Privacy Matters

watcher of the watchers - Julian AssangeGoogle adverts and many others set cookies in your browser that allow them to track you across the web. Google (as an example), uses this information to display adverts that it thinks you are more likely to click on, based on the kind of sites you’ve visited in the past. Here’s how the world’s 3rd biggest search engine Yahoo! describe it:

“To make our ads more relevant and useful for you, we make educated guesses about your interests based on your activity on Yahoo!’s sites and services.”

Quite apart from the privacy concerns this raises, it can make SEO (search engine optimisation) of your website harder to do. If you are checking keywords in search engines, how do you know if you are seeing the same results as an ordinary user who’s never heard of you before?

Fortunately you can opt out of these networks (well most of them).

Because the default behaviour is opt-IN, these methods set a cookie that tells the advertiser to stop tracking. If you clear all your cookies, this preference it lost and you will have to revisit these pages again to opt-out again.

Location information is also commonly being captured by search engines so it’s important to clear this as well when you are doing research on your website’s search engine ranking. Google call it location-based customization.

2020Media can help

SEO Panel screenshot
SEO Panel

Use the links above to check your browser’s current settings – if you use more than one browser you will need to use each in turn.

2020Media are beta-testing a new free service to all customers – SEO Panel. This is a complete open source seo control panel for managing search engine optimization of your websites and works independently of your browser settings. If you’d like to be in the trial, let us know.

Communication preference settings on the 2020media portalCustomers can update their communication preferences with 2020Media by logging in to the customer portal, clicking My Profile and editing the Bulletins tab.

 

2020Media takes privacy matters extremely seriously. We have a privacy statement on our website. This describes the policy that is in place to protect your personal information.

When changes are requested to your services, website or email, expect us to be robust in challenging the person making the request to prove they are authorised to do so, especially when the change requested could affect the availability of that service. 2020Media prides itself on being “small enough to care, large enough to cope”; so our staff attempt to speak to each and every contact during the service. This helps improve security as well as emphasises that we are not just a faceless supplier – we’re trusted partners in your internet presence.

 

 

 

Blogging Trends

Has WordPress reached a tipping point? Right now 14% of the web is powered by WordPress. That’s an astonishing statistic.

comparison of top blogging platforms
Comparison of top blogging platforms - July 2011

According to the WordPress stats page, there are over 50 million websites using WordPress. About 25 million of these are WordPress.com sites – that is, sites that are hosted by WordPress themselves on their shared blogging platform. These hosted sites are in the main blogs rather than full-blown websites. As a specialist in WordPress hosting, we find customers need the extra power you get with Self-Hosted WordPress, which is what we provide.

It was in September last year that Microsoft gave users of it’s Windows Live Spaces blogging platform 6 months to move to WordPress. From what we’ve heard, the transition was smooth. Live Spaces once hosted 7m bloggers and had 300m visitors.

The Google owned blogging service ‘Blogger’ doesn’t publish user numbers, but it’s thought to be around 15-20 million. In July of 2011 it was announced that Google intends to change the name of the service from “Blogger” to “Google Blogs,”. Whether this rebranding will have a negative or positive affect remains to be seen.

So what is WordPress’s secret?

Here are some of the features of WordPress

WordPress.com Features

  • Free hosting for up to 3GB worth of space
  • Blog content is maintained on WordPress.com web servers
  • Ability to choose and customize templates (limited flexibility)
  • Easy to get started; easy to use
  • Upload and store image, video, and other (limited) file formats

WordPress Self-Hosted Features

  • Blog content is maintained on user’s preferred web host
  • Nearly unlimited ability to choose and customize templates and widgets
  • Takes some technical ability to setup and configure – that why you should choose 2020Media!
  • Files support limited only by web server, which likely means more than you’d ever need.

Use as content management systems

Finally, we look at the use of software that started out as blogging platforms as full blown content management systems. Many of our customers use WordPress as a website content management system, not as a blog.

Once again, WordPress is leading the way.

Top content management systems
Top content management systems

How to read the diagram from Web Technology Surveys:
73.5% of the websites use none of the content management systems that we monitor.
WordPress is used by 14.5% of all the websites, that is a content management system market share of 54.6%.

So although most websites surveyed didn’t use a content management system that could be detected, of those that could WordPress was again the clear leader.

 

Match your domain name to your target country

Google
SEO hints from Google

It’s no secret that Google uses several factors to determine where a web site is “located” and thus determine its relevance to each individual searcher. But there has been a lot of debate about which factors are most important.

The two I hear mostly commonly are if the domain has a particular country code domain name and where the web host is.

Now Google search czar Matt Cutts has given us a pretty clear answer.

One person asked a question that we forgot to make a video for: “Can you list in order of importance the things that make a site to be seen by google as a site from a particular country?” Since we didn’t make it as a video, here’s the answer as a quick bonus:
  1. country code TLD (ccTLD) such as .de or .fr
  2. geotargeting in the webmaster console
  3. IP address
There may be other signals, but those are the biggies and the order that I’d put them in.

Matt Cutt’s post shows that the most important thing Google uses to determine what country your web site is in is the country code top level domain name. How this applies to USA websites or .com domains isn’t clear – is .com considered ‘USA’? Certainly hardly anyone uses the .us domain extension for USA websites.

Many thanks to DomainNameWire for the headsup.