Qfuse Blog - QR Code, NFC, and Mobile Marketing News

Avoid Penalties from Google's April 21 Mobile Ranking Updates

Posted on April 20th, 2015 by


In this post, we’re going to cover how to ensure you don’t get left behind in the dust with Google’s April 21st, 2015 “Mobilegeddon” update.  Google will “[expand its] use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal” and if you don’t have a mobile website (or an improperly configured on) your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings will suffer.  Here it is straight from Google:

If the desktop and mobile version of the page are treated as separate entities, both desktop and mobile URLs can be shown in desktop search results, and their ranking may be lower than if Google understood their relationship. – https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/mobile-seo/configurations/separate-urls

Pay attention to this Google update if you fall into either of these two groups.

  1. Website owners that currently don’t have a mobile-friendly website who want to avoid to the typically lengthy, expensive, and complex undertaking of creating a responsive website and can instead build a stand-alone, feature-rich, and mobile-compliant website in minutes with the Qfuse Mobile Website Builder. Alternatively, responsive web design services are also available to develop a single site that will scale across all devices – from desktop down to tablet and handheld smartphones.
  2. Anyone currently using a stand-alone mobile website that has not yet “linked” their mobile and desktop sites together in the eyes of Google.

If you’re unsure whether your website is mobile-compliant, you can run a fast and free Mobile-Friendly test by Google to see where you stand.

What is a “stand-alone” mobile website?

A stand-alone mobile website is typically a non-responsive website is distinct from it’s desktop/tablet counterpart and often times has a separate URL (as in the graphic below, courtesy of Google).

If you’re wondering how responsive websites differ from stand-alone sites, responsive websites adapt themselves to mobile devices based on end-user’s device screen resolution (viewport size).  Stand-alone sites are distinct and separate from their desktop counter parts.  The key benefits of stand-alone sites include:

  • Faster Load Times: Website files and images that are optimized for mobile-only use are smaller in size and therefore have faster end-user load times (which typically improves important conversion and usability factors like bounce rates).
  • More Engaging Content: Length of content always a concern for mobile devices (think less-is-more mentality).  By having a separate mobile page you have the option to trim down content length to better engage and convert mobile users.
  • Fast and Easy:  Using a tool like the Qfuse Mobile Website Builder allows anyone to make a stand-alone mobile website in minutes.  Making it a much faster and more affordable option to responsive website design.

How Do I Link My Desktop & Mobile Sites to Keep Google Happy?

The short answer is to create signals in your website code to specifically tell Google that your individual mobile and desktop pages are related and equivalent.  How can you do this?  Let’s dive into that next.

Let’s say you have a desktop page (http://www.website.com/page-a) and an equivalent mobile page (http://m.website.com/page-a) you would want to add the following code within the <head> tag of the respective pages.

Desktop (http://www.website.com/page-a)

<link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="http://m.website.com/page-a" >

Mobile (http://m.website.com/page-a)

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.website.com/page-a" >

2 Rules to Keep in Mind

  • Maintain a 1-1 ratio between mobile and desktop pages. When using the rel=”alternate” and rel=”canonical” markups, don’t point multiple desktop pages to one mobile page.  Only point one mobile page to one desktop page and vice versa.
  • Double-check your redirects.  Be sure that your rel=”alternate” and rel=”canonical links don’t point to their parent page (the page you put the code in) or to an unrelated page.

Linking a Qfuse Mobile Site to Your Desktop Site

If you don’t already have one already, you can sign up for a Qfuse Pro account here.  Once you have an account, follow the steps below to link your desktop and mobile sites to keep Google satisfied while simultaneously improving your search engine rankings.

Step 1: In the Qfuse Editor, click on the relevant page.

Step 2: Expand the “Edit Page-Level Settings” section and notice the “Header Code” area.


Step 3: Enter the MOBILE code in the “Header Code” section and click Save Update.


Step 4: Don’t forget to enter the DESKTOP code on the relevant desktop page in the <HEAD> tags.

Below is the code format you will need to use (replace http://m.website.com/page-a with the link to the appropriate Qfuse page).

<link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="http://m.website.com/page-a" >

Now you’re all set to go and ready to take advantage of Google’s upcoming mobile update and avoid being penalized.  Nice work!

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Google's Mobile Search Changes - Are You Ready for Mobilegeddon?

Posted on April 6th, 2015 by

Mobilegeddon - Are You Ready?

“Mobilegeddon!”–as it has been so dubbed–is an algorithm that will make mobile-friendly websites in Google’s organic search a priority. As mobile usage increases by the multitudes on a daily basis, it is the logical choice for Google to want to provide their mobile users with mobile websites.

So now you’re asking… ”How do I know if my site is mobile or not?” Check things out for yourself by simply searching for your site on Google. With a mobile device, check to see if your site has the “Mobile-Friendly” label by it in the organic search results. In addition, the Google developers didn’t want users to feel completely alone in this, so try out their mobile-friendly test:

If you get the “Mobile-Friendly” label by your site when you search, or if you receive the “Mobile-Friendly” analysis in Google’s test, then congratulations! You’re good to go for April 21st.

However, if you receive the ‘Not Mobile-Friendly’ diagnosis, then it’s certainly time to make some changes.

It goes without saying: ideally your website should be mobile-friendly. It is 2015 after all and more than half of all web viewers are surfing on a mobile device.

However, there are still a large number of businesses and organization that do not have a mobile website. With knowledge of Google’s recent announcement of a pending update, paired with the continued expansion of mobile usage, it is undeniable that your site must be mobile-friendly.

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

So what does this really mean? In short, if your website is not mobile-friendly by the end of April, your site will suffer from diminished search rankings – which will lead to less site visits, and which will, in turn, ultimately lead to fewer customers.

To make things crystal clear: Make the change, or suffer the consequences.

There are a number of methods for creating a mobile-friendly website – one simple approach is to use the Qfuse mobile website builder to easily create a full-featured mobile-friendly website. Another approach is to invest in building a “responsive” web presence using responsive web design–an approach that scales a single website to the screen size of the device displaying it. Whichever option you choose, do it fast. The deadline is around the corner.


Contact us today if you’d like to learn more and how Qfuse can help you beat the clock and make the most of your mobile presence.
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NFC Usage Statistics & Qfuse Functionality

Posted on September 24th, 2014 by

NFC Usage Statistics

It is hard to say the actual usage of U.S. phones with NFC enabled. Most devices these days have NFC capability, but the one big exception has been iPhone, which as most people know has huge market-share. A significant development has been that the latest iPhone 6 does have NFC, but it appears to be locked down only for the Apply Pay feature at this time. Still, many speculate that this is a positive indication for future growth of NFC. If you search around the web, you can find many articles speculating on NFC growth, for example: http://www.cnet.com/news/nfc-enabled-cell-phones-to-hit-416-million-shipments-report/.

Because NFC is still an emerging technology for many/most users (even those who have it and may not be aware of it) it’s typically a best practice to also include a QR code and/or a short-URL (Qfuse also generates short-URLs) in order to provide an alternate method of engagement for non-NFC users. But it really depends on your use-case and target audience/device.

Qfuse URL Structure & Default Functionality

By default our Qfuse platform’s mobile site URLs are formatted as qfuse.com/site-name. However, with an Enterprise account we have the capability to also have sites resolve to a custom URL of our clients’ choosing; so it would be your-url.com/site-name. This way our clients can can provide their customers the direct URL (or link to the URL) and it would show on their custom domain.

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iPhone 6 brings NFC to the masses; how NFC and Qfuse can boost your profit

Posted on September 11th, 2014 by

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 saw Apple release its newest version of iPhone to the public – the iPhone 6, complete with a larger screen, back to the bevelled edges, and even NFC. NFC, short for “near-field communication”, allows for your new iPhone to talk to other devices. Although Apple’s main focus is Apple Pay – where you can pay for your coffee or lunch with the tap of your phone – the NFC tag, in combination with Qfuse, can greatly enhance a business’ marketing potential.

Imagine a customer walking into a store, seeing your product, and being able to tap their phone on a nearby advertisement and automatically viewing a video, or visiting your website. This has even more advantages if you happen to have an e-commerce store; for example, say you sell shoes. A customer walks in, falls in love with a style of shoe, but the store doesn’t have the color they want. Enter NFC – the customer can tap on the advertisement and instantly get a list of nearby stores that carry your shoes – and have the color in stock.

The possibilities to using NFC are endless; customers who tap can receive a percentage off one of your products; someone interested in your service can tap to sign up for an e-mail list. The technology can even expand to outside of a store. Billboards on bus stops can contain NFC tags, which can be tapped for more information; they can also be embedded within stand-alone posters in malls or grocery stores, directing the customer to a sale or new product within the vicinity. This is advertising in its most interactive … any matter of information can be directed to the tapped smart phone, such as current and local reviews, website landing pages, even app download!

Qfuse can help manage your NFC-enriched promotions, from one NFC tag to a 100 or more. By tracking the amount of people who use the NFC, including where they are, what time of day, etc., you can improve your promotions immensely. Qfuse can also generate unique, user-friendly mobile landing pages – so that when someone does use your NFC, they are brought to a landing page that shows beautifully on any mobile phone, and includes all of the important details.

What about the smart phone users who are not NFC-enabled? Qfuse allows you to generate QR codes that link to the exact same places as the NFC tags do; ensuring your entire audience is covered, no matter what phone they carry. As well, the software-as-a-service allows you to pass along the data from your NFC codes to other programs, including Salesforce. Data are one of a business’s most important tools—and can be highly effective when used properly.

NFC isn’t a new technology – it’s been around in Android phones for a while now. According to Statista, Apple has about 19.8 per cent of the mobile market, so far in 2014. And since Apple is so good at advertising its features, NFC is on the verge of booming – meaning now is the best time to get ahead of your competitors and get started with NFC and Qfuse.

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Heartbleed Exploit Catch 22 - Shame on Codenomicon

Posted on April 11th, 2014 by
DISCLAIMER: I know I am going to get a lot of flak for this article. But just had to get this off my chest. Feel free to respond with your own and/or opposite opinion–which may also have merit.
They have their own logo!?

Lovely Heartbleed Logo

Ok, first of all some context – anyone with an eye on I/T or security has recently heard of the ‘Heartbleed’ vulnerability — one of the “scariest web exploits in the last half century.” It has unilaterally turned the web infrastructure world on its face because of the need to stop everything you’re doing and rush to secure your servers.

But am I the only one here thinking and saying to myself – “Screw Codenomicon!” I mean, come on – this is more than partially their fault! Almost everything I read on this topic praises their ingenuity and dedication for helping to find and explain this serious issue to the public. But to quote Will Ferrell from Zoolander “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!!!”

I say the opposite – SHAME on them! Codenomicon, for those who don’t know, is the company/’heroes’ responsible for uncovering this bug.

However, they couldn’t have gone about this in a worse way. Instead of quietly making the vulnerability known to OpenSSL folks and a select few in the security circles, they SHOUTED it from the rooftops to everyone they could. They actually rushed to make almost a marketing campaign out of this exploit (see http://heartbleed.com/). If I didn’t know any better, I would say they were trying to tell every single hacker, even those living under a rock, that this problem exists and exactly how to exploit it.

Let’s look at the sequence of events and their own description of what happened:

  • These are security geeks looking to explore holes in systems; it’s what they do for a living (unlike a hacker – who typically uses known exploits to circumvent infrastructure, not create their own)
  • They explain that the exploit was extremely obscure. It was like accidentally finding a needle in a stack of needles (my words, not theirs).
  • They explain even they just stumbled upon the bug – “We were in the right place with the right tool”
  • They discover that this is a wide-reaching problem, “impacting 66% of all known websites”
  • They share the bug with the OpenSSH team (this is good!)
  • They then [and this is speculation] share with their management who ask themselves “hmmm, how can we make this about us and turn this into a huge media circus to add a spotlight on our company??”
  • They then purchase a web domain, explain the exploit, CREATE A FREAKIN’ LOGO, and launch a giant advertising campaign to push out knowledge about this exploit to everyone and their mother

And we’re (IT administrators) are now supposed to thank them like this is a huge favor to the security community. I don’t think so. I was perfectly happy letting a sleeping giant lay. Odds are no one would ever have found out about this bug if they didn’t decide to spread the message like wildfire.

Now, instead of having a contained situation that a few ‘inside’ people know about and can work to devise a plan to silently fix, we have raging pandemonium which may not fully sort itself out for many years to come. For example, there may be networking devices or systems out there which may not ever be patched.

This is exactly why in aliens-attacking-the-earth movies when the President finds out they’re coming, the first thing he DOES NOT say is “Let’s go tell the press! We should cause an immediate riot with this information.” Because we all know knowledge of this kind, in a rampant and undigested form, is often destructive. In this case, the people who really shouldn’t find out about the issue are the first to know and probably the first to exploit people’s systems.

So in conclusion – while many continue to herald Codenomicon as pioneers and innovators in their space — I will say: curse them and the way they went about this sticky mess. They should have let sleeping dogs lie, quietly communicated the vulnerability, and the standard OpenSSL release management process would have fixed the problem over time. Instead, they decided to try to capitalize on this find and make a name for themselves.

Because at the end of the day, this is a true Catch 22. Since this is a highly-used open source protocol, if the security community DOESN’T tell everyone about the bug, it’s considered being non-transparent and unethical.

Cartman Rides on the Back of Cthulhu

Cartman Rides on the Back of Cthulhu

However, if they DO tell everyone about the bug, then nay-sayers like me say they have awoken The Kraken–who would have laid dormant and/or unknown by the world. And Codenomicon is like Eric Cartman riding on its shoulder, capitalizing on the destruction of the Internet. Praise to them for their “innovation.” Bah!

Poorly executed, Codenomicon! I have nothing but disdain for how you handled this situation.


C/R – http://www.businessinsider.com/heartbleed-bug-codenomicon-2014-4

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