Month: May 2017

WannaCry Ransom Analysis Suggests Chinese Link

WannaCry Ransom Analysis Suggests Chinese Link

WannaCry Ransom Notice Analysis Suggests Chinese Link
New analysis suggests Chinese-speaking criminals may have been behind the WannaCry ransomware that affected thousands of organisations worldwide. Researchers from Flashpoint looked at the language used in the ransom notice. They said the use of proper grammar and punctuation in only the Chinese versions indicated the writer was “native or at least fluent” in Chinese.

The translated versions of the ransom notice appeared to be mostly “machine translated”. The WannaCry ransom note could be displayed in 28 different languages, but only the Chinese and English versions appeared to have been written by humans. The English text also used some unusual phrases such as: “But you have not so enough time”.

The WannaCry cyber-attack infected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, affecting government, healthcare and private company systems.

The UK’s National Crime Agency, the FBI and Europol are investigating who was responsible for the ransomware.

Some earlier analysis of the software had suggested criminals in North Korea may have been behind it. But the Flashpoint researchers noted the Korean-language ransom note was a poorly translated version of the English text.

“It was only really the Chinese and the English versions that appeared to be written by someone that understood the language,” said cyber-security expert Prof Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey. “The rest appeared to come from Google Translate. Even the Korean.”

Prof Woodward noted that the people behind the ransomware had not attempted to retrieve the money victims had paid in Bitcoin, and added it was likely they were keeping a low profile.

“I actually think they’ve run for the hills,” he told the BBC. “Their so-called command and control system, the thing that controls quite a lot of the software, has all been turned off. They know that so many people are watching them now and that following the money could lead to their downfall. I suspect if they’ve got any sense at all they’ll leave it well alone.”

Move your Company Rankings Higher in the Search Engines

Move your Company Rankings Higher in the Search Engines

Move your Company Rankings Higher in the Search Engines
In today’s business world, it’s an accepted fact that all businesses need an online presence in order to succeed. For most businesses, a company website is the absolute minimum. With the advent of social networking, early adopters of the company website and paid online advertising have since expanded their online presence to include social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. While these means of promoting a business are all relevant and useful in their own way, a great many businesses are still missing out on a paid opportunity that promises a high return on investment in the long run, and that is Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.

seoimage2Simply put, SEO is a means of having your business ranked higher in search engine results based on certain keywords and key phrases. For example, if a home care agency in Newcastle wants to draw more traffic to its website and thus attract more clients, the agency director could contract with a SEO firm to develop high-quality content related to its business.

This content might relate to the challenges faced by carers of elderly relatives as well as the home care needs of someone with a particular medical condition, and related keywords in the title and body of one or a series of articles would then serve to move the agency’s rankings higher in search results based on those keywords. The content need not be overly promotional; in fact, less overt promotional tactics are often more successful, since Google strives to maintain rankings according to the quality of the content.

SEO accomplishes many of the same results as a pay-per-click or other online advertising campaign for a generally lower cost, and the results are much longer-lasting. Another advantage of SEO for business is the trust factor: since many people skip the adverts at the top of a search engine results screen and go straight to the ranked results, high-quality SEO content leads to a higher ranking in search results and amounts to a nod of approval from the search engine which no amount of traditional advertising can buy.

Any business which has not already explored the option of SEO has overlooked an important marketing resource. If you are ready to increase your company’s online visibility while building credibility through informative content related to your business, then the time has come for your company to invest in SEO.

Direct Submit Internet Marketing Services are an established Search Engine Marketing and Internet Marketing company. With over 95% of our business coming direct from client referral, we provide a cost effective and highly efficient service.

We offer a client focused service, and always speak to our clients in a language they understand, helping them understand the Internet and how a successful Internet Marketing Campaign can benefit their business.

Established over a decade ago and operating from the North East of the UK, Direct Submit has become one of the leading SEO and Internet Marketing providers in the North East and the UK. Our client retention rate is exceptional, currently over 80%, which shows our commitment to working with the client to make a project a success.

Unlike most other SEO companies, we do not do any marketing of note. We don’t employ sales people, not do we cold call or bombard business with sales materials. Virtually our entire client base comes directly from referrals.

To speak to one of our Internet Marketing Consultants for advice on making your Web Marketing project a success, call us now on 0845 272 2350 or email us on mail@directsubmit.co.uk. We look forward to your call.

Facebook Publishes Fake News Ads in UK

Facebook Publishes Fake News Ads in UK

Facebook Publishes Fake News Ads in UK
Facebook has broadened its campaign to raise awareness about fake news, by publishing adverts in the UK press. The ads, in papers including The Times, The Guardian and Daily Telegraph, carry a list of 10 things to look out for when deciding if a story is genuine. They include checking the article date and website address, as well as making sure it isn’t intended as satire.

Facebook is under fresh political pressure to tackle fake news in the run up to the UK general election.

The platform said it had already removed “tens of thousands” of fake Facebook accounts and that systems were now monitoring the repeated posting of the same content or a sharp increase in messaging. Accounts displaying this activity are then flagged, it added. Facebook is also decreasing the ranking of stories that people tend to read but not share.

In a report released last month, Facebook admitted it had seen political propaganda deliberately spread on its site.

“We have observed many actions by fake account operators that could only be performed by people with language skills and a basic knowledge of the political situation in the target countries, suggesting a higher level of coordination and forethought,” it said in the document. It added that “several” cases during the 2016 US Presidential election had required action.

“People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we,” said Simon Milner, Facebook’s UK director of policy “To help people spot false news we are showing tips to everyone on Facebook on how to identify if something they see is false.” He added that the firm was “supporting” two third-party fact checkers – Full Fact and First Draft – in the run up to the election but Facebook declined to say whether this is a financial arrangement.

Facebook’s ten steps for spotting fake news

> Be sceptical of headlines
> Look closely at the URL [web address]
> Investigate the source
> Watch for unusual formatting
> Consider the photos
> Check the date
> Check the evidence
> Look at other reports
> Is the story a joke?
> Some stories are intentionally false [satirical]

The BBC Technology Reporter Zoe Kleinman has reported on the BBC News website “The spread of fake news across social media was accused by some of influencing the US presidential election in 2016. Facebook has not gone so far as to accept that but its latest report acknowledges that there was some activity which “required action”. With the UK election just a month away today there is added pressure to crack down on it in Britain. The creators of fake news make money because of the clicks on the ads they carry. Google and Facebook say they are committed to blocking them from using ad services but they are still popping up. It’s interesting and perhaps a sign of Facebook’s older membership that it has chosen traditional print media to help spread its message in the UK.

The ten tips are sound advice and will be well-known to journalists already as standard checks. The difficulty is that if the link pops up in your Facebook news feed because it’s been shared by one of your friends or relatives, you’re likely to be more inclined to accept it at face value”.

Key Steps for any SEO Campaign

Key Steps for any SEO Campaign

Key Steps for any SEO Campaign

SEO is an essential strategy for any business owner. However, out of all the internet marketing strategies available, SEO takes the most work and time to get right. Once you lay the foundations correctly, you’ll have set the seeds for future traffic to arrive at your website. By creating an SEO-friendly website from the onset or from today, you’ll reap the benefits in the coming months and years.

In this article, we’re going to check out how to optimize your website for SEO using both on-page and off-page techniques. “On-page” means that the SEO you carry out will be integrated into the actual code of your website, while “off-page” means that you’ll be utilizing SEO techniques on other websites to benefit your own.

1. On-Page SEO

Follow this checklist to make sure that you have each of these implemented on your site.

  • Optimized Tags: Do your title, meta and heading tags include the keywords you are targeting? On this blog, we’ve written about keyword research extensively, so make sure to check out our other articles for an in-depth take on keyword research. This is a black-hat title tag, and may be penalized by Google: “Manchester Plumbing Manchester”. Why is this black-hat, you ask? Well, it contains keyword stuffing, i.e. it includes the word Manchester twice and it doesn’t provide much help to the reader in terms of the services you offer. Always put user experience ahead of keyword/on-page optimization. This is an optimized title tag: “Plumbing Services For The Manchester Area”
  • Keywords in Content: Sprinkle your targeted keywords sparingly throughout your homepage, including in the meta description, textual content and in paragraphs. However, make sure to use them sparingly. A little bit of keyword magic is the correct dose; you don’t want to abuse keywords by placing them everywhere you can. But make sure that you’ve included your keywords at least twice per page, whether they’re in the title tags or in the text. If you’re writing with user experience in mind, you’ll probably use them anyway.
  • PageTime: The time it takes for your website to load up is a major factor Google uses in ranking your website. If your homepage contains an excessive amount of Flash-based animation, video, and stylesheets which are stuffy and unclean, the result will be in a website that’ll take too long to load. Several surveys have found that if a website doesn’t load up in at most ten seconds, the majority of users tend to leave. This is a harrowing statistic, showing just how important Page Speed really is. There’s no use in ranking number one on Google for your keywords, when your website takes too long to load. You can test the PageSpeed of your website here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ The tool will also give you suggestions on how to speed up your website (Suggestions are personalized and tailored to your website.)
  • Mobile Optimized: Is your website ready for mobile users? As a webmaster myself, over two thirds of my traffic is mobile. The statistic speaks for itself. If my website wasn’t optimized for mobile, I just might have lost out on all that traffic, without a doubt.

2. Backlinking

Once your website is on-page optimized, you’ll need to start getting links to your website. Google measures the credibility of your website based on the number of backlinks it receives as well as the content you produce. This core idea is what made Google such an accurate search engine, because it accurately measures the authenticity and usefulness of websites with a single metric. In recent years, this method of SEO has waned a little, because Google have accounted other metrics into raising or lowering a website’s status in the search results.

You still should have a few high-quality links pointing to your website. You can garner these through trying out the following:

  • Guest Posting: This involves writing an article for another website and then asking them to place a backlink to your website within the article. If your website is “Y”, you need to go to a website that is a similar industry to your own, let’s call it “Z”. You can then write an article for “Z” and ask them to embed a link to “Y” in the article. This is very popular, because it means that these webmasters can get content for free, and you get a link in exchange. Guest posting is no longer as popular as it used to be, but do it right, and you’ll definitely see results.
  • Make An Infographic: An infographic is basically a longform graphic that displays information or statistics in an appealing and attractive way. You can design an infographic through many free online tools including Piktochart, which is my favourite. Add statistics to the graphic and facts about your industry. Then, you can contact other websites in the same category or industry as yours and offer them the infographic in exchange for a backlink. Most of the time, these web-owners will be delighted to feature it on their website, because it’s entertaining and valuable for their readers. At the end of your infographic, they can provide a link to your website and also provide some information on your website. That way, you might get new customers and a valuable backlink!

3. Content Creation

Google highly values websites with high-quality articles. If you’re interested in gaining more traffic and raising your rankings in the search results, make sure to create high-quality content!

Here’s a checklist:

  • Any articles should be t least seven hundred to a thousand words minimum. This higher word count promotes a better user-experience to Google.
  • Include images and make sure that you have appropriate licensing for each image. In other words, don’t just go to Google Images to find images, as they are copyrighted and you’ll get into deep waters. Instead, try searching for images in the public domain such as those on Unsplash.com or Pixabay (there are hundreds more). These websites offer high-quality images for free and you’re allowed to use them on your blog without any licensing. Images greatly enhance the user experience and
  • If you know of a fascinating video to embed to the bottom or top of your article, it might help keep your users on your page for longer.
  • Make sure to always treat the reader experience first, before any SEO.
  • Sprinkle your targeted keywords throughout the article, but use them naturally!

You can create a variety of content from how-to’s to informative articles.

Content creation is an essential step to any SEO campaign, and it greatly enhances the user experience. Make sure that it entertains and informs; once your article is enjoyable to read, the majority of your work is done. All you’ll need is some backlinking and you’ll be well on your way to ascending the ranks. In the pre-Panda times, webmasters valued backlinking over high-quality content. The result was a lot of short, poorly-written articles that had thousands of backlinks, but didn’t offer a good user experience. Nowadays, articles with a small number of valuable backlinks and a long, enjoyable article is a lot more useful to Google.

Final Thoughts

In this guide, we’ve touched on some of the fundamental steps to any SEO campaign. If you want more information on any of the steps mentioned above, just do a quick Google search on them to learn more. There are many, many guides online that’ll help you to carry out SEO efficiently and effectively, and you can use the points mentioned above as stepping stones. If you never checked your website’s PageSpeed, for example, at least now you know of it and you can get started on researching what your site’s speed is and how to lower it.