How to Prevent Gmail from Trimming your Email Signature

December 19th, 2014

Gmail has this annoying habit of trimming content that it thinks is repetitive or not relevant to the ongoing email conversation. For example, if you reply to an email message, the recipient will only see what you have written and everything else in the thread would stay hidden until they manually click the 3 dots (ellipsis) that say “Show Trimmed Content.”

This doesn’t always work as expected though. Gmail may sometimes hide your actual reply if it contains content identical to other messages in the thread. Also, if you attach a signature to your outgoing email messages, the recipients are unlikely to see your signature because Gmail will hide that portion under the ellipsis.

This GIF illustrates the problem. I sent an email to a contact and this is how they see it. Only the reply is visible to her but not my email signature.

Gmail - Show Trimmed Content

Stop Gmail from Hiding your Signature

You want your customers and contacts to see your email signature because it has your phone number, website address and other contact details but Gmail is likely to conceal that part. And, unfortunately, they do not offer an option to opt-out or disable trimming.

There’s a workaround though. Gmail “trims” your signature because it is identical. If you can make your email signature unique for every message, Gmail will not trim it on the recipient’s screen.

While you are composing a new message in Gmail, or replying to an existing thread, click the 3 dots to expand the trimmed content and append some unique text after your signature. You can maybe add a random number and set it to light-gray so that is almost invisible to the recipient but still manages to trick Gmail into think that is is “unique” content.

The Gmail Bookmarklet

There’s another one-click option. Add the “Trick Gmail” bookmarklet to your browser bookmarks and, while replying to an email thread, just click the bookmarklet. Remember that you have to click the bookmarklet while the reply or compose window is open in Gmail.

Trick Gmail

The bookmarklet will add an almost invisible random string (see screenshot) to your existing email signature, Gmail would consider that text as unique and won’t therefore hide it on the recipient’s computer.

Gmail Signature

In the Gmail bookmarklet, we are appending the unique message ID that is supplied by Gmail itself but you can add any text including the current date and time or even some random quote. More bookmarklets here.


The story, How to Prevent Gmail from Trimming your Email Signature, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 18/12/2014 under Bookmarklets, GMail, Internet.
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog

Take YouTube Videos Offline on your Mobile

December 18th, 2014

YouTube users in India rejoice. You can now download YouTube videos on your Android or iOS device using the official YouTube app itself and watch the videos later while you are offline or on a slow connection.

It takes a few easy steps to download a video on the YouTube app. Open a video, tap the download button (see screenshot), choose the resolution for the downloaded video and it will begin to download on your device. There’s a new “Offline” section in the YouTube app where you can find a list of all videos that are currently in the download queue or available for offline watching.

Download YouTube Video

The offline feature is available on the YouTube app for both Android and iPhone.

Related: How to Play YouTube Videos in the Background

That said, there are certain obvious limitations. One, not every video available on the YouTube website is available for download. The offline mode is mostly disabled for music videos and movies.

Also, the downloaded videos can only be watched inside the YouTube app. I did some digging on Android and it turns out that YouTube saves the videos into smaller chunks as .exo files, a format that is not supported in other media players.

There are however no restrictions around the number of videos that you can take offline with the YouTube app, you are only limited by the free storage available on your iPhone or Android phone.


The story, Take YouTube Videos Offline on your Mobile, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 11/12/2014 under Android, IPhone, YouTube, Software.
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog

Do You Hate “Not Provided”? Not So Fast… It May Be a Blessing In Disguise!

December 17th, 2014

Things have certainly changed since Google took away keyword referral data, but columnist Stephan Spencer argues that these changes were for the better.

The post Do You Hate “Not Provided”? Not So Fast… It May Be a Blessing In Disguise! appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Google’s 2014 Top Trending Searches: The World Mourns Robin Williams, Asks About Ebola & Looks For Walmart

December 16th, 2014

From the most popular Google Maps searches to the most asked, “What is…?” questions, Google gives us a look at its year in search.

The post Google’s 2014 Top Trending Searches: The World Mourns Robin Williams, Asks About Ebola & Looks For Walmart appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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How You Can Build a Meaningful Brand

December 15th, 2014

Posted by Hannah_Smith

Earlier this year I wrote a post about
the future of marketing. In it, I made a handful of predictions; arguably the most ‘out there’ of which was this: in the future, only brands which ‘mean something’ to consumers will survive. 

In today’s post I’ll be exploring what it takes to become a meaningful brand, and how you might go about building one.

SEO is not dead

Just so we’re clear, I’m not saying SEO is dead, or that organic search is not an important channel :)
These stats speak for themselves:

However, what we’re being asked to do as SEOs is constantly evolving. 

It used to be that you could build a very successful business online just by being great at SEO. But today, the SERPs are changing, and ranking first doesn’t mean what it used to:

The BBC still rank first organically for ‘weather’—but their listing is pushed beneath the fold. Plus, given the that the information the searcher is seeking is displayed right there in the SERP, I’m guessing they’re not receiving as much traffic from this term as they once were.

But it’s not just informational queries:

Skyscanner still rank first for the term ‘flights to paris’, but again here their organic listing is pushed beneath the fold thanks to paid search listings and the proprietary Google flight product.

Google is even going so far as to show its proprietary products against branded searches (hat-tip to 
Barry Adams for pointing this out):

MoneySuperMarket’s organic listing is above the fold, but Google is nonetheless being very aggressive.

As a consequence of these changes, as SEOs, we’re being asked to do different things. Clients of yesteryear used to say things like:

Get us links!

But today they’re saying things like:

Get us press coverage, social shares and exposure [links] on sites our target audience reads.

Whilst they may not explicitly be asking us to build a brand, nonetheless much of what we do today looks a lot like brand building. But where do we start?

What does ‘brand’ mean?

Before we kick off I think it’s worth exploring what brand really means. We have a tendency to use ‘brand’ and ‘company’ or ‘organisation’ interchangeably, but in reality they are two distinctly different things.

Here’s a definition:

brand - to impress firmly; fix ineradicably; place indelibly

Therefore a brand is not a brand unless it leaves a lasting impression, and of course, it needs to be a favourable impression. Essentially companies or organisations need to build brands that mean something to people.

However, right now companies and organisations are struggling to do this effectively:

“In Europe and the US, consumers would not care if 92% of brands ceased to exist” 


source

That means that consumers would only miss 8% of brands. 

Clearly we have a mountain to climb. How do we go about building meaningful brands? Particularly on SEO retainer budgets?

You can learn a lot by deconstructing the success of others

Like many in the search industry, I’m a fan of taking stuff apart to figure out how it works. So, when trying to figure out how to go about building a meaningful brand, I started by looking at what meaningful brands are doing right now.

I uncovered three core principles—some meaningful brands do all three; some just do one or two—I’ll deal with them each in turn.

1) Meaningful brands find opportunities to delight customers

Most people’s interactions with brands suck. But great interactions stand out and are shared. Let’s take a look at some examples:

@smartcarusa

Here’s how @smartcarusa responded when someone suggested that a single bird dropping would total one of their cars:

Now the takeaway here is not to rush out and make a bunch of infographics on disparate topics.
Out of context, the infographic is neither remarkable, nor particularly interesting, and I don’t think it would have garnered coverage had it not been created in response to this tweet.
But I think a lesson we can take from this is that going the extra mile to respond in a novel way can yield out-sized returns.

@ArgosHelpers

This is how @ArgosHelpers responded to a customer asking when PS4s would be back in stock:

The takeaway here is not people love brands who use slang—I think this is actually a very artfully worded response. See how the brand has taken care to use the same language as their customer without being in any way condescending? That’s what you need to shoot for.

@TescoMobile

This is how @TescoMobile responded when someone described their network as a ‘turn off’:

Whoa! 

The lesson here is definitely not ‘be a dick to people who are dicks to you’; I think the lesson here is that a well-judged, cheeky response can travel.

Ultimately you need to tread carefully if you want to use this type of tactic. I think @TescoMobile got away with this one—but it is really close to the line. To do this sort of thing you need to have a deep understanding of your audience—what’s considered funny and what’s just plain rude? This can vary hugely depending on the niche you’re working in and the public perception of your brand.

Moreover, if you’re a brand engaging in this sort of activity, you need to consider not only your own response, but the potential response from your audience, too. Some brands have an army of loyal advocates. But if brands aren’t careful, they may unwittingly encourage said army to attack an individual with a response like this.

Of course it’s not just interactions that have the capacity to delight—sometimes being nimble is enough:

@Arbys

When Pharrell turned up to the GRAMMYs wearing *that hat* here’s how @Arbys responded:

The takeaway here is not that you need a bit of luck, instead it’s that you need to be ready, willing and able to take advantage of opportunities as and when they arise. I think that if @Arbys hadn’t tweeted that, then someone else would have done and their brand wouldn’t have benefited.

Hopefully you can see where I’m going with this; let’s move on to principle two:

2) Meaningful brands give people the ability to define themselves to others

Have you ever thought about why you share what you share on social media? Most of us don’t think about it too much, but
The New York Times did a
study on the psychology of sharing in which 68% of respondents said they share things via social media to give others a better sense of who they are and what they care about.

For example, I might share an article from
hbr.org because I want you to think I’m the sort of person who reads Harvard Business Review. Or I might share an Oatmeal comic because I want you to think I have an excellent sense of humour. I might share something about the Lean In movement because I want to let you know where I stand on important issues.

If you’re seeking to create a meaningful brand, this can be an excellent space to play in because brands can give people the ability to define themselves to others. Now I don’t necessarily mean by creating content like
this which literally allows people to define themselves:

Brands can also help people define themselves by creating things people ‘look good’ sharing—let’s take a look at some examples:

GE’s #6SecondScience

The takeaway here is to create things which are tangentially related to your brand, that people ‘look good’ sharing. When people shared this content they were sharing stuff that was more than just ‘cool’—by sharing this content they were also able to express their enthusiasm for science.

In a similar vein meaningful brands create commercials that don’t feel like commercials—again, these are things that people ‘look good’ sharing:

Wren’s First Kiss

This film definitely got people talking. To date it’s received over 94 million YouTube views and coverage on over 1300 sites. But this isn’t just a video content play…

Oreo

When Oreo turned 100, they created 100 pieces of content over 100 days:

This campaign got over 1m Facebook ‘likes’ and thousands of pieces of press coverage. 

But actually, I think the smartest thing about this campaign was that it was highly topical content which put the cookie right in the centre of people’s conversations without being self-serving.

Still with me? Let’s move on to principle three:

3) Meaningful brands stand for something above and beyond their products or services

This is difficult to explain in the abstract, so I’m going to shoot straight to some examples.

BrewDog

BrewDog is a craft beer company. Their brand values are drawn from punk subculture—they’re anti-establishment and believe in individual freedom.
So when Dead Pony Club ale was ‘banned’ because the phrase ”rip it up down empty streets” was printed on the label, their response was to issue a
press release apologising for ‘not giving a shit’ over the marketing rules breach.
Their fans loved their response:

The takeaway here isn’t that sweary press releases get attention (although they undoubtedly do)—by refusing to take the ruling lying down BrewDog showed people they were a brand which stood for something beyond great beer.

Nike

A core value for Nike is “if you have a body, you are an athlete”, and these values have inspired incredible creative like this:

I think that this advert is powerful because Nike isn’t talking about how their trainers enhance your performance, they’re talking about celebrating everyone’s athletic endeavours. It’s about more than just their products. 

OKCupid

I think that taking the decision to stand for something is perhaps most potent when it could actually cost a brand customers. When Mozilla appointed a new CEO, OKCupid showed this message to Firefox users:

They went on to say:

The takeaway here is not ‘align your brand with a cause and win the the Internet’, but rather, taking a bold stance on a relevant issue, even if it could actually hurt your business, can create a lasting impression.

What do I mean by ‘actually hurt your business’? Sadly, not everyone believes in equal rights for gay couples, as such, taking this stance could cost OK Cupid.

Using these principles day-to-day

The reality for me is that right now, much of this I can’t affect—sadly no clients have dropped several million into my lap and asked me to create them an ad like Nike’s :)

That said, I do think that it’s helped me to clarify my thinking on what it means to be a meaningful brand and how to figure out how to get there. At Distilled (the company who is good enough to employ me), the place we play most frequently is principle two—we create content which allows people to define themselves to others; things that people ‘look good sharing’. 

Perhaps more importantly, we’re taking the time to understand the companies we’re working with better so that our creative work is better aligned with their brand values. 

And so, dear reader, over to you—I’d love to hear what you think it takes to build a meaningful brand, and what’s working (and not working) for you, do let me know via the comments.

This post is based on a session I presented at SearchLove; those who are interested can view the full deck below:

Existential Crisis Management – SearchLove 2014 from Hannah Smith

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SearchCap: Making Your Website Evergreen, Bing Upgrades Safe Search & No More Credit Cards For Adwords Customers

December 14th, 2014

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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Facebook Drops Bing From Facebook Search Results

December 14th, 2014

The end to a long relationship with Microsoft search is another signal that Facebook is concentrating on serving connections within its network.

The post Facebook Drops Bing From Facebook Search Results appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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How to Avoid the Unrealistic Expectations SEOs Often Create – Whiteboard Friday

December 13th, 2014

Posted by randfish

With all the changes we’ve seen in the field of SEO in recent years, we need to think differently about how we pitch our work to others. If we don’t, we run the risk of creating unreal expectations and disappointing our clients and companies. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains how to set expectations that will lead to excitement without the subsequent let-down.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

This Week's Whiteboard.

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat a little bit about the expectations that SEOs create and sometimes falsely create. It’s not always our fault, but it is always our responsibility to fix the expectations that we create with our teams, our managers, our executives, and, if we’re consultants, with our clients.

So here’s the problem. This is a conversation that I see happen a lot of the time. Here’s our friendly SEO guy over here, and he’s telling his client, “Hey, if we can rank on page 1 for even 10% of all these terms that I’ve selected, we’re going to drive a 500% increase in leads.”

Here’s the client over here, and she’s thinking to herself, “That sounds amazing. 500% increase in leads, that’s going to do wonderful things for my business. So let’s invest in SEO. This is going to be great. We only have to get 10% of these keywords on there. I don’t know anything about SEO, but that sounds totally possible.” Six months later, after all sort of stymieing and challenging problems, here she is going, “You told me we’d increase our leads by 500%!”

There’s the SEO saying, “Well yeah, but we have to get the rankings first, and we haven’t done that yet. I said we’d get the leads once we got the rankings.”

This kind of expectation and many others like it are a huge challenge. It is the case that modern SEO takes a lot of time to show results. Modern content marketing works the same way. You’re not going to start producing blog posts or interactive content or big content pieces and 3 months from now go, “Well, we made 50 new content pieces, and thus our traffic has tripled.”

That’s not how it works. The problem here is that SEO just doesn’t look like this anymore. It did, kind of, at one point. It really did.

We used to engage in an SEO contract. We’d make some changes to the existing pages, do some keyword targeting, some optimization, maybe fix things up that weren’t SEO friendly on the site, get our link structure in order. Great. Do a little bit of link building to the right kinds of pages that we need on our site from the right kind of places. We’d get those rankings. Now we can easily prove the value of the search traffic that’s coming through by looking at the keyword referrals in our analytics report, because keyword traffic is showing.

This process has been broken over the last five, six, seven years. But expectations have not caught up to where we are today. Modern SEO nowadays is really like this. You engage in that SEO contract, and then the SEO’s job is to be much more than an SEO, because there are so many factors that influence modern search rankings and modern search algorithms that really a great SEO, in order to have impact, has to go, “All right, now we’re going to start the audit.”

The audit isn’t going to look at which pages do you have on the site and what keywords do you want to match up and which ones do we need to fix, or just link structure or even things like schema. Well, let’s look at the content and the user experience and the branding and the PR, and we’ll check out your accessibility and speed and keyword targeting. We’ll do some competitive analysis, etc. Dozens of things that we’re going to potentially look at because all of them can impact SEO.

Yikes! Then, we’re not done. We’re going to determine which investments that we could possibly make into all of these things, almost all of which probably need some form of fixing. Some are more broken than others. Some we have an actual team that could go and fix them. Some of those teams have bandwidth and don’t. Some of those projects have executives who will approve them or not. We’re going to figure out which ones are possible, which ones are most likely to be done and actually drive ROI. Then we’re going to work across teams and executives and people to get all those different things done, because one human being can’t handle all of them unless we’re talking about a very, very tiny site.

Then we’re going to need to bolster a wide range of offsite signals, all of the things that we’ve talked about historically on Whiteboard Friday, everything from actual links to things around engagement to social media signals that correlate with those to PR and branding and voice and coverage.

Now, after months of waiting, if we’ve improved the right things, we’ll start to see creeping up our rankings, and we’ll be able to measure that from the traffic that pages receive. But we won’t be able to say, “Well, specifically this page now ranks higher for this keyword, and that keyword now sends us this amount of traffic,” because keyword not provided is taking away that data, making it very, very hard to see the value of visitors directly from search. That’s very frustrating

This is the new SEO process. You might be asking yourself, “Given these immense challenges, who in the world is even going to invest in SEO anymore?” The answer is, well, people who for the last decade have made a fortune or made a living on SEO, people who are aware of the power that SEO can drive, people who are aware of the fact that search continues to grow massively, that the channel is still hugely valuable, that it drives direct revenue and value in far greater quantity than social media by itself or content marketing by itself without SEO as a channel. The people who are going to invest successfully, though, are those whose expectations are properly set.

Everybody else is going to get somewhere in here, and they’re going to give up. They’re going to fire their SEO. You know what one of the things that really nags at me is? Ruth Burr mentioned this on Twitter the other day. Ruth said, “When your plumber fails to fix your pipes, you don’t assume that plumbing is a dead industry that no one should ever invest in. But when your SEO fails to get you rankings or traffic that you can measure, you assume all SEO is dead and all SEO is bad.”

That sucks. That’s a hard reality to live in, but it’s the one that we do live in.

I do have a solution though, and the solution isn’t just showing how this process works versus how old-school SEO works. It’s to craft a timeline, an expectation timeline.

When you’re signing a contract or when you’re pitching a project, or when you’re talking about, “Hey, this is what were going to do for SEO,” try showing a timeline of the expectations. Instead of saying, “If we can rank on page one,” say, “If we can complete our audit and fix the things we determine that need to be fixed and prioritize those fixes in the order we think they are, then we can make the right kinds of content investments, and then we can get the amplification and offsite signals that we need starting to appear and grow our engagement. Then we can expect great SEO results.” Each one of these is contingent on the last one.

So six months later, your boss, your manger, or your client is going to say, “Hey, how did those content investments go?” You can say, “Well look, here’s the content we’ve created, and this is how it’s performing, and this is what we’re going to do to change those performances.” The expectation won’t be, “Hey, you promised me great SEO.” The promise was we’re going to make these fixes, which we did, and we’re going to complete that audit, which we did. Now we’re working on these content investments, and here’s how that’s going. Then we’re going to work on this, and then we’re going to work on that.

This is a great way to show expectations and to create the right kind of mindset in people who are going to be investing in SEO. It’s also a great way not to get yourself into hot water when you don’t get that 500% increase 3 months or 6 months after you said we’re going to start the SEO process.

All right everyone, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Look forward to chatting it up and having a discussion about modern SEO and old-school SEO and expectations that clients and managers have got.

We will see you again, next week, for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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HTTP/2: A Fast, Secure Bedrock for the Future of SEO

December 12th, 2014

Posted by Zoompf

In prior articles, we’ve written extensively about
website performance and securing your website, both factors Google has publicly announced as search ranking factors. These articles provide extensive tips using existing tools and technologies to improve your site performance and security (tips we highly recommend you follow). But did you know Google also developed and is championing a new web transport protocol called SPDY that addresses many of the inherent performance and security flaws in the web today?

In this article I will dive into more detail on how this new protocol works, why it is important to you, and how you can get started using it today.

From experiment to standard

Google created the SPDY protocol as a multi-year experiment to find a
faster way for browser and servers to communicate. The results have been so positive that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is using SPDY as the basis for HTTP/2, a replacement to the current network protocol that powers all Internet web traffic today. While technically HTTP/2 is still an evolving specification, many web browsers, web servers, networking devices, and websites already support both SPDY and HTTP/2 in its current form.

While there are some subtle differences between SPDY and HTTP/2, for the purposes of this article it’s safe to use those terms interchangeably. As HTTP/2 rises to prominence in the popular vocabulary, the SPDY vernacular will fall out of use in favor of HTTP/2. For this reason, I will simply refer to SPDY as HTTP/2 for the remainder of this article.

What problem is HTTP/2 trying to solve?

To understand why Google and the IETF are creating a new version of HTTP, we need to understand the fundamental performance limitations we have today. It helps to consider this analogy:

Imagine if all the roads in the modern world were built back during the age of horse drawn carriages: narrow, bumpy and with low speed limits (still true in some cities…). Sure it took a while to get anywhere, but the delay was mostly due to the speed of your horse. Flash forward to today: same bumpy roads, but now everyone is driving a car. Now the horse is not the bottleneck, but instead all those cars piling up on the same log jammed road!

Believe it or not, most website traffic today is not far from this analogy. The original
HTTP protocol dates back nearly 25 years. The most recent update is HTTP/1.1 which was standardized back in 1999. That is a lifetime in Internet time!

Like those narrow, bumpy roads of yore, the web back then was a very different place: smaller web pages, slower Internet connections, and limited server hardware. In a sense, the “horse” was the bottleneck. HTTP/1.1 was very much a product of those times.

For example, when web browser loads a web page using HTTP/1.1 it can requests resource (like an image, JavaScript file, etc) one at a time, per connection to the server. It looks like this:

http11-basic

You’ll notice the browser is spending a long time waiting on each request. While HTTP/1.1 won’t let us make multiple requests at the same time over the same connection, browsers can try and speed things up by making two connections to the same server, as shown in the diagram below:

http11-multiple

Using two connections is a little better, but the browser still spends a lot of time waiting to get a download. And we can only download two resources at a time. We could try and making more connections to download more resource in parallel. Modern browsers try to do this and can make between 2-6 connections per server. Unfortunately this is still an poor approach, because each connection itself is used so inefficiently. Since the average web page
has over 100 resources, the delay in making all those individual requests one at a time over just a few connections added up and your page loads slowly.

You can actually see this inefficiency by looking at a waterfall chart. We discussed waterfalls in a previous Moz post on
optimizing Time To First Byte, and we also have a detailed guide on how to read waterfall charts. Most waterfall charts will show long green sections which represents the time the browser is waiting to download a resource. All that time wasted on waiting instead of downloading is a major reason why websites load slowly.

This inefficient waiting on resources is why optimizations
like combining JavaScript or CSS files can help your site load faster. But optimizations like this are just stopgap measures. While you can (and should) continue to optimize our pages to make fewer and smaller requests, we’re not going to truly evolve to the next level of performance until we “fix the roads” and improve the fundamental way in which the web communicates. Specifically, we need to find a better way to utilize those network connections. 

This is where HTTP/2 comes in.

The solution: HTTP/2

At its core, HTTP/2 is about using the underlying network connections more efficiently. HTTP/2 changes how requests and responses travel on the wire, a key limitation in the prior versions of HTTP.

HTTP/2 works by making a
single connection to the server, and then “multiplexing” multiple requests over that connection to receive multiple responses at the same time. It looks like this:

http2-multiplexing

The browser is using a single connection, but it no longer requests items one at a time. Here we see the browser receives the response headers for file #3 (maybe an image), and then it receives the response body for file #1. Next it starts getting the response body for file #3, before continuing on to file #2.

Think of multiplexing like going to the grocery store and calling your spouse just once to get the full list:
“Okay we need milk, eggs, and butter. Check.” Compare this to HTTP/1.1 which is like calling your spouse over and over: “Do we need milk? Okay, bye.” “Hello me again—do we need eggs too? Yep, okay.”, “Okay sorry one last question, do we need flour too? Nope, good.”

All of that data is interwoven much more efficiently on that single connection. The server can supply the browser with data whenever it is ready. There is no more “make request; do nothing while waiting; download response” loop. While slightly more complex to understand, this approach has several advantages.

First of all, network connections don’t sit idle while you are waiting on a single resource to finish downloading. For example, instead of waiting for one image to finish downloading before starting the next, your browser could actually finish downloading image 2 before image 1 even completes.

This also prevents what is known as
head-of-line blocking: when a large/slow resource (say for example a 1 MB background image) blocks all other resources from downloading until complete. Under HTTP, browsers would only download one resource at a time per connection. HTTP/2′s multiplexing approach allows browsers to download all those other 5 KB images in parallel over the same connection and display as they become available. This is a much better user experience.

Another great performance benefit of HTTP/2 is the
“Server Push” feature: this allows the server to proactively push content to a visitor without them requesting it. So for example, when a browser visits your website, your server can actually “push” your logo image down to the browser before it even knows it needs it. By proactively pushing needed resources from the server, the browser can load pages much quicker then was previously possible.

Last, but not least: HTTP/2 works best with HTTPS. As we mentioned before, both performance
and security are an ever increasing component of search ranking. While the HTTP/2 specification technically allows for use over non-HTTPS connections, Google’s earlier SPDY protocol required HTTPS. For compatibility reasons, most web server software will only use HTTP/2 over an encrypted HTTPS connection. Getting on the HTTPS bandwagon not only protects the security of your users and is good for your search ranking, but also is the most effective way to adopt HTTP/2. For more information, see our prior post on enabling HTTPS.

The future, today!

So clearly HTTP/2 offers some great benefits for both speed and performance, but what does this mean to you right now? Well, you may be surprised to learn, HTTP/2 is already available, and can be supported by you without impacting your old users running on HTTP/1.1.

You can think of HTTP/2 just like any other protocol, or even a spoken language. For it to work, you just need an agreement from both the sender and receiver to speak the same language. In this case, the “sender” is the web browser and the receiver is your web server.

Browser support

Since it’s unlikely you will create your own web browser like Microsoft, Google, Apple or Mozilla, you will not need to worry about the “sender” side of the equation. Support for HTTP/2 in the web browser is already in widespread use across the modern browsers of today, with adoption only increasing as older browser versions age out.

In fact, the latest versions of all the major desktop web browsers already support HTTP/2. Chrome and Firefox has supported it for several years. Apple
added support to Safari in fall of 2014 with Safari 8. IE 11 supports HTTP/2, but only if you are running Windows 8.

Similarly, there is already widespread HTTP/2 adoption on smart phones as well. Android’s older web browser, helpfully named
Browser, has support HTTP/2 for several years. The current default browser for Android is Google’s Chrome browser. Mobile versions of Chrome use the same networking code as Desktop Chrome. This means that both Chrome on Android devices, as well as Chrome on iOS devices, both support HTTP/2. Apple added support to the iOS version of Safari with iOS 8.

Your best best is to look at your website analytics and see what web browsers your visitors are using. Chances are, the majority of visitors have HTTP/2 capable web browsers (you can check against this list of
desktop and mobile browsers that support HTTP/2). In that case, you can safely move on to the next step.

Web server support

While you have little control over which browsers your visitors use, you do have direct control over your web server. Put quite simply, to support HTTP/2 you need to select a web server that supports HTTP/2 and enable it. And of course, that server should also continue to support HTTP/1.1 as well because you will
always have users using older browsers.

Continuing our “spoken language” analogy from before, you can think of HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2 as different languages like English or French. As long as both parties can speak the same language, they can communicate. If your server only supports HTTP/1.1, then visitors can only speak to it with HTTP/1.1. But, if your server also supports HTTP/2, then your users browser will also choose to speak (the faster) HTTP/2. And finally if your server does speak HTTP/2, but your users browser does not, then they will continue to speak HTTP/1.1 just as before, so there’s no danger in “breaking” your older users.

Right now, both the Apache and nginx web servers support HTTP/2. nginx supports
HTTP/2 natively, and Apache supports it via the mod_spdy module. Since Apache and nginx serve traffic for 66% of all active web servers, chances are good that your website’s server can support HTTP/2 right now.

If you aren’t using nginx or Apache you still have other options. There are a number of
smaller, more specialized projects that support HTTP/2. You can also place a reverse proxy that support HTTP/2 like HAProxy in front of your existing web server to get the same benefit as having a web server that directly supports HTTP/2.

If you run your site through a hosting provider, check with them to see which web server version they are running. Major sites like WordPress.com and CloudFlare all already offer HTTP/2 support. If your provider is not yet supporting HTTP/2, let them know this is important!

Adding HTTP/2 support

As I mentioned, HTTP/2 is simply another language your web server can use to communicate. Just as a person can learn a new language while remembering their mother tongue, your web server will continue to know how to communicate HTTP/1.1 after you add support for HTTP/2. You aren’t in danger of shutting anyone out from speaking with your site. People using newer browsers will communicate using HTTP/2, and
older browsers will continue using the older HTTP/1.1—nothing breaks. If you have the time, there really is no reason not to update your site to support HTTP/2.

Remember, HTTP/2 is just a better way to transmit web content than HTTP/1.1. Everything else about your website (the URLs, your HTML markup, your redirects or 404 pages, your page content, etc) all stays the same. This makes adding support for HTTP/2 fairly straight forward:

  1. Make sure your website is using HTTPS. See our previous article on implementing HTTPS without sacrificing performance.
  2. Verify your server software or infrastructure can support HTTP/2.
  3. Update and configure your server software or infrastructure to support HTTP/2.

That’s it. Your website is now using HTTP/2.

Well hopefully it is. The steps involved to update/configure your website will vary depending on your what software you use, so we cannot provide you with detailed guide. However, we did built a free tool,
SPDYCheck, which you can use to verify you have properly configured your website to HTTP/2 (aka SPDY). SPDYCheck works like a checklist, verifying each step of how a browser negotiates with your server to communicate via HTTP/2. It can tell you where in the process things are not working, and it also provides helpful recommendations like enabling Strict Transport Security. With SPDYCheck, you can be sure that everything is functioning properly, and verify that you site supports HTTP/2.

Conclusion

We all know that faster sites help improve search engine rankings, but
faster sites also offer better user experiences. Faster sites engage your users longer, and promote sharing further sharing and linking. HTTP/2 is an amazing leap forward that can help improve the performance and user experience of your website. However, HTTP/2 is not a silver bullet. Optimizations like losslessly optimizing your website’s images can have a big effect on your site’s performance and will still be needed. In short, while you should add HTTP/2 support to your website, make sure you are doing other optimizations and following performance best practices to ensure the best possible user experience. If you are looking for a place to start, or want to see how your site is doing, Zoompf’s free performance report is a great way to understand what you can do to make your website faster.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

How to Save Money While Shopping Online in India

December 11th, 2014

Online shopping is convenient and you often get better discounts than what the local shops have to offer but if you can do a little more research, you may end up saving even more. Here are some online shopping tips and websites that may help you get the best deals while shopping online in India.

Shopping Websites in India

Online Shopping Tips to Save Money

1. Use Comparison Shopping

There are dozens of credible shopping sites in India and it may therefore take time and effort to determine which of them offers the best deal on a particular product. Comparison shopping sites like Junglee.com, MySmartPrice.com, PhoneCurry.com and Scandid.in aggregate prices from multiple online retailers (through XML feeds and web scraping) making it easier for you to compare prices.

A downside is that some of these comparison shopping engines may not have price data from all the popular retailers so the lowest listed price may not always be the lowest on the Internet.

2. Find Discount Coupon Codes

Some shopping sites accept coupon codes that you can apply during checkout for some additional discounts on your final bill. Google is of little help here since coupon codes expire very soon but there are quite a few coupon aggregating sites – CouponDunia.in and CouponRaja.com for example – where you may often find active coupon codes for most online stores.

The coupons are neatly organized by stores and the listings are sorted by their expiry dates. Popular US coupons website RetailMeNot.com too has an India-specific section that aggregates coupons from Domino’s Pizza, eBay, Myntra and other popular online shopping sites.

You should also consider subscribing to the email newsletters of your favorite shopping sites and discount codes may sometimes land up in your mailbox.

3. Earn CashBack on Online Purchases

Coupon codes aren’t the only way to save money on your online purchases. Sites like CashKaro.com and Pennyful.in offer cashbacks on your regular purchases as long you visit the shopping site through the special links listed on these cashback websites.

It works something like this. You create an account at CashKaro and it will provide you links to various retailer sites where cash back offers are available. You visit the shopping site through these special links, make the purchase as normal and the cashback amount will be paid to you once a threshold is reached.

4. Set Price Alerts

You can use the price tracker to know when the online prices of any item drop. Just put all the items you wish to buy in a Google Spreadsheet and the tracker will monitor their prices for you. You can also use the Amazon’s Junglee to set price alerts.

5. Watch Deals on the Social Web

Most online shopping brands in India are active on Twitter and some of them do regularly post offers and deals on these channels. It may thus be a good idea to like /follow you favorite retails on the Facebook and Twitter so you’ll stay in the loop. You can also follow @DealsForGeeks on Twitter to know about upcoming deals on mobile and tech products.

Popular A-Z shopping sites like flipkart.com, Amazon.in, Snapdeal.com, eBay.in and Infibeam.com have dedicated pages where they list ongoing offers – you may want to monitor these pages or at least put them in your browser bookmarks.

6. Research Online, Shop Offline

Not every local mom-and-pop store may have a website but some of these local stores may have better deals to offer than even the big online retailers. PriceBaba.com aggregates prices offered by the various offline retailers in a city and the site also lists their phone numbers and addresses should you decide to make the purchase from a local shop.

You can also find contact details of offline retailers through their listings in the eBay and Junglee marketplaces. Give them a call, ask for a quote and you may end up getting a better deal.

Also see: US Websites That Ship to India

7. Try a Different Browser

News reports in the WSJ and USA Today suggest that certain shopping sites, especially those in the travel category, may alter prices based on your geo-location and by looking at your previous browsing history through cookies. I am not sure if Indian shopping sites use “dynamic pricing” but the incognito (or private) mode in your browser will prevent the site from connecting the dots and they’ll treat you as a new customer.

8. Wait, if you can

There’s no Black Friday or Cyber Monday in India but shopping sites here generally offer better discounts around holidays and festivals. Thus wait, if you can.


The story, How to Save Money While Shopping Online in India, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 10/12/2014 under Online Shopping, India.
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog

Prime Reasons for, why SEO plays in enhanced web traffic

It has been recently found that, the strategies opted by the SEO Birmingham companies have become critically significant to the success of small businesses. If your online business is not making use of SEO Birmingham, this write-up discusses prime reasons why you should opt for the local strategies used by SEO Birmingham companies.

As per the recent findings, more than 39% of the NETIZENS experience problems while searching for the local businesses over the Word Wide Wed. People know about the existence of the local business, but suffer inconvenience while locating web information about such businesses. The major reason behind such inconvenience suffered by the Netizens is that such business fails to understand the relevance of SEO Birmingham. Thereby, if your business provides products and services over the web nationally or internationally, search engine optimization can be of great help over making the brand visible on the search engine results.

Nowadays, more and more people rely on the Internet for finding local businesses

There have been times, when the local business did not worry about the scope of SEO, just word of mouth has been more than enough for spreading their existence to the local consumers. But, today as per the statistics more than 84% of the people make use of the Internet medium for locating the local businesses. No telephone directories, people rely on search engines.

Thus, it becomes essential to change the traditional marketing strategy to modern day strategy of online marketing.

SEO Birmingham costs a little less

If you are considering Adword strategy to capture the online marketing domain, you must be aware of the fact; the popularity of the keyword chosen is directly proportional to the amount of the fee paid. Selection of local keywords means lesser keyword competition, which means you need not pay extra costs.

Helps in reaping the benefits of advanced Google features

SEO companies in Birmingham, such as SEO Results4u at Avon House, 435 Stratford Road, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 4AA 0121 746 3121 also contribute to the SEO landscape of their local area, be it Solihull, Birmingham or even the wider West Midlands area.

People are actually unaware about the fact, Google plus has changed the traditional way of Internet usage. If the keywords chosen are relevant to the domain to the local market, you very wisely unlock enhanced services offered by Google:

  • A map representing the physical location of a business
  • Appealing pictures with respect to the business
  • Make use of the reviews posted by the user

Truth be told, without using the local platform of SEO, Google plus fails to recognize your business, which clearly means lack of authentic information over the web.

Local SEO encourages better and enhanced credibility

People trust Yahoo, Bing and Google with their eyes closed and believe, these magical search engines have remedies for each and every query. It is a well-accepted notion among the commoners, the brands that appear in the top search lists are most wanted and authentic service providers. So, if you want people to believe in your brand's credibility, Search Engine Optimization adds credibility to your brand power among the commoners. Local SEO adds credibility as well as a definite increase in the web traffic.

Your Peers are using

Business is all about competition. Your peers are using it and yielding the benefits, why aren’t you?