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Growth of HTTPS: what SEOs need to know

Security continues to be a huge concern to users as services, apps and crucially data grows – our personal information is stored everywhere, from online booking systems to Apple Pay. On the face of it, it can seem that control over data security is dwindling: contactless bank cards raised concerns enough from users worried that money can be spent without thieves even needing to hack PIN codes, and online banking scams are in no way irregular. Yet despite all the questions surrounding security, apps and digital platforms continue to evolve into easier to use, and potentially easier to hack, tools.


So how is Google promoting data security from the roots up to developers and web hosts? One of the answers is search encryption, ensuring safe connections for users of Google search and Gmail. The right to be forgotten has also been a key concern in recent years for consumers, extending to Russia who approved the regulation just this month.


Another solution (and the focus of this blog) is HTTPS, and they’re using SEO as a backup to ensure developer buy-in. In August 2014 Google called for “HTTPS everywhere”, encouraging all websites to adopt encryption as standard. The complexities of moving a website to HTTPS do not enthral developers to say the least, so to further compound the seriousness of their security goals they also made encryption a ranking factor in its algorithms. What bigger incentive can there be than outright promoted ranking benefits?
When introduced last August it was a “lightweight” ranking signal, but this didn’t hold back the masses looking for confirmed and airtight ranking catalysts: a Moz poll in August showed that almost a quarter of webmasters were planning to make the switch to HTTPS. 


Initially these were adopted by the expected bunch – online banking, e-commerce sites, and only on necessary pages which contained sensitive information. Whilst the initial percentage of 25% has not materialised, in recent weeks we’ve seen a jump in the number of HTTPS sites ranking on page 1. This may be merely because they are growing in number (growth in direct traffic is a good indicator since referral information is encrypted), or because it is more of a “middleweight” ranking signal now – we all know how Google loves to keep us guessing.


If you’re considering making the leap, know that HTTPS will be a backwards step if you can’t migrate your hard work to a new domain. Here are several things to consider:


Top Tips for HTTPS

 

  • SSL certificates aren’t free, so these costs need to be factored into your marketing plan in relation to their ROI. Sites handling personal or sensitive information will benefit the most from encryption since this is where it’s really necessary.
  • HTTPS can slow down your site, so many sure you’re equipped to handle speed bumps, since this ranking factor outweighs encryption.
  • Old browsers and web applications frequently have problems with HTTPS, so make sure your site’s components work with HTTPS and consider whether your target market will rely on older technology.
  • Setting up filters in Analytics to ensure you can access referral data which is otherwise encrypted and counted as ‘direct’.
  • For new websites, you need a developer who understands the requirements of an SSL certificate.

 

ID Launches Danilo M-Commerce Site


Interdirect has launched an innovative e-commerce mobile website for Danilo, Europe's leading official licensed calendar publisher.

Having worked with Danilo for more than 10 years to provide a number of bespoke digital solutions, Interdirect discovered that more than 45% of traffic to their website came from mobile or tablet devices.
Without a dedicated mobile site, this meant that the usability and aesthetics of Danilo’s online presence was compromised, and could potentially have a detrimental effect on the number of visitors converting to online customers.

Interdirect’ digital team developed a mobile-specific e-commerce website, or m-commerce website, using the agency’s advanced content management system (CMS) SiteMachine, to allow purchases to be made on a mobile device without compromising on aesthetics and functionality.

Users are able to browse the whole product range with images available ion a scrolling carousel to ensure improved accessibility and image quality. Furthermore, administrators are also able to track and create conversion goals due to the advanced nature of the CMS SiteMachine, providing Danilo with more tangible analytics for sales metrics and business development.

Speaking of the new m-commerce site, Claire Bates, online marketing manager at Danilo said; “No business can ignore the shift of user behaviour to mobile platforms, so it was vital that we improved our online presence to allow our customers to purchase our calendars using their mobile phone or tablet.

“We are delighted with our new site, and having worked with Interdirect for more than a decade would recommend their innovative digital solutions and dedicated account management.”
To find out more visit www.danilo.com on your mobile or tablet device.

ID Wins Xscape MK & Castleford

Interdirect is delighted to announce it has been appointed by Xscape Milton Keynes and Xscape Castleford to manage PR activity for the leading entertainment destinations.

The agency will coordinate all PR activity for Xscape Milton Keynes, and manage the Xscape Unplugged campaign for both sites; encouraging families to ditch the device and go gadget free this summer.

Speaking of the appointment, Steven Gordon- Wilson, marketing manager of Xscape MK said; “Following a number of successful ad-hoc PR campaigns with Interdirect including the Big Summer Blow Out, it was a no brainer to bring the agency on-board to look after ongoing activity.

“It’s been a great start to the campaign with an exciting Unlpugged launch, and I look forward to working with Interdirect to meet our PR objectives.”

To find out more about Xscape Milton Keynes and Xscape Yorkshire visit www.xscape.co.uk and keep up to date with Interdirect’s PR activity for the centres on Twitter @Interdirect.

A Year in the Life of a Website

When we talk to people about websites, they’re often under the misconception that they’re a one dimensional mechanism; a simple referral point for your customers to make contact with you.

We like to think they’re much more than that; a multi-faceted and evolving representation of your brand identity that’s always on and always engaging.

What do we mean? Let us demonstrate with an example that epitomises a ‘living website’ – Marston & Langinger.

Creators of bespoke garden rooms, hand-crafted furniture and luxury paints, Marston & Langinger approached Interdirect one year ago looking for the agency to create an innovative new website. Whilst being aesthetically pleasing, their website did not tick the boxes when it came to functionality and accessibility, and the company needed a website that reflected its world-leading offering.

Marston & Langinger has more than 40 years’ of heritage under its belt. Their garden room designs are truly unique to each client’s individual requirements, promising them an extraordinary living space guaranteed to be incomparable. The company’s personal touch extends from exterior to interior; their skilled designers propose a wide variety of paints, furniture and blinds to customers to ensure that each conservatory, pool house, orangery or greenhouse is finished to perfection.

With such a bespoke solution and unrivalled attention to detail, the fundamental objective for Marston & Langinger was to have an online presence that was a true reflection of their ethos. The client had a vision of the type of platform they wanted their customers to experience, and were after an intuitive and engaging website, with no compromise on aesthetics.

Our approach was to completely understand the business, the user journey and ultimately, what a conversion meant to Marston & Langinger.

A responsive website was a given, and our digital development team worked closely with Marston & Langinger to develop a bespoke solution that ensured there was no trade-off between aesthetics and functionality. The website was designed to offer intuitive navigation for users throughout and make it simple for the audience to understand the offering.

Marston & Langinger invest heavily in their imagery, so the ability to place a vast, searchable and manageable photo library was incorporated in to the website design meaning that the client, and their suppliers, could store, access and recall imagery at any point.

We also incorporated a blog to allow the client to upload their latest news to the website, to ensure content was regularly updated and capture visitors’ attention. Social media was also integrated to encourage a dialogue that continued to its other online platforms.

This initial stage allowed for the first, and fundamental, type of conversion to take place: brand engagement.
The second stage was to incorporate an e-commerce solution into the website to allow transactional conversions to take place. Customers could purchase items form Marston & Langinger’s range of luxury paints, characterised by their powerful chroma, ease of application, durability and environmental credentials.

The third stage, currently in development, is a product configurator. To capture the true bespoke nature of Marston & Langinger’s approach, and recreate the experience customers get offline on an online platform, the company’s hand crafted blinds, furniture and soft furnishings will soon be available to view in 360 degrees in all 84 colours of the Marston & Langinger palette.

This functionality not only encourages a conversion, but first and foremost encapsulates Marston & Langinger’s commitment to attention to detail.

Since the launch of the website in May 2014, Marston & Langinger has seen:

- 75,092 users
- 321,458 page views
- Average session duration of 3:05 minutes
- An average of 4.28 pages viewed per session
- 48,574 organic searches for the website


The session duration is above the average, which can be attributed to the visually engaging content of the website and its improved accessibility to match the needs of the user.

The number of page views is also considerably higher than the number of users, demonstrating that people visiting the website browse a high number of pages. Again, this can be attributed to the inspirational nature of the website’s imagery, without compromise on the functionality.

Usually, we would expect visitors to browse on average 2-3 pages per session, Marston & Langinger’s figure is more than four pages per website visit.

What’s more, we were delighted to see that the business itself has grown from strength to strength in the past twelve months, recently winning a coveted Five Star Tradestand Award at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 for their beautiful Rose Pagoda and courtyard garden.

But what does the website, its transformation and its successes mean to the client?

Phil James, managing director of Marston & Langinger commented; “For me, there’s a difference between anyone building a website, and someone that can develop a beautiful and intuitive website, for both the user and the owner, with seemingly limitless possibilities. The only limit was my imagination!

“Interdirect is able to offer digital development capabilities that are second to none. Their efficient project management and advanced programming skilled enabled us to launch our website on the opening day of Chelsea Flower Show 2014; a tight deadline that was only achievable due to their ability to quickly interpret my vision of a fully functional piece of art.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the agency, their joyful CMS and their talented team to anyone. David Hunt Lighting, who are prestigious partner to Marston & Langinger, were a recommendation of mine and now have a stunning responsive website thanks to Interdirect.

“The next steps for me are to incorporate video into the website, and I have no doubt that Interdirect will present an end product that will exceed my expectations, first time.”

Marston & Langiner’s unique and tailored offering is in some respects, the perfect analogy for the bespoke digital service provided by Interdirect. Our commitment to providing an intelligent solution rather than an off the shelf website is what makes our client’s websites stand out from the crowd and provide a perfect representation of their brand. People who do things ‘our way’ do it with us, and we work together to do it well.

To view the website, visit www.marston-and-langinger.com.

The #GivingTuesday Challenge Needs YOU

Interdirect is delighted to be partnering with the Milton Keynes Community Foundation to organise the #GivingTuesday Challenge 2015, and we need YOU to take part!

Find out more below, put the date in your diary, and spread the word!

Consumer Ownership of Brands: #CokeMyName

If your name on a bottle wasn’t enough to make you engage with the brand, how about seeing your name under the bright lights of Times Square? Moving forward with its “Share a Coke” campaign, Coca-Cola has taken over some of the New York skyline with their digital names billboard.


Coca-Cola built a microsite – the basis for the campaign – which allows users to type in their name and find out interesting statistics about it by using their mouse to create a winding pathway to factual ‘stepping stones’. Not that we got addicted or anything...


Clear Channel Outdoor then helped the brand link this microsite with Twitter, projecting the results onto an outdoor billboard in Times Square. All you need to do is send your name with the hashtag #CokeMyName and within the hour your name, and its fun facts, will appear for the whole of Times Square to read!


For a brand that celebrates its customers, however, limiting the fun to Times Square inhabitants seems a little exclusive, no? Coca-Cola took it one step further – you don’t need to be in Times Square to be part of the fun. By following the same process in Twitter, you’ll receive a picture from a camera set up across the square, showing your name on the billboard within an hour of your tweet.


The success of the viral campaign demonstrates the benefits from being bold, sure of your brand, and not changing campaigns with every change of marketing winds. Granted, the company has a huge following to start with, but the move to a unitary brand was undoubtedly a bold one back in May this year. All brands (Zero, Life, Diet, Coke original) were brought under one umbrella, with a singular target market and strategy – distinguishing and choosing between brands is left to the consumer.


The “Share a Coke” campaign, launched in 2013, has resulted in over 1,000 names on bottles, 100 million impressions on Twitter, and 150 million bottles sold, demonstrating the huge power you give your brand when you hand it over to consumers – now to the extent of the populous of Times Square populating the Coke billboard with over 200 names a day.


Not bad for something that came out of a 151 word memo and the rather mundane code name “Project Connect”.