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DTC, SEO & Sexy Content ROI

Posted by on Jan 30, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on DTC, SEO & Sexy Content ROI

This Smells Like My Vagina Candle

We had a bad client call last week.

The client is a sexy DTC start-up. They had asked us to put together an editorial strategy to improve their ability to target potential customers via SEO, but when we presented our recommendations which were primarily focused on high-intent-to-purchase queries, the CEO’s first question was “Why can’t we make sexy content like Goop, Away Travel, Food52 and Casper?”

Instead of targeting things you would ask before you bought the product, he wanted more “interesting” content that people would bond with. For example, if we were targeting people in the market for laptops, we wanted to target “what is a good laptop for everyday use?” and he wanted to target “best coffee shops in West Hollywood to work from,” with the idea that the person doing that search is their target customer and they would appreciate the brand’s POV on where they should hang out.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with his approach. It’s just a much longer, indirect play that targets a broad audience, most of which will likely not be in the market for his product any time soon. This is the kind of strategy Mercedes employs when it starts marketing to children so that when they grow up and have cash, they’ll subconsciously desire their cars. But it definitely helps to be Mercedes. And it definitely helps that Mercedes has money to burn.

But IMO this is not a great SEO strategy to get results in the near term.

There are plenty of good non-SEO reasons to invest in content, but if you are looking to rank well in Google for intent-to-buy queries, you’ll want to consider how well search intent aligns with your brand strategy. Looking at the DTC brands our client mentioned, you can see their content & SEO strategies are not all alike:

AwayTravel.com: Targeting The Top of The Funnel

According to SEMRush, AwayTravel.com gets almost no non-branded organic traffic. They do rank well for “carry on luggage,” but I believe that is mostly because one of their products is called “The Carry On Luggage.” They don’t appear to rank on page one of Google for any other significant non-brand queries and get barely any non-brand organic traffic:

AwayTravel.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

It appears they put all of their “brand” content on https://www.heremagazine.com/ which according to SEMRush gets ~8K SEO visits/month from queries like “la to oregon road trip.” According to Ahrefs.com, they have done an aggressive backlinking program to this site over the past 6 months (4K+ links):

It looks like they have published north of 700 articles. Away branding on this site is almost invisible. I’d argue they get virtually no business directly from it. I am guessing the role of this site is to get email addresses so they can market the luggage to subscribers.

FOOD52.com & GOOP.com: When Brand Strategy Aligns With Search Intent

The folks at Food52 are either SEO geniuses or just lucky because they picked a niche where “brand” content – recipes, travel, home design, etc. – aligns perfectly with search queries like “matcha shortbread cookies” or “things to do in hudson, ny“:

Food52.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

If you wanted to start a DTC business with an SEO strategy, you’d want to figure out a niche like Food52’s where the brand and the search intent are one and the same.

Goop.com
Goop is similar to Food52 in that it publishes a ton of content much of which is designed to lead you to a product, such as this post on why you’re not losing weight, which basically pitches their products as the cure. It also publishes City Guide content like https://goop.com/city-guide/the-mini-los-cabos-guide/ that ranks for “cabo itinerary,” which could hit travelers as they are planning a trip and might be in the mindset to buy a travel kit from them. Like with Food52, the travel part of this is not a bad SEO strategy if you are willing to invest in a ton of content plus promotion (aka links) and are looking to use this is as an awareness builder. Goop’s non-brand traffic looks pretty good:

Goop.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

CASPER.com: The Opposite of Sexy


Casper feels almost 100% focused on “SEO” v “brand.” Most of their “brand” content lives on their blog, and much of the content appears to be focused on not-very-competitive keywords somewhat related to sleeping such as “what to do in the middle of the night,”  “plants in bedroom benefits,” etc. Most of these have low search volume, but you can see how someone might find Casper through these queries. This is not a bad strategy, but it’s not one we would choose as a primary SEO strategy, and I don’t think it’s Casper’s real SEO strategy.

Casper is prioritizing decidedly non-sexy “intent to buy” queries like “queen mattress size” and “how often should I replace my mattress.” According to the SEMRush data, https://casper.com/mattress-size-comparison-guide/ generates more than 50% of Casper’s non-brand traffic.

While Casper’s mattress size page looks about as sexy as Rudy Giuliani,

(sorry) it’s SEO performance looks super sexy to me:

Casper.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

I would argue Casper may be over-reliant on a small number of URLs to do their SEO work. If that mattress-size page gets displaced in the SERPs, I wonder what that would do to their business.

So when you are thinking about investing in sexy content, before you pull the trigger, make sure you know exactly what you want that content to do for you. If it’s for social media, brand-building, etc., make it as sexy as you possibly can. But if it’s for SEO, make sure it’s at least targeting some sexy search queries.

The post DTC, SEO & Sexy Content ROI appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

5 Common Causes of a Slow WordPress Site – What to Know

Posted by on Jan 28, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 5 Common Causes of a Slow WordPress Site – What to Know

A slow WordPress site is anyone’s nightmare. For both website owners and visitors, a slow website means more time wasted waiting for pages to load, not to mention the impatience that grows and the frustration that causes anyone not to revisit the site ever again.

Browsing a website is like shopping in a store. Customers want a very streamlined and quick experience when they are looking to buy something or simply just having a look around. If your WordPress site is loading slow this can really harm the visitor experience. If you are selling something on your website this could really harm your bottom line and financial future. It is so important to put a huge focus on WordPress speed to make sure that you are not dealing with a slow WordPress site.

There are many causes to a slow WordPress site, including the images displayed on the site that aren’t compressed or way too many plugins installed. In this article, we’ll talk about four common causes of a slow website:


Slow WordPress Site

1. Website Isn’t Cached

When a visitor enters your website, their browser sends a request to the server to receive the files of the site to load in for the visitor to see. These files include pictures, scripts, design elements, and all sorts of other files. If you have a lot of files on your website, loading will take a while, especially if its content is dynamic as well.

Generally, dynamic content takes a lot longer to load compared to static content. When you cache your website, you store a static version of your website, allowing visitors to retrieve that file to load quicker. In other words, if your website isn’t cached, the server will slow down trying to respond to multiple requests at one time, which, in turn, increases the visitor’s loading time too.

There are some amazing caching plugins available out there that you can easily install on your WordPress website and get instant results and a huge speed increase. There is a range of free plugins that you can find at wordpress.org and there is also our favorite premium plugin Swift performance Pro. We highly recommend investing in a premium caching plugin so you can get the most out of your speed. Speed is such a good investment to make towards the success of your website.


Slow WordPress Site

2. Outdated PHP Version

Updates are often carried out for many reasons—enhanced security, increased performance, additional features, and so on. Even if all your website’s components are up to date, it will still be slow if the foundation of it all is outdated. The foundation? PHP.

It is the underlying language of WordPress websites, which means that an outdated version of it will hamper the performance of the overall site severely. That said, your website host should always be utilizing the latest PHP in their servers. If they aren’t, or you’re hosting it yourself, you’ll need to upgrade it manually. Just remember that if your website is quite old, you will need to first check to see if it is compatible with the latest version.

We see this often when helping customers here where they are running a very old version of PHP on their web hosting server. You should always be running the most recent version of PHP that is available. We are talking about speed here but there are also several security enhancements that come with new version of PHP.


Slow WordPress Site

3. Too Many Plugins

While plugins are useful in terms of adding features to your website, too many will eat up the server’s resources. Over time, you’ll end up with more plugins than you’ve started with. That means that not only will you end up with plenty of plugins to run, but that some of these them may not be updated, which can slow down the performance of your site even more.

An excessive amount of plugins installed and activated on a WordPress site can be the death of speed. You have to remember that for each plug and you have installed and activated it is likely adding some type of server request when it functions. Each of these requests take time to complete. The more requests that you have running the slower your website is going to take to render and view for your visitor. Make sure that you are not bloating your website with a large amount of active plugins that are not necessary for its success.

Speed is also about sacrifice and while there may be a really cool plugin with a really cool feature that you want to have on your WordPress site it might slow it down. So what would you rather have speed or this cool feature that the plugin offers. Speed is about sacrifice in some cases. Do not overload your website with too many active plugins that are not needed 1000%.

Take a look at the 10 plugins you should stay away from at the link below.
https://wpfixit.com/wordpress-plugins-to-stay-away-from/


Slow WordPress Site

4. Cheap Hosting Providers

While trying to find solutions with the lowest cost is a goal for many businesses, it isn’t necessarily a good one when it comes to choosing a hosting provider for your website. From uptime to security, your host is pretty much what ensures that your website keeps on existing. If you have opted for a cheap plan, it might be because you’re starting small and don’t require the extra resources or features to run the site.

However, your website will grow over time, and if you still stick with the cheap hosting plan, your website is going to struggle. Server resources are eaten up, slowing down response times and increasing loading speeds. When you feel like your hosting plan isn’t enough to keep up with your needs, upgrade it.

When it comes to WordPress website hosting you really get what you pay for. We fully understand that many business owners and other WordPress users are on a tight budget when it comes to the development and hosting their website. But your hosting decision is the very foundation of having your website be successful. Do not cut corners or go the cheap route with that decision. Invest in a good web hosting company that will become part of your team and there when you need support for any of your website hosting needs.

Read what our owner Jarrett Gucci said about a hosting company he would trust his kids with at the link below.
https://wpfixit.com/siteground-hosting-review/


Slow WordPress Site

5. Malware

A malware infection site is not only a security threat, but also a menace to business. Clearing your site of any malware will ensure that it’s performing at its best. There are several ways to do this. For one, plugins. It’s wise to clean your website of these plugins occasionally, removing ones that you don’t need and updating ones that you require. Your plugin needs may change, but it’s best to keep a WordPress malware removal plugin installed at all times. Such plugins can help you detect intrusions to your site security, making it easier for you to eliminate those threats.

If you find that your website is currently overrun with malware, consider bringing on the help of a WordPress malware removal service. A human touch will do wonders for ensuring your website is performing at its best. On that same note, a fantastic way to improve your site’s loading speed is to choose a hosting provider that offers malware removal services. This ensures that your site isn’t compromised or bogged down with malware stealing server resources.

If you’re looking for a WordPress malware removal service, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.


Bottom Line

There are many causes of a slow website. You can start checking for the above factors to figure out what’s causing your site to load forever, then do your best to try and solve it. After all, a slow website is a website that’s just as good as dead. People are going to be frustrated while trying to use one, so they would most likely never come back again. That said, if you’re having trouble speeding up your website, there are plenty of services you can find, just like ours, to help you get what you want—a faster website.

NO NEED TO STRESS
WE CAN SPEED UP YOUR SITE!

WE WILL START MAKING IT BLAZING FAST RIGHT AWAY

 

The post 5 Common Causes of a Slow WordPress Site – What to Know appeared first on WP Fix It.

Social media strategy: Where to begin?

Posted by on Jan 28, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Social media strategy: Where to begin?

Social media is not to be ignored these days: it’s everywhere! So, when you’re working on building and growing your website, you need to take social media into account. Not sure why? Check out how social media can influence your SEO. Now, where do you begin? In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps of determining a social media strategy that fits you and your brand.

The goal of your social media presence

What is your goal for being on social media? Beware: what type of content you’ll be sharing is not your goal. That’s a means to reach your goals. What are you hoping to accomplish by sharing? Do you want followers to learn about your products? Increase sales, possibly by sharing discount codes or promotions? Are you looking to educate them? For example, the blog you’re currently reading is important to one of Yoast’s social media goals: We want to share our SEO knowledge with everyone. 

There are many goals to choose from, and you can pick more than one. Try to maintain some focus though, start by selecting a few that you can focus on first. If you find it hard to pinpoint your goals try turning it around: what content would you like to share? What goals could you deduce from that?

If you want to learn more about using social media and other essential SEO skills, you should check out our All-Around SEO training! It doesn’t just tell you about SEO: it’ll help you put these skills into practice!

What type of content do you share on social media?

So, you’ve decided on your goal(s). On to the next question: What kind of content are you going to offer? Are you going to share your own blog posts? Or, articles written by others, that you find relevant for your audience? Product information? Behind the scenes footage from your company? Information about you as a person? There’s so much you can do – and again, you don’t have to pick just one! 

Pro tip: Don’t forget content you might already have, that you could turn into social posts!

Mindmapping can help with this phase. Sit down to a piece of paper (or use a digital tool) and start writing. Let your ideas flow! Write down all types of content you can think of, that would fit your brand and/or products.

After that, it’s time to choose. What are you going to focus on? Keep in mind that engaging your customers with interesting content will increase their affinity for your brand. Think about what your audience would like to see, read, and preferably even share with others. In general, engaging content will do better than posts written mainly because you want to sell.

Determining content buckets

Now, you know what you want to accomplish with your social media presence. You also know what type of content you’re going to gather or create to do so. If you order these types of content, do you see any overarching themes? Try to combine all you have up till now by deciding on content categories or topics, also known as content buckets. Here are some examples of content buckets that we could choose to focus on at Yoast:

  • Product information
  • SEO knowledge
  • Our company culture
  • Engaging with customers

Other categories could be sharing the latest news, or announcements for events, or podcast episodes, and so on. But for this example, let’s say these are our four main focus topics. The first three are subjects we’d like to create posts about, the fourth differs slightly. Rather than just broadcasting, it’s about engaging in existing online conversations related to our brand or products. This is probably one of the most important focus points for brands anyway, as people these days expect to be able to connect through social media.

So, basically, you want to end up with a few content buckets for your social media presence. The goal is that every post you put out there should contribute to at least one of these content buckets. That’ll help you keep focused.

Prioritize and allocate your time

Another trick to help you keep focused is allocating a percentage of your time to each of the content buckets you determine. For example, engaging with (potential) customers could be very valuable, but also more time-consuming. We could decide to spend 40% of our social media time on that, and 20% each on the other three subjects.

That doesn’t mean flexibility is impossible, it just serves as a guideline for yourself. It helps you focus on what you find most important, and to make sure that you give that the attention it needs. When planning your content, check up on this. Are you keeping to it? Do you need to focus a bit more on one or the other? In a later blog post, we’ll come back to evaluating and reassessing your social media strategy.

Which social media platforms for your business?

Not every social medium fits your brand or your message. If you’re in the recruitment game, LinkedIn is an awesome network to build your presence on. If you’re in tech, definitely check out Twitter. If you offer products that look nice or like to share recipes, Pinterest just might be your best fit.  

Do a little research, look into the different platforms. The web is full of up-to-date reports on what platforms work best for wat content! Figure out what platforms fit your goals, and if they accommodate for content you’re looking to create. Would it be easier for you to create textual content? Or mainly visuals? Thoughts like these should help you figure out what fits your brand best. 

Decide what platforms you’d like to focus on first anyway, you can always add more. It’s harder to keep up when you need to tend to a lot of different platforms. Some platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, also offer ways to advertise. That could help you make your brand and company known way beyond the scope of your actual followers. Advertising isn’t just for selling products, you could also use it to promote some of the interesting and fun content you publish. Or to grow your audience!

Which social media does your (desired) audience use?

Unfortunately, you could be out there sharing the best content you can offer, without it getting any traction. You need to reach the people that actually need or want your content! For example, if you’re aiming for a corporate, older audience, TikTok probably isn’t the platform you should focus on. For now, at least!

To know where to find your audience, you first need to know what your (desired) audience is. So, you start by analyzing your audience. When you know who you’d like to reach, you look into the platforms they use most. There are numerous online sources, like Sprout and Business Insider, that regularly publish numbers on social media usage. Combine this data with your own goals and the platforms that fit those, and decide what you’ll be publishing on with what type of content.

Your brand voice and social media style 

Based on your audience and brand as a whole: think about the way you’d like to communicate on social media. Is your tone formal or playful? Would you use emojis regularly? Could your posts contain words like “gonna”, rather than “going to”? Decide what fits your brand and the content you’d like to put out there, as well as what fits your audience. If you think about this thoroughly now, it’ll make writing all your future posts so much easier.

Engaging with your followers

Basically, all you need to contact a company through their social media is an Internet connection. That means: People will ask you questions, post complaints, share their enthusiasm, publish reviews, and so on. Decide how you want to handle those. Are you going to respond to every message that people send to you? Are you going to keep an eye on all mentions of your brand name, even if your profile wasn’t specifically tagged?

The latter could be a great way to grow your brand awareness. Here’s an example of where someone mentioned Yoast SEO without tagging @yoast. We weren’t even mentioned at all, in the original tweet. For us, responding to this is a great way to reach more people and spread even more SEO knowledge.

Be realistic

Reading all of the above might have you all pumped up and ready to go. Or, a bit anxious as it might seem like a lot of work. Don’t fret! Now’s the time to be realistic. How much time would you be able to allocate to your social media presence every week? Or every day? Realistically.

You need to put the effort in, so don’t try and ‘do social media’ as an extra, or an afterthought. By doing so, you probably won’t reach your goals anytime soon! If you want to chime into all kinds of conversations online, it’s going to cost you a lot more time and energy. If you set up WordPress so that it automatically posts your new blog posts to Facebook, that would save you time. Automated posts differ from when you manually share by adding a fun or intriguing description, though. 

Think about a process that would work for you. How many posts would you want to publish on what platforms? Are you going to sit down once a week to write all of them, or take some time every day? Will you only post your own content, or collect and share articles by others? It’s easier to generate more content if you repost others’, but it could also cost you more time if you’re not already reading those other sources. Plus, it’ll send traffic to other sources than your own. That doesn’t have to be a problem, depending on your social media goals.

Make a social media plan

You’ve decided on where you’re headed: that’s the strategy. Now the plan is how you’ll get there. You have collected a lot of very useful information up till now. Time to turn it into an action plan! Think of a concrete and actionable plan that would fit in with your regular weekly schedule. You can always alter it along the way, but it’s great to have a plan to get you started. 

To help your future self and others to understand what you’re aiming for, it’s a great idea to write up a short document with your findings. Your goals, the brand voice you decide on, the content buckets you’d like to focus on, and so on. If you have several larger goals, you might want to prioritize them.

Concrete goals for social media presence

You’ve decided on your strategic goals, like “spreading SEO knowledge”, for example. You could do with more concrete, actionable goals in your social media plan. A few examples:

  • In the next 12 months, traffic from social media to my website will increase by 25%.
  • In the next 6 months, my profile on Google My Business will have 10 new reviews.
  • In the next 3 months, I will share at least one post on Facebook every day.

Be bold, dare to try! If you don’t reach these goals, you set new ones for the next period of time. You need something to aim for to keep you motivated.

There’s a lot you can do, as you can see. In a future post, we’ll look into measuring and evaluating your social media efforts. Good luck for now!

Read more: Does social media influence SEO? »

The post Social media strategy: Where to begin? appeared first on Yoast.

How to Scale Your Content Marketing: Tips from Our Journey to 100,000 Words a Month

Posted by on Jan 22, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Scale Your Content Marketing: Tips from Our Journey to 100,000 Words a Month

Posted by JotFormmarketing

In the fall of 2018 our CEO had a simple yet head-exploding request of the JotForm marketing and growth teams: Produce 100,000 words of high-quality written content in a single month.

All types of content would count toward the goal, including posts on our own blog, help guides, template descriptions, and guest posts and sponsored articles on other sites.

In case you don’t think that sounds like a lot, 100,000 words is the length of a 400-page book. Produced in a single month. By a group of JotFormers who then numbered fewer than eight.

Why would on Earth would he want us to do all that?

My colleague and I trying to calculate how many blog posts it would take to reach 100,000 words.

It’s important to understand intent here. Our CEO, Aytekin, isn’t a crazy man. He didn’t send us on a mission just to keep us busy.

You see, for many months we’d dabbled with content, and it was working. Aytekin’s contributed posts in Entrepreneur magazine and on Medium were big hits. Our redesigned blog was picking up a lot of traction with the content we already had, and we were starting to understand SEO a lot better.

Still. Why would any software company need to produce that much content?

The answer is simple: infrastructure. If we could build a content engine that produces a high volume of quality content, then we could learn what works well and double down on creating great content. But in order to sustain success in content, we needed to have the pieces in place.

He allocated a sufficient budget and gave us the freedom to hire the staff we needed to make it happen. We were going to need it.

A full year later, I’m very proud to say we’ve officially crossed over the 100,000-word count in a single month [hold for applause].

However, it didn’t come without some painful learnings and mistakes.

Here’s what I figured out about scaling content through this process.

Develop a system early

Our old editorial calendar was a Google sheet. I started it back when JotForm was publishing one or two blogs per week and needed a way to keep it organized. It worked.

Back then, the only people who needed to view the editorial calendar were three people on the marketing staff and a couple of designers.

However, no spreadsheet on earth will be functional when you’re loading up 100,000 words. It’s too complicated. We discovered this right away.

After much discussion, we migrated our editorial workflow into Asana, which seemed like the closest thing to what we needed. It has a nice calendar view, the tagging functionality helped keep things orderly, and the board view gives a great overview of everyone’s projects.

This is where our marketing team lives.

Counterintuitively, we also use Trello, since it’s what our growth team had already been using to manage projects. Once the marketing team finishes writing a post, we send a request to our growth team designers to create banners for them using a form that integrates with their Trello board.

The system is intricate, but it works. We’d be lost if we hadn’t spent time creating it.

Style guides are your friends

Speaking of things to develop before you can really grow your content machine. Style guides are paramount to maintaining consistency, which becomes trickier and trickier the more writers you enlist to help you reach your content goals.

We consider our style guide to be a sort of living, ever-changing document. We add to it all the time.

It’s also the first thing that any legitimate writer will want to see when they’re about to contribute something to your site, whether they’re submitting a guest post, doing paid freelance work, or they’re your own in-house content writer.

Things to include in a basic style guide: an overview of writing style and tone, grammar and mechanics, punctuation particulars, product wording clarifications, and formatting.

Cheap writing will cost you, dearly

If you want cheap writing, you can find it. It’s everywhere — Upwork, Express Writers, WriterAccess. You name it, we tried it. And for less than $60 a blog post, what self-respecting marketing manager wouldn’t at least try it?

I’m here to tell you it’s a mistake.

I was thrilled when the drafts started rolling in. But our editor had other thoughts. It was taking too much time to make them good — nay, readable.

That was an oversight on my end, and it created a big bottleneck. We created such a backlog of cheap content (because it was cheap and I could purchase LOTS of it at a time) that it halted our progress on publishing content in a timely manner.

Instead, treat your freelance and content agencies as partners, and take the time to find good ones. Talk to them on the phone, exhaustively review their writing portfolio, and see if they really understand what you’re trying to accomplish. It’ll cost more money in the short term, but the returns are significant.

But good writing won’t mask subject ignorance

One thing to check with any content agency or freelancer you work with is their research process. The good ones will lean on subject matter experts (SMEs) to actually become authorities on the subjects they write about. It’s a tedious step, for both you and the writer, but it’s an important one.

The not-so-good ones? They’ll wing it and try to find what they can online. Sometimes they can get away with it, and sometimes someone will read your article and have this to say:

Screenshot of feedback for article saying it feels like it was written by a content creator, not a photographer.

That was harsh.

But they had a point. While the article in question was well-written, it wasn’t written by someone who knew much about the subject at hand, which in this case was photography. Lesson learned. Make sure whoever you hire to write will take the time to know what they’re talking about.

Build outreach into your process

Let’s be real here. For 99.9 percent of you, content marketing is SEO marketing. That’s mostly the case with us as well. We do publish thought leadership and product-education posts with little SEO value, but a lot of what we write is published with the hope that it pleases The Google. Praise be.

But just publishing your content is never enough. You need links, lots of them.

Before I go any further, understand that there’s a right and a wrong way to get links back to your content.

Three guidelines for getting links to your content:

1. Create good content.

2. Find a list of reputable, high-ranking sites that are authorities on the subject you wrote about.

3. Ask them about linking or guest posting on their site in a respectful way that also conveys value to their organization.

That’s it. Don’t waste your time on crappy sites or link scams. Don’t spam people’s inboxes with requests. Don’t be shady or deal with shady people.

Create good content, find high-quality sites to partner with, and offer them value.

Successful content is a numbers game

One benefit to creating as much content as we have is that we can really see what’s worked and what hasn’t. And it’s not as easy to predict as you might think.

One of our most successful posts, How to Start and Run a Summer Camp, wasn’t an especially popular one among JotFormers in the planning stage, primarily because the topic didn’t have a ton of monthly searches for the targeted keywords we were chasing. But just a few months after it went live, it became one of our top-performing posts in terms of monthly searches, and our best in terms of converting readers to JotForm users.

Point being, you don’t really know what will work for you until you try a bunch of options.

You’ll need to hire the right people in-house

In a perfect world JotForm employees would be able to produce every bit of content we need. But that’s not realistic for a company of our size. Still, there were some roles we absolutely needed to bring in-house to really kick our content into high gear.

A few of our content hires from the past 12 months.

Here are some hires we made to build our content infrastructure:

Content writer

This was the first dedicated content hire we ever made. It marked our first real plunge into the world of content marketing. Having someone in-house who can write means you can be flexible. When last-minute or deeply product-focused writing projects come up, you need someone in-house to deliver.

Editor

Our full-time editor created JotForm’s style guide from scratch, which she uses to edit every single piece of content that we produce. She’s equal parts editor and project manager, since she effectively owns the flow of the Asana board.

Copywriters (x2)

Our smaller writing projects didn’t disappear just because we wanted to load up on long-form blog posts. Quite the contrary. Our copywriters tackle template descriptions that help count toward our goal, while also writing landing page text, email marketing messages, video scripts, and social media posts.

Content strategist

One of the most difficult components of creating regular content is coming up with ideas. I made an early assumption that writers would come up with things to write; I was way off base. Writers have a very specialized skill that actually has little overlap with identifying and researching topics based on SEO value, relevance to our audience, and what will generate clicks from social media. So we have a strategist.

Content operations specialist

When you aim for tens of thousands of words of published content over the course of a month, the very act of coordinating the publishing of a post becomes a full-time job. At JotForm, most of our posts also need a custom graphic designed by our design team. Our content operations specialist coordinates design assets and makes sure everything looks good in WordPress before scheduling posts.

SEO manager

Our SEO manager had already been doing work on JotForm’s other pages, but he redirected much of his attention to our content goals once we began scaling. He works with our content strategist on the strategy and monitors and reports on the performance of the articles we publish.

The payoff

JotForm’s blog wasn’t starting from scratch when Aytekin posed the 100,000-word challenge. It was already receiving about 120,000 organic site visitors a month from the posts we’d steadily written over the years.

A year later we receive about 230,000 monthly organic searches, and that’s no accident.

The past year also marked our foray into the world of pillar pages.

For the uninitiated, pillar pages are (very) long-form, authoritative pieces that cover all aspects of a specific topic in the hopes that search engines will regard them as a resource.

These are incredibly time-consuming to write, but they drive buckets full of visitors to your page.

We’re getting more than 30,000 visitors a month — all from pillar pages we’ve published within the last year.

To date, our focus on content marketing has improved our organic search to the tune of about 150,000 additional site visitors per month, give or take.

Conclusion

Content isn’t easy. That was the biggest revelation for me, even though it shouldn’t have been. It takes a large team of people with very specialized skills to see measurable success. Doing it at large scale requires a prodigious commitment in both money and time, even if you aren’t tasked with writing 100,000 words a month.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make it work for you, on whatever scale that makes the most sense.

There really aren’t any secrets to growing your content engine. No magic recipe. It’s just a matter of putting the resources you have into making it happen.

Best of all, this post just gave us about 2,000 words toward this month’s word count goal.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

SEO Insights on Salesforce Community Cloud Behavior

Posted by on Jan 21, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on SEO Insights on Salesforce Community Cloud Behavior

The Salesforce Community Cloud is a content management system (CMS) specialized for support or community-focused websites. It is a powerful CMS that allows brands like NASAAncestryPlayStationIntel, and many others to share information in a concise and organized way for their communities.

A well-implemented CMS complements a website’s SEO. The CMS platform is a medium through which a business presents content to its users. However, the content reach and indexability through Google can be impacted by a CMS’s technical limitations. Content management systems’ ability to improve a website’s SEO depends on its capacity to support the implementation of SEO best practices.

One of our clients had come to us for help after they noticed their organic reach had dropped. They suspected their recently implemented CMS had something to do with it, so we decided to investigate further. To identify the concerning behavior, we conducted a technical audit of our client’s website, as well as five other sites that use Salesforce Community Cloud. We found the following issues, which are fairly standard but nothing too unusual.

SEO Issues in Salesforce Community Cloud

  1. Status codes served differently for user and user-agent: A page a user sees as a 200, gets picked up by Googlebot as a 302.
  2. No Canonicals: None of the pages we observed are using canonical tags, but Salesforce support indicates that it is possible to implement them.
  3. JavaScript Rendering: Pages using Salesforce Community Cloud are rendered in JavaScript, possibly slowing down the index rate of a website.
  4. Redirect Limits: We believe Salesforce Community Cloud has a limit on redirects. They do not have any public documentation stating that they do.

Although I wish I could share what client, and what websites I found this behavior in, I am not allowed. I was, however, able to find this behavior on OpenTable, which is a website that Salesforce publicly announces as using their platform. Let’s dig deeper as to why these issues are showing up on Salesforce and what we recommend your team does to handle them.

Status codes served differently for user and user-agent

Status codes represent the communication between a browser and a server. When a user submits a browser request, the site server is asked for information, and it returns a status code.

The behavior we noticed in websites with Salesforce Community Cloud was that our crawler was classifying most URLs with a 200 status code.

In theory, if a user would visit that page, the information would be visible, and the user can interact with the website. We clicked into some URLs to confirm that they were a 200 status code, and we identified misclassification on status codes. We got the “User” status code by opening up the link in our browser and found the status code with the Redirect Path extension for Chrome. To get the “Crawler” status code, we used the Mac Terminal. In Terminal we executed a curl command with additional filters, to get the status code and HTML source code as Googlebot.

Our Terminal command:

curl -v https://help.opentable.com/s/article/Account-Management-Incomplete-Reservation-History-1481744282490?language=en_US -H “User-Agent: Googlebot”

The following are examples of how URL status codes were different for the user and crawler.

Examples:

OpenTable Dinner Help

https://help.opentable.com/s/article/Account-Management-Incomplete-Reservation-History-1481744282490?language=en_US

Crawler: 200 Status Code

User: 302 Status Code

https://help.opentable.com/s/article/How-do-I-view-change-or-cancel-a-reservation-1505260327125?language=en_US

Crawler: 200 Status Code

User: 200 Status Code

No canonicals

Canonical tags are used to help Google identify which URL we want them to index. This is helpful when multiple URLs have the same information. Implementing the canonical tags helps Google identify and index the URL we want. These tags prevent Google from labeling multiple URLs as duplicate content.

The behavior we picked up on Salesforce Community Cloud was that out of the multiple websites we crawled only one was using canonical tags in three of its URLs. Supporting documents on Community Cloud’s page state that adding canonical tags is possible with the platform.

We recommend that those who are using Community Cloud implement canonical tags as soon as they know which URLs they want to be in the index.

JavaScript Rendered Page

The relationship between Googlebot and JavaScript has always been very uncertain. Recently the Search Engine Journal published an article titled “JavaScript Indexing Delays Are Still an Issue for Google”. In this article, they test and confirm that Googlebot is still taking longer to index a page that is rendered using JavaScript. We recommend that if your page is using JavaScript the source code visible to the bot should include the links that are found within that page. This allows for the Googlebot to more efficiently crawl its way through your website.

The behavior we found on Salesforce Community Cloud is that all those using it have their pages rendered in JavaScript. It is often that tabs or actions a user may take are linked to by using a JSVoid(0) command. Another essential behavior we noticed was that the source code that is visible to the user does not contain the same information as the source code available to Googlebot. We can confirm that Salesforce Community Cloud was designed to be this way, and they are single-page applications according to Salesforce’s Blog on Lightning Communities.

While this does not mean that Google cannot index or crawl your site, it does mean it will take longer for new content to be indexed. At this point, there is not a lot that can be done, so either Salesforce optimizes their CMS to make HTML crawlable, or Google speeds up indexing JavaScript-rendered pages.

Redirect Limits

We have worked with clients in the past that have had a limited amount of redirects available when using Salesforce Community Cloud. Although we are not able to confirm this with current public Salesforce documentation, we were still able to find a solution for our client. They wanted to redirect all their previous links and met the threshold. Our recommendation to them was to use a CDN to manage the redirects beyond the limit.

If you are thinking of using Salesforce Community Cloud, we recommend making sure that they can redirect all of your current links.

In Conclusion

Salesforce Community Cloud is a great CMS allowing businesses to efficiently and quickly show content to their users. However, some of its behavior may significantly impact your site’s search performance. While the behaviors highlighted in this article are not necessarily bad, they are helpful to keep in mind when it comes to thinking about Googlebot crawling and indexing your site. For businesses interested in using Salesforce Community Cloud, I recommend asking questions around the common behaviors to a Salesforce Sales Representative and making sure that this CMS will work for your business.

If you have any questions about this behavior or want to know more, please don’t hesitate to reach out at [email protected] This project would not have been possible without the support and collaboration of Lydia Gilbertson.

Internet Wayback Machine Adds Historical TextDiff

Posted by on Jan 18, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Internet Wayback Machine Adds Historical TextDiff

The Wayback Machine has a cool new feature for looking at the historical changes of a web page.

The color scale shows how much a page has changed since it was last cached & you can select between any two documents to see how a page has changed over time.

You can then select between any two documents to see a side-by-side comparison of the documents.

That quickly gives you an at-a-glance view of how they’ve changed their:

  • web design
  • on-page SEO strategy
  • marketing copy & sales strategy

For sites that conduct seasonal sales & rely heavily on holiday themed ads you can also look up the new & historical ad copy used by large advertisers using tools like Moat, WhatRunsWhere & Adbeat.

Categories: 

Before You Kill That Mobile Subdomain…

Posted by on Jan 17, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Before You Kill That Mobile Subdomain…

Most SEOs I know hate sites with separate mobile URLs. They served their purpose back in the early days of mobile browsers, but over time the maintenance overhead combined with the SEO uncertainty brought on by having two different sets of near duplicate URLs has caused many of us to advocate for migrating to a single set of URLs for both mobile and desktop. But maybe we shouldn’t be the ones advocating…

I have had the pleasure of working on several large M-dot URL migrations. In theory, these projects should be pretty straightforward – 301 redirect all the M-dot URLs to their desktop versions, maintain the redirects forever, and all is well. Too bad theory often runs into a reality brick wall.

When one argues for a big project like an M-dot migration, odds are someone with a nicer office than yours is going to ask for some proof that it’s worth doing. Here’s a handy tweet to whip out when the “Why would we want to do that?” question comes up:

Now I love John Mueller’s advice as much as the next guy, but SEO types often tend to think of themselves within the “scientist” Knowledge Graph, so we also like to see independent corroboration of our crackpot theories. Fortunately Sistrix has a handy tool to estimate organic traffic to subdomains. Let’s look at how some big e-commerce sites have fared with M-dot migrations:

TicketMaster Mobile Subdomain Migration

The Home Depot Mobile Subdomain Migration

If you believe the upticks were even partially caused by the M-dot migrations (and if you believe Sistrix’ data is directionally correct), then pulling the trigger on a migration seems like a no-brainer.

But as we SEOs know all too well, not everything always goes smoothly.

This is what it looks like when a large e-commerce site with an expensive IT consulting firm spends a year redesigning their site and kills their M-dot URLs without redirecting them because “it wasn’t in the original scope and would be too complicated”.

FUBAR M-DOT URL MIGRATION

And this is what it looks like (on SEMRush) when another large e-commerce site does their M-dot migration in phases and neglects to redirect some of the old m-dot URLs. Six months to get back to where they started from.

Phased M-DOT URL Migration

Now I know what you’re thinking – “I run the tightest SEO ship on the planet. Those kinds of screw-ups would never happen to us.” If so, good for you, but you might do well to consider the following conversation I had with the head of SEO at one of the largest retailer sites in the U.S.

SCENE: A networking event. Everyone standing around in business casual drinking corporate craft beers.

ME: (oddly proud) I’m working on a big M-dot migration…

EXEC: (stopped cold) Dude…I pitched a big M-dot migration last year. We estimated a big increase in organic revenue post-migration. After we pushed it live, we saw basically zero lift.

ME:

The post Before You Kill That Mobile Subdomain… appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

What Do High-Performance E-Commerce Websites Do Differently? Results from the 2020 KPI Study

Posted by on Jan 16, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What Do High-Performance E-Commerce Websites Do Differently? Results from the 2020 KPI Study

Posted by Alan_Coleman

Hello Moz readers,

We’re proud to bring some insights from the Wolfgang E-Commerce KPI Study 2020.

The annual study provides KPI benchmark data which allow digital marketers analyze their 2019 performance and plan their 2020. The most popular section in the report amongst Moz readers has always been the conversion correlation, where we crunch the numbers to see what sets the high-performing websites apart.

We’re privileged to count a number of particularly high-performance websites among our dataset participants. There have been over twenty international digital marketing awards won by a spread of participant websites in the last three years. In these findings, you’re getting insights from the global top tier of campaigns.

If we take a five-year look-back, we can see the conversion correlation section acts as an accurate predictor of upcoming trends in digital marketing.

In our 2016 study, the two stand-out correlations with conversion rate were:

  1. High-performing websites got more significantly paid search traffic than the chasing pack.
  2. High-performing websites got significantly more mobile traffic than the chasing pack.

The two strongest overall trends in our 2020 report are:

  1. It’s the first year in which paid search has eclipsed organic for website revenue.
  2. It’s the first year the majority of revenue has come from mobile devices.

This tells us that the majority of websites have now caught up with what the top-performing websites were doing five years ago.

So, what are the top performing websites doing differently now?

These points of differentiation are likely to become the major shifts in the online marketing mix over the next 5 years.

Let’s count down to the strongest correlation in the study:

4. Race back up to the top! Online PR and display deliver conversions

For the majority of the 2010s, marketers were racing to the bottom of the purchase funnel. More and more budget flowed to search to win exposure to the cherished searcher — that person pounding on their keyboard with their credit card between their teeth, drunk on the newfound novelty of online shopping. The only advertising that performed better than search was remarketing, which inched the advertising closer and closer to that precious purchase moment. 

Now in 2020, these essential elements of the marketing mix are operating at maximum capacity for any advertiser worth their salt. Top performing websites are now focusing extra budget back up towards the top of the funnel. The best way to kill the competition on Search is to have the audience’s first search, be your brand. Outmarket your competition by generating more of your cheapest and best converting traffic, luvly brand traffic. We saw correlations with Average Order Value from websites that got higher than average referral traffic (0.34) and I can’t believe I’m going to write this, but display correlated with a conversion success metric, Average Order Value (0.37). I guess there’s a first time for everything!

3. Efficiencies of scale

Every budding business student knows that when volume increases, cost per unit decreases. It’s called economies of scale. But what do you call it when it’s revenue per unit that’s increasing with volume? At Wolfgang, we call it efficiencies of scale. Similar to last year’s report, one of the strongest correlations against a number of the success metrics was simply the number of sessions. More visitors to the site equals a higher conversion rate per user (0.49). This stat summons the final wag for the long-tail of smaller specialist retailers. This finding is consistent across both the retail and travel sectors.

And it illustrates another reversal of a significant trend in the 2010s. The long-tail of retailers were the early settlers in the e-commerce land of plenty. Very specialist websites with a narrow product range could capture high volumes of traffic and sales.

For example, www.outboardengines.com could dominate the SERP and then affiliate link or dropship product, making for a highly profitable small business. The entrepreneur behind this microbusiness could automate the process and replicate the model again and again for the products of her choosing. Timothy Ferris’ book, The 4 Hour Work Week, became the bible to the first flush of digital nomads; affiliate conferences in Vegas saw leaning towers of chips being pushed around by solopreneur digital marketers with wild abandon.

Alas, by the end of the decade, Google had started to prioritize brands in the SERP, and the big players had finally gotten their online act together. As a result, we are now seeing significant ‘efficiencies of scale’ as described above

2. Attract that user back

What’s the key insight digital marketers need to act upon to succeed in the 2020s? Average Sessions per Visitor is 2, Average Sessions per Purchaser is 5.

In other words, the core role of the marketer is to create an elegant journey across touchpoints to deliver a person from two click prospect to five click purchaser. Any activity which increases sessions per visitor will increase conversion. Similar to last year’s report, another of the strongest and most consistent correlations was the number of Sessions per User (0.7) — which emphasizes the importance of this metric.

So where should a marketer seek these extra interactions?

Check out the strongest correlation we found with conversion success in the Wolfgang KPI Report 2020….

1. The social transaction

The three strongest conversion correlations across the 4,000 datapoints were related to social transactions. This tells us that the very top performing websites were significantly better than everybody else at generating traffic from social that purchases.

Google Analytics is astonishingly rigorous at suppressing social media success stats. It appears they would rather have an inferior analytics product than accurately track cross-device conversions and give social its due. They can track cross-device conversions in Google Ads — why not in Analytics? So, if our Google Analytics data is telling us social is the strongest conversion success factor, we need to take notice.

This finding runs in parallel with recent research by Forrester which finds one-third of CMOs still don’t know what to do with social.

Our correlation calc finds that social is the biggest point of difference between the high flyers and the chasing pack. The marketers who do know how to use social, are the tip top performing marketers of the bunch. We also have further findings on how to out-market the competition on social in the full study.

Here’s the top tier of correlations we extracted from a third of a billion euro in online revenues and over 100 million website visits:

Retail

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Travel

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

Overall

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To read more of our findings pertaining to:

  • The social sweet spot
  • Average conversion rates in your industry
  • In-store sales benchmarked
  • Why data is the new oil
  • 2010 was the decade of the…
  • And much, much more

Have a look at the full e-commerce KPI report for 2020. If you found yourself with any questions or anecdotes relating to the data shared here, please let us know in the comments!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

How to Find an Amazing SEO Consultant in 2020

Posted by on Jan 15, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Find an Amazing SEO Consultant in 2020

Looking for an SEO consultant who can help you grow your company in 2020? Keep reading.

What is an SEO Consultant?

An SEO consultant is an advisor who helps companies improve their search engine rankings. This applies to every search engine including Google, Bing, YouTube, and even Amazon.

An SEO consultant can help you grow your company in few different ways.

1. General SEO Advice

SEO consultants can be called on to answer all your burning SEO questions. Sometimes you don’t need a full-on SEO analysis and roadmap. Sometimes you just need to get some targeted questions answered by an SEO expert.

2. Analyze an Existing SEO Campaign

he most common use of an SEO consultant is to analyze existing campaigns and develop a strategy for improving them.

Typically a consultant will perform an SEO audit and then create a list of actions based on what will have the highest impact.

All you need to do is execute on these actions, track performance, and stay in touch with the consultant as questions or challenges arise.

Having a second set of eyes (especially someone who’s probably already experienced whatever challenge you’re having) can take your SEO performance to another level.

3. Develop an SEO Strategy

Not every company has jumped on the SEO bandwagon.

That’s when a proven SEO consultant comes into play.

The consultant can develop a 6-12 month (or longer) SEO plan for driving more organic search traffic.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
Abraham Lincoln

4. Train In-House Team

Some companies already have a digital marketing team in place and just need some additional guidance and SEO training.

An SEO consultant can come in, analyze your campaign(s), and guide your team members so they can drive better results.

This type of consulting is most common with digital marketing agencies that want to improve their team’s performance, so their clients can get better results.

Now you know what a qualified SEO consultant can do for your company.

Here’s what do you need to do next:

Think about what you truly want when you hire an SEO consultant.

Some questions to consider are:

  • Are your SEO clients getting the results they deserve?
  • Is your company’s revenue growing, stagnating, or declining?
  • Is your website getting enough qualified traffic?

But now you might be wondering:

How do you find a qualified SEO consultant?

I’ve developed an 8-step qualification process for hiring the perfect SEO consultant for your company.

Make sure you read qualification step #4 because getting it wrong could destroy your SEO performance.

How to Hire an SEO Consultant (8 Simple Steps)

Hiring an SEO consultant is a big step for every company.

  • Are your SEO clients getting the results they deserve?
  • Is your company’s revenue growing, stagnating, or declining?
  • Is your website getting enough qualified traffic?

These questions will bounce around in your mind. That’s okay because they should.

Hiring a qualified SEO consultant can explode your company’s growth, but hiring the wrong one, can be devastating. You SHOULD be asking these questions.

That’s why today I’m going to give you 8 steps you need to cover when you’re trying to hire an SEO consultant.

Let’s jump right in.

1. Audit Their Online Footprint

An SEO consultant should be able to demonstrate that they know what they’re doing. All that matters are the results that are being achieved TODAY. Not years ago.

That’s why I laugh when some “experts” claim that ranking for “SEO” keywords is “worthless”. If these keywords are “worthless”, then why aren’t these supposed experts easily ranking for them?

Well, the answer is simple. They can’t.

You’re hiring an SEO consultant to get you more traffic, leads, and customers from organic search.

How could you possibly trust someone or a company that can’t visibly do it themselves?

That’s why I’ve put in concentrated effort to rank for “SEO” keywords since launched Gotch SEO. From the very beginning, I wanted to PROVE to clients that I knew what I was doing.

Of course, getting client results is more important. But ranking for your industry’s keywords is further proof that you know what you’re doing.

How can anyone deny this?

One last important point here:

Be careful of “experts” that claim to have “achieved” results when they’re an in-house SEO.

All the results I’ve achieved for Gotch SEO and our clients are my own doing.

I didn’t have a massive team with an enormous budget pushing these results forward. I didn’t join an already successful company and claim that I was the catalyst for their growth.

Most companies I’ve worked with have virtually no organic search traffic or rankings. I grew them from the ground up. I didn’t jump on an existing rocket ship and claim I did some magic.

The TL;DR of this section is simple:

Only consider SEO consultants that have real results that you can see with your own eyes.

2. Know What You Need

There are variety of reasons to hire an SEO consultant. It’s a good idea to know what objectives you want to achieve by hiring an SEO consultant.

3. Make Sure It’s a Good Fit

I believe two people need to genuinely like and enjoy talking to each other for a business relationship to work out. It’s crazy how well principles in your personal life translate business world.

Would you be friends with someone who didn’t like? Then why do we do business with people who make us cringe even thinking about them?

I used to take on pretty much every client because I was money-hungry.

I’ve learned over the last 5 years of running an SEO company that this is a horrible idea. That’s why I always make sure it’s a good fit before engaging in any relationship. You should do the same.

When you speak to a prospective SEO consultant, you need to be thinking about a few things:

  1. Do you like this person? Seriously. Do you enjoy speaking to them or are you guys constantly interrupting each other, not listening, etc?
  2. Would you enjoy speaking with this person routinely for several months or years? Or would you dread every phone call?

Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. Every time I ignored “my gut” and all the warning signs, I ended up regretting it.

In fact:

I just recently I told a prospect (who was willing to pay $5,000/mo + for SEO) that I had to pass on the engagement.

Am I insane for passing up money? Maybe.

But in my eyes, my personal health and wellbeing in the long-term is far more important than money (or dealing with a nightmare client).

4. Discover Their SEO Methodology

There might be some situations that warrant sketchier SEO strategies such as companies in phrama, gambling, etc. However, most companies (in non-controversial industries) should use safe, long-term focused SEO strategies.

You don’t need an SEO consultant to say that they’re “white hat” to know whether that’s true or not. You just need to analyze what they’re saying.

A qualified SEO consultant will talk a lot about the following:

  • SEO Audits
  • Content Audits
  • Technical SEO
  • Site Architecture
  • User Experience (UX)
  • Keyword Research
  • Keyword Qualification
  • On-Page SEO
  • SEO Content
  • Link Prospecting
  • Link Acquisition

The most important element to ask questions about is link acquisition.

There are many SEO consultant (and companies) that still use high-risk link building tactics. Some of these tactics include Private Blog Networks (PBNs), public blog networks, web 2.0s, profile links (on irrelevant websites) or pretty much any link type that isn’t acquired through an editorial process.

These backlink types can work in the short term, but can get you penalized in the long-term. Then you’ll have to hire another SEO consultant to get you out of the penalty!

Avoid this at the on-set.

If a consultant tells you that their link building process is “proprietary” then run for the hills.

Qualified SEO consultants don’t have anything to hide.

In fact, they would be proud to show what they’ve done.

5. Get Clear Expectations

It’s the SEO consultant’s job to set clear expectations. These expectations will largely depend on what type of work is being done.

If they’re developing an SEO strategy from the ground up, they may say that you can expect to see improved SEO performance within 6-12 months (if you’re taking the necessary actions).

Just remember to be realistic.

SEO is a long-term game. It doesn’t have an on and off switch like paid media. It takes time to see results, but in the long-term, I believe it dominates all other channels (as far as CAC).

6. Trust Them (If They’re Qualified)

You’re hiring an SEO consultant because you’re not an expert in SEO. A qualified SEO consultant is. That’s why you should listen to them.

I’m not saying you should have blind faith in them and not ask questions.

But if you are micromanaging them and not giving them the freedom to do what they believe is best, then you will not have a successful relationship.

All you need to do is think in reverse.

Would you like the SEO consultant to tell you how you should fix the sewage backup at your client’s home?

I think we both know the answer!

7. Be Action-Oriented

The best SEO consultant in the world will fail if you or company doesn’t take action on their recommendations or plan. Unfortunately, this is very common.

Listen to this part very carefully:

Do not hire an SEO consultant until you’re willing and able to take action on their recommendations and game plan.

8. Don’t Wait

We all exhibit levels of procrastination in life. Some more than others.

Entrepreneurs and existing companies are on the low end of the procrastination scale, but it still happens a lot.

It happens to me when a “new” marketing channels comes into play like “chat bots”. The procrastinator in me starts asking:

  • “Is this worth my time?”…
  • “This probably a fad!”… or:
  • “I need to focus on ___ and this will only hurt my focus.”

These are excuses to avoid the pain of learning something new or trying something different.

I can tell you this:

Procrastinating on doing SEO or not hiring an SEO consultant to help you can be detrimental.

Getting SEO results takes time and I can guarantee your competitors aren’t going to wait for you. So, whether you need to optimize your existing SEO performance or need to start from scratch, today is the day.

Every day you wait to improve your SEO performance is day your competitors are getting ahead. Don’t wait.

5 Common WordPress Security Issues and How to Solve Them

Posted by on Jan 14, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 5 Common WordPress Security Issues and How to Solve Them

Avoid these Common WordPress Security Issues at all cost to keep your site running securely. Did you know that WordPress accounted for a frightening 90% of all hacked content management systems in 2018? According to a report by Sucuri, Magento comes in second with 4.6%, while Joomla! sits in third place with 4.3%. But this doesn’t mean WordPress is less secure than other CMSs. With around 75,000,000 websites running on WordPress, it has become the easiest target for cyber criminals. So let’s take a look at some of the most common threats and ways to avoid them.


Login Vulnerabilities 

Being a gateway to your WordPress website, the login page is the primary target for hackers. Malicious actors try to guess your login credentials by utilizing brute force attacks to acquire website access. And as soon as they manage to get to your admin dashboard, they basically have control over the whole site. These vulnerabilities are usually the result of using weak passwords and easy-to-guess usernames or having a default login page. So let’s take a look at how you can keep your admin area safe.


Use Strong Usernames and Passwords  

Hackers utilize sophisticated methods which allow them to crack login credentials within minutes. If you are using a weak password or username, you are making their jobs far too easy. Since WordPress doesn’t enforce the use of strong passwords, it is on you to create unique and hard-to-guess login credentials.

The username is the first line of defense against cyber criminals. Therefore, avoid using common or default usernames such as super admin, admin, editor, or even common personal names like John, Tom, Mary etc. As far as the passwords go, experts recommend using long passphrases of 15 characters or more. You should also use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters and special characters.


Avoid Using a Default Login Page 

Most hackers do not perform manual attacks. Rather, they access the login page and crack the login credentials using bots. Accessing the default login page of a WordPress website is not that difficult as most use the default login page (www.yoursite.com/wp-admin). If you want to prevent bots from accessing your admin area, you can change the default login page to something different, e.g. “www.yoursite.com/welcometomysite”.


Outdated Plugins and Themes 

From time to time, developers release updates aimed at fixing various security loopholes involved with WordPress. And if you skip any of these important updates, you are putting your website in danger. Sucuri reports that as much as 80% of WordPress hacks happen due to outdated security themes or plugins, with plugin vulnerabilities making up for the majority of hacks. It might not be obvious, but if you don’t update your themes and plugins, have no doubt that hackers will exploit the vulnerabilities. Basically, it’s like leaving the keys to your front door underneath the mat. 


Update Your Plugins 

Updating your plugins is easy and you can do it in just a couple of steps:

  1. Open your WordPress Dashboard. 
  2. Go to the plugins page by selecting “Installed Plugins” from the left hand menu. Here, you will see a list of all your installed plugins. 
  3. Go through the list and identify the plugins which indicate they are ready for an update, click on “Update now” and voila!

Updating the plugins and themes can sometimes lead to unexpected results. Therefore, it would be wise to stage your website and update the plugins and themes in the staging environment to avoid any unpredictable and problematic behaviour.


Don’t use Nulled Plugins 

Many site owners believe there is no harm in going with the free, cracked or pirated options when it comes to WordPress plugins. Unfortunately, they are completely wrong. Pirated software is exactly the kind you should avoid like the plague. Why? Well, besides being completely free, these plugins often contain malicious code used to provide hackers with a backdoor to your website. Similarly to not updating your software, you are making it all to easy for cybercriminals to take advantage of your site. To avoid such mishaps, you should update your site by getting your themes and plugins from the official WordPress repository sites. 


Poor User Role Management 

Being a WordPress website owner, you are designated with an administrative account by default. As you begin to create new accounts, you will have to assign proper user roles to the users that don’t have to have admin privileges. WordPress offers six different types of users roles which are hierarchically organized. The owner has the most privileges and as we go down the hierarchy, the scope of control of each user role decreases. 

Here is what the WordPress user role hierarchy looks like: 

  • Super Admin – This user is the top of the hierarchy and has complete control over the entire site and all of its features. 
  • Administrator – This user role is the second in line of the hierarchy and grants the user with all administrative rights. 
  • Editor – This user role is the third one in the hierarchy and this kind of user can publish and manage all of the posts across the website. 
  • Author – This user role is the fourth in the hierarchy and this user can only publish and manage their own posts. 
  • Contributor – This user role is the fifth in the hierarchy and this kind of user has the right to write and draft their own posts, but without the possibility of publishing them. 
  • Subscriber – This is the sixth and final role in the WordPress user role hierarchy and this kind of user can only manage their own WordPress profile. 

The Best Way to Manage WordPress User Roles

Proper user-role management centers mostly around the issue of trust. After examining all the privileges a user gets with their user role, you should be able to make informed decisions as to whether that person can be trusted with such “power”. For example, if you manage a website with many outside contributors, it wouldn’t be logical to give them editing rights. You should give this role to an editor you trust, i.e. someone who has proven they know what they are doing.

It is important to know that the site owner should be the Superadmin. Having complete control of the website, they decide who has control over the website’s content. Recklessly assigning user roles almost certainly leads to abuse of power. Even if you trust someone, hackers can still find ways to exploit their recklessness. So be extra careful when assigning someone with an administrator user role.


Lack of a Security Plugin 

WordPress security plugins are a very popular option among the platform’s users looking to fortify their websites. And although there are claims that you don’t actually need a security plugin to deter hackers, the uncomfortable truth is users who instal them achieve higher levels of safety. Yes, you can fortify your website manually up to a certain extent and yes, sometimes the plugin has more than you think you need, but you know the old saying – better safe than sorry. Below are some of the most important things security plugins can do for your WordPress site:

  • Login page hardening – Even though there are plugins that only deal with login security, most security plugins offer multiple layers of security when it comes to hardening the login page, such as Two-Factor authentication, login page CAPTCHA, adding 2FA to XML-RPC, blocking logins for administrators using weak passwords, etc. 
  • Database security- Databases can be vulnerable to attacks if you name them using the WordPress’ default naming prefix. And if you want to be on the safe side, you will need to perform regular updates. Moreover, a security plugin saves time as it lets you perform automatic updates. 
  • Firewall – The main thing about firewalls is they let us block unwanted connections. Because of implementation complexity, WordPress does not offer a firewall solution. But if you are worried about DDoS and brute force attacks, it would be wise to setup a firewall. Security plugins make it easy to implement blocking features and they also offer multiple layers of security.

Which Plugin Should You Choose? 

Not everyone needs a security plugin but in reality, if you want to grow and maintain the quality of your website or service, it is highly recommendable to instal one. There are many options out there so you need to make the right choice. To make an informed decision, read through a comprehensive WordPress security plugins comparison. Informing yourself will allow you to get a better understanding of what works for your type of website. But be careful about your choice as this piece of software will ultimately be your first line of defense.


Weak Hosting Infrastructure 

Since 30% of the world’s top websites run on WordPress, the hosting industry has become oversaturated with companies trying to win over clients. Consequently, there are plenty of cheap options out there, but the quality of such services is undoubtedly low. What you want from your hosting provider is 24/7 support, extra security, malware scans, etc. Top providers usually use a dynamic web application firewall (WAF) to stop exploits such as code injections etc. This significantly lowers the risk of brute force or a DDoS attack, some of the most common types of attacks used by cyber criminals. 

You will also need to protect your WordPress site from threats such as viruses, trojan horses, worms, spyware, keyloggers and adware. Ask your hosting provider if they use real-time malware scanning and chroot separation. There is a lot of questionable traffic on the internet as well, so make sure to check if the provider can stop it from reaching your site. Of course, this kind of service can be costly, but if you monetize your site or service in any way, it sure as hell is a wise investment to make. 


Security is a Must 

If you run a WordPress website or are planning to create one, security should be your number one priority. Why? Because whatever you plan to do, you could lose it all due to some generic hacking attack. Your investments would go to waste and you would actually be helping cybercriminals get what they want. However, if you learn about the various WordPress security issues and how to deal with them, you can easily avoid any of the threats lurking around the dark corners of the internet. 

Harden your login page to avoid any login vulnerabilities by using strong passwords and by  changing the default login page. Do not use outdated plugins and themes. Rather, find out how you can update your plugins in a safe way and by all means avoid installing nulled software. Learn about the proper way to manage user roles and stick to the best practices. You can enhance the security of your website with a security plugin, but remember to make an informed decision. Finally, think about investing in a reliable hosting provider to avoid threats such as malware injections, trojans, etc.

The post 5 Common WordPress Security Issues and How to Solve Them appeared first on WP Fix It.