Author: caroline

Content plays a vital role in SEO.  If you get the structure of your website right, play by Google’s rules and deliver fresh content over time you will see dramatic increases to your online visibility.

Marketing is impossible without great content.  Content marketing should be considered as a strategy, not in isolation.  Quality and relevant content is integral in all forms of marketing:-

  • Social media marketing – a content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
  • SEO – search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
  • PR – successful PR strategies address issues reader’s care about, not their business.
  • Video – Prime content for search engine optimisation.
  • Inbound marketing content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
  • Content strategy should form part of most content marketing strategies.

Content strategies do not work on an ad-hoc basis.  It is easier for larger businesses to have departments devoted to digital but never, has the marketing playing field been so accessible whatever your budget…

Above all distribution is key!!! There is no point having ‘quality content’ if no one sees it.   Ask yourself the following questions…

  1. Is my content relevant for the audience concerned?
  2. Is my content fresh up to date and valid?
  3. Is my content of enough interest or value to be shared?
  4. Is my content a solution to an issue that your customers may have?
  5. Is my content going to attract an audience that is right for your business?

www.curve-interactive.com

There is a real ongoing problem with WordPress websites being hacked. This problem is getting increasingly worse, due to WordPress’s success. It is estimated that 70% of the websites using WordPress are at risk. Along-side this threat we are noticing many organisations are not updating their software regularly on their website.

A combination of both problems are causing websites to stop working and the only way to put this problem right is a costly one.

There is a system which we can put in place which will scan and look out for the following: –

Malware Monitoring – Identifies obfuscated javascript injections, cross site scripting, website defacements, hidden and malicious iframes, PHP mailers, phising attempts, malicious redirects, backdoors, anomalies, drive-by-downloads, social engineering attacks, SEO blackhat spam, pharma hacks, conditional redirects and mobile redirects.

Whois Monitoring – Whois is an internet directory that provides information on who owns a domain. With this monitoring option, you will be notified if information regarding your domain changes.

SSL Certification – If you are using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) a secure protocol to transmit over HTTP securely, you are most likely using a SSL certificate. The SSL certificate is returned to a visitor of your site upon HTTPs request. With monitoring, you will be notified if any of the certificates change.

DNS – DNS is a protocol used by all computers to intelligently communicate with each other. It turns a website’s name into an internet protocol (IP) address. The name provided by DNS is what we use as humans to read the site name, the IP is what the computers use to communicate. With Monitoring your IP address and associated DNS information for your domain will monitor any changes.

Blacklisting – There are a number of blacklisting authorities that monitor for malware, SPAM and Phishing attempts. The blacklisting monitoring uses their APIs and insures you’ll know if your site is hacked and blacklisted.

Updates – Your website will also be monitored looking out for possible updates.

Contact caroline@curve-interactive.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss this further.

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During some downtime over the holiday period I was reading ‘Make Me’ by Lee Child there was one particular piece that really struck me as a great analogy to understanding search engine optimisation (SEO). Wikipedia describes SEO as the process of affecting visibility of a website, naturally, organically or earned. If you are in the know that would make perfect sense, however Lee Child explains it in a much more understandable way.

Lee Child manages to compare SEO to tennis balls in a swimming pool and helps untangle that understanding of its role and position.

… ‘He wanted to know why some websites can’t be found. Which was fundamentally a question about search engines. His image of the swimming pool became useful. He imagined millions of tennis balls, some bobbing up on the water, some trapped deeper down by the weight of the others. So I asked him to imagine a search engine as a long silk ribbon, being pulled up and down and in and out, weaving through the balls every which way, sliding over their wet fuzzy surfaces at tremendous speed. And then to imagine that some balls had been adapted, to have spikes instead of fuzz, like fish hooks, and that other balls had been adapted to have no fuzz at all, to be completely smooth, like billiard balls. Where would the silk ribbon snag? On the spikes, of course. It would slide over the billiard balls completely. That’s what Peter needed to understand about search engines. It’s a two-way street. A website must want to be found. It must work hard to develop effective spikes. People call it search engine optimisation…

Lee Child – ‘Make Me’ (2015)

To Conclude… It’s all about working hard to develop effective spikes.

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social_media_ROI

“We do not measure the value in the phone anymore – we know the value.”

Shel Israel

One of the biggest challenges facing businesses in their social media approach is the ability to show a Return On Investment (ROI)

Social networks are considered to be a powerful arena for online marketing. It provides a direct and targeted way to communicate with chosen audiences, and requires less spending than more traditional marketing techniques.

The problem is businesses are trying to justify their costs of social media using conventional advertising metrics, when social media does not fall into the category of conventional metrics. Instead of looking at social media’s ‘Return on Investment ‘ we should measure it as ‘Return on Influence’?

I recently read an article where they described “adapting traditional metrics to fit social media would be like sticking a square peg in a round hole.” With marketers’ apparent inability to measure ROI, it has become the most significant barrier to the adoption of social media tactics by their organisations (poll by Marketing Sharpa)

The reason organisations are finding it difficult to show an ROI is because a customer is worth far more than their initial spend, you need to factor in future purchases and the influence they may have through using social media.

Organisations need to ask themselves these questions and then place an ROI [Return On Influence] against each metric

1. How much does the average customer spend per transaction?
2. How many years do you expect a customer to deal or trade with you?
3. How much is a customer worth to you in their lifetime?
4. Is a customer more likely to purchase a product after some sort of social media interaction?
5. On average how many people does a happy customer tell about a product or service?
6. How much is it worth to convert an unhappy customer to a happy customer?
7. How much can an unhappy customer hurt you?

The main reason social media programs are successful is because they’re about PEOPLE, not MONEY! Consider the social media buzzwords – Community, Conversation, Dialog, Sharing – all of these are people-centric, consumer-centric. Social media is not about sales, it is about market share. It is not about profit margins, it is not company or brand-centric.

“We do not measure the value in the phone anymore – we know the value.”

There is a lot of truth in that saying – perhaps the time has come to look at Social Media ROI in a different way.

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LinkedIn

You’ve done all the hard work of making LinkedIn connections.

Do not fall into the trap of spamming all of your connections with changes to your profile – this has been assessed as the main reason connections break down via LinkedIn.

You may decide because you have a new hairstyle or combing your parting the other way that it’s a good time for a new profile picture or subsequently want to re-phrase your job description, to include more skills that you currently do. LinkedIn has a nasty habit of informing all your contacts that you have made a change to your profile and in most instances no matter what the change to your profile is, it presumes that you have a new job when you don’t!

This can be really embarrassing and in truth not look very professional.

So how can you over come this? Very simple, but most people do not do it.

Go to your profile page > Edit profile page > on the right hand side bar is a simple drop down tab….

It is that simple and saves you unnecessary embarrassment.

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Social Media & General Election

Can social media affect this next general election?
Wonder why you hear more about politics on social media than you do on the TV or radio? That is because political advertising on TV and radio is banned in the UK.

Political parties are using the opportunity of social media to get their message out to a potential audience of millions.

Is this necessarily in the voters favour?
Social media has become the “modern age” form of communicating. It wasn’t that long ago we either had to wait for the next news broadcast, the next mornings newspaper or even a phone call from a friend.

Now as things happen around the world we know about it straight away.

Is this evolving form of communication going to help or hinder the general election?
In my experience I like to be kept informed of what is happening around me so I can then make my own informed choices given all the information available. Information is power. Like any form of news, there always needs to be an element of common sense. This is where I become concerned. There are many businesses who still do not understand the difference between ‘spam’ and genuine posts. Too much information or over kill of social media messages could turn individuals off and be annoyed by being inundated by messages constantly cropping up on their social media channels. Are politicians going to be able to manage their social media channels correctly, so as not to ‘spam’ their followers?

Used in the correct way social media really could help a political party share their manifesto. Keep information short and sweet, to the point. This will enable the votes to see a human side to the parties and politicians. It can also be used as an opportunity to ask questions.

All in all there is a fantastic opportunity for politicians of any colour to use social media to spread their message and influence voters…. The key is ‘less is more!’

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Social Media

Local business Social Media Strategy

Three social media platforms form the basis of this very simple, but very effective, social media strategy that will see increased foot-fall to your shop floor and improve your businessís bottom line. This strategy will also help build lasting relationships with customers and enhance awareness of your brand in the local area.

How it works

  1. First things first. We need to direct your current customers to your online presence. Advertise in store with posters and QR codes.
  2. Encourage customers to ìCheck-inî to you businessís shop with Four Sqaure app or via Facebook Places.
  3. Incentivize customers to do so by offering; A discount with purchase (ìspend £50 and get £10 offî). Something for free (ìenjoy a free dessert if you buy an appetizer and main courseî). Special treatment (ìCheck-in on foursquare for private access to the penguin feedingî).
  4. Reward your best customers (the classic special offer is, ìfree coffee on your fifth visití). Like a digital punchcard. (more…)
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Password

We are required more and more often to come up with new passwords, most recently with ebay and the Heartbleed bug problems.

Learning a new password can be a real pain. How many passwords do you try until you get the one that works? It has been recommended that we don’t use the same password across our internet accounts, but how on earth are we supposed to remember them all? This blog will show you a secure way to remind yourself of the most complicated passwords.

What about this for a password RGX369AJKL898RJacobs49parsonage113

Impossible to remember?

Not if you create it from this simple set of questions about your life

Can you remember your first car number plate? e.g. RGX369A
Can you remember any other car number plate? e.g. JKL898R
Who was your second boyfriend or girlfriend, their surname, not their first name? e.g. Jacobs
The second – house? e.g. 49

Who was your first boyfriend or girlfriend, their surname, not their first name? e.g. Parsonage
What was the number of the first house you lived in? e.g. 113

The important part is to now write yourself a reminder for that password. One useful place to have it is in your contacts under the notes section.

The password reminder for the above is C1C2B2h2b1h1. So if this was your Amazon password, create a contact on your phone/ipad etc. To a hacker it’s meaningless, only you know what it all means

You will read it like this ….
C1 Car Number plate one = RGX369A
C2 Car Number plate two = JKL898R
Boyfriend 2 = Jacobs (note that your reminder has a CAPITAL J so the name begins with a Capital letter, if its a small b it begins with a lower case letter)
House Number 2 = 49
boyfriend 1 = parsonage (note that your reminder has a lowercase p so the name begins with a lowercase letter, if its a Capital P it begins with a Capital letter)
House number 1 = 113

Spend some time thinking of 8 to 10 different questions. That you can ask yourself without having to write them down ANYWHERE, so only you know the answers. Use these passwords on any site where you order things or buy things. Don’t have the same password for any site. Mix and combine the above. You don’t need to use them all, the example I have given above is pretty extreme.

Think of other variations that suit the clubs you belonged to etc. the only rule is that the first letter must not be repeated e.g. In my list C is always car number plate. H is always house number, so you cannot have H to designate house number and H to designate Hotel name.

One final tip. Have a junk password for those really irritating websites that insist on you having a password to access their information, but where you really do not care if anybody knows it (these are often the websites that then email you back your ‘actual’ password as a confirmation ….. really secure!) Here you CAN use a pet name etc.

Happy Password Creating !

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Social Media Hacking

At present 600,000+ Facebook accounts get hacked daily (Sophos 2014). This includes all your personal information, pictures and just about anything you put online. This is not only personally embarrassing, makes your business look unprofessional but is a major security risk to your personal details.

There are different approaches to look out for on different social media channels, use these tips and pass on to friends and family to spot the signs.

Twitter
If you or someone you follow gets mentioned in a tweet, that is along the lines ‘Thank you, that was amazing.’ or something similar using the same tone i.e. awesome or hilarious followed by a link, and if you click on the link it will send you to a twitter log in page. Do not log in! You should never need to re log in once active on a twitter page. Otherwise it will send spam out to all your followers and so the cycle begins.

Facebook
Facebook hackers have a similar approach. This time its pictures ‘look at what this girl did at school…you will not believe it!’ or something similar with a provocative title (trap). It will then take you to Facebook login page, where you will be asked to sign in. You should not need to sign in again if you are already active on Facebook. If you do log in, it will approach all your friends and post some embarrassing posts on your wall, saying you have liked them.

Conclusion
Hackers will never give up trying and will be trying different approaches soon, so how can we avoid being hacked?

Use your common sense – Do not click on anything that looks suspicious and never put your personal details in unless you are 100% sure it is safe.

Think before you click!

Ensure that you have a suitable password. Did you know?
It takes only 10 minutes to crack a lowercase password that is 6 characters long. Add two extra letters and a few uppercase letters and that number jumps to three years. Add just one more character and some numbers and symbols and it will take 44,530 years to crack.

What should you do if your account has been hacked?
Notify all your contact that potentially could be affected telling them what look out for and not to open any attachments from yourself.

Ensure that all security software on your computer/device is up-to-date.

Change your password to one with at least 8 characters, with symbols and numbers.

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Facebook v Google+

Do we need to choose?
Everywhere you look on social media sites and groups there is lots of talk about Google+ taking over from Facebook.

Princeton has published a paper this month that states by 2017, 80% of Facebook users will be gone.

Facebook have hit back stating that Princeton will have only have half its current enrollment by 2018 and by 2021 no students at all. Yes, it’s the usual online bickering, but have Princeton got a point?

What is Google+?
One of Facebook’s competitors is Google+. Google+ are doing things differently, they are providing businesses with choice. Scary as it may sound businesses can now decided which platforms best suit their audience be it B2B or B2C. Google+ not only adds to that choice it also enables users to direct post, pictures or videos to a set group of target audiences. These can be as direct as old customers, new customers or potential customers through ‘circles.’ Circles, which can be split into old, new and potential customers – so that marketing, can be direct.

How can this help my Business?
Another major plus point in Google’s favor is the issue of search engine optimisation (SEO). Facebook cannot compete with this it is one-way traffic, with over 90% of people searching via Google. Posting on Goggle+ enables a quicker and better route to being higher up the SEO.

At present there are no adverts on Google+. Not only is this a benefit to the customer, but also to the business. Businesses will be faced with a cleaner interface, which de-clutters the brands message.

What is the biggest difference?
When businesses post on Facebook only 12% of their ‘liked’ followers will be able to see their posts, due to ‘Insights’ set up by Facebook, unlike Google+ where 100% of followers/friends will be able to see their posts. (2012, Kawasaki, G – What the Plus! -Google+ for the rest of us).

For Google+ to succeed it will need more users. As of 2013 it already had over 400 million users, with Facebook having roughly 1 billion.

Facebook is winning the war on users, but Google+ is creeping up with 925,000 new users joining everyday (leveragenewagemdia.com). For Google+ to succeed this increase will need to be consistent. It makes sense that businesses would benefit and be ahead of the game by being there waiting for when their customers arrive.