By Bryan McNee at

By Bryan McNee at

What you need to know about SEO in 2018

Those involved in the SEO world know how complex and ever-changing the industry can be. With over 200 ranking factors and the constant updates of the algorithm, keeping up with SEO trends is mandatory.

One thing never changes, though: providing the best possible experience for users. In 2018, quality content will certainly remain in focus, but there are other novelties in SEO practices that come with changes in user behavior and evolution in technology.  Take a look at a few of those things to look out for in the new year:

Google is switching to a mobile-first index

Today, we are witnessing a shift from desktop to mobile when it comes to the preferable way to surf the web. Nearly 60% of searches now come from mobile devices, and Google has finally decided to roll out the mobile-first index update. This means the algorithm will primarily use the content your site offers in the mobile view for ranking it in the SERP.

Mobile-first index was mentioned for the first time in 2016 on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, where the team shared recommended practices. Without any doubt, this will be a big historical change in the way websites are indexed.

Having a mobile responsive website is becoming an imperative, as well as having a structured markup for both desktop and mobile version. Webmasters do not need to make changes to their canonical links. Adding and verifying a mobile version of your site to the Search Console is also advisable.    

Voice search will continue to rise

Virtual assistants such as Google Now, Cortana, and Siri have shortened the path between users and the answers they need. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced that voice searches make up to 20% of mobile queries, which puts new challenges in front of SEO experts. Forecasts say this type of search has a growth tendency, so optimizing for Google Voice Search is a good idea.

Marketers have to analyze user intent in order to optimize well for voice searches. Typically, users have four different queries: they seek knowledge (educational content and exact answers), places (“near me” queries and addresses of local businesses), activities (how to’s and other types of guides), and purchase opportunities (online shops of their favorite brands). In order to optimize content for voice searches, you should definitely include a well-structured FAQ on your website so that precise information will easily get indexed and put in front of users. Use relevant long tail keywords (voice searches are often lengthier opposed to text) and optimize your content for conversational language.   

Link building is not going anywhere

study conducted by Stone Temple has proven once again that link building is not going anywhere and it’s not hard to understand why. A good quality backlink profile acts like a signal for Google that your website is a great resource that provides value to readers. But in addition to your standard link building efforts, you should also think about the concept of link earning. Although the difference between the two is subtle, the latter puts user experience in the center of attention.

Link earning is all about focusing on producing engaging content that actually answers the questions users are interested in, which inspires people to organically link to you. So, you are rewarded with a link naturally. If you want to hold a great ranking position, you should focus on building and earning links from reputable domains with high authority. Make sure none of the links pointing to your website come from shady and spammy sites. Disavow bad links.

High quality content + smart keywords will get you far

Smart SEO techniques always come down to creating great content with both users and search engines in mind. To truly stand out in the sea of average content across the web and earn better rankings, you need to create unique, original content that not only educates - but provides a concrete answer that satisfies user intent. That is the only way you will increase your organic visits. Of course, smart usage of keywords will help crawlers index your website easier. Use Google Keyword Planner to map out relevant words and phrases and optimize your content. Reoptimize your old content in accordance to new keyword trends.   

When it comes to content, ensure your text posts are scannable and easily consumable. Add eye-catching visuals, make your website navigation logical, and always keep UX in mind. Dwell time matters: give your site visitors a reason to stick around.

Featured snippets matter more than ever

Marketing and SEO experts such as Bill Slawski, Eric Enge, and Marcus Miller believe the chase for a featured snippet will become the focal point in 2018. If a featured snippet appears on the SERP, it’s far more likely users will click on that link opposed to the listed results below. According to the Ahrefs study, a featured snippet will actually steal clicks from the #1 ranking result. Optimizing for rich snippets or “People Also Ask” boxes pays off, specifically because it instantly grabs the attention of users. This helps you generate more traffic, save money on PPC, and gain more visibility.

You should definitely keep these SEO trends in mind but also commit to white hat techniques only. Everything you do as a webmaster leaves a trace on how your domain is perceived by Google. I have already discussed domain ranking factors, and while agility remains one of the most important skills for an SEO expert, don’t get carried away and forget the crucial basics. Take the holistic approach and you will nail SEO in 2018.

Source: Smart Brief

By Bryan McNee at

Microsoft Issues Emergency Windows Update for Processor Security Bugs

Microsoft Issues Emergency Windows Update for Processor Security Bugs

Microsoft is issuing a rare out-of-band security update to supported versions of Windows today. The software update is part of a number of fixes that will protect against a newly-discovered processor bug in Intel, AMD, and ARM chipsets. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company will issue a Windows update that will be automatically applied to Windows 10 machines at 5PM ET / 2PM PT today.

The update will also be available for older and supported versions of Windows today, but systems running operating systems like Windows 7 or Windows 8 won’t automatically be updated through Windows Update until next Tuesday. Windows 10 will be automatically updated today.

FIRMWARE UPDATES ALSO REQUIRED

While Microsoft is quickly addressing the issues, the fixes will also rely on firmware updates from Intel, AMD, or other vendors that are rolling out. Some anti-virus vendors will also need to update their software to work correctly with the new patches, as the changes are related to Kernel-level access.

The firmware updates and software patches could cause some systems to run slower. Sources familiar with the situation tell The Verge that Intel processors that are based on Skylake or newer architecture won’t see a significant performance degradation. However, older processors could slow down more significantly due to the firmware and software updates.

Intel says any slow downs will be “workload-dependent,” but the company has not expanded on how this will affect older machines. Microsoft is also planning to update its cloud-based servers with the latest firmware and software patches, and these updates are rolling out now.

The Verge understands that Google is planning to document and disclose the security flaws in processors at 5PM ET today. The exact bug appears to be related to the way that regular apps and programs can discover the contents of protect kernel memory areas. Kernels in operating systems have complete control over the entire system, and connect applications to the processor, memory, and other hardware inside a computer. There appears to be a flaw in modern processors that let attackers bypass kernel access protections so that regular apps can read the contents of kernel memory.

Software vendors like Microsoft and other Linux programmers are protecting against this by separating the kernel's memory away from user processes in what’s being called “Kernel Page Table Isolation.” Linux patches have been rolling out over the past month, and now Windows patches are being made available today.

Microsoft has confirmed the Windows update in a statement:

We're aware of this industry-wide issue and have been working closely with chip manufacturers to develop and test mitigations to protect our customers. We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and have also released security updates to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from Intel, ARM, and AMD. We have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers.

Update, 5:10PM ET: Article updated with Microsoft’s official statement.

Source:  The Verge

By Bryan McNee at

What To Expect From SEO In 2018

What To Expect From SEO In 2018


Source:  Business 2 Community

By Bryan McNee at

Your Digital Presence is Fundamental in Your Businesses Success

Your Digital Presence is Fundamental in Your Businesses Success

For those of you who haven't heard about it, Yext is an SaaS platform that neatly integrates the most important data points of a brick and mortar business--name, address, phone, hours of operation, website address, etc.--and synchronizes that data across key search engines, listing services, map services and more. The value of having synchronized data is simple. Synchronized data means that no matter where your customers look online, they will find the same information. There will be no confusion where the pin is dropped on the map.

Here's the thing though. Too many of us rely totally on Google. Just because you may think you're data is right with Google, that doesn't mean your visibility is optimized, nor does that mean the hundreds of other sources where your customers may be looking are correct.  If your Business Sign was incorrect, wouldn't you fix it?  Yes, of course you would. 

"Your digital presence is as foundational as your business's signage".

 

In addition, synchronizing location data across the web further improves visibility with Google. We've seen it happen, and the results are unmistakable.  McNee Solutions, LLC believes that Yext is the only option for the ever growing digital presence and we have invested in becoming a Certified Yext Partner.  We call it the Match and Lock!  We can match your listings then lock them down for you.  We have included this service in our SEO and know it is the Insurance you need for your Business Listing.  

Run your FREE scan today!

https://www.optimizelocation.com/partner/mcneesolutions/diagnostic.html

 

 

 

 

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By Bryan McNee at

Flash is finally on its way out

Adobe said it will stop updating and distributing the Flash technology for playing multimedia on the web by 2020.

The company is collaborating with Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Mozilla in the effort but will provide support for and updates to the software until the end-of-life date.

Meanwhile, Adobe will "encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats," the company said in a blog post.

 

Flash dates back to the 1990s, but other tech players have been speaking out against it for years. Apple in particular has been talking for years about how Flash hurts the user experience on desktop and mobile devices. "Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true," Steve Jobs wrote in 2010.

Earlier this year, Google said it would start blocking Flash by default in its Chrome browser come October, and Microsoft has sought to stop Flash from showing up in its Edge browser for Windows 10.

"Adobe will also remain at the forefront of leading the development of new web standards and actively participate in their advancement. This includes continuing to contribute to the HTML5 standard and participating in the WebAssembly Community Group.

By Bryan McNee at

Security Robot Commits Suicide

McNeeSolutionsThe Knightscope K5 security robot was supposed to patrol the Georgetown Waterfront, a ritzy shopping-and-office complex along the Washington Harbour in D.C.

Looking like a mutant hybrid of R2D2 and a Dalek, the K5 was built to be a crime-fighting robot that could rove the streets and monitor for suspicious activity. It has been used in some offices and malls across America.

But the pressure was too much for the rolling robot, which can turn, beep, and whistle in order to maintain order.

At one point today, it had had enough, rolled into fountain and drowned itself.

By Bryan McNee at

Original R2 D2 sells for almost $3M

An R2-D2 droid that was used in several "Star Wars" films has sold at auction for nearly $3 million.

The auction house Profiles in History said the 43-inch tall unit that was compiled from parts used throughout filming of the original trilogy sold for $2.76 million at an auction Wednesday.

There was no information about who purchased the droid, which was the most expensive item offered in a movie memorabilia auction that included numerous props from the "Star Wars" franchise. Other items up for sale included Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from the first two films, which sold for $450,000 and Darth Vader's helmet from the original film sold for $96,000.

The Calabasas, California-based Profiles in History had estimated the droid could fetch up to $2 million before Wednesday's sale.

Other space-themed film and television memorabilia was also for sale, with a collection of 23 ships from "Battlestar Galactica" and "Buck Rogers" sold for $1.8 million. A helmet worn by late actor Bill Paxton on the set of "Aliens" sold for $51,000.

Not all the items that sold were out of this world. The lighted dancefloor from "Saturday Night Fever" sold for $1.2 million."

By Bryan McNee at

McNee Solutions voted Best Web Designer 2017

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

McNee Solutions, LLC Receives 2017 Best of Lexington Award

Lexington Award Program Honors the Achievement

LEXINGTON June 1, 2017 -- McNee Solutions, LLC has been selected for the 2017 Best of Lexington Award in the Website Designer category by the Lexington Award Program.

Each year, the Lexington Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Lexington area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2017 Lexington Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Lexington Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Lexington Award Program

The Lexington Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Lexington area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Lexington Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Lexington Award Program

CONTACT:
Lexington Award Program

By Bryan McNee at

Cool idea! A hamsterwheel desk!

If you are not reaching your current productivity potential - rise up, sedentary sentients, and unleash that untapped potential within by marching endlessly towards a brilliant future of focused work. Step forward into a world of infinite potential, bounded only by the smooth arcs of a wheel. Step forward into the Hamster Wheel Standing Desk that will usher in a new era of unprecedented productivity.

​I love this idea...I wonder if there is a holder for my krispy kremes?

By Bryan McNee at

Top 5 Reasons to use a MSP for IT

5 Reasons to Use a Managed Services Provider

One of the questions that I get over and over again is, “Why should we use your, or any, managed services provider?” Typically they ask this because they perceive that it would be better and more cost effective for them just to contact us as their technology issues arise (Break/Fix).

Unfortunately there is a common misconception that having their technology under a managed services agreement is like buying insurance… that they would be paying for something they may or may not use. Not so.

Here are 5 compelling reasons to use a Managed Services Provider.

1  A Managed Services Provider (MSP) will take a proactive approach to managing your tech infrastructure. No more break/fix putting out fires. While you can’t fix everything proactively a MSP worth their weight in salt will proactively identify most , if not all, issues and correct them prior to being a problem. Much easier on the nerves with employees being more productive. Ultimately, this will save your company time and money. A good thing.

2  One of the most important pieces of managed services is the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA explains and promises how and when the MSP will respond to the customized needs of your company. On the other hand, with break/fix services there is not an SLA and typically no guarantee of when the service will be provided. You can easily see that not having a managed service agreement with a SLA could cost your company time and money in lost productivity.

3  This is where the rub is with most companies as a typical managed services agreement is based upon a consistent monthly fee. With that said, in reality, this helps your company keep costs in line and makes budgeting much easier. With an MSP, dealing with unexpected expenses goes away. They now can be handled and dealt with in a timely budgeted manner. Let’s face it the unexpected always happens at the worst time. An MSP can help you get that under control.

4  Partnering with a reputable Managed Services Provider can be far less expensive than hiring, training, and retaining your own IT staff. For the companies that do not have IT staff, do you really want your bookkeeper as the IT “go-to-person”? Really? Using managed services allows that staff member to focus on your company’s business, instead of IT, which is always better for the bottom line.

5  Even if your business has an existing IT staff it can still benefit from managed services. An MSP can complement the internal IT staff by off-loading some of the day to day operations and management of the network and software. What a benefit to your company by allowing your IT staff to focus on other needs. Another big bonus is it can eliminate the necessity of making a large investment in infrastructure management tools since the Managed Services Provider already has these in place typically.

To learn more about the benefits of managed services to your company, email me at bryan@mcneesolutions.com

By Bryan McNee at

YouTube Offering Live TV Streaming

YouTube is finally getting into the skinny bundle wars, competing against Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Netflix and a host of others looking to grab consumers who want great television, but don’t want to pay for what they don’t watch.

At $35 a month, consumers in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and two other cities (with more to come down the line) can now get access to 50 channels of all different kinds of content -- news, sports, entertainment and more -- to whet their whistles and cut down on expenses or grab people who would never have paid for television in the first place.

Even though the service doesn’t have as many channels in its bundle as its competitors -- something Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves said “would have appealed to a much bigger portion of the U.S. population” it does have something going for it that some of its competition doesn’t have -- access to the major broadcast networks.

Aside from Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC, Youtube has more than 1 billion people watching videos on the platform, something its competitors also can’t match.

But what else does it have?

For $35 a month, consumers can get channels like ESPN, USA, Fox News, FX, NBCSN, SEC Network and a host of others. (For every channel available, click here.)

After looking at the channels offered by the service, YouTube TV appears as if it is trying to appeal to sports enthusiasts, but there are some glaring omissions. There are no deals with Turner properties such as TBS or TNT, which have the MLB and NBA playoffs, March Madness and other sports coverage.

There are also channels that can be added on to the service, like Showtime for $11 a month or Fox Soccer Plus for $15 a month. Currently, YouTube TV doesn’t offer HBO as an add-on like other over-the-top streaming services do, but YouTube and Google said in early March they were hopeful they would get access to it.

It also comes bundled with unlimited DVR, the ability to share your membership with up to 6 accounts, no cancellation fees and perhaps most importantly, the ability to watch on any device (including a free Chromecast for signing up).

At $35 a month, it’s far less expensive than the traditional $100 a month cable bundle offered from companies like Comcast, Spectrum, Charter and others, who are working on offering their own skinny bundles as well.

It’s still early days for these over-the-top services, but YouTube is hoping that by appealing to sports fans and making it easy to get access to the broadcast networks, it will differentiate itself from the competition enough to hold onto subscribers.

By Craig Collins at

Reasons to choose Serendipity blogging framework

  • Robust Editing Interface

    Featuring an integrated image manager, extended entry support and a host of other features. Write with a WYSIWYG editor or use any markup language you like, including Markdown and Textile.

     

  • Anti-Spam

    Fight spam in comments and trackbacks with Akismet, Honeypots, word filters, a local learning bayes filter, captchas or full moderation. Those means are provided by and extensible with plugins.

     

  • Dynamic

    You don’t need to constantly wait while your weblogging system regenerates pages. Caching is dynamically managed, so you don’t need to worry about it. Optional advanced URL rewriting rules and customizable permalinks are available.

  • Trackbacks and Pingbacks

    Serendipity can accept, send and autodiscover trackbacks and pingbacks. You will be noticed when you react to articles in other blogs, and you will be notified when another blogger links to an article of yours. It is not a CMS, but a real Blog.

  • Plugins

    A robust plugin system allows you to modify Serendipity without digging through the core source code. Sidebar plugins allow easy customization of your blog with dozens of features. Event plugins can hook into any place in s9y to make it one of the most flexible APIs available.

    Powerful plugins exist for maintaining static page content, displaying galleries, making rss aggregators, ldap authentication, customized template view, multilingual content and much more.

  • Themes

    Several themes are included by default, making it easy to everyone to change the look of the blog. For advanced users, the full flexibility of the Smarty templating engine allows to change every aspect of the Serendipity look.

     
  • Online Repository

    Both plugins and themes use our online repository Spartacus, installing them takes a few mouseclicks and no manual file upload! Spartacus also takes care of plugin updates.

  • Internationalized

    Serendipity is available in English, German, Danish, French and many more, and adding new translations is a snap.

  • Catalogue your entries

    Nested categories and posting to multiple categories are supported, and so are tags.

  • XML-RPC Editing

    Support for both the Movable Type and Blogger XML-RPC API.

  • Multiple Databases

    Serendipity supports MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite database backends.

  • Multiple Users

    Multiple users can edit and administrate the weblog. A permission system controls which user is allowed to do what.

  • Standards Compliant

    Serendipity supports HTML5, CSS3, RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0. Supports conditional GET for caching RSS feeds on the client-side. It also supports UTF-8 environments.

  • Shared Installation

    You can use Serendipity as a single installation to serve multiple and independent weblogs, but only maintaining a single codebase.

  • Easy Upgrading

    An easy and automatic upgrader helps you in the process of upgrading between Serendipity versions.

  • PHP-powered

    To fulfill the needs of ever-growing PHP-enabled websites and easy integration with support of embedding Serendipity into your webpage.

  • Open Source

    Serendipity is licensed under the BSD License. You get the code and are free to modify it and to do whatever you want with the result.

  • Actively maintained

    By some skilled and open-minded developers who give support on the Forums as well as listen to every new user suggestion.

 

By Craig Collins at

Integrating Serendipity Blog Framework with Codeigniter

s9y's Serendipity blogging framework supports an embedded mode so that it can be inserted into your existing web site.  But what about a site using CodeIgniter's MVC framework?

Embedding the Serendipity blog is explained fairly well here. We modify that method slightly so that the blog.php file that you create contains the following:

<?php
   ob_start();
   chdir("../www/blog");
   require("index.php");
   global $contents;
   $contents = ob_get_clean();
   chdir("../");

Next, the controller name matches the subdirectory that the blog is installed in. For example, a site which uses /blog would create a controller named Blog. This controller would contain the following code OUTSIDE of the the class definition (but within the file)

global $contents;
require_once("[Path to your blog.php file]");

Lastly, the serendipity contents can be accessed within your controller by accessing the $contents global:

    public function index() {
       global $contents;
       global $serendipity;
      

You will notice I also have a reference to the serendipity global variable. The serendipity global is used to pass information around within the serendipity blog framework and with the method above it is then completely accessible within your controller.  The result is an integration that works unexpectedly well...not just on the surface but within the PHP code, as well.

 

About This Blog

This blog is a place to read about the latest news and activity going on at McNee Solutions