Fresh nibbles to tease your website palate
Welcome to AppleBites!
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Stephanie Boucher

Google hits the spammers

Whatever the gripes against Google as a company, we at Applegreen believe the search engine is here to stay.  Google regularly updates its search algorithms to force spammers down its rankings, in favour of genuine websites.  This constant attention ensures that it still produces the most relevant search results for most users, and thus it remains the search engine of choice.
Google’s most recent target for ranking downgrade is “hacked spam”, a procedure in which cyber-criminals inject genuine websites with unwanted pages designed to market counterfeit or illegal goods, or gain higher rankings.  Of course website owners have a duty to protect their sites, but Google is helping by restricting the list of search results to the most relevant, thus removing spam and promoting content that is likely to be genuine.
A few months ago, we experienced at first hand the pernicious behaviour of these hackers: thousands of irrelevant webpages and files were added to one of the sites we manage, taking hours to remove.  We were alerted to the incident by an email from Google Webmaster Tools, with which all our websites are registered.


The "call to action"

The “call to action”, or CTA, is a marketing term for an instruction on a webpage that tells the reader what they should do next.  It usually looks like this: Visit us!  Buy now!  Get a Quote! 
The CTA takes the form of a link that leads the visitor to the place where they can perform the recommended action.  Marketing experts believe no page should be withouth a CTA, and many recommend that it should be designed as an attractive button that people will want to click.  

Occasionally, we get a surprised reaction from a client after we have made small wording changes to their carefully crafted text in order to accommodate CTA links.  So here is our chance to explain why we think it’s necessary! CTAs and other internal links, drawing the visitor across the website to your other content, are considered beneficial by search engines as long as they are not overused.
Search engines have to decide whether a particular website is spam. CTAs and internal links are among the signals that make sense of your website and indicate that it is genuine.

Take the plunge with Twitter

For your  new year’s resolution, we think you should plan to join at least one social media platform if you haven’t already.  Social media have for some time been considered important for brand visibility, and now they are beginning to affect website ranking.

In an article that's well worth reading, experts recommend that you keep the branding consistent throughout your social media and website. Make sure your website links to your social media accounts and (and vice versa) and include links to them in your email signature alongside your web address.  Exploit the profile and information spaces in your social media accounts to explain in detail who you are and what you do. 

If you were to choose only one, of course it has to be the one that suits you best. But this year we've had fun with Twitter, following like-minded people and interacting with total strangers, watching well-timed tweets travel around and bear results.
Our experience is that you only find out how social media work by trying them out and experimenting with what they can do.  As always with this type of softly-softly marketing, keep the tone light and chatty and avoid the obvious hard sell that will turn your followers away.  Engage pleasantly with other users and stay relevant.
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