22 Oct Could These Two Digital Marketing Shake-Ups Affect Your Business?
Benjamin Franklin once uttered the famous words:
“Nothing can be certain, except death and taxes”.
Never was that more true than in the world of digital marketing, where new innovations are launched at break-neck speed.
In just the last few weeks two new changes have been announced, and the impact for companies doing business on the Internet could be considerable.
The purpose of this post, therefore, is to highlight these two pending share-ups, and to examine the impact they could have on your business.
Google Goes to War with Hackers
It’s a sad fact of life that when you do business on the Internet you’re also exposing yourself to the “darker side” of the web – namely hackers and spammers.
Unlucky (or careless) website owners can quickly find themselves falling victim to such individuals, who will often try to exploit an existing website for financial gain – or even just for fun.
They may, for example, try to steal customer data from recent transaction or to damage your site hoping for ransom before returning it to its former glory. Possibly most commonly of all, however, they install a small virus designed to infect any unprotected website visitors.
This “malware” (malicious software) affects those visitors without suitable anti-virus and can replicate at incredible rates, affecting tens of thousands of computers overnight.
Clearly, this isn’t good news. And in order to protect users of their search engine, Google has now decided to fight back.
In the past, Google would warn searchers that a site might be compromised before it is clicked on.
Here’s just such a warning:
However it seems now that Google has now decided to go one stage further, and rather than merely highlighting their concerns in the search results, they are releasing an algorithm update which will remove such sites completely.
Google claims this new update will affect “roughly 5% of queries” which just goes to show what a widespread problem hacked sites have become.
Surely, this is good news, right?
Well – yes and no.
On the upside, this means that those of us using Google to find websites will enjoy a far safer experience.
The problem comes if you’re a website owner and your site gets infected.
Under such circumstances you can expect your traffic to dry up overnight, and it could take a little while after fixing the site before it reappears in the search results.
Of course while no readers would ever want to knowingly infect customer’s computers, it does underline the importance of ensuring you follow best practice in order to secure your online presence.
How to Prevent Your Website Getting Hacked
The following handy hints serve as a basic outline for protecting your website from spammers…
- If you’re using a popular content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla then ensure you regularly update your core application, together with themes and plugins, to the very latest versions.
- Choose complex usernames and passwords that cannot be easily cracked by hacking software. Tools such as Roboform will automatically generate complex passwords that are far more secure than most human-generated passwords.
- Consider hiding your CMS altogether, by removing mentions of it from site files and/or changing the address of your login page so that hackers don’t even know where to try and log in.
- Install anti-virus software on your computer so that key-logging software cannot steal your password as you log into your website.
- Keep an eye out for security announcements on any plugins or themes installed on your site so you can counteract any security glitches as they’re discovered.
- Delete any unused themes or plugins on your site, rather than just de-activating them and leaving them on your hosting account.
- Lastly, keep an eye on your Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) where security alerts will be posted if Google discovers problems with your site. As such, you will be able to remedy any issues as soon as possible.
[Chillibyte clients should note that all the above steps are followed on your behalf daily, significantly reducing the odds of being negatively impacted by hackers].
Twitter to Remove Share Counts
In a shock move, Twitter has decided to remove the number of tweets from its share buttons. In the past, these “share counts” offered social proof that other readers found a piece of content valuable enough to be worth sharing with their followers. Now, it seems, these days are numbered.
Quite why Twitter has opted to make this sweeping change is a topic of much debate. The official line from Twitter is simply that they’re moving from one back-end system to another, and that moving across all the millions of shares simply wouldn’t be feasible.
They also highlight that just because a piece of content has received shares doesn’t necessarily mean that it resonates with readers, and that other metrics are a better indication of an article’s effectiveness.
Other rather more cynical commentators have suggested a number of alternative theories. Oddly, while these share counts will no longer be publically accessible, it will be possible to buy the data from Twitter. It may therefore represent a way to shore up Twitter’s balance sheet.
Alternatively Twitter, a listed company with a falling share value, may have decided to stop wasting considerable resources on providing all this data for free, especially when many of the tools and companies using their share metrics are actually charging for the data.
The take-home point is this; don’t be surprised if you’ve worked hard to grow your social following when your share buttons suddenly stop showing the number of tweets you’ve received in the near future. Furthermore, try not to make too many decisions about content creation based on share counts, as this data is likely to be removed shortly.
As always, the Internet moves on and companies change. To get the very best results possible from your online activities it’s important to stay abreast of the very latest changes; today we’re glad to be able to bring you two of the most sweeping changes as of late.
For official information on these updates please see: