This Week in Digital…

Becky Grainger

This week in digital

Google To Give Secure Sites A Ranking Boost

Google have announced they will now be rewarding sites that have a secure connection. Sites using HTTPS, the Web prefix indicating an encrypted connection, will gain a minor ranking boost. Google is hoping that this will encourage site developers to ensure a secure connection. The changes will only count as a ‘very lightweight signal’ within the overall ranking algorithm. Google has stated that it carries “less weight than other signals such as high-quality content.” However they have said they “may decide to strengthen the signal in an effort to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

Google have also said the HTTPS signal showed ‘positive results’ in terms of relevancy and ranking in Googles search results. If you are switching your site from HTTP to HTTPS there are a few steps you need to take to ensure it does not affect your traffic. Most importantly you need to communicate to Google that you moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Google promises to release more information, but for now has provided the following tips on their blog:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out the site move article for more guidelines on how to change your websites address
  • Dont block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

Hotel Charges $500 for Negative Reviews

The Union Street Guest House in New York has gone viral this week after their controversial policy that charges guests $500 for negative online reviews. Before the hotels website removed the policy it previously stated;

If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event.

Union Street Guest House

Soon after the story broke on Page Six, the hotel posted on their Facebook page, saying the policy was a joke that was never acted upon. However, a Yelp review from last year clearly shows a guest complaining after the hotel threatened to charge them $500 because of a negative review.

Ironically the Union Street Guest House’s score on Yelp is now 1.5 stars and its review score on Facebook is just one star. The owner Chris Wagoner’s has now issued a full apology for his joke policy as well as well as offering a 10% discount for future guests.

Wikipedia Hits Back at Google

This week sees yet another backlash against the right to be forgotten ruling. Wikipedia have revealed that within a week Google has been asked to remove five links to Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation, have since posted the notices from Google online, which include a page about former criminal Gerry Hutch, an image of a young man playing a guitar and a page about Italian gangster Renato Vallanzasca.

Co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales has hit back at the right to be forgotten and publicly addressed the ruling at the launch of Wikimedias transparency report; “History is a human right and one of the worst things that a person can do is attempt to use force to silence another, I’ve been in the public eye for quite some time. Some people say good things, some people say bad things that’s history, and I would never use any kind of legal process like to try to suppress it.”

It seems that the whole team at Wikipedia aren’t happy with the ruling, the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, Lila Tretikov stated; “Accurate search results are vanishing in Europe with no public explanation, no real proof, no judicial review, and no appeals process. We find this type of veiled censorship unacceptable. But we find the lack of disclosure unforgivable. This is not a tenable future. We cannot build the sum of all human knowledge without the worlds true source, based on pre-edited histories.”

Although Google sent notices of these pages being removed they are under no legal obligation to do so. Meaning many other additional links could have been removed without Wikipedia having any knowledge of it at all.

Foursquare Launches City Guide

The app that originally started the trend of
checking in has taken a full 360 turn and in the latest update has fully removed the ability to check in at venues. However for those still wanting to check in you can do so with the company’s sister app Swarm which allows you to check into places and see what your friends are up to.

Foursquare has been completely redesigned, with new colours, logo, layout and features. This is not just an update it is a complete remodel. The new Foursquare positions itself as a unique and customised city guide.

When you first log in you will be prompted to create a profile that will allow you to choose your likes, Foursquare then uses this information as well as your previous check-in history, their own restaurant ratings and information from your Foursquare friends to tailor its recommendations to you.

The app also allows you to filter the results to get even more unique recommendations, the filters include the generic price, distance, cuisine as well much more detailed filters such as places I haven’t been, places you have saved or by what your friends have recommended.

And Finally…

Wikipedia are in the news again for a row over a monkey selfie. British photographer David Slater is fighting Wikipedia to take down an image which they have posted in its collection of public domain images. Wikipedia refuse to take it down as because he didn’t take the picture he does not own the copyright and since it was a monkey that took the picture nobody owns the image.

Monkey Selfie