AMP becoming a new trend in SEO in 2017?

AMP becoming a new trend in SEO in 2017?

Apparently, no more than a week ago, when browsing Google News from a mobile device, just about 30% of the results were AMP. But, on January 29, AMP results increased up to 70%.

Is this event marking the beginning of a new trend for SEO? It’s probably too early to tell, but it’s better to be ready.

What is AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)?

First announced by Google in October 2015, AMP basically translates to web pages stripped down of most of the “eye-candy” that makes them heavy, slow to load.

In an increasingly mobile-oriented world, page loading speed is more important every day.

So, the AMP Project‘s main purpose is to make mobile content available as fast as possible. It has been shown that about 40% of Mobile users leave a web page if its loading time is more than 3 seconds.

You can see that this is bad both for the user, who won’t see your content, and for you, because you will have lost a potential meaningful visit.

Test AMP search results with the demo provided by Google itself. Visit from your mobile device.

If you talk to publishers about this, you will probably get them interested!

What is the difference between AMP and mobile-friendly pages?

If you are one of our customers, you already know how much we are focusing on building mobile-friendly websites. Then, you may be wondering: is AMP different?

A quick example, took from this article on the BBC News website (AMP version here).

Responsive vs AMP example

The one on the left, is an example of non-AMP responsive design. You can see the header, the menu, the search box and other elements appearing.

On the right, instead, there is the AMP version of the same page, stripped down to mostly the actual images and content.

Even if AMP are indeed mobile-friendly pages, their difference lies in the amount of code used in the page itself.

A non-AMP mobile friendly page will most likely have code that makes animations, scrolling effects and popups appear on the screen. AMP pages get rid of that, without compromising the actual content: images, videos and text are left untouched.

Quoting Google itself: “We want webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously”. So, it is worth noting that AMP does not necessarily mean no Ads.

AMP and non-AMP version of the same page can currently co-exist without causing Duplicate Content issues. Make sure that the AMP versions your pages have a rel=canonical tag that links to the non-AMP ones.

Is AMP going to be used as a Ranking Signal?

Again, it’s probably early to tell. It’s worth mentioning that back in February 2016, in a Google Webmaster Central Hangout, John Mueller said that AMP was not yet a Ranking Signal.

Still, considering the sudden growth of AMP results in Google News, and the fact that Google has been placing mobile experience first for a long time now, then it’s easy to imagine that it could happen. We’ll stay on the watch for any change.

Also, Search Engine Journal collected insights from SEO professionals around the world, some of which are keeping their eyes on what kind of importance Google may give to AMP in 2017.

What it is sure is that AMP is great for SEO in general. If you build AMP pages, you will basically build:

Mobile-friendliness, Page Speed and User Experience are indeed Ranking Signals!

Also, with AMP in mind, you may end up writing better content, since you would have to pay far less attention about the layout.

How to setup AMP pages (on WordPress)

If your website is built using WordPress as a CMS, then to setup a basic AMP on your website we suggest you to install two plugins: AMP by Automattic and AMP for WP by Ahmed and Mohammed Kaludi.

Once you installed them, you can access to them under the same panel, located in Dashboard > AMP

AMP WordPress Plugin Dashboard

From this page, you can help yourself through the provided links to learn how to setup AMP properly.

Be sure to always have the latest WordPress version installed and also always perform a backup of your website before installing plugins.

How to setup AMP pages (on non-WordPress websites)

If you are not using WordPress, the best place to get started is the Guide provided by the AMP Project itself.

Need help to setup AMP for your website?

If you don’t have time to setup AMP on your own, or just need some help, contact us: Handyweb can help!

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Google Mobile Interstitial Penalty gets sites showing “annoying” popups

Google Mobile Interstitial Penalty gets sites showing “annoying” popups

On January 10, Google has updated its algorithm, applying the so-called Mobile Interstitial Penalty.

If your website pages features elements that make the content not easily accessible to your mobile visitors, your ranking on Search Results Page may suffer a backlash.

This should mostly target pages that appear on mobile search results.

Desktops popups and interstitials are still not penalised as much. I wouldn’t be surprised if this should change in the future, though.

How to avoid Google Mobile Interstitial Penalty?

If your website, when visited from a mobile device, features Popups, Modals or other Interstitials that:

  • Cover your content (even just by graying it out)
  • Cannot be removed unless you click the “X” to close them
  • Cannot be remuved unless a specific amount of time has passed (pretty much like some ads on mobile apps).

You should remove them right away.

Only exceptions, according to Google, are popups that serve a purpose such as displaying informations about Cookie Policy or Age Verification popups.

Like most of what is related to search engine’s ranking factors (and Search Engine Optimisation in general), think first and foremost in terms of user experience.

Ask yourself: will this feature slow my visitor’s ability to browse my content? If it does, you should remove it.

Luckily it is Google itself, in the blog post that announces the algorithm update, that shows us some examples of which are to be considered Good and which Bad Interstitials.

Bad Interstitials vs Good Interstitials

Examples of intrusive interstitials

Examples of intrusive interstitials – Source: Google

These are examples of intrusive popups and interstitials, according to Google.

The first should be a Modal. The second and third ones are standalone interstitials.

As you can see, all of them cover most – if not all – of the content of a page. Also, they are advertising a paid service.

A visitor reaching the page from a mobile search results – will likely be far more interested in the actual content, rather than in stuff that gets in the way.

Just in case you may need it, here is an article about the difference between a Popup, an Interstitial and a Modal.


Examples of good interstitials

Examples of good interstitials – Source: Google

These are examples of interstitials that are less likely to get you penalised by Google.

The first one is an example of what a Cookie Policy popup may look like. The second one is an actual interstitial, covering the whole content, but for the purpose of Age Verification.

The last one is an advertisement, but it is included in a small, simple banner. It doesn’t really block the actual content of the website from being browsed.

So, yes! It is possible to have ads on a website’s mobile version without being penalised by the Mobile Interstitial Penalty. Just be reasonable!

If you want to read more about the topic, I suggest you to read this article published on Search Engine Journal.

Do you need help to avoid being penalised by Google’s Mobile Interstitial Penalty? Contact us!

WordPress 4.7.1 Security and Maintenance Update released

WordPress 4.7.1 Security and Maintenance Update released

On January 11, WordPress has released a Security and Maintenance Update and they suggest you to update immediately. As WordPress users ourselves, we strongly share their suggestion.

If your website uses WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS), you should backup your website and update WordPress Core to the latest version.

To backup your website is always important, especially before installing Core updates, so to prevent issues. Also, if your website has Plugins installed, these may not always be 100% compatible with the new version which can lead to your website becoming broken or unbrowsable.

What does WordPress 4.7.1 update fix?

Being an open source, heavily community-reliant CMS, WordPress updates are usually based on the huge amount of feedback coming from its huge user base (WordPress 4.7 has been downloaded over 17 million times).

This is a short list of the main bugs that the 4.7.1 update fixes, along with a brief explanation:

  • Remote code execution (RCE) in PHPMailer.
    PHPMailer is an email creation and transfer class for PHP used by many open source web-related projects such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla!
  • The REST API exposed user data for all users who had authored a post of a public post type. WordPress 4.7.1 limits this to only post types which have specified that they should be shown within the REST API.
    REST is an architecture style for designing networked applications.
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) via the plugin name or version header on update-core.php.
    XSS is a kind of vulnerability used to bypass websites’ access controls.
  • Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) bypass via uploading a Flash file.
    CSRF is a type of malicious website exploit where unauthorized commands are transmitted from a user that the website trusts.
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) via theme name fallback.
  • Post via email checks if default settings aren’t changed.
  • A cross-site request forgery (CSRF) was discovered in the accessibility mode of widget editing.
  • Weak cryptographic security for multisite activation key.
    Multisite is a WordPress feature that enables the creation of multiple virtual sites under a single WordPress installation.

There are other 62 bugs that have been fixed. If you are interested, you can check the full Release Notes for WordPress 4.7.1 directly from their website.

Need help? Contact us!

Tips for a Product Page Design that converts (Updated: 2017)

Tips for a Product Page Design that converts (Updated: 2017)

As more and more people go mobile, a lot of work goes into getting your visitors to convert. It’s not just a matter of having quality products.

One of the mistakes you can make, as an Ecommerce owner, is to deliver a poor Product Page Design to your customers. A balance between User Experience and Content Optimisation is what you want to achieve.

If your Product Page Design doesn’t make it easy for customers to check and buy the product, then they will simply leave your website altogether.

We at Handyweb are working with more than few Ecommerce websites, so we thought we should share few tips, coming from experience. Of course, one or more of the following may represent no secret to some of you. Still sometimes they are overlooked, therefore we thought we should mention them.

Optimise your Product Name and Product Description

Good Content is part of your Product Page Design. Make sure to give your customers a clear idea of what the Product is and that it is what they are looking for. How?

1) Do your research

Know your audience – Being a shop owner, you may already know why customers should look for your products instead of others’. Find long-tail keywords you could use to attract your targeted audience.

2) Be descriptive, original and precise

Use descriptive terms and words that value the product – “Victorian China Tea Set, 7 pieces: 3 cups and saucers, teapot” is a better Product Name than just “Tea set”.

Write original Product Descriptions – Whether you are manufacturer of your own products or not, don’t just copy-paste descriptions coming from similar products you find online or from the manufacturers’ websites.

Include all valuable informations – If you think that a piece of information is valuable to your customer (Product Size, Product Weight, etc.) be sure to include it.

If you use WooCommerce as an Ecommerce Platform, it’s not difficult to provide all this information.

3) Think SEO

Include long-tail keywords – For a better Search Engine Optimisation, use long-tail keywords related to your audience in both your Product Description and Product Name.

Mind Page Title’s character count – If your Product Name is included in the Product Page Title, make sure that its character count remains between 50-60 characters.

ecommerce website

Optimise your User Experience for Conversion

Update: since November, 2016 Mobile and tablet internet usage has officially exceeded desktop worldwide. Now more than ever you should think about mobile-friendly design for your online business.

4) Show good (lightweight) quality images

Provide clean looking images – Your products should have clean, crisp images, preferably original.

Be consistent – Keep your display images’ style consistent throughout the website. Consistency often inspires reliability. Reliability often reinforces your Brand Awareness.

Always think about Page Speed – Be sure to choose images that are “lightweight”, optimised for Web Broswing. It is known that slow loading times are bad for both SEO and conversion rates.

Here is a thorough article: How to Optimize Ecommerce Product Images for Faster Pages, High Conversion from Practical Ecommerce.

5) Focus on speed and ease of use

Avoid slideshows and animations – Focus on speed. If your Product features more than one image, make the first image as descriptive as possible. Then let the user decide whether to look at other images.

Provide easy interaction – Make sure your main Call to Action (the “BUY NOW” button, if you will) is easy to interact with. If your Product also considers Quantity, make Quantity Selection easy to increase and decrease.

Iterate – Have people test your website from a mobile browser and ask them for feedback. Fix what has to be fixed and repeat.

Update 2017: Consider AMP – For a further focus on speed and ease of use, consider Accelerated Mobile Pages for your Ecommerce. As of July, 2016 Ebay started testing AMP for their website.

6) Keep your customers engaged

Wishlist – Maybe your customers are interested in your Product but want to wait for a discount or simply come back later. Consider including Wishlists in your Product Page Design, maybe including an easy email reminder.

Related Products – Maybe your customers are looking for a different but similar product and didn’t know it beforehand. Put this section at the end of the page, as it shouldn’t distract customers from the Producty they’re looking at.

Up-sell – If your customers are looking at an MP3 Player with 8GB of storage, for instance, showing them the same MP3 Player with 16GB of storage could move them towards that.

Cross-sell – Once your customers have chosen the right MP3 Player for their budget and needs, they could be interested in a pair of headphones to buy along with it.

Customer Support – Be always there for your customers and visitors. Live Chat, phone, email, online forms. Make it easy for them to reach you from any part of the website, and to ask for help about a specific Product. This will make it easy for both of you.

Social Media Share Icons – Allow Social Media Share Icons (in a non-intrusive way), if you want your customers and potential customers to “work for you” by spreading the word about a Product to their peers and followers.

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Website security: as hacking continues to grow, is your website safe?

Website security: as hacking continues to grow, is your website safe?

Keep your website safe and maintain your website visitors’ trust

Today’s headlines show that the Swift payment system has been hacked. This system is used by many leading banks in the world, probably including yours. Perhaps it is a good time to remind yourself of your responsibilities as a website owner: you should always protect your visitors’ data against hackers.

The headlines on the heading picture of this article are all cut from web stories today. There is an increasing level of security breaches even on top brand websites.

For website owners there are two areas to consider, when seeking to keep your website safe from hackers.

  • Your clients and visitors’ personal information
  • Your website and its database

Do you have an Ecommerce website? Find out more about how to increase your Ecommerce security.

Your interaction with your online visitors is based of trust. If your website fails in delivering a proper protection for its visitors, building trust in them will be very difficult.

Here are 7 steps you can consider if you want increase your visitors’ trust

One of the easiest ways for hackers to access your website is because your software, like your website CMS, are not up to date. Many CMS such as WordPress often release Security and Maintenance Updates. These updates aim to close off the loopholes in security found in the previous versions. 

More about why you should always keep your software up to date.

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7 easy tips to increase your Ecommerce Security

7 easy tips to increase your Ecommerce Security

Owners of Ecommerce Websites usually focus on delivering a high quality user experience, so that visitors will enjoy their buying experience. Other than the way products are presented, Ecommerce Security should be a crucial topic for both owners and users.

Unfortunately, most Ecommerce owners do not give enough consideration to security until something goes wrong, which is generally too late.

Hackers always try new ways to attack websites to gather information, deny access to your website, extract customer information, or redirect payments to their accounts.

Ecommerce owners have a responsibility to protect their clients against such events. Small brands, big brands they all have been attacked by hackers. The flaws in their safety can lead visitors to lose faith and trust in their services. Nobody likes having their financial and personal information exposed where they would not wish!

The good news is that you can do something to increase your Ecommerce’s security. Here are 6 quick, general tips:

1. Secure your website with HTTPS

Over 17% of online customers will leave the shopping process when they notice that a website is not secured with a HTTPS protocol.

The HTTPS protocol keeps the conversation between your website and your customers’ computer confidential. This means that when they submit their private or financial informations these are not easily subject to being intercepted by hackers.

You can notice whether a website, page or service is HTTPS-secured just by looking at the URL bar of your internet browser. If there is a little lock icon, or if the URL of the website starts with “https://”, then it is HTTPS-secured, otherwise is not.

Some browsers warn you when a website is not HTTPS-secured but you should always be wary when you are about to provide personal or financial informations.

2. Use strong passwords for your website accounts and change them frequently

Clients often ask us for easier passwords to remember for their website accounts. While we do not force them to keep their passwords strong, our suggestion always points towards that direction.

A strong password has at least 15 characters, is composed by both lowercase and uppercase letters, contains numbers and symbols (such as ? % ^ $ *). You can use this useful website to create a strong password.

3. Backup your website often

If you don’t do this yourself, arrange with your web developer to set up an automated website backup, possibly away from your premises.

This is a low cost solution that avoids a nightmare situation if your website ever gets hacked and all your products disappear.

4. Log out of your website when you’re not working on it

Frequently we find out that clients do not log out of their website and just walk away from the computer that remains logged on.

5. Avoid Open Wi-Fi hotspots when managing your website

Wi-Fi is great and, of course, we all love free Wi-Fi! Security levels on free Wi-Fi are often limited, though, and can easily be hacked.

This means that anything you type while connected to such Wi-Fi is open to being captured and used by hackers.

Being careful about what you do on free Wi-Fi is a general security rule and we share the common strong suggestion to wait until you are using secure connections before you use a credit card or give banking or password details that matter to you.

6. Update antivirus on computers and devices you use to manage your website

As obvious as it may be, we strongly suggest you to keep your antivirus and antimalware software updated. Also we invite you, of course, not to open emails from persons you do not know.

Also, don’t open attachments or click on links that you are unsure of. Email spam keeps getting more sophisticated. Spam emails don’t always carry a subject as silly as “Click here to download an important message”.

They can infect your computer and some of your actions can make the malware spread to your website, therefore to its users.

7. Also update your browser

Many good browsers, including Chrome and Firefox, can be extended with an increasing number of apps (or extensions or plugins). These apps can make life easier for you in many different ways.

Still, our suggestion is to always ensure that both these apps and your browser are up to date. Also, keep an eye out for those apps you didn’t install on purpose. They could be the kind of malware that opens up dozens of spam popups whenever you try to do something on the internet!

We develop Ecommerce, can we help you?

At we can help you improve your Ecommerce Security, as we can provide quality advise, put in place secure certificates (HTTPS) and setup automated backups.

We can perform a scan on your website, then clean, protect, and monitor it every day, preventing attacks from hackers and other vulnerabilities from arising.

9 things to consider for Starting an Ecommerce Business

9 things to consider for Starting an Ecommerce Business

We have quite a few Ecommerce websites in our Portfolio, but also have team members who run their own. We asked them to share a few tips for Starting an Ecommerce Business. 9 things to consider when thinking about starting an Ecommerce Business Design - Ask yourself:...

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Online Spend by Irish Consumers reaches €5.9 Billion

Online Spend by Irish Consumers reaches €5.9 Billion

If I told you that over 10% of all shopping by Irish consumers will be done online within the next two years – you wont be so worried. Maybe you think its only 10% of a big cake or maybe you think is it eating more than 10% of my industry cake and each year after this will take bigger slices?

What if I told you that this year the online spend by Irish Consumers represented €5.9 billion and is projected to reach €9.3 billion by 2017 ( thats just about two years from now!).

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