• Google Mobile Intrusive Interstitials Penalty

    Google has officially confirmed they have begun rolling out the intrusive mobile interstitial penalty yesterday. Google warned us that this was coming almost a six months ago, and it did start rolling out on January 10, 2017, as Google promised.

    Google’s John Mueller and Gary Illyes confirmed the penalty began rolling out yesterday.

    This penalty only impacts intrusive interstitials that happen directly after going from a Google mobile search result to a specific page. It does not impact or penalize pages after that, so if you have a intrusive interstitial that comes up later in the click path on your website, this won’t impact it: it only looks for the intrusive interstitial after the click from the Google search results page.

    Google said this means “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

    Google explained which types of interstitials are going to be problematic, including:

    showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results or while they are looking through the page. displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content. using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

    Article by Barry Schwartz - Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick,and published at

  • ‘Dirty Cow’ Linux OS Vulnerability

    If you have a web site hosted with us, you may have noticed a little pop-up message when you log into the back-end of your website. This pop up may look like this:


    We understand this might be worrying for you, but we just wanted to give you a little bit more information and to explain what ‘Dirty Cow’ is all about.


    What is a Dirty Cow?  How did it get in my web site?

    Without getting too geeky, Dirty COW is a bug that has been found in the very core of the Linux operating system.

    In this case this bug allows an exploit to write to files that should be write protected – but only in very special circumstances.

    The majority of web servers use the Linux operating system – so there’s a very high chance that your site does too!

    (If you’re wondering how it got its name, it isn’t as offensive as it sounds.  COW is an acronym for “Copy On Write” – and apparently, according to our head geek, “Dirty” means broken or modified.)


    What Do I Need To Do?

    Absolutely nothing at all if you host your web site with us.

    We will need to proactively reboot your system within the next 24 hours in order to update Linux, so you may experience some downtime.  We will try to keep this at a minimum.


    Where Can I Find Out More?

    This is a vulnerability affecting a large number of servers online as the vast majority of web hosting systems run on Linux. More details can be read at

    As always, you could Google the name of the exploit and read more information there, however it might be an idea to turn on “Safe Search” first.

    We thank you in advance for your understanding, and If you have any more queries, please contact us.

  • 6 Critical errors of SEO

    Are you making any of these critical SEO errors on your e-commerce site?


    A lot of people believe that when you create an e-commerce website and upload hundreds or even thousands of products, the search engine traffic will just start rolling in. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. SEO for e-commerce sites is a much harder than SEO on a simple 5-page brochure website. You’ve always got to be one step ahead and keep on top of all the products you’re constantly uploading, removing, moving around etc.

    Here, we’re going to give you a very quick breakdown of the 6 common SEO mistakes that online stores make.


    • Lack of product descriptions

    This mistake is made by a large proportion of e-commerce stores. The lack of a full text description of a product basically puts a stop to the chance of the page being in the top 10 of a search engine query – even for low frequency searches. Search engines can’t view images so even though ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ this unfortunately isn’t the case in SEO. Remember;

    • only write good quality descriptive content that makes potential customers want to buy your product
    • DON’T copy content from other websites. Doing a lot of competitor research is vitally important, but never be tempted to steal pieces of their content – search engines WILL penalise you for this
    • Get the balance right. Test what description word count helps, speak to current customers or perform intense market research.

    Give your products a chance and write a full, keyword rich product description – use this opportunity as a unique online sales pitch for the product in question.


    • Using product descriptions from manufacturers

    If you want to take the easy route and use descriptions written by the manufacturer, feel free… but remember that this action will guarantee your site WILL be banned from search engines and you may possibly get a phone call from a solicitor if their content was legally protected.

    A lot of businesses use the manufacturers descriptions for their online store. The problem with doing this is your page won’t have any unique content and the pages with duplicated content will be filtered from search engines. Google is constantly releasing updates that make it easier for them to detect duplicate content and they will ban your website from results pages.

    There are interim short-cuts to protect your website in the early stages. It can be a daunting task when your website has just launched and you have thousands of products that you have to write a unique description for. Search engine professionals, like ourselves, can help you during this stage to hide the pages without optimised content until you get around to writing the descriptions.


    • Lack of product reviews

    In a recent survey, we found that over 70% of online buyers are looking for reviews of products on online stores or forums before making a purchase. If your site doesn’t allow reviews, you’re missing out on a large percentage of your websites audience. It’s very easy for review pages to reach the top of search engine results, more so than selling pages.

    The two main benefits of product reviews from customers are:

    • Your customers are writing unique content for your online store… for FREE!
    • It keeps the product page ‘alive’. If customers are leaving a review, it’s adding to that particular page which means your site will be constantly updated and fresh for search engines… all achieved without you having to do a thing


    • Not optimising product pages based on the search demand

    Keep in mind the search terms that people will type into search engines when you write your headlines, pages titles, product descriptions and other meta data. Say for example, you’re optimising the page for a ‘hat’. The search term ‘Hat’ is going to be so popular that it’s going to be virtually impossible for you to rank high for this exact search term (in the early days of course). This is where you’d be creative and have more specific search terms within the page’s meta content. For example, you would have as much descriptive, specific content as possible, such as ‘Chanel Black Bowler Hat, available from [company name]’.

    For help with meta content and search engine best practises, please get in touch with us for a site review and digital marketing strategy.


    • Non-Unique titles

    All duplicated content is a bad idea, yet the largest mistake online stores make is having non-unique title tags. A title tag should be a unique short headline of what is on that particular page. This can be difficult f your business sells a lot of multiple items from the same brand, but this is where you need to be creative and focus on making unique key phrases.

    A lot of online shoppers are searching for a key phrase rather than just one particular keyword. A technique that is most popular in the SEO world is; Title Tag = ‘Brand – Model – MAYBE company name’. The best way to determine the best keywords is to do some market research, see what customers would search for when looking for your products. Also, lots of online research is necessary – don’t worry, your SEO professional will handle this for you!


    • Lack of ‘Speaking’ URLs

    Speaking URLs, also known as ‘keyword friendly URLS’ are very important in terms of SEO. An example of a speaking URL is:

    As you can see, the keywords for that particular page are present within the URL. “Readability can be a subjective topic, but hopefully this illustration can help:”


    (image taken from

    There are 3 reasons why you should use speaking URLs:

    • Semantics – It makes it easier for a customer to know what to expect when they click on the URL. A lot of users may avoid your website if your links look like spam
    • Keyword and anchor link luck - there is a small chance that your URL will be picked up by another website and potentially re-posted. If your keywords are present in the anchor text, these will be picked up on the anchor tag of the link. Getting your keywords present within anchor text that links to your website is a massive bonus for your SEO
    • Relevancy – Although Google have mentioned that they’re putting less priority on looking for keywords within URLs when indexing your website, it doesn’t hurt to have them present, especially within product pages


    Your number one priority should be making your online store convenient and useful for customers. What’s good and unique for your potential customers, is also good for Google.

    To speak to an SEO specialist, please contact us today to get your e-commerce site loved by search engines!

  • What will blogging do for your SEO?

    How many of you can say that you have a blog on your website and it’s used correctly on a regular basis?

    Do you know just how important blogging is for your SEO? It is proven to make a huge difference and massively improve search results.

    In this post, we’re going to give you a more detailed explanation of how important blogging is for your SEO.

    Blogging is all about keywords

    In case you weren’t aware, keywords in general, are massively important for SEO. While link-building and on-page SEO are monumentally important for earning higher ranks on your desired keywords, content still can’t be overlooked. In fact, some sites may only achieve the search results they want if they regularly blog on topics based around their core keywords.

    Once your blog pages have been indexed by Google, they can potentially bring additional traffic and increase SEO on your website, based on the keywords you use in your blog post that enhance your SEO campaign.

    Giving your target market shareworthy, relevant information and another chance to boost your organic keywords… it’s a win-win situation!

    Content = Traffic

    There’s no two ways about it, Google likes a busy site that is refreshed and updated on a regular basis. The more people visiting your website, the better, especially if you have a low bounce rate.

    To put it simply, a bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who navigate away from the site after only viewing one page. A low bounce rate comes from visitors who visit your website and explore it. Engaging, useful content with internal links to other pages on your site will help to secure a low bounce rate.

    Blogging collects links

    Once you start getting into the hang of blogging and your posts become more popular and get seen by other third parties, you have the chance to earn inbound links!

    Imagine writing a piece of content that other people in your industry want their fans to see? Or perhaps a relevant blogger or journalist picks up your content and wants a piece of it… this can happen! The way to build up your fan base is to contact relevant bloggers, journalists, online magazines and ask them if you can do a guest post for their website – this will help get your name out there!

    You should also include internal links in your content, Google likes seeing that your site is tight and interconnected. Linking to other pages on your site, where appropriate, is also a great way of driving engaged viewers to relevant content and services that your business offers.

    It has been said that relevant, trustworthy inbound links influence your search rankings more than any other SEO factor. So yes… they’re pretty important!

    Blog, Blog, Blog!

    The actual size of an individual blog post doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on improving rankings, however the amount of blog posts does!

    The more pages you have, the more useful content on your site will likely to be picked up by your audience. The more relevant, keyword rich content you have and share, the more information you’ll have to hand, the more internal links you build, the more content to consumer, the more inbound links you’ll potentially achieve!

    All of the above contribute to something that greatly matters in the SEO world… engagement and loyalty.


    Our top tip… if you’re struggling to find something relevant to write about, BuzzSumo is a great website to inspire you and see what other people are writing about in your industry.

    If there’s just one thing you take away from this, please let it be this… Blogging is vitally important for SEO, as long as you create relevant, keyword rich and share-worthy content!

  • Facebook... Is organic read dead?

    Facebook are constantly changing the way they prioritise posts on Facebook, especially for business pages. It’s now harder than ever to get a good reach and following organically.

    Unless you have a large advertising budget or you have a dedicated team of social media professionals, paying for likes on Facebook can be pretty tough.

    There are other reasons to be active on Facebook, even if you’re not getting the following you’d hope for. Brand awareness is one of the main reasons businesses use social media. When used correctly, it can be a great free tool to spread the word about your services/products. Facebook also has a large hold over search engines. If you’re constantly active on social media and promoting relevant, share-worthy posts, search engines such as Google will pick up on this, in turn helping to improve your search engine ranking.

    Followers and post reach work hand in hand. The more followers you have on Facebook, the more likely you are to receive a better organic post reach. Due to another recent update from Facebook, there is only a very small percentage (under 3%) of your followers that will actually see your posts so it’s a bit of common sense really, the more people who like your page and interact with it, the more likely your posts will be seen.


    Now, here comes the interesting part, for all of the small businesses who perhaps don’t have the budget for expensive Facebook ads or designated social media managers, I want to share a little secret with you!

    There is a way you can increase your Facebook following without paying a penny!

    Facebook has a hidden invite button, which they obviously don’t promote as, like any other business, they want to increase their profits. Now, this button isn’t available to all accounts, it’s something that Facebook is testing.

    If you simply find a post that you’ve shared which has some engagement (i.e. people have liked/commented on the post) and click on the people who have engaged, you’ll see an ‘invite/liked/invited’ option. If any of the names have a ‘invite’ option next to them, this means that they have liked/commented on your Facebook post but don’t currently ‘like’ your Facebook page. If you simply click ‘invite’ then that person will receive a notification inviting them to like your page.


    Before you get ahead of yourself, there does seem to be a limit on the number of invites you can send per day, which seems to be around 500-1000 (Facebook will notify you once you’ve reached that limit).


    After testing this feature, we have seen an acceptance rate between 15-20%!

    The best thing about it, they’re very likely to accept as they have already shown interest in your page, therefore making them organic, true, relevant followers.


    Go ahead, try this feature and please let us know your results!


    Graph from 

  • How Long Does SEO Take To Work?

    This is one of the most common questions within the digital marketing world and the hardest to answer. Hopefully this blog post will give you a better understanding of today’s SEO practices.

    Old SEO used to purely focus on a small amount of ‘golden keywords’. These were the sole focus for SEO at one point, where everyone was fixated on if your business was ranking #1 for your most popular key phrase. Don’t get us wrong, this is important but with SEO changing at the speed it is, it’s not the only factor to focus on. If you are only focusing on a small group of generic keywords, the chances are that isn’t what people are searching for, therefore you’re not being found for what really matters. The emphasis should be on a much larger number of natural language search terms, especially with the use of Siri and Google Now becoming so popular.

    If by asking ‘How long does SEO take to work?’ you mean ‘How long will it be before I get top rankings?’ then you’re mistaking outputs for outcomes. Selling ‘top rankings’ is easy because it’s what every business wants to hear, but what good is a number #1 ranking in Google when your business doesn’t generate any sales or leads? SEO is focussed on optimising your website to ensure that people find your products/services and they convert.

    There are so many other factors to think about when trying to give someone an answer to ‘How long will the SEO take to work’ including

    • how long the site has been around for.
    • how much (if any) SEO you’ve had done on it previously.
    • what shape the website is in.
    • how much content is on it.
    • its link profile and a number of other SEO factors.

    No two websites are the same and that’s why it’s so important to get a unique review and audit of your site before starting any SEO service.

    Many experts, including ourselves, will tell you that it takes 4-6 months minimum to start seeing results from a good SEO practice. This is generally the case, however, like stated previously, every website is different and this figure can be more or less depending on the initial audit and review of your website.

    Many people expect to see all of their dreams come true within a week. With SEO, this isn’t the case. Studies have also shown that most companies underestimate the time and money that goes into good SEO services and unfortunately, a lot of them drop off after just a few short months or less as they weren’t getting the results they thought they would. If we could just ask you to take into consideration everything we’ve said here and give SEO a very bare minimum of 6 months before you expect to see good results.

    SEO, when properly invested in and done correctly is one of the best ROI’s (return on investments) out there. Just make sure you get all the information you need before making your decision.

    If you’d like to take a look around our SEO services, please visit and contact us today for your website review.

  • Facebook's Latest News Feed Update

    So Facebook have released yet another news feed update and this time, a lot of people will feel the effects. Facebook have revealed that their latest update will be to prioritise updates from your friends and family on your news feed, above those from pages and publishers.


    Facebook states “Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why today, we’re announcing an upcoming change to News Feed ranking to help make sure you don’t miss stories from your friends.”


    Facebook claim that they’re going back to their roots and giving people the stories that matter to them first. The effect this update will have on businesses, mainly ones with a lower social media following, is huge! Effectively, Facebook is pushing all page and publisher updates to the bottom of the list. This is certainly going to impact page reach negatively.


    Facebook states: "Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages. The specific impact on your Page’s distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts."


    So you’re reading this article and probably think that this is the end of the road for your business on Facebook, that you should just give up? Wrong! There are still some ways to help ensure that your business is still seen on Facebook and here are a few of them;


    • Focus on video posts
    • Use Facebook Live – as much as possible!
    • Always include imagery
    • Pay to amplify reach
    • Monitor insights daily


    These few tips should help you with this latest update. The most important two are focussing on video posts and paying to amplifying reach. Here at Design365, we can help you with Facebook paid ads, boosts and more, all to help you get through this latest social media update.


    Facebook's also released a new “News Feed Values” document which outlines the driving logic behind their decisions as to how they refine and improve the News Feed algorithm. If you get a few moments, please take a look through the News Feed Values, there are some very important and helpful hints on there to help your business stay visible on Facebook.


    If you have any questions about how this may affect your business on social media or for any other related enquiries, please contact us.

  • Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation


    Here at Design365, we take charity very seriously and recently we have been raising money for MFC Foundation.

    Every Friday, in the Design365 towers, we give everybody the opportunity to dress down and be casual for the day. By participating in the 'casual Friday', we ask that staff donate to the MFC foundation box. We will be having cake bakes and other fund raising ideas like fancy dress and sponsored challenges, we will keep you updated on these!

    "MFC Foundation was set up by Chairman Steve Gibson as the independent charitable arm of Middlesbrough FC. Though it uses the official Boro brand to engage with various members of the community, MFC Foundation exists as a separate entity from the football club."

    If you want to read more about MFC Foundation, please visit their website here -

    MFC Foundation Charity Box

    Every 3 months the staff will select a new charity to fund raise for so stay tune for updates!

  • Responsive Web Design... Reasons to upgrade!


    Is your website in danger of dropping off the search engine results pages?

    Google launched an update last year stating that they were going to start to favour websites which were mobile friendly. According to, the number of mobile-friendly web pages in mobile search results increased by two percentage points (from 70% to 72%) after the original update rolled out.

    Responsive Web Design can also improve SEO (search engine optimisation) and increase conversion rates. Local search is becoming increasingly popular (on mobile phones) so having a responsive website will increase the ability of your website to be found by local users.

    Responsive Web Design (RWD) is simply an approach of laying-out and coding a website so that the website provides an optimal viewing experience, ease of reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices (including desktop computer monitors, tablets and mobile phones).

    Having a responsive site can benefit you in a few ways:

    Google Factor:

    Google recommends a responsive approach for SEO. Managing the SEO for multiple mobile and desktop sites can be difficult and has been proven to be less effective compared to a responsive site. Responsive sites avoid duplicate content. Webmasters who create mobile versions of their website usually just duplicate the content from the main website. By doing so, this immediately removes all the credibility of the mobile site from an SEO perspective.

    Note from MD: There are also whisperings from Google that they will be creating a mobile only search engine for mobile devices which will have a massive effect on non-mobile friendly businesses.

    Better, faster, smarter user experience:

    Putting your customer first is key and ensuring that their experience on your site is the best it can possibly be. Having a responsive and mobile friendly site means that the user can enjoy the site to its full potential regardless of what device they're using to view it on.

    Cost effective:

    Even though initially responsive sites take a little longer to put together, they survive a lot longer and future management, support and upgrades only need to be applied to one place which saves time and money.

    Improve conversion rates:

    An optimised and consistent site, no matter what platform it’s viewed on, provides a better experience for the user which is more likely to lead to them engaging with you.

    If you want to see some of our recently launched responsive sites please visit our portfolio

    If you think it's time you finally made the change to your website, please contact us!

  • Al Forno - New Site

    We've just created a new site for the lovely Al Forno restaurant in Darlington.

    "Al Forno Italian Restaurant is a fantastic place to meet and eat. Choose from a range of superb, fresh Italian food, beautiful wine and excellent service. Pop in for a cappuccino or a glass of wine, tuck into a fresh summer salad, grab a sandwich or sit down to a home cooked Italian dinner cooked by one of our award winning chefs."

    Take a look at the site and let us know what you think!

    al forno1 al forno2 al forno3

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