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Professional Digital Marketing from Aqueous Digital
Voice search and SEO

Is Voice Search a Game Changer for Digital Marketing?


As we become increasingly comfortable with speaking to our electronic devices the number of people using voice search is growing.  This shift in the way people search means businesses and websites need to adapt their online strategy in order to stay ahead of the game and thrive.

Just as you thought you were getting to grips with how to optimise your website for typed search engine queries, technology advances and gives you a new dimension to learn about!

According to a survey by Comscore, 40% of adults now use voice search once per day.  If your business hasn’t started to at least consider how to optimise your website for voice search then you could be at risk of getting left behind.

 

What is voice search?

Voice search is a basic form of AI, you probably know it best as Siri on the iPhone, Alexa on Amazon’s Echo, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s own voice search feature.

 

Voice search and SEOHow is voice search changing digital marketing and SEO?

First of all, it’s important to understand that voice search is not taking over from typed search, so don’t panic, all previous digital marketing and SEO work undertaken is still relevant!

In order to adapt for voice search businesses need to add a new dimension to their strategy rather than changing anything existing.

Voice search requires a different SEO approach to typed searches as users deliver their queries in a different way.

Think about what you may type to search for a hairdresser versus what you might say via voice search.

For the majority of people a typed search will be 2-3 words long, written in ‘computer speak’ and narrowed down to just a few essential keywords.  Whereas when we use voice search we expect the technology to be able to understand full sentences, so we tend to talk as though speaking to another human being.

 

Common features of voice searches

  • Longer query length
  • Generally these are question searches
  • We ask as though speaking to another human
  • More frequently performed on mobile devices
  • Queries often have greater intent
  • Often used when speed is of the essence
  • More likely to be used for local-based queries

 

How to adapt online for voice search

Eager to get your business’ online presence optimised for voice search? We’ve come up with a few tips on what to consider and changes to implement to keep your business one step ahead when it comes to voice search.

 

Research, research, research!

Keyword/phrase research for voice search is essential.  Find out what questions people are asking on voice search in order to discover your business.  Once you’ve got some idea on what kind of phrases and questions are being used, identify which ones are your highest value questions.

Remember that generally people using voice search tend to use more specific search queries that are capable of revealing their level of intent a lot more accurately than with text search.

 

Update content accordingly/create new content

Once you’ve identified which voice search queries people are using to find your website you can begin to tweak existing content or create new high quality content around these questions and queries.

 

Adjust bids

Of course if you’re able to identify the highest value queries and long-tail key phrases, then it makes financial sense to adjust your bids on any Adwords campaigns that you may have running to reflect your findings.

 

Update local business listings and ads

Due to the speedy nature of voice search, a high percentage of searches performed this way are local searches, meaning that local businesses that adapt will reap the rewards and have the advantage over competitors who are slower to adapt.

People performing local searches on the move often want quick answers with minimal actions before a decision is reached.

This is why local voice searches often trigger business listings/ads in search results, making it essential to keep business listings up to date.  Local voice searches often have high intent, resulting in searchers bypassing business websites and instead taking action directly from the search results by using the ‘call now’ or ‘book now’ call to action buttons.

 

With new and emerging technologies like Amazon’s Alexa Smart Home becoming more popular and wearables like smart watches now being released by popular brands like Michael Kors, speaking to our devices is becoming more and more commonplace.

Businesses with their finger on the pulse should begin adapting their online strategy now if they haven’t already in order to stay ahead of competitors and save themselves a bigger job down the line.

 

Need some help or advice with optimising your online presence for voice search? Get in touch with our team of experts here at Aqueous Digital by giving us a call on 0800 285 1424.

Google 2017 algorithm changes - Aqueous Digital Services

Google’s FRED Update: What? Why? And how to recover

Google’s latest algorithm update which first hit on March 8th has been causing waves in the SEO world as some websites reported almost a complete loss of organic traffic overnight.

The update hasn’t been bad news for everyone as some savvy webmasters have reported positive results since this date, but for many affected this has been the most devastating update of the year so far.

We’ve taken a look at what we know so far about the Fred update, who has been affected and what steps you can take to recover if you’ve suffered a drop in ranking.

 

8th March – Fred update is rolled out

It first became apparent that something big had occurred on 8th March.  Unsurprisingly Google responded vaguely to accusations of an update, leaving it unconfirmed at this point.

The update was quickly christened ‘Fred’ after Google’s Gary Illyes recent joke that all new updates should be named ‘Fred’.

 

 

What we knew one week on

After about a week and some intensive investigation from SEO professionals and webmasters worldwide, it became evident that this new update was another attempt to improve the quality of search results.  Sites negatively affected by the update tended to have low quality content and a lot of ads or affiliate links featured on-page.

Many of the websites hit were non-specialist blogs covering a wide range of topics that appeared to have been created with the sole purpose of creating backlinks or generating income through ads without offering much in the way of valuable or unique content to users.

 

 

Many of these websites have been affected quite dramatically. According to the guys at Search Engine Roundtable, after they reviewed a number of websites that were hit by the update, most of them had experienced at least a 50% drop in organic traffic overnight – with some seeing up to a 90% drop!

 

23rd March – Google confirm update

It wasn’t until March 23rd that Google openly acknowledged the update. First Google’s Gary Illyes stated during the AMA with Google session at SMX West that sites suffering from the update were rightfully hit as they were going against Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Later that same day John Mueller from Google said during a Webmaster Google Hangout that the update was to hit sites that weren’t following webmaster guidelines, and that websites affected must have content quality issues that need to resolving.

 

 

What can you do to recover a website affected by the Fred update?

If you think that your website has been affected then the first thing to do is make sure that you fully understand the Fred update and revisit Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

At Aqueous we have identified a few of the key areas that most affected sites could do with brushing up and improving in order to conform to Google’s guidelines and improve their content and regain their rankings.

 

Reduce the number of ads

Although there is no set number of how many ads is too many, we would advise webmasters to review their website and ask themselves honestly whether the ads featured are intrusive.  If more than one ad can be seem at a time on any one page or piece of content then it’s probably too many.  Remember that your website should appear user-friendly and attractive and professional to look at, not ad heavy.

 

Write specific not generic content

Anyone can write generic content, but not everyone can write unique content.  With so many people writing shallow generic content, a lot of content on the internet becomes samey and so loses its value.  Remember that Google values unique, relevant and high quality content, so instead of writing shallow articles on broad topics try to drill down into a specific angle or aspect of a topic to make your content different and interesting.

 

Make sure content provides users with value

Don’t blindly write a piece of content because the title has sprung to mind, think carefully about whether the content will provide readers with value.  Think about who your audience is and what pain points they’re looking for solutions to in order to create content for real people rather than for search engines.

 

Reduce backlinks (quality over quantity)

Google have been making it clear that ‘black hat’ SEO techniques involving ‘spammy’ backlinks are bad and will be penalised for almost a decade now, so there’s no excuse to still be featuring them on your website!  If your website has forced or artificial links pointing to it then you need to work with the Webmaster who owns the website that they feature on to get them removed.  Equally if your website features a lot of these kind of irrelevant links to other websites then you need to be removing them and reviewing your content.

 

Ensure keywords are included naturally

Make sure you’ve not gone over the top with keywords in your content.  Instead, write well researched and valuable content with the reader in mind.  Good quality content should naturally use synonyms and be keyword rich, there should not be any need for unnatural keyword stuffing.

 

 

Have you seen any changes to your website’s ranking over the last couple of months? If so tweet us @AqueousDigital.

Need some help recovering your rankings? Get in touch with our SEO team by giving us a call on 0800 285 1424.


 

John White Boots

The astonishing endurance of John White Boots and a Marketing lesson for all

I can’t remember the exact date when I bought my first pair of John White boots but I do remember how I felt.

You see, these boots were over £100 and I had never paid that much for a pair of boots before.

Ever.

So, it sticks in my memory for the simple reason that this was a major expense as far as I was concerned and one that would, in hindsight, mark a change in my buying behaviour.

At the time, back in 2008 or 2009 (I really can’t remember the date), I thought I was just buying a good pair of boots but it turned out to be a whole lot more than that.

As with all new footwear, they felt strange at first but that didn’t last long.

Within a day, I was starting to feel that they were part of me and within a week you couldn’t get them off my feet.

These were, without a doubt, the most comfortable pair of boots I had ever bought.

John White Boots

Up to that point, most of the footwear I had previously bought had become tired and worn and eventually were simply sent for recycling, usually after less than a year.

These boots, however, bucked the trend. They kept going year in year out and with a little bit of TLC they still looked decent.

 

When they needed a resole and reheel and they ended up at my local cobblers who did a decent job with them. It took almost two years before they needed work and this was the first of four occasions which they went back to him and each time came back they seemed to have a new lease of life.

After a while I began to think of them like Trigger’s broom in Only Fools and Horses; the broom had 17 new heads and 14 new handles but it was still his original broom.

But in 2011 I hit another crisis point. The laces finally gave out and I could not find a suitable replacement. After trawling round my local shops, I decided to contact John White themselves and in February 2011 they sent me two pairs of replacement laces. I only know this as I have the original email acknowledging my contact from the website!

This was quite simply great customer service.

And so, the boots kept going. And going. And going.

Fast forward to 2017 and they are still going.

John White Boots

John White no longer make this exact boot but they never forget their customers.

About a month ago, the laces finally gave out but a quick call to them and the lovely Christine in Customer Services sent me out some more replacement laces which should keep them going for many more years.

It turns out that I wasn’t just spending £100 on a pair of boots all those years ago, I was buying an ongoing relationship with the boots and this business.

And it works. I own four pairs of John White boots and shoes and now they offer a repair service I don’t have to rely on my local cobbler, I can send them back to the manufacturer to get the love and attention they need.

I learned from this that firstly, paying good money for good shoes is an investment and secondly, that if you buy them from a decent company then they look after you. The customer care I have received over the years, as well as the quality of the product, has led me to write this piece.

And all it has cost them in almost ten years is a couple of pairs of laces.John White Boots

I should probably say at this point that I have absolutely no relationship to John White shoes nor have they given me anything to write this piece. It’s from the heart and thank you to them for the product and service over the years.

It’s a classic Marketing tale of how to create and build a brand and in so doing create a customer for life.

Linkbuilding with Aqueous Digital

The Ever-Changing World of Link Building

Building links with Aqueous DigitalLink building is dynamic and ever-changing, but it is still an integral part of any form of digital marketing, and should be one of your SEO priorities.

What started as a simple ‘who shouts the loudest wins’ with very few rules has slowly been becoming a super-strict game – with the rules strictly enforced by the mighty Google.

It may be all well and good finding ‘quick wins’, but the ugly truth is most of the time these are short-lived, short-term and ineffective solutions, and although Google is just a machine, it’s unlikely you’re going to ‘fool the system’ for too long.

We’ve said it time and time again and we stick by it, the best practice for SEO should always be do it right the first time.

That being said, what exactly is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when it comes to link building? This is something that seems to change on a regular basis, and we spend a fair bit of time keeping up with the rules as Google churns them out.

But for now, there are a few rules you should always abide by when it comes to link building, as dictated by Moz.

 

 

One of the first rules they touch on is something we’ve been preaching for a while now – which is beware your anchor text.

When it comes to websites being penalised for their backlinks the common factor often seems to be the anchor teLinkbuilding with Aqueous Digitalxt, and you should be particularly aware when you control the anchor text. Google knows when you control the anchor text and that is exactly what they are looking for, and self-controlled links with over-optimised anchor text are subject to devaluation and penalisation.

 

With regards to this, you should be even more cautious with links that scale, such as widget links, author bio boxes, etc. Combining these two elements leads to a bulk amount of poor links that are even more prone to devaluation and penalisation.

 

You should never ask for anchor text, whenever you do this, regardless if you try to diversify the way you do it, you create over-optimisation and a predictable pattern, which more often than not will lead to a lot of red flags being raised.

 

Letting people link to your site however they choose, whether it’s how you want it or not creates a much more natural link profile, which is ultimately what you are looking for.

And one of the final “avoid” rules from Moz is avoid site-wide links, which again is something we have been preaching to our clients for years. The only obvious exception would be site navigation, but besides this site-wide links of any kind, particularly site-wide anchor text footer links should be avoided at all costs.

 

The key point out of all this, despite the ever-changing rules and dynamics behind it all, is to keep link building.

 

Google is continually changing its algorithm and rolling out new updates and rules, but this doesn’t mean you should ever give up on link building. Link building has always and we suspect will always be an integral part of search engine optimisation.

Read more about the dos and don’ts of link building or watch the video over at Moz: http://moz.com/blog/the-rules-of-link-building-whiteboard-friday

Google 2017 algorithm changes - Aqueous Digital Services

What do we know about Google’s algorithm updates so far this year?

Google’s updates in 2017

With Google keeping the details of any changes to their algorithm firmly up their sleeve, we’ve rounded up some information on what we know or suspect has happened so far this year.

Here at Aqueous the last couple of months have been a mix bag when it comes to SEO ranking.  Google refused to comment on whether or not there had been any changes made to their algorithm earlier this month, but evidence suggests that there has been some upheaval, with some websites noticing significant fluctuations in traffic whilst others remained unaffected.

Let’s take a look at the three potential dates so far this year when the SEO community suspect Google may have made changes to or tweaked their algorithm.

Google's algorithm changes in 2017 - Aqueous digital marketing services UK

 

January Update

After Google made a very rare announcement about a future update to their algorithm back in August 2016 the SEO community prepared themselves for the worst and waited with baited breath to see what the effect would be.

Said update was the January 10th Mobile pop-ups update which it was said would penalise websites making it difficult for those browsing to access the content on the page due to intrusive pop-ups.

The SEO community looked on with interest on this date and then during the days and weeks that followed but saw very little (if any) change to rankings as a result of this update.

 

Potential Update in Early February

It wasn’t until early February when we really started to notice some unusual fluctuations in rankings, but there hadn’t been a peep from Google, so as usual we were left to investigate possible causes ourselves.

Minor changes to website rankings began to get picked up around February 1st and these fluctuations became even more apparent around February 7th.  Google have kept their lips sealed and refused to either confirm or deny if they have made any changes but we suspect that there has either been a new update or a tweak to an existing one.

 

Who has been affected?

The cause and effect of any algorithm change is still unclear, but research and talk amongst the SEO community suggests that the changes may be related to backlinks and so could have been caused by a tweak to the Penguin update.

Amongst a number of huge changes that aimed to improve the quality of search results, the Penguin update cracked down on websites that had gathered ‘spammy’ backlinks (eg. paid for links or links to their website from unrelated websites that weren’t seen to be genuine).

Although most SEO companies have now moved away from this kind of activity, some websites may still have some remaining ‘spammy’ backlinks out there pointing to them.  It has been reported that some websites that have backlinks from PBNs (Personal Blog Networks) seem to have been negatively affected so there is speculation about whether Google may have implemented a tweak to stamp out the effectiveness of backlinks from these kinds of websites.

 

Have you seen any changes to your website’s ranking over the last couple of months? If so tweet us @AqueousDigital.

Need some help recovering your rankings? Get in touch with our SEO team by giving us a call on 0800 285 1424.

Ewan & Ryan

Aqueous grows again with the addition of two new superstars

Due to a number of significant customer wins at the start of 2017 Aqueous have grown again!

We stepped into the January transfer window looking for exciting talent and are very fortunate to have found two future superstars.

Ryan Jackson

First to join was Ryan Jackson, who is a specialist in social media and PPC campaigns. Ryan has already demonstrated his abilities by not only passing his Google Adwords exam in his first week but also impressing us with the speed at which he has taken on the social media side of things.

Next to join us was our new Business Development Manager, Ewan Drake.

Ewan Drake

Ewan joins us with a background in media sales, particularly digital media over the past five years. Never one to be left out Ewan too sat and passed his Google Adwords exam in his first week and is now itching to get out on the road seeing customers.

We are excited to welcome these two to the Aqueous team and please feel free to wish them a warm welcome in the comments below.

 

Commercial Register Scam Letter

10 reasons why Commercial Register is a scam

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to receive a letter in the post from something called Commercial Register you could be forgiven for thinking that it was something official. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s a scam. Pure and simple.

Everything about this form screams ‘official’ and the language used within it is specifically designed to make you take action. Immediately.

The inclusion of simple words like ‘deadline’, ‘promptly’ and ‘compliance’ all lead you, at first glance, to believe that you must do something with this form.

Take our advice and put it in the bin.

Commercial Register Scam Letter

Here are ten good reasons why this is nothing more than a modern-day confidence trick.

1. The Name Commercial Register

If you check the name ‘Commercial Register’ on Google you will find that currently, the first result is a Saudi Arabian Government website and the next result down talks about the Commercial Register of firms in Switzerland. In fact, the more you look down the list of page one results on Google the more you would think that this is something official. Everything on that page is about official Government departments.

The truth is that the name has been chosen to deliberately confuse you. It is NOT to do with any Government department at all.

2. There is a barcode on the letter and the form

Barcodes on letters aren’t common. They are however quite prevalent on letters you may receive from places like HMRC or other Government departments. The inclusion of these ‘barcodes’ are simply there to visually suggest that this is an official letter.Bogus Barcode

Of course, if it was a real barcode then there would by a series of numbers underneath it and their absence tells you everything you need to know. In reality it’s not a barcode at all, it’s just a series of lines. So, the proclamation at the top of page two which says ‘This form is designed to be read by machine’ might actually be true, but it certainly won’t be reading the barcode.

3. There is a big green box saying ‘Filing Deadline’

This is another example of some very clever design. The word deadline is a trigger word for many people. We are all used to deadlines and we all know the consequences of missing a ‘deadline’ when filing an official Government required form like the VAT or PAYE.filing deadline

This form has the deadline in it’s own box to stand out and just above it is the clever wording ‘Please amend and confirm your changes on page 2 and return the form to us as soon as possible’.

Clear instructions there to ‘amend and confirm’ and ‘return the form’ with the final command being ‘as soon as possible’. It’s easy to see how this might be taken as something you have to action immediately.

4. There is a reference number

In a further aping of official letters, it includes a completely bogus reference number. No one uses reference numbers on anything other than ’official’ letters so logically the inclusion of this number is supposed to give it some real importance.

5. The first paragraph commands you to take action

In a continuation of the ‘official’ language the first paragraph clearly says “Your company’s details need to be updated by the above referenced date. Please revise and approve your company’s details promptly”.

How would any of us react when faced with what looks like an official form and it is instructing us to take action immediately?

6. It is ‘signed’ by the Compliance Department

To reinforce the formal language used through the letter and to further frighten you into completing this, the form is ‘signed’ by the Compliance Department. And we all know what compliance departments do, don’t we?

7. The form enclosed already contains your company details

Who on earth sends you forms with all your company details already completed other than official bodies? The fact that it has your business details correctly listed means most people will immediately think that this is something official. And this is the irony.

They are sending you your publicly available business details and asking you to pay them to include them on a website you have never heard of.

8. They don’t use the £ sign

Very clever this bit. The price of the service is hidden in plain view. But what they do is write it as 863GBP which is of course not a way anyone would write a price. You or I would write or type £863 but by adding on GBP after the numbers it is an unfamiliar presentation of the price and deliberately designed to confuse.

Cost

9. There is no contact telephone number

Very helpfully they include a fax number at the bottom of the letter but of course, most of us don’t have a fax machine these days. In fact, other than the fax number the only other piece of contact detail worth anything is the email address which is not available on their website and may simply go to a dead email box. The chances of you being able to turn up at their offices are non-existent as they claim to be based in Madrid.

10. You are committed to paying £2,589 +VAT but they don’t tell you what for

Actually, what you are getting is detailed in small print on the reverse of the form in small letters. It is an image, probably of your logo of just 600 x 350 pixels. For three years as a minimum! Point 5 on the small print suggests that this can be extended beyond the three-year period (presumably if you don’t cancel) and what’s more you have just three weeks to pay them. Or else.

If you visit their website and look for ‘Trades’ you will see the sort of thing they provide and no doubt a list of the companies that have been caught out by this.

Commercial Register Scam Letter

This is the form they want you to complete (company name redacted for the purposes of this blog). DO NOT FILL THIS IN AND SEND IT BACK TO THEM!

Commercial Register Scam Letter

This is the small print that pretty much no one bothers to read…

If you do read the text in the letter, all seven lines of it, you will find the truth of what this is all about. The wording is so condensed that most people simply will not read it, especially as it has been written to deliberately confuse. If you do manage to wade through it though here are the takeaway nuggets;

  • You can see their website online at com-reg.com
  • You can update your basic details for free
  • The form they have sent you contains what they call ‘enhanced data’ (though as it is only your company’s basic data it’s hard to see what is enhanced about this) and if you return the form they will charge you to include this on their website.
  • The Commercial register is not affiliated with public authorities
  • If you return the form, you will be charged
  • You must be a business (as they would never get this scam past the legals if they were targeting individuals).

There’s nothing new with this particular scam. We’ve seen it many times before except previously it used to be done with small printed directories.

The move into the online world now opens up enormous possibilities and there is nothing legally stopping them doing this.

The form, if you read the detail and small print, makes it clear that you are signing up for advertising. The price is clearly stated, twice and the term of the contract is also stated. They could and I’m sure no doubt will, claim that this is purely voluntary and if you choose to return the form you are legally bound to pay for the advertising.

The fact that the advertising is on an obscure website and is ridiculously small is irrelevant. They will claim they are doing nothing wrong.

Summary of Commercial Register

Being a Digital firm we thought it would be interesting to take a slightly deeper look at their website to see if it threw up any clues. Here’s what we found.

  • Their domain is registered with GoDaddy
  • Their IP address is 2.139.237.19 and is in Barcelona, Spain.
  • There are only six domains on that server, com-reg.com, com-reg.org, direct-publisher.com, regitaliano.com, com-reduved.org and regitalia.com
  • They have very few backlinks and nothing from any reputable website.
  • Their domain name ownership is hidden under private registration
  • If you do visit their home page you will see some adverts for companies that have clearly been caught by this scam already.

If you receive a letter from Commercial Register, please do yourself a favour and throw it away immediately.

If you’ve receive one of these letters or have been caught out buy this then feel free to leave a message below.

socialmedia

Social Media from a Millennial’s point of View

This article was triggered by a conversation I was having with someone about the use of social media by different socio-economic groups. 

The subject of Millennials came up and our views differed on how we thought they used social media. The only way to resolve this I thought, was to ask a millennial to give me their thoughts on social media. What could be simpler, I thought, than asking someone who is in the target audience to ask their friends and capture their thoughts. 

I should have known better.

The following is reproduced exactly as delivered….

A Millenial’s view of Social Media

Millennials, when asked, would probably tell you that they see social media as a good thing.

It’s a free, convenient way to stay in touch with friends and family across great distances, and a godsend on a slow Friday afternoon when the clock seems frozen and your boss isn’t looking at your screen.

Millennials will freely put their whole lives on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram without even thinking, after all, how else are you going to tell someone 70 miles away that you just ordered a really picturesque lasagne, or bae just said something romantic or even your exact knee jerk response to complex political issues which you will solve with no research or broader context? How will these hypothetical far flung spectators of their lives even survive without breaking news of the daily routine of other people? The danger here that so many fail to see is that when you stick something online it’s probably not going to stay private. There are a lot of ways this could go wrong.

The most popular way this could end up costing the average young person is career wise. According to CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment survey, 60 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates.

Picture the scene; you’re a 20 something in an interview for an amazing job. Your clothes are ironed, your handshake was firm, you’ve managed to maintain eye contact and all of the questions breezed by.

This is a slam dunk.Social Media

At that moment the interviewer looks you square in the eye and asks for some context about one of your Facebook posts. At this point you may as well just stand up and leave rather than explain to a man you’ve spent the past 20 minutes convincing that you are a sober professional why you were doing shots off of a man dressed as Barney the dinosaur. The same survey says that more than a quarter of employers have found content online that has caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.

Evidently significant numbers of people, disproportionately Millennials, don’t seem to grasp the concept that if you air dirty laundry about your co-workers or horror of horrors your boss online, it’s probably going to leak back to them somehow.

Another looming downside of social media is that what you put on it will last a very long time.

Even if you have the wherewithal to delete your more embarrassing tweets posts and pictures after the fact there’s no guarantee that someone hasn’t copied them. Again this is an issue that disproportionately hits Millennials. Prior generations can rest easy knowing that all of the stupid things that they did in their youth are effectively unrecorded bar some Polaroid’s of bellbottoms and afros in the attic, Millennials have their emo phase broadcast to the world in glorious HD with multiple angles and accompanying angsty poetry.

With all this potential future blackmail material for people to laugh at you might wonder why anyone would keep using social media, sure there are some sweet benefits but the costs can be huge. However, cunning solutions have been found to counter these problems. To paraphrase a great man; life finds a way.

A popular response to the increase in employers checking social media has been to create a false page for them to examine, a profile which is updated semi regularly with inoffensive posts carefully cultivated to present the image of a professional young worker. All of the memes and party albums go on a separate page, completely unrelated and unrelatable to the first. Another, if more extreme response is to simply delete all of your online presence, websites exist to aid with this specific purpose such as deseat and based on the tasteful page layout they get a lot of business.

Ultimately social media is only a tool, the onus is on the user to control what they put on it.

The Aqueous team go mad in Go Carts

Rather than sit and stuff our faces full of Turkey dinner this year the team voted to do a spot of go carting instead.

We visited Team Sport in Warrington and the team tried sneaking in with no one noticing. Fat chance 🙂

Aqueous Go Karting at Team Sport Warrington

Once inside we all suited up and went fo our safety briefing. Given the way that some of them drive this was probably the most important ten minutes of the day!

After that is was off trackside and being allocated to our cars and after a fuss getting the helmets on it was on with the racing. There are no action shots sadly as all of us were on the track at the same time but we did manage to get just one team line up and here is the motley crew;

Aqueous Go Karting at Team Sport Warrington

The winner overall was Jamie who was somehow a good two seconds faster than all of us, consistently. Surprise package of the day was Jonathan who, despite not having a full driving licence yet, managed a very creditable third fastest overall.

We had four 15 minute sessions and at the end of it everyone was exhausted and aching. But everyone agreed that it was great fun and something they’d like to do again in the future.

So watch out Jamie, we suspect that some of the others might get a bit of practice in before then and give you a good run for your money!

 

Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham presenting at The Heath Business & Technical Park 24th November 2016

Liverpool and Manchester Mayoral candidates Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham visit The Heath offices

It was fascinating to see the joint presentation from Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham yesterday, as they made their pitch for becoming the Mayor of Liverpool and Manchester respectively.

What struck us as refreshing was that neither of the candidates appeared to be approaching this as a strictly political appointment. Granted, there were Labour Party officials supporting the roadshow but the narrative spoke mostly of cooperation and collaboration, particularly between the two Cities.

They both spoke of working closely with whoever got the role of Mayor and would look to incorporate the Mayors of Lancashire and Cheshire as well to create a coalition that had a significant voice in National politics.

Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham presenting at The Heath Business & Technical Park 24th November 2016

 

Sure, there is, and always will be, a rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester but both Steve and Andy talked about the two cities working together with Cheshire and Lancashire to create a North West Powerhouse. Working on the basis that there is more that unites us than divides us, they spoke particularly about focusing on business to drive the growth that the North West needs for the future.

Leaving apart the rivalries that will always exist, especially on the football pitch, the realisation that collaborative working between the two cities and Lancashire and Cheshire would create a power base larger than London is a vision worth supporting.

We were lucky enough to ask a question and Andy Burnham picked up the mantle to answer it. The question was asked by Jonathan Guy;

You mentioned opportunities arising from Brexit in your speech, so could both of you tell us one opportunity that you think will come from Brexit?

Andy’s answer was that he felt that the removal of EU regulations around procurement would fit into that category. The sweeping away of EU restrictions on procurement would be instrumental in helping to develop local businesses and would be a kick start for growth across many SME’s in the region. After Andy’s full and articulate response Steve’s answer was “Whatever he said!” which elicited a huge laugh from the audience.

Whoever gets the final job in 2017 as Mayor in these two cities, we hope that the vision and opportunities outlined by these two candidates get towards reality as it promises huge growth opportunities and benefits for all firms in the North West.