Social networking sites keep ‘deleted’ photos

26 May 2009 by Anna Mieczakowski  
Filed under Social marketing

The security research group from the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge have recently announced the results of their latest study on the deletion of personal photos from the social networking sites such as Facebook. Cambridge academics claim that user photographs can still be found on many social networking sites even after 30 days or more since people have deleted them.

A Facebook spokesman claims that when a user deletes his or her photos from their profile, all those photos are removed from the company’s servers “immediately”. However, the Cambridge University team found quite the opposite. The research group performed an experiment during which they uploaded photos to a several social networking sites, including Facebook, Flickr, Google’s Picasa and Microsoft’s Windows Live Spaces. The academics then deleted those pictures from their online profiles, but kept a note of direct URLs to the photos from the sites’ content delivery networks. When the researchers checked the URLs 30 days later, most of the links to photos continued to work even though a typical user might think the photos had been removed. As BBC Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones puts it: “you may have put your pictures in Facebook’s bin, but you will still have to wait for the content delivery network to delete them”. Furthermore, special photo-sharing sites, such as Flickr and Google’s Picasa, did better than Facebook and Microsoft’s Windows Live Spaces removed the photos instantly.

It is not the first time that Facebook has breached user privacy as recently users of Facebook staged a revolt over rules which would have given the site permanent ownership of their data.

Joseph Bonneau, a lead researcher of this project, concludes that “social networking sites often take a lazy approach to user privacy, doing what’s simpler rather than what is correct and it’s imperative to view privacy as a design constraint, not a legal add-on”.

6 Tips to help you get the best return on your investment

22 May 2009 by Kevin Holdridge  
Filed under News and views

You did it. You got yourself a website because prospects and customers kept asking for your web address. And you’d heard how much business small companies could generate from a website. So, you paid a Web developer handsomely for a beautiful site with the latest Flash animations, or had your brother-in-law build it on the cheap.

But your site’s been up for a while and it hasn’t brought you any business. What’s gone wrong? Here are the six things you can do for maximum results.

1 Make it part of your marketing strategy

Be clear what you want the website to do for you and then make sure it’s designed to do that well, whether reaching new customers, providing new services to improve customer relationships or improve cross-selling and repeat orders.

As with any marketing medium, your site must focus on your customers’ interests – not yours. Your site should be easy to use and tell customers exactly what they need to know.

2 Promote a positive image and user experience

Get the basics right so you don’t alienate users. Ensure the site looks professional, works properly, doesn’t oblige the user to install extra software and is user friendly. Websites that are too slow, crash in the middle of the transaction or ask for unnecessary information will alienate users.

3 Embrace Internet marketing

Google currently indexes billions of web pages. For your site to be found by customers and prospects you need to get your Internet marketing right.

The site itself should be optimised to get the best possible results in the search engines for your target keywords. A competent web developer can make sure the site is designed and built optimally. But, you also need to make sure that the text is well written for optimisation and is regularly updated. Use a web-savvy copywriter for best effect.

Get links to your website included on other relevant sites. Done correctly, this will improve your results in the search engines. You might even consider temporarily buying links on premium sites to get a quick initial boost.

Done properly, pay-per-click advertising is easily the most focused, cost-effective, and measurable marketing tool in history. You can easily dip a toe in the water through a small-budget Google AdWords campaign.

4 Reach out – use email

Websites only work when a user goes to them (the ‘pull’ effect). Get better results by combining the ‘push’ approach of using email to reach out to customers and prospects. It’s easy and cheap to reach people through email, and especially email newsletters.

5 Be sticky

'Stickiness’ is a measure of how well a website encourages users to keep coming back. There are some tried-and-tested ways of building stickiness:

  • Regularly give things for free (maybe a downloadable briefing paper or promotional offer). The cost to you can be small with online delivery.
  • Provide an online customer helpdesk
  • Build an area for customers only where they can get access to premium resources
  • Add new and relevant information

6 Stay fresh

Make sure you have good content management facilities so it is quick and easy to update the content and structure of your site without having to pay – and wait for – your web developer to do it for you. Then have a plan to ensure you make at least monthly updates.

Kent House offers a free no-strings appraisal of your site with recommendations for improvement. If you’d like some advice on how to get more from your web investment, give us a call on 0845 638 0700 or drop us an email at info@kenthouse.com.

Search Engine Market Share

This is just a very quick check in to give you the latest update on Search Engine Market Share.

Google is still number one with a share of 73.32% of the search market. Yahoo! comes in distant second with 15.78%. Ask, MSN and Live are at 3.93%, 3.52% and 2.11% respectively.

Although Google has the largest share, it is important to remember that 16% of the world’s internet surfers is a HUGE number and one which could make you millions – moral of the story, don’t forget the little guys when thinking about search marketing. The almost frenzied need to get to page one and number one on Google should not overshadow the fact that  Yahoo!, Ask, MSN and Live are equally as important and worthy of a certain percentage (maybe 16%?) of your time!

Google AdWords Professional

1 May 2009 by Yvonne Conway  
Filed under Search Engine Optimisation

logo_qualified_ind_801Last week I passed my Google AdWords exam and have to admit that it was an unwelcome return to my university days of blind panic and “have I done enough??”.  However, panic was unnecessary, I passed and I have the logo to prove it.

There is remarkably little online outside of Google itself that can help you towards acquiring the accreditation and this really surprised me, surely with the number of people out there working in SEO and PPC someone would have written something, a cheat sheet some detailed help but no! One thing did seem to crop up time and again on forums and blogs– a general consensus that the questions are vague and open to interpretation. I could not agree more and this increases the difficulty of the exam considerably.

However drawing on my experience and the fact that I had swotted up on all things AdWords related in the AdWords Learning Centre, I passed and am safely among the ranks of the qualified for another two years.

If you have any PPC or SEO questions, give me a call or send me an email, I am always happy to help.