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Jun
27
How Broken Links Affect SEO and What To Do About It
Posted by Matt Kinne on 27 June 2016 10:22 AM

A website is much like a car; it requires routine maintenance to keep it up and running without issues. If you forgo that maintenance, it could end up costing you more time and money. One area of routine maintenance that we strongly recommend is checking for broken links. It is something we do monthly and we’ll explain why.

What is a broken link?

To start things off, there are two types of links: internal and external. Internal links stay on your website; for example, a link on your About Us page that links to your Contact Us page. External links are links that go to a destination outside of your website; for example to Google, Facebook, or Twitter.

Internal links are a lot easier to fix, since they are on your website only and you can control them. When it comes to external links, you are at the mercy of who you are linking to. If a web page you are linking to removes a page completely or changes the URL without setting up a 301 redirect, you will run into a broken link.

Broken links are:

  • A link on a web page that no longer works

  • A bad URL (mistyped) or

  • The destination page was removed and now shows a 404 error

Broken Link Illustration

This is just a normal part of having a website. So the question you’re probably thinking is how does broken links affect my SEO and how can I fix it?

Do broken links really affect SEO and how important is it to fix?

Well unfortunately there isn’t a measure of how much it truly affects your SEO, but the more broken links you have the worse your site will be ranked. When Google’s bots crawl your website, the bots determine the usability by checking a number of factors, including broken links among other things. Broken links without proper redirects result in a poor usability score, which drags down your SEO. If Google’s crawlers come across a broken link, it could halt the crawling process, meaning that page might not be indexed, so it won’t be found on search engines.

How do I find my broken links?

This task may sound difficult at first, but there are plenty of third-party tools to cut-down on your effort. If you are on WordPress, we recommend the Broken Link checker plug-in by Vladimir Prelovac. It is very effective and runs real-time checks for broken links, no need for running your own scan. If you aren’t on WordPress, a good site to use is www.brokenlinkcheck.com. It is a free online tool that will locate broken links on your site and point you to exactly where they are.

I found my broken links, how do I fix them?

URL Redirect

We will start off with external links first. These ones are totally out of your control as a website owner, so there are a couple different approaches you can take. You can either remove the link completely, or try to find the new location of the page you had previously linked.

Internal links are much easier because they are completely under your control. Once you have found your broken links, change the link to new URL. Once the new URL is entered, Google might still find the old link. This is where 301 redirects come in. A 301 redirect tells web browsers and search engines that a web page or site has been permanently redirected to a new location.

There are many ways to enact a 301 redirect, so we’ll cover the easy way first. If you are on a WordPress site, the easiest way to go about it is to install the plug-in called Simple 301 Redirects by Scott Nelle. If you are on a different web platform, there is a website called Rapid Tables which has a 301 redirect code generator. It can generate a 301 redirect for PHP, ASP, ASP.NET, HTML, JavaScript, and the .htaccess file.

Be cautious of adding 301 redirects, especially if you are editing your .htaccess file. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us, we’d love to help.

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Apr
7
What is Ransomware?
Posted by Don Raleigh III on 07 April 2016 10:51 AM

Credit Card Theft, Ransomware, and Phishing Scams.

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Many of us have been reading about what is going on in the credit card industry. From people using skimmers on gas station terminals to steal credit card information, to people sending you emails with odd attachments. Here is the article that the FBI relesaed, "Your computer screen freezes with a pop-up message—supposedly from the FBI or another federal agency—saying that because you violated some sort of federal law your computer will remain locked until you pay a fine. Or you get a pop-up message telling you that your personal files have been encrypted and you have to pay to get the key needed decrypt them." Here are some examples of what these emails could look like. 

Mobile-Svpeng-Trojan-Gains-Device-Blocking-Capability-446403-2

If you notice, it has links that you can click on. This is called Social Engineering. It is not hacking, it is not coding, all it is is you giving the attackers your personal information. When you click on the buttons, and choose to accept the attacks its like stealing candy from a baby. If something seems off, or you're not sure what something is; dont do it. Once these attackers have your information they will go after your bank accounts, your credit lines, your identity, your families information as well as your clients identity. 

The team at Evolve Systems has seen everything from an email coming through stating that the user is required to appear in court the following for court duty and to view the case in a zip file, to emails saying that the FBI is investigating you and you needed to fill out information in a zip file. If you ever receive an email from the "government" that asks you to preform a task online, it is more than likely a malicious attack. Never open a .zip file unless you are completely positive you know what it contains. Sometimes, even personal contacts emails can be hacked, and will send you virus'. Here is a list of possible phishing scams that Indiana Univesrity has published. 

If you can take anything away from this, is that you need to back up your computers, not for if it happens, but for when it happens. "By backing up your operating system and all its contents to an air-gapped external hard drive every single day, you completely mitigate the risk of ransomware by circumventing the tool it uses to get you to pay up in the first place.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and contact me on LinkedIn and I would be more than happy to help direct you to how you can upload and secure your computer in the cloud, get you connected to those that can help when you think your computer is being attacked, and answer any questions on how you can protect yourself from credit card skimmers. 

Thank you!

-Don Raleigh III

Evolve Systems

 

Sources: 

https://kb.iu.edu/d/arsf 

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2015/january/ransomware-on-the-rise

http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-is-ransomware-and-should-you-be-worried-about-it/

Youtube

 


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Dec
17
Is Having a Mobile Responsive Website Really Necessary?
Posted by Don Raleigh on 17 December 2015 03:15 PM

Image result for mobile responsive sites

Is Having a Mobile Responsive Website Really Necessary? 

One of the largest technological advancements has been in all of our pockets over the past decade. From Mark Zuckerberg coming out with Facebook in 2004, to recently with the introduction of ApplePay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet, and other similar software payment services. Because of these new advancements consumers no longer need different credit cards in order to make a payment at a retail store. Because of this, the consumer has also realized that they can create orders online through their mobile device, taking the brick and mortar store front out of the equation. Thus making the revelation that any type of E-Commerce transaction can be done from their mobile devices.

According to Tony Haile of Chartbeat, in his TIME magazine article, consumers only spend a total of 15 seconds on a website if it is not mobile responsive. So, how do businesses refocus their efforts in order to hone in on this "microwave", or the TL;DR generation? The answer may be simpler than one may think. Focus on the true purpose of the site, if the purpose is to raise awareness for an issue, sell a product or service, or reveal a solution to a problem. All of this can be done by using simple tools to make your site "mobile friendly" or transferring the site to a mobile responsive platform. Which, your friends at Evolve Systems can help with. 

In the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts have a key phrase that really speaks the truth about mobile websites:

"Google likes Google, and if you dont play with Google, Google wont play with you"

It sounds like one of those Russian jokes that we always hear, but, Google, last year put out an a new SEO rule where if your website is not mobile responsive, Google will punish you by not putting your website as high as its rankings in the search engine as your competition. Here is a link for more information from Google

One easy way to check if your website is mobile responsive is to follow this link, and put in your web address. It will show you what your site looks like on a mobile platform, and show you why it is important to have a mobile site. Here is a link for a great example of what a mobile site should look like. Notice how you don't need to "zoom" in with your fingers, and you dont run into the risk of the "American Thumb" syndrome and click the wrong button because said button was too small, and all of the critical information is listed immediately? That is what having a mobile responsive website looks like. 

The solutions are out there, its just taking the right step forward, and accepting the fact that the market is changing. Your market is no longer just about the people in your store, but those viewing you from their couches at home, so, what are you going to do to make sure that you are not losing those potential clients?

If you have any questions about moving your site over to a mobile responsive platform, or are curious on how to become more "mobile friendly", contact Don Raleigh III at Evolve Systems. Email him at [email protected], and his phone number is (651) 556-4635

Inline image 1

-Don Raleigh III

Evolve Systems

Lets connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donraleigh3


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Nov
4
Tips for Optimizing Your Website for Mobile Users
Posted by Jon Elfstrum on 04 November 2015 04:12 PM

When someone is mobile, they’re expecting an entirely different experience from the one they’ll get on your standard website. Here are some tips for improving the mobile experience for your site visitors:

Simplify
The first step in creating a mobile site is determining what content to include. Given the restricted amount of screen space, it’s important to determine what key pieces of information your visitors will probably be looking for. A store locator? Probably. A “Contact Us” form with 15 different fields to fill out? Not as much. It’s also important to keep the steps involved in going from entry point to purchase as simple as possible. Making your home page as simple as possible will make the mobile experience much less frustrating and time-consuming.

Utilize White Space
When designing any website, it’s a natural tendency to cram in as much information as possible. But fight that urge. Not only does white space give a cleaner, more sophisticated appearance, it also ensures that users can easily click the button they’re aiming for.

Do Not Use Pop-Up Windows
Navigating between multiple tabs and browser windows is more difficult on mobile and can cause slow load times. If you need to open a new browser window, make sure to provide instructions on how to navigate back to the original page.

Reduce the Amount of Text Entry Necessary
Do you suffer from fat-finger syndrome, which makes it difficult to use a smartphone keyboard? Most of us have trouble typing on tiny keyboards. When possible, use dropdown menus, checklists and pre-populated fields as a means of data entry. This helps minimize the challenges people face when typing text into a smartphone. 

Avoid Flash or Java
The obvious reason for avoiding Flash is that Apple products do not support Flash and have declared that they have no intention to do so in the future. Because iPhones make up about 30% of the smartphone market, a significant portion of your audience may not be able to access your content if you use Flash. Similarly, many phones do not support Java, and even if they do, using Java can be a huge drag on load time.

Those are just some basic tips for making your visitors mobile experience better. Feel free to submit a ticket with any questions you may have or call us at 651-628-4000.


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May
20
EMV deadlines are looming, are you ready?
Posted by Jasmin Whiting on 20 May 2015 01:44 PM

Introducing EMV

As the threat of fraud increases, the U.S. is taking necessary steps to protect cardholders, merchants, and banks alike. EMV, which stands for Euro Pay MasterCard Visa, is the new standard for credit card authentication and protection in the U.S today. Credit cards will now be imbedded with an EMV chip which will greatly decrease the probability of fraud for both cardholders and merchants. Along with the new chip technology, comes new credit card terminals enabled to “read” the chips and process payments.

How are you at risk?

In October of 2015, there will be a fraud liability shift in the credit card industry. At the moment, if a cardholder’s card is compromised and fraudulent activity occurs, the issuing bank is held financially responsible for it. However, this October, the shift will make you, the merchant, liable for any fraudulent charges, no matter the amount. The fraud saying goes, “the one with the least amount of security pays the bill”. In order to protect against this great risk, merchants are relying on new EMV compatible terminals. While no one is guaranteed to be 100% safe from fraud, the EMV terminals are the absolute best bet to protect against negative card activity.

So, what’s the next step?

The next step is a simple one! We understand some small businesses today are on a budget, and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a new terminal. While we believe this one-time investment could save you thousands in the case of fraud, we wanted to offer a cost efficient terminal as well! One of the best EMV compatible terminals on the market today is the Ingenico iCT250. It has both chip & PIN technology, as well as its ability to accept NFC payments like Apple Pay.

We’ve even taken the extra step so once you purchase the terminal, it gets sent right to your front door; all you have to do is plug it in! Keep in mind that as the October 2015 deadline approaches, these terminals will be in great demand and may be difficult to get your hands on right away. We are encouraging merchants to purchase now while the inventory is full. If you are interested in learning more about our EMV compatible terminal, you can either e-mail us at [email protected] or call at 651-628-4000.

We look forward to speaking with you soon!


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