Archive by Mike Grindy

Google Index Checker: Keep track of your indexed pages

12Dec

Are you sure that Google has indexed all of the pages on your website? Well, it probably hasn’t. But why should you keep track of your indexed pages and what does this mean for your website’s SEO? The truth is, it doesn’t matter how long you spent creating and optimising the perfect page for Google Search, there will be no chance of receiving traffic from organic search if the page has not been indexed. So it’s important that website owners keep a record of the pages that Google has crawled and indexed (Google might crawl a page but still not index it). However, this is easier said than done because there are currently no SEO tools that gather all the URLs indexed. But all is not lost!! Passion Digital has created it’s very own Google index checker outlined below.

What is Indexation?

Google scans the web using ‘crawlers’ which analyse pages and rank them in SERPs (search engine results pages) in order of their relevance to the user. By crawling the internet, Google also generates a repository of any new web-pages it finds. If Google hasn’t crawled and indexed your site properly, then you could be missing out on relevant traffic, and more importantly, potential customers.

Want to learn more about indexation and SEO, check out out our beginners SEO training course.

How to Check for Indexed Pages

If we open Google Webmaster / Google Index / Index Status, we can see the total number of indexed pages, but Google doesn’t offer the exact URLs for these pages. It should take around 30 minutes for a 500-page site. The more pages your site has, the more time it’ll take.

You’ll need 3 things:

  1. Google Chrome
  2. RDS bar extension for Google Chrome (helps us gather the full URL in the results)
  3. Microsoft Excel

  1. Right-click on the RDS bar icon, and click ‘Options’.

Open Search Tab/Google Search and choose ‘only full URLs’ and click ‘Apply’.

  1. Open https://www.google.co.uk/ in Google Chrome.

Once you are in Google Chrome, we can begin the process of getting almost all the pages from the Google index step-by-step.

Knowing the Target

First of all, we need to set the search settings to the ’10-results’ default option.

Settings/Search settings

  1. Type the following special search query in the browser:

Site: https://passion.digital/

With this query, we’ll get the number of pages indexed by Google. So, we already have an idea of what our target is.

Note that the number of pages showing up could vary slightly over time. This number will never be a fixed one, so we cannot ensure that we’ll be getting 100% of them.

  1. Now, we’ll be doing the same as above for each of the main folders of our site, so we get an accurate figure of how many pages there are in each of them. E.g.

Steps 1 and 2 are required due to the possible result variations that will appear when changing the search settings from 10 results to 100.

If we set the search settings to 100 results, Google will narrow the number of results down showing only relevant results when going through each of the pages in the results. See example below:

1st Page

14th Page

You might see this message appearing at some point if the search settings are set to 100 results:

Collecting the URLS

We need to set the search settings to the “50-results” default option. (Remember not to set the “100 results” option, as Google will reduce the number of results a lot)

Settings/Search settings

Site commands that we’ll be using:

  1. Type the following special search query in the browser to start collecting the pages that are in each folder of your site.

Site: https://passion.digital/blog/

Site: https://passion.digital/services/

  1. This site command will get those pages that are not in any of the main folders that we have previously searched – the orphan pages.

Site: https://passion.digital/ -inurl:/blog/ -inurl:/services/ (…and so on.)

Once we know which site command we should use, we’ll be doing the same process to copy the URLs to an excel document. In the results, the whole URL will be appearing thanks to the RSD extension so then we have just to copy the 50 results to an excel sheet.

Then by filtering the data by colour (our example is Grey), you will be getting just the URLs that you want. Copy-paste them into a new Excel sheet.

Filtered data

See below the template that I’ve been using to collect all the indexed pages

Thank you for reading and hope you have found it interesting.

If you’re interested in learning more SEO practices that could benefit your business, then take a look at our SEO training courses.

Why you shouldn’t Market to ‘Millennials’

17Mar

Last month we discussed how to market to the millennial generation and the ways in which we can most effectively communicate with this new wave of consumers. This article takes the alternative perspective, inspired by Adam Conover and his talk at Deep Shift marketing conference. The thesis of his talk was essentially:

“Millennials don’t exist and the entire idea of “generations” is unscientific, condescending, and stupid.”

Let’s dive in shall we.

As a young professional, working in digital marketing, myself and most of my colleagues would appear to fully fit the description of ’a Millennial’. I work in an office which has yoga and massages every week, and we have chosen to work in an industry which didn’t even exist when we first entered the education system and we are all active on social media.

Here are three reasons why businesses should think about ‘millennials’ more complexly.

1. Millennial is a paradoxically too broad and too narrow descriptor

Neil Howe and William Strauss are the millionaires who coined the term ‘millennials’ and in their book Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation (2000) they ascribed 7 traits to this generation: special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured, and achieving. Because none of the generations before this one were in any way special or pushed to achieve things,  the baby boomers going to the moon was in no way a team-oriented, achievement. The 7 so called traits of this generation read like a psychic telling you exactly what you want to hear. It’s just a cold reading.

According to a quick google search a millennial is:
a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.

So that pretty much encompasses anyone born in 1978 to 1994? 1996? That is possibly the vaguest definition of a target audience ever.

Moreover the things people generally think about Millennials only really applies to a shockingly small demographic. The Starbucks drinking social media addict is also in the same generation as the American Chinese 35 year old whose family ties got them into Harvard. And also in the same generation as the young girl working 2 jobs to support her family.

The “classic Millennial” that we all picture is a very western centric middle class ideal which isn’t the reality for the vast majority of the world.

 

2. Millennials themselves hate the image our society has thrust upon them

The image that we all have of the “me generation” isn’t exactly flattering. The idea that an entire generation is made of narcissists is unrealistic and also quite insulting. As one Reddit user put it rather succinctly:

 “Honestly, the word millennial has almost become a derogatory word used by people who don’t like things that are “hip”. “Look at those millennials doing all those stupid young people things. ugh millennials.””  TheNamesVox

When you approach your customer base from this perception, you sound condescending and like you are attempting to pander to a stereotype that your base probably doesn’t identify with.

 

3. Generational marketing is made up and inherently useless.

Finally, and the most important aspect to this, generational segmentation is unhelpful. Generations are just one way that society has come up with for dividing people into smaller subsections, one of humanity’s all-time favourite activities.

The question we need to answer is how useful is this particular subsection? Does it really tell us that much about the group of people we have segmented? Or would it be more useful to look at a different method of dividing up society?

For example in email marketing it is far more useful to break down a segment by looking at who opened your email to show you your engaged audience. Having a segment purely based on age makes little to no sense.

Closing thoughts

It is unproductive to assume an entire 20 year age bracket of the population like the same things or behave the same way. The best way to interact with your market is to have a solid understanding of your actual consumer base. Making assumptions based off someone’s age is not going to get great results.

 

Sources:

Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation (2000)

By Neil Howe, William Strauss

Generation Me (2006)

By Dr. Jean Twenge

Millennials Don’t Exist by Adam Conover at Deep Shift Marketing Conference.

 

How to Market to Millennials

01Mar

According to a Guardian article from March 2016, there are 13.8 million people who would fit under the definition of ‘millennials’ in the United Kingdom alone. This is a massive segment of the market that many businesses are making a priority. So here is our handy guide on how best to communicate with them.

Step 1 – Be Authentic

With the rise of social media and the bar to fame being lowered more and more, ‘normal’ people are finding large audiences. That guy down the road is actually a famous gamer online and has millions of viewers on Twitch. That young girl buying flowers is a massive blogger with a book deal on the way.
This makes the manufactured messages cast down by big brother seem more and more transparent. One of the things millennials prefer above all else is authenticity. Using bloggers and other influencers to help promote your brand will be a much more effective strategy than large scale campaigns when it comes to reaching this demographic. The hard sell is out, your messaging should sound like a recommendation from a fellow consumer. Don’t just shout about how great your product is.

Step 2 – Collaborate with them

We have more powerful tools than ever to connect and interact with our audience, use these to your advantage. Remember, the “Me” generation – as they’re affectionately known – are dying to tell you’re their thoughts and opinions. Connect with your audience on their terms and utilise user-generated content to give your audience a voice.

Step 3 – Make it Mobile

This digital-first generation grew up with keyboards at their fingertips. Ensuring that your brand has a solid mobile presence is vital. Your website should be as easy to read on a tablet or phone as it is on a desktop. Do you have an app where your customers can engage with your content and products? You can always spot a millennial in the wild because they will have their noses buried in their phones, so make sure that your brand is where they are looking.

Step 4 – Swag

One of the best strategies used to connect with millennials is to get them to market on your behalf. A great way to market to them is to reward them for their loyalty. Freebies or discounts for getting their friends to sign up to your service or buy your product.
Last summer saw one of the greatest examples of millennial-centred marketing where popular soft drink maker, Oasis, offered Twitter user, Scott, free drinks if he donned an Oasis branded T-shirt for a month:

This lead to Scott posting selfies daily of him wearing various branded shirts and more people putting their hands up to join in! #HumanOasisAdvert

This campaign is social, interactive, involves great user generated content and made Scott and other consumers into walking billboards for your brand. Tap into this generation’s mind set and you will have a veritable army promoting your brand.


Sources:
Kate Lyons, Generation Y: a guide to a much-maligned demographic, 7 March 2016
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/07/millennials-generation-y-guide-to-much-maligned-demographic
Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, 8 tips for marketing to millennials online, MAY 16, 2016
http://www.cio.com/article/3070766/marketing/8-tips-for-marketing-to-millennials-online.html
Hattie Gladwell, Man’s dreams of free Oasis supply come true after completing 30-day challenge, 9 Sep 2016
http://metro.co.uk/2016/09/09/mans-dreams-of-free-oasis-supply-come-true-after-completing-30-day-challenge-6117976/

A Guide to Keeping Children Safe Online 2.0

30Jan

original: 12/06/2014, updated: 30/01/2017

Child Safety Online

The growth of the internet has provided an invaluable learning tool for children. However, the increasing ease with which children are able to access the web has given rise to a number of problems relating to child safety. The potentially most harmful problems young people can encounter using the internet include:

  • Inappropriate contact from people who may wish to abuse, exploit or bully children.
  • Inappropriate conduct due to their own or others’ online behaviour or the sharing of personal information. They may also become either targets or perpetrators of cyber-bullying.
  • Accessing Inappropriate content such as sexually explicit, racist, violent, extremist or other harmful material

Playing online video games, engaging with social media, and searching for inappropriate content can have potentially harmful consequences to users who have yet to develop the emotional maturity to view critical situations subjectively.

There are a few steps a parent or guardian can take to combat the above. The first and perhaps most important step is to educate your child about the potential dangers posed by the internet; this way they will be more likely to recognise these dangers and/or avoid them completely. It’s equally important to teach them what to do when something happens – consult a parent, guardian or teacher or, if they do not feel comfortable doing so, have an online discussion with a Childline counsellor or give them a ring on 08001111 at any time (it’s free).

Another issue which has been exacerbated by the availability of the internet through mobile phones is the sharing of private or sensitive information of images. Many children or young people do not understand that anything shared online or by mobile can end up publicly accessible, and that personal or sensitive content should never be shared online.

1. STAYING SAFE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Most recent studies suggest an increase in younger people opening social media accounts. On top of that, a quarter of 11-16 year olds have experienced something upsetting online.

The most popular social networks among 8-16 year olds in the UK are Snapchat and Instagram. Both platforms offer solutions to keep children safe:
Instagram’s minimum age for users is 13. They also offer an extensive guide for parents on keeping their children safe using the image-based social media networking.
Snapchat’s minimum user age is also 13. But the picture and video sharing app offers an alternative for users under the age of 13, called Snapkidz. Parents can read up on the different features here.

Other social networking site’s guides for parents can be found here: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest.

However, being of the minimum required age to join a social networking platform in no way guarantees a young user is developed enough able to keep safe without a parent keeping an eye on their activities.

 

2. STAYING SAFE WHILE PLAYING GAMES ONLINE

Chatting and communicating with other players

For online games which do not feature moderation systems, it’s important to be aware what is and is not possible. Depending on the sorts of games, players can typically communicate with each other by:

  • sending messages which can be typed as part of the game
  • chatting online while playing the game
  • physically speaking using headsets/microphones

This can place your child at risk of cyber-bullying or contact from potentially dangerous strangers, so it’s important to educate your child of the dangers early on, and inform them of what to do if they feel uncomfortable or upset. It’s unlikely that games consoles will be able to offer the levels of moderation that can be offered by website based games so particular care should be taken with these platforms

More tips for staying safe while playing online

You can help keep your child stay safe whilst gaming online by following these tips:

  • chat to them regularly about their gaming and ask who they are in contact with
  • read reviews and parental guidance on games before deciding whether or not they are appropriate for your child
  • check the game is appropriate by either playing it yourself or watching your child play
  • encourage your child to use a ‘screen name’ which doesn’t give away any personal details
  • advise them to never give out personal details such as their email address, phone number or location
  • encourage them to tell you if there are any users they feel uncomfortable about – many games have inbuilt functionality to ‘block’ or ‘report’ other players
  • report any threatening or suspicious behaviour to the game’s administrators or to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP)

Useful Links

Tips for keeping children safe online from getsafeonline.org: Visit Site

Google’s advice on ‘How you can protect your family online’:Visit Site

Know the Net from Nominet offers an overview of online child safety: Visit Site

Advice from the NSPCC, for parents about keeping children safe whilst online: Visit Site

Advice from NIDirect Government Services on keeping children safe online: Visit Site

SAFE Network offer guidance on keeping children and young people safe online: Visit Site

Childnet International educates parents, guardians and teachers so that they can keep children safe online: Visit Site

 

3. FREE TOOLS TO KEEP YOUR CHILDREN SAFE ONLINE

Google SafeSearch (free)

SafeSearch is designed to screen sites that contain sexually explicit content and remove them from your search results. While no filter is 100% accurate, SafeSearch helps you to avoid content that you may prefer not to see or would rather your children did not stumble across. Find out how to turn on Google SafeSearch –READ MORE.

Safety Lock on YouTube (free)

YouTube has Community Guidelines that describe the type of content that is and isn’t allowed on the site. However, there may be cases when you’d prefer to screen out content, even though it meets YouTube’s guidelines. Read more about using the safety lock on YouTube – READ MORE.

TalkTalk HomeSafe (free to TalkTalk customers)

HomeSafe protects your whole home online through every device connected to your TalkTalk broadband. Its three features are Kid Safe, Virus Alert and Homework Time (a tool to help prevent distractions at homework time!). Find out more about TalkTalk online safety – READ MORE.

McAfee Parental Controls for Sky (free to Sky customers)

This software helps you control when your child can be online and it lets you keep an eye on their online activities. It also lets you control what websites they can visit. It can be used on up to three Windows based PCs for free. Find out more about McAfee for Sky internet – READ MORE.

Norton Family (free basic version)

See your kids’ activities at a glance with an easy-to-read activity report. Norton state that “you’ll get to know your kids better and gain a deeper understanding of their online interests, so you can protect and guide them” – READ MORE.

BT Family Protection (free to BT broadband and dial-up customers)

This system allows parents to set up accounts which are not allowed to see certain content. Before a child can access the internet they have to enter their account log-in details, so they’re then free to surf the Internet without the danger of seeing inappropriate content – READ MORE.

Virgin Media Security (free to Virgin Media broadband customers)

Virgin Media’s free Parental Control software is a simple and effective way to stop your children watching unsuitable content online. Rather than being dedicated parental control software it is provided as part of the Broadband package. – READ MORE.

 

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