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Google Ads: Google confirms payment issue


Sankt-Petersburg, Russia, August 31, 2018: Google Ads AdWords application icon on Apple iPhone X screen close-up. Google Ad Words icon. Google ads Adwords application. Social media networkGoogle has confirmed that they are aware of a payment issue that has caused identical payments to be collected twice within some Google Ads accounts. The issue is connected with how they process direct debit payments.

A number of Google Accounts have been affected and Google’s technical team are presently working to resolve the issue.

As of yet, Google has not provided a statement on what will happen next as a decision hasn’t been made regarding this but we will be staying in regular contact with Google until this is resolved.

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Cookie Consent Update- Is your business compliant?


hand about to click on Accept Cookie pop-up message

On 3rd July 2019, the ICO (the UK data protection authority) updated their guidance on the rules regarding the use of cookies and other similar technologies. Here, we discuss in further detail what these new guidelines include and whether you your business needs to make any changes to your website in order to be completely compliant.

What are cookies?
Cookies are text files which typically contain 2 pieces of information: a site name and unique user. They work when you visit a site that uses cookies for the first time, as a cookie is then downloaded onto your computer. The next time you visit that site, the computer checks to see if that cookie is still relevant and sends the information in that cookie back to the website. This all means that the company then knows that you have visited the website before. Some cookies are more sophisticated than others and can record information such as how long you have spent on that website, where you have clicked and what is in your shopping bag, providing the business with valuable information. Cookies are good in the way that companies can use this data to provide a better online experience for their customers, however there are some concerns over privacy and how the companies use this data.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has recently ruled that any consent box that are pre-checked within a cookie banner is not legally valid. If you currently have a cookie banner which involves a user having to untick a box to opt out of cookies, then you need to redesign the banner.

The new guidelines the ICO have released also includes the following information that businesses should adhere to:

•    You can never imply that a customer has provided consent. -  Avoid using statements such as “by continuing to use this website you are agreeing to cookies”. Statements such as these do not comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which requires the customer to clearly state they want to be part of it. Pre ticked boxes, and sliders defaulted to ‘on’ are also not allowed if the cookies are not essential.
•    Be careful with use of banners and pop ups-  Pop ups highlighting the use of cookies to obtain consent are useful however you need to ensure that non-essential cookies are not used if the customer doesn’t click on the accept button in the banner and instead continues to click on a different part of the page. This is suggesting that they didn’t directly give you permission.
•    Cookie walls are not allowed- You cannot use cookie walls which restrict access to a service until the customer consents to cookies. This is because the customer has no genuine choice to opt out, even if they wanted to.
•    Remember GDPR- If you are a company not in the EEA (European Economic Area) but still do business within Europe, you will still have to comply to GDPR legislation which will impact the use of cookies.

Considering these guidelines, it is important for businesses who currently use cookies to evaluate how they use them and ensure they are being presented to customers in the correct way. If you would like any more information on cookie consent or would like help changing your cookie policy then the DBS web development team will be happy to help. Give us a call on 01522 811688.

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David’s trip to Everest Basecamp

This September, DBS Director and founder David Clarke undertook a great challenge and trekked to Everest Base Camp. Being thousands of meters above sea level, long days of walking and torrential rainfall meant the trip was far from easy, but made the achievement at the end so much more impressive.

In total the trip took 8 days to get up to base camp and an additional 3 to get back down. During the trip, there were inevitably highs and lows. When I asked David what his favourite part of the trip was he said he had to be the moment he finally arrived at base camp. What was the worst? Day 7 - as it when the altitude sickness kicked in. Nausea, sickness, headaches and eyes that were almost swollen shut made it difficult to get through.

His daily routine started at 6 am when his alarm went off, breakfast was served at 7 am with the walking starting at around 8 am. Most of the days finished around 3 or 4pm.

David decided to take on such a big challenge as he turned 60 earlier on in the year and he thought it was a now or never thing. Would he do something similar in the future? Apparently he has no plans as of yet. But he is having a good think about whether to do high altitude again or not. 17,500 ft is a long way up and puts a big demand on your body.

Finally, I asked If he would recommend other people giving this challenge a go, “Yes, but it needs a huge amount of training and dedication to do it justice”

Well done David, the whole DBS team are really proud of what you’ve done!

Here are some of the amazing pictures from David’s trip:

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David had to take a helicopter out of Kathmandu as Lukla Airport was closed due to cloud. They ended up landing 600m below Lukla which added to the trek.

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Day 1- The trek began with putting duffel bags on yaks and heading for Phakding

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Day 3:  The group undertook an acclimatization walk to 3900m. This picture was taken on the descent into Namche Bazar. Torrential rain all day did not make the trek easier!

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Day 6: Plastic bottles will be banned on Everest from next year but the photo shows how every bottle of water arrives

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Made it to Everest Base Camp. A whopping 5364m high

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Why is Google Maps not working on my website?


Why-is-Google-Maps-not-working-on-my-websiteMany websites have a Google Map embedded onto their site somewhere, whether this be part of the home page or contact us section to allow potential customers to easily find your business and visit.

If you do have a Google Map embedded on your website, we encourage you to check to make sure it is still working correctly and not showing the following error message:


Google Map error screenshot
What does the error message mean? Well, back in May 2018 Google announced that from July 2018 it would be a requirement for businesses to add billing details with the Google Maps Platform API (an API is something developers can use to request data from another server, for example in the Google Maps case we can send some data to Google’s servers to retrieve information such as driving directions)

You will need a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account in order to continue using Google maps. Once you have enabled billing, you will gain $200 worth of free usage per month for Google Maps, Routes and Places products. Although a lot of companies do not exceed this monthly limit, we do recommend that your map configuration is reviewed to ensure that you are not paying any unnecessary costs for getting data from the Google Maps Platform.

Maps are an important thing to have on your website as they are extremely useful, so using Google maps, routes and places are all still great features to use, you just need to make these modifications in order to ensure the maps still works effectively on your site.

The DBS team will be happy to help you if you require assistance with obtaining the API key or if you would just like some more information. Give us a call on 01522 811688.

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DBS named finalists at the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards 2019

Lincolnshire Business Awards 2019- CroppedWe are excited to announce that we have been named as finalists for the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards 2019.

We will be heading to the Awards Ceremony held at the Lincolnshire Showground Epic Centre on 17th October. The awards will see Lincolnshire businesses go head to head for awards across a range of categories voted by a panel of independent judges. The categories range from Apprentice of the Year, Business Person of the Year to Heart of the Community and Innovation Award. With 16 categories, it will be an evening with plenty of amazing winners.

DBS have been nominated for TWO categories this year: Employer of the Year and Digital Campaign of the Year.

The awards are now in their 16th year and it is a great event that shows the efforts of businesses across Lincolnshire. All of the winners are then put forward to with the prestigious Business of the Year Overall winner.

Commenting on being shortlisted, DBS Director Julie Priestley said. “We are delighted to be finalists for both the Employer of the Year and Best Digital Campaign awards.  It makes great business sense to us to invest in our team, they are the heart of DBS Internet Marketing and are continually striving to achieve great results for all our clients.  We are looking forward to an evening celebrating all the amazing local businesses in Lincolnshire. It should be a great evening.”

We are so proud to be finalists and are looking forward to the awards ceremony as it’s a great evening and its lovely to be able to celebrate the amazing achievements of local businesses.

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Online Payments are changing

Online PaymentsWhat is Strong Customer Authentication and how will it affect my business? Changes were due to come into play on the 14th September 2019, however several countries have announced that their implementation will be temporarily delayed.

When the new regulations for authenticating online payments are introduced in Europe, they will make shopping online even more secure for the customer. Here we discuss in further detail what Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is, how it could affect your business and what measures you can put in place to accommodate the new rules.

What is Strong Customer Authentication?
SCA is new a new regulation requirement in order to reduce fraud online and make purchasing online more secure. Once this new regulation is live, you will need to ensure that your checkout meets the required level of authentication. If it currently doesn’t, you will have to build additional authentication into your checkout process.

For a payment to successfully be processed, SCA requires the authentication to use at least 2 of the following elements:

1.    Something the customer knows (This can include a PIN code or Password)
2.    Something the customer has (This can be a code sent to a mobile phone)
3.    Something the customer is (This is completely unique to the person and can include face recognition or fingerprint).

By including at least 2 of these elements, you are ensuring the payment is genuinely being made by that person.

Currently online payments often require 3D secure- this is when the customer is prompted by their bank, once they have made a payment online, to provide additional information such as entering a one-time code which is sent to their mobile or a password. The new regulation is building on this, taking it one step further to ensuring higher security.

When is SCA required?
Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will be required for online payments that are “customer initiated” within Europe. Therefore, this will include the majority of card payments and all bank transfers.

SCA will be required when both the company and the customer are located with the EEA (European Economic Area). Please note that currently it is believed that the new regulations will still take place in the UK regardless of the outcome of Brexit, so online companies need to be aware of this change.

When is SCA not required?
There are some cases where SCA will not be required. Certain low risk transactions and transactions of a low amount (e.g. Under €35) may not require the additional security measures.

Other exemptions may include subscriptions, trusted beneficiaries (where customers could have the option to white list certain businesses they trust) and phone sales.  Despite these being possible exemptions, it is not guaranteed. At the end of the day, it will be the customers’ bank who determines which payments can be made exempt. Bearing this in mind, you will need to be prepared for SCA and not rely on these payments being exempted.

What are the next steps?
If your business will be affected by the new regulations, we recommend that you start preparing for it as soon as possible. Unlike the current authentication which adds another step to the customer checkout, the new regulation is attempting to minimize the friction during the checkout process and make it as smooth as possible whilst still being more secure.

It is important to be aware that payment methods such as Apply Pay and Google pay already support the new regulations as they both have a layer built in which requires your fingerprint or password. Using these methods is one-way businesses can offer a smooth check out experience but still meeting the new regulations.

If you need any more information about the new regulations coming into effect later on in the year, or would like to discuss any changes to your checkout to accommodate these changes then please contact the DBS web development team on 01522 811688 and we would be happy to help.
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How to improve your Local SEO

Local SEO. Internet Marketing Concept.Optimising your local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is vital for small businesses. Local SEO is where you target customers who are likely to come and visit your store or business location. By correctly targeting the correct people who are in the vicinity of your business, it will encourage them to come and visit. Studies suggest that once someone has searched for a local business, they are likely to go and visit the business within 24 hours, so it is vital to get your business out there. Here we discuss a few ways in which you can improve your local SEO to get you seen by more people, but more importantly, the correct people. By using some of the same methods of standard SEO such as creating engaging and informative content, you can become more visible, however for local SEO there are a few more factors you should consider:

1.    Claim your business listing
Claiming your My Google Business page is a great way to start. This will mean when people search for a business similar to yours, you can appear in the business listings and this will provide potential customers with important information such as your opening hours, your address and contact details. Try and use local keywords in your listing as well. Google is not the only listing you can claim. Look at Bing Local, Yelp and other industry specific business directories to make your business more visible. Also add all of this useful information onto your social media networks as well. You can make your listing stand out with images and reviews. This could make the difference of a customer picking your company over a competitor.

2.    Keyword Research
Just as with all SEO and many forms of digital marketing, keyword research is extremely important. Having an understanding of what words and phrases customers are using when searching online lets you know what you should be including in your content. Start with some competitor analysis as this is a great way to get some inspiration to start you off. Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to help with this exercise. You can then use the keywords you want to focus on in your targeting list in Google Adwords and ensure they are included in your website copy to help with organic results as well. A great way to add keywords in a website is by writing informative and helpful blog articles for your target customers.

3.    Think mobile first
Many people are using their mobile phones above any other device they own so it makes sense to always ensure mobile is at the top of your mind when carrying out any form of digital marketing. It is especially important for local SEO as people will be looking for businesses on their phone on the go, so if they are near your business, they are likely to visit. You need to ensure that when customers are searching, all the information you want to get across is easy to read on mobile and that it’s all easy to find. Although your website needs to look good across all devices including tablets and desktop, mobile should always be the priority as so many people rely on them.

4.    Reviews are extremely useful
It is a good idea to ask your customers for reviews. As long as you don’t force your customers, or ask them in a rude or forceful way, a lot of customers will be happy to provide you with one. This is especially important for certain sectors such as dining or hotels. Having reviews on Google or Trip Advisor and other review sites will help you appear higher up on the search results page. Also, reviews hold a lot of power. If customers see several good reviews, they will be more tempted to visit your business. But make sure you keep an eye on reviews. Good reviews can do amazing things for both your brand visibility and your reputation, but bad reviews can sometimes be damaging. By addressing reviews, whether they are good or bad, in a quick and professional manner will show you have high levels of customer service.

5.    Be Social
Social media isn’t going anywhere soon, so it is important for your business to be visible on social media as it will be where your audience is. Social media marketing as a whole is relatively cheap form of marketing and can have an extremely high impact. The main thing to consider is which social platform is right for your business? Each social media platform is different, and you need to cater your content for this. It also depends on which social media platforms you believe your ideal customers to be on. If you are a restaurant for example, then Instagram is a great platform for you as your products are extremely visual, which will translate on Instagram well as this is a very image led platform. Social media is also a great place to push offers which can entice people to visit your business. Once you have people at your business, try and get them to share that they were there or used your product or service as this will help increase your reach.

6.    Make sure you measure
As with all elements of marketing, you need to make sure you measure the results consistently so you can adapt your strategy and see the results. The Google My Business dashboard can provide you with some information such as how many times your listing has been viewed, how many times it has been searched and how many times your map has been looked at. These are all great indications that customers are interested in visiting your business or contacting you.

7.    Make sure all details are correct
When filling out your business listings, always ensure your business information is correct. Keep your phone number, website, email address, business address and opening hours consistently up to date to avoid any customer confusion as this could lead to frustration. Also ensure all your information is consistent. Make sure your present your address in the same way each time with no abbreviations, as again this shows a great eye for detail and professionalism.

8.    Get blogging
Creating a blog on your website is a great way to regularly update your website, include local keywords and provide your potential customers with useful or entertaining content all at once. Not only is blogging great for SEO, it can benefit the customer by providing information each time they visit your website. If you can keep them engaged, they will be more invested in your business. You can use these blogs on your social channels as well!

If you need help with your local SEO strategy then Team DBS can help. We can look at your current website, and ensure your site is fully optimized for local SEO traffic. We can also help with your social media presence as well. If you would like more information or a no obligation quote then please do not hesitate to contact us.

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