When you are ready to build a website for your business there are a a few simple search engine optimization tips you should consider as soon as you purchase your domain name. Implementing a few things correctly, right from the beginning, can slingshot your website into top search rankings within just a few months of launching.
These are my top ten highly effective SEO tips which you can apply to your website for free:
1. Choose a short descriptive URL with your primary keywords in it (if possible).
2. UPDATED: Only target 1-3 major keywords on each page.
3. Separate keywords with hyphens in the url – with the domain name being the exception, preferably.
4. Use Keywords in your navigation links where they make sense, however, like always, don’t overuse them.
5. Optimize your title tag – a good rule of thumb is up to 70 characters with your most important keywords first. Separate phrases with a “|”.
6. Optimize your meta description tag – One or two sentences max; using a keyword variant or two.
7. Provide a substantial amount content on each page and use a few keyword variants within the content.
8. Install Google Analytics.
9. Add a blog to your website and post to it at least once a week – don’t use a separate domain name for your blog, make it a sub-directory or sub-domain and fully integrated into your main site.
10. Get links pointed to your website using keywords in the anchor text related to the page they link to – AboutUs.org, DMOZ.org and sending a free press release are a few good ways to start.

Luckily for those new and interested in search engine optimization there is a huge amount of information about SEO available on the internet and in books. If hoping to run or be involved in a search engine optimization campaign for your business, this information is of great importance.
It is important for business owners to explore and learn about SEO as much as they can and they must use the information available to them to their own advantage. There are three main reasons why learning the basics of search engine optimization is necessary.
It is highly recommended for business owners inexperienced in search engine optimization to hire a professional SEO company to work on their SEO campaign. SEO specialists have the experience and knowledge needed to run an efficient and productive SEO campaign. SEO is a complicated process with a lot of work and effort involved and it can often prove too much of a challenge for site owners who have never run an SEO campaign before.
Finding a respectable SEO company to work with your business on your SEO campaign can be a struggle. There are many different companies offering their services but the quality of the service they offer can vary quite considerably.
When looking for an SEO firm to work with, you must not only find an ethical SEO company but a company you can work with and that you believe has an appropriate approach to SEO. If you know the basics of SEO, this information will help you to evaluate SEO services offered and help you to find the most suitable SEO Company available.
A large number of site owners want to get involved in SEO and contribute to their SEO campaign. Even if you are working with SEO professionals, this is still possible. Having a sound knowledge of SEO and the techniques and practices involved will put you in a good position to be able to contribute effectively. You will already be prepared for your SEO campaign so time will not be wasted as you try to understand what SEO is about and what is involved.
The third reason why you must have a basic knowledge of search engine optimization is so you can monitor your SEO campaign successfully. Your SEO specialists will monitor the results carefully but you must also know what you are looking for and what you should expect. You must be sure your SEO team are running a productive SEO campaign for you and this information will help you to do this. You need to be secure in the knowledge you have the best SEO Company running your campaign.
At SEO Consult, we recommend our clients learn a little about SEO before beginning their search engine optimization campaign. We can provide you with valuable information and provide you with all the support and advice you need. Work with us and together we will build and develop a highly successful SEO campaign for your business.

Posted by: SEO Interface | April 14, 2010

What is your Google Penalty Plan

If you’re not thinking about this, you need to get started, and if you have started, how is it working out? 

Google seems to be at a defining moment in time with it’s penalizing sites with paid links, and almost constant shifts to the algorithm that make the SERPs a guessing game just about everyday.

So what are you doing now to make sure your site survives should it be hit by a Google penalty? You might be ranked very well today and making great money from the traffic that Google sends to your site naturally – so what if they flag your site for some deserved or un-merited form of spam?

With soo many people gaming the system, no wonder Google lashes out at the SEO community on occasion. We’re the ones pushing them to provide more relevant results while at the same time doing things that some would question on a moral level.

Point is, Google delivers a ton of traffic. But the web is VERY big, and Google is not the be all and end all. You should be constantly looking for other ways to deliver traffic to your site such as:

Be active in forums – answer questions without trying to sell our product or service – instead, demonstrate your expertise in your answers and people will realize that what you say is worthy, and in turn will use your product or service when they are ready.

Write articles! I know it’s old and tiresome and boring – but like the first point, it’s a great way to not only show off what you know, but in inject your writing style. Some people will read you not for your content, but because they like the way you put things into perspective. Don’t underestimate that.

Ask for help – I know a lot of people have trouble with this, but when my car breaks down, I have no trouble calling a mechanic. Use this same approach on the web. If you need help with a problem seek out the people who can help you. Many times in that process there is an exchange of information that leads to a deeper and “real” relationship – leverage that for links!

Tell ’em what you think – this applies to blogs, forums, articles and email responses. Why pretend to be something you’re not? Like is too short to pussyfoot around and to be taken advantage of by other people.

Use your clients! I know I just said don’t let others abuse you, and now I am saying to use your clients? What I mean is, your clients have other relationships as well, and if you perform well for them, they will refer you to their other business relationships.

See a pattern here? While Google is great for delivering text-based computer crunched results, at the end of the day, human relations (social engineering) is what makes you money. Treat people with respect, end any relationship with grace, and you’ll see that over time, that crazy thing called karma makes it way back to you.

Enjoy the ride! 

-To your online success! 

Paul Bliss
www.SEOforGoogle.com

Visit http://www.SmartShopperTV.tv for the greatest deals on products and services.

Posted by: SEO Interface | April 13, 2010

Site Speed: What Does It Mean for SEO? Written by Jaamit Durrani

 

On Friday Google made official the news that Matt Cutts had mentioned last year, that website page load times were going to become one of the 200+ factors in Google’s ranking algorithms. This is a pretty unusual move from Google – usually (and for obvious reasons) they don’t exactly publicise ranking factors in this way. Since it’s a pretty headline worthy move, I think it’s important to keep a sense of perspective for what this means for website owners and SEOs. Below are a few observations that hopefully make the news a bit clearer.

 1. This is Good News for the web. Slow sites are shite.  Everyone hates them.  Mice, keyboards and the occasional monitor worldwide have felt the wrath caused by them.  The fact that Google have taken such a public step of saying it’s ‘part of their ranking algorithm’ means webmasters will sit up and take notice, and start thinking about the fact that their 8.9 second load time just might be a problem. Basically it is a good kick up the arse for site owners, and a good justification to your boss/manager to sign off on some budget to clean up some code on your site.  Google have a lot of power over web development practices, and they are using this to maximum effect in their quest to make the web faster.

2. Google want to reduce load on their own servers. This has always been a factor for SEO – that’s why eliminating duplicate content is good for SEO – if you reduce unnecessary server load for Google, in a sense they reward you with spending more of your crawl budget on your ‘money pages’. In the era of Caffeine and an internet that is growing at an exponential rate, can you imagine the efficiency savings Google could achieve if 50% of websites cleaned up their code a bit?

3. Repeat after me. I still need good content and links.  Note that Matt Cutts says site speed is only going to be a factor in 1% of cases – i.e. extreme situations. If you’ve got the best site and the strongest links then a bit of a sluggish server will probably not harm you too much. Conversely this announcement most certainly does not mean that if you strip your homepage down to 3 lines of text with no images, CSS or Javascript or rich media elements so it now only loads in 0.01 seconds then it will suddenly climb up the SERPs! Although you’re more than welcome to try – less competition for the rest of us SEOs! 😉  Oh and the first person who starts talking about a “site speed penalty” will get a slap in the face with a wet fish of their choice.

4. Anyone for  Chrome? It’s not too far a leap from Google search team’s focus on site speed, and the Google Chrome browser, which is undoubtedly a bloody fast browsing experience. If Search puts a spotlight on sites loading quickly then surely that opens the door wider for people to be interested in switching to Chrome? Tenuous maybe but in my view getting more people to use their browser is all part of Google’s master plan to learn everything about you, your browsing habits and how likely you are to click on one of their sweet, tasty, golden sponsored links and help the poor startup turn over a few bob for a change.

5. You should have been worried about site speed already! The much bigger reason to improve site speed? It leads to more sales/conversions! People drop off when they have to wait for a page to load. That’s why you should be doing it anyway, and if this news about it being officially part of the algorithm is what forces you into it, then so be it.  I notice that Richard over at SEOgadget has put up an excellent post about the business impact of site speed which I strongly recommend checking out.  For a short and sweet version  I can’t put it much better than @tomcritchlow:

 A final thought on how site speed might affect SEO practice. Should SEOs now start including site speed in their reports? I definitely think it should play a part, particularly during initial audits and annual reviews.  But it’s the kind of thing that could easily become an obsession every month based on the false promise that it’ll improve your rankings “because Google said so”.  In the vast majority of cases I suspect it won’t help you rank, although Joost De Valk says otherwise and you’ve gotta take him seriously.  But it will give you all kinds of other good juju.  Why not start with the tools Google has given you, like the site performance feature in Webmaster Tools, and the Page Speed extension for Firebug.  Then, maybe head over to some well written guides on speeding up your load times.   Then get back to making your site remarkable enough in the first place that its got the kinds of backlinks, rankings and traffic in the first place where page load speeds will actually make a difference.

Posted by: SEO Interface | April 11, 2010

Backlinks: What they are and how to get them by Angela V. Edwards

Sometimes called inbound links, backlinks are the lifeblood of Search Engine Positioning. In order for a website to be on the top of search engines like Google without the webmaster having to pay big money for advertising, the website has to have a large number of backlinks. Backlinks are links on one website that lead back to another website. The more established, high quality, and high Page Rank the website that contains the link has, the more power it has to help the linked website with its search engine position. If the website that is getting backlinks gets many High Quality and High Page Rank backlinks, the better the chance it has of being in a high position on the Search Engines.

How does a webmaster go about getting high quality backlinks to his or her website? There are many ways this can be done. Some people advocate writing and submitting articles, posting on forums, making comments on blogs. Others talk about submitting their website to various Internet directories. One directory that has an excellent reputation is called DMOZ, or the “Open Directory”. This directory is probably the most respected directory online today. The websites it contains have all been placed there by human editors; there is no “automation” to this directory. The only drawback that’s been discussed about this directory is that it takes so long to have a website included.

Another way that many people build backlinks for their website is to use Social Bookmarking websites. A “Social Bookmark” is a website that usually has a very popular ‘community’ aspect to it. Users sign up and create profiles on the sites that contain photos and information about themselves. They then can save “bookmarks” of favorite websites which can be itemized by ‘tags’, which are one or two word descriptions of what the sites contain, and these bookmarks can be saved to a list that’s private or can be listed publicly, so that everybody can see it.

With the advent of what is known as Web 2.0, gaining backlinks is easier now than in any time in the history of the internet. Most sites now have an “interactive” quality to them nowadays. Readers can often sign in and create profiles. They then are often allowed to post comments on the stories or articles on the website or blog. In many cases, the website or blog owner responds to these comments; thus making this section of the website or blog a conversation.

Backlinking strategies can be easy and fun and the website owner who is working on getting more backlinks for his website can learn new things, meet new people, and have a tremendous amount of fun doing something that was once a chore: building backlinks.

About the Author

Get 30 *New* High Page Rank Backlinks every month for only $5!!

http://angelasdiscountmarket.com/backlink_builder.html

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What Does This Have to Do with Success?

“Okay, Noah,” you’re saying. “I can see that every decision I make is based on my Why-To’s and Why-Not-To’s. But what does that have to do with success? Are you trying to tell me, if I’m holding myself back from success, that means I don’t want to succeed?”

I’ve had the privilege of working with countless thousands of people in my seminars and mentorship programs – business owners and teenagers, salespeople and accountants, employers and employees, people who work at big companies and stay-at-home moms; men, women, and children from all walks of life. And in all that time, I’ve never met one person who doesn’t WANT to succeed.

Human beings are motivated by Success – getting, having and keeping the things we want.

Yet we’ve already seen that millions of people and organizations are holding themselves back from the success they’re perfectly capable of, even though, collectively, we’re spending billions of dollars to try and fix the problem.

So, what’s going on here? There must be something hidden… something deeper… something not visible to the casual observer.

The Hidden Reason You’re Stuck

Picture an iceberg. We’ve all heard that 90 to 95% of an iceberg is hidden beneath the surface of the water, while only 5 to 10% is visible, above the surface.

Scientists at Stanford, MIT and other esteemed institutions have determined that the human mind operates in much the same way. Just like an iceberg, your mind is comprised of two parts: the part that’s visible (above the surface) and the part that’s hidden (below the surface).

The Iceberg of Consciousness

Instead of the water line, let’s call the line that separates the two parts in the mind the Line of Consciousness. And we’ll call the visible 10% your Conscious Mind, and call the hidden 90% the Subconscious Mind. Another word for Conscious is intentional, because it represents CHOICE.

According to scientific research, our Conscious Mind makes up less than 10% of your total brain function. That means that the Subconscious or unintentional aspect of your mind represents more than 90% of your total brain function.

Your Subconscious is a vast collection of unintentional, habitual thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Therefore, the phrase that best describes the Subconscious mind is NO CHOICE. Look around the room you’re in right now. What if I came in to the room you’re in and turned out all the lights? In fact, I removed all the visible light from the room. Now it’s pitch dark and you can’t see a thing.

What would happen if I then asked you to re-arrange the furniture? How successful would you be at rearranging the furniture in a room that’s completely dark? Answer: not very. You’d bang your shins on the coffee table, fumble around, and be incapable of making even the simplest of changes.

Because you can’t rearrange furniture in a place where you can’t see anything, does that mean you’re incapable of rearranging furniture? Of course not! You are PERFECTLY capable of rearranging furniture – when you can see what the heck you’re doing.

Your Subconscious Mind is like that completely dark room. We don’t know what’s in there, because we simply can’t see it – it’s hidden beneath the surface like the bottom 90% of an iceberg. And when you can’t see something, it’s awfully hard to change it.

Which brings us back to the original question: Why are millions of people who’ve spent so much time and money trying to improve themselves STILL STUCK?

This question will be answered in the next article.

About the Author

Noah St. John, #1 bestselling author of 6 books such as The Secret Code of Success, The Book of Afformations & Permission to Succeed, CEO & Founder of http://www.SuccessClinic.com, in over 3,000 media outlets like CNN, ABC, NBC, & Washington Post.

Since 1997, Noah has taught thousands the simple steps to enjoy more wealth faster, easier and with far less effort.

First 3 chapters of The Secret Code of Success FREE at http://www.SecretCodeBook.com

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Get More Traffic with these 10 Important Inbound Links

By Donna Gunter (c) 2010

 

Don’t overlook your inbound linking strategy as you think about search engine optimization for your site. An inbound link is a hyperlink back to your site from another web site. The one constant and reliable strategy in search engine optimization is that sites with a variety of high quality backlinks rank higher in the search engine results pages.

Why are these links to your site important? They can…

    • bring potential customers to your site when they click on the link

    • boost the number of visitors to your web site

    • dramatically improve your search engine rankings

Even though there are software packages on the market that help automate the linking process, use them sparingly, if at all. The only way to succeed in linking strategies is (aside from creating useful content that will encourage inbound links) by manually creating the links. That’s a hard fact to swallow, given how I like to automate as much of my marketing as I can.

Here are the 10 most important inbound links you must have to your site:

1. Directory Links

Directories are indexes of online sites, typically organized by category. Links back to your site from directories like Yahoo Directory and DMOZ.org are very valuable. DMOZ.org is edited by human editors, and while it’s free, it may take awhile for your site to be added. Getting added to Yahoo’s Directory costs $299/year.

2. Press Releases

If you’re writing press releases, make sure they are optimized for keywords that someone would use to find a business like yours and include links back to your site, as well. Once written, you can have your press release distributed through a service like PRWeb.com, which will create links from high traffic news sites back to your site.

3. Article Directories

Writing and distributing articles through high traffic article directories, like EzineArticles. com, is a great way to get valuable inbound links from a high traffic site. By crafting an effective resource box at the close of your article, you can drive traffic back to your site!

4. Social Bookmarking

Similar to web browser bookmarks, social bookmarking sites store individual pages (bookmarks) online and allows users to tag (with keywords), organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web resources as well as share them with others. If you bookmark your content on these sites (like Digg.com, Reddit.com, Del.icio.us. com), you get a link from the service. By producing content that your readers love and then bookmark to their friends, the link increases in SEO value.

 

 

5. Blog Comments

To find blog posts on which to comment, you can use blog-specific search engines like Google Blog Search. Make sure these are blogs read by your target market, not your colleagues. Brand yourself by always using the same name and remember to link back to your site. Always leave a comment that adds to the conversation that’s happening within the comments.

6. Social Media

Now, Google also indexes your Twitter updates and your social networking profiles. Add that to Web 2.0 hubsites like Scribd or HubPage and you’ve got the option of creating many, many inbound links in a very short period of time.

 

 

7. Blog/Podcast Syndication

Submitting the RSS feed of your blog and podcast to syndication services will give you a link back to your site. In some cases, each time you publish a new blog post, the post itself will also get a link.

8. Video Syndication

YouTube is one of the most visited sites online, and the number of sites that syndicate videos is growing each day. These sites often allow you to link to your site either in your video’s description or on your profile page, or both.

9. .EDU and .GOV Links

Search engines place a great deal of credibility in government and education web sites, and the links carry a great deal of weight. Frankly, it isn’t easy to get inbound links from these sites.

10. Internal Links

Remember, if you have more than one web site, or a web site and a blog, be sure and link one to the other. You can do this by linking one article to other related articles, or link to categories or archives of information.

Creating a sound inbound linking strategy is a key component of your search engine optimization efforts. Try a few of the strategies listed above and see how your traffic and rankings grow.

About The Author
Small business marketing Coach Donna Gunter helps independent service professionals create authentic, profitable online businesses. Would you like to learn the specific Internet marketing strategies that get results? Discover how to improve your visibility and get found online by claiming your Free gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketíng Toolkit, at ==> TurbochargeYourOnlineMarketing.com

Visit www.SmartShopperTV.tv your local Colorado Business Directory.

Posted by: SEO Interface | April 8, 2010

Tools ‹ Smartshoppertv's Blog — WordPress

Tools ‹ Smartshoppertv’s Blog — WordPress.

Posted by: SEO Interface | April 8, 2010

Are You Relevant to Google?

By Ken McKay (c) 2010
Featured Video: Web 3.0 Future of Internet

Google lists results of all searches in order of relevance to the search words. How do you become relevant? It’s no use being number nine hundred in order of relevance if people searching Google only look at the first ten or twenty listed. It’s no use having the best looking website if no one sees it.

Nevermind, you say, I can pay to be at the top of Google. Yes you can pay a lot to be a sponsored or pay per click website. Google makes a fortune from just that. However Google itself admits that its surveys show 72% of searchers ignore the paid listings and click on the natural listings, the listings that earn their position by being relevant.
Okay, you say, I’ll pay an SEO expert a lot of money to get me to the top. Yes, you can pay a Search Engine Optimization company, but the only guarantee is that you will pay a lot of money.

Let’s cut through all the spin. Search Engine Optimization is not a science. Websites really need to be designed for relevance to search engines using some common sense.

How Do You Define Relevance?

In a bookstore, how do you select a book about e.g. motorbike maintenance? You check:

• Titles,
• Front covers,
• Descriptions on the back covers,
• Size of each book,
• Tables of chapters,
• Samples of paragraphs, and
• Which of the books are more popular.

If the title of the book does not include the words “motorbike maintenance” there is every chance that you won’t find a lot of information about motorbike maintenance in the book. There is usually a description of the book on the back cover. If that doesn’t mention “motorbike maintenance” either, you are looking at the wrong book.

But of the books with “motorbike maintenance” in their titles, some are larger than others. Some have more chapters and pages than others. You expect that the larger ones will have more information than the smaller ones. You also question the bookstore on which of the books are selling more. That is how you decide which book has the most information and is most relevant to your search. Is that science or common sense?

How Does Google Define Relevance?

On the internet, if you search for “motorbike maintenance” Google will list ten million results in the order of relevance to your search. To sort websites in order of relevance to a search, Google has used its secret algorithm to weigh up:

• Domain names,
• Titles of the websites (meta-titles),
• Descriptions,
• Page headings and sub headings,
• Menu and navigation bar (links to inside pages),
• Quantity of information, and
• Popularity of each website based on the number of other relevant websites that link to it (same as in popularity of books).
We know those factors which are similar to those you used to find a book. We only guess the weighting Google gives to each factor.

The Factors

You want a website for your business or activity to be easily found by the audience that your website is targeting. So take into account the same factors that you use in selecting a book on that subject.

Domain Name

If your URL (web address) includes some part of the expression “motorbike maintenance”, e.g. motorbikemaintenance.com, Google will rank it ahead of those names that don’t, (if everything else is equal).

Title Tag

The website title meta-tag, that shows at very top left of the browser, is a very important item to Google, just as the book title is to you when selecting a book to buy. Amazingly, some web masters have simply put the words “Home page” into the title tag. That makes a web page very relevant to people searching the internet for a “home” but, not relevant to a search for “motorbike maintenance”.
Also include other words that people might search for, e.g. “motorcycle repairs”. If you are targeting a particular region, e.g. Australia, that word is needed in the title meta-tag to capture searchers who qualify their search for the subject in Australia only.

Description

The description meta-tag is also an aid to relevance, just as the description of a book is there to tell you what the book is about. However the words in the title meta-tag and description meta-tag should also show on the web page itself, otherwise they might be ignored.

Headings

The headings of each web page take the same importance as the chapter names in a book. Page headings are more effective if they are succinct, leaving out words like “and” “the” “of” and “a”.

Hyperlinks

The navigation bar can be text with hyperlinks to the inside pages. The text can look like buttons or tabs with the help of CSS. Google ignores images and javascript navigation bars. In the body text of the home page more points can be gained for keywords if they are hyperlinks to inside pages. Points are also there for those who place a keyword in their email address, e.g. bikes@ instead of info@.

Size of Website

The volume of information counts towards the relevance of the website to a search, just the same as the size of a book. We are amazed at people who put up a one-page website and expect Google to rank it high for relevancy in front of a 50-page website. Look at page one of Google for any search. Are any one-page websites listed there?

Popularity

Google believes that if other relevant websites link to yours, then your website must be more relevant than those that don’t have such incoming links. However the test is relevance. A link from a motorbike club is relevant for a motorbike maintenance website. A link from a gambling is not relevant.

Are You Relevant?

To be relevant to a search for any words, your web page needs to contain those words in its title, heading, hyperlinks and body text. Links from other relevant websites add to your relevance. Search engines use the same process that you use if you search a bookstore for a book on motorbike maintenance.

This article was not written to discourage readers from paying for SEO. However, it’s hoped that readers now understand more about what’s behind SEO. It’s not magic or science, but really common sense.

About The Author
Ken McKay is an Australian web designer at platypus websites.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Google docs invitation share scare. A curious security oversight?

Recently we’ve been looking into using google docs to remove some of the headache of read only and lock file issues that are a frequent occurrence on network drive shares. While Google Docs is for the most part quite promising we ran into an interesting and somewhat frightening snag that we’ve since reported to Google. As with any service this large there are bound to be some oversights that turn up only in widespread use. I’ve been unable to find if this issue has already been posted elsewhere. So here’s what we found.

Security scenario:

A user creates a new Google docs document,
then sends an invitation to share this document with several email addresses via the share option,
the email containing a link to the shared document invitation is received via company email,
recipient clicks the link in the email within their mail client,

next typically you’re either prompted to log in to google docs and accept or reject the invitation to view the document, or if you’re already logged into your Gmail account it takes you straight to the accept or reject invitation screen.

You press accept and view the document.

Stop and think about that… the invitation was sent to a company email address, not a Gmail address. Shouldn’t that invitation be only for that email address? Or at least limited to the set of emails that were invited when the bulk invite was sent out?

Yet if I can get a hold of that link and put it in a browser you can log into say your personal Gmail account and get access to the same document. What we found in testing was that anyone who got a hold of the link could log into their Gmail account and still view the document.

With the amount of schools and businesses already migrated over to Google docs I’m surprised this hasn’t been resolved yet.

How big a deal is this? It really depends what’s in the document you’re sharing however anyone who can sniff out that link and sign up for a Gmail account can gain access to the document.

Whether by sniffing your network traffic packets , sniffing your mail server or mail relays, snooping via compromised machine or email account, email being forwarded to an insecure or unintended address, or a shady client even being able to take a quick photo of your screen while the URL is in view – so long as they can get that doc share invitation link and type it in their browser they can now access it via any Google docs or Gmail account they have access to even though the invite may have only been intended for joe@joesplace.com

Current workarounds:

Only send share invitations to other Gmail accounts. Google docs to Gmail communication should stay on internal Googles internal network and never go out on the web. Post the link only in secured locations.

Or instead of sending out share invitations send an email with a URL straight to the Google docs URL for the document. The user clicking the link will first have to log in to their Gmail/Google docs then will have to request access to that document before they can view it. This can be approved or denied at your discretion.

Possible Solutions?

If Google were to allow users to encrypt their email via PGP or some other means before sending the link could not be sniffed in plain text.

However the above does not really address the simpler underlying security issue that an invitation to share a document should (unless otherwise stated in bold red) only be usable by the address the invitation was sent to.

It may seem convenient that if someone sends a Google docs invite to your @business.com account you can click on the link and sign in with your personal Gmail since you don’t have Google docs tied to your @business address however that means that it’s convenient for anyone else to do so too if they can find a way to capture that link.

Yes – often these invitations are read only however imagine the bounty of company and school documents that could be quite harmful in the wrong hands – read only or not. Personal and proprietary data, exam questions, you name it. If a business has migrated to Google docs it’s all there if you can sleuth out the link.

Note: Another solution has been brought to our attention from the Google help forums:

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Docs/thread?tid=4bf934caf4de8f2d&hl=en&fid=4bf934caf4de8f2d00048116ffe3406d

Use Share->See who has access… Go to the Advanced permissions tab and untick both Allow editors to invite others to edit or view and Allow invitations to be forwarded , then click Save&Close.
se Share->See who has access… and on the People with access tab make sure the general setting is Sign-in is required to view this item. Again click Save&Close.

A quick test of these settings seems to plug the hole. However the scare remains that the default settings are quite insecure and few Google docs users are likely to be aware of the security implications of those settings.

Labels: google, google docs, security
SEO news blog post by Jonathan at http://www.beanstalk-inc.com/blog/ 6:42 PM

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