By Bryan McNee at

Three Major Developments That Will Shape SEO In 2018

Search engines are constantly improving the search experience and, as a result, search engine optimization (SEO) is in a nonstop transformation. For SEO marketers, the challenge isn’t to simply understand the complex science behind the strategy -- it’s to be able to adapt to the ever-changing rules of the game.

The past few years have been exciting for SEO, marked by a series of algorithm updates, evolving techniques and fast-advancing tools that make SEO what it is today. To stay on top of the trends and equip their SEO arsenal with relevant strategies, most marketers scramble to learn or predict the emerging developments poised to shape the new face of SEO. 

From the domination of voice search to the increasing role of RankBrain in providing search results, we’re expecting bigger changes on the horizon.

Marketers may start optimizing for voice search.

This past December, Google’s webmaster trends analyst John Mueller tweeted about webmasters asking for voice search data in Google Search Console. It reflects the current behavior among Search Console users -- more and more are seeing voice search queries separately.

This raises the question: Why do site owners suddenly care about voice search data? The simple answer is people are using voice search now more than ever before, and gaining insights into these queries gives marketers ideas for how to provide better experiences for those searching by voice.

In 2015, voice search jumped from zero to 10% of overall search volume globally. That means 50 billion voice searches were performed every month. And a Google study found that 41% of adults and more than half of teens use voice search multiple times per day.

When there’s demand, there’s supply. Many tech giants (not just Google) have invested in virtual assistants and, by extension, voice search. Google launched Google Assistant and Google Home, Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, Amazon has Alexa, and so on.

Brands and businesses that are reliant on search for web traffic have seen drastic implications from this rise in the usage of voice assistance. SEO marketers must conquer a new market: the virtual assistants. In 2018, we can expect more web pages to compete to be the favored result by voice assistants in order to reach the user.

 

The shift to mobile-first indexing will be completed.

The rise of voice search wouldn’t be possible without the rise of mobile devices since smartphones are the source of most mobile searches. If going mobile-first was important a year ago, it’s even more important now.

In 2016, Google took the first step toward mobile-first indexing, which is expected to culminate in mid-2018. That means, by the third quarter, if the prediction comes true, mobile indexing will take priority over desktop.  

The new index will crawl the mobile version of a website’s content and determine how it should be indexed in search. It presents a significant change from Google’s old indexing practice, which involved crawling the desktop version of a webpage and indexing it in both mobile and desktop search results.

The tireless thrust for mobile is in line with a phenomenon that Google calls “micro-moments,” which are instant moments where users seek knowledge about an idea, a restaurant, an online store, a travel booking agency -- in other words, moments when people consume media. Naturally, micro-moments occur on a mobile device and have become a battleground among brands.

When searching on their phones, 65% of users say they are looking for the most relevant information without giving priority to the company or publisher providing the information. As the name suggests, micro-moments require urgency and instantaneity. SEO marketers must make sure to be there when these moments happen and be quick about providing the right results.  

 

Machine learning will play a bigger role in providing search results.

When RankBrain was introduced in 2015, people had a vague idea about how it worked. And the case hasn’t improved much since. RankBrain is Google’s machine-learning, artificial intelligence (AI) technology designed to help process and deliver its search results. RankBrain appeared to turn the game on its head when it was announced as one of Google’s top three ranking factors. Since its rollout, RankBrain has gone from handling 15% of search queries to all of them.

Though the digital community is mostly in the dark as to the workings of this AI system, we know it analyzes user behavior to provide more accurate search results, and dwell time (the time spent on the page) is one of its most important factors.  

RankBrain, in essence, is after user experience. So it doesn’t make that great of an impact on the way we approach SEO. Optimizing for a machine-learning technology is fundamentally optimizing for humans since its goal is to draw up predictions as a human would.

It has been predicted that by the end of 2018, machine learning will have a greater influence over traditional search results and, eventually, it will replace algorithm updates with its “automated, continuous, and iterative algorithm updating process.”

With RankBrain and Google’s integration of AI in general, there’s a stronger push for site owners to become more nimble and adaptable to constant, unpredictable changes in the delivery of search results.

SEO and search experience have come a long way since the 1990s. Over the years, we’ve witnessed how search engines have increasingly narrowed their focus on providing the best results for users. From the reliable, hands-free voice search to the dependence on machine learning, it’s interesting to see how search is taking shape, and it will be interesting to see where it takes our SEO approach in the coming months. 
 
In other words, being mobile-friendly is the only way to survive -- and stand out -- at a time when people’s lives are defined by micro-moments. From page responsiveness to page speed to content readability, your SEO campaign must be ready to compete.
 
source:  Forbes

By Bryan McNee at

By Bryan McNee at

Samsung’s Now Making Chips Designed for Cryptocurrency Mining

Samsung’s semiconductor business is booming, with the company recently overtaking Intel as the world’s biggest chipmaker. But the South Korean firm is not resting on its laurels, and is currently looking to expand into the buzziest contemporary market for processors: cryptocurrency mining.

As reported by TechCrunch, Samsung has confirmed it’s in the process of making hardware specially designed for mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. A spokesperson for the firm told TechCrunch: “Samsung’s foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips. However we are unable to disclose further details regarding our customers.”

These chips are known as ASICs, or application-specific integrated circuits. ASICs are processors that have been specially designed for a single computational task, as opposed to the multi-purpose processors we use in computers and phones.

As the valuation of cryptocurrencies has shot up, so has the demand for these sorts of chips. In the case of bitcoin, the currency is created by solving mathematical problems, with these calculations also maintaining the integrity of bitcoin transactions. As more bitcoins are mined, these math problems become increasingly difficult. This has led to miners moving on from using normal integrated graphics cards, to GPUs designed for gaming, and now to specially built ASICs.

It’s not clear exactly what sort of products Samsung will be making, but according to reports from Korean media, it’ll be working with Taiwanese firm TSMC. The company currently supplies chips for a number of firms set up solely to mine cryptocurrencies, including the China-based Bitmain. Meeting the demand for these chips has added around $350 million to $400 million to its quarterly revenue, says TSMC.

That’s nothing to be sniffed at, but it’s a small sum compared to the $69 billion revenue generated annually by Samsung’s chip business. Mining cryptocurrencies is buzzy, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be extremely profitable for those selling the silicon shovels.

source: The Verge

By Bryan McNee at

ATM Makers Warn of 'Jackpotting' Hacks on U.S. Machines

(Reuters) - Diebold Nixdorf Inc and NCR Corp, two of the world's largest ATM makers, have warned that cyber criminals are targeting U.S. cash machines with tools that force them to spit out cash in hacking schemes known as "jackpotting."

The two ATM makers did not identify any victims or say how much money had been lost. Jackpotting has been rising worldwide in recent years, though it is unclear how much cash has been stolen because victims and police often do not disclose details.

The attacks were reported earlier on Saturday by the security news website Krebs on Security, which said they had begun last year in Mexico.

The companies confirmed to Reuters on Saturday they had sent out the alerts to clients.

NCR said in a Friday alert that the cases were the first confirmed "jackpotting" losses in the United States. It said its equipment had not been targeted in the recent attacks, but that it was still a concern for the entire ATM industry.

"This should be treated by all ATM deployers as a call to action to take appropriate steps to protect their ATMs against these forms of attack," the alert said.

Diebold Nixdorf said in a separate Friday alert that U.S. authorities had warned the company that hackers were targeting one of its ATM models, known as Opteva, which went out of production several years ago.

A confidential U.S. Secret Service alert sent to banks said the hackers targeted stand-alone ATMs typically located in pharmacies, big box retailers and drive-thru ATMs, Krebs on Security reported.

 

Diebold Nixdorf's alert described steps that criminals had used to compromise ATMs. They include gaining physical access, replacing the hard drive and using an industrial endoscope to depress an internal button required to reset the device.

Reuters was unable to obtain a copy of the Secret Service report and an agency representative declined comment. Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation could not immediately be reached.

Russian cyber security firm Group IB has reported that cyber criminals remotely attacked cash machines in more than a dozen countries across Europe in 2016. Similar attacks were also reported that year in Thailand and Taiwan.

source: fox business

By Bryan McNee at

Microsoft tackles Windows 10 Privacy Concerns With New Data Collection Viewer

Microsoft tackles Windows 10 privacy concerns with new data collection viewer

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A lot more transparency is on the way

Starting this week, Windows 10 testers will be able to access a new Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer. The viewer includes an overview of data being sent to Microsoft’s servers by Windows 10. Microsoft collects a bunch of anonymous Windows 10 data from users to help improve the operating system and make product decisions. The new viewer is similar to something like Wireshark, and it lets Windows 10 users decrypt data that is sent encrypted to Microsoft’s servers.

ANY WINDOWS 10 USER WILL BE ABLE TO DIG INTO THE DATA

The diagnostic data includes device connectivity, peripherals, configuration options, performance data, movie consumption, installed apps, and a lot more. Windows 10 users who want this granular level of detail will be able to filter it and inspect the contents. It’s a lot more transparent than Microsoft publishing documents and hoping to ease concerns.

The viewer will be available to Windows Insiders first, and Microsoft is promising to include it in the next major update to Windows 10. Codenamed Redstone 4, we don’t currently have a name for the next update but it’s expected to be available in the spring. Microsoft is also updating its online privacy dashboard to provide a clearer activity history page, and the ability in the future to export and delete data, or view and manage media consumption data.

All of these privacy improvements are clearly a response to growing concerns around Windows 10 data collection. Microsoft’s Windows 10 privacy headache has been an ongoing issue for more than two years. Microsoft has addressed a number of complaints previously, but some misleading stories suggested Windows 10 has a built-in keylogger, while others have focused on unfounded concerns about gaming and ad-supported versions of Solitaire. Microsoft is now being transparent as possible, and it’s clearly hoping that the new data collection viewer will silence any remaining concerns.

Source: The Verge

By Bryan McNee at

By Bryan McNee at

What you need to know about SEO in 2018

Those involved in the SEO world know how complex and ever-changing the industry can be. With over 200 ranking factors and the constant updates of the algorithm, keeping up with SEO trends is mandatory.

One thing never changes, though: providing the best possible experience for users. In 2018, quality content will certainly remain in focus, but there are other novelties in SEO practices that come with changes in user behavior and evolution in technology.  Take a look at a few of those things to look out for in the new year:

Google is switching to a mobile-first index

Today, we are witnessing a shift from desktop to mobile when it comes to the preferable way to surf the web. Nearly 60% of searches now come from mobile devices, and Google has finally decided to roll out the mobile-first index update. This means the algorithm will primarily use the content your site offers in the mobile view for ranking it in the SERP.

Mobile-first index was mentioned for the first time in 2016 on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, where the team shared recommended practices. Without any doubt, this will be a big historical change in the way websites are indexed.

Having a mobile responsive website is becoming an imperative, as well as having a structured markup for both desktop and mobile version. Webmasters do not need to make changes to their canonical links. Adding and verifying a mobile version of your site to the Search Console is also advisable.    

Voice search will continue to rise

Virtual assistants such as Google Now, Cortana, and Siri have shortened the path between users and the answers they need. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced that voice searches make up to 20% of mobile queries, which puts new challenges in front of SEO experts. Forecasts say this type of search has a growth tendency, so optimizing for Google Voice Search is a good idea.

Marketers have to analyze user intent in order to optimize well for voice searches. Typically, users have four different queries: they seek knowledge (educational content and exact answers), places (“near me” queries and addresses of local businesses), activities (how to’s and other types of guides), and purchase opportunities (online shops of their favorite brands). In order to optimize content for voice searches, you should definitely include a well-structured FAQ on your website so that precise information will easily get indexed and put in front of users. Use relevant long tail keywords (voice searches are often lengthier opposed to text) and optimize your content for conversational language.   

Link building is not going anywhere

study conducted by Stone Temple has proven once again that link building is not going anywhere and it’s not hard to understand why. A good quality backlink profile acts like a signal for Google that your website is a great resource that provides value to readers. But in addition to your standard link building efforts, you should also think about the concept of link earning. Although the difference between the two is subtle, the latter puts user experience in the center of attention.

Link earning is all about focusing on producing engaging content that actually answers the questions users are interested in, which inspires people to organically link to you. So, you are rewarded with a link naturally. If you want to hold a great ranking position, you should focus on building and earning links from reputable domains with high authority. Make sure none of the links pointing to your website come from shady and spammy sites. Disavow bad links.

High quality content + smart keywords will get you far

Smart SEO techniques always come down to creating great content with both users and search engines in mind. To truly stand out in the sea of average content across the web and earn better rankings, you need to create unique, original content that not only educates - but provides a concrete answer that satisfies user intent. That is the only way you will increase your organic visits. Of course, smart usage of keywords will help crawlers index your website easier. Use Google Keyword Planner to map out relevant words and phrases and optimize your content. Reoptimize your old content in accordance to new keyword trends.   

When it comes to content, ensure your text posts are scannable and easily consumable. Add eye-catching visuals, make your website navigation logical, and always keep UX in mind. Dwell time matters: give your site visitors a reason to stick around.

Featured snippets matter more than ever

Marketing and SEO experts such as Bill Slawski, Eric Enge, and Marcus Miller believe the chase for a featured snippet will become the focal point in 2018. If a featured snippet appears on the SERP, it’s far more likely users will click on that link opposed to the listed results below. According to the Ahrefs study, a featured snippet will actually steal clicks from the #1 ranking result. Optimizing for rich snippets or “People Also Ask” boxes pays off, specifically because it instantly grabs the attention of users. This helps you generate more traffic, save money on PPC, and gain more visibility.

You should definitely keep these SEO trends in mind but also commit to white hat techniques only. Everything you do as a webmaster leaves a trace on how your domain is perceived by Google. I have already discussed domain ranking factors, and while agility remains one of the most important skills for an SEO expert, don’t get carried away and forget the crucial basics. Take the holistic approach and you will nail SEO in 2018.

Source: Smart Brief

By Bryan McNee at

Microsoft Issues Emergency Windows Update for Processor Security Bugs

Microsoft Issues Emergency Windows Update for Processor Security Bugs

Microsoft is issuing a rare out-of-band security update to supported versions of Windows today. The software update is part of a number of fixes that will protect against a newly-discovered processor bug in Intel, AMD, and ARM chipsets. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company will issue a Windows update that will be automatically applied to Windows 10 machines at 5PM ET / 2PM PT today.

The update will also be available for older and supported versions of Windows today, but systems running operating systems like Windows 7 or Windows 8 won’t automatically be updated through Windows Update until next Tuesday. Windows 10 will be automatically updated today.

FIRMWARE UPDATES ALSO REQUIRED

While Microsoft is quickly addressing the issues, the fixes will also rely on firmware updates from Intel, AMD, or other vendors that are rolling out. Some anti-virus vendors will also need to update their software to work correctly with the new patches, as the changes are related to Kernel-level access.

The firmware updates and software patches could cause some systems to run slower. Sources familiar with the situation tell The Verge that Intel processors that are based on Skylake or newer architecture won’t see a significant performance degradation. However, older processors could slow down more significantly due to the firmware and software updates.

Intel says any slow downs will be “workload-dependent,” but the company has not expanded on how this will affect older machines. Microsoft is also planning to update its cloud-based servers with the latest firmware and software patches, and these updates are rolling out now.

The Verge understands that Google is planning to document and disclose the security flaws in processors at 5PM ET today. The exact bug appears to be related to the way that regular apps and programs can discover the contents of protect kernel memory areas. Kernels in operating systems have complete control over the entire system, and connect applications to the processor, memory, and other hardware inside a computer. There appears to be a flaw in modern processors that let attackers bypass kernel access protections so that regular apps can read the contents of kernel memory.

Software vendors like Microsoft and other Linux programmers are protecting against this by separating the kernel's memory away from user processes in what’s being called “Kernel Page Table Isolation.” Linux patches have been rolling out over the past month, and now Windows patches are being made available today.

Microsoft has confirmed the Windows update in a statement:

We're aware of this industry-wide issue and have been working closely with chip manufacturers to develop and test mitigations to protect our customers. We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and have also released security updates to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from Intel, ARM, and AMD. We have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers.

Update, 5:10PM ET: Article updated with Microsoft’s official statement.

Source:  The Verge

By Bryan McNee at

What To Expect From SEO In 2018

What To Expect From SEO In 2018


Source:  Business 2 Community

By Bryan McNee at

Your Digital Presence is Fundamental in Your Businesses Success

Your Digital Presence is Fundamental in Your Businesses Success

For those of you who haven't heard about it, Yext is an SaaS platform that neatly integrates the most important data points of a brick and mortar business--name, address, phone, hours of operation, website address, etc.--and synchronizes that data across key search engines, listing services, map services and more. The value of having synchronized data is simple. Synchronized data means that no matter where your customers look online, they will find the same information. There will be no confusion where the pin is dropped on the map.

Here's the thing though. Too many of us rely totally on Google. Just because you may think you're data is right with Google, that doesn't mean your visibility is optimized, nor does that mean the hundreds of other sources where your customers may be looking are correct.  If your Business Sign was incorrect, wouldn't you fix it?  Yes, of course you would. 

"Your digital presence is as foundational as your business's signage".

 

In addition, synchronizing location data across the web further improves visibility with Google. We've seen it happen, and the results are unmistakable.  McNee Solutions, LLC believes that Yext is the only option for the ever growing digital presence and we have invested in becoming a Certified Yext Partner.  We call it the Match and Lock!  We can match your listings then lock them down for you.  We have included this service in our SEO and know it is the Insurance you need for your Business Listing.  

Run your FREE scan today!

https://www.optimizelocation.com/partner/mcneesolutions/diagnostic.html

 

 

 

 

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By Bryan McNee at

Flash is finally on its way out

Adobe said it will stop updating and distributing the Flash technology for playing multimedia on the web by 2020.

The company is collaborating with Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Mozilla in the effort but will provide support for and updates to the software until the end-of-life date.

Meanwhile, Adobe will "encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats," the company said in a blog post.

 

Flash dates back to the 1990s, but other tech players have been speaking out against it for years. Apple in particular has been talking for years about how Flash hurts the user experience on desktop and mobile devices. "Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true," Steve Jobs wrote in 2010.

Earlier this year, Google said it would start blocking Flash by default in its Chrome browser come October, and Microsoft has sought to stop Flash from showing up in its Edge browser for Windows 10.

"Adobe will also remain at the forefront of leading the development of new web standards and actively participate in their advancement. This includes continuing to contribute to the HTML5 standard and participating in the WebAssembly Community Group.

By Bryan McNee at

Security Robot Commits Suicide

McNeeSolutionsThe Knightscope K5 security robot was supposed to patrol the Georgetown Waterfront, a ritzy shopping-and-office complex along the Washington Harbour in D.C.

Looking like a mutant hybrid of R2D2 and a Dalek, the K5 was built to be a crime-fighting robot that could rove the streets and monitor for suspicious activity. It has been used in some offices and malls across America.

But the pressure was too much for the rolling robot, which can turn, beep, and whistle in order to maintain order.

At one point today, it had had enough, rolled into fountain and drowned itself.

By Bryan McNee at

Original R2 D2 sells for almost $3M

An R2-D2 droid that was used in several "Star Wars" films has sold at auction for nearly $3 million.

The auction house Profiles in History said the 43-inch tall unit that was compiled from parts used throughout filming of the original trilogy sold for $2.76 million at an auction Wednesday.

There was no information about who purchased the droid, which was the most expensive item offered in a movie memorabilia auction that included numerous props from the "Star Wars" franchise. Other items up for sale included Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from the first two films, which sold for $450,000 and Darth Vader's helmet from the original film sold for $96,000.

The Calabasas, California-based Profiles in History had estimated the droid could fetch up to $2 million before Wednesday's sale.

Other space-themed film and television memorabilia was also for sale, with a collection of 23 ships from "Battlestar Galactica" and "Buck Rogers" sold for $1.8 million. A helmet worn by late actor Bill Paxton on the set of "Aliens" sold for $51,000.

Not all the items that sold were out of this world. The lighted dancefloor from "Saturday Night Fever" sold for $1.2 million."

By Bryan McNee at

McNee Solutions voted Best Web Designer 2017

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

McNee Solutions, LLC Receives 2017 Best of Lexington Award

Lexington Award Program Honors the Achievement

LEXINGTON June 1, 2017 -- McNee Solutions, LLC has been selected for the 2017 Best of Lexington Award in the Website Designer category by the Lexington Award Program.

Each year, the Lexington Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Lexington area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2017 Lexington Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Lexington Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Lexington Award Program

The Lexington Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Lexington area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Lexington Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Lexington Award Program

CONTACT:
Lexington Award Program

By Bryan McNee at

Cool idea! A hamsterwheel desk!

If you are not reaching your current productivity potential - rise up, sedentary sentients, and unleash that untapped potential within by marching endlessly towards a brilliant future of focused work. Step forward into a world of infinite potential, bounded only by the smooth arcs of a wheel. Step forward into the Hamster Wheel Standing Desk that will usher in a new era of unprecedented productivity.

​I love this idea...I wonder if there is a holder for my krispy kremes?

About This Blog

This blog is a place to read about the latest news and activity going on at McNee Solutions

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