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Metrolink’s Second City Crossing Arrives

Net Sixty Six welcomes its new neighbours on the Second City Crossing

Metrolink Second City Crossing image by M.V. Photography (via Shutterstock).

Happy New Trams: the Second City Crossing will boost journey options and reduce congestion on the city zone routes. Image by M.V. Photography (via Shutterstock).

Today, Metrolink’s Second City Crossing begins operation and we at Net Sixty Six are happy to welcome our new neighbours. For us and our visitors, the second line from Victoria to St. Peter’s Square will offer another way of getting to Net Sixty Six HQ.

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Net Sixty Six’s Street Smart Signage Solution

Net Sixty Six’s new signage stands head and shoulders above the rest

NetSixtySix signage

An artist’s impression of the swish Net Sixty Six signage that will be displayed in the front window.

If you’re familiar with Central Manchester or have found us via Google Maps, you would know that Net Sixty Six SEO’s base is slap bang in the middle of our city. Unless you know where we are physically, it is a case of ‘blink and you miss it’ if you miss our HQ at 40 – 42, John Dalton Street. You may have seen our offices through the window of a Bolton-bound 37, or a Leigh-bound Vantage V1 bus. From this month, spending the best part of half an hour trying to find Net Sixty Six Towers will be over. One of our first floor windows will be adorned with Net Sixty Six’s spiffy signage. Read more »

Matt Cutts Cuts Ties With Google

Matt Cutts officially resigns from search engine and media behemoth

The Pentagon, Matt Cutts' new workplace. Image by David B. Gleason (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Share Alike).

The Pentagon, Matt Cutts’ new workplace. Image by David B. Gleason (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Share Alike).

An end of an era for Google was marked this week by a high profile departure. That of Matt Cutts, one time head of Google’s Webspam team. Today, he is now the Director of Engineering at USDS (US Digital Service). Before taking on his new role, he joined Google in 2000 where he became part of the furniture.

On the 31 December 2016, Matt Cutts handed in his resignation to the search engine and media behemoth in Stanford. A few months before then, he took a leave of absence to work for the US Digital Service. He enjoyed his brief stint and has decided to stay there. On his blog, he said:

“When I joined the US Digital Service, I only planned to stay for three months. That quickly turned into six months after I saw the impact of the USDS. In the last month, I made a big decision. On December 31, 2016, I resigned from Google.”

In 16 years, Google has changed beyond recognition. Back in 2000, its clutter free interface won new friends among internet users. With the average PC user having dial-up internet at the time, this was a Godsend. Today, the company that Matt Cutts has left is in better shape than ever. Not only in the field of search engines but also with its Android operating system and the Google Pixel smartphone.

With Matt Cutts announcing his departure days before the inauguration of Donald Trump’s presidency, the challenge he has will be a departure from his previous employer. Instead of Mountain View, his offices will be the Pentagon Building in Washington D.C. Rather than fighting spam on Google’s terms, his role will affect the USA’s 318.9 million people: from war veterans to IRS payment details.

We at Net Sixty Six SEO wish Matt Cutts well in his latest endeavours. We think he is more than capable for his role as Director of Engineering. If you’re reading this, Mr. Cutts, you are more than welcome to pop into Net Sixty Six HQ for a brew.

Net Sixty Six SEO, 20 January 2017.

Now We Are Thirteen: On Friday the 13th!

Net Sixty Six at thirteen years old

Birthday Cake: Net Sixty Six at Thirteen. Image by VictoriaSky1 (via Shutterstock).

Tasty, though sadly not the birthday cake for celebrating our thirteen years in business (on Friday The 13th). This creation was photographed by VictoriaSky1 (via Shutterstock).

So to misquote our previous female Prime Minister, we have become a teenager. Yes, Net Sixty Six is thirteen years old. By rights, this means we should be sulking in our bedrooms if something goes wrong. This means we should be out chasing members of the opposite or same sex for a future significant other in later years. Or we should be fretting about our GCSEs or Key Stage 3 SATs. Read more »

The Ten Commandments of Ethical Social Media Posting

Ten tips on how to make effective social media posts without offending or alienating your audience

Social Media Ten Commandments image by Kues (via Shutterstock).

Think Before You Link Or Before You Post: one ill-thought out post could be ruinous to your professional or personal reputation. Image by Kues (via Shutterstock).

You may have come across this familiar phrase in your time. The author of this piece most certainly has: “Engage Brain Before Putting Mouth into Gear”. One of his ex-teachers had the sign above the chalkboard. He would have said to any pupil (about to put his or her foot in it): “Read the sign, Boy (or Girl).” Imagine if Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, et al had this sign at the top of their pages. There could be fewer libellous tweets or salacious memes. There’s no way that any social media related sites from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe would do this. There would be cries of ‘censorship’ from Aberdeen to Zennor. Read more »

Good vs. Evil SEO – Which Path To Choose?

There has always been a battle in the Marketing industry between good and evil SEO, white-hat vs. black-hat techniques, ethical vs. non-ethical etc. Google and the many Search Engines have constantly evolved their algorithms to deter people from deliberately manipulating their websites in an attempt to gain higher rankings. Following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines will help their ‘spiders’ to find, index, and rank your site.

Net Sixty Six look at some commonly known SEO tactics that are either good and therefore advised or bad/evil – those to be avoided at all costs:

Good vs Evil SEO Infpgraphic

Google Goodies and Useless Information

Some Google goodies you may have overlooked

Google goodies image

Google Earth in full planet mode: one of the many goodies available.

Google’s goodies are nothing short of legendary. Many of us use the search engine to a point where Google is also a verb as well as a noun. There is more to the search engine than its image search, Street View, Android operating system, and self driving car experiments. There’s a wealth of other things you can do or learn about. We at Net Sixty Six have taken a look. Read more »

How Search Works – An Infographic

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at Google every time somebody clicks that search button? Here at Net Sixty Six SEO we have put together an infographic which outlines the steps taken by Google to deliver relevant search results in lightning quick times. From the algorithms to the search results, we give a breakdown of each point and have even included a couple of interesting facts along the way.  If you have any questions in regards to the infographic or you are thinking of trying out SEO for your business needs, then get in contact with us at sales@netsixtysix.co.uk

How Search Works

Feel Free to Share this Image On Your Site/Blog

Investigatory Powers Bill Granted Royal Assent

How the Investigatory Powers Bill could affect the way we browse and do business

Investigatory powers Big Ben image by Richard Waters (via Shutterstock).

Snooper’s Charter Succeeds: The Investigatory Powers Bill will become law on the 01 March 2017. Image by Richard Waters (via Shutterstock).

It’s December 2017. Imagine you’re buying Christmas presents online, a rather innocent pursuit. You have also got YouTube on in the background and you’re listening to a rather outspoken rock group. Then you check your smartphone and find somebody has sent you a risque picture on Snapchat. Normally, you would think nobody is watching you. But from March 2017 (several months before this scenario), this could happen, thanks to the Investigatory Powers Bill.

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Have you noticed ghost spam in Your Google Analytics data?

keep outFighting spam has always been a hard-fought, epic battle which has still yet to be conquered successfully. Google Analytics is one of the leading tools available for gathering and analysing data about your website but unfortunately, its data been compromised in the past through various hackers. This has left many website owners frustrated and confused about how to interpret their reports, since it was not known whether their statistics were not a true reflection of actual website traffic.

Back in 2014, several bots (website crawlers used by Search Engines) were hacked to visit websites and leave fake referral data within the Analytics reporting. Since then, there have been many similar instances from various sources including fake organic search terms or fake events being reported. Whilst Google’s spam defences are always improving, the fight is a tough one for  them. By not discussing their tactics and strategies to overcome this problem, they are keeping their security systems private, away from the hackers prying ears.

The Next Web Ghost Spam Referrals

There have been many reports recently of a Russian hacker by the name of Vitaly Popov who managed to find a way to use a fake Google domain to send referral spam into Google Analytics. The hacker registered a domain name almost identical to Google but with replacing the first letter “g” with a Unicode character set of the letter instead. This resulted in fake referral mentions being contaminated within the Google Analytics data.

The intention behind this hacking incident was in this case not to expose any vulnerabilities or hotlinking to images. Instead, he successfully managed to leave a political message within the domains’ referral links.

The original message appeared as: “Secret.ɢoogle.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!””

Visitors who would be intrigued by the new URL would be tempted to trace it back to its original source. As a result, this would then boost the popularity of the hacker’s own website further. The hits appeared as though they were coming from thenextweb.com but in fact, they were not.

the next web ghost referrals

Ghost referral data appearing as though it was coming from thenextweb.com when in fact, it wasn’t.

How To Remove Google Analytics Referral Spam

Most Google Analytics ‘ghost referrals’ spam can be blocked by using a single filter for a valid hostname. These are websites that you have configured to use within the Google Analytics account, such as ecommerce shopping carts or associated call tracking services. Since the ghost or fake referral traffic never actually goes to your website, it isn’t actually possible to block the visits, either through the .htaccess file or through any plugins.Therefore, setting up a filter which excludes them makes good sense.

The main problem with spam referrals is that they tend to continuously change and reappear, meaning new filters are always required. Our recommendation is to continually check the data showing from your website’s referrals and test to ensure the information is legitimate, to the best of your knowledge. Hopefully there will be a time in the future when your Google Analytics data can be entirely spam-free but until then, take care!