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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.

Search can be difficult sometimes

Here’s how we helped one company recover after a website move [infographic]

Not every website move goes as planned.

Every day hundreds of thousands of new websites are unveiled and whilst many go smoothly, occasionally things can go wrong.

Aqueous received the call last year to take a look at a website which had been rebuilt to reflect the new image of the business. In a business where imagery is everything this new website was design led and looked stunning. The problem was that since launch, half of the organic traffic had disappeared.

Our role was to find out why it had gone, where it had gone and to establish whether we could get it back.

The infographic below sums up nicely what happened. But in case you can’t be bothered to read it;

TL;DR – we recovered the traffic! Yippee!

Here’s how we did it.

Website recovery case study - Aqueous Digital 2016

If you are struggling with a website move that’s gone wrong or simply want some advice before upgrading your site to ensure you don’t lose half of your traffic, call us on 0800 285 1424 and see if we can help?

Need a plumber?

Is Google testing advertising in Google My Business listings?

We have warned about this for some time and here’s the first UK based evidence that Google will be monetising the Google My Business listings.

google-my-business-advertising-1

This appears to have been a test as it isn’t possible to recreate this on a mobile since this screenshot was taken but it substantiates our earlier reports that Google is looking for more ways to drive advertising revenues through its search results pages.

This is not the first time we have seen Google looking at different options to generate money from search results. You may recall an earlier test example from the Bay Area of San Francisco, where we reported that a search for a plumber was bringing back a new set of listings. This was billed as a trial but is still running leading us to believe that this ‘trial’ is sufficiently successful to warrant continuing, at least for now.

Here’s how it currently looks if you search for plumbers in the Bay Area of San Francisco;

google-my-business-advertising-2

You will notice that this ‘Pre-Screened Plumbers’ pack actually replaces the Advertising which normally sits at the top and it pushes the Google my Business listings underneath the map like so;

google-my-business-advertising-3

This brings up another issue which is, of course, that of ‘pre-screening’. Can Google effectively do this? Are they capable of policing it? On what basis can they say a firm is good or bad? And what determines your position in the list? The amount you pay Google or the quality of work you do?

If current form is anything to go by all it would take is one complaint from a customer and a business could be removed from this list, at least temporarily. If that is the case and assuming it is the dominant form of advertising, they may well face legal challenges if they deny firms the right to be included in the list.

In short, it appears to be a minefield.

Elsewhere in the States the same search still displays a standard results page;

google-my-business-advertising-4

Meanwhile, back at the ‘Pre-Screened plumbers’, this has changed slightly since the first screen shots we took earlier this year and if you click on the ‘More Plumbers’ link in the bottom left it opens up with this;

google-my-business-advertising-5

As soon as you click on the ‘Request Quote’ button on the right hand side it pushes you to refine your query so you can be sure that the Plumber actually wants this type of work. You need to put in a valid zip code and type of plumbing job;

google-my-business-advertising-6

Then you are asked to input the job details;

google-my-business-advertising-7

Then finally you enter your details and your request goes off to the Plumber, who of course gets charged by Google for delivering a real live sales lead to him.

google-my-business-advertising-8

The problem of course with this is that the system allows you to enter up to three contractors at a time which essentially means that whoever gets back to the customer first is pretty much guaranteed the job, particularly if it is an emergency.

This will lead to some major changes in the way that businesses answer their phone calls in the future and could lead to a rise in the ‘mobile landline services’ or call handling services. Will you need to have someone monitoring your inbox on a minute by minute basis waiting for these leads to arrive?

Whilst still a trial in the USA it is highly likely that this, or something like this, will become a feature in the near future. Serious thought should be given now to ways in which this will affect your business and how you intend to adapt to meet this new way of advertising.

Apple Mac Hotmail issue

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac

Hotmail stopped working on your Mac? [updated October 2016]

If you have any Mac product and your Hotmail account has suddenly stopped working then no matter how long you search it’s unlikely you will find a single clear solution.

The Hotmail on my Macbook Air stopped working at the beginning of June and I’ve been looking on and off for solutions since then. I read thousands of posts with some great highly technical tips on them but nothing worked until last night so this post will show you exactly how I managed to fix this problem.

I’m not guaranteeing that this is the ‘magic bullet’ but it worked for me.

The main issue is that it’s not just one problem; it’s a combination of problems.

The things to remember are as follows;

  • If you have a Hotmail account, Microsoft have migrated it to Live Mail now.
  • Apple have updated to OS El Capitan
  • If you use the Hotmail account as your Apple ID then it is in other settings on your Mac, not just your email
  • Hotmail used to be available on Mac Mail as a POP account but now it’s IMAP.

As a non tech person this confused the heck out of me and I have spent days reading articles on how to change various settings but in the end, this is what worked for me.

It’s really all about IMAP v POP

I have a number of Hotmail accounts and set up a Hotmail.com account on a MacBook Pro back in 2010. As everyone else does I used the simple set up tool on Mac Mail and oddly this account is still working without any changes being made. For six years it has faithfully pulled in every email using the original settings, which are POP settings. This is what they look like;

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 1

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 2

On the MacBook Air however, I had a Hotmail.co.uk account which had exactly the same settings but suddenly froze on 3rd June 2016. I was being repeatedly asked for my password but no matter what I did it said ‘Password not recognised’, even though I knew the password was correct.

It is hugely frustrating when you log in to Hotmail through a browser window using the correct password only to then be told my Mac Mail that the password is incorrect. What it brought to mind was a sketch from a long time ago…..

Anyway…..I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a .co.uk account as opposed to a .com account or something else but all I do know is that the problem is not consistent from Mac to Mac.

The big clue that something was wrong was that if you use Apple’s Mail Settings Lookup then it shows that Hotmail accounts are now on IMAP. This is really weird as the POP settings for Hotmail are still working on my MacBook Pro and iMac!

[Here’s the update. On all my other devices, even though I have not changed any of the settings, in mid-September Hotmail started to behave as if it were set up for IMAP.

This was quite a shock.

I had left my laptop open and gone out with my iPhone. Normally I would have to mark all messages as read on my phone even if they had been seen on my laptop. Now, however, as soon as the laptop recognises the email has been seen it automatically marks it as read on my mobile.

The bottom line is I’m not sure how this is happening, especially as I have made no changes at all to any of the settings on these devices. I do know however that Hotmail now behaves as IMAP on a Mac and other Apple devices.]

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 3

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 4

Of course, when you try to change your settings from POP to IMAP you will find that Mac Mail simply won’t let you do it. Even if you change the server hostname, which it will let you do, the problem will still persist.

So simply change your settings by setting up a new account on Mac Mail, right?

Wrong. Mac Mail just wouldn’t let me do it and insisted that the account still existed. Even if you untick the ‘enable this account’ box it still won’t let you set up a new account if the Hotmail email address is anywhere in the system.

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 5

The only way to do this it seems is to actually delete the hotmail account completely from Mac Mail but this means that you lose all your emails over however many years you have had the account. If you are a hoarder like me this means years’ worth of mail disappearing and that’s a problem.

So how do you change from POP to IMAP on a Mac without losing all your emails?

At first glance it looks like you can’t but with a couple of steps you can do it.

Step 1 – Export all your emails.

Mac Mail has a nifty feature which allows you to export all of your emails in one go. It is under Mail > Mailbox > Export Mailbox.

Before you do this though you need to make sure it selects all of your emails. I thought that if I did this it would simply lift everything as long as I had highlighted the correct mailbox account on the left hand side but the first time I tried I only got a partial copy. The trick is to highlight ALL of your emails in that mailbox (click on last one, hold down shift, click on top one) and then mark as unread Message > Mark > As Unread.

Then if you export the mailbox it will take every single email you have in there and place it in an ‘mbox’ file wherever you choose (I chose desktop).

Keep this file safe, you will need it in a bit.

Step 2 – Disconnect your Hotmail account from iCloud

This step only applies if you have used your Hotmail account as your Apple id. If you are unsure then try this next bit anyway as the system will tell you whether you are linked or not.

The quickest way to disengage from all the iCloud services is Mail > Preferences > Accounts where you will see this set up;

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 6

Click on the minus sign to remove the account and if you are linked you will see a pop up dialogue box. Follow the link to preferences and then unlink your email from iCloud.

It will offer you the choice of keeping the data on your Mac or deleting it as you go; the choice is yours but I chose to delete everything.

Step 3 – Add a new email account onto your Mac Mail

Now just add your Hotmail back in. Go to Mail > Add Account and you get this pop up;

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 7

Choose ‘Other Mail Account’ and use the Wizard to set up your Hotmail address. When it does this you will see straight away that is defaults to IMAP and the settings it uses are those on the Apple Mail Settings lookup.

When it has finished it will probably bring in the last couple of weeks of emails from your Hotmail account and you will now have a fully functioning Hotmail account back on your Mac.

But what about all my old emails?

Here’s the good bit. You haven’t lost your old emails and you can now add them back in.

In Mail go to File > Import Mailboxes and select the bottom option ‘files in Mbox format’. Choose the file from your desktop (or wherever you saved it) and OK that.

 How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 8

The next few minutes will see all your old emails being brought in and saved then they magically appear on the left hand side under Import > Mbox.

You now have a working Hotmail account on your Mac and all your old emails available when you need them.

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