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Your website is at risk of being hacked soon. Act Now…

As you know Clickingmad Ltd are very experienced Joomla Developers. When we are Joomla 3.2 hackedtold by Joomla of an important update we let everyone know, clients or not.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

If you use Joomla as your website content management system, please note the following:

Your Joomla website is at risk of being hacked!

The Joomla project has released version 3.4.5 to patch a critical security vulnerability in ALL VERSIONS of Joomla from 3.2 onward. A couple of lesser security issues were fixed in the same release.

Since scripts to exploit this vulnerability are already circulating, if you haven’t yet updated your Joomla sites to version 3.4.5 then you should drop everything and do so immediately then proceed to do a full security review, including changing all passwords.

Assume you have been hacked unless you can positively prove otherwise.

Details of the release can be found here: Announcement from Joomla.- (opens a new website).

If you need help contact your current service provider or Clickingmad Ltd on 01746 7869612.

Further Information

Joomla is a very popular Open Source CMS (content management system) which is used by many of the worlds most popular websites. Clickingmad Ltd are UK based web developers who are fully experienced in working with Joomla. One of our staff is even on the leadership panel for the whole Joomla project, worldwide. We always recommend you use experienced developers to design and build your Joomla website.

Clickingmad website: www.clickingmad.com. Phone Number 01746 769612

 

Is Search Engine Optimisation dead?

Search Engine Optimisation is dead.

Well the term is. Search Engine Marketing is a much better term.

Search Engine Optimisation is about the technical aspects of a website. It’s down to the developers to ensure the website is built correctly. That’s what clients should expect, it’s a given, right?

Not every time it seems. We STILL come across website builts that are not SEO friendly. Hard to believe since our profession has now “come of age” as it were.

‘Search Engine Marketing’ is a better term as it encompasses more about user activity and the greater understanding we now have on users behaviour. When I optimised my first website for search engines, back in erm… 1994? To be honest I didn’t really know what to do. It took me ages to learn about website structures, software and linking content correctly.

The majority of the article below was first published on this blog in 2012. I wanted to se if what I said then is still true today.

The original article:

I wrote a proposal the other evening, for a client showing them how we go about effective

It’s not just on your website…

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Whilst writing the proposal I thought about how far we have come, not only in the 12 years [now 17 years!] that Clickingmad has been providing SEO services, but also in the way we now use Search Engines; Our individual expectations of a Search Engine’s ability to satisfy our incessant demand for information has grown every year but I also think we have become almost blasé in expecting the Search Engines to actually understand our search needs.

I recall a phrase used many years ago that still holds true today: GIGO. (Garbage In – Garbage Out) So why do we expect search engines to really know what we want to find? All search engines are computers, just plain ole’ pcs (well more like servers, but that doesn’t matter for the purpose of this article). Why should we expect dumb computers to understand our heart’s desire? I think we often expect too much.

Apparently there are over 10 billion web pages currently published, [that should now read 1.2 billion WEBSITES not web pages] and as I write this many more thousands have “gone live”. So we now have a vast sea of information that we expect poor old Google to help us through to that nugget that we seek. Ok, Google has become a behemoth in the world of search, there are even movements working actively against Google, mainly in the US and mainly sponsored by other search giants or well subscribed websites. They are actively trying to reduce Google’s dominance over 70% [now over 90%] of the activity we all do online, i.e. Search.

My question in this article is: Does Search Engine Optimisation matter in today’s Internet?

The reason for posing the question is due to the fact that;

1) Google will say that if you have great content, regularly updated and if not unique then authoritative, then your website will be of interest to Google users, i.e. people doing a search within Google. And then Google will do the work for you.

My question is, if everyone does the same as Google suggests how can your website get anywhere near the top of the results? You have to do more than ‘just enough’.

2) Yahoo will say that Bing provides the results for its search results. Ok, so we now have to ask Microsoft, the owner of Bing. Bing says; “Bing website ranking is completely automated. The Bing ranking algorithm analyzes many factors, including but not limited to: the quality and quantity of indexable webpage content, the number, relevance, and authoritative quality of websites that link to your web pages, and the relevance of your website’s content to keywords. The algorithm is complex and is never human-mediated.” (Bing Webmaster)

I think that last sentence is critical when you compare Bing against Google. To repeat, Bing says that the algorithm is “never human mediated”.

Mmmm, I wonder if that is strictly true? Google will tell you that it has Analysts looking through its website database, on occasion removing websites that are breaking the rules, yet it uses automation to do most of this but it’s position is that it uses humans to be the final authority. Bing says not.

Anyway back to what I think about the subject of SEO itself. If we consider that the term “Search Engine Optimisation” (if we take the phrase literally) means your website company optimising your website so that it is effectively search engine “friendly”, ‘surely,’ I hear you cry ‘all websites should be search engine friendly?’ Well, yes, of course they should but why then is it not the case?

Unfortunately, like all fads and bandwagons, people tend to jump onto them to garner financial gain and the Internet is of course no exception. In fact it could be argued that the Internet represents if not the latest, but possibly the largest, bandwagon ever invented. I liken the rise of the web to previous mass communication shifts.

If you think of the invention of the semaphore, the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, radio, television, the fax (or more properly known as the telefax, and why isn’t the Internet known as teleweb or telenet? Let’s have a YouGov poll demanding a name change!) The list above have all had dramatic effects on how we communicate over long distances. The Internet is, in my opinion the first truly interactive mass communication tool ever invented. Previous attempts were never aimed at more than the individual receiver of the information. Well maybe TV wasn’t/isn’t, and maybe radio, but hopefully you’re still following my thread, tenuous as it is clearly becoming.

So we now have lots of SEO experts promising fantasmagorical results for your website and “yes for only £9.99 we will submit your website to 30495778 search engines. And you will be NUMBER ONE!”

Too good to be true? Of course it is, it’s nonsense.

Two search engines are now dominant, Google and Bing, some 80%/20% respectively of mass market search activity. Sure there are others but as I advise businesses, I want to concentrate on where the majority of activity is and not where the select few go to find stuff.

Does it matter if your website is not optimised? Absolutely it does, if Google can’t index your content correctly how can it list your website? How can it record all the brilliant facts that you state and the wonderful offers you currently display unless it can read it?

Does it matter that you have not researched your keywords and phrases? You bet it does, because Bing uses your meta tags to help rank your website. Google – as you know I’m sure, does not use your tags, but WILL use your page titles, your XML sitemap that your website company did for you (make sure they did that by the way) your header tags, your domain name and domain age and above all Google uses your website TEXT.

[Now add ‘website updates and changes’ to that list]

Does it matter if you haven’t got many people linking to your website, from other higher traffic websites? Yes it does matter, because how can a search engine tell if your website is worth listing if no one else links to it as a source of good information or product availability or knowledge etc?

Does it matter if you are not using Social Media to help your website reach more potential customers? Yes it does matter because your competitors are doing just that, and they are not doing it just for fun. People talk.

[Another big change since this article was published is the way we now use mobile phones to search – more than desktop pc’s and the light but constant use of mobiles by many for many other reasons than just search, Perhaps the art of conversation is over rated? Lol.]

If you agree with me that I still think good SEO is important, then this article has been worth writing. If not, then I suggest you do a little research yourself. Think, why is it that those particular websites keep appearing when you do that search? I suggest that they are taking their SEO seriously, they are taking advice from people like me, maybe even people who know what NOT to do as well as what TO do.

The bottom line is, if your website is important to your business you owe it to yourself to ensure it performs as well as it can.

SEO is important: professional advice about it is even more important. Don’t believe everything you are told about this important subject.

[Interestingly for me, this article still holds true today some 5 years later as it did then. Some things change but really stay the same?]

Cookie Legislation Causes Confusion – Again…

We applaud the idea of protected privacy but the role out in the UK has been less a roll out than a “creep up and smack”

Over the past few days Clickingmad staff have been furiously contacting all of our clients to outline the “new” regulations and gain their instructions on which option to go for to help them comply with the new law.

are cookies dangerous
Clearly Cookies should be banned – NOT!

These regulations have come about as a result of European legislation to increase the level of privacy protection for web users. Some very large and very popular websites track users web activity in order to eventually sell more goods and services to them – No really? What a surprise!

We applaud the idea of protected privacy but the role out in the UK has been less a roll out than a “creep up and smack” due to lack of guidance from central government, the Information Commission and browser software providers, yes I mean you Mr Internet Explorer and your current 1st place usurper Google Chrome.

The legislation came into force in May 2011, but the UK were given another 12 months to comply. Needless to say we haven’t. Despite your politics and opinion on the validity of this legislation I bet you have not been made aware of the rule change by your ISP, Website Development Company or anyone else in a position to help.

We waited until the very last minute, the day before to be exact, before we contacted our clients. The reason we delayed was to hopefully see some positive action on this subject. We were, along with everyone else, left to decide for ourselves what was best to do. Indeed website owners have been left to decide what is best. We think that this is very poor indeed.

We have given our clients three choices

1) Comply fully and not allow a site to be displayed until the question of whether a user will allow cookies to be installed on the website until they say they are OK with that. Clearly a major negative for most websites, as the average user will run a mile if they think that the website is asking for permission to raid their bank account or some such misconception. Particularly a problem we feel for eCommerce websites.

2) Have a simple statement to say the website uses Cookies and if the user wants more info; a link to find out more and that gives the links required to learn to erase them from their machines.

3) Do nothing and risk prosecution (however small that chance may be)

Not much of a choice I hear you say. Absolutely. But if you read the Information Commissioners website advice (click here to visit now) then you will only let your website be visible by someone who has an MSc in Computer Science and who understands that on the whole cookies are benign. The tone is “oh it’s alright don’t worry”. I think that this is very poor as it does not deal with the issue effectively at all.

Important note, in all our communications with our clients we have advised them to get legal advice independently and not to take our word for it. We aren’t legal experts after all. We are web experts!

So if you want an idea of what I decided to do, and the majority of our clients have also done, check out our main website on www.clickingmad.com and you will see the way we are dealing with it.

Please contact your website provider to get this sorted… Just in case.