SSL Defined by Kinetic KnowledgeDefine SSL … For The Layperson

Let’s define SSL, which stands for Secure Socket Layers. Typically, when you look at a web page URL in your browser you see HTTP://www.URL.com. The ‘HTTP’ stands for ‘HyperText Transfer Protocol’ and that’s techie- speak for ‘how information is shared between a person’s browser and the website server, Better yet, it is the connection someone makes via browser to your website.

Now add an ‘S’ to make that HTTPS://www.URL.com and you have ‘HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure’, which encrypts information shared between the browser and website server. ‘SSL’ or that ‘S’ is the standard technology for establishing a secure connection between a human’s browser and the website server.

This kind of security became particularly relevant in 2014 when the ‘Heartbleed bug‘ became public knowledge. It allowed nefarious people (= hackers or spies) to listen in on traffic; it enabled an ability to read the data exchanged. The bug was patched, but the incident determined that encrypting user information over the internet was & is necessary. Google feels that it should NOT be an option because SSL protects all website visitors. In some cases, it protects YOU when logging in to your own website!

SSL is not website security, for instance where firewalls identify nefarious IP addresses and block them from visiting the site. No, SSL only protects the web visitors’ connection from the browser to the website. 


But What Does SSL Really Do?

When the link between browser and website server is ‘SSL’ it ensures that all information passed between the two remain private. When a page is only ‘HTTP:’ it is possible that third party computers can get between a browser and website connection and see the information exchanged. A huge issue, for instance, if a visitor to a website is passing sensitive data like credit card information into a purchase form. When SSL is used the information becomes encrypted or unreadable to all but the website host server receiving the information.


Why Is Google After Us All To SSL Our Website Pages?

Nowadays Google’s Chrome browser adds an icon upper left to distinguish sites with SSL from those without. Some would argue the folks at Google are doing their best to inform and motivate safety online. Others would argue keeping everyone safe is good for Google’s business. It’s likely that no one would argue that safety online is anything but good; so the question becomes how to motivate website owners to set about protecting their visitors?! Solution: try the insecure icon (i) Google Chrome now uses to point out that a site is not HTTPS:// in order to help motivate these same website owners. And certainly, it is good for those of us who’d like to use the Internet without concern for our own information theft.

And so Google’s influence has become a driving factor in SSL adoption. Especially because they announced it was going to add the use of SSL as a ranking signal for comparing website pages. They didn’t say where the weight of the signal sits in what is universally believed to be as many as 200 ranking signals, but we can probably assume (at least) for E-Commerce websites it’s high. For the balance of websites maybe not so much yet, BUT if not it is going to become highly weighted for all sites soon.

Detail: starting in 2017 Google Chrome (the browser) is adding a prominent locked icon (upper left) to its browser for when a page is ‘HTTPS’, regardless of whether or not it is e-commerce capable. When not, the icon says “insecure”. There are a number of different SSL certificates you can choose from, some determined by need, some related to hosting and each offers various levels of trust at different costs with varied execution requirements. 


Will SSL Suffice So Far As Web Security Goes?

SSL is not equal to all the security one needs! What’s more, SSL is about protecting visitors to a website and NOT the website owner herself.

NOTE: there is no security absolute! The security threat landscape always evolves. Security is about risk reduction, not risk elimination because the risk will never be zero. Check out The 4 Areas Of Security Businesses Need To Manage to see more on this. 

Security is a continuous process; it is as much about securing and hardening a local environment, the user’s online behavior, and personal internal processes, as it is physically tuning and configuring website connections and installations. Security stems from three things: people, process, and technology. They’ve got to work in synchronous harmony to truly minimize the risks at hand. More soon!!

on duplicate content

On Duplicate Content

We get the question, “may I duplicate content I believe will be valuable to my audience?” quite often. Our answer is always the same: duplicating someones content is never a good practice. Plagiarism can, in some cases, involve liability for copyright infringement. And while Google isn’t interested in policing it, in certain circumstances plagiarism will get a website tossed from the search indexes.

There is a safe practice for copying someone else: If the content is truly valuable to an audience then excerpt & block quote the piece, then credit the author with a live link to her page or post.  

 

How Google Defines Duplicate Content 

To be specific, let’s go to the source / Google for their definition: “… substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” They also say, “Most of the time when we see this, it’s unintentional or at least not malicious in origin… In some cases, content is duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or garner more traffic via popular or long-tail queries.”

They go on to add you should not concern yourself with occasional snippets or quotes being identified as duplicate content, but in the event you are removed from the search results you must then review webmaster guidelines in order to define then deal with the situation. Once you’ve corrected the problem based upon those guidelines, and the site is in order, you can submit for reconsideration.  


Google Duplicate Content Practices

Apparently, during spider crawling and then the serving up of search results, Google trusts their algorithms to rank similar pages correctly. The say, “When filters identify an intent to manipulate rankings or to deceive searchers, the appropriate ranking adjustments are made.” *And Google readily admits they’d rather rely on their automated- filters than on making manual rank adjustments. Because they don’t define a threshold for “adjustments” good logic might place the range of adjustment anywhere between a lesser rank to removal. Your logic is as good as ours, but no one’s time, effort, money and / or future business is worth the risk that comes with duplicating content irresponsibly. Simply put, just don’t!

According to SEOMoz.org’s Eric Enge in his post ‘When Duplicate content really hurts’,

“Conventional wisdom among experienced SEOs is that there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty. There are exceptions to this rule. Search engines implement a filter… there is apparently a duplicate content threshold where Google’s filter will identify and actually penalize a site.” He says, “I write this based upon a combination of hearsay and also some experience we’ve had we could only speculate about.” Enge also warns that Search Engine spiders only visit with so much crawl bandwidth or what he refers to as budget. If you waste those crawls on content that won’t be indexed successfully, you are sacrificing other useful content that could have been indexed.

In a similar instance we saw a business copy all the lead stories from their local newspaper, despite our warnings against such practices. One day they disappeared from the search engine results pages [SERPs] eliminating any potential visibility. And let’s face it, consumers are researching your service for it’s value & accountability. The risk of their disapproval should be a concern.

Duplicate Content Summarized

Regardless of what one can and cannot get away with, demonstrating a trustworthy, knowledgeable presence on the web is what appeals to most people. If the search engines don’t penalize you for cheating, the humans most certainly will!

On Google Cold CallsHow many times has “Google” cold- called YOU about your business failing in their index?

If so, we are 99.99% sure that you were NOT talking to a Google representative. Think about that: Google creates a fair / honest World Wide Web index of content is their commitment … and then they cold call you to advise on how to jump over all the competition??

NOPE, you were called by less- than- honest people who hope to trick you into hiring them. Unrequested calls from Google simply DO NOT HAPPEN and anyone claiming otherwise is misrepresenting themselves to you.

Google is notoriously reticent about calling a business and when they do, albeit rare, it’s because YOU have scheduled a call to discuss how to use or fix a Google My Business tool. To be specific, when Google does communicate by phone is automated voice or text to provide PINs for account setup, login 2-step verification and/or Google listing verification, etc.

DO NOT BE CONFUSED, Google does NOT cold call and so those calls are NOT from Google!

Pay Per Click Budget For A NEW Advertiser

how to determine ppc advertising budget | Kinetic KnowledgeFor NEW advertisers it can challenging to set up a pay per click (PPC) advertising campaign, not to mention determine a beginning budget. There’s certainly a learning curve and, while there are reliable methods PPC is a dynamic bidding marketplace with no simple or exact way to determine the perfect launch budget. In order to get started there’s some risk. we’re going to need to commit, test and measure!

What To Include In Our PPC Budget?

Defining spend includes more than fees paid out to the PPC platform provider (i.e. Google). In addition to the actual cost of the clicks, let’s also assume that short of doing creative work ourselves we will need to set aside budget for 1) daily PPC platform management PLUS ( if needed ) 2) any creative ad and landing page design work.

How Much Should We Bid On A Keyword?

The amount to bid on a keyword depends on a comfort level when starting out. Industry is the biggest factor in deciding how much that click (lead) is worth. Real Estate or even a Moving Company, for examples, will usually pay a hefty price for a click because when that lead converts profit can be large. Best to stay within that comfort zone and then, as the data rolls in, adjust. Quickly we will see where the performing keywords at a particular bid price ARE, ARE NOT and THEN HOW TO BEST ADJUST BIDS accordingly. Carefully consider a maximum bid per keyword from the start. If we sell hats and make $100 per hat sold, and website history tells us 1 in 10 visitors buy THEN a *maximum bid* > EQUALS the break even point < would be $10. We, of course, want to set max’ bids far below ‘break even’ . That is, assuming, we want make money.

MUST Use Keyword Tools!

There are several tools out there to help us find the right keywords and estimated cost per click for each. Arguably, the most effective choice is the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. And good news, it’s a free solution! Enter a keyword (=phrase) and it offers related keyword suggestions, historical data on how the keywords perform, suggested bid prices and it also helps to gauge competition. Given the list it can help us develop, the tool allows us to generally determine what keywords are worth chasing or bidding.

Keyword Selection Is Key!

Beating a dead horse here (maybe), but the choice of keywords is the most crucial factor in the success of a PPC campaign. Industry type and location are obvious when developing the right set of keywords (= key phrases) to bid upon. Like it or not, cost is going to be driven by competitive forces. The higher the cost of a product or service the higher (likely) cost of the keyword bid needed to be visible for a click. And the bidders / bid prices will change day to day. We need to find the keywords that are most likely to result in clicks and conversions, including AT OR BELOW our maximum bid price per keyword. Keyword choice (including bid, and bid too low = less exposure) is what will get our brand & service in front of consumers with intent … at the right time!

What Is Our Geographical PPC Target?

For the local business, a first PPC advertising campaign is not the time to target new areas. If we do our business in NY, consider a start with NY (if not the town or county in NY) modified searches. For local businesses who only deal in a certain geographical areas, like home inspectors for example who have to factor travel into their costs, it is easier to target geographically. Even so, you may want to start with one town or county and build up from there. There are tools available that will limit who sees the ads, based upon their location. Unless they search based upon our targeted area (NY), for instance a person in SC who searches ‘Orange County NY Real Estate Agent’, they won’t see the ads and waste click money. Again: test, measure and patience are required!

Set Goals! 

It’s also important to prioritize GOALS! What do we want to get out of this campaign? Is it more leads? Sales? Traffic? Email subscribers? Let’s look at these, and a few more factors that will play a part in each unique businesses budget strategy.

How Do We Do It: How Many Clicks Should We Budget For?

While hypothetical, we need to start somewhere and here’s a method that will help. Understanding not every business owner will have all the numbers, everything can be estimated.

  • Keywords: Let’s say that (using our research tool) we choose 100 keywords that combined have a projected search volume of 400 per day, locally. Let’s say the estimated average cost per click for these keywords is $4.
  • Potential Searches: Multiply that volume (=400) by 30 days (= avg. month) and we have 12,000 potential searches in the coming month.
    • Click Reality/Potential Clicks: There are people out there who, no matter what, will NOT click ads. It’s reality so rule them out! Let’s be realistic and say 1/3 of the 12,000 searches will consider Ads. That leaves us 4,000 searches or potential clicks.
  • Estimated Actual Clicks: Let’s say 10% of these people will click our ads when searching. That’s 400 clicks to budget for in that 30 day period (10% X 4,000).
  • Estimated Cost Of Click Budget: If we have determined the average cost per click is $4, than our cost for the month is going to be $1,600 (400X$4).
  • Added Costs/Total Budgeted Cost: Unless managing the daily bidding marketplace and all it’s variables is possible alone, let’s add about $250 in management fees (per campaign) bringing monthly projected cost budget to $1,850. We may factor in creative, but the search network is text- based and a need for ads or landing pages will vary greatly from business to business. What’s more (depending), it may be a one time or a very infrequent cost… so let’s leave it at $1,850.

Estimate Project Budget Versus Gross Sales = Profit Goals

Still hypothetical, projecting a sales GOAL will also help us to compare where we want to be versus actual results at the end of the month so that we can adjust month over month accordingly.

  • Historical Estimates: Let’s say that historically the percentage of leads that convert from a website (or a website landing page) visit into a sale is 10%. Let’s say the average revenue generated per sale is $200.
  • Estimated PPC Gross Revs: 10% close rate (x) 400 clicks (x) $200 avg. revenue per sale = $8,000.00.
  • Targeted PPC Profit: Subtract monthly costs of $1,850 from $8,000.00 and there’s profit of $6,150.00 per month.
    • Summarized: Less any creative costs, $6,150 may be worth doing … and if so, it’s here we begin!
  • Return  On Investment (ROI), or for our purposes Return On Ad Spend (ROAS), is another useful metric: Using this example it would be calculated by the standard formula (Profit – Cost)/Cost = ROAS OR $6,150-$1,850/ $1,850 = 2.3 OR 230% … which is certainly worth doing!

Other PPC Variables

  • We can also set a daily PPC budget, to further control overall cost. Just note that it will influence how often we have ads in front of the qualified searching people each day.
  • Our bid per keyword will, of course, play a huge roll in the specific position our ads get (top to bottom) relative to the competition. By looking at daily data, including specific ‘per keyword’ data, we will see a pattern develop and recognize what keywords perform best and when.
  • With PPC there’s daily management, as each day and time can have it’s own market of bidders. With limited space and high competition, the daily bid price we need to succeed is going to move.

What About Facebook Advertising?

With Facebook advertising, we can set a budget and pay based on impressions. Or, we can pay per click. On Facebook, just like with Google or Bing, being strategic with bidding can make or break the campaign. Once we have worked through the creative part of designing a Facebook ad, we will receive a suggested bid range from Facebook. When just starting out with Facebook ads we may want to stick to the low end of this range. Once we cans see what the click through rate actually is, we can then adjust bids. For example if we have a very low click through rate then we will need to bid higher. If we have a high click through rate then we can probably back down the amount on bidding. Each day, week, or month we can look at data and optimize from there. We may also need to adjust bids to reach more of the target audience. We can have a high performing ad, but still not reach the amount of the target audience we’d like. Facebook provides detailed real time analytics to help in this process.

We can certainly help. Our NJ Facebook Advertising Programs are designed with unique goals in mind.

PPC Services | Kinetic KnowledgeDon’t Do It All Yourself

There are tons of constantly changing, fluid pieces to the puzzle of PPC advertising. It is time consuming, and at times can be overwhelming. As a business owner you do not need to tackle this yourself. Hire a trusted company to handle the leg work for you. At Kinetic Knowledge we work with you to determine your goals and find your PPC advertising sweet spot. Check out our NJ Pay Per Click Advertising Programs