SEO Revolution in 2016? Part 3

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SEO Revolution in 2016 – Responsive Design

For the third and final part of this series of blog posts I am going to focus on what is undoubtedly one of the most influential and logical changes to Google’s ranking factors this year and possibly in the whole history of Google itself.

It is impossible to ignore the fact that with the introduction of more sophisticated smart phones and tablets our browsing habits have changed significantly and dramatically. Admittedly the technology for this kind of browsing had already been in place for some years prior to this in the form of PDAs, Blackberries, older laptops with Wi-Fi cards and a number of other devices but I personally feel it is the advancements of the Android and IOS operating systems and the myriad of devices that they power that has created and facilitated the push from traditional desktop PCs and laptops to mobile devices being the most popular devices for browsing on the move and browsing the internet full stop.

Early Days of Mobile Browsing

When the first wave of smartphones were being introduced to the market I felt an initial rush of glee, similar to when a next generation gaming console launches, seeing the capabilities and possibilities of the new technology I felt actually excited by the prospect of seeing technology that I had seen in comic books, films and TV series as a child actually being realised and launched to domestic customers.

After the initial rush of excitement I soon started to feel the crushing reality, that aside from the media frenzy, these devices incorporated very similar components and systems that the aforementioned old laptops and PDAs used albeit in more presentable packaging.

At first it seemed as though my initial reservations were somewhat justified but as time went by these devices progressed and improved at a rapid rate to the point that I now use my smartphone notably much more than my old, trusted laptop which now enjoys life as a storage device, conduit for transferring data and a central media hub for my home entertainment.

How Google Assesses Mobile Compatibility

Although, on the surface, mobile compatibility is a simple concept for us as users to grasp the reality is that mobile compatibility serves a great number of different purposes aside from making large amounts of content and data presentable and accessible on the relatively small screen of a smart phone or tablet. Similar to the ranking factors that Google use to assess a webpage there are a number of different factors and criteria that Google use to assess whether the mobile version of a site is truly accessible and of value to a potential browser.

Below is a quick summary to help you understand the basics of whether a site is truly mobile compatible or not.

Layout is first and foremost essential for a browser’s user experience and in particular the legibility of bodies of text. This is important so that people who aren’t visually impaired can actually read the content without being hindered and also for people who suffer from partial or complete blindness who rely on software to read all the written content and audio descriptions aloud to them. In short, if a site is truly responsive, then all the text should fit into lines, paragraphs and columns similar to how any article would appear in printed format such as a newspaper, menu or brochure without any content being cut off, excluded or omitted.

Contact Details are also an important factor. With mobile phones and tablets having the facility to call and email people it makes sense that all contact details such as phone and fax numbers and email addresses should be able to be instantly accessed and reached when browsing.

Page Loading Times may sound very dry and technical but in reality what is the point in having an all singing and dancing mobile site which is

1.totally amazing


2.accessible anywhere you can take your mobile device

if it takes somewhere close to a millennia to actually load up? Google assess this quickly and easily by taking into account the quality of your coding and the file size of your images and other embedded media on each page of your site.

This concludes my series of blog posts for what I believe has been a truly revolutionary year in SEO. I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on some of the pivotal changes introduced this year and if you’ve missed the other two parts why not check them and some of our other articles on the Blog section of our site.

Article written by
Tim Smith – SEO Consultant

SEO Revolution in 2016? Part 2

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SEO Revolution in 2016 – Post Page Rank Era

What the mighty lord Google giveth they also take away

The next topic for this series is another somewhat controversial choice by Google that is dividing SEO’s opinion of the search engine stalwarts approach to what is fair and making Google’s former mission statement of “don’t be evil” become less valid each day.

Google have been using their page rank system internally since the search engines very early days and began publishing the viewable page rank meter as a Microsoft Internet Explorer extension almost aeons ago which later became included in the extremely popular Google Toolbar which was compatible with a number of different browsers.

Again, this is a change that almost anyone outside of the industry will almost undoubtedly be unaware of. To provide a little context, page rank is a system that Google has used for some time now to access a single domains overall ranking potential. Google’s ranking factors take into account a bewildering number of aspects relating to a site including the design, written content and mobile compatibility and converts these factors into an easier to digest score out of ten. Therefore, to put it bluntly, the higher your page rank score the higher your odds are of ranking favourably for your site’s specific keywords and the likelihood that people in a related industry will want to receive a backlink from your site.

Sounds simple and logical enough, however, as is often the case there are always a band of individuals who chose to go against these guidelines or manipulate them to their favour which has ultimately lead to the gradual demise and ultimately the removal of page rank as a publicly viewable point of reference.

During its heyday (which was undoubtedly pre penguin era) many SEOs seemingly became obsessed with page rank which some industry professionals believe is a nod towards the decline of good quality standards of optimisation and instigated the launch and development of aggressive developments in Google’s penguin and panda aspects of the main algorithm.

During this age of SEO I myself often used page rank as a point of reference regularly and, similar to the keyword planner tool, found it to be an invaluable boost to efficiency whilst conducting research to help me be as productive as possible during my working hours. To clarify this point it helped me a great deal but was not an essential asset just a great way of saving time on research and a tangible form of evidence that I was providing a good service to my customers.

Putting this all into context with the current state of play with SEO at the moment, the important thing to remember is that although page rank is no longer viewable it doesn’t mean Google still don’t make use of it internally to access the viability and quality of sites. It’s simple and admittedly quite logical to assume that just because we can no longer see the visible read out of the page rank meter that there will be no repercussions for linking to any old site which we deem fit. However, as a successful individual in my industry, I believe that nothing regarding SEO should simply be assumed or expected. SEO like all forms of marketing requires careful, methodical planning and implementation of work to be successful and rewarding and if removing facilities such as the page rank meter is what is required to keep SEO alive then I salute Google for their decision. It may be a little unexpected or bewildering but in a modern world we need to accept that in order for us to innovate and progress we need to shake things up every now and again. For the good of the internet and for the advancement of humanity.

Thanks Google, for making me a better person and saving the internet yet again 🙂

Article written by
Tim Smith – SEO Consultant

SEO Revolution in 2016? Part 1

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SEO Revolution in 2016 – Premium Google Keyword Tool

SEO, like all forms of digital marketing, changes from time to time. But, in my opinion, SEO in 2016 has already changed significantly. Often in the past noticeable changes to Google’s algorithm have happened at unexpected times to catch out people who had been using previously approved methods for natural optimisation which are suddenly removed from favour. This tactic is great for improving the experience when customers use major search engines but I know more than a few benevolent professionals in the industry have been stung, most noticeably by the first penguin algorithm rollout way back in 2012. But if I start on this we’ll all be here until way past tea time so I’ll proverbially “put a pin” in that for now and focus on the present state of play for the industry.

This may be a little hasty. . but to me it appears as though we could be heading towards a quiet storm of a revolution in terms of the way we optimise websites this year which, as usual, to people outside of the industry is of almost of no notice whatsoever apart from a gradual and at times rapid improvement in the user experience when searching online.

To justify my somewhat bold claims I have created a series of posts drawing attention to some of the most significant developments of 2016 while also providing a bit of personal insight into how and why this will effect SERPs. Read on brave warrior . . .

Premium Google Keyword Tool – This admittedly has been a gradual shift since over a decade ago when I was first introduced to this gem of a resource from Google. Over the past few years the terms have become more restrictive to the point that an actual Google account is now required to access AdWords search volumes directly from Google themselves. Recently (within the past month) I have noticed that if you do not also have an active AdWords campaign running you can no longer access specific search volumes but instead receive (admittedly not too bad) estimates for the actual search volumes which now adds an element of intuitive guesswork while planning a campaign.

I think this update is fair to be honest and will prevent people who are trying to operate in a somewhat underhand manner by actively trying to conceal their personal details while researching volumes for campaigns. I believe I may have found a fair way to still access this data without actively hacking or involving in any ridiculous black hat shenanigans. Let’s just say by providing a small, token or offering all will be well with the cosmos.

However after reading up on the subject it appears as though many professionals in my position are also encountering the same problems while having an active AdWords campaign running.  When this relatively minor issue is addressed (which was initially being classified as a “technical error” by Google themselves when I began writing this article) I think this update will divide professionals in the industry but to be honest I think it is fair, Google at the end of the day is still a business and

1. They are investing large amounts of time, money and effort into improving the web both in terms of user experience and making it a fairer place to do business for everyone


2. I prefer to focus on the positive. I have received plenty of great, raw data from Google over the years in my profession which has helped me to plan a multitude of successful campaigns and also allows me to instil confidence in my customers, that they are buying into a good service which will present a realistic and worthwhile ROI.

Wow, Semi rant over! 2016 seems to be shaping up to be an eventful year for optimisation so if you have time I shall catch you later for more intriguing tales of SEO straight from the professionals at Horizon Creative Media.

Article written by
Tim Smith – SEO Consultant

Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn

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Microsoft has acquired LinkedIn on the promise it stays separate within Microsoft

The 13th of June gave us an announcement from Microsoft and LinkedIn, explaining that Microsoft was to sign a deal for $196 per share – totalling a $26.2 billion deal to buy the business and professionals orientated social media platform with the promise to remain independent from the computing giant, Microsoft.

Microsoft’s intentions are to expand the way we work in business and also diversify Cortana’s abilities. This means, Microsoft integrating Cortana, LinkedIn and their already very successful Office products, allowing people to accurately and efficiently communicate and learn about potential clients and colleagues before their meetings or doing business with one another.

This having the potential to significantly boost networking opportunities and allow professionals to be more prepared and almost allow Cortana and other integrated Microsoft products to do the hard work. This would also bring forward a new era for the social media platform being described as; ‘the Facebook for careers’.

“The Microsoft that has evolved under Satya’s leadership is a more agile, innovative, open and purpose-driven company”, Jeff Weiner – CEO of LinkedIn, states.

Jeff goes on to talk about the proposal that Satya Nadella put forward and the excitement he felt from it, knowing Microsoft would maintain LinkedIn’s integrity.

From one deal that will bring 2 larger companies together, which would benefit from a boost of value and growth, could bring some very interesting business applications for small to large companies and even sole professionals.

Let’s hope the future is true to the potential this deal could have!

Blisk – Develop and test websites professionally

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New developer tool for testing a websites responsiveness

Never fear, the ultimate responisve tester is here!

Designers have always struggled finding a solution flexible enough to provide responsive testing to a professional and effective level.

This has now been realised and solved by the developers tool called Blisk; the Chrome-based browser that will allow any designer/developer to efficiently test and provide their clients with a consistant level of cross browser compatibility and responsiveness.

The browser allows you to visit any website and test it against the most popular devices, which are pre-loaded to make the procedure more efficient.

Another feature that will come in handy for designers is the one-click screen shot feature, allowing you to quickly and easily show your clients the visual representation of each device or perhaps providing a client with test sheets for a more bespoke service.

Start using the best developer tool you'll use all year?

Download Blisk Now

Blisk – Developer Browser

Blisk allows synchronizing URL and scroll position for both mobile and desktop formats allowing you to:

– Visually compare the same elements on desktop and mobile

– Stay focused on the same page while coding

– Speed up testing of mobile and responsive layouts

Blisk also allows for one click screenshots, this makes for greater flexibility on reporting such as: design mockups, design notes and bug reports.

Easily annotate screenshots for more time to do the important things.

Twitter Turns 10 Years Old!

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Twitter Reaches the Big Ten!

After 10 years, Twitter are celebrating their 10th birthday!

Who would have guessed we would be so influenced and dependant on the little blue bird; from celebrity feuds to political petitions and decisions being made solely through the use of this simple yet effective social media platform.

Where were you?

When people say they remember where they were when a memorable or big event happened, many can do the same with their first tweet!

I remember my first tweet to be one of basic structure; “hello everyone!?”

Being new to the social media format of Twitter I wasn’t expecting much and soon i realised the potential and the importance it was about to play. From a standard updates of what i am doing or what i’m eating, after my first VIP following me, I began to use my account to spread jokes and thought provoking descriptions to others.

It didn’t take me long to see the impact such a small and otherwise inferiorly considered social media platform was having on my life. The highs of my followers and followed brought me similar highs, and the lows transferred to my daily routine.

10 More Years

For 10 years we have enjoyed sharing the daily successes and daily struggles publically over the ever simplifying social media platform, but it would seem we will see many more years of it. Although Twitter lesser success over Facebook, it is still doing well and able to adapt when needed. With the growing users being celebrities, businesses and even politicians, Twitter is going to be around for a long time. Unless we see the appearance of a new social contender…