If you have seen some strange results in your page authority and domain authority and just general search engine ranking positions over the past month then you have most likely been effected by Google latest update called Hummingbird.

A bit of a sneaky update from Google which was unusually kept quite from them until the 26th Sep 2013 when they confirmed the new search algorithm had been live for the past month.

You may have remembered that previous updates from Google ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’ changed a part of the search algorithm. Well with this update Google has replaced the old ranking algorithm with a completely new one! making it the biggest change for SEO in 3 years.

Google did announce a while ago that in the future, all searches will be secure and as such, the keyword data that people use to find out about how people got to their site will no longer be available in Google Analytics. A total nightmare considering many website owners have spent this year dealing with the effects of the Penguin update which had far reaching effects, making ‘bad’ SEO not just unsuccessful, but ensuring guilty websites were actively penalised.

Hummingbird aims to deliver results which are precise and fast

Not all details are for sure yet but Google has confirmed that Hummingbird focuses on ranking information based on more intelligent and naturalistic search requests. In short, Google is getting smarter and is now better able to understand the relationships and relevance of words and phrases, instead of just considering a bunch of individual words.

There is now less emphasis on individual keywords and more emphasis on their collective (semantic) meaning.

For some time now, the emphasis has been upon providing useful, high quality content on websites and blogs. If you are doing this correctly as part of your marketing strategy then very little is likely change with regards to your Google search position. If you do implement a bit of dodgy SEO on your website or blogs then get ready to feel the wrath of Google once they scan your site.

Just imagine what would happen if something happened to your computer. If it caught fire, was stolen or got drenched in your morning coffee?

If you were using a decent backup solution you could just keep on working, otherwise you could be in a lot of trouble. So for those of you who don’t currently have a backup of your files in place, you’ll want to take a look at Dropbox.

So what is Dropbox?

Dropbox is software you install on your computer. It’s compatible with PC and Apple Mac. It’s a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again! It also saves all of your files in the cloud (your own personal and secure space on the Internet)

How does it work?

When you install Dropbox on your laptop or pc it creates a folder on your hard drive called ‘Dropbox’. You simply drag pictures, word documents anything at all into the Dropbox folder. The files stay on your local machine but also get uploaded to your online Dropbox account saving your data in the cloud. This is great for backing up data. You can then access your Dropbox account online through any computer or cellphone with Internet access. You can install Dropbox on other pc’s or laptops you own and when you do this all the files that are on your Dropbox get sync’d across the other pc or laptops you install Dropbox on.

Why would you use it?

If you work from a pc and a laptop, its really useful to be able to access your files from both machines without having to painfully transfer yourself files using usb sticks or emails. just share your files to yourself using Dropbox.

How to get it?

You head over to Dropbox.com and create a Free account. Install the application onto your PC by following the instructions during install, then all you have to do is drag files into your Dropbox folder and they get uploaded to the cloud.

Free Version

You start with 2GB of free space to use which is a lot for small businesses! invite your friends to gain more free space up to 16GB.

Paid Version

If you need more space, you can pay to increase your storage limit.

Sharing Files

You can choose which files on your Dropbox you want to share and send out an invite to anyone. Everyone that you give access to will always see the latest version of the shared files. Dropbox will synchronize these in real time.

How we use it

We use Dropbox to share files across the team who work in difference locations. it enables us to share files and folders with each other and means we don’t have to worry about duplicate file versions. everything is sync’d across the team, perfect!

Any bad things?

Well you do need Internet connection for Dropbox to back up and synchronize your files and if you start to purchase a lot of storage space on Dropbox you also need to make sure your laptops and PC have enough storage on their own hard drives to cope with all the data.

Would you believe that back in April this year 2013 the World Wide Web turned 20 years old.

These days the Internet as we know it so accessible to everyone, whether it’s from a desktop computer, Apple Mac, iPads or iPhones etc it’s fair to say that your potential customers who are viewing your site right now are doing so from many different devices.

What you see ain’t what they see! (maybe)

Just because you load up your website on your own computer or ipad and it looks good, it doesn’t mean your customers are seeing the same thing. Mr Bob from wherever may be looking at your website through his 17inch old monitor using Internet Explorer 7 as his web browser and thinking this website is terrible and broken!? He may have a totally different view on your website than you sitting there on a 24 inch monitor using Google Chrome. the same applies across all mobile devices.

Why it really matters

Everyone will have at some point experienced a poor product or service. Online or offline. A poor customer or user experience can lead to feelings of confusion, frustration or even anger. Naturally people then associate those feelings and emotions with the product, service or brand that left them feeling that way and that then influences their lasting impression.

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou – poet, actress and civil rights activist.

A persons experience of using a product or service can have a massive effect on how likely they are to ever use it again.

This has always mattered online, it’s just businesses didn’t really take much notice of it back in the day however now it’s starting to have a big impact on their online success. This is because your website which used to be pretty much fine for the world to view on their desktop pcs at home now has to pass the test of iPhones, iPads, Mini iPads and all sorts of other mobile devices.

The fact is having a ‘website’ is much more than just having some text+images online shouting about your services. It really is your online high street shop window to the world so make sure it looks good no matter what device it’s viewed on. Be as sure as you can that every visitor to your website, every potential customer has a good experience when they visit your website or you risk losing them before they have even looked at your testimonials/prices/offers never to return.

The world of digital presence is changing at light speed. With the onset of mobile, and the rapid growth of connected devices, traditional methods of knowing what is happening to your website is no longer adequate.

To meet the growing needs of businesses, Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics) has changed from a web anayltics solution to a business measurement platform.

From websites to mobile apps, and almost any other internet-connected devices, you can use Google Anayltics to measure your entire business.

Where does the data come from?

Starting right at the beginning with how Google Anayltics collects its data. All data is sent to Google Anayltics via a data hit on your website as soon as someone visits it. Included in this request is info about the visitor and their behavior (a lot of info).

Once the hit is collected, Google Anayltics processes the all the data every few hours and turns it into dimensions and metrics, which become building blocks for reports that you can generate.

You are able to pull out the visitors geographic location (country, region, city, etc), or the type of device the visitor used when they accessed your website. (tablet, smartphone, etc).

Alongside this is data that shows how long the user spent on your website and how many visitors you actually had on your website over a period of time.

Google Anayltics collects a massive amount of data from visitors to your website and its simply a must for any business regardless of size to have it installed. I always say the same thing, if you don’t have analytics on your website then there is really is no point in having a website, because you have no idea what is happening on your website. You are simply blind when it comes to your online presence.

The above just really touches on the standard things available with Google Anayltics, you can pull out all sorts of information if you really want to dig deeper, but at the very least make sure you have it installed on your website. All websites built by Purple Cloud Solutions come with it pre-installed. If you have any questions about this at all just ask us about it.

They have done it again! Google have released a brand new update on its search engine called Penguin 2.0

I am still monitoring and looking at the changes this update from from Google has done yesterday, but we anticipate that our websites that have been created with ‘Proper’ SEO will not be effected and should actually be rewarded AND may even gain rankings. From reports, the number of search queries affected by the Penguin updates since it’s birth have been:

– Penguin update 1 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)

– Penguin update 2 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)

– Penguin update 3 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)

– Penguin update 4 (Penguin 2.0) on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries) <- Wow!.

We will update this post again once we have more info on this and how it will effect your business on the internet.

Lesson in life… DON’T create crappy websites with poor content else you will not survive on the Internet in today’s world.

Updated September 28th 2013, with more another blog post about the most recent Google update here.

Security online is really something you need to take seriously. Your login details to any online service should be ‘very secure’. So what is very secure and is it really necessary?

When i say very secure i really mean something like this Ad5h*tGx6rX – how horrible is that? well yes that’s the whole point, its much harder for any human or computer program to work out that login password than say the sometimes used ‘password01’ which is really terrible. Even your name and a few numbers after it is really useless. Remember its not just humans guessing your details its computer programs coded to try thousands of combinations a minute and they run until they crack your details or they run out of possible combination that they have programmed in. This is where your super secure passwords beat the hacking program but your name + few numbers loses badly.

Ask yourself how good is your password? is it really easy to remember your password? is it a simple variation of your real name or business. If so you could be at risk a pretty major risk.

Or do you hate typing in your password each time, do you have to copy and paste it from a secure file location somewhere when you need it, does it really annoy you? if the answer to these are YES, then you are probably petty secure 🙂

Trying to save yourself a few moments of time by being lazy or not hurting your brain each time you log in really can ruin your business or life. The risk you can put yourself at is really serious, using the same passwords for most logins means if you get hacked then all your systems get hacked. If your email was to vanish in a day, years of email gone in a second how bad would that be and how bad would the effect be on your business?

As more and more business start using cloud services, security really is something to take deadly serious. Dropbox for example now have a two-step verification which is an optional but highly recommended security feature that adds an extra layer of protection to your Dropbox account. Once enabled, Dropbox will require a six-digit security code in addition to your password whenever you sign in to Dropbox or link a new computer, phone, or tablet. Full link to that article here: https://www.dropbox.com/help/363/en

You should also 100% have an anti-virus program running on your computer and firewall program. Keep these up to date. I personally like the paid for version of AVG but there are lots out there, Norton, McAfee etc.

If you do nothing else please just think about your logins and ask yourself as a responsible person, are my logins really as secure as they should be.

Have you ever had a call from people offering fast and quick ways to get your website to the top of Google? For maybe a few hundred pounds in theory this sounds quite tempting doesn’t it?

Here’s the fact, this will ruin your business on the Internet.

even worse if you rely on the Internet for sales of your services or products this very thing could easily put you out of business.

So why is this and how does this actually work?

The companies that offer this 9 times out of 10 use old and now banned techniques to trick Google in putting your website high up on the rankings.

They do bad SEO which can very short term work in putting your site higher up on Google. They then charge you for their services as they have done what they said they would. As an unknowingly tricked and happy customer y go off all happy with your website sitting high and you start getting business, things are great and your feeling really happy with life.

And then…

months later in an instant the phone stops ringing and your website stats show that hardly anyone is coming to your website, What’s happened?! It’s as if you have vanished from the Internet. Guess what? You have.

Google has worked out what has been done on your website (either technically or had a webmaster review your spammy looking content and verify it) and has now removed your website from its search engine. Not only that it has put a big black mark next to your website so you can never recover and reappear on Google search. In some circumstances you may be lucky and Google may reach out to you and let you know you have been punished and give you a lifeline to remove all bad links + content to your site. Now you just have the task of finding access to all the 1000’s posts and manually removing each one. An impossible task really, then you will end up paying someone to fix it all and that would not be cheap.

Sadly it’s happening more and more and we see it regularly now with customers coming to us bewildered as to how this has happened.

I’m going to try to explain what those naughty companies have actually done.

In short they run a program which creates low quality nonsense blog posts about random words and submit these articles to literally 1000’s of website blogs or forums.

Within these articles they include a link back to your website using a keyword you want to rank for.

This is perfect unless the websites they submit too are low quality sites, and they always always are.

In the examples pictures below I will show you a recent customer we have seem get ruined by this very method.

They paid a company who claimed to be able to get them loads of traffic to their website and high on Google. The company submitted posts to very low quality sites and Google found out. They have been hit hard and punished by Google for doing this luckily they don’t rely entirely on the Internet for sales but if they did then it would of been game over.

They’re is only one way to get s great position of Google and that’s by doing it properly. If something sounds too good to be true it usually is so next time someone calls and says for a very cheap price we can put you on Google page one think about if it is worth the risk, only use highly recommended SEO companies that you have heard of.

There is only one way to rank high on Google and that is to create decent quality content that people will actually want to read and then and only then apply proper SEO to the site to maximize its overall SEO position.

Each year we look at all our customers and decide who has made the most of the tools we have gave them in terms of making their business more successful. We present the winner with a trophy for all the hard work they have put in and for impressing us over the year.

We hope that by doing this it will give other businesses ideas on the kind of things they should be doing to stay competitive in today’s challenging market.

This is the first time we have done it, but for me there was a pretty clear winner. We started working with them in 2011 and right from the start they had big ideas about what they wanted to do online and with their business. So i am proud to present the Purple Cloud Solutions Business Awards 2012 to Jo and Diana at Buttercream and Bows who provide cake decorating courses teaching you how to make really beautiful looking cup cakes in Sutton Coldfield.

We have given this award to them because of the following reasons below:

They keep their website up to date

Really important for their customers and Google that the website is kept up to date with no out of date content/info on there. They are always updating/tweaking their course page descriptions and adding/removing booked classes.

Use of Social Media

On Facebook

I’ve taken a screenshot below of their timeline just to show some examples of how they use Facebook so well.

example of using facebook for business

They show high quality photos of their products relating to the timing of the post e.g. in this example valentines day which is linked to some valentines day courses they have available.

They have an offer which they posted on Facebook which gives customers a free gift.

They have posted a recent video from their YouTube channel which is a tutorial of Jo making the actual valentines cup cake that you can see in the picture.

On Twitter

Below shows them engaging with people on Twitter and using photos to showcase their products and happy customers.

example of using twitter for business

It’s all just great content and its all relevant to the time they are posting i.e Valentines. It’s an exact example of what you should be doing and they this ALL YEAR ROUND. You can see people ‘commenting’ on it and ‘liking’ the posts giving buttercream and bows massive exposure to new potential customers across Facebook and Twitter. It’s not just whacking things on Facebook for the fun of it, its carefully thought out and published with relevancy across the board and that’s key to success online.

Offline Marketing

They don’t just rely on their website to bring in leads, living within Sutton Coldfield i have noticed their adverts in the papers and heard them on the radio! some things work better than others but the point is they try different routes and then focus on the ones that work the best, they are out there doing stuff.


They have used video in a number of places, on their homepage to showcase exactly what they offer and have had some videos done which sit on their YouTube Channel and feeds through to their website. This includes testimonials of their customer which is golden. If you want to find out what other people think about their courses just watch the videos and you can instantly see that people think their great and have really the enjoyed the classes.


They send out regular offers and info on their courses via newsletters to potential customers.


They still have some work to do on their blog but at least they are blogging! helping with the SEO of the website. We have spoke about the blogging and this will be something they will be working on in 2013. It’s so important.

What I love about working with these two is that they want to expand and come up with new ideas and ways to make their business better online and offline, they chat with us about ways to do this and listen to what we have to say and then implement the ideas we come up with. They understand that to get the most out of their business online they have to put the effort in. They have seen great success since launching their website and its because they have put the effort into maintaining their website, keeping the content fresh and interesting. They then do the same on Social Media. They have highlighted areas to improve on their website and have plans set out to do this in 2013 and that’s the great thing, they don’t want to just let it all go stale they want to keep improving everything they can on their website.

So BIG Congratulations to Jo and Diana at buttrecream and bows for being Purple Cloud Solutions 2012 Business Awards Winner!

We get a lot of start up businesses that ask us about how they get onto the first page of Google and how they get their business shown in the various points around the search page. So to answer this I’ve put together a short 4 minute video that talks you through the first page of Google search and explains each section that is available for your business to display.

Hopefully after watching this video you will have a good understanding of the way Google splits out its search page into different sections depending if you want to rank naturally with good SEO or use paid services such as Google ad words.

Hope you enjoy watching the video below:

Remember you can hit the full screen button to view full screen and increase the quality of the video if your Internet can handle it. We have recorded in HD for you so you can use 720p HD if you want 🙂

Creating good video content for your business and uploading it onto your website helps massively when it comes to getting more customers

If you read this and think it wouldn’t be relevant for your business or industry then you are very wrong and i will tell you why…

Your customers search for your good and services on Google right? using video on your website, Facebook and YouTube helps your Search Engine Optimisation.

As a business, any business you need to create video and link it to your website. You do need to apply the correct kind of tags and keywords to your videos so that you get the benefit from it, but that is not difficult.

Google owns YouTube, Google loves video, Google is where your customers search for your goods/services, Video helps your Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Optimisation helps your business appear on front page Google.

Being on from page Google gets you more customers.

How to start with video for your business?

A great way to start with video for business is to think about creating a video blog on your website. This can be a normal blog on your website but include video posts embedded straight from your YouTube channel. In short, create a video and upload it to YouTube. Then embed that video on your website, share the video or better share the blog post on your website that has the embedded video on across social media platforms such as Facebook.

A good idea is to first create a list of content that you will make videos for. Then create a calender of blog posts for when you will release this content to the world, maybe once a week you upload a video blog post to your website. Create about 10 videos so you have decent stock of video content. Create new videos each week. You can always mix and match the content you have, this way if you come across something that’s really relevant to the exact day/week your releasing your video content then you can put that video up in place of one you had previsluy planned in the schedule.

Video relevance

If you can create videos that are linked to your industry and relevant to the things happening in your industry on that specific day/week then that will gain more interest obviously. An example would be if its winter or there has been loads of snow and your a plumber for instance then create video content of you outside in the snow talking about winter and how your pipes may burst or boiler breakdown etc. This type of video blog post would be silly in the summer but very relevant in the winter.

You want to release regular content and keep it coming so as i said before creating a block of videos before you start will give you that cushion you need in case you cant for whatever reason make a video for a week or few weeks.

Remember to get your web designer to upload these videos onto your website or blog and start to really get the benefits that video can bring to your website 🙂

Its the year of video people, like we always say, get their before your competitors do it!

you can also put video on LinkedIn if you didn’t know.

Video ideas for business…

  • If you have a shop then lots of video footage of your shop
  • customer testimonials
  • personal reviews from yourself promoting your products
  • how to videos/tips
  • answer questions that customers regularly ask you? answer them in videos

The below screenshot was taken from a video that helped one of our customers go from hardly any phone calls a week to over 10 calls a week. this was just one video of him talking about the services he offers. I use to all the time as an example because it was taken on an iPhone, edited slightly and just uploaded to YouTube and the value this video had to his business was just incredible.

Video for business

How long should the videos be?

keep them short and to the point, maybe 30-90 seconds for short clips and no more than 1-2 mins for longer clips. Make sure the first 10 seconds of the video holds really key and engaging content.

Don’t have music playing for 25 seconds then cut to your message, as most people will navigate away after 10 seconds.

Now go create video!

Hopefully this has give you an idea of where to start with creating video content for your website and you can start using video as a great marketing tool to pull in more customers for your business. I know some industry’s are harder than others to create interesting content for you, but either way if you make a rubbish video or a great one, they will be pretty much the same when it comes to helping your overall SEO so id just get started on it, even if it meas just using your iPhone camera and uploading video straight to YouTube from there. Its a start and definitely better than nothing!

All our customers know that we are very passionate about supporting local businesses within Sutton Coldfield and helping them grow to be successful. Its not just a website that we build for you but an ongoing relationship that will help your business grow and really shine online.

No doubt as a local business owner you will have noticed the massive change from offline to online activity by your customer base in terms of buying products or finding you in the first place. People no longer pull out the old rusty Yellow Pages when they need a service from someone just so they can call some faceless company based on a few words and a phone number. In fact I don’t even know where our yellow pages book is. You just don’t have to go looking for an old book which doesn’t really give great details of the company your calling anyway, and that’s the key, your customers don’t need to, why not? because their mobile phone like yours, which is probably in your pocket or on your desk right now is capable of pulling up the exact service they want within seconds they can view a company’s website and full service list with testimonials etc etc.

Newspapers are not the same as they were, not because there’s no news – it’s because their advertising revenue is way down. Companies realise that their customers aren’t looking there any more. These days, who would choose a company from the three that are advertising in a paper when they can find 50 to choose from online and then go straight to that companies website and read online customer reviews to help with the buying decision? They expect the convenience of IMMEDIATE information. Waiting till they get home to dig out the Yellow Pages is not an option any more.

With the dawn of the smartphone internet usage is booming. iPhone’s, Androids are just everywhere! There are 4 billion mobiles phones in use today a quarter of these are web-enabled smartphones.

Everything that is happening all around us is pointing to a marketplace within the next couple of years that will be predominantly online. These people, your future customers, won’t even consider using Yellow Pages or a newspaper. Many of the internet generation will have NEVER used Yellow Pages or even bought a newspaper (why do that when you can visit your chosen newspaper’s website for free on your smartphone, right?) I must admit I don’t and never have downloaded a free version of the newspaper, but then I just look on bbc website for anything important going on and search Google for the rest.

Stay connected to us even after we have built your website and benefit from our knowledge going into this online world. Our best customers do this and we have many talks about plans and ideas they have to grow their business online and often just call for a chat and run their ideas past us for advice. Have a think about what you want your website/online marketing tool to achieve 2013. Do you know what it is you want your website to achieve this year? maybe its to conquer social media for your business? maybe its to climb to rank 1 of Google or simply get more visitors to your site and increase your sales conversation, well just give us a call to discuss. Its free advice we offer to all our customers!

Whatever you do in 2013, if your not online, get online! If you are online, do not just let your website rot away and become stale, we can see that the customers who are successful online are keeping their website up to date with good content and constantly in talks with us about new ideas and ways to market and promote their products online. the old ways of promoting businesses are really starting to crack now, you have to get a good foot hold on the internet with your business before your competitors get so far ahead that even having a website wont help you. Its no longer about having a website online, that’s now a must have for any business regardless. Now you need to take the basic having a website online and then making it keep up with the expectation of today’s advanced users. Poor design and slow websites do more damage that good now. Ranking on page 5 of Google means your business doesn’t exist in the online world. Get there ahead of your competitors before its too late.

Get Listed on Online Business Directories

You should be listing your business and website on all decent business directories. We are in association with a local business directory site, which only promotes businesses in Sutton Coldfield. so you should definitely get your business listed on www.suttoncoldfieldrated.co.uk if you haven’t already.

Remember we are here to help you grow your business online 🙂 not just build you an amazing website, but to support you online for the life of business.