UK Plans Social Media Watchdog

UK Plans Social Media Watchdog
Internet sites could be fined or blocked if they fail to tackle “online harms” such as terrorist propaganda and child abuse, under government plans. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has proposed an independent watchdog that will write a “code of practice” for tech companies.

Social Media

Senior managers could be held liable for breaches, with a possible levy on the industry to fund the regulator.

But critics say the plans threaten freedom of speech.

The Online Harms White Paper is a joint proposal from the DCMS and the Home Office. A public consultation on the plans will run for 12 weeks.

The paper suggests:

Establishing an independent regulator that can write a “code of practice” for social networks and internet companies
Giving the regulator enforcement powers including the ability to fine companies that break the rules
Considering additional enforcement powers such as the ability to fine company executives and force internet service providers to block sites that break the rules

Outlining the proposals, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “The era of self-regulation for online companies is over.

“Voluntary actions from industry to tackle online harms have not been applied consistently or gone far enough.”

Discussing potential penalties on BBC Breakfast, he said: “If you look at the fines available to the Information Commissioner around the GDPR rules, that could be up to 4% of company’s turnover… we think we should be looking at something comparable here.”

What do the proposals say?

The plans call for an independent regulator to hold internet companies to account. It would be funded by the tech industry. The government has not decided whether a new body will be established, or an existing one handed new powers.
The regulator will define a “code of best practice” that social networks and internet companies must adhere to.

As well as Facebook, Twitter and Google, the rules would apply to messaging services such as Snapchat and cloud storage services.

The regulator will have the power to fine companies and publish notices naming and shaming those that break the rules.

The government says it is also considering fines for individual company executives and making search engines remove links to offending websites.

It is also consulting over blocking harmful websites.

Airport Goes Digital to Boost North East Tourism

Airport Goes Digital to Boost North East Tourism
Newcastle International Airport has launched a new multimedia website as part of an inbound tourism strategy to attract visitors to the North East.

Newcastle International Airport

The newly developed platform, branded Visit North East England, will feature video content, articles and images promoting different areas throughout the region, and will be available in a range of languages including Chinese Simplified, Spanish, French, German and Dutch.

Newcastle International Airport’s Chief Executive, Nick Jones, commented: “The tourism project is set to be hugely beneficial to the region by increasing the number of visitors coming to the North East.

“There has been nothing similar to this done by any other UK airport, and I am looking forward to seeing the region’s reaction to this exciting project.”

As part of its wider tourism strategy, the airport has collaborated with regional partners such as NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Visit County Durham, Northumberland Tourism, North and South Tyneside Councils, Tees Valley Combined Authority and Sunderland City Council.

Cllr Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council and chairman of Newcastle International Airport, said: “One of the biggest opportunities for growth in the North East is tourism and we know that our culture and visitor attractions are defining attributes that make our region distinctive and special.

“Through strong partnership working and collaboration with regional and national partners, we now have our very own inbound tourism strategy that will continue to build the global profile of the North East.”

The Hard Work Starts Now

When someone is searching the Internet for a product, service or organisation they will use a search engine such as Google to find the information they need. A higher ranking in the search results provided by the search engine will give you a greater chance of people visiting your site, so optimising your web site to obtain a good search ranking is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Google checks a lot of things-over 200 factors!-to determine the ranking of your web site. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to do all of these things to rank well in Google.

SEO Services

Think of SEO as like earning brownie points with Google so they bump you to the front of the queue.

Google want to present the best results to their users so they want to be sure that your content is what people are looking for. and to help achieve this, there are in excess of 200 ways to earn brownie points with Google. As you might expect then, the more of them you do, the further up the rankings you will be.

One of the key issues for you to consider is to try and understand what it is your customers are searching for?

Underlying the complexity of SEO is the simple fact that the more relevant your site is to the search needs of your customers, the more likely you are to feature higher up in search engine results.

Therefore, it is important to understand your customers and the words and phrases that they are likely to be using when searching for the product or service that you offer.

Here are some steps to follow:

Think about your target audience and what words and phrases they will be searching for
Find out which search words and terms are the most popular
Choose the keywords and phrases that have good local search volumes and do a search of these terms in Google to see how your competitors rank.
Now decide which keywords are likely to be best for your site.

You want to try and rank better than your competitors for particular words and phrases or you may be able to identify words or phrases that are not well utilised and focus your SEO efforts on these words. If you are operating in a crowded marketplace you may find it best to start with more specialised focus such as a specific location or a specialist part of your service.

Almost every business wants their business to be found on the first page of the major search engines. Your business has to earn that right to get these results using an effective Search Engine Optimisation or SEO process.

Whether you are a small local business or a large company, being seen online can now be crucial to ensuring business success. But as more businesses move online, your web site can easily get lost in the thousands of millions of results – but only if you don’t have the right help.

If you want to transform your business and become a leader in your industry, discover how Direct Submit can help you do just that through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Get in touch with us on 0845 2722350 for a FREE SEO analysis.

McDonald’s Buys into Machine Learning

McDonald’s buys into machine learning
McDonald’s is buying an artificial intelligence start-up to help serve up data-driven meal choices. The technology developed by Israeli start-up Dynamic Yield can automatically change menus depending on the weather, time of day and traffic.

McDonald’s is reported to be paying $300m (£227m) for the tech firm.

Macdonalds

Number-plate recognition would also allow it to offer customers at drive-throughs their usual food order, McDonald’s told Wired.

Dynamic Yield’s technology would allow AI to determine what products are promoted, for example automatically suggesting McFlurry ice cream on hot days, or telling customers which items are already proving popular at that particular restaurant that day.

Most McDonald’s outlets in the US are drive-throughs which is where the restaurant chain is planning to roll out the technology first.

“It can know time of day, it can know weather. We can also have it understand what our service times are so it only suggests items that are easier to make in our peak hours,” said McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook.

The ultimate aim was to provide a “much more personalised experience” and to be able to suggest additional items based on the customer’s initial order, he added.

Mr Easterbrook said McDonald’s would use the technology to make the most of data gathered from serving the firm’s 68 million fast-food customers and that it would be integrated into the app and the self-order kiosks already in stores.

Dynamic Yield, based in Tel Aviv, has designed algorithms that use shopping patterns and past purchases to suggest what items you will buy next and produced machine learning systems for other firms including Ikea, Office and William Hill.

Brexit: Firms tell MPs to ‘Stop Chasing Rainbows’

Brexit: Firms tell MPs to ‘stop chasing rainbows’
MPs need to stop “chasing rainbows” when it comes to resolving the Brexit impasse, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). Brexit uncertainty is already doing “real world damage” to the UK economy, the BCC’s Adam Marshall is expected to say later.

As a result businesses are “angry and frustrated”, he will tell the BCC’s annual conference on Thursday.

It follows an unprecedented move by MPs to seize control of the Brexit process.

However, none of the eight proposed Brexit options put to MPs on Wednesday evening secured a clear backing in the series of votes aimed at finding consensus.’Long enough’

MPs, including deputy prime minister David Lidington, as well as Liz Truss and Keir Starmer, are scheduled to speak at the BCC conference.

Mr Marshall, the BCC’s director general, is due to tell the conference that: “Three years going round in circles… is long enough.

“To Westminster we say: We are frustrated. We are angry. You have let British business down. You have focused on soundbites, not substance. Tactics, not strategy. Politics, not prosperity.”

He will warn specifically against the dangers of a “no-deal” Brexit, criticising MPs who “shrug off the possibility of shortages that could affect the well-being and the jobs of many people”.

Even if a “no-deal” exit from the EU is avoided, damage is already being done to the economy, he will say, including lost orders, contracts not being renewed and investments being postponed or cancelled.

Mr Marshall will warn that jobs are likely to be lost, due to the slowing global economy as well as the impact from Brexit.

His comments echo those from other business groups. On Wednesday, the Institute of Directors said its members were “angry and frustrated” and it called on “politicians of all parties to listen to the voice of businesses as they make vital decisions on the path ahead for Brexit”.

Searching for an Estate Agent in Chichester

Searching for an Estate Agent in Chichester
Tod Anstee Hancock was formed from the merger of two independent estate agents in Chichester, Tod Anstee LLP and Hancock and Partners Ltd. This has created one of the largest and most experienced firms of independent property consultants in Chichester and West Sussex.

Searching for an Estate Agent in Chichester

They provide vendors, landlords and tenants a professional and client-focused property service delivered by a trustworthy team of local experts in the Commercial and Residential Property Markets.

With their head office is in the heart of Chichester, enabling them to make decisions on how best to market and promote your property to the strengths of the local real estate market.

They provide a unique insight on every property sector including Residential and Commercial Sales & Lettings, Property Search Acquisition, Property Management, Block Management, New Homes and Tenancy Administration.

Tod Anstee Hancock is a Chichester estate agent with local people and property at its core. With our market intelligence, we know how to deliver excellent customer service, so you receive the best knowledge on areas, people, and property.

Our expertise in the local area extends throughout the county of West Sussex to include the ever sought-after parish villages like Bosham and West Wittering and as far as Midhurst in the North, Emsworth to the west and Arundel in the East.

If you are looking to buy, sell or rent, let their experts handle all of the hard work. Contact their team today on 01243 523723 (sales) or 01243 531111 (lettings).

Britain Faces Skills Gaps Crisis

A third of workers in Great Britain – and almost half of those aged 55 and over – did not learn any new workplace skills last year. New research published by the City & Guilds Group reveals that British workers are being denied critical opportunities to up-skill for the future.

The research highlights that 76% of the workforce agree it is important to continuously update their workplace skills regardless of age or career stage. However, less than half (46%) are getting enough help and support from their employer to develop the workplace skills they will need in the future.

Britain Faces Skills Gaps Crisis

The findings go on to show that while 81% of workers believe the skills they need to do their job will change over the next five years, from a lot to not very much. A quarter (24%) of GB workers are not getting sufficient feedback from their managers or colleagues on the skills they should be learning.

Chris Jones, City & Guilds Group Chief Executive, commented: “With Brexit uncertainty overshadowing the economy and a burgeoning skills crisis, skills development has never been higher on the agenda. At a time of rapid technological change, the skills used by today’s workforce are becoming obsolete quicker than ever before and there is a clear need for continued Investment In learning. Skills gaps are a stark reality and employers have a responsibility to enable critical training for their entire workforce, from graduate entrants through to senior leadership.”

According to the findings, the issue appears to be even more acute amongst certain groups within the workforce. Older workers are much less likely to receive workplace training than their younger counterparts and have less appetite to learn new skills: almost half of those aged 55 and over did not learn any new workplace skills last year.

Those working part-time are also less likely to receive workplace training compared to full time workers, with 42% reporting not having learnt a new skill in the last year.

Jones continued: “As working lives get longer and the age of the workforce Increases, now is the time for employers to prioritise up-skilling and re-skilling people at all ages and stages within their current workforce and to recognise the value and potential of every employee. However, our data clearly shows that people aren’t receiving enough employer support to develop the skills they need today, let alone those they may need over the next five years.”
Deborah Astles, HR Director Corporate Responsibility and Policy at Unipart explains why continuous learning is vital to the success of her business: “One of the motivations that guides all of our learning and development is the idea that anyone can be great if they are given the right opportunities to work hard and develop.

This philosophy has shaped our training programmes and means that everyone at Unipart is able to participate and progress within the organisation, regardless of their age or experience. As well as being great for the individual, this approach is also great for business and we’ve seen measurable ROI through working smarter that far exceeds the investment in each learner. Creating an internal talent pipeline with transferable skills across the business has also reduced our recruitment and retention costs and makes Unipart less vulnerable to the skills shortages faced by many businesses at the moment.”

When looking at the barriers to learning new workplace skills, taking time away from the day job is viewed as the biggest blocker; followed by a lack of investment in training and development by employers and a lack of personal budget or funds to invest in training outside the workplace.

Brexit: Firms Speeding up No Deal Plans

UK companies are likely to speed up plans for a no-deal Brexit in response to Tuesday’s votes in Parliament, the head of the CBI has told the BBC. Carolyn Fairbairn said a plan to renegotiate the UK’s withdrawal deal “feels like a real throw of the dice”.

“I don’t think there will be a single business this morning who is stopping or halting their no-deal planning,” she said in response to the idea. “I fear they may even be accelerating it,” she added.

Brexit: Firms Speeding up No Deal Plans

Theresa May is expected to seek further talks with EU leaders in the coming days after MPs voted 317 to 301 in favour of replacing the backstop – the insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland in the event of no deal.

The backstop is the main objection that Brexiteers in the Conservative party have to the deal negotiated by Mrs May, which was heavily rejected by MPs earlier this month in the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.

The EU has already said it will not change the legal text of the deal.

Ms Fairbairn said the reaction of businesses to the outcome of Tuesday’s voting would be one of “rising frustration and concern”. She said Parliament had shown that there was “a consensus against no-deal”, but added: “It does nothing to take no-deal off the table and it does feel like hope rather than strategy.”

The CBI head said businesses in Northern Ireland were “incredibly concerned” about the turn that events were taking, adding: “The backstop is there for a purpose.”

One day, technology might be able to solve the Irish border problem, she said, but until that was possible, there had to be “other arrangements in place”.

Ms Fairbairn said many small and medium-sized businesses had done nothing to prepare for the “shock” of a “cliff-edge” departure from the EU on 29 March. “I think the kind of concerns that people have around disruption are absolutely right,” she said. “No deal is just not manageable at this stage.”

Other business groups endorsed the CBI’s view that Parliament’s opposition to a no-deal Brexit was welcome.

Stephen Phipson, chief executive of the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, called on Mrs May to “confirm that she will not allow us to slide over the no-deal cliff”.

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said MPs had “at least made some movement on breaking the Brexit deadlock”.

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Neither government nor many businesses are ready for a no-deal exit in two months’ time, and it must not be allowed to happen by default.”

Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: “While it is something that MPs have managed to form a majority in any vote, the path ahead is still far from clear.”

Lead Generation Tips for Ecommerce

When we hear the words “lead generation,” our minds automatically conjure up a B2B marketing strategy aimed at filling the top of the sales funnel. But leads are not exclusive to B2B companies.

Every type of business, be it wholesale, retail, startup or whatever else, needs qualified “potential” customers who can be nurtured into actual paying customers. Ecommerce is no different.

Lead Generation Tips for Ecommerce

With the barriers to starting an ecommerce business tumbling faster than you can say Jack Robinson, the ecommerce industry has become competitive like never before. The online SEO journal ‘Search Engine Watch‘ has posted some useful guidance on the subject and is well worth a read. Here is a summary of the article.

  1. Rewrite your product descriptions with a focus on SEO
    This mistake, like history, has been repeated time and again in the world of ecommerce. While the importance of having unique product descriptions is plastered all over the web, rookie ecommerce companies still make the same mistake of using manufacturer’s descriptions and putting off giving them a custom twist until later when they’ve “made some sales.”
  2. Continually expand your email list, segment it for maximum impact
    There’s no better (and cheaper!) way to stay in touch with your customers than via email. I could quote research that shows how every dollar spent on email marketing brings back up more than $40 in revenue, but even if you don’t get such exponential ROI, email marketing is a channel you absolute must leverage.
  3. Bring back lost souls with remarketing
    As the old adage goes, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. Getting users to come to your site in the first place is hard enough. But having them leave without buying a thing is simply heartbreaking. Put the brakes on your users’ exodus by retargeting them with two of the most effective methods available – retargeted emails and retargeted ads.

SEO – How will it help Your business?

SEO Campaign – What is it, and how will it help my business?
In order to succeed in business in 2019 and beyond, SEO, and especially local SEO should be a required part of your marking strategy. SEO stands for search engine optimisation, which means that the website for your business can reach potential customers using search engines like Google and Bing. Since getting your business in front of the right consumers is the first step to winning them over as customers, you can’t afford to skip out on a solid SEO campaign.

How do we know you need SEO?
By analysing current and past trends, we can determine what searchers want. In recent years, “near me” searches have been on the rise. This type of search is like when a consumer Googles something like, “dentists near me.”

You can replace “dentists” with any type of business or office.

What this boils down to is that people want fast access to information about local businesses that will meet their needs.

How can your business benefit from an SEO campaign?
Now that you know a bit about what an SEO campaign can do, it’s time to move on to understanding why it works and what the benefits are. SEO can:

Draw new customers to your website

Get customers the information they need

Help your business be available 24/7

An SEO campaign accomplishes all of this by making your website one that search engines love to show users. This translates to getting a high-ranking spot on search engine results pages, or SERPs.

More Customers Means More Growth

Many people often confuse marketing and sales because the point of marketing is to bring in customers to boost sales. However, you know as well as we do that it’s a different job altogether. Yet, everything in business is tied to the bottom line. Sales define a business’ success. They determine whether a business dives, survives, or thrives. The more customers you can bring into the business, the more sales your business can get. We know you know this.

What you might not yet know is that you need local SEO to keep bringing in customers. A business with strong search engine rankings is more likely to be found. Local SEO not only connects your business to consumers, but especially to local consumers. If you want to get people in the door, they need to find you online. They need to find you on search engines.

Google handles at least 2 trillion searches a year. That number has consistently been on the rise since the search engine’s inception. The power of internet search is not waning. You need to get on board with SEO if you want to continue to get customers in the door–whether virtually or physically.

The Benefits of Website SEO
Search engine optimisation is very important if you want to increase your visibility in the online world. While the methods of getting your brand message out there have evolved as search engines have become more and more sophisticated, the basic idea is still the same. When someone searches for something in your industry or product category, you want your website to rank near the top of the search engine listings.

Ø  Over 90% of internet users take advantage of a search engine to find what they want on the web and that figure is fairly constant across the globe, including the UK.

Ø  While competition for keywords in your industry might well be high, there are a number of other factors involved in SEO that need to be addressed if you want to boost your rankings significantly.

Ø  Strong SEO is part of the entire marketing mix and can feed into other aspects of your strategy such as local searches and visibility on social media.

Ø  Website SEO is a mix of standard inclusions such as site maps and good content that needs to meet appropriate standards as well as ongoing initiatives such as building strong inbound links, internal linking, image tagging and regularly updated and engaging content.

Time to Get Your Website Noticed
Direct Submit prides itself on the underlying process by which we approach each and every SEO project we are involved with. We understand that each client will have specific, individual needs and our approach in creating and implementing the correct SEO strategy is vital to the success of the SEO project.

This approach and attention to detail is what has helped Direct Submit become a leading Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) company. Call us today on 0845 2722350 and get your website working harder for your business.