Lampshade Marketing blog

Blog

What's all this about Cookies?

The deadline for complying with the EU cookie directive is only a matter of days away (26th May 2012). No matter what you think of this law, it’s coming. And it is just that. Law. All website owners we have no choice but to comply. But it's not too late if you are reading this!

What is the EU cookie directive?

For those not in the know, the aim of the new law to increase online security and data privacy, giving your website visitors more control over what data can be held about them. It kind of sorts out how personal information is held and used. Sort of.

The law forces all websites (yes, including yours, no more putting your head in the sand now!) to be open and honest about how they are using cookies, letting the user know what cookies are used on the website, how long it will be held, and requires them request permission before cookies can be used.

Who needs to listen to this?

Everyone in the European Union. Everyone. Even you.

Why do I need to comply with it? My website doesn’t get many visitors.

It’s the law. That’s why!! The maximum fine for not doing this is £500,000. Honestly will you get this fine? Probably not, they’ll hunt out the big boys 1st. But it will come – you have been warned!

When do I need to comply with it?

The law came into force last year, on 25 May 2011. However, they soon realised that it was a massive hassle, so have given us all until 26 May 2012 to comply. Not long now!
Do I comply?? To be honest, I don’t know. Probably not though. Over 75% of all Gloucestershire websites WILL break the law. Make sure you aren’t one of them.

How do I comply with this law?

To make sure you aren't inn line for that fine, you'll have to make changes to your website to make information about your use of cookies transparent and prominent, and to allow users to give consent to the use of cookies.

It’s a good idea to start by figuring out what cookies your website uses. Look out for the following:

  • Find out which cookies are being used, why they are being used and what information they hold – Don’t know how? Drop us an email and we’ll do a FREE audit for you – no hard sell, just trying to help!
  • Figure out whether they apply to the session (just that visit) or if they’re persistent (applying to the next visit as well).
  • Figure out how long they last.
  • Check that your Privacy Policy (you've got one right?) includes clear and plain english clear information on each cookie being used.

Further reading (We’re not making this up!)

For your free survey on the cookies your website uses, email your URL to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The can and can't do's of Facebook

Let's face it, none of us like being sold to. Long forgotten are the days of junk mail weighing down our door mat or answering the phone to find it's not your Aunt Enid, it's some 18 year old from Coventry trying to sell you double glazing.

So why are many people (including us, let's hold our hands up!) trying to sell us stuff in our own back yard - Facebook and Twitter? This invasive marketing on the main social media platforms is having a detrimental effect on brands. But what are you doing wrong and how can you fix it?

Let's look at the five sins of Facebook posts:

  • Content became repetitive, boring and the same thing. Repetitive. Boring. And the same thing. Repeti...
  • Too many notifications. Every day. In my face. STOP IT.
  • Marketing focused updates. No I don't want your shampoo, I've been bald for 15 years.
  • When they offer you something to sign up and then you don't want to hear from them. Got your freebie... and never the twain shall meet!
  • Content became repetitive, boring and the same thing. Repetitive. Boring. And the same thing. Repeti...

And the saints? What should brands be looking at doing on Facebook? Be yourself. We're all human (most of the time we are!), so talk to us like we are human!

  • Make sure that your posts are targeted to your audience.
  • Make sure that all of your posts are informative, clear and concise.
  • Be clear, relevant and timely. Summer holiday offers on 24th December? Nope, got other things on my mind thanks.
  • Be real. Be human. Be yourself.

Do this, you'll do alright.  Now, having said that, anyone need a website?

Google changes

Like buses down my street, Google is getting more and more frequent at updating it's computer which determines where your website ranks in the fantabulous search engine.

Take a look at the below from Google to see how the latest updates will effect your website.

 

  • Sitelinks data refresh.  Sitelinks (the links that appear beneath some search results and link deeper into the respective site) are generated in part by an offline process that analyzes site structure and other data to determine the most relevant links to show users. Google has recently updated the data through our offline process. These updates happen frequently (on the order of weeks).
  • Better indexing of profile pages. This change improves the comprehensiveness of public profile pages in our index from more than two-hundred social sites. It means that Social is more and more intrinsically linked with search.
  • High-quality sites algorithm data update and freshness improvements. Like many of the changes Google make, aspects of high-quality sites algorithm depend on processing that’s done offline and pushed on a periodic cycle. In the past month, they’ve pushed updated data for “Panda,”. They’ve also made improvements to keep our database fresher overall.
  • Tweaks to handling of anchor text. This month Google turned off a classifier related to anchor text (the visible text appearing in links). Google's experimental data suggested that other methods of anchor processing had greater success, so turning off this component made our scoring cleaner and more robust.
  • Improvements to freshness. Google launched an improvement to freshness late last year that was very helpful, but it cost significant machine resources. At the time they decided to roll out the change only for news-related traffic. This month it's rolled it out for all queries.
  • Better interpretation and use of anchor text. They've improved systems we use to interpret and use anchor text, and determine how relevant a given anchor might be for a given query and website.
  • More precise detection of old pages. This change improves detection of stale pages in our index by relying on more relevant signals. As a result, fewer stale pages are shown to users. Keep your content fresh people. Content managed websites are now more important than ever.
  • Improvements in date detection for blog/forum pages. This change improves the algorithm that determines dates for blog and forum pages.
  • +1 button in search for more countries and domains. This month they internationalized the +1 button on the search results page to additional languages and domains. The +1 button in search makes it easy to share recommendations with the world right from your search results.