Max's Round-up From September's SIMS

Every month at SIMS, Max provides a brief run-down of just some of the tech-related news that may affect small businesses, and agencies that work with small businesses and we post the links here. If any of these catch your interest, but you're not sure how they would affect you, feel free to get in touch and ask!

While we were away for the summer break, Google became a different company:

Windows 10 sets Edge as the default browser and, with it, Bing as a default search engine:

Andrew was asking about GTM, this is a little technical, but useful for non-devs:

Android Pay is now live (although I think it may be US only for now?), along with an updated version of Google Wallet both for Android and iOS.

I've linked to this before, but they have a new website:

There have been a lot of AdWords features, a huge number of which are related to mobile and eCommerce. If you're interested in the specifics, I recommend some time reading the Inside AdWords blog. If you pay someone else to do your ads, speak to them about how to implement these features.

Google are now allowing advertisers the chance to upload lists of customer email addresses, and advertise directly to them:
“Customer Match allows you to upload a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns and ads specifically designed to reach your audience. Users can control the ads they see, including Customer Match ads, by opting out of personalized ads or by muting or blocking ads from individual advertisers through Google Ads Settings.”

Google's inbox-based email ads are now available to all advertisers:
“ advertisers can manage native Gmail ads right in AdWords by setting up a Display Network campaign and creating a Gmail ads format in the Ad gallery.”

You (or at least someone you pay) can make 360-degree video ads:

“360 degree video ads let you engage your audience in an entirely new way. Available today in Chrome and the YouTube app on Android and iOS, viewers can explore every angle of your videos by dragging their mouse or moving their phone to shift their POV 360 degrees – up, down, left or right. Thanks to the ability simply to move your phone to see different parts of the video, 360 video ads are a truly mobile-first video ad product.”

Contactless limit is now increased to £30 - this includes Apple Pay. There are some imaginative uses of this technology already.

Analytics updates have been technical, but if you're feeling analytical, dive in to the releases for July 2015 and September 2015.

Content blockers are here, they are in iOS 9.

Google My Business app gets an update. Android only for now. iOS coming soon.

Another step towards Facebook Messenger becoming it's own platform. Facebook M.

Last mentioned back in May, tweets are now a full-time, first-class citizen in search results:

Industry Round-up from June's SIMS

Every month at SIMS Max gives a round up of what's new in SEO and on the web. Here's this month's update which includes the latest revision of Search Engine Land's SEO periodic table and news about Apple Maps which might matter to your business. Any questions, get in touch.

Google have announced a new tool to help you know what data they store for you.

Stripe are now powering 'buyable pins'. Great if you sell things that do really well on Pinterest.

On a similar note to the above link, Google are now showing Pins in the mobile carousel.

Android Pay is coming. It's like Apple Pay, but with more Google

It's like your normal inbox, but more confusing.

Mobile search now represents the majority of Google searches in the UK & Ireland.

iOS 9 updates maps heavily, can now browse for businesses by category rather than just showing them as random red dots.

If you, or your client's, site relies on ad revenue, this is big news. Safari on iOS is a massively popular browser and this has huge implications.

How do you prevent your business listings from being run by people that don't bother updating them? If you're Google, you un-verify the page owners after six months of inactivity.

We reference the original version of this card a lot, so here's the 2015 version.

If you are a content publisher (or your clients are) then Apple's news runs on RSS, which you may already have so you might want to take a look at how you can be part of their offering when it's launched in iOS 9.

No update on referral spam.

June's SIMS - Social Media with Linda Rumbold

A very nervous Linda took to the floor to speak to the SIMS this month. I only learnt recently that Linda isn't a fan of speaking to very large groups (something we have in common!), but as I predicted she was great! Linda is a person who teaches the fundamentals of social media and draws in other marketing disciplines to teach business owners how to take control of their online profile to help their businesses grow. She empathises what we're try to teach at SIMS and we hope she'll be back soon.

There we more lovely comments which can be seen on our page. 

This month's meetup ended with some news about changes starting this Autumn. From September, we will have a slightly different format and we want to take some time to get it right.

It's been a busy year so far at SIMS. We have been lucky enough to have heard from some fabulous speakers and continued to learn helpful tips and get advice from experts who know what they're talking about. Our numbers have grown every month and the feedback we receive is always positive. 

Here's how happy SIMS makes people! :)

Here's how happy SIMS makes people! :)

The new format aims to help even more novices and beginners learn how to work effectively online. We will cover a topic per month, with more than one speaker and include a few offline solutions. Our aim is the same, to up-skill Suffolk businesses, start-ups and pre start-ups with digital knowledge but more than that we want to help Suffolk businesses to grow, to meet experts who can help them, to learn from each other and network and generally to make Suffolk more successful!

In Other News....

Ruth Cheesley's new group IMEx which launches soon and will be aimed at website/SEO experts developing better skills. You can sign up for updates on their website

May's SIMS- Brand Authenticity with Helen Oldfield

Another amazing meetup this month and we have to say a huge thank you to Helen Oldfield from Affinity PR for her talk. Helen's talk was about “Brand Authenticity”; the business case for conveying your genuine values and personality online. Helen told some hilarious tales from her years of experience (none of which were to leave the room), and generally shared tips with an enthusiastic audience. 

Have a look at some of the lovely comments at SIMS - Suffolk Internet Marketing Specialists account.

Next month we have Linda Rumbold from Linda Rumbold Marketing coming to talk about Social Media.

The Digital Legacy Conference 2015

Jack Rooke

Jack Rooke

The event was sponsored by DeadSocial as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2015 and was hosted by hilarious comedian Jack Rooke - go and see him if you get a chance, he's a naturally funny guy who has found a comedic niche in a no-so-funny area.

Max and I travelled down to London for the very first Digital Legacy Conference, to hear some amazing speakers explore how the internet has changed the way we will remember and grieve forever. They also examined how our digital footprint will ultimately help determine both our legacy and our digital legacy.

These are obviously areas we care a great deal about at Echoleft, where development is continuing on our memorial website. We have been lucky enough to work with the team at St Nicholas Hospice Care in Bury St Edmunds where they have been processing donations in memory of their patients. One family has been working hard and has already reached £1k in memory of Zena Butcher. Please donate if you can.

Sam annoying Dr Mark Taubert

The more we have worked on Echoleft, the more relaxed I have become talking and listening  about death as a subject. The speakers were so varied and cover ancient memorials to end-of-life planning, digital estate planning and how people mourn online internationally. It was truly fascinating, I will certainly be going next year.


The Digital Legacy Conference also hosted the RSVP Funeral Invitation Exhibition

We've Got Something to Shut Up About - Echoleft.

You will have heard Max and myself talking about lots of things over the last few years - we both like to waffle on! You most likely know we run Measured Brilliance and SIMS, but in the background we have been working hard for the last few years on a project we are very proud of - Echoleft

Echoleft is a memorial website which we have developed in partnership with St Nicholas Hospice Care. It offers friends and families a safe place to share photographs and stories about a loved one. Additionally, each memorial is able to accept in-memory donations which go directly to charity.

To celebrate the launch of Echoleft, Max is going to be silent for 48 hours. There have been many comments that I should have volunteered, but I had fears I might spontaneously combust if unable to share my thoughts! 

If you're feeling even more generous, we would really appreciate a donation to Max's silence. As you can imagine, as well as raising funds, testing the system works matters to us too and while any donations would help support the Hospice, you would also enable us to make sure Echoleft works for everyone. You can Shut Max Up here.  

Please feel free to share Echoleft socially. Anything you can do would be amazing.

April's SIMS - Website Building, How to Avoid the Horror Stories

April’s SIMS meetup saw our very own Max Shelley giving the SIMS the value of his many years of experience and helping the audience bypass all the usual pitfalls to make the most of their online presence. Max’s talk got some amazing feedback, sadly I think some people spotted the mistakes as ones they had made but, as Max pointed out, knowing about it means you can make it right.

Max’s main advice was to make sure you have clear, easy to read contracts and project agreements which explore any likely outcomes, including the bad ones. He also explained how important it is that you, or your business own the rights to your website and all the ensuing data.

As always with SIMS, if you have a question about your own website please feel free to come along and ask one of our experts. 

Up Periscope!

We also Persiscoped (is that the right verb?) Max’s talk and got some love hearts from the audience. It was also recorded by the lovely people at Red Cliff Productions and will be available to view soon.

Next month's at SIMS we'll have Helen Oldfield from Affinity PR talking about Brand Authenticity, sign up and RSVP here.

It Still Makes Me Laugh!

It's almost 3 years since Max started Measured Brilliance, and just over 2 and a half years since I joined him. It was very nerve racking in the early days, starting a new business meant we had to grow up and take control. No more moaning about the boss, we were the boss!

We made this film back then and it still makes me laugh!

Running Measure Brilliance has had it highs and lows. We've worked with so many lovely people and learnt tons! We started running SIMS and it's gone from strength to strength. We've also started our second business Echoleft. But we still have a laugh and that's all that really matters! :)

March's SIMS - Largest Audience to Date!

If you run a business in Suffolk and have ANYTHING to do with Facebook, it's highly likely you've heard of Daniel Somers from SEOmers. Daniel is a highly respected SEO expert and is renowned for giving great advice to businesses of all sizes who want to know more. 

Dan kindly came to give a talk at our March Meetup, we thought it would be popular but we didn't realise quite how many people would be drawn to hear from Dan. His talk was informative, concise and most importantly spoke to all of our audience, from novices to experts. Dan is passionate about helping businesses get the most from their websites and his enthusiasm shone through. Thank you Dan, we really appreciate it.

Redcliff Films kindly filmed Dan's talk and here's a small segment (more to come soon).

Topics covered by Daniel are:
* What SEO is and should have always been. * Why you must understand the basics of SEO. * Why Google hates you. * Why Google loves your competitors. * Why you can do better than the number #1 spot.

On the Move Again.

We're really pleased to announce that we have moved to Adastral Park under the Innovation Martlesham banner. We've been incredibly happy at The Atrium Studios since we began in 2012 and they will continue to help us host our monthly educational meetup, SIMS. Max and Sam will still be giving talks to students at UCS and intend to stay connected with all the amazing students, lecturers and staff on the campus. 

The time has come to be at the centre of East Anglia's digital community. We have been warmly received by the IM team and look forward to meeting all the many businesses on site. 

We still welcome visitors, you'll just have to let us know you're coming! The coffee is still always on.

February's SIMS - Sucessful Email Marketing with Justin Bowser

At February's SIMS we were happy to welcome Justin Bowser, Chief Operating Officer at Ipswich based HTK, giving his insightful talk about email marketing. Sam first heard Justin talk at a Digital Drive talk and knew he was a perfect match to talk at a SIMS meetup, and she was 100% right!

Justin's funny and relaxed talk was not only entertaining but contained some marketing gems. The feedback from Justin's talk was amazing and we will pester him to come back again soon.

SIMS sponsor, Carol Gant, arranged for Redcliff Studios to film Justin, which will follow soon.

Max gave his usual SEO round up, you can find his list of helpful links here. Max also gave the 10 minute takeaway talk about SSL encryption. This is all second nature to Max he explained what online security means to Suffolk online businesses.

If you'd like to know more about SIMS, visit our page and join our group for updates.



SIMS Industry Round-Up, February

Each month Max gives his industry round up at our SIMS Meetup and posts the links to interesting articles and must reads for Suffolk Businesses who want to stay a head online.

Here is February's list:

I mentioned it a couple of months ago, now Google has finally brought the ability to send money via GMail to the UK. Could be useful to provide customers and clients a new way to pay their bills.­
Web push notifications are now a real thing, get in early if you have a valid way to use them.­
It's been a long time since Tweets showed in Google, but they're back. Will be interesting to see how they handle this.

Tweetdeck has been an official Twitter tool for quite some time and if paying for Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Buffer etc. isn't for you, then this new feature could be ideal.

This could be great for clients that don't sell online and only want leads via the phone.

If you're Webmaster Tools data has been slow to update lately, it looks like you're not the only one.

Google now let you specify which photos appear for your business listing. Change your presences in Google My Business.

SIMS Industry Round-Up, January

Every month after Max has given his industry round up to the SIMS - Suffolk Internet Marketing Specialist's Meetup we post the list here so you can go through the articles at your leisure. Since we didn't meet in December it's a long list, but still worth a read if you want to stay ahead.

Windows 10 is here. If you're interested in search then it's worth looking at how deep the Cortana integration runs through the entire operating system on all devices. If you're interested in the web, then it's worth paying attention to Spartan (http://www.theverge.c...­) the new web browser they announced.

Group DM's come to Twitter along with Vine-esque 30 second videos direct from the app).­
Analytics implements a way to recover things you've deleted like filters. Very handy!­
An official chrome plugin to help you pull data out of Google Analytics and into Google Spreadsheets. There are some videos of how to use it at:­

Technical, but if you're more technical, here is a guide to microdata/rich snippets.­
They buried it in a generic blog post, but enhanced eCommerce is now out of beta.­­
Shopify now have a podcast. Their range of resources for store-owners is growing and it's available to all, even if you don't run your shop on their platform (although obviously all their content is somewhat pro-Shopify).­
Facebook's tutorial videos are either awesome or weird. This one shows how to block someone.­
Typecast, a tool to help design fonts, spacings, colours and more is now free.­
Wordpress 4.1 is here. As usual, you should update for security as well as the new features they are offering (which are listed in this blog post).­
Someone asked Sam on Facebook about Beacons (iBeacons if you're using Apple's terminology). This manufacturers site has some good examples of how they could be used, and a short video showing the setup procedure at­ - Note: these are for developers rather than plug-n-play devices, but they give you an idea of usage as more consumer-ready versions will appear.

ETC (Estimated Total Conversions) is US-only but worth watching, they're helping track phone calls, visits (yes, using location data of your customers) and more for AdWords customers.

Pinterest are customising their search results by gender.

For the larger (200+ orders per month), or more technical eCommerce sites that use Adwords. Google Trusted Sites is now apparently easier to sign up for. This article -https://econsultancy....­ - runs through some of the pro's and con's (athough Google do claim to have simplified the process since then).

Google added more filters to restaurant searches in Google maps. Make sure your details are up-to-date in Google My Business.­
Following on from me recently saying that Google are pushing mobile-friendly sites as a high priroty, here's a tweet clarifying what they mean by ‘mobile friendly’

Many of the services that Google are linking to make it really easy to get clients up-and-running with a pretty great web experience (we use Squarespace and Shopify and love them both). Whatever you think of Google, there are some pretty not-great domain name providers out there, so having another company in the mix that has the resources to provide the service without ripping customers off is not the worst thing.

Google have re-written their reCaptcha service and for many visitors the new version will simply involve clicking one checkbox rather than deciphering some weird squiggly words. Details of how to implement are linked on that page.

New structured data testing tool.­
The Analytics team are dropping support for IE9, so for those of you with clients that are running old Windows Vista machines and you're trying to get them to look at their stats, they may experience issues.­
A technical list, but this site audit a good starting point for working with your developers.

January's SIMS - Anne Gould, Vlogging for Business

January's SIMS meetup saw Anne Gould from Workingwordz Media giving an introduction to her training session 'Vlogging for Business'. Anne explained why having a video presence matters to your online profile. She told us how easy it can be with just a smartphone and some relatively inexpensive tools.

We can't thank Anne enough for taking the time to come and share her knowledge with the SIMS, the feedback was great and a number of people told me it had inspired them to pick up their phones and get talking!

If you'd like to know more about SIMS, visit our page and join our group for updates.

Upstairs, Downstairs

Having been based at The Atrium Studios since we started, we have been happy up here on the third floor of the West Building at UCS, in what used to be the teaching kitchens and restaurant. Recently Carol Gant, our lovely landlady, asked if we'd like to move to the posh offices on the ground floor and so we've moved! 

The offices are lovely and we've already had some visitors. If you'd like to pop in and say hello, please do, we always have coffee on.

Why we started SIMS!

We had a little bit of trouble on Facebook this week. Nothing personal just a post on Suffolk Business Stars group. It was someone questioning the benefits of SEO and asking what SIMS does. As we're fans of the phase "Question everything!' I had to credit the person who questioned us! 

Image courtesy of  ANDREA UNI

Image courtesy of ANDREA UNI

The chap who asked is a developer who has had some bad experiences with an SEO expert giving advice which wasn't helping his client. I understand his negative attitude to the industry, too many times we hear stories of people getting bad advice. 

Neither Ruth, Sam or Max are SEOs, but rather, we all work designing and building websites so understand how helping our clients use search engines can be good for business.

What we are all acutely aware of is how hard it can be for laypeople to cut through the jargon to understand the services they are buying, be it hosting, website, SEO or social media services, tracking or content delivery tools. There's so much available and every week the industry launch more. And that's why we started SIMS!

We wanted to give Suffolk businesses the chance to learn more. To become skilled online so they have an edge and can simply do better! Our monthly Meetup provides a friendly environment for learning, sharing and development. We ask the group what they want to know more about and we give them access to experts who can answer questions and cut through the jargon. 

Every month we have a different topic you can see what we've covered so far here. In 2015 we have talks on vlogging, email marketing, SEO and advice about website design. Also every month we have a 10 minute take away where we explain a handy tip, so far we have covered URL tagging and sitemaps. If you have a question, let us know.

Going back to the Facebook post, it proved to me the adage that 'Any publicity is good publicity" and I was touched by the comments which appeared in response to the post.

Many SIMS attendees jumped on the thread to explain who we are and what we do. We're always grateful for the support we've had from the business community.

SIMS may not be for everyone, but if you want to learn more digital skills to benefits your business it could be for you!