Links from the show:
- Hackers find fresh WordPress sites within 30 minutes
- Facebook will rank slow-loading pages lower in news feeds
- Google’s SEO starter guide from 2010 is still relevant
- Google AdWords are looking more like organic results
- Google is adding “save” buttons in various places
- Google image search adding badges in Android to help you take action
- Social media is not a search ranking factor
When you first set up your site, security is probably one of those items on your list that you’ll do, you know, “pretty soon”. But did you know that hackers know about most websites within 30 minutes of being purchased, and are watching every step of the way for an opening to hack you?
Before we get into that though, this is A Brighter Web episode number 11, brought to you by all of us at GreenMellen, which includes me, Mickey Mellen, and some of my awesome coworkers and friends that you’ll hear in future episodes. Our goal with this podcast is to share news, products and ideas with you so we can all make the web a brighter place to be. These might be actual web tips, talking about strategy, WordPress plugins and UX, or it might be productivity ideas to help you get more done and free up your time to do great things. We also want to thank our sponsor, clickhost.com. ClickHOST provides top rate web hosting at prices as low as $5.00 a month. Visit clickhost.com/abw for an exclusive 20% off discount for listeners of A Brighter Web.
Today we’ll talk more about quick hackers, Facebook demoting slow loading websites, Google’s guidelines from 2010 are still pretty good, social media still isn’t a ranking factor and much more. Let’s dig in.
As I mentioned in the beginning, hackers can find fresh websites often within about 30 minutes and keep an eye on it from there. This is usually by watching SSL certificate purchases and seeing what site they’re registered to, then keeping an eye on that site. So if you purchase your SSL one day and don’t begin your site till the next day, hackers are already watching that site to see what they can do. It doesn’t matter if you’re too small or think you’re too unimportant, hackers just want to get volume, and your site is one they’ll keep an eye on. Make sure security is one of the first things you think about when you’re launching your new site.
We’ve talked for a while how Google doesn’t like slow loading websites and sites that load more quickly rise higher in the search results, and Facebook’s starting to follow suit. Facebook is now adjusting their algorithm to show slow loading sites further down in the newsfeed when compared to similar fast loading sites. If you’re going to link to something on Facebook, make sure your site loads quickly and, of course, if you have a website, make sure it loads quickly so it’ll show up well on Facebook when others link to it.
Back in 2010, Google put out an SEO starter guide to help people understand the basics of search engine optimization to help their site rank well. Someone asked Google’s Gary Illyes a question a few days ago about that, and he confirmed that they feel that 2010 guide is still very relevant today, and you should still be trying to follow it.
We often say that Google doesn’t change the rules; they only get better at enforcing them. Most updates that Google puts out are to go after spammers that have been trying to circumvent Google’s rules, when really most of what Google started back in the late ’90s is still what they want today. Quality content, honest content, legitimate links, that sort of thing. A few things have certainly changed over time, such as mobile responsive websites becoming more important and SSL certificates, as we talked about a minute ago, being a factor, but all in all, the basics are still the same, and if you find Google’s guide from 2010, follow it and you’ll do pretty well.
On the flip side of that, Google’s starting to do something somewhat unGoogle-like, in that AdWords, as you may have noticed in the search results, are looking more and more like organic results. This, of course, results in higher click through rates, making Google more money, but it’s getting a little bit shady and it’s something to keep an eye on. Now this could be good if you’re an AdWords customer; More clicks means lower prices means more traffic for you guys. Google used to be very good about differentiating between paid ads and organic listings, and it’s getting a little fuzzier now, so it’ll be interesting to see how far they take this or if they start to roll back and make the ads a bit more prominent in the future.
As you’re poking around the web, you may notice some new “save” buttons showing up from Google in various places. Among others it’s now replacing the share button in the local panel on the right side of the search results, when you find a local business. Where it used to say share, it now says save, and it’s showing up a few other places in the search results. It’s still a bit cumbersome to actually get to your saved pages, but it looks like Google’s in the process of building out a social bookmarking tool of some sort, and I’m sure we’ll see more about that in the coming weeks.
We talked last week about some changes Google’s been making to image search and a new update on Android is taking that even further. Now if you do an image search on Android, there’s new badges that show up to help you take action. They could be recipes to try for an image you found of a dish or related videos to it, things like that. While this is only on Android for now, it seemingly will come to iOS and probably the web at some point. That means it’s increasingly important to make sure your images are labeled properly for image search, primarily with alt attributes and those sorts of things.
We’ve talked before about social media not being a direct search ranking factor and the guys at Stone Temple Consulting share why they agree that it’s not a factor. They say it’s still an important piece of your search efforts. You don’t want to ignore social media by any means, but as a direct ranking factor, it’s still something Google doesn’t look at, and they really dig into why that’s the case and the challenges Google faces in trying to make social media a ranking factor. Watch their video to learn more and link to that in our show notes.
Finally, for our tip of the week, the new product I’ve been checking out called wavebox.io. It’s w-a-v-e-b-o-x dot i-o. It’s a Windows, Mac, and Linux application that pulls in Gmail, Google Inbox, Outlook, Slack, and others into a great single interface. I like the way that each of those applications has little badges that show up with the number of emails or unread Slack messages next to each item inside of Wavebox, but then the Wavebox app itself gives me a badge with all the unread stuff in there. For me, the items in there are things that are important to me. We use Slack quite a bit at GreenMellen and using it more and more. Of course, email is something you’ll want to keep a close eye on. So having that all-in-one great desktop application is pretty awesome and I really like it.
We’re hoping they add more features to it pretty soon. They have a huge list of other applications they want to include. Asana would be a big one for us, but there’s plenty others. You actually can add other apps to it and you add virtually any website as a new button inside of Wavebox, but to have that full integration with the badges and the notifications takes a little bit of extra code from them, so hopefully they’ll add more soon. They have some things on their site you can vote on which applications you want to see next, and it’s pretty sweet.
The free version is not too bad. The paid one is $20 a year, so certainly worth it if it’s something that you’d use every day. We have a link to it in the show notes and you can check that out for yourself.
That’s all we have for this week. You can find me on Twitter at MickMel, m-i-c-k-m-e-l, or learn lots more at greenmellenmedia.com. You can find out more about the podcasts, including show notes and links at a abrighterweb.com or on Facebook or Twitter at @abrighterweb. If you’re in the Atlanta area, come check out our Meetup held three times each month. If you’re not in the Atlanta area, we post recaps on the site soon after each Meetup. Either way, you can learn more at abrighterweb.com/meetup. Thanks for listening.