When Google decide you are up to no good

In the old days we wrote letters and read actual books and newspapers which consisted of paper with print on them. If you wanted to advertise your business you put the advert in newspapers or magazines, and maybe you even tried a postal campaign. If you wanted you could go on to TV and radio, but in each case you paid someone to carry your advert.

Now it seems everything has to be advertised on the internet – and that old approach of paying for advertising has gone.

Which is ok…. Until it is not ok.

“Not ok” occurs when the heart and soul of a company’s advertising turns out to be their presence on the internet – and that means ensuring that people find the adverts when they look around the internet.

When such advertisements are not being found by all and sundry the company with the adverts then starts looking at that strange phenomenon, “Search Engine Optimisation” – or SEO.  

In case you have never come across it, SEO involves doing everything possible to have your website as high up the rankings as possible.  To give an example, let us imagine that you sell a car cleaning kit.  You want to advertise on the internet, so you put up a website.

But there are 173,000 sites in the UK which have the phrase “car cleaning kit” on their site. Which means that there are 17,300 pages of Google to search – and any company that is to be found after page 2 is unlikely to get any hits.

So such companies have to drive people to their website, so that if someone enters “Car Cleaning Kit” on Google, they find their site, rather than that of a rival.

This turns out to be a lot trickier than the old idea of sticking an advert in a newspaper or magazine – because in the old days, it was the publisher’s responsibility to get people to buy the newspaper or magazine.  Today, on the internet it is your job not only to get the web page right – you also have to get your readership there – through the dark art of SEO.

I pondered all this when reading about the case of Twitpic, a photo-hosting and photo sharing website. This site was found to be a site that hosted malicious software by the search engine Chrome (owned by Google). So in December 2012 the site became blocked throughout the Christmas period.

Google then started describing Twitpic as ‘a known malware distributor’. Access via Google was blocked. The site was also listed as ‘suspicious’ by Google’s Safe Browsing tool, despite this being untrue.  

Twitpic then announced that following protests Google removed the block. But it shows the sort of dangers that digital technology can bring.

Which is why I guess so many people still advertise through the old print mechanisms, and keep copies of their past adverts and the magazines in which they appeared, in our storage facility.  

Digital technology can be good – but it is still a good idea to have a print based backup.

And when you do, you will need to store copies of your adverts and the magazines and papers they appeared in.  Which is why Admiral exists.

Based in the West Midlands, we offer a secure document storage service. 

There’s more information on our website or give us a call on 0800 783 9516.

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