then there was the ice cream.

Chai latte and limoncella, baileys and chocolate chip, Malibu, coconut and white chocolate. I could not decide.

So, naturally, I had a scoop of all three – and polished off the lot. It came with candles and a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday from the staff.

Starters for four, main courses for four, one large bowl of ice cream, a bottle of wine, a beer and coffee – the bill came to a very reasonable £86

I have to admit to a vested interest in this restaurant as The Sand Bar has taken some of my social media training. We were recently able to gain control of a Facebook Places page which had been created without their knowledge because customers had checked in so often on their mobile phones.

By claiming it and making it into a proper Facebook page, the owner is able to post images of their gorgeous culinary creations and the customers are now able to both check in and leave reviews. Important factors in the decision when new diners choose whether to take the plunge for an important occasion.

It’s also where we have our

Posted in SEO

Is Your Google+ Profile In The Name Of Your Business Or Product?

NO!!!! Please don’t do that!

Just as with Facebook and LinkedIn, Google’s guidelines confirm that the main profile on Google+ has to be a person with a first and last name.

I am starting to get requests to circle all sorts of things like bars, magazines and groups!

Only people can go in a circle. And you follow a business.

Rules for setting up your Google Plus profile

Your account has to be in YOUR first and last name.

You can add a nickname within your real name – *First Name* “Nickname” *Last Name*. So Jo “Lollipop” Shaer.

You can’t preface your name with a title like Dr – even if you are one! However, you can add your Ph.D to your Other names section on your Google+ profile

Break the rules and you run the risk of having your account suspended.

Can I put my Product or Business into my Personal Profile?

See the rules for setting up a Google Plus profile above.

There are dedicated Google+ Business Pages for your business or product. You create your business or product pages from your Google+ profile.

You may not set up your business page or product on a profile. Find out more here

What to do if you have set up your Google Plus profile in the name of your product or business

Done it wrong?

Here’s how to change your name in your profile.

Hover your mouse over the Home button on the top left of your Google+ account

Select Profile from the drop down menu

Find your name in the header section – it should be just underneath your profile picture.

Hover over your name and it will say ‘Click to edit your name’. Click

A pop up box will allow you to make the change.

REMEMBER – you can only do this three times in two years! So serial brides need to be aware :O

REMEMBER – it will change

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Posted in SEO

I Have 2 Twitter Accounts – Can I Merge Them Together Or Should I Delete One?

Great question from Angela at Inner-Body Pilates after one of our Tweeting 4 Twits Social Media Courses in Leigh on Sea.

One Twitter account has 147 followers and the other has 350. They both have similar names. Twitter does not mind you having more than one account but each will be viewed as a separate entity and must be accessed via a separate email address. You cannot create two Twitter accounts from the same email address.

You can only be logged in to one Twitter account on any one browser. So, if you want to manage two, you will need to have one open in Chrome and then open a window in Firefox to operate your other Twitter account. Unless you have Hootsuite Pro which will allow you to be logged in to both on the dashboard. We can give you Hootsuite training.

She could make the choice and keep one for her London classes and one for her new Leigh classes. This means that she will need to put regular content on both – although, again, that’s not necessarily a problem using an automated software like Hootsuite. This allows you to post, schedule and bulk upload your status updates to both accounts.

Can I merge two Twitter accounts together and keep my followers?

Twitter say that it is not possible to merge two Twitter accounts or multiple Twitter accounts together.

It is also not possible to migrate data (Tweets, following, or followers) from one Twitter account to another.

What can I do if I only want to use one Twitter account?

If you no longer want one of your accounts, you could stop using one account (or deactivate it altogether) and tell your followers to find you at the account you have decided to keep.

Find out more about using Twitter for business

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Posted in SEO

‘No-Links Ranking’ – The Battle for Better Organic SERPs

Is it possible that links will no longer be a ranking factor in the future? Some of the big search engines already have considered this possibility. We will analyze how some of the biggest search engines, Google and Yandex (the biggest search engine in Russia), tackled this problem.

Yandex, announced that the Russian search engine will no longer take into consideration links as a ranking factor. According to Yandex’s representatives, the “no link” algorithm was already launched, and it addresses only a set of commercial keywords and works only in some regional areas.

Yandex and Their No-Links Policy

Before saying that what happens in Russia, stays in Russia, let me tell you why this change in the Yandex algorithm might actually have an international impact. The Russian Internet industry might not interest you, but being such a big player, Yandex might indicate in which direction the search engines are heading.

Yandex Plus 55 percent

Image Credit:

To begin with, let me tell you what is Yandex and why should we care. While almost anywhere around the globe, Google is synonymous with Internet, there are some places that make an exception from this rule. And by “some places” I mean Russia, the largest country in the world.

In Russia, Google has only 25 percent market share, while Yandex holds about 60 percent of the Russian search market and is a major player in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Turkey.

Yandex implements the latest cutting-edge search engine technologies, and if they are trying a “no-links” approach, it might mean that they have something worth looking at.

Why is Yandex Dropping Links as a Ranking Factor?

The Russian commercial SERPs in Yandex and Google are some of the most spammed keywords, where black hat SEO techniques are used to quickly rank shady sites. Given the situation, Alexander Sadovsky, the head of search at Yandex, announced last December, at the Internet Business Conference in Moscow, that the Yandex’s algorithm will be a “link-free” algorithm, starting sometime this year.

The Russian representative outlined the fact that this change applies only

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Posted in SEO

Developing Your Personal Brand

I was on a great workshop in Brentwood this week. It was all about developing your personal brand with Elaine Smith from Inside Out.

Your personal brand should not be confused with your personal image – the latter is the way you look, your mannerisms – although these still play a role in the overall personal brand.

So what is a personal brand?

Well it’s how people think of you after they have met you and can be influenced by small details such as how firm your handshake is and how you interact during networking meetings.

First impressions are vital!

This means that it is probably the most important product that you own. And one in which you should invest a great deal of care.

It’s what makes you different from other people who are offering the same service – your USP, your Unique Selling Point.

Your personal brand is what people know for certain they will get when they work with you.

This was a taster workshop which allowed us to explore some exercises to get us started on developing our own personal brand. I came away with lots of ideas and areas to work on.

It was extremely valuable at a time when we are looking to set ourselves apart from other people in the SEO world whose behaviour has led to the industry getting a very bad name for reliability and trust.

We need to look at our ethos and the way that we do things which makes people confident that we will look after them and do our utmost to achieve the best results.

Elaine’s presentation style was extremely professional and easy to understand. She exuded a confidence in who she is and what she does and how it can help anyone in the business world.

Visit her website to find out more.

Other people who have helped us in this area are Angie Poplett in Southend and Vicky Kelly of Butterfly Effect Coaching in Leigh on Sea

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Posted in SEO

How Can I Find Out What Hashtags Are Relevant To My Business?

Great question about hashtags from Crystal from Thurrock on our recent Twitter workshop.

hashtagsThere are several online answers to this. I’m not sure there are any which will tell you exactly which ones are in use for your business but you can put in your own suggestions and find some clues as to what is working.

Hashtagify.Me allow you to search for hashtags that relate to specific industries. See this search for accountants

You can find out what’s trending in the world of hashtags at See this search for accountants

You can see the stats for hashtags about accountants at

And Twubs will allow you to get in touch with people who are using hashtags about accountants.

This will allow you to find authority sources of content for potential future retweets. However, whether their services will be valuable for businesses at a local level in the UK remains to be seen.

Let me know how you get on!

Other questions we have been asked about hashtags – are they case sensitive and how to search with and without hashtags might be useful.

Find out more about How Twitter works for your business.

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Posted in SEO

Passable SEO Content is so Passé: Create Something Powerful & Engaging

Passable Content

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “You write not because you want to say something, but because you have something to say.”

These are two very different approaches and they’re relevant to the way we create content for SEO. While the first will create passable but unexciting content, the second has the potential to create something that is powerful and engaging.

Often in SEO, we have to take the first approach. Our clients need content for their site and we have to produce it for them. We write because we want – or need – to say something.

Yet the very best writing comes when we have something to say. Something that is unique, surprising and has an impact on our client’s customers. And it is our job to help them create it.

So how do we move from passable to great content?

Let’s look at four types of writing:

  • Writing based on your own knowledge.
  • Writing based on web research.
  • Writing based on information clients provide.
  • Writing based on what you encourage your client to discover or reveal.

1. Writing Based on Your Own Knowledge

Few of us have knowledge of more than a few topics, nor the authority to write well about them. This approach inevitably creates thin content and is not recommended.

2. Writing Based on Web Research

We have all honed our research skills on the web to become “instant experts” on a whole range of subjects. A few carefully crafted searches, some assiduous scanning and editing, and we can create passable content.

But the danger is that all we are doing is regurgitating what we’ve found and not creating anything original.

The process allows us to create content quickly but the downside is that we might perpetuate inaccuracies and spread stuff that is wrong. No matter how good our skills, the content we produce is unlikely to be engaging.

3. Writing Based on Information Clients Provide

Now we’re moving on much more solid ground where we have good material to work with.

But often the writer works to a brief and doesn’t even meet the client. So the resulting content depends on the quality of the brief

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Posted in SEO

The Facebook Ad Fraud Debate

Facebook Ads have been completely out of kilter recently but whether there is an actual fraud or if it is just inefficient planning I am not totally sure.

This chap set the Facebook world on fire a couple of weeks ago by alleging that Facebook ads were set up to be exploited by Like Farms in Pakistan, Bangladesh and some other third world countries.

Certainly, we have spoken about Like Farms before on this blog, following the programme by Channel 4 where they highlighted a page about the Lake District where the demographic of fans was predominantly males in their early 20s who lived in Dakar!

But up until recently, Facebook ads had worked very well for us. We had a hugely successful campaign for a national competition to win a pair of boots from The Spanish Boot Company and another that worked really well for local engagement for our Women In Business groups.

However, then Facebook started making changes. There was one point where I set up an ad to promote one post and discovered that Facebook had actually changed the ad so I was promoting something completely different and totally out of date. I was not a happy bunny.

Further problems have occurred with changes to the Power Editor. I have one account with the new updates and another account for a client which still has the old dashboard and so I cannot actually set up any ads for that client. Worse still, with one client account, I was half way through creating an ad campaign when they transferred it from one dashboard to another and I lost a lot of my work.

It’s hard enough putting together ads and landing pages that will convert without Facebook’s technical parts messing up.

Jon Loomer insists that if you keep away from marketing your ads to those companies where the Like Farms are situated, then you won’t have a problem.

I would point out that my campaigns

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Posted in SEO